Archive for October, 2009

U.S.-Pakistan Relations: Two-Way Street or “We Want our Cake and Will Eat it too?”

October 30, 2009

By Wasiq Ali

For the last one month so many Pakistani journalists, media commentators and politicians have been screaming at the top of their lungs that “Pakistan should stand up to US”, “Pakistan should say No.” But there is a need to carefully parse what they are saying. Are they saying – we should refuse the entire $7.5 billion in aid from the US? No, what they want is to accept the money but not have to accept any conditions attached to the aid.


Maybe I am a bit naïve but if I were giving – not loaning because I know the money will not come back to me ever – a huge amount of money to even my closest friend I would like to know what that person is going to do with that money. So why wouldn’t one country ask the same of another.



Never Ending KL Controversy

October 28, 2009

By Wasiq Ali

I just read an interesting take on the ‘KLB Controversy’ in an Indian newspaper. According to The Hindu Islamabad correspondent “Pakistan’s costly controversy” has little to do with the actual contents of the Kerry-Lugar bill and more to do with the tussle between the civilian and military branches of the government to assert who is number one. “The entire one-month hysteria in Pakistan over the Bill, after it was already passed by the U.S. Congress, resulted in drastically altering the civil-military balance in favor of the military. It left the democratically elected Pakistan People’s Party-led government considerably weaker than it was. It served to isolate President Asif Ali Zardari, and shattered the nerves of the government. It confirmed the Pakistan Army as numero uno.”


And as has been argued by me and others the KL debate also showed “Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (N) in clearer light. Despite his thunder about the need to keep the military subservient to civilian rule, his party chose to oppose a U.S. Bill that wants exactly this.” The article attacks the Pakistani media’s pro-military bias as well stating that “With some exceptions, the Pakistani media too, despite their pride in opposing military rule, made no bones about which side they were on over this issue, saying the government’s “stupidity” in allowing the U.S. to impose such conditions left them with no choice.”


B.Y. Chaudhry – Pakistan’s Founder and the Ideology of Pakistan

October 27, 2009

By Bakshish Yousaf Chaudhry
This article appeared in Dawn on August 16, 2009

IN 1940 came the Muslim League’s Lahore Resolution with all its ambiguities and contradictions demanding that the geographically contiguous areas in which the Muslims were in majority (the northwest and the east) should be grouped together to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign.


In 1946 the Muslim League agreed to the cabinet mission plan which proposed to put Muslims into two autonomous regions within the Indian federation but this plan did not materialise. A month before leaving Delhi for sovereign Pakistan its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah (the Quaid-e-Azam) dismissed a suggestion that the new country should be a theocracy. The purpose of the creation of Pakistan, he said, was not to create a theocratic and monolithic state but to safeguard the social, economic, and political rights of Indian Muslims. Once Pakistan was created the rights of even non-Muslims were to be protected as equal citizens.


Sadiq Saleem: The Real Mystery of the KLB debate

October 24, 2009

By Sadiq Saleem
This article appeared in The News on October 24, 2009

Now that the orchestrated furore over the KLB aid package for Pakistan is diminishing, it is important to analyze how the country was driven into a frenzy and US-Pakistan relations put at risk by Pakistan’s “Ghairat lobby” and those whose hatred for President Zardari and the current government exceeds their love for Pakistan.

 The real mystery of the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill is not its conditions or who may originally have proposed or recommended them. The conditions that have been the cause of much shouting and screaming were included in the House of Representatives’ version of the bill that was passed on June 11, 2009. That bill was widely reported in the domestic and international media. If the reporting requirements in the bill were insulting, or if they infringed upon Pakistan’s national sovereignty, why did not the assorted columnists, politicians and right-wing TV anchor persons make the same noise about these conditions in June that they have been making of late?


Sadiq Saleem – What is behind the Ghairat debate?

