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Not a good idea


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THE PTI is set to go ahead with its rally to South Waziristan despite reservations from official quarters about safety and security, but the question must still be asked: is the PTI’s rally a good idea? To the extent that political parties have an undeniable right to campaign in various parts of Pakistan and to energise the base ahead of an election, the PTI’s rally is well within its democratic rights. Particularly in an area which has long remained on the margins of Pakistani society and virtually cut off from mainstream politics, the attempt by a political party to fortify its support can seem like a good idea. But the PTI’s goals must also be set against other national imperatives — and seen from the perspective of the fight against militancy, Imran Khan’s high-on-drama, low-on-results pilgrimage to Fata is unadvisable. To the extent that the PTI leadership is calculating that a very public denunciation of drone strikes and military operations from an area gripped by violence for the better part of a decade will yield electoral dividends in Pakistan proper, perhaps even in the tribal areas, the party may well pick up a few votes here and there. But the PTI’s policy on drone strikes and military operations is so well known — indeed, is a fundamental part of its campaign platform — as to render a made-for-TV opportunity at best peripheral to its electoral success.

The downsides, however, are very real and potentially serious, for the country, if not for the PTI. South Waziristan is an area no one, not even the most optimistic military official, would claim is anywhere near an acceptable normal. Militants are still active and the security forces face a battle that has morphed from frontal confrontation to fighting a shadowy but dangerous enemy. In that environment, a political rally that will echo inside Pakistan and internationally and seek to undermine the tenuous state narrative that the fight against militancy is Pakistan’s own will only bolster the enemy’s morale, and even endanger lives. The PTI won’t listen to good sense but its planned action is certainly deserving of criticism.

Comments (13) Closed

Ali Oct 03, 2012 10:54pm
The militants would be happy to read this editorial since they want all normal life to be disrupted and freedom of expression to be curtailed, if not altogether stopped. While it is dangerous to hold a rally...may Allah protect Imran and those who go with him... we should not stop doing things just because militants want us to. Those who are employed to protect, must due their duty... but in the end Allah is the best protector.
Umer Oct 03, 2012 10:03am
@ Zain And you are so sure about the origin of videos becuase ? oh yeah you saw it on geo,cnn,bbc.. yeah thats some conclusive proof !!!
Tanvir Oct 03, 2012 05:53pm
Well if everyone loves democracy, then it should be a good idea! If some people are killed then we will also know that not every one loves democracy. This will tell us who is who? and the battle lines will be clearly drawn.
Shahid Masud Oct 03, 2012 05:14pm
Another cheap stunt from one of our political JOKERS.
Ali Zaib Oct 03, 2012 03:49pm
Sitting in your office in front of your desk and writing analysis on waziristan. I wanna ask you Did you go ever to that place ? Ground Reality is totally different than you can imagine while sitting in your furnished office
Agha Ata (USA) Oct 03, 2012 01:46pm
And supposing ...the rally returns safely. Won't it turn into a great- great Tsunami?
Cyrus Howell Oct 03, 2012 10:40am
You must understand. Militants love killing, and their ultimate thrill is the power of life or death.
Syed A. Zafar USA Oct 03, 2012 06:51am
What else a sudden politician like IK can do except looking for opportunities of exploitation even at the cost of national security/integrity. And what could be a better ground for exploitation than the region/belt he belongs to, where majority of the people are illiterate, loaded with religious fundamentalism and ready to be used. Ik lacks qualities of a true National leader in my opinion, that is why he seems to depend on two things: 1. concentrating on certain areas of the nation which are either overly religious and affected by the war on terrorism or where separatist movements are on the rise. It has always been the dirty politics of right wing opposition parties to go against the security measures/actions of the government even if it is sincere with its measures/decisions. It is amazing that if the government allows rallies in certain dangerous areas just because of the pressure of the media and opposition and if something happens, it is condemned and held responsible, if it does not allow, it is still condemned and blamed. This is called "chit bhee meri aur put bhi meri (I am right, no matter what). I wish Ik was qualified and responsible enough to act like a national leader. I do not see a difference between the political strategy of PMLN and PTI. They are two faces of a same coin..
M. Asghar Oct 03, 2012 02:53pm
Unlike the Editoriail's opinion, the comming PTI-rally is South Waziristan is just the thing to do in order to break the isolation of the region, because this isolation has to be an important element for the militancy there.
Faraz Oct 03, 2012 05:17am
Zain M Oct 03, 2012 04:00am
Imran Khan is pretty naive. He seeks protection of the terrorists who proudly puts out videos of slaughtering Pakistani soldiers and civilians and who claim to take responsibility of bomb blasts and suicide bombers who do note spare even our children. You have rightly written, quote "In process seek to undermine the tenuous state narrative that the fight against militancy is Pakistan?s own will only bolster the enemy?s morale, and even endanger lives" unquote. Does he really care or he is looking for victory whatever it cost.
akhter husain Oct 03, 2012 02:33pm
Even though most of your views are sensible,but I think, we must not doubt ones sincerity,just because he belongs to that belt. Question is if he will be able to achieve what he is planning? There is every reason to believe that he will return empty handed...
akhter husain Oct 03, 2012 02:37pm