Missed opportunities

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“We have not decided yet whether we are going to resist the US or the entire Nato. If the attack was intentional, it must be from the US and not from entire Nato. By accusing Nato we are annoying the whole Europe. If this time we are serious, and it is not yet another tactic for more bargains to resist US pressure, just Iran and China are not enough.

We have to take into confidence the international community. Indeed, Europe is in the US camp but it does not mean that on every issue related to Afghanistan and Pakistan each of them is on the same page. The UK also has a different view about Pakistan. Turkey is also a member of Nato. We need to single out the US and take into confidence the whole of Europe and the Western world. This was a US intervention but Sen Raza Rabbani cancelled his visit to the UK in protest. The Bonn Conference is jointly hosted by Germany and Afghanistan but we boycotted it over the issue.” This long quotation is from my column published on December 3, 2011. We should take a stand against the US and its Western allies in accordance with our capabilities and stature. But there have been negative comments to this view from those who have served the US in the past. Besides, spokespersons of the government also tried to teach us the importance of national honour, collective will and bargaining power. At that point of time the government and the establishment seemed to outclass each other in being anti-US. In this war of words we had religious leaders and anchorpersons and columnists who tried to teach the importance of daring decisions to the nation from air-conditioned rooms in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. Soon the chorus was joined by PPP and ANP leaders who followed the lead of Difa-e Pakistan Council. With all that hype and sentiments, the establishment and the government once again decided to collectively bow to the US. Indeed, the reaction of this sudden retreat is getting even worse. Again the common man has to witness the destruction of schools. The common man’s body would be tore into pieces in bomb blasts. In reward the grants received from the US would once again be spent on the lavish life of the elite or on the purchase of bullet-proof cars. A portion of the amount would be spent by the offspring of the elite in the West. But all this is not happening for the first time. For the last three years we have been witness to the same script in different episodes. On the detention of Raymond Davis, when they tried to play the same script, I wrote that both Pakistan and US would do their business as usual. After the May 2 incident and the statements of Mike Mullen I predicted the same end. After the Salala check post Incident I again wrote that nothing is going to change and soon they would resume business as usual. However, this last time I was proved wrong. This time we showed our readiness to work on even lower pay for the same business. We missed important opportunities like the Bonn Conference. We missed many other opportunities related to the future of Afghanistan. The US and the Western media again waged a media war against Pakistan that resulted in further anti-Pakistani sentiment in those regions. All this exercise also damaged our relations with several international bodies and financial institutions. And now we are pleading for revival. The drone attacks will not stop, and nor is the US going to offer an apology at the level we demanded. But Nato supply routes will soon be reopened. Why do we face this insulting situation every time? The answer is very simple. Perhaps Pakistan is the only unlucky nation in the world where point-scoring is made in the fields of foreign policy and security issues. On such issues the PML-N and the PPP do not adopt their stances on the basis of merit, nor do parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami, the JUI, the Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Difa-e Pakistan Council. Retired generals not consider the need for merit and logic in their analyses, and nor do anchorpersons. All opinions are presented on the basis of fear, greed, personal or group interests and possible outcome in terms of popularity. The establishment also tries to protect its institutional interests through this struggle. In this latest episode, we are faced with the grave situation because the civilian government and the establishment tried to defeat each other on the issue. Again now these results, no matter how unwanted, are facts to face. All we could do is avoid such a situation in future. And this is possible only if the establishment and government stop this dirty game they play with each other on issues of national security and foreign policy. Those who love to play with the sentiments of the nation by waging Jihad against the US while sitting in five-star hotels should stop this hypocritical practice. They should understand that if they are unable to change the leadership in Pakistan, how can they fight against the US? They cannot even move without the instructions of invisible powers, but they dare challenge the US. The very power without whose permission they cannot move, is behind their policies. They persuade us to fight with the US by giving examples of Afghanistan and the Taliban. Afghanistan could fight with the US as there is no stock exchange and nor are their religious leaders and retired generals who become used to lavish a life-style. Their leader is Mullah Omar who never visited the US or Europe, not even Saudi Arabia. Our leaders and their offspring live in the US and Europe and try to copy Mullah Omar’s actions. We should understand that this is Pakistan and we have to work according to our own capacity and stature. The writer works for Geo TV. Email: saleem. safi@janggroup.com.pk