Need to explain policies
Surely even Pakistan’s most committed lobbyists – if there were any – would find it difficult to sensibly explain the latest resurrection of the Difa e Pakistan Council. It does seem – when saner minds do not intervene and explain – that the Council has been mobilised, by someone, for specific foreign policy optics. Why, otherwise, would Maulana Sami and Hafiz Saeed gather it in Islamabad, with everybody watching, and swing fists at India and America? Since this strange episode came just when Pakistan began feeling the pinch of increased regional isolation, it’s not just a bad strategic move if it is indeed part of some detailed institutionalised planning, but also surely to make things worse for Islamabad.
For one thing, DPC’s, especially JuD’s, latest accusations and threats put not just the government but also the military in a difficult position. Accusing the US and India of working together against Pakistan’s interests is older than the Council, but threatening nuclear drone strikes on behalf of the Pakistani military is quite another. That this should happen just when our relations with both Washington and Delhi are at an uncomfortable low only adds to suspicions about motives. It would not help, of course, if there is no official reply – both civilian and military – to these developments.
Zarb-e-Azb was supposed to be more than an armed operation against terrorists. It was not even supposed to be restricted to the TTP. It was meant to signify a shift in mindset and, subsequently, in policy-making. Regressive forces that hurt Pakistan’s image, increase foreign isolation, and bring practically nothing in return were not going to be allowed in the mainstream any longer. At least that is what the progressive part of Pakistan took the operation to be. Once more there is a need for the government and the establishment to explain its policy direction.