JahanAra Wattoo, well known Pakistanis politician of Pakistan People’s Party in her interview to The Legitimate correspondent Rameez Makhdoomi believes that the ongoing uprising in Kashmir has opened the eyes of world about the prevailing tensions in Kashmir. Here are the excerpts.
What is your take on current Kashmir agitation?
The latest situation in Kashmir is very alarming for the whole world because the brutal murder of Burhan Wani has opened eyes of everyone that the struggle for Kashmir is now gaining momentum within Kashmiris and the accusations of New Delhi that Pakistan is responsible for sending militants in Kashmir has proven wrong.
Burhan Wani’s funeral was eye opener where more than fifty thousand people gathered and mourned for him. Huge number of people also offered funeral prayers in absentia for him in different parts of Kashmir after was shot dead by Indian forces. He was the hero of Kashmir, their ideal, their martyred brother.
How do you view the role played by Pakistan on Kashmir issue?
Pakistan has raised the Kashmir issue at all forums and Pakistan People’s Party has always supported the cause of Kashmir from Zulifqar Ali Bhutto Benazir Bhutto and now Chairman Bilawal Bhutto who has stated very clearly that we support the slogan of Rai Shumari in Kashmir. We have great concern that Indian forces are using inhuman pellets on the innocent Kashmiris, which are making them blind and most people who suffer from the injuries their main organs stopped working. Situation in valley is worsening day by day and it is a matter of great concern. Pakistan People Party will never leave the Kashmiris alone in this time of misery and struggle.
Why is PPP not able to win electoral victories over PML-N now since long?
Pakistan People’s Party is the party of federation, which was formed on a strong ideology to serve the poor masses of this country.
In 2013 elections there were many factors due to which PPP couldn’t win the elections; first was that we believe that PML-N rigged the elections and our mandate was stolen from us.
PPP government faced many problems, from judiciary to media and PPP was attacked on daily bases. Our elected Prime minister was sent home by judiciary. PPP was not able to perform because of the all pressures.Still the parliament performed much better in PPP government and our main achievements are NFC Award, BISP. In the elections PPP candidates had threats, we couldn’t campaign properly and one of our candidates was kidnapped by TTP.
Wattoo served as regional advisor for South Asian Initiative to End Violence Against Children (SAIVAC).She also served as Pakistan’s ambassador for Orphan Children. Her recent appointment was to head the PPP Media Cell for Punjab. She is among social media faces of PPP .
After Benazir’s death, why has PPP lost almost sheen?
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the first Muslim women Prime minister of the world. After the hanging of her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto she held the flag of PPP in the age of 15. She faced jail and exile but knew that her father gave his life fighting against the dictatorship and for the people of Pakistan. In Rawalpindi before 2008 elections Benazir Bhutto was martyred in the attack and once again people thought that PPP will be finished but it was successful in elections and made government.
Right now PPP is revving under the leadership of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, who is young, well-educated and has a vision of his grandfather and mother to work for the peaceful, prosper and progressive Pakistan. People have high hopes and the reflection of Benazir Bhutto is clearly seen in Bilawal Bhutto. He is the only leader who had raised the Kashmir issue strongly.
What do you say on Quetta Suicide Attack?
After the massacre of APS at Allama Iqbal park Lahore carnage, Quetta blood bath has terrified the whole world. It was planned suicide attack on well- educated lawyers, media men and masses. 73 innocent people lost their lives and hundreds injured. This has raised again the question on Government and the National Action Plan which was drafted after the APS and nation hoped that it will be implemented in its true spirit. Government has failed to implement it and now Pakistan People’s Party has again requested the Government to form National Security Committee in parliament. Pakistan has suffered badly from terrorism and it is still fighting against this menace.
Is Pakistan losing its war on terror?
It is true that Pakistan’s security environment has improved and Operation Zarb-e-Azb under the leadership of General Raheel Sharif has achieved success. And I must say that General Raheel has lived up to the expectations of the people. But sorry to say the civilian government has not done its part of the job as well, even the Prime Minister, Nawaz Shareif himself admitted last year in September that major portions of the National Action Plan are yet to be implemented. There’s no strict action against the literature, newspapers and magazines promoting hatred, extremism, sectarianism and intolerance and banned militant outfits and armed gangs roaming freely and publishing their hate material to promote their violent extremist ideologies centered on hate and incitement to terror. Geo-tagging of all madrassas is still pending including the gathering of essential details of persons who operate these seminaries. There are no administrative and development reforms in FATA with immediate focus on repatriation of IDPs and no effort to mainstreaming FATA.
Still there are media houses, media persons and clerics who express their sympathies for terrorists and terrorist organizations. Federal government is not ready to implement the NAP evenly across the country due to which the security conditions in the country are falling apart. It has its focus only towards the province of Sindh where it is using NAP for ‘political victimization’ whereas there is no action against banned terrorists and sectarian organizations.
South Punjab is known as the hotbed of sectarian terrorism and extremism but so far only limited and covert Intelligence-Based Operations (IBOs) have been carried out in Punjab. Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has termed NAP as #NoonLeagueActionPlan that is being used only for personal grudges against the PPP. My party has demanded to constitute Parliamentary Security Committee to ensure implementation and monitoring of National Action Plan (NAP). I must say much more work needs to be done at the civilian side to achieve final objective of peaceful and prosperous Pakistan.
Your role model?
Prophet Muhammad PBUH.
The interview first appeared in print edition of 31 August to 6 Sept. 2016.