One should not be much surprised by president Zardari’ speech of Oct. 21 wherein he expressed his hopelessness in forging a consensus with opposition parties on a military operation in North Waziristan. Just a few days back the ruling party tried to table a resolution in parliament to get consent on North Waziristan operation but had to back out as opposition parties were not ready to support it. He regretted the increased polarization in the society which has heavily affected the war on religious militancy. One example is murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer whose murderer was later garlanded by lawyers. Government couldn’t get any prominent lawyer to pursue the murder case on behalf of deceased governor’s family, while a former Chief Justice of Lahore High Court offered his services to defend the governor’ murderer.

Take the case of attempted murder of Malala Yousifzai; after reluctantly condemning the brutal attack, several mainstream political-religious leaders started confusing an already disjointed nation – there were so many conspiracy theories floating in the air and most of our gullible public seems to be changing sides quickly. Some blamed the ever present American agents as they said that no Muslim Jihadi could do something so atrocious, some questioned why there was so much focus on Malala. What about other girls killed in attacks and meanwhile some started linking it with drone attacks. Taking such distorted stand, they were in a way supporting the militants.

We all agree that there is polarization in the society which is divided among religious, ultra-religious and liberal people. Several of the ultra-religious militants are armed to the teeth, ready to kill anyone, and then there are people whose inaction or silence is in a way supporting the militants. But should we assume that we have entered a dead end street and now militancy is our way of life? It is duty of all the liberal forces in Pakistan, be it political parties or the civil society not to surrender for fear of life. If Pakistan has to survive, we have to defeat the evil forces of dark, otherwise sacrifices of over 40,000 civilians and military personnel will go waste. Yesterday, it was Salman Taseer, today it is Malala, tomorrow it could be any party leader as militants lump all the liberal and right-wing parties as agents of the West. Time is running out; if we don’t agree to take the job, someone else will do it on our behalf. And in may not turn out to be what we expect. We need to take our future in our own hands.

MASOOD KHAN,

Saudi Arabia, October 22.