SHARACHCHANDRA BHANDARY LATELY IN ISLAMABAD
As an old adage goes, “Seeing is believing,” the negative narrative portrayed by Western media about the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is found to be absolutely false. This scribe, having visited the federal capital Islamabad, the economic hub Karachi and the historic city of Lahore, is compelled to conclude that Western media’s perception is biased and deliberate.
During an eight-day sojourn of Pakistan, the Pakistani officials tried to project that Pakistan was the main sufferer of terrorism and it had never harboured terrorism against any country. Throughout the visit this scribe observed strict security everywhere, heavily fortified buildings, armed army and police personnel and private security agencies guarding government institutions, hotels and places of public importance and residents of VVIPs.
Terrorism is one of the menaces that inflicted huge human losses to the state and society of Pakistan. The brazen attack on the Army Public School on December 16, 2014 in Peshawar that slaughtered 141 lives including 132 children badly haunts the patriotic Pakistani nationals and inspires them to stand united against all forms and manifestation of terrorism. In a move to curb terrorism from the soil of Pakistan and punish the perpetrators, the government adopted the 21st amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, which entailed the establishment of military courts to punish the terrorists and their facilitators. The Pakistan Army Act, 1952 too was amended for the same purpose. This new counter-terrorism policy, which officials claim, is a holistic approach to punish terrorists. They also maintain that Pakistani public opinion of different ethnicities is unified regarding the punishment of terrorists. The seven main ethnic groups of Pakistan include Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Seraiki, Pashtun , Mohajir and Balti.
Pakistan has been marred by terrorism for the last couple of decades and a number of reasons were responsible for the decaying law and order situation owing to political instability, war against terrorism in Afghanistan, internal issues as well as international meddling.In private conversation with this scribe, locals of Lahore and Karachi state that areas like the Swat valley, Quetta are susceptible to terrorism and still heaven of non-state actors. However, despite all efforts to maintain law and order, incidents of terror continue
unabated. The new government led by Imran Khan has vowed to curb terrorism from Pakistan, but it actual implementation remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the internal conflicts being prevailed in various parts of the country, pose serious challenges to the Khan administration. The new Pakistan PM will have to seek the real reason behind the internal conflict. It appears that domination of the lone Province Panjab and a particular society- Panjabi is real reason behind racial conflict in the country.
As a member of the media delegation representing official news agency and Nepal being signatory to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it was really gratifying to learn the achievements and accomplishments of Pakistan through BRI, under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistanis term CPEC as a ‘Game changer’ and a ‘Fate Changer.’ It is a mega project, by national, regional and international standards when completed, the project will have a deep impact on Pakistan’s economy, regional economics and international connectivity.