Elections amid terrorism

By Farman Nawaz (Daily Outlook Afghanistan)

Which one will occur first, general elections or military operation against terrorists in North Waziristan? Is it possible to hold elections in such an environment where terrorists have targeted rightists and leftists? Is it possible to conduct a military operation against terrorists before general elections and then to wait for their reaction throughout the elections?

The coalition government is eager to wipe out the terrorists before election so that there is a peaceful environment for election campaign. However opposing military operation the rightists, basically deceiving themselves, hope for a better chance of convening and convincing in absence of mainstream political parties during election campaign.

But this fact must not be neglected that Taliban basically do not allow any political activity in the areas where they have strong roots. Taliban oppose the parliamentary system for the reasons that parliamentary system is a hurdle in their so-called religious revolution and imposition of their self-made religious dogmas. We must also understand that Taliban want to take us to the period where rulers behead each other for the throne. After the death of Baitullah Mehsood the same happened among Taliban leaders.

If someone tries to start a political campaign in their premises, that someone will have to face the wrath of the Taliban. Qazi Hussian Ahmad and Imran Khan are lucky in the scene that the former narrowly escaped a suicide attack and the later one had to move back from the border of Waziristan.

Though these leaders are against Drone attacks but we must understand this aspect that the quest for stopping drone attacks generally favors Afghani Taliban while Pakistani politicians and security agencies are targeted by Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Pakistani Taliban will surely target politicians indiscriminately during election campaign. It is feared that this can create a leadership gap and hardliners can come forward to fill the gap.

Now the question is whether we can hold elections in the presence of the menace of terrorism or not. It is a fact that if this operation is started, either by the present government or interim government, before elections then it can cause in delaying of elections. There is an option to engage Taliban in negotiation to create gap for politicians to take part in election campaign.

But the question is that why will Taliban come into our trap. Rehman Malik stated last month that people must be ready for severe bloodshed in the next few months. Now if Taliban have decided to snatch this life – a blessing of Allah – from us then what we are waiting for. The best option is to start this military operation. Military operation is better than searching out the heads of suicide attackers and sending its body parts for DNA tests.

In this scenario our politicians can use electronic and print media to get in touch with their voters. The speeches of election campaigns can be telecasted throughout the country using news channels. Is this necessary to gather the public in a park or on a road and to roar like lions to get votes?

May be it is a good option of showoff to tell the voters and opponents about the political strength by bringing more people for political meetings and gatherings but life of political workers and common men is more important then the rosy and sentimental speeches of politicians.

The performance of political parties is not hidden from anyone. I think it will be a good idea for political parties to employ journalists on temporary basis to start short-term special periodicals. These party based periodicals will be distributed free of cost for one month before elections. It will provide jobs to many people related with journalism. However as these papers will decrease the circulation of existing newspapers that’s why there must be some compensation for the existing newspapers.

The other option is that political parties can hire the services of the existing newspapers and special supplements can be printed for political parties on daily or weekly basis. In this way the main leadership can avoid coming to the front to save their own, workers’ and lives of the common men.

It is a fact that leaders must sacrifice their lives for the people but we must also think, “Do we wish to see our leaders dying in this way when the enemy is hidden and is a mystery for the world?” Do we want to see our leaders be killed by the people who are uneducated, whose loyalties are for sale, who fight for selection of their leader, who do not believe in freedom of men, who destroy our schools, who kill young girls, who do not want to listen to words of wisdom?

Our Shia brothers are bold enough that every year they come out of their Imam Bargahs and do not care for their lives. Are we brave enough to come out for listening the speeches of our leaders in spite the threats of suicide attacks?



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