Let’s not misinterpret PTI’s stance on NATO supplies

Published: November 10, 2013
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“I’m called an Islamic fundamentalist by Rushdie. My critics in Pakistan say I’m a Zionist agent. I must be doing something right.”- Imran Khan PHOTO: REUTERS

It would be an understatement to say that the timing of Hakimullah Mehsud’s death has become quite controversial. 

Just when he was planning to proceed with peace talks with the government, Hakimullah was targeted by a US drone. It has been quite apparent that the US is not thrilled with the possibility of peace between Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and Pakistan. Hence, the very first thing that comes to one’s mind is why this happened now when it had never happened before.

Instead of getting into the possible explanations, let us evaluate the reaction of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to this particular drone attack.

It seems inevitable that PTI, the party governing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), is most concerned about the drone issue. However, Imran Khan’s declaration in the National Assembly to block NATO supplies has received crossed opinions. Those who were already accusing PTI of being TTP apologists, are once again criticising PTI for its threat to block Nato supplies.

Whether it is right or wrong, one must appreciate PTI’s standpoint to continue peace talks in spite of the US’s attempt to disrupt peace efforts with these self-proclaimed true Muslims.

Moreover, it is absolutely wrong to associate this incident with the Salala incident like the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) spokesperson did. We lost 24 of our security forces in the incident last year and although we did block Nato supplies then, the government is not in favour of the current blockade proposed by the opposition. Even if the killing of Hakimullah has not brought anguish equivalent to the Salala incident to all concerned, it has come at the worst time for peace talks. Hence, blocking the supplies will give a firm message to the US that our national interests have, once again, been trampled upon by drones. This strike in particular, due to the importance of its timing; when we could possibly have had a chance of peace in our side of the world.

Leaders of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) have raised some serious concerns about the issue, but PTI seems to have a very different perspective in this regard – a perspective that has been clarified several times by various PTI representatives. Looking at the entire political leadership of Pakistan at the moment, Imran has turned out to be the most honest and straightforward politicians in the country.

Although we may or may not agree with certain policies of PTI, Imran does have a point when he says,

“I’m called an Islamic fundamentalist by Rushdie. My critics in Pakistan say I’m a Zionist agent. I must be doing something right.”

It is high time we started supporting the right things happening in our country, irrespective of which political party is behind them. By criticising everything, we are only going to further tarnish our image as a nation. Blocking Nato supplies earlier was our way of protesting against the unfortunate Salala incident that many of us are still grieving over. However, this time the objective behind blocking supplies is simply to communicate that the drones have already done so much damage to the country that they have to be stopped at any cost.

If the US cannot respect our national interests, then we can’t worry about their interests any more either.

Considering the circumstances, General Ayub Khan’s words ring true even today when he said,

“It may be dangerous to be America’s enemy, but to be America’s friend is fatal.”

Kiran Wali

Kiran Wali

A business graduate working in the corporate sector. She tweets @KiranW_ (twitter.com/KiranW_)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Kalikamai

    A terrorist is a terrorist…what does it got to do with nationalistic feelings or let down nation’s sovereignty. There’s no connect with breach of peace as peace with Taliban is only the idea of complete retards.Recommend

  • Badar Farooq

    So little substance, so much affection. Ah the lives of PTI apologists.

    And I have never seen an article with such declaration of ‘truth” without any justification

    I mean we start with “It would be an understatement ” followed by “It has been quite apparent ” followed by “It seems inevitable” and I can go on but I have one question, pray tell HOW ?

    Then she goes “Whether it is right or wrong, one must appreciate PTI’s standpoint to continue peace talk”

    So I should appreciate something i consider morally, politically and strategically wrong ? Why? for PTI has been stubborn.

