New Age Islam Edit Bureau
27 September 2017
When Will Pakistan Open Up To The
By Qamar Cheema
Culturally Corrupt, Morally Malicious
By Munir Ahmed
Political Stability Is A Prerequisite
By Foqia Sadiq Khan
Notes to a Modern-Day Political
By Dr Haider Mehdi
Charging Into The Graveyard Of
By Akbar Ahmed / Col Lawrence Wilkerson
Thank You, Theresa May!
By Wajid Shamsul Hasan
Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
When Will Pakistan Open Up To The World?
Nobel Laureate Pakistani activist Malala
Yousafzai had more bilateral meetings than Pakistan’s elected Prime Minster at
the side lines of 72nd United Nations General Assembly session. Malala had more
diversification in terms of discussions and meetings than her Prime Minister.
Exchanging views with Hollywood and Bollywood actors to world leaders and
rights activists, Malala has benefited our diplomatic mission more than the
government itself. Our leadership annually visits the UN in September but from
their engagements they do not seem like a global forum. Every Prime Minster has
its limited engagements in term of meeting world leaders. Pakistan enjoys good
relations with some states and only those leaders are seen meeting our
leadership. Picking up a schedule of the Prime Minster of Pakistan every
September won’t show us anything new in their engagements. This year, the US
President was not even in the meeting list of PM Abbasi and he got US Vice
President Mike Pence, lowering our diplomatic engagements with a crucial
Our leadership has limited its meetings to
the Chinese, British, Turkish, some European countries, Arab states and couple
of regional states. Moreover, the agenda is always limited to discussing the
security environment, and the Pakistani leaderships international schedule ends
there. All of Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Australia, Eastern Europe,
Caribbean States and now even Western Europe are off the radar of the Pakistani
foreign office. The American educated Prime Minister of Pakistan did not prove
to be different in terms of his diplomatic engagements despite having
Pakistan’s diplomatic lens needs to move
away from security as the world is realigning itself and regional and
international agendas are shifting
Our neighbour, India’s Foreign Minister
Sushma Swaraj had tremendous bilateral, trilateral and multilateral engagements
with international dignitaries and entrepreneurs. She even met with Muslim
world leaders of the Arab world whom the Pakistani Prime Minster and his
delegation ignored. Her meetings and the way she was engaging with the
international leadership showed her country’s regional and international
ambitions and India’s rising stature at a global stage. The world is taking
India seriously not because of its rising political and security stature but
its mammoth population which is a market for everyone. Despite having abdominal
poverty, India is making global footprints because of its booming market and
proactive foreign policy. The Indian Foreign Minister met with world leaders
and urged them for support counter terrorism even though, India is the largest
human rights violator. Their media is an extension of the government in terms
of pursing foreign policy goals whereas ours is busy grilling the ruling party.
They have a sizeable middle class and a huge population speaks English which
lets the international audience know what’s happening in India. In Pakistan, we
do not have a single English private channel so the international audience actually
does not know what’s happening and the international media portrays our image
in a compromise manner.
Pakistan’s diplomatic lens needs to move
away from security as the world is realigning itself and regional and
international agendas are shifting. Our diplomatic posture should be global as
debates are also shifting. The content of PM Abbasi’s speech was not global in
nature but very traditional. Do we actually know how the debate on global
warming is taking place and what should we need demand from the world and
multilateral forums in terms of raising our infrastructure regarding renewable
energy? Since we did not implement universal development goals, the world has
now reached Sustainable Development Goals. Importantly, where is Pakistan on
South-South cooperation, China is an active member in boosting South-South
cooperation but we haven’t investigated how to use global institutions in the
south to counter western institutional hegemony.
Pakistan should have been leading a debate
regarding terrorism at a global stage because of the losses we have faced and
the economic price we have paid which is around $120 billion. Instead, India is
leading this debate. Despite loses and huge sacrifices we have failed to sell
our story of victimhood. The nation needs to think deeply about it rather than
just use traditional rhetoric. We may have to lose elements with whom we have
been playing as it’s not a loss of anyone or someone’s ego but of 207 million
people who keep hopes in their leadership. We need to assert our case and we
can only do so if we move away from the existing narrative on terrorism. We
need to open up to the world on this or else our sacrifices would go in vain.
