Kudos! to all the political parties who attended the All Parties Conference (APC) and came to unanimous resolution, holding national sovereignty supreme and rejecting all U.S. allegations, but beyond all this show of nationalism (probably for public consumption) it remains to be seen, what we will achieve through the brewing confrontation. Not to mention that the leaders of many political parties present at the session have differing stances on U.S. policy (as evident through Wikileaks), in public and private. We should remember that U.S. has remained an old ally of Pakistan, probably even before China. Currently 60% of our textile exports are catering U.S. markets and USAID has been investing heavily in development projects. Whenever we are in need of loans, it is again the American Government or through them as facilitators that we acquire the required funds. The defense infrastructure of what we are so proud of is mostly based on equipment provided by the Americans. An average Pakistani prefers to acquire U.S. citizenship or at least an opportunity to study and work in United States. Then why so much animosity and resentment is present against a country, which has been assisting us at every step.
The intolerance and radicalism has been promoted at such levels by the mullahs, in our society that a misspelling by an eighth grade Christian girl has again stirred up the controversial blasphemy issue. This the place is Havelian and the accused misspelled the Urdu word â€œnaatâ€ meaning praise for the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.) in her test. Given the level of education in Pakistan, there is also a doubt that the girl even knew or understood, what she was writing. The issue stirred enough emotions that the girl was expelled and her mother, who worked in a hospital, was transferred to another station. Although, the girl and her family apologized for the unintentional error, there are still looming fears of repercussions. We as Muslims have the highest respect for our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.), but even Islam preaches to forgive any unintentional mistakes. It makes one wonder, whether the same stern steps would have been taken, if the accused was a Muslim.
Recently the interior minister termed Haqqanis as â€œsons of the soilâ€. One cannot understand the reason why a leading government figure had to own these elements, by making such a statement. Ironically the term was used, in a press conference, immediately after a meeting with the director of FBI. This comes at a time, when there has been an increase in the intensity of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, which have been associated to this particular group. It has also resulted in a heated exchange of words between Pakistan and U.S., due to Pakistanâ€™s alleged ties with the group. While the U.S. is threatening retribution, such statements will only serve to exacerbate the situation and making lives a little easier for the terrorists.
The recent hurl of allegations from the U.S. on Pakistan for supporting and harboring the Haqqani Network, has highlighted the stress in ties between the two countries. Both countries are at the forefront of combating terrorism and are officially allies but deep down, there is distrust in this relationship. This has in recent past boiled up to the surface and is evident at many instances. Officials and policy makers from both administrations emphasize their respective national interest and accuse each other of complicating the situation. Despite having common enemies, we are divided. The need of the hour is that both countries should sit together and chalk out their differences, before the situation spins out of control.
9/11 did not end on that fateful day, but even after a decade the entire world is still in its grip. Perhaps no single event in history had such a profound effect on the geopolitical situation. For the last ten years, Pakistan has witnessed the major impact of War on Terror, at the hands of the terrorists. An estimated more than 35,000 fatalities have been reported and there has been an irreparable damage to its economy. Still there is no or little sense of direction in our strategy to combat terrorism and radicalism. In an effort to encourage debate on important matters concerning the war against terrorism, Individualland Pakistan (IL-Pakistan) arranged a roundtable â€œReviewing the Decade Long Counter-terrorism Struggle at Lahoreâ€ on 13th January, 2011. The participants invited in the roundtable, are all considered leading authorities in their given fields. The participants were of the view that this war has been turned into a conflict of ideologies by the extremists, it is imperative that the policy makers delink ideological aims of certain quarters with the state vision. Democracy applied in the true spirit is the solution and our country should work towards giving the citizens their due democratic rights. Most importantly the religious narrative should be converted into a human narrative and the loss of innocent life and property should be curtailed. Military operation should be followed up with development work, rehabilitation and formulation of an effective counter-terrorism policy. Let us all hope that the concerns highlighted at this event, would be addressed by our policy makers.
Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have announced that it is their shoora, which will decide the fate of more than two dozen youths recently kidnapped on the Afghan-Pak border. While TTP Commander Maulvi Faqir is playing the good cop routine and has assured to influence the shoora, for the safe release of the youth. Many of the naÃ¯ve may find this a good gesture by this particular mullah, but arenâ€™t his own men responsible for the kidnappings? Now after carrying out this crime, he has produced a shoora out of nowhere to resolve the issue, claiming his limitations. This baseless criminal act has only been carried out to silence the brave resistance put up by the tribesmen against these elements.
This year the festivities on Eid seem to be dampened by the recent events in the country. Whether rich or poor, belonging to any religion or ethnicity, no one is safe from the surge of insecurity in the country. Karachi with a background of ethnic and political tensions has become a slaughterhouse, while Chitral is turning out to be the next battle in the war on terror. There is a political turmoil and the administration is unable to focus on the issues of poverty, energy, security and illiteracy. There is fear and even for the survival of the country, in the face of this onslaught. The festivities might have been dampened, but let us all pray that the spirits of the Pakistani people are not and they would fight every crisis with determination.