CONTRARY to previous reports that the ‘long march’ of the Defence of Pakistan Council would not be allowed to enter Islamabad, the rally that included an outlawed organisation and some ‘banned’ leaders did manage to enter the capital on Monday and disperse peacefully. There was no violence along the rally’s 275-kilometre journey from Lahore to Islamabad, and the federal authorities allowed the convoy to D-Chowk opposite parliament because the two sides had come to an understanding. This peaceful conclusion of the rally on the basis of the ‘understanding’ was a pleasant surprise. Suddenly things begin to make sense, especially when Hafiz Saeed counsels peace. Since the Salala incident and the blocking of the Nato supply line, the DPC leadership had vowed never to allow supplies for the US-led Isaf forces in Afghanistan to be resumed. Often, DPC leaders had threatened to set the country on fire from Karachi to Khyber if trucks started rolling again along highways vulnerable to sabotage.
The blocking of Nato supplies and the subsequent resumption had parliamentary approval — both decisions having the backing of a military bruised as much by May 2 as by Nov 26. While the DPC’s enthusiastic support for the supply cut-off was in keeping with its militant opposition to America and to Islamabad’s perceived ‘slavery’ to Washington, its low-profile opposition to the resumption decision and the ‘understanding’ with the federal administration sound baffling, if not secretive. Evidently, those who inflated the balloon decided to prick it. The DPC’s anti-government rhetoric may still find a place in the media, but the zing is gone. The powers that be may revive the DPC under a new garb for the general election, and there may be new entrants, but for the present the DPC’s tacit approval of supply resumption has deprived it of its raison d’être.