IMRAN Khan has come forward at a critical time to offer himself as a mediating force between the tribal militants and the government and shown his willingness to travel to the tribal areas in order to push for peace and restoration of the writ of the state under the ambit of the 1973 Constitution. This is the first serious offer of a political approach to reestablishing peace in the country and moving towards an end to polarization and terrorism. The offer comes when the US and the Karzai government have made it abundantly clear that they will talk to the Taliban. While the government seems to have washed its hands off the terrorism and the tribal areas, leaving everything to the military, the country is being ravaged with terrorism and civil society and then armed forces are its prime targets. Clearly the military-centric approach is not working just as it is not working in Afghanistan. Our problems have been further aggravated by the US and its demands - as well as by the role being played by India, seemingly with at least a tacit approval by the US, in providing military and other aid to the militants from Afghanistan.
Within this scenario, Imran's offer should be given serious consideration by the government especially since he has credibility not only with the mass of Pakistani people but also with the tribals and militants. Imran's offer differentiates between the foreign and foreign backed militants as well as the criminal elements exploiting the situation, all of whom he feels need to be isolated and dealt with firmly; and the other two groups comprising the jihadis and the tribal people involved in the military struggle because of Pushtun solidarity and a reaction to US policies in the region, all of whom he feels can be won over if we delink from the US. These are the people Imran has offered to mediate with and some have already responded favourably to him. Imran's only conditionality: that the government should not undermine his peace effort under US pressure. Imran has left it open for anyone who feels like it, to join him in this noble national quest and according to his plan, any agreement reached would be presented to Parliament for ratification.