We are living in digital age and states are
fighting their wars in the digital landscape by using the tools of digital
diplomacy. Pakistan does not have effective tools of digital diplomacy. Our
foreign office spokesperson is followed by just more than hundred thousand
people where as there is no account of Pakistan’s foreign minister officially.
PM Abbasi’s speech in the United Nations was not given any extra ordinary
response by our electronic and print media whereas the Indian media fought for
the Indian government’s case and against Pakistan as well.
Our leadership needs to be innovative by
meeting entrepreneurs. Years of diplomatic experience must help Pakistan in
improving its image. Why doesn’t our leadership does meet administrations of
Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, YouTube and many other multinational
corporations. At the same time Hollywood actors should be invited to meet to
make them aware about Pakistan. Our leadership must move beyond the security
paradigm and open up to the world in every sphere.
Pakistan was ranked the fourth most corrupt
country in the Asia Pacific a couple of months back by the international
anti-graft rights group Transparency International based on the results of a
survey. The survey took about 18 months for the collection of data and opinion
from a 20,000 common people in Pakistan, its compilation and simulation.
The survey showed that Pakistan ranks
fourth with an overall corruption rate of 40 per cent. Nearly three-fourths of
the survey participants believe that the police is corrupt. The survey revealed
that 7 out of every 10 people who had to deal with either the police or the
courts had to bribe them. That means 70 per cent of the people dealing with the
justice system have to pay a bribe just to process their cases. The situation
shows endless severity and ruthlessness. The ironic part is that those who
could do something about it have unfortunately remained unshaken and unmoved.
Although TV channels and print media have
discussed this, the news was discussed like a routine news item. Moreover, the
results did not create any commotion in the judiciary or any relevant
When the practices of people engaged in the
justice system are questionable, how will the country be run on fair grounds? A
general perception in Pakistan that has been to prove that all the high profile
extreme corruption cases in the courts need proper acquittals in a shorter
amount of time. For the general public, this has the reverse effect. If they
take up cases with the courts, it takes years and even decades to receive a
decision from the courts.
In the prevailing situation, corruption
watchdogs in the country have an immense role to play by consistently raising
voice against malpractices
The culture of corruption is deeply rooted
in our society, and the pace of its spread is alarming. Brutality is used by
those who are supposed to dispense or facilitate justice. Bribes vary with the
degree of corruption in a case. The real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz of Bahria
Town admitted in an interview that, ‘every person in society has their price
which can be told without any discrimination of their profession. They can be
from the media, bureaucracy, army and judiciary. According to the status of the
person, bribe is the key of smooth running of my projects.’
The confession of the estate-business
tycoon reveals the ways in which business is carried out in Pakistan. There has
been talk and hundreds of complaints against his projects including murders of
the forest guards by his gunmen, encroachment on the government lands, long
delays in delivering properties to its owners, and so on. However, the
reputable authorities of Bahria Town dismiss all these as ‘allegations’.
When the common people are starving for
rightful justice or facilitation of civic amenities, what option is left for
them other than to bribe the concerned authorities. The same goes for employees
of government departments and autonomous bodies. Thousands of cases are
lingering on in the courts and Federal Services Tribunal. Poor people who
cannot afford to bribe or those who don’t want to, suffer a lot. Their misery
creates revengeful emotional crises. In many cases, severe social reaction
occurs which further criminal activities or add to the culture of corruption.
In many cases, corruption has led to a
brain drain as well. Those who could not get jobs on merit have left the
country to search for better fortunes elsewhere. They have been quite
successful after some struggle and hard work. Many industrialists and
businessmen have left the country because of the bribes taken by the government
officials or the ‘protection money’ by the gangsters of political parties.
Undoubtedly, the weaker social and legal justice
systems lead to higher corruption and malicious practices. Political influence
further negates social and legal justice, and weakens the societies norms,
ethics and practices. In the prevailing situation, the local watchdogs have an
immense role to play by raising voices against malpractices and corruption.