    And when you say stuff like this ” Looking at the entire political leadership of Pakistan at the moment, Imran has turned out to be the most honest and straightforward politicians in the country.” Recommend

  • Aloo Bukhara

    Imran Khan has no right to stop NATO supplies. These are as per Federal Government agreement with US. Only FG can decide on this issue. And please enlighten us what was our national interest to hide OBL in Pakistan??Recommend

  • JayMankind

    PTI wants to wash its hands off KP. What better way to abdicate responsibility than to quit the government over a sham drone bogey?Recommend

  • Chriz10

    I totally agree. It’s all show off politics; to conceal the entire incapability to improve anything at all in this devastating and desperate country. Peacetalks? Give me a break. Peacetalks with terrorists……Shame!
    Recommend

  • vick

    Most of those who are against talks to taliban are either from punjab or sindh……..they hve not yet suffered and bled as pakhtoons have….they hve been shot from both sides…….and to those who are saying terrorists are not to be brought to table for talks……..i wonder what is MQM than doing in parliament……..or PPP, thugs of whom roam around freely in liyari…….or we hve our own definition of terrorism which we adjust to our own views……Recommend

  • Mj

    “Just when he [Hakeemullah] was planning to proceed with peace talks with the government, Hakimullah was targeted by a US drone.”

    Can you tell me when did TTP show intention for starting peace talks without their preconditions being met, which are:
    a) Cessation of drone strikes
    b) Release from prison of TTP personnel
    c) Withdrawal of armed forces from FATA
    d) Imposition of draconian Sharia throughout Pakistan

    When did Pakistan accede to their demands for the peace talks to start?Recommend

  • whitesky

    I’m called an Islamic fundamentalist by Rushdie. My critics in Pakistan say I’m a Zionist agent. I must be doing something right.”

    – Don’t quote selected narrative. Majority of the critics call him Taliban/TTP apologist. first of all the entire population is hyped with conspiracy theory that USA deliberately chose the time to drone H M to disrupt the peace talk. Do all mean to say that Hakimullah was always available for drone strike ( but timing was chosen deliberately.) It is rubbish thought .USA has kept a bounty of 5 million dollar on his head and they were waiting ( even though ample opportunity was there to strike him) for to sabotage peace talk. All rationale and reasoning is thrown by everybody including the author in the gutter.Recommend

  • Hamza

    You clearly seem to not have lost anyone in this war at the hands of the Taliban.Say all this to the families of the 40,000 civilians and 10,000 soldiers who have been murdered and butchered by these animals whom you precious leader Imran Khan continues to defend.

    “Whether it is right or wrong, one must appreciate PTI’s standpoint to continue peace talks”

    So you want me to appreciate something that I consider totally wrong.

    “If the US cannot respect our national interests, then we can’t worry about their interests any more either.”

    Wow! So our national interest is to negotiate with killers and terrorists and let them open offices in our country?

    I think you’ve been sleeping and dreaming about the Great Imran Khan.Kindly wake upRecommend

  • aaaaa

    “It would be an understatement to say that the timing of Hakimullah Mehsud’s death has become quite controversial. ”

    It was made controversial, it didn’t become controversial on its own. By people like IK and Ch. Nisar. But especially IK, since Nisar didn’t threaten to block NATO supplies, despite his other drivel.

    “Just when he was planning to proceed with peace talks with the government, Hakimullah was targeted by a US drone.”

    This isn’t true. 6 or so hours before his killing, TTP categorically stated we have received no communication from the government on talks. Do your research, won’t you?

    “Hence, the very first thing that comes to one’s mind is why this happened now when it had never happened before.”

    Latif Mehsud was caught quite recently in Afghanistan. He was a fresh lead, very close to Hakimullah, who himself sent Latif to talk with Afghan intelligence. Thats why it happened now.

    “We lost 24 of our security forces in the incident last year and although we did block Nato supplies then, the government is not in favour of the current blockade proposed by the opposition.”

    Seriously? This is the best reason you can come up? No government support? It was gesture which counts, not the execution. It is a perfectly valid comparison.

    “This strike in particular, due to the importance of its timing; when we could possibly have had a chance of peace in our side of the world.”

    See above, about their being no talks in the offing, a point made in an excellent article by Amir Mir in The News.

