KARACHI: This is in response to your editorial of October 20 titled “Appeasement”. The Khyber-Pakthunkhwa (K-P) government has suffered the most in the post-election era and lost some of its precious legislators. The law and order situation demands the formulation of a consolidated policy against terrorism. When Pakistan was dragged into the war on terror, it unfortunately did not formulate any direction of how to tackle internal and external terrorism. Dialogue with the Taliban is not the desire of the K-P government only and was in fact a decision agreed upon at the recent APC hosted by the federal government.
Dialogue is not going to be an overnight process, and certain mechanisms and guiding principles would need to be put in place for a constructive dialogue with the Taliban. Federal and provincial governments must take steps to begin the process. However, negotiation is a mechanism and not an end in itself. The end goal should be the controlling of terrorist networks and their infrastructure in Pakistan.
Pakistan needs to draw a line between tribal leaders and terrorists. Major factors which contribute to the problem of terrorism are Pakistan’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan and the administration of Fata. It is not the authority of provincial government but the responsibility of the federal government to formulate, initiate and execute a comprehensive and strong policy to resolve the issue of terrorism and to save innocent citizens.
Farah Iqbal Lodhi
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2013.