After what looked like a more positive environment, with both the government and the PAT and the PTI which staged a massive rally in Islamabad agreeing to talk, things appear to have moved back to square one, with both parties accusing the government of attempting to seal the red zone once more by setting up containers again, a further tension has entered the environment. Imran Khan has said he is ready to talk to the government, provided the prime minister resign. Dr Tahirul Qadri has meanwhile said food and water supplies had been cut off to his supporters.
In an especially fiery address, Imran Khan has also condemned the US State Department’s remarks in favour of democracy in Pakistan saying that in America itself rigged elections would never be accepted. It also said that the IG Islamabad has been removed because he refused to launch action against the tens of thousands of people gathered in the city. Events continue to move on rapidly and it is still not certain what the end is to be. The scenes change quickly; the pace is as fast as that of a Twenty-20 cricket contest.
While other major opposition parties attempt to make up their minds, with the MQM warning of many potential dangers, we still hope some room will be carved out for talks. This base had appeared to emerge earlier; perhaps it can emerge again. It is unfortunate that an ISPR statement warning of the need to control the situation appeared to have brought both sides closer to the negotiating table. But now, they need to think for themselves, consider all the consequences of their actions and determine what is best for the country and its people.
This is what we would expect from political leaders elected to serve citizens across the country. We must hope things do not take any unfortunate turn in the hours that still lie ahead and that the tensions which continue to simmer up from time to time can be brought under control as the flame on the political stove is lowered. How long it will take for these necessary measures to materialise is still something we do not know.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2014.
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