    General Ayub was the best friend the US ever had upto that point. Pakistani dictators always are. A bit rich him telling us what to do. But then again, IK and his minions always were fans of our latest dictator, so appropriate that you would quote him.

    IK is not a zionist agent, but a Taliban apologist he always was, and always will be. Case in point: “The Taliban didn’t take responsibility for the Church attacks in Peshawar. Why are we blaming them?” Remember that statement?Recommend

  • Parvez

    You say ..’ If the US can not respect our national interest, then we can’t worry about their interests as well’.
    If we we not a beggar nation, with a crippled economy dependent on the US and its agencies, possibly that would have made sense.
    Do you think the so called friend of ours, the KSA, respects our national interests ??
    Madam, don’t blame others for our faults and weaknesses.Recommend

  • The Failed Rebel

    You are right Vick. These people have not seen war at all. Clan wars perhaps, maybe some have been shot and wounded. But never seen the outcome of war.
    In the end, only women and children suffer. Warriors are meant to die, but what of the weak and innocent who are exposed and violated in the crossfire? What of all the people who will be forced to leave their homes.
    It’s better to announce cease-fire and agree upon that both TTP and Pakistani forces will not carry out any violent activities. TTP henceforth would be bound to refrain from rebellion etc.
    People of waziristan/tribal areas are tired of war. Mehsuds were willing to talks because they want to come back to their homes in Waziristan.
    If only someone here truly understood war, they would never even consider it as an option.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ali

    the problem is that everybody in Pakistan thinks he is only person among 180 millions who have 100% IQ level, and others are just dumb.Recommend

  • Rushdie

    “I’m called an Islamic fundamentalist by Rushdie. My critics in Pakistan say I’m a Zionist agent. I must be doing something right.”

    A typical rhetoric by Maulana imran khan to appease fundamentalists.Recommend

  • unbelievable

    “It has been quite apparent that the US is not thrilled with the
    possibility of peace between Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and Pakistan.”

    Sounds great – but like most authors she doesn’t bother to support why this makes any sense. Certainly defies the USA public statements.

    Some try to justify this belief based on the rationale that if the TTP and Pakistan were to make peace then the TTP would suddenly launch an offensive on Afghanistan and the American’s – but that makes little sense as the TTP have never shown that Afghanistan is a priority and the American’s will be long gone before Pakistan/TTP ever make a deal. Even if it happened tomorrow the American’s have turned over combat operations to the Afghans so they aren’t at risk.

    Some try to justify their belief based on conspiracy theory that America needs Pakistan in turmoil so it can steal your nukes. Of course they ignore that if the USA really wanted to eliminate your nukes they don’t need turmoil – they have stealth bombers and seal teams.Recommend

  • saqib

    a pro-PTI write up will always be relegated to the “blogs”. editorial space is for anti-PTI poopersRecommend

  • Ahsan Kamil

    well yes its true. look at his achievements all on his own and with collective efforts. unlike any other leader which you bow. and dear when you will be all your life concerned about your social life n bread butter. IK will and have and always be giving his self to our NATION.Recommend

  • Asghar

    To everyone here bashing the author…. So you are all ok with the US sending drones in our country and bombing our land? Yes, Hakimullah deserved it but nothing justifies a foreign country invading our sovereignty. I don’t know how people can stand for that.
    Secondly this is just my opinion and I might be wrong but has the US gotten anywhere by using force in Afghanistan? Why are they considering dialog with the Afghan Taliban now after 10 years of trying to wipe them out? Do people here actually believe they can wipe out all the TTP? Probably more than half the terrorists in TTP dont have the slightest clue about the goals of thier leadership. They have been convinced to join because they see drones bombing their towns and people. Wouldnt it be a better idea to eliminate the leadership and the root cause of the TTP in a targeted clever way rather than indiscriminately bombing everyone?
    And call it conspiracy theories but does nobody think that the US and other foreign countries might actually want instability in our country and somehow might be part of the whole crisis we are facing?Recommend

  • bilal

    Good article. As usual it fell on deaf ears for as far as the many geniuses in Pakistan are concerned. Recommend

  • Hammad A.Mateen

    Couldn’t agree more Kiran… and this isn’t the first time when attempts for peace have been destroyed by a drone, it has happened in the past also.Recommend

  • Asli Liberall

    Majority of Pakistan think Imran Khan is the only sincere leader in Pakistan.