October 14, 2009

By Sadiq Saleem
This article was published in The News on October 14, 2009

Every few years Pakistanis go through angry phases of self-righteous indignation over the country’s dependence on foreign aid. The ‘Ghairat’ (national honour) lobby, led by Islamist political parties, retired generals and the newly empowered right wing conspiracy theorists serving as television anchors have worked up the nation once again in the “honour is more important than aid” slogan mongering.

Now that the controversy relating to the Kerry-Lugar Bill is de-escalating, it is time to understand the economic and security compulsions that have made us a dependent nation. Since 1947, when soon after independence the father of the nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah himself appealed for US aid, each one of Pakistan’s budgets has depended on external flows mainly because our own resources are limited and over-stretched.


Gul Bukhari: The Sovererignty Hysteria

October 10, 2009

By Gul Bukhari
This article appeared in Dawn on October 10, 2009

Critics of the Kerry-Lugar bill must answer a humiliating question: the preservation of whose sovereignty are they referring to? Is it of a country that has accepted drone attacks in the tribal areas? The hysterical reaction to the Kerry-Lugar bill by formerly rational TV anchors, analysts and politicians is painful to watch. True, one does not expect any better from those who only oppose and criticise for the sake of doing so, but to hear saner voices in the mad din is distressing.

 In Shakespeare’s words,

[They] have no spur

To prick the sides of [their] intent, but only

Vaulting [patriotism] ambition, which o’erleaps itself,

And falls on th’other…


Irfan Hussain: Hype and Hysteria over Nothing

October 10, 2009

By Irfan Hussain
This article appeared in Dawn on October 10, 2009

Surely the Pakistani opponents of the Kerry-Lugar bill are not pretending that we are innocent on all counts? Or has the state of denial penetrated so deeply into their collective psyche that they have erased all memory of the recent past?

 Thanks to the wonders of satellite technology and cable TV, I am able to watch Pakistani news channels here in the UK. However, this is not entirely an unmixed blessing. More often than not, I find myself mesmerised by the sheer inanity of the discussions on my TV screen.


Pak ambassador to US: Haqqani still viewed as most influential

October 10, 2009

By Sami Abraham
This article was published in The News on October 10, 2009

WASHINGTON DC: Contrary to the impression being created by the current media frenzy in Pakistan over the Kerry-Lugar bill, Husain Haqqani continues to be viewed in Washington as the most influential ambassador Pakistan has had in many years.

Pakistan embassy officials are standing by their ambassador and say they are proud of him. This includes civilians as well as those from the defence wing who have questioned the ethics and knowledge of facts of those currently targeting Pakistan’s ambassador to the US in the context of what a US Congressman called a “manufactured crisis” over the Kerry-Lugar bill. Only last week Washington Times described him as “Embassy Row’s sharpest operator with instant access at the highest levels.”


Philly Inquirer: U.S. Must Strengthen Relations with Pak

October 5, 2009

By Trudy Rubin
This article appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 4, 2009

The debate over Afghan strategy – the Af in our AfPak policy – has
overshadowed an equally daunting challenge: Can we figure out how to
improve relations with Pakistan?

Pakistan’s civilian government and army finally struck back against
the Taliban in April, after the militants threatened the capital; the
Pakistani public and press backed this offensive. But public opinion
is negative about any cooperation with the United States against the
jihadis; the mistrust of our country is profound.


What is the Real Civil War in Pakista?

October 4, 2009

By Waqar Kazmi
This article appeared in New-Pakistan on October 4, 2009

Now that Pakistan’s military under civilian leadership has started
taking on the Jihadi-Taliban enterprise its apologists are crying
foul. It is easier to turn the people of Pakistan against the US than
in favor of Taliban after all the Taliban did in Swat and Malakand.

So the Shireen Mazari- Ahmed Qureshi Jihadi Support Network keeps
coming up with new excuses. The Truth is, and every true Pakistani
nationalist knows it, that Pakistan has to fight the Jihadis to save
Pakistan. This is a fight for Pakistan’s soul. The US role in this
fight is incidental.