Time to return to war on terror, says Pakistani media


Islamabad : The victory of the lawyers’ Long March has come at the cost of ignoring the “two-ton gorilla in the drawing room”, an editorial in a leading English daily said Wednesday, urging the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that led the protest to show “true solidarity against the menace of terrorism”.

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Another editorial said the PML-N had gained considerably at the cost of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which “appeared to be devious and untrustworthy, a party that breaks its promises”.

“Let us be frank. The victory of the Long March which came at the end of an almost year-long political bickering has been gained at the cost of ignoring the two-ton gorilla in the drawing-room: terrorism from the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the erstwhile jihadi organisations now on the payroll of Al Qaeda,” Daily Times said in an editorial headlined “Back to the business of terrorism”.

For the last several months, it noted, Pakistan has seen an “alarming increase in the incidence of terrorism while the campaign went on against the government’s broken promises” on restoring the judges then president Pervez Musharraf had deposed.

In this context, it noted that the India-Pakistan proxy war “has heated up in Afghanistan and then spilled over into India itself. The Mumbai attacks have implicated a jihadi militia once nursed by Pakistan into an instrument of the war of liberation in Kashmir”.

Now that the PML-N has won the battle, “it is time to show true solidarity against the menace of terrorism”, the editorial said, even as it noted that party chief Nawaz Sharif “has given some good interviews on the subject of terrorism – like saying ‘we must set our own house in order’ – and should change tack to give the kind of support the government and the army need to go out and fight Al Qaeda”.

“Because of politicisation of terrorism, Pakistan has lost both face and faith in the world community. It is today facing not only terrorism but also charges of terrorism. Will the politicians choose to come together and use the parliament to strengthen Pakistan instead of weakening it?” Daily Times wondered.

The News added in its editorial “Right face” that the PPP had “lost a vast amount of goodwill and credibility” during the lawyers’ struggle.

“It has appeared to be devious and untrustworthy, a party that breaks its promises – or at least only fulfils them when it has got its back to the wall and a knife to its throat.

“It has gained a president of truly spectacular unpopularity and managed to hold on to a prime minister whose footwork would do credit to a prima ballerina. By contrast the PML-N has won the ‘trust issue’ hands down. They stuck to their mantra of judicial restoration throughout and when push came to shove last Sunday they supported the lawyers by putting feet on the street; creating the tipping point that forced the compromise,” the newspaper maintained.

At the same time, it cautioned the PML-N against “going for the throat” and toppling the PPP, “which is now struggling to re-balance itself. This is a step too far. We do not need further instability and turmoil; we need a period of quiet reflection”.