    Only Few USA-apologist believe Imran is Talban apologist.Recommend

  • Farhan

    This article is totally without substance. Tribune really needs to find proper journalists – even a high schooler can write better than this.Recommend

  • Butt

    Invading our sovereignty? Who do you think protects Chinese workers in Gwadar? Recommend

  • True Karachiwala

    Whether it is right or wrong, one must appreciate PTI’s standpoint to continue peace talks in spite of the US’s attempt to disrupt peace efforts with these self-proclaimed true Muslims.

    What are you trying to say ? Continue talks with self proclaimed true muslims who are killers of 50,000 Pakistanis ? Make these killers stake holders of the system and one day these killers after wining any election at gun point (remember if they can make people abstain from election process at gun point, they can also make people elect them at gun point in areas under their influence) order the same army and government which havs been defending the country from their ruthless onslaught.
    You are a supporter of PTI, OK. But first you have to think about state and its future directions.Recommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    “four legs good, two legs bad”
    “four legs good, two legs bad”
    “four legs good, two legs bad”
    “four legs good, two legs bad”

    -George Orwell, Animal FarmRecommend

  • Khanakharab

    ask me how I have suffered in the hands of your godfathers, having said that neither I belong to Punjab or Sindh Sindh, in fact, I am yet to be called a Pakistani citizen with all political, economical rights.Recommend

  • Asfandyar

    Its funny that you mention Ayub Khan. Let me quote you some lines from the late Ardeshir Cowasjee’s article, titled ‘Hypocrites to the Core’…. “Ayub Khan publicly spoke of wanting Friends not Masters. But what did he say to the Americans in private? In 1953, “Ayub Khan visited Washington `at his own volition,` ahead of a visit by Pakistan`s civilian head of state and foreign minister. He sought a `deal whereby Pakistan could — for the right price — serve as the West`s eastern anchor in an Asian alliance structure.” State Department declassified cable quoted in Shirin Tahir-Kheli`s book The United States and Pakistan : Evolution of an Influence Relationship.

    “In the quest for US support, Ayub Khan went so far as to tell a US official, `Our army can be your army if you want.” Dennis Kux . United States and Pakistan, 1947-2000.”

    http://dawn.com/news/592021/hypocrites-to-the-core-2

    All in all i think your arguments, if one can even call it an argument, have no merit at all and are primarily based on your personal whims and party affiliation. I was personally very happy to see the end of Hakeemullah, one less dog to fight with (not to mention, one of the bloodiest one to date). If our boys can’t get him then i am glad the drones got him. And please stop repeating over and over again that his death has sabotaged the peace process. When they killed one of our General in Swat, wasn’t that tantamount to sabotaging the peace process.

    And what peace process are you guys even talking about. Do you seriously think that once we let them rule FATA (the only thing that we can offer them), they won’t want more. Or they won’t use that territory to launch attacks against other neighboring countries. And do you think the world will just tolerate our little agreement with them. Please stop fooling yourselves by linking these monsters to Pashtunwali, Pashtun nationalism or religious conservatism. These are power hungry non state actors who have tasted power and will settle for nothing less, with or without US’s presence in Afghanistan. They will continue coming at us unless we wipe them out of our land (or rehabilitate them, if they give us the chance).