Civil society shall keep on working and putting in the effort required for a
transparent and accountable governance system in its place. They will also
force political parties to take stringent steps against their corrupt leaders
even those who are facing allegations. Many would question if watchdogs and the
civil society would be able to put in place mechanisms to root out corruption
or dent the corruption mafia. Though there may not be sufficient answers to
such questions, I strongly believe such efforts do bring about change. The
process may be slow but it is sure to deliver positive results. Positive
thinking people need to team up,in the same way the corrupt gang up.
Political Stability Is a Prerequisite
I recently attended two talks that
emphasised catching-up with growth and pro-poor economic growth in Islamabad.
Both talks in different ways underscored the need for planning to promote
economic growth, particularly keeping in mind the welfare of the less
privileged. A look at the Planning Commission site informs us that there are
planning documents available such as the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2013-18),
Annual Plan (2017-18) and Vision 2025. However, it is obvious that some of the
leading economists are not satisfied with the planning agenda and want more
robust and well-thought out planning based on best available policy literature,
debates and practices available in the world, particularly learning from
examples of those countries who have been able to successfully catch-up with
economic growth and reduce poverty levels.
The answer lies in the affirmation of
political stability as a prerequisite. Even the Vision 2025 underlies its
importance as follows: “If we look at the successful experiences of Japan,
South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, China, India and Turkey, political stability
and policy continuity emerges as a common prerequisite for development. No
country has developed with instability and chaos”.
Economic literature informs us that when
there is political instability and uncertainty, governments are run on the
basis of short time horizons. In other words, the vision to plan long-term and
deliver on planning requires long time-horizons, political stability,
continuity of policies and certainty that political governments will complete
The vision to plan long-term and deliver on
planning requires long time-horizons as well as continuity of policies and
certainty that political governments will complete their tenure
If we look at Pakistan’s history or even
contemporary history since 2008, sadly political governments were not fortunate
enough to enjoy long-term time horizons ensuring sanctity of their mandate to
complete their terms as well ability to get re-elected if they perform well.
The sort of economic planning whose need was emphasised by economists is
missing because those kinds of debates seldom take place in policy circles in
contemporary Pakistan due to political uncertainty.
The PPP government completed its tenure
from 2008 to 2013. However, the informal buzz about the government then was
that it plans and functions on a day to day basis as it is not certain whether
it would stay afloat the next week, month or year. If somebody were to watch
the political talk shows during the era of that regime, there was much more
chatter about the government falling soon rather than staying course and
completing its term. Towards the end of PPP government, the Prime Minister was
disqualified and replaced by another one.
If we view the present government from 2013
till present, a similar story of political instability grips it. Discourse on
election rigging started as soon as the government assumed office and it
culminated in the famous dharnas (sit-ins) in 2014 that lasted for many months
and even led to violent clashes promising overthrow of Nawaz Sharif’s
government using force. Once the election’ rigging saga came to an end, the
Panama Papers saga started. It led to the disqualification of the Prime
Minister, a controversial judicial decision in July 2017 and a new Prime
Minister is at the helm of affairs now. Elections are due in 2018, yet calls
for snap polls have begun.
In other words, if we assess contemporary
politics from 2008-2017, two successive political governments with a wide array
of provincial governments and coalitions did not enjoy the policy space in an
environment of political stability.
Census results have shown the frightening
levels of population explosion in Pakistan that requires not only effective
government plans for population control but also absorption of millions of
youth in the job market every year. Pakistan’s exports are falling and the debt
level rising. The plans to spur economic growth to deal with these challenges
by planning for economic growth, industrialisation and pro-poor planning are
It is high time that civilian and political
forces include perseverance of political stability as our prime national
interest. Any set of institutions who are continuing to deprive Pakistan of its
political stability are acting against Pakistan’s national interest. Political
governments will only plan well when they know that not only will they be able
to complete their respective terms without being challenged every so often and
they might even be re-elected if they perform well. And if they don’t perform
well, they will be voted out. Unless such policy space is allowed to political
governments through ensuring stability, political governments will not be able
to plan long-term economic growth or deliver on such plans.
