BY KHALED ALMAEENA (Special to Khaleej Times)
17 August 2008
I AM writing this to you sitting outside a coffee shop in
Over the years, I have watched the situation in
Sitting thousands of miles away but emotionally present in
I read in the papers here of calls for the impeachment of President Pervez Musharraf. I read of statements saying he will not be granted safe passage. I read of charge sheets being prepared against him by hitherto unknown politicians. I also read about the president calling for reconciliation.
I tell you in all honesty that
However, it is more difficult to show generosity and tolerance by stretching out and closing ranks, and history is full of such examples.
And I will start with our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who forgave all his enemies. It was he who to told the Archangel Gabriel that he would forgive all those who threw stones at him in Taif. Let us honor ourselves by following him.
Let us take a great man of our time — Nelson Mandela. After 27 years in prison, he spoke of truth and reconciliation. Mandela sat with Pik Botha immediately after his release and helped guide
I asked him was there any rancor or hate in his heart for those who oppressed him and his people. He replied that
Another example is that of Gerald Ford who took over the divided nation after the Watergate and issued a presidential pardon to Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal. This was done primarily to heal the nation. Ford had
Here in the
Such are the qualities of which statesmen are made, and I am sure that both of you possess these qualities and have the interest of
I see many Pakistanis; many are my friends; others I meet in my travels, and I hear their cries as they lament what is going on in their beloved land. Many have lost hope. They see deterioration in institutions and in every walk of life. Yes, they say we are tired of the blame game. Please do not use terms like "military dictatorship" nor promises of "awami hukumat" (people's government). We are tired. We want to get on with our lives.
One Pakistani doctor told me yesterday that he was appalled by conditions back home. Another said he had not gone home in the last 22 years, and I asked him if there was an elected government during this period. "What are you talking about?" he replied with a wave of his hand. He ended by saying: "No one has any commitment to any principle or willing to do anything for the larger good of the country."
I told him he was wrong; there are those who live in
Your challenges are numerous — terrorism, crime, illiteracy and economic slide. The rupee was 74 to the dollar on the eve of
These are the challenges — not to be contained and confronted but to be totally eliminated. Let us all do a little bit of honest soul-searching and review our own past and rectify mistakes committed. We will turn out better if we learn from it.
Pakistanis cannot afford agitation. As Stephen Cohen, a South Asian scholar at the Brookings Institution in
Yes, they can be fixed using Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's motto of unity, faith and discipline.
The people of
Veteran Arab journalist and commentator Khaled Almaeena is editor-in-chief of the Jeddah-based Arab News and winner of
Source: Khaleej Times Online