With militancy on the rise in the northwest of the country, political parties are struggling to reach a consensus over how to combat the growing monster.
On Saturday, the Taliban executed 21 Levies personnel, three days after they were seized in synchronised attacks on security check posts. This ‘show of power’ strategy, on part of the militants, dates back to December 22, 2010, when 15 Frontier Corps troops were brutally murdered, and the incident was termed “a new year’s gift” to the government by the outfit involved.
With senior politician Bashir Ahmad Bilour’s death, it seems that the Awami National Party (ANP) is the only party which has come to the fore with a clear stance on fighting terrorism.
The party plans to hold jirgas with other political parties to prepare and urge them to take ‘ownership’ of the war against terrorists in the region.
The party’s president, Asfandyar Wali Khan, says the jirgas can “expose to the masses which political party stands where on the [issue of] war against terrorists.”
As Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Hakimullah Mehsud declared in a message that his organisation is willing to negotiate with the government, but not disarm, most provincial and national political parties have remained silent. Strong vocal reactions have been conspicuously absent.
Tehreek-e-Istiqlal Central President Rehmat Khan Wardag spoke about the Taliban on Sunday, but said nothing about taking action against the militants.
He called for unity among all political parties, but predominantly pressed for the swift withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He maintained that the Taliban’s demand of US withdrawal is key to upholding peace in the region.
The leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Qaumi Watan Party (QWP), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Jamaat-e-Islami, condoled the death of Bilour, with statements of reverence for the deceased. However, much to ANP’s dismay, none of them made any categorical statements on combating militancy in the region.
“There could be no politics and political parties, if the system [o