Ayaz Amir is the latest spokesman of the Taliban in the parliament. While pretending to be a neutral columnist, he always makes it a point to play to the gallery by criticizing the Pakistan’s war on terror. Why does not Ayaz Amir resign from the PML(N)’s membership and then stage his ‘neutral’ criticism against PPP and PML(N)?
Our priceless talent for wasting time and money
Friday, October 17, 2008
By by Ayaz Amir
If anyone ever mentions the need for an in-camera session of parliament on any issue ever again I would be tempted to reach for my gun. That the ongoing in-camera session was likely to be an exercise in futility was established pretty quickly on day one when the army in the person of the DG MO (Military Operations), scattered its pearls of wisdom in a bid to tell the confused parliamentarians that the mess in FATA was our war and that for the sake of the country’s future there was no alternative to waging it.
But that the futility would be stretched to a farce, adding nothing to anyone’s knowledge, prefiguring no national consensus on the disaster unfolding in FATA, and serving little purpose beyond deepening the confusion and befuddlement of an already confused set of people was something even hardened cynics might not have foreseen.
In-camera means you are supposed to tell no secrets. And Madam Speaker, elegant as always, was at pains to remind the members of parliament that they were under an oath to divulge nothing. But even if members of parliament wanted to divulge anything they couldn’t because they were told no MI6 secrets and let in on no CIA plots. They arrived as innocents and left as a bunch of bewildered goats.
Yes, there were some clumsy attempts both on the army’s part and the government’s to stampede emotions by some not-very-clever video footage of throats being slit and flags being burned but that was it: clumsy manipulation which if part of any intended film script would be rejected by any half-decent studio.
Come to think of it, it made sense to keep the proceedings secret because if the public could see what was going on chances are they would have felt like lynching all members of parliament or coming to the conclusion that these people were not serious, that they were members of no governing class but a bunch of clowns who wouldn’t be hired by the Lucky Irani Circus, our leading circus, which has to put some premium on competence and professionalism in order to survive.
Convening a joint session of parliament doesn’t come cheap and the security that has to be laid out for such things in Islamabad these days is quite unbelievable. Considering what has been achieved – more confusion – we could have saved ourselves this trouble.
The DG MO skated over the surface of things but at least he looked and sounded professional. Information Minister Sherry Rehman who spoke for the government was all charm, smooth English and complete vacuity. She’s a bright lady. Why did she choose to act so dumb? The clichés about the ‘war on terror’ she came up with would have stuck in a camel’s throat. And to think that she was the best the government could offer.
She was obviously chosen for her presentational skills; the PPP is a party which has always been in thrall to impressive-sounding English. Even the Mohtarma could be charmed by a well-written CV, no matter if the person behind it was an out-and-out scoundrel. The PML-N’s problem is different. Anyone in its ranks speaking passable English is viewed with suspicion.
The PML-N chose to act dumb in its own way. The person it should have grilled and put on the mat was the DG MO. But it chose to remain silent, enabling Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha to depart in peace. Someone it shouldn’t have bothered with was friend Sherry. But of her it asked hollow queries evoking predictably empty answers. All this could have been foreseen but it somehow seemed beyond the PML-N’s imagination.