Notes to a Modern-Day Political ‘Princess’
September 26, 2017
We, humankind, are an amazing marvel of
nature with many fascinating inherent qualities. For instance, the
interconnectedness of ideas in our thought processes is a wonder in itself.
Think about one of the most interesting aspects of human contemplation: when we
are concentrating on some particular matter, abruptly and unconsciously we are
driven to thinking of something else, whether it is sublime or even dismal in
nature. The switchover may be a connection of some kind of association or
simply a divergence of thought to a specific inquisitive retrospection and
reflection about an issue central to our existential experience at the time. I
have had such an experience recently.
While browsing through the Bhagavad Gita
(The Song of the Lord), part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (400 BC-200 AD), I
discovered with absolute surprise that it is a continuous dialogue between
Prince Arjuna and his charioteer Lord Krishna, who counsels the prince about
his duties as a warrior and to ensure establishing Dharma.
Suddenly, I switched over to thinking about
the Pakistani nation confronted with the continued dramatic political saga of
former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family, most particularly his
daughter, seemingly the “heir apparent” to his political legacy as well as
leadership of the country — and their planned continued hold on political power
now and in the near and far-off future.
Of course, I thought: is, metaphorically,
the former prime minister the modern-day “Lord and Charioteer” counselling his
“heir apparent” daughter and the manifest warrior, the modern day political
“princess,” in the art of political behaviour?
At that same moment, though, I also thought
of Machiavelli, the 16th-century Italian philosopher, who contended that in the
skill of political management, “political expediency is placed above morality
and the ruler should use craft and deceit to maintain authority and carry out
(his) policies,” and control over political power.
It is self-evident that the role of the
former PM is “Lord, the counsellor” to “the Princess.” However, it also appears
that Dharma has been thrown aside, and Machiavelli’s ideological premise seems
to be the driving force in the political behaviour of the former prime minister
and his heir apparent.
Let us carefully examine the political
stance of “the princess” as “heir apparent” to the former PM and to the PML-N
It appears that “the princess’s” claim to
political inheritance and power rests on several debatable assumptions that she
seems to believe are an absolute necessity to the future political management
of Pakistan. For example, she might hold the opinion that political stability
in the country is fundamental to Pakistan’s survival and its future socio-economic,
cultural and technological-industrial development. And this goal can only be
assured by the Sharif family.
I can only guess what “the princess” might
say in support of her contention: most likely that the Sharifs have the
required political management experience to do the job well, the PML-N under
the Sharifs’ leadership is a well-organised party, and its political management
credentials are far better as compared to any other political party in the
The counter-claim is that, although it is
absolutely true that Pakistan needs steadfast and political stability to go
forward, the idea that such stability in the country is only possible through
the Sharif family’s dynastic succession to political power is without any
merit. This is so because the notion of dynastic politics is inherently opposed
to the idea of a democratic state. History is witness to the fact that
democracy and its institutions have flourished only when status quo-oriented
political institutions have been continuously replaced through an on-going
process of change and by the dynamics of the force of change implicit in that
Sadly, after holding on to political power
for over three decades, the Sharifs have nothing new to offer. “The princess,”
as such, is the epitome of status quo. The question is, how can anyone promote
the argument that status quo continuity is a viable modern political management
model suited to a truly democratic future?
Furthermore, she might also believe that
the present political culture in Pakistan and its accompanying infrastructure
must be strictly maintained at all costs in order to support political economic
stability. This process pertains to permanently holding on to the leadership of
The counter-argument to this belief, however,
is formidable. The necessity of preserving the present political culture for
economic stability is a charade, a perception management campaign of false
propaganda, outright lying and manipulation of symbolic and emotional rhetoric.
Let us state the facts as simply as they are: The prevailing political-economic
status quo and the contemporary political culture in the country (organised,
supported, and consolidated by the vested interests ruling elite) is the
fundamental problem and a hurdle to the country’s overall development. In fact,
it is the main cause of the country’s political, economic and socio-cultural
backwardness. It appears that the Sharif family’s devastating contribution to
the country’s multifarious problems has been made abundantly clear by the
Supreme Court’s judgment disqualifying Nawaz Sharif as prime minister.
