All-Parties Conference

The absence of any PTI representative from Friday’s apex committee meeting in Peshawar was a gloomy indication of the likelihood of the party’s intentions of attending the All Parties Conference in Islamabad on February 7. The PTI was invited to both meetings, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif himself, which had been called to concert measures to deal with the fresh wave of terrorism which had hit the country, symbolised by the suicide bombing on Monday in a mosque in Peshawar’s Police Lines, which has so far caused 100 deaths with 150 people injured. The refusal was because the PTI was running a movement against the incumbent government, but also implied that this movement was greater than this particular moment to national soul-searching. It is worth noting that a PTI delegation, including Chairman Imran Khan, attended the 2014 all-parties conference in Peshawar on the Army Public School attack, where there were 140 killed, which makes it a worse attack than the Police Lines mosque

However, the National Action Plan that APC produced remained un-implemented, especially because of the distinction that was drawn between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban. The PTI cannot wash its hands of responsibility for this, as for the two attacks, the worst the country has faced. While in 2014 it was in office in Peshawar, this time around it has just relinquished charge to a caretaker. While it was out of office at the Centre both times, it had held office in between for over three years, and had been as negligent as both its predecessors and successors of the NAP. After the APS massacre, there was a resolve to uproot terrorism from the Waziristan Agencies, which led to their being cleared of terrorists and merged into KP. However, when the Taliban finally took Kabul once again, instead of that meaning an end to terrorism, it merely meant that terrorism against Pakistan suddenly took on a new life. The Taliban repaid Pakistan for its support during the War on Terror by providing the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan safe havens from which it could conduct terroristic activities.

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That Pakistan is beset by this menace when it also faces an unprecedented economic crisis makes it all the more necessary that all the parties present a united front on this issue as well as on the economy. Problems have reached the point where the country faces an existential threat, and there will be point in fighting if there is nothing to fight over.

The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected].


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