Associated Press Service
Islamabad:(Jan 2,2015)The Multi-Party Conference (MPC) on Friday evening concluded with consensus reached on the proposed National Action Plan to counter terrorism in the country in the aftermath of deadly Taliban attack on Peshawar school.
The political and military leadership of the country, after a 5-hour-long meeting, have agreed over the formation of controversial military courts to expedite terrorism related cases.
The meeting unanimously resolved that the 20 points enunciated in the APC resolution of December 24 including establishment of military courts would be acted upon expeditiously.
In this context, leading human rights ambassador Saira Kamal talking to Associated Press Service that
PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif has been shuttling from meeting to meeting, speech to speech, prepared comments to prepared comments in recent days, all with the purpose of keeping his government’s and the nation’s focus on the fight against militancy.
Saira Kamal said that through it all, the prime minister has rightly insisted that the nation and the state need to be united in confronting militancy. But consensus-building is more than simply rallying a nation in grief and shock by vowing to crush the enemy.
Saira Kamal said that Ultimately, there needs to be consensus on how to fight militancy because no strategy will work if the tactics are controversial and divisive.
In, for example, opting for military courts, the government did reflect the political consensus in the immediate aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre, but was it really a consensus or consent under duress?
Saira Kamal said that now, with the trauma and shock in the days after Peshawar giving way to more measured thinking, there are voices calling for revisiting the lynchpin of the government’s new strategy to fight terrorism, military courts.
Saira Kamal said that Perhaps what the prime minister should be considering then is to revisit that most controversial of decisions, ie military courts, via a gathering of the political leadership once again.
Given the proliferation of committees, the breadth of recommendations on various aspects of the fight against militancy and extremism the government is receiving, and the range of actions the government will be required to take in tandem with provincial governments and the military, it would hardly amount to a setback if some of the more controversial aspects of the early plan, devised in a matter of hours in a single meeting in Peshawar, are opened for debate again.
Saira Kamal said that consider that when military courts were first mooted, perhaps many in the political leadership and certainly many among the public would have been unaware of the far-reaching consequences even a limited era of military courts would have.
Saira Kamal said that the enemy must be defeated, but surely not at the cost of eroding the very constitutional democratic process that the state is fighting to defend. The government would do well to reopen for debate a decision taken in haste with profound consequences for state and society itself. Military courts should not be considered a foregone conclusion.
There is another aspect where Prime Minister Sharif could demonstrate better leadership: communicating with the public. For all his visibility in recent weeks, the prime minister has only once addressed the nation. This, in the prime minister’s own reckoning, is a nation at war.
Saira Kamal said that nations at war need their leaders to address them, to communicate with them and to explain clearly what is being considered in their name and what is to be done. Far too often, the prime minister and his team appear to believe that PR moments can make up for direct communication with the public at large.