Thursday, December 2

Of efforts inadequate

Aamer Waqas Chaudhary

Lt-Gen (Retd) Moinuddin Haider - a soldier made Governor of a turbulent province, and then Interior Minister in riskier times - is a prominent spokesman of the Government's agenda of eradicating 'see no evil'. Few from his own clan appreciate him for his job though he has left no stone unturned - reforming the police on the pattern of NGOs' idea and dream of deweaponising - to cleanse the country from nefarious elements of all sorts.

But nothing seems to have worked as the law and order situation worsens with every passing day. War on terrorism entered Pakistan when the authorities forgot to plug the porous western border, while trying to confront a neighbour on the eastern border. His job became difficult by all measures, but still his focus remains on an ill-equipped police, which has virtually become a scapegoat for every wrong done in the country. 'Reform the police' thus was a cry raised by everyone around him. He had to take up the challenge and an order was promulgated accordingly. "During the course of his duty, the Minister suffered a personal tragedy, but his faith did not waver," says an admirer adding that his brother's killers have not been apprehended so far. "He is helpless for this huge task due to the incompetent machinery he inherited. After reforming the police, and deweaponising the country (a total of 86,757 weapons of various types recovered), he can fight terrorism," he says. 'How long this reform agenda would take to complete and start bearing fruit!' And; 'Would you see that dawn!' remain the questions.
The Interior Minister is of the opinion that as a result of restructuring of police force, its performance has improved considerably. He takes pride in the arrest of a few indigenous elements, who are not believed to be involved in terrorist activities. Apart from "keeping the face" of Pakistan internationally in its capacity of being the front-line state in war against terrorism of the United States, General Haider is walking a thin line between fighting terrorism and violating civil rights at home. He is criticised for failing to strike terrorist groups on one hand, and supporting the 'unjust cause of the Americans.' Civil libertarians condemn him for restricting political activities in the run-up to national elections this fall. Actualising these self-contradictory objectives (if at all required) will require a different kind of genius, who can bridge the painful ground reality to the oasis of a new vision of Pakistan.

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