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AS the sprawling militancy and terrorism complex continues to rain down violence across Pakistan, a slight shift in political perceptions was witnessed on Sunday when PTI chief Imran Khan called for a joint civil-military strategy to fight terrorism. Until now, Mr Khan has talked more about drones and talks with the TTP than about the threat that militancy poses to the stability and security of Pakistan. But with the PTI’s government in KP rocked by a series of attacks in the province and violence in other parts of the country continuing unabated — in addition to Peshawar, Quetta and North Waziristan also suffered serious attacks on Sunday — there is perhaps the beginnings of a realisation within the PTI that the internal threat is real and serious and can only be countered by a firm resolve and coherent plan. So while Mr Khan did repeat on Sunday his standard trope of a ‘political settlement’, he appeared to acknowledge, by seeking the input of the army chief via the prime minister, that a military response is also part of the overall solution.

Perhaps in seeking the input of the army chief, Mr Khan and the other politicians who seem to discount the threat of militancy will be able to get a clearer picture on the scope and magnitude of the danger. While the right-wing political parties may prefer to focus on conspiracies and exaggerated external threats because of expediency or perhaps even out of sympathy for the militants’ explicit goal of overthrowing the state and replacing it with a severe so-called Islamic model, there is a sense that mainstream centrist and right-of-centre politicians do so largely because they are ignorant of the facts. After all, until returning to power in Islamabad last month, the PML-N leadership had been out of the national security loop for more than a decade — in which much has changed on the security front. And Mr Khan had been a fringe, or non-existent, parliamentary figure until the recent elections — meaning his knowledge of the threat that militancy poses will have been accumulated almost entirely outside official channels. An authoritative briefing by the leader of the institution on the frontline in the fight against militancy could do a world of good for the present political leadership of the country.

Drones and the possibility of talks eventually with elements of the TTP can be part of the overall, long-term strategy to fight militancy — but first, clarity is needed on what the threat of militancy means for Pakistan.

Comments (17) Closed

malole Jul 02, 2013 08:42am

I don't think he is going to change his stance. He is just trying to give it legitimacy by talking to the Army chief.

Ijaz Jul 02, 2013 12:30pm

Good Sign:

Pray the saga continues for PTI :)

Anonymous Jul 02, 2013 01:56pm

Asking for the COAS's help does not necessarily mean he wants military interference. He only calls on the PM and COAS because they know whats REALLY going on in these places. You watching this sell out media and basing your opinions on such controlled and untrue news doesnt mean youre right!

aamir Jul 02, 2013 02:07pm

Thank God! finally Imran realized something. Its time to come out of slogans and face reality.

akram Jul 02, 2013 02:17pm

whilst a supporter of PTI, I always felt Imran was naive regarding dealing with the taliban. This is an environment where desire to talk is sometimes interpreted as weakness. Weakness being a prelude to more violence. It is not pretty but such groups only respect strength, and they must be dealt with in such a manner.

OK Jul 02, 2013 02:23pm

Selective memories. IK has always said that dialogue is critical ( also critical is the impression that Pakistan is making its own decisions and not one enforced upon them by external parties i.e. US) and that a military solution may be part of that depending on outcome of the dialogue. The nation has continuously been misled into believing that he means dialogue regardless of the outcome of the dialogue.

Shaz Jul 02, 2013 05:14pm

I have no political affiliation. For me IK is naive (or try to be one). He says one thing and does another.

fahad shah Jul 02, 2013 05:30pm

Terrorism is the biggest threat to pakistan, even bigger then economy and energy. finally someone is talking about it Thanks God.

babar Jul 02, 2013 07:39pm

PTI claimed that they will change Pakistan in 90 days but they are unable to even manage small KPK province. It seems no govt exist in KPK. PTI has not taken small measures such as hiring qualified personnel in police , collecting criminals data, coordination with federal govt and army etc to curb crimes in KPK. Most of PTI MPAs in KPK either have sympathies for Talibans or former ANP MPAs. So the question is where is the best team. Are they hiding the best team! why!

Zeeshan Jul 02, 2013 07:41pm

Imran Khan has never told that there should be a dialogue with the taliban but has always addressed that the support for the taliban should be minimized. The taliban are supported by the tribal people who are victims of the drone attacks.

shahid baig Jul 02, 2013 08:00pm

there is no change in IK's stance the writer is twisting his ideas. he still wants drones to stop and to come out of US war. He always kept use of force for the groups who do not respond to peace talks but as he is not in the federal govt. he has to co-operate with the PM and army chief to have one national policy.

Q.Zahid Jul 02, 2013 10:31pm

How can the awami leaders stay out of the loop??? They were in the knowledge of facts. Do they not have any connection or communications with the swam. Now in power they are scared. Please be bold Dawn.

G.A. Jul 03, 2013 12:49am

Before starting an offensive two things should happen: First, a concerted media campaign against the Taliban - that they are a product of global intelligence agencies and governments against the Soviet Union and that they have no religious legitimacy. Second, start torching their poppy farms to kill their source of funding.

Ahmed Jul 03, 2013 01:29am

It is too generous to simply call it naivete on Imran Khan's part. This has been hypocrisy designed confuse the nation and thus sap the will of the armed forces to fight the taliban menace on war footing. And this hypocrisy has cost the lives of 50,000 Pakistanis murdered to date by the taliban and other religious groups. If Pakistan is to end terrorism, this continued use of disinformation by taliban sympathizers should be met with the full force of law. That seems hardly likely in a country where the justice system has failed to punish even one of these murderers even after they are brought to court.

Israr_ahmed Jul 03, 2013 03:41am

The military and civilian governments never cared about the common people. They bombed the civilians and also let foreigners do that. So if the governments and armies are aginst one group of people,what should the outcome be? even a blind man can see that. We must stop bombing our own people, and come to senses now. This is what IK has always been saying, and this is what he wants to talk about to the army chief and civilian prime minister. Nothing new and nothing wrong.

BRR Jul 03, 2013 03:59am

PTI is just another meaningless obstacle for the Taliban, to be brushed aside on their way to power. Imran knows it, but still thinks he can be their friends.

Ali S Jul 02, 2013 07:08am

I voted for PTI, but I have to admit that now that he has been given the reins in KPK, IK hasn't got a bloody clue what he's dealing with here