Under normal circumstances, self-defence
and self-promotion is an intrinsic part of human nature; the heir apparent
“princess” cannot be an exception to this rule. Almost certainly, she would
tell us that she has had three decades of extensive training in national
political management by none other than her father, the three-time prime
minister of Pakistan. Hence, she is fully trained to take over the reins of
No matter how true this assertion is
technically, in the context of national politics, this is an unconvincing
argument. The problem is that all societies undergo constant changes over a
period of time. This, in itself, is an evolving and evolutionary process inconsistent
with the status quo paradigm. The heir apparent’s extensive personal training
becomes irrelevant because there is no real evidence to suggest that the
“trainer” or the “trainee” in themselves have undergone appreciable
re-orientation in the art of conducting political management of the country by
an evolutionary process or theory. Sharif politics has remained dogmatic,
ultra-right wing and non-evolutionary, and diametrically opposed to the
fundamental necessities of a fast-changing society.
In fact, the PML-N leadership, in absolute
terms, adheres to ideological capitalism as the only possible driving force
behind the advancement of society. The allure and attractiveness of the said
system for Pakistan’s ruling elite is in its perverse system of rewards.
Whereas the modern welfare state system is based on the notion that everyone in
a society should have moderate well-being, and that the state is responsible
for every citizen’s health, education, security, employment, etc, the prevalent
capitalistic school in Pakistan proposes that the aim of life is to get rich,
and that anyone can get rich. Certainly, we all know how political power is
used in the service of massive economic gains by vested interests.
Above all, the Sharifs have been
scandalised beyond any reasonable possibility to be redeemed politically,
ethically, or as genuine trustees of the nation’s interests — not even the
So “princess,” I am sorry to say, now is
not your time. The winds of change are in control of our existence — just in
case you have not noticed!
Charging Into the Graveyard of Empires
Despite President Trump’s unveiling of his
Afghanistan strategy on August 21, which involves committing several thousand
additional American troops, the reality is that the war in Afghanistan, the
longest in US history, is effectively over.
A victory at this stage for America would
mean simply maintaining an American presence in the region, as a military
victory is now virtually impossible. Yet even this will be increasingly
difficult given the uncertain relations between the US and other prime nations
with a stake in Afghanistan — Pakistan, India, Russia, Iran, and China.
Several US presidents have recognised both
the importance and the volatility of South Asia. President Bill Clinton during
his presidency called South Asia “the most dangerous place on earth,” and
President Barack Obama described the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region as “the
most dangerous place in the world.”
Recognising the challenges in dealing with
the region, US presidents in recent decades have traditionally approached South
Asia by establishing alliances across the region — namely, with Kabul, Delhi,
and Islamabad — that promoted regional dialogue and harmony. Whenever a
president would visit India, for example, he would balance it with a visit to
Pakistan, as President George W. Bush did in 2006. Demonstrating his own awareness
of the importance of such a regional approach, President Obama saw Afghanistan
and Pakistan in terms of a unitary “Af-Pak” region. Washington has thus long
sought to create a role for itself in the region as a kind of friendly umpire.
A key motivation for this attitude developed when both India and Pakistan
became nuclear weapon powers and, from time to time, looked as if they might be
contemplating an exchange of such weapons.
President Trump, however, has upended all
of this. In particular, his response to Pakistan has been irritable and
changeable. It began with a friendly call to Pakistan’s prime minister when
Trump was president-elect. Trump called Pakistan “amazing” and “fantastic,” and
said he wanted to find a solution to outstanding problems such as Kashmir. Now,
however, as President he has reprimanded Pakistan for harbouring “agents of
chaos, violence, and terror.” As if to rub salt into the already- smarting
wounds of Pakistan, Trump did not have time to meet the Pakistan prime minister
formally at the United Nations in September while meeting the Afghan president.
