KP government embarrasses Imran
It was certainly embarrassing for Imran Khan who, for the first time, visited Army Public School, Peshawar, with his wife Rahem Khan to raise the morale of the children. What happened was unfortunate but should have been taken as an emotional reaction from parents. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government tried
It was certainly embarrassing for Imran Khan who, for the first time, visited Army Public School, Peshawar, with his wife Rahem Khan to raise the morale of the children. What happened was unfortunate but should have been taken as an emotional reaction from parents. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government tried to politicise the issue but none other than the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) himself rejected its position that the protesters were outsiders.
Imran’s reaction was simple and he acknowledged the protest from the emotional parents. “I can understand their feeling,” he told a press conference, adding that when he went inside the school, children were happy to see him around.
That should have been the position, which the Information Minister, Muhstaq Ghani should have taken. Instead, he blamed the PML-N and ANP for “arranging” the protest. Now, after Imran’s own statement, will Ghani explain his own position, if he still doesn’t admit his or his government’s mistake.
Even if they were political people or those from the ANP or PML-N, still the responsibility rests on the KP government and its intelligence failure, which could not alert the chief minister or ministers about the possible protest on the occasion.
Ghani should be well aware of the fact that top security has now been provided to the APS. Even otherwise the provincial government always gets “intelligence alert,” from Special Branch and Intelligence Bureau.
How come KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak was not informed about the possible protest on Imran’s arrival, particularly if the ANP and PML-N were involved in it.
A well informed PTI source told this ascribe that Imran was not happy with the explanation of the KP government on its poor arrangement and what happened at the APS. If nothing else, it was a search breach of security as Imran himself has a threat and often been alerted about his activities.
Therefore, when Imran went to speak to the media he underplayed the incident, but one must appreciate that the PTI chairman was honest enough to admit that the protesters were not political people but parents. One hope that KP ministers should also show some moral courage to admit their mistakes by trying to misguide the party leader.
The KP government must have reacted in order to put the blame on the opposition in the province in order to save its own neck, but the fact remained that the breach of security of the PTI chairman was the failure of the provincial police.
Now, the question is why the parents protested with Imran? It’s very simple and that is because most of them must have voted for the PTI. Some of them might be its active members also prior to December 16 massacre. Thus, they were justified because they were expecting a better province under the PTI. On the contrary, they lost their children at the hands of militants in the heart of Peshawar. They were expecting from Imran that he should have given more time to the issue than his government had given. They were hoping that he would have taken the provincial government to task after the incident.Some of them might be expecting a resignation from Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak as the PTI often demands resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif after Model Town incident.
Thus, their protest was justified and Imran did the right thing. If he had reacted the manner in which the provincial ministers had reacted, it could have put him in the more embarrassing position.
However, it would have been better if the PML-N leaders and Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid would have not reacted. He should not become the ‘Federal Minister of Reaction,’ rather than Information.
Earlier, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq had also visited the APS and was right when he said, “If the government could not protect the life and property of its citizen, it has no right to rule.” However, one wonders whether in case of the APS, the federal government was responsible or the provincial government. After all law and order is a provincial subject. However, it does not mean that the Centre is not responsible.
It is better if the political leaders and ministers should avoid visiting the APS or other schools. Instead, they should do what they are supposed to do, that is, ensure that such incident should not occur in future.Pakistan needs unity and stability. Pakistan needs political stability. Pakistan needs its leaders to think above party lines, particularly when it comes to our children.
The writer is senior analyst, columnist of Geo, The News and Jang