Why thank the Taliban, minister?

Published: December 9, 2011
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Why does the state spend so much on defence when the interior minister has literally thanked the militants for peace? PHOTO: APP

Every Pakistani was thankful that Ashura passed off without incident and gave full credit to security agencies for employing stringent measures on the solemn occasion.

Contrary to this, talking to journalists later, Interior Minister Rehman Malik thanked the Taliban for the merciful act of not carrying out any terror acts during Muharram. The statement not only stunned his compatriots, it also exposed the real reason behind the peace in Muharram — it was not actually because of heightened security, but because of an ‘understanding’ between the government and the Taliban. It was also clear from the statement that the terrorists can act anywhere if they want and the government seems to be helpless before them.

This was not the first time that a top government functionary issued a weak and defeated statement. Similar words have also been spoken by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the past, when he made a similar plea to the Taliban to avoid attacks in Punjab. His statement, made some months ago, had also triggered widespread criticism and controversy. It should be recalled that Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar also issued a similarly weak statement after Nato forces pounded Pakistani territory with drones, saying that Pakistan did not have the capacity to shoot down drones.

The reaction of the media and the general public to such statements is natural, as they do not expect such a defeatist stance from those who are supposed to be the protectors of the people and defenders of the country.

It would be fair to say that such statements from senior government figures not only expose the government as being on a weak wicket, they also end up sending the wrong signal to anti-state elements.

Many Pakistanis are now justified in asking just why the state spends so much on defence and law-enforcement when the interior minister has literally thanked the militants for peace in Muharram. What is the use of all this ‘security’ if people are still at the mercy of a handful of terrorists? And the government, instead of crushing them, either appeals to them for mercy or thanks them for not murdering innocent Pakistanis.

Peer Muhammad

Peer Muhammad

A correspondent for The Express Tribune in Islamabad.

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