Opinion: War and Peace by Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi

Politics is easy because it is about give and take. Leadership is difficult because it deals with a future vision that no one has seen yet. We need some leadership in Pakistan right now.

I am getting a sense from your responses to my emails that many of you think that I am promoting military operation against insurgents and I am against talks. I think it is important to correct this view.

I am proposing that will of the government is the only legitimate authority that has the constitutional power inside the internationally recognized borders of Pakistan. That means that we have to draw a line in our dealing with insurgents. The parameters to define this line are:

  1. Constitution of Pakistan is applicable throughout the land and no other law or rule is acceptable.
  2. Government has the right use coercive power if and when it feels that the live of its citizen are in danger and the activities of a group can have damaging effect on the unity of federation.
  3. Citizens or groups that pledge allegiance to a foreign entity and initiate violence in the name of that allegiance are considered enemy of the state and should be dealt with as a foreign combatant.
  4. Constitution and Islam grants basic rights to all citizens including women and minorities. Sectarianism and curtailment of women rights are not acceptable.
  5. Pakistani identity is not defined by one particular ethnicity, sect or social class. Every citizen has the right to live in peace, protection of his life & property, and achieve his potential in the field of his choice.

On the other hand we should be able to negotiate to alleviate following grievances:

  1. Some foreign policy decisions of government of Pakistan in the past has resulted in loss of innocent lives. An assurance that government will take necessary steps to rehabilitate those affected and creates safeguards that this situation does not arise in the future.
  2. Acceptance that drone strikes are an infringement on Pakistani sovereignty and are the failure of the past governments. Assurance that necessary steps will be taken to prevent the strikes going forward.
  3. Acceptance that corruption and social injustice has damaged the fabric of Pakistan. Assurance that necessary steps will be taken to remove these social ills.
  4. Acceptance that as an Islamic Social State Pakistan has failed to implement the social message of Islam. Assurance that necessary institutions will be created to develop a political structure that is in accordance with teachings of Islam and that guarantees rights to all citizens including minorities and women.
  5. Acceptance that Pashtun tribes in Fata and KPK have sacrificed lives for Pakistan and has the right to live a life based on their cultural. But at the same time acceptance that anti-state and criminal elements have infiltrated the tribal areas which is damaging not only to national harmony but tarnishing the image of the tribes. Assurance that FATA will be provided support in economic uplift and social development.

My whole argument is to negotiate from the position of strength rather than just succumb to the pressure of TTP and its allied groups. Life of each and every soldier and citizen is important. We should not send them in the harms way without careful consideration but at the same time do not hesitate to ask them for a sacrifice when it is the only viable path available.

If I have to express my position in one word that would be RESOLVE. Resolve to stand up for a united Pakistan. Resolve to stand up and defend the constitution of Pakistan. Resolve to defend the sovereignty of the country from all enemies. Resolve not to give up to terrorist pressure. Resolve to achieve peace and stability. Resolve to make our nation a socially just and progressive.

What Next?

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