Comment By: Jalil Afridi
After the ouster of the corrupt former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif in the Panama Leaks scandal and the announcement of the new Afghan Policy by President Donald Trump has placed Pakistan at a decisive moment of its history.
The ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the corridors of power has given a ray of hope to the people of Pakistan about the justice system of Pakistan. It has proved that the judiciary of Pakistan is strong enough to have the most influential person in the country, pack up his suitcases and leave the prime minister house. But the role of judiciary does not end here. It is expected of the judiciary that the corruption cases registered against Nawaz Sharif must be decided on merit and in due time. If proven guilty, he must be placed behind bars and the money he has looted should be deposited back in national bank of Pakistan.
The judiciary is expected to do the same thing for others as well including politicians, businessmen, bureaucrats, military men and journalists. Justice should be done across the board and it should be done in transparent manner. The people of Pakistan have seen both hunger and terror and they have dealt with it honorably. But they have not seen justice in the country yet. And that is what makes them hopeless at times. For a nation, there is nothing worse than hopelessness. The judiciary of Pakistan must live up to the hopes of the people of Pakistan. The judiciary will of course be facing challenges while performing their duties . There are reports that recently millions of dollars have paid to international companies to malign the judiciary of Pakistan through different social media forums. Social media forums such as Facebook are available to create a positive or negative impression of any individual and Facebook charges money for doing that. A recent example of Facebook was discovered in America when Facebook accepted to the justice department prosecutor in America that Russians paid hundreds of thousand of dollars in support of Donald Trump during the elections. Judiciary of Pakistan should not get black mailed by anybody. They should focus on their work with all honesty and dedication. The people of Pakistan will stand by the judiciary when they see them delivering justice. The injustice and corruption particularly done in Sindh and Punjab in the past four years must be unveiled and those responsible must be punished. This matter is about the survival of Pakistan and god forbid if it’s not done this time then Pakistan will not need any enemies to destroy it. It will collapse under its own weight. God forbid.
The second most important issue and decisive moment for Pakistan is related to its Afghanistan policy. It is of special importance because America is involved in it and America has new president now. The new president and his administration must be taken into confidence over the challenges that Pakistan has been facing since sixteen years. Since last two years I have not seen a single productive initiative taken by Pakistan government with regard to Afghanistan in Washington DC. The new Pakistani Ambassador to Washington DC, Chaudry Aizaz Syed is definitely trying his best to convey his message across the board but he can not do all this by himself. It is the job of the foreign minister, foreign ministry and even the Pakistan military to inform the new US administration and the American public about the challenges it faces on day to day basis. What a shame that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was running his government with out a foreign minister for four years. There is no doubt that peace in Afghanistan is of the most benefit to Pakistan and Afghanistan but why is it that people in Washington DC think that Pakistan is not interested in having peace in Afghanistan? Why is there an impression that Pakistan wants to see Afghanistan handicapped? What would have happened if god forbid, the US Defence Secretary had been injured during the attack on Kabul airport when he had just arrived there recently.? Nobody would have blamed the Russians for it, even if they were involved in it or the Taliban, who accepted the responsibility. Maybe that is why for the first time Captain Jeff, the spokesman for Pentagon did not reply to my question, when I asked him who would have been blamed if god forbid the Defence secretary was hurt in the attack. Whether Pakistan likes it or not but America has linked its ties to Pakistan with the situation in Afghanistan. Pakistan needs to make its policy toward Afghanistan very transparent. Of course there are challenges for Pakistan with regard to Afghanistan and the biggest challenge is the Indian role in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that India is using Afghan soil for proxy war on Pakistan and training terrorists to carry nefarious activities in Pakistan. Being from the Tribal Areas of Pakistan and running the only English newspaper in Peshawar since last nineteen years, I am aware of the fact that India is involved in supporting terrorism in the tribal areas of Pakistan and in Balochistan. But there are diplomatic ways to tackle this issue along the defence and military means. It took Pakistan two years to internationally highlight the activities of Gulbashan Jadav, the Indian spy who is in custody of Pakistan and who accepted the killings of hundreds of Pakistanis in different terrorism activities. When he was arrested, I had personally asked Pakistan ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi why Pakistan was not highlighting this issue on international forum.
Pakistan must accept that it has failed to highlight the challenges it is facing with regard to Afghanistan. Pakistan must accept that it has not highlighted the sacrifices rendered by Pakistani civilians and military men due to war in Afghanistan. Nobody from Pakistan has ever internationally highlighted the miseries of those millions of people from Tribal Areas (FATA) who had to leave their homes due to Military operations against the Taliban. No body has internationally highlighted the sacrifices of the thousands of young soldiers who lost their lives due to fights with Taliban. And that is the reason why internationally community in general and Americans in particular are not aware of the miseries Pakistan has been going through since last sixteen years. The initiative taken by Pakistan army chief, General Bajwa to visit Kabul and meet Afghan president Ashraf Ghani was a great gesture and such visits by Pakistani military, politicians, diplomats, businessmen, artists and sports persons should take place on regular basis. Pakistan and Afghanistan share so much of cultural similarities and especially the Pakhtuns on both sides of the Durand Line. Pakistan needs to make its borders secure, just like any other sovereign country has the right to do so. Whether it’s takes a barbed wire, wall or security check points, Pakistan should not allow illegal entry of Afghans into Pakistan. The US administration including President Donald Trump lauded the service of Pakistan after the Canadian American couple were recovered in Kurram Agency a few days ago. The couple were abducted in Afghanistan in 2012 and were captured by Pakistan army when the American gave them a tip off that the kidnappers have managed their entry into Pakistan through Kurram Agency along with the Canadian American couples and their children. Pakistan army took a swift action and recovered them safely. But the very next day four officials of Pakistan army were killed in Kurram Agency using a road side bomb. According to reports these officials of Pakistan army were the same individuals who had recovered the Canadian American couples. Has the Pakistani foreign office or any other officials highlighted the issue of these four Pakistani soldiers on international level? Not to mention that it is not even highlighted on national level according to what it deserves. The enemies of Pakistan are so powerful that they can take a revenge from Pakistan within Pakistan in just a couple of days. Pakisan should inform the Canadian and American government authorities that the soldiers who recovered the couples have been killed. The purpose of doing this would not be to gain sympathies but rather its purpose would be to inform them how strong is the enemy which they are fighting. Rumors are of the contrary in Washington DC regarding this incident which suggests a different scenario. A scenario which is similar to the line which Captain Safdar took a few days ago, in which his target was none other than the Pakistan army. And of course Captain Safdar can not even think about breathing with out the permission of his father in law, so how could he give a speech in National Assembly without the consent of his father in law, Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan is facing multi peril challenges with regard to Afghanistan. These challenges are fumed both by the state actors and non state actors. Therefore it is very important for Pakistan to study these challenges on regular basis using both the short sighted lens and the long distance lenses. Pakistan also must activate its embassies around the world and especially about issues with regard to Afghanistan. Most of the staff members in Pakistani embassies around the world just waste the tax payers money. Their performance should be regularly monitored and those who are a burden on national exchequer should be brought back to Pakistan immediately.
At this moment, Judiciary and Afghan policy of Pakistan are the decisive pillars of the future of Pakistan. They both must come out of this challenge successfully to make Pakistan stronger and respectable on the map of this world. There is no other choice.