The limitations of consensus

Is it wise to put off operation in North Waziristan because government believes public opinion will not be behind it?

Editorial October 23, 2012

Generally speaking, consensus is, of course, a good thing, all the more so in a country as fractured as ours. But consensus can also strangulate the power to make decisions and hold back the kind of tough action governments sometimes need to take for the sake of their country and its people. Speaking at a seminar organised by the South Asian Free Media Association in Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari has stated clearly that the environment is not right for building such an agreement and till it can be established, the dangers of repercussions from a military operation in the north are too grave to risk.

To some degree we can, perhaps, understand presidential thinking. But we must also look at the matter from a different angle. Is it really wise to put off a military operation in North Waziristan because the government believes public opinion will not be behind it? The cost of further delay would come in the form of growing militancy, more terrorist attacks and further torment for the people of North Waziristan, who live in the clutch of militants and are used as pawns in their games.

There are moments in history when leaders need to be strong; today, we stand at one of those junctions. The government needs to keep in mind that the public opinion it refers to is not fixed in stone. It is malleable and can be moulded, shaped and altered through some skilful manipulation. People in the country know too little about life under militants; they know too little about the fate of those maimed and orphaned by terrorist attacks and there seems to have been no publicity at all of the fact that over 400 such attacks took place before the first drone strike in 2004. More of this reality needs to be put before the people and decisions taken that suit their interests and that of the country. This, after all, is the principal duty of the government and in many ways, exceeds that of building political consensus.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2012.


Sultan | 10 years ago | Reply


If you read my post, you would relize that I was referring to Republic not Democracy. UK is definitely not a republic. About the rest I did not know, so preferred to maintain silence

Madam, it is hard for me to believe that you don't know about France, Germany, etc. my 9 year old comes up with better excuses than that. Perhaps you should put down Atlas Shrugged and read something else to learn a bit more about the world other than the one that exists in Ayn Rand's twisted imagination!

Sultan | 10 years ago | Reply


Sinclair likes you-- he even knows you are woman.

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