By Ansar Abbasi (The NEWS)
The collective wisdom of the country’s prime public representative body — the National Assembly of Pakistan — has put its weight behind the Swat peace deal to save the people of the valley from ruthless killing and complete lawlessness, which has been the hallmark of this once the enchanting tourist resort of Pakistan.
The parochial view of NGO types, liberal extremists and confused souls has been rejected by those, most of whom are known liberals, whether belonging to the Pakistan People’s Party, the Awami National Party and to some extent even the Pakistan Muslim League. They have definitely played their role of being public representatives and thus should be encouraged and praised. Going well beyond their personal philosophies, ideologies and political thinking, these members of the Parliament supported the peace deal, which in normal circumstances would not have been acceptable to most of them. Their priority was to secure the people of Swat from being pushed back to the pre-Feb 16 situation when innocent people were beheaded, butchered, looted, harassed and even flogged at the whims of a group of armed individuals.
The resolution adopted by the National Assembly was unanimous and voted by almost all the political parties. The only exception was the MQM, which too did not oppose it but opted to abstain. After the unanimously adopted resolution of the National Assembly there was no hurdle left for President Asif Ali Zardari to sign the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations, whose implementation is expected to bring peace in Swat.
This is no secret that the National Assembly has been involved in this issue only to tell the foreign powers particularly Washington, which has its reservations about the Swat peace deal, that the imposition of Islamic justice system is the will of the people of Pakistan. No doubt a smart move from President Zardari, who for a change has started taking decisions that surprise many. Only on Sunday, he approved the recommendations of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for key appointments in the superior judiciary.
The president, who had given his consent to the peace deal before it was signed between the ANP government in Frontier province and Maulana Sufi Muhammad of Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), wasted no time and sanctioned the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations.
The recent emergence of a suspected video of 17-year old girl’s flogging by Swat Taliban, had seriously threatened the peace process by adding up the internal as well as external pressure on the president not to sign these regulations. Internally, some of the political parties like the MQM and a number of NGOs and their representatives, and some known liberal extremists did a lot of drum beating on the issue of suspected video and used it to pressurise the government to cancel the peace deal with Maulana Sufi Muhammad.
What, however, remained incomprehensible that those opposed to the peace deal had no other option to bring normalcy in Swat, still they were insisting that Nizam-e-Adl Regulations must not be signed and that the federal government should not support the present peace process.
There is no answer from any such opposition of the Swat peace deal to the fundamental question then how to bring peace in Swat, save the innocents living there from being butchered, killed and looted, ensure that the girls’ schools there are not burnt and writ of the government is maintained.
Before Feb 16 there has been no writ of the government, the things were completely out of government’s control, the schools were being burnt and closed for girls, the policemen had deserted, security forces were helpless and it was really like a rule of jungle. During the last two months, things have changed dramatically and to the satisfaction of the people of Swat. The implementation of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulations, it is expected, would further improve the situation there and would enable the government to firm up its control in the area.