Finding some room for romanticism and color was essential in politics. The adviser to the Prime Minister on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz has won on this front with, hard work and sincerity from his team.

A note of appreciation is due to the Indian foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj for having joined the “Heart of Asia” conference in Islamabad (Dec. 8-9, 2015).

Back on track Pakistan, India agrees to restart the dialogue process, where the foreign secretaries of both countries were to prepare modalities and schedule of meetings for all aspects of a newly agreed comprehensive ‘bilateral dialogue’ process.

We all know Kashmir is the key to peace in the region and India seems appeased at the moment. The Heart of Asia conference was focused on addressing security threats and building better communication. One of the outcomes of discourse was that both Afghanistan and India have displayed willingness towards peace. Let us hope it works. Afghanistan must give up the blame game. Repatriation of refugees to Afghanistan has to be facilitated, the earlier the better. It is good that Islamabad and Kabul agree to resume Taliban talks.

The Heart of Asia conference was a good initiative in the context of regional peace. Let us hope for a positive outcome from Indian Foreign Minister’s visit and look forward to further developments in building solid relationship with each other for peace and people’s betterment.

Complexities and difficulties could be handled effectively if there is a will to develop a common understanding of issues and problems.

Pakistan and India’s recent deliberations are a way forward as war is not an option and dialogue is the only way to remove the ‘shadow of terrorism’. It makes sense to state that talks and terrorism can’t go together and that dialogue is drowned by the sound of explosion. This statement, however, holds weight when Pakistan deals with terrorist who are a problem for it, and when India deals with its own terrorists.

The strategy adopted by United States in Afghanistan has no logic in the context of Indo-Pak relations. Both countries need to respect each other’s sovereignty and Independence. India must control its own terrorists and extremism and shun policy of confrontation with Pakistan.

It must be clearly understood that for valid conclusions there have to sensible assumptions. If assumptions are wrong the conclusions can never be valid and objective. Government-to-government relations can improve only in an environment free of threats, prejudices and deliberate blame game. The common objective of India and Pakistan should be to curb terrorism which is now a universal issue. Roots of terror must be cut. It is more important to explore the causes and to address the issues for real improvements leading to peace and security and welfare of the people world-wide. The menace of terrorism has to be addressed internationally.

Western nations seem to have welcomed Saudi Arabia’s Islamic coalition against terrorism, but clarification is needed over its role, even among its own members. Pakistan awaits details to decide on participation in 34-nation Saudi alliance. Pakistan has always supported all international efforts to eliminate terrorism, militancy and extremism anywhere in the world. It is surprising for Pakistanis to read the news that Saudi Arabia had named Pakistan as part of the alliance. Foreign office Islamabad is stated to have asked the country’s ambassador in Riyadh to get a clarification from Saudi Arabia on the matter. Another surprise for Pakistanis is that PPP leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari, are already in Jeddah to hold important meetings. Saudi Ambassador in Islamabad called on Bilawal Bhutto. Grand anti-terror alliance was discussed.

Embracing modernity and tolerance is needed by all societies and people around the globe, including the United States. People like Donald Trump need to display more discipline and responsibility to share the cause of world peace and security. Trump’s call to block Muslims from entering the United States goes too far. Hate politics and discrimination in any form go against the spirit of the constitution of the United States. What Trump advocates is extremism no different from that of terrorists. What he said is disqualifying. Such a person has no business serving as president, either. The peace loving world is wary of this man and his hate politics. The attitude makes life satisfying and meaningful. This truth has to be brought home to Trump and all extremists. Politicians, the self-seekers always find themselves in tension.

That is their field requirement. It is why most of them are abnormal!

It is in national interests of Pakistan that vigorous, continuous campaign and operation against criminals and terrorists in Karachi and beyond must remain in full swing and full force. Internal and external challenges that Pakistan confronts demand extending Rangers’ stay and giving them more authority to normalize life in Karachi and other parts of Sindh and wherever their help and assistance is needed.

Under the current circumstances nothing is more important than a focus and effort on rooting out crime and terrorism.

Ignoring the gravity of the situation, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has used assembly to render the Rangers almost invincible. Sindh government gets its resolution stamped as opposition stages walkout. Restricting the scope of operation by the Rangers would be an opportunity for the vested interests and big fish to stay away from the grip of the law. If the law-makers make mockery of the law who will defend the constitution? Who will care for the peoples’ needs and rights? Who will save our children from the brutalities of terrorists and who will save the country from the dirty hands of criminals?

The federation has to be strengthened without undermining the democratic and constitutional rights of provinces. But there has to be a uniform national outlook in dealing with domestic and foreign policy issues. Politics is the art of the possible. The possible becomes possible only if we are all on the same page. The shadow of terrorism has to be removed.

The writer is a former director, National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) a political analyst, public policy expert and an author. His book post 9/11 Pakistan has been published in the United States.

Area 14/8

Advertisements