    That would require a concerted effort. A paradigm shift in our policy circles. This is a war of ideology; a war of narratives. And we are losing on this front. The policies that we have been using for the past 65 years have come back to haunt us. We have to stop differentiating between the Taliban and we have to stop looking both ways. We can no longer run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Zia has totally destroyed at least 2 generations of Pakistanis and we need to make amends if we are to stop going down the drain. Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, but we have abused it to such an extent that the word Islam is now associated with everything bad that happens around the world. We need to teach our coming generations to be tolerant. We need to teach our future generations the principle of ‘love thy neighbor’. This is applicable both on the micro and macro level, in respect to the minorities, and on the foreign policy level; specifically towards India.

    Imagine this, if there were no hostilities with India, there would have been no need to spend one third of our budget on Defense. There would have been no need for proxy wars and proxy elements (who eventually bite you back). All that money could have been used in education, health, infrastructure. But who needs an educated, healthy and capable population when we can fight for Kashmir, right. Kashmir is gone, India will never let it slide. Even if it did, do you guys seriously think that Kashmiris would want to accede to Pakistan. Especially after how nobly we have treated the people of Gilgit Baltistan, FATA, Balochistan.

    Lastly, i would like to conclude my speech, lol, by saying that i am totally not against talks with the aggrieved party. I am Gandhi, or rather Bacha Khan, when it comes to talks, however, negotiations with non state actors can only be done from a position of strength. The way we have been acting in the aftermath of Hakeemullah’s, well deserved, death is like a child crying in front of a bully hoping that the bully won’t pick on him. This kind of behavior excites the bully, because fear is the most potent weapon that he possesses. We need to fight, not only on the military front, but also on the ideological, economical and social front. We need to wake up and straighten out our priorities. The world can only conspire against us if we are divided. We need to fix our internal problems and stop blaming others. We have the key to solve all our problems, we need to stop shoving it somewhere else and rather use it in the key hole.

    p.s. you champions of peace, talks and negotiations, I would really appreciate it if you show the same enthusiasm while negotiating with the genuinely aggrieved baloch separatists. Why this hypocrisy?Recommend

  • Bilal

    Clearly you have an affection for PTI – which is not a bad thing to have in an ideal world. Lets forget about that for a second;

    The case you present is not that simple that you let go one aspect and say “oh its (blocking nato supplies) only for peace”

    All of these are interlinked – IK wants to block NATO supplies to have peace restored in the region – clearly induced by a drone strike that killed the head of a faction who killed our soldiers, people who gave up their life for this country. Now i’m not associated with army by any means nor do I support their political intervention.

    Now you tell me being a human how can one forget incidents like malala shooting, salala incident and countless murders within our country. Yet you want to hold peace talks with these murderers. By the very same concept, shouldn’t we let go a rapist, dacoits, bank robbers – oh these guys do that everyday, lets have peace and talk with them.

    Looking forward to positivity from you guys :)

    Cheers.Recommend

  • Kiran

    After going through the reader comments, I only feel sorry for those who could not get the real idea of the above article. Firstly, I do not have any party affiliation. Secondly, I think everyone has the right to present and share his or her opinion in a reasonable and polite way.

    The simple points explained are that the drones have to stop; and if we can do that by blocking NATO supplies then why not go ahead with that? Another point clarified is to not equate the Salala incident with this one. The loss of lives in Salala incident is irreparable which in no way has any similarity with the killing of Hakeemullah. Many of our journos even are doing that just to malign PTI which is not a sane thing to do.

    All in all, the point is to have the drones stopped now at any cost. We have had more than enough of it. And I don’t think any one of us would want the drones to continue right?

    The idea here is to call the right things right – no matter if it is PTI, PMLN or any other party or person behind it. Because in the end, we all need to see Pakistan flourishing and prosperingRecommend

  • Junaid Hashmi

    And those that were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the musicRecommend

  • Faraz Talat

    It’s fascinating how PTI believes that dead terrorists are against our national interest.Recommend

  • charanjeet maan

    more like giving his self to TTPRecommend

  • charanjeet maan

    Drones will stop as soon as TTP stops attacking NATO forces and Afghanistan from Pakistani territory,and as soon as they stop killing Pakistani citizens.The simple point is that TTP-mayhem have to stop.Recommend