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National conference

Published Jul 27, 2012 02:07am


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IN theory, it’s a sensible idea: assemble the country’s political leadership for a roundtable conference and get them to focus on the country’s internal and external problems. In Pakistan, however, practice is far removed from theory. So is the MQM’s attempt to reach out to other political parties for a roundtable conference likely to yield anything? In recent years, seemingly every political party has mooted a national conference for one problem or the other. Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani popularised the idea of national conferences — on Balochistan, on power, on solving poli-tical problems — and soon the opposition was doing the same. But as Balochistan continues to burn and power continues to run short, the national conferences and roundtable ideas clearly have not amounted to much so far.

However, past failures shouldn’t deter further attempts and already in the MQM’s outreach there is at least the possibility of one positive development: violence in Karachi may dip as the various political players in the city get together on the national stage for a round of consultation and frank discussions. The meeting between MQM and ANP leaders in Islamabad on Tuesday will have come as some relief to the beleaguered citizens of Karachi who must deal with news of killings, bombings, attacks, kidnappings and extortion rackets on a daily basis. Of course, of one meeting peace is not made in a city as complex as Karachi. Nor will a national conference necessarily bring down the organised violence and crime in Karachi immediately. Nevertheless, as long as channels of communication are kept open and expectations build that something positive will happen, there is possibility that a peaceable solution will be found. After all, while it may not seem so at the moment, Karachi is too important a city to be left at the mercy of forces of disorder and violence.

Beyond Karachi, the MQM’s outreach to parties from the Jamaat-i-Islami to the PML-Q to the PML-N could be the right tonic for stabilising national politics at a time that the judiciary vs government spat is fuelling all manner of speculation. The MQM’s status as a regional party is a positive in the sense that other major parties, such as the PML-N, may not necessarily feel they are being lured into a public relations’ trap by a national rival. Then again, the MQM’s historically prickly relations with most other political parties could be an impediment to a well-attended and successful roundtable. Still, it’s worth a shot, particularly if the politicians can hammer out a realistic strategy on education or health — the polio crisis, for example — and boost the public’s faith in the democratic process.

Comments (5) Closed

ASAD BHATTI Jul 30, 2012 07:56am
Conferences like these at the end will only instigate the people to revolt as no objective is ever accomplished in such meetings. This is just to show the tax payers that all we want is your welfare.
Iftikhar Husain Jul 27, 2012 11:26am
The round table conference will only be workable if all politicians are honest and want to see the progress of the country that does not seem to be happening.
AmirDewani Jul 27, 2012 12:14pm
National conference is a brain child of those adversaries of the people who stay outside and blackmail the Islamabad junta. The supreme Court gave a verdict long ago that the enemies killing innocent citizens in Karachi are from within. This is, in fact, a design to avoid elections - as simple as that. When you have so many ' GUFTAR -KE-GAZI' in your ranks and files, the enemy outside need not spend his bullets, because those culprits of your own, sitting in London/Dubai or Islamabad, are already doing the job. To support this argument I wish to quote Sun Tzu - The Art of War:- " If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle". Today the entire problem of entangling a nation into turmoils revolves around ' knowing yourself and knowing the enemy'. In this connection the intellectuals, writers, patriotic Pakistanis, as well as the free press- media, can contribute a lot towards educating and creating awareness among the innocent people of Pakistan to know the enemy proper so that they could defeat these 'overlords' who are trying to frighten you from free and fair election prospects. Else, there is no light to be seen at the end of the tunnel. A big vehicle like 'PAGERO' can't move on bye-cycle wheels. Square pegs don't fit in round holes. Particularly about the role of media I may remind dear readers what Thomas Jefferson said, and I quote, ' The only security of all is in a free press'. Recently in an article on the role of journalist I read Dan Rather - a well known media personality in America saying, ' One of the most important roles of our journalists is to be watchdogs. Submitting to these new tactics puts us more in the category of lapdogs'. ( Ref: Dan Rather 'Quote approved', a media sell out- CNN -opinion-July 22, 2012.) Bottom line: Know yourself and know your enemy.
Malak Ghulam Jul 27, 2012 03:52pm
Record and Log all Points in the Conference. Then HOLD the Leaders ALL of them accountable.
A.R.Shams Jul 27, 2012 09:32pm
The foremost point to consider about a successful after effect of the proposed round table conference would be possible only when all the political and religious parties of the country are sincere and honest mainly on national interest above all, not just interested in their respective vested interest, otherwise, such a move would just be a repeat the similar tricks of shuffling and reshuffling game as that it has been found in practice since long. The people of today are not that simple and submissive that all the tricky moves in action cannot be understood by them. They can react on anything done to bluff them (the people). The nation now has become so advanced and modernized that they have the courage to settle matters themselves waiting for none, e.g., such as in matters like catching the robbers or looters red-handedly and beat them even to death in a number of incidents. The people are now well acquainted with those who can play nasty politics / games whom they (the people) consider the enemies of the society, nation / country. They (the people) now can distinguish between good or bad persons in ruling. Lets be hopeful of positive effect of the conference of all the political and religious parties but in case of hopelessness the people / nation should get ready to do far better something that can be helpful to uplift them to be capable to rescue their beloved land with the knowledge and experience of their (people's) great ancestors' historical doings and sacrifices. Notwithstanding, Pakistanis inherit peace-loving tendency latent in their mind and spirit yet they (Pakistanis) aren't ingenious that they are incapable to distinguish between their friends and foes.