The recently released ‘Quetta Inquiry Commission Report’ exposed the government and law enforcing agencies’ seriousness regarding the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism and extremism. The one-judge commission was formed by the outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan, Anwar Zaheer Jamali, after the deadly attack targeting the lawyers’ fraternity in Quetta in August 2016. The gruesome attack also wiped out the top slot of the lawyers’ fraternity in the province of Balochistan. Qazi Faez Isa, a Supreme Court Judge, conducted the inquiry and pointed out various lacunas in the government’s intent, policies and performance. The report slammed Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Balochistan and LEAs for showing very little sense of responsibility against terrorism, extremism and militant groups.
Interior Minister, Nisar Ali Khan, reacted to the report in a news conference and said that it was one-sided report and he would challenge its facts in the parliament, Supreme Court and other forums.
A number of pro-government analysts, who enjoy top positions in various government organizations while also writing columns and editorials, came to the government’s and the minister’s rescue. They claimed that the report accurately pointed out the presence of proscribed groups which continue to operate actively in society. However, they were dubbed ‘strategic assets’ of Pakistan’s military establishment. Therefore, the government and the interior minister cannot do anything about them. If this is the apparent case, the elected leaders should show some courage and come clean with the nation regarding the status of these groups as ‘Pakistan’s strategic assets’ or else the nation will continue to suffer from terrorism for the sake of protecting these ‘assets’. If they remain silent and do not provide proper facts to the nation, they are insulting the mandate from the very people of Pakistan.
Pakistan’s forces lost thousands of its officials in the war on terror and terrorist attacks. The terrorists struck everywhere including Military Headquarters, air bases, naval installations, school, mosques, markets, policy academies and churches. After such incidents, none of the military leaders declared them to be strategic assets. Not openly, at least.
Here are some statements made by the leaders of PML-N which indicate their bias towards terrorist groups.
In August 2010, Punjab Chief Minister, who also happens to be the President of PML-N Punjab, said in a seminar at Jamia Naeemia, Lahore, “General Musharraf planned a bloodbath of innocent Muslims at the behest of others only to prolong his rule, but we, PML-N, opposed his policies and rejected his dictatorship whilst living abroad. If the Taliban are fighting for the same cause, they should stop carrying out acts of terror in Punjab (where PML-N was ruling at the time and is still ruling).”
In October/November 2014, when the entire country was demanding a military operation against Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan, the PML-N Government was preparing to hold peace talks with then TTP Leader Hakimullah Mehsud. Unfortunately for them, Mehsud was killed in a drone strike. Nisar reacted very strongly and criticized the US for killing Mehsud and termed the attack as ‘a conspiracy to hinder peace talks.’ It is another fact that Pakistan had announced bounty on Mehsud’s head when he was killed.
The tragedy of our nation is that its rulers are in a perpetual state of denial which nurtures extremism and contributes to confusion in society.