P-Toms and aftermath
IN spite of threats, the President boldly signed the P-Toms.
Consequently she ran into a minority government that appears to run with
the backing of the executive power of the President. Several forces both
in Parliament and outside are against any power devolution to
The pattern has been the same for decades past and had been the cause
for all abrogations of peace pacts. Their fear seems to be that
appeasing minorities will jeopardize the sovereignty and integrity of
Especially against the LTTE is the fear that they only have a warfare
mechanism and not a welfare mechanism.
So - it is, with all terrorists until they win their demands. But yet
again the opponents for power devolution say that the LTTE is only a
civil disturbance that should be crushed like the earlier civil
That the LTTE is not just a civil commotion within is evident from
the happenings from across our shores and also by the admission they
have a warfare mechanism as opposed to mere 'gal-kattas'!
However, the major opposition party has stated that they will support
the President in P-Toms if it is in accordance with the Tokyo/Oslo
agreements and that it will not sever the country's sovereignty.
This would show that the two main parties are willing to work
together and see eye to eye in politics, leave alone on the economic
front. The Tamil parties both backing and against the LTTE too are
giving support to P-Toms.
Now there is a court ruling accepting it subject to certain
amendments-implying the legitimacy of the agreement made by our
government with this internationally recognised terrorist organisation
and this also puts paid to the argument that the CFA too is illegal.
It would appear that with this decision court has echoed the
sentiments of most countries that although LTTE is considered terrorists
in their countries, yet they consider it prudent for us to negotiate
with LTTE to solve our internal problem.
Curiously enough until the signing of P-Toms there was no indication
of those countries that had banned the LTTE, not giving support to this
agreement, but of a sudden we see such a volte-face.
This sure leaves much to be desired for Sri Lanka's future in that it
implies that the donor agencies will find it difficult to distribute aid
badly needed by suffering tsunami victims. This is a matter that has to
Proclamations and fanfares in signing controversial documents alone
will not redress grievances of the masses and especially tsunami
sufferers. Such goodwill must be seen to be effective.
People are also guessing as to why a community as important as the
Muslims are dismayed with P-Toms, especially as they were the most
This is a matter that needs clear clarification to avoid attracting
further terrorist groups spreading their influence. Muslim sentiments
that if they are marginalized from P-Toms their position in a revamped
peace process too is in jeopardy can be considered reasonable.
We are hair splitting about which government allowed LTTE to do the
most damage. Some go to the extent to say that during the CFA several
shiploads of weapons brought in by the LTTE were detected and conclude
that these came in because of CFA, whereas the several shiploads that
come into our shores to keep a regular army at bay and to bomb several
places including the Central Bank and other religious places for decades
before that, are ignored.
These hairsplitting debates pale into insignificance when we see
stirring beginning with Trincomalee soon spreading into other areas very
soon if things slide down the way it does.
Do we want to face that mortal fear of bombs again? Then, let us
learn to live and let live. Let us learn that we cannot afford to live
with disgruntled communities, be it Tamil, Muslim or any other in this
globalised era, unless all decide to perish together.
It would take both major parties to solve this problem as by now the
Sri Lankan populace is markedly divided into two camps that can never
It is left to the sensible elements of both these parties to get
together, even if not all parties at a time like this when we are
certainly sitting on a volcano.
If insensitive attitudes to minority concerns prevail, and are
further propagated, a major-minority combine in the offing-may not be
Let there be further bold and selfless decisions taken in Parliament
at this hour of need.