Pakistanis, for their part, have
continually pointed out that they have lost some 60,000 people to terrorist
attacks after becoming allies of the US in the so-called war on terror. The
economy and politics of Pakistan have been profoundly affected by this
seemingly endless war. Pakistani anger and frustration can be easily understood
by anyone with the least empathy.
It is a critical component of sound foreign
and security policy that world leaders, including those in Washington, not lose
sight of the fact that every state must project a foreign policy conforming
with its own interests. Trump and his foreign policy advisers must understand
that when Trump openly suggested in his speech that India should play a role in
Afghanistan, Pakistan was only alienated further, as Pakistan has a paranoia
about being encircled militarily by India. This fear also plays into how the
other powers in the region respond both to the US and Pakistan.
Let’s take China as a prime example. For
the Chinese, Trump’s threats to their country over North Korea affect how
Beijing behaves towards the US in South and Central Asia. Tellingly, the
Chinese, who have pursued a number of economic projects in Pakistan over the
past several years, immediately defended that country and effectively
reprimanded the US, the day after Trump’s provocative speech claiming that
Pakistan was guilty of harbouring terrorists.
If the US strategy is to bring peace to
Afghanistan, the Trump administration is set on doing the opposite. It is
encouraging further unrest and drawing India and Pakistan into heightened
conflict, with daily confrontations between the two nuclear-armed nations at
the India-Pakistan border once again becoming far too common.
If Trump hopes to get out of the quagmire
the US has created in Afghanistan, he needs to begin to understand the
importance of foreign policy to any American presidency. He needs foreign
policy advisers who are capable of seeing the region in a larger, broader
context of US interests. He also must recognise that while he sorts out his
administration’s internal affairs, the powers of the region — India, China,
Russia, Pakistan, and Iran — are all fishing in the troubled waters of
Afghanistan is known as the “graveyard of
empires” for a reason. War there is deceptive. An invading country might think
it has won in this fraught theatre when it has actually lost. This realisation
may not come until it is far too late. Today, the majority of the country has
sided with the Taliban and the US is all but irrelevant to the big picture.
This is a tribal war, and the Afghan tribes are not going to stop fighting, as
by definition, tribal leaders and their followers will not allow an occupation
of their lands. It is a question of the tribal code of honour and they will
continue to fight no matter what the cost.
In order to preserve US interests in
Afghanistan — which might include a reduced but long-term US military presence
in accordance with a mutually agreed Status of Forces Agreement — the US needs
to maintain also a strong diplomatic presence centered in its Kabul embassy,
fund educational and development projects, and use its influence to increase
the sense of legitimacy all Afghans feel about the government in Kabul.
Moreover, the US should be striving across
the region to promote its core values — democracy, human rights, and civil
liberties. We believe the vision of America’s Founding Fathers has great
relevance and is the strongest representation of America not only at home, but
also abroad. America must therefore adopt a compassionate, intelligent, and
wise diplomacy and carry this vision from Kabul to Calcutta.
It was definitely a momentous occasion for
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi to be making his maiden speech at the
highest international forum. It was also an opportunity to set the record straight
over President Trump’s diatribe against Pakistan followed by threats of all
sorts. He had accused Pakistan of hosting safe havens for terrorists who
constantly destabilise ever tottering regime in Afghanistan.
Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif got so pressurised
that he blurted out that Pakistan will have to do something more to eradicate
this hostile perception. However, Prime Minister Abbasi put it right that
Pakistan would not allow itself to be made scapegoat for failures of others.
In this back ground Prime Minister Abbasi’s
speech in the UNGA was awaited anxiously. It offered him highest podium to
defend Pakistan’s case, to counter allegations of it running with the hare and
hunting with the hounds and to draw attention of the international community to
the colossal losses in men and material in the global war against terrorism.
May’s speech should serve as an eye-opener
for the overly biased, anti-Bhutto PML-N leadership, the establishment and
others in cahoots. By mentioning the colossal Bhutto tragedy, May encapsulated
ugly manifestations of terrorism and its catastrophic impact on human beings
Usually such occasions are ceremonial,
ritualistic than realistic, rhetoric is the order of the day, and substantively
there is more of repetition of past speeches since no old issue is resolved.
