“Murder most foul, as in the best it is; but this most foul, strange and unnatural.”

–Shakespeare

Shrill voices can be heard all over Pakistan after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud, the Taliban Chief killed in a drone attack. These voices are creating more chaos and confusion because the common citizens cannot understand the policy of the government and that of other political parties who previously under the banner of an all parties conference had agreed to forge a common line as far as Pakistan’s effort in the war against terrorism is concerned. It was amazing that the Jamat-e-Islami chief called Mr Mehsud a martyr despite the fact that the Taliban chief carried head money announced by the government of Pakistan for his atrocities committed not only against the security forces of this country but also against innocent civilians. Jamat-e-Islami should be ashamed of this attitude and perhaps owes an apology to all those innocent people who died in acts of terrorism claimed by Taliban belonging to the Hakimullah Mehsud group. This was no time to indulge in such a debate but to move on and intensify efforts to resolve the issue of terrorism and militancy. Pakistan’s interior Minister, Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan in an emotional outburst claimed that Pakistan would review all aspects of its relations with the United States. PTI chief Mr Imran Khan is another bloke who seems to have been carried away not by prudence but by emotion and threatened to halt NATO supply line to Afghanistan. Similarly Maulana Fazl ur Rehman also demanded extreme action while calling for another All Parties conference to what he called to resolve the drone issue. All these leaders have not only insulted the common intellect of the people of this country but seemed to have mastered the art of hypocrisy. People have not forgotten about the leaked wiki leaks cable in which Pakistan’s present interior minister assured Ms Anne Patterson, former US ambassador to Pakistan, that PML-N was a pro-American political party and that their public criticism was only to maintain their credibility amongst the masses. Likewise in early eighties the Jamat-e-Islami was perceived to be pro-American rightist political party. As far as Mr Imran Khan is concerned, one might give him some space otherwise what happened to his political aspirations during the general elections should have been enough to educate him on the ground realities of the political culture that exists in Pakistan.

It is understood that the US never provided any assurance to the government of Pakistan that they will not target Mr Hakimullah Mehsud to facilitate the efforts of the government to initiate a peace dialogue with the militants. It is improper to accuse the Americans of subverting the peace dialogue with the Taliban because the Taliban on their part had not demonstrated any confidence building measures to facilitate peace talks. They continued to attack not only Pakistan’s security forces which resulted in the death of a senior military commander but also bombed a church in Peshawar and dozens of other acts of sabotage and subversion after the government had announced a unilateral peace offensive with the Taliban. The Americans succeeded in eliminating not only their own enemy Americans but also of Pakistan. So while the Americans can be accused of interfering in the garb of assisting this country it is not correct to hold them responsible by accusing them of subverting peace talks with TTP. One wonders as to why all these shrill voices remained muted when Taliban suicide bombers continued to attack Pakistan’s security forces and its civilians resulting in huge loss of property and death of innocent people.

While there remains some support for trying to resolve this issue through peaceful means, it does not mean that the government of Pakistan should succumb to pressure tactics being employed by various groups of militants. The talks can only succeed if they are held under the framework of the Pakistani constitution and its laws. Peace talks, everybody knows, are not going to be easy with the militant groups who have different agendas and it could be a long and painstaking effort for this country but nonetheless the effort is worth a try. However all the political forces should follow a path of pragmatism and stop trying to play with the emotions of the people because in case Pakistan decides to take an isolationist decision the people must be educated on the outcome and consequences for such a decision. It could mean outright disaster for the economy. So instead of spreading confusion and despondency or even calling for another All Parties Conference it will be in the fitness of things if the present government that has come into power through popular mandate carefully considers all options that are available with it and only then take a decision that must be in the national interest of Pakistan. People like Imran Khan must remember that stopping NATO supply lines through the province that is controlled by his party will not be a solution but a problem for the issue at hand and that PTI is not mandated to take unilateral decisions that are in the domain of the federal government. While there is no harm for PTI leadership to collect donations for good causes in the United States. It contradicts to what they are preaching for Pakistan. Leaders of Jamat-e-Islami who have nothing to lose can act irresponsibly but they must also remember that by doing so they are not rendering any service to this country. Only Pakistan Peoples Party and MQM have publicly disapproved blocking NATO supplies because their leaders correctly feel that isolation for Pakistan is not in the best interest of the country.

The writer has been associated with various newspapers as editor and columnist.