Cooperation is the only way forward
With the memo commission rejecting the plea to record the statement of Mansoor Ijaz outside Pakistan and Ijaz refusing to appear before the commission in Islamabad, little choice is left for the commission other than dismissing the case if Ijaz fails to avail the last opportunity given to him to record his statement on February 9. Meanwhile, Mian Nawaz Sharif remains disinclined to pursue his petition. The last week was abuzz with rumours of a possible coup. It has ended with signs of bonhomie between the government and the army. Both the COAS and DG ISI have jointly met the PM for the first time after Gilani’s December 22 statement about “a state within the state”.
There are also signs of the easing of tensions between Pakistan and US. In the wake of the NATO attack on the Mohmand posts, so much anti-US propaganda had been conducted in the country that it would be highly embarrassing to announce the resumption of military ties, agreeing to ‘limited’ drone attacks and allowing CIA agents to operate from the country. Unless the civilian government shows willingness to carry the heavy cross and own the decision, the army leadership would be the target of severe criticism from within and outside. The US on its part badly needs Pakistan’s help at this juncture. A happy conclusion to the longest war US has waged against any country in its history is the key to Obama’s nomination and success in the forthcoming elections. This is not possible without allowing Pakistan a key role in talks with the Afghan Taliban leadership.
Only the joining of hands by Washington and Islamabad can release the synergy needed to defeat an enemy which is both resilient and resourceful. The mutual distrust between the two countries has allowed the Afghan Taliban and TTP to play havoc inside the two countries. Confidence has to be restored if talks with the militants are to succeed The US and Nato should apologise for the Mohmand attack. For this, Washington has to refrain from the violation of Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty. It has also to accept the centrality of Pakistan’s role in the talks with the Taliban. Unless the measures are announced, it would be difficult to defend the resumption of close relations at the joint session of Parliament scheduled at the end of the month.