Only top of the order world class statesmen make a difference. Unless one is a
leader of Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto’s stature, one cannot expect anything
worthwhile. SKA’s speech was drafted by the Foreign Office experts and it
reflect issues related to Pakistan such as Kashmir, Afghanistan, Palestine and
currently genocide of Muslims in Myanmar.
Regretfully Pakistan’s foreign office lost
its glory after General Ziaul Haq’s coup against Prime Minister Zulfiquar Ali
Bhutto. As we all know during Zia’s ten years followed by General Pervez
Musharraf’s with interregnum of quasi-democratic governments — Foreign Office
lost all its professionalism. It became an extension of ISI, foreign policy got
usurped by the intelligence and security apparatus.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif brought the cat
out of the bag. It was an intelligent move by him not to have a foreign
minister. Foreign policy became glaringly a reserve of the military. He
acknowledged this Praetorian suzerainty by offering space to the army chief by
not appointing a foreign minister for four years. Throughout, foreign policy
was handled by General Raheel Sharif who had assumed the role of a powerful
foreign minister as well.
Prime Minister Abbasi’s speech was more of
routine than anything extra-ordinary. Its criticism that it was hastily drafted
is matter of opinion. However, if a Kashmiri leader of repute such as Dr Syed
Nazir Gilani says that there was much amiss in the Kashmir portion of his
speech, then it must be. His presentation was as good or as bad as could be. He
strongly criticised India for its human rights violations in IOK and increasing
cross-border skirmishes. Any false flag incident could get converted into
lethal conflagration — to say the least-both the countries being nuclear.
Indeed, the credit for genuinely defending
Pakistan’s role in war against terrorism in UNGA goes to British Prime Minister
Theresa May. Portion of her speech in which she remembered her friend —
martyred Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto — mother victim of all terrorism — Ms
May gave what could be called inadvertently an effective reply to President
Trump’s accusations against Pakistan.
In an emotional speech Ms May — her country
becoming victim of frequent acts of terrorism — reminded the world of her
friend Benazir Bhutto who was martyred by terrorists. “This year is the tenth
anniversary of the death of the woman who introduced me to my husband, and who
was known well to many of us in this United Nations. Benazir Bhutto was brutally
murdered by people who actively rejected the values that all of us here in this
United Nations stand for.” Recalling Bhutto, who was killed in a terrorist
attack in December 2007, she stood aloft against terrorism “in a country that
has suffered more than most at the hands of terrorists.” She was “murdered for
standing up for democracy, murdered for espousing tolerance, and murdered for
being a woman”.
May’s speech should serve as an eye-opener
for the overly biased, anti-Bhutto PML-N leadership, including the
establishment and others in cahoots. By mentioning about the colossal Bhutto
tragedy, Ms May encapsulated ugly manifestations of terrorism and its
catastrophic impact on human beings world over. There could not be a better
exposition of the evil that threatens every one where ever one is. Indeed,
beards of terrorists need to be singed in their dens.
Pakistan’s run-away General Pervez
Musharraf avoiding his arrest for murders of Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti —
has exposed his devil’s workshop. There is not enough space to respond to him
for his epileptic outbursts, one would suffice to repeat to him words of
British Prime Minister that Bhutto was “murdered for standing up for democracy,
murdered for espousing tolerance, and murdered for being a woman.”
And this is all that GPM stood against. He
had subverted democracy and committed act of treason by violating the
Constitution. He told Benazir not to return, opposed her participation in
elections and threatened her life. Moreover, he is the one who had closest
links with the Jihadi terrorist networks. His defence of Hafiz Saeed shows how
deeply involved he is with such elements.
One single act of having the crime scene
washed by fire tenders under his orders within minutes of her assassination —
is enough proof to indict him. Brigadier (retd) Javeid Iqbal Cheema, former
director general of National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) had told the ATC
that he had received orders direct from the Presidency to have the area washed
This could be judged from the fact that
General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani as DG ISI investigated the attempt on President
Musharraf’s life, got to the bottom of the case through a telephone chip
recovered from the scene of the blast. In Bhutto’s case, the master mind destroyed
all the evidence.