- Ugliest scar on the national consciousness
Of all the things the prime minister said about the APS tragedy – great sacrifice, need for better security and education, etc – nothing stood out more than how it took a monumental tragedy to unite the rank and file. Indeed, Imran Khan too promptly ended the dharna, allowing everybody to unite under the National Action Plan (NAP). But, truth be told, it didn’t take too long for everybody to be at daggers drawn again. And as for the NAP, it only got so far as well.
Sure, there was a marked increase in military activity in the border area. And even intelligence-based and combing operations increased in urban centres. But the principal political figures were far too busy fighting each other to give the Plan’s finer points any attention at all. What became, for example, of that crucial national narrative that was supposed to counter all those decades of brain washing in the name of religion? And how far did the process of integrating the dozens of intelligence agencies, which litter our security landscape, go? It was, unfortunately, back to politics as usual as soon as the dust from the school massacre settled.
The new government has, naturally, expressed a newfound resolve for tackling extremism, which leads to such heinous and unbelievable terrorism, on the anniversary of the APS attack. But it should realise that that will require everybody, government and opposition and everybody else, to work together, especially in the House. Thankfully, after much unnecessary stubbornness, the matter of the PAC chairman has been resolved. That means that the formation of necessary committees can go ahead now, and legislation can finally commence. There is no doubt that everybody in the government and opposition realises just what a delicate moment Pakistan stands at. The government is fighting an existential war against terrorism while struggling to keep the economy rolling. Hopefully the government and opposition will work together, promptly, whenever the sanctity of the state is at stake. Nobody needs another national tragedy to be reminded of the need for unity.