Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
  Volume 10 |Issue 21 | June 03, 2011 |


 Cover Story
 Food for Thought
 Book Review
 Star Diary

   SWM Home


Mere Public Posture

Pakistani protesters hold up a burning US flag during a demonstration against the visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Lahore.
Pakistani protesters shout anti-US slogans during a demonstration against the visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani's statement before senior journalists at Lahore on Sunday (May 29) that the government has told the US, in clear terms, that Pakistan would not stand unilateral action like the one at Abbottabad any longer and to review its policy on drone attacks have not put to rest the common concern in the country about the Americans' increasingly aggressive posture against Pakistan. That worry at least persists about the merciless slaughter of ordinary citizens by these flying machines.

Reportedly, the top American emissaries who visited Islamabad last week did agree that the US would take joint action with Pakistan in future, in particular reference to eliminating high-level militant targets. And one should assume that the earlier policy, defined by US President Obama that a similar raid would be launched, if such a target was found to be hiding in Pakistan, has been modified and the idea of unilateral action dropped.

However, the Prime Minster's stance on drones - calling for a review of Washington's drone policy to providing Pakistan with prior information about the attacks - has not only brought out differences between the two countries about the modalities of sharing intelligence, but is also in stark violation of the stand adopted by the joint session of Parliament.

Thus, the public worry remains undiminished, especially as the government has not been known to have taken a strong position on this issue in the past, and the people are likely to take its latest demarche as mere public posture and 'differences' as a mere ploy to let the CIA rain missile on innocent civilians, while our leaders keep protesting for public consumption at home.

As another bombshell falls in the form of Pakistan's decision to launch a military operation in North Waziristan, the “specific” task that US State Secretary Clinton and CJCSC Admiral Mullen gave to our leaders becomes clear. It seems in return for joint action against high-level targets, they extracted from them the commitment about North Waziristan campaign the US has long been urging us to undertake. In one stroke of diplomatic exchange, the superpower succeeded in whitewashing its sin of transgressing upon the sovereignty of a weaker country by making an aerial raid, achieving its objective and getting away with it.

But what about our leadership's resolve to win over tribal elders through talks to isolate militant groups and take action in North Waziristan at a time of our own choosing? Certainly, the present when terrorists from FATA are striking at our sensitive targets with the authorities helplessly watching the destruction is hardly the time to gain further hostility! It is not too late yet to revoke that decision and hold negotiations with influential tribesmen to intercede with the misguided outfits. At the same time, we should quickly start addressing our weaknesses like declining economic strength, to say 'No' to the Americans.

The Nation (Pakistan).
Reprinted with permission.

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2011