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Pakistan: Not in our name, Mr Prime Minister!

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By Dr. Haider Mehdi

“We have asked the US to hand over the drone technology to us, so that we can carry out these strikes ourselves.” Yousef Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister

Last week, over 10,000 people in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar and another 2000 tribesmen in Miran Shah protested against American drone attacks in tribal areas.  The banners carried by the protesters read: “Stop drone attacks in Pakistan,” “No to American interference in Pakistan,” “Death for America,” and “Listen Obama, Do not kill innocent Muslims.”  An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are against American drone warfare and believe that large numbers of civilians are being killed and maimed in the strikes.  The government’s own estimates claim that Pakistan has lost about $50 billion over the past 10 years and “thousands of civilians and security personnel have been killed or seriously injured,” says an IANS report.  Ironically, “Pakistan officially protests the strikes as violations of its sovereignty, but Pakistani security agencies are believed to secretly cooperate with the program.  Last year the United States fired around 150 missile strikes into Pakistan in a major escalation of the campaign,” reported the media.

Amid this indiscriminate killing and wounding of Pakistani civilians, the massive burden on the country’s resources, the despicable violation of its national sovereignty and the unprecedented war of a national army against its own people, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousef Raza Gilani, owns the so-called war on terrorism as Pakistan’s war and , in his typical political arrogance, apathy to the national sentiment and political incorrectness, offers the following resolution to a dreadful and calamitous national problematic: “We have asked the US to hand over the drone technology to us, so that we can carry out these strikes ourselves.” Appalling, isn’t it? 

Not in our name, Prime Minister! Not in our name!

In two other related developments, unfortunate and counterproductive as they are, the Pakistani image-building gurus have started work to alternate rhetorical reconstruction of war on terror terminology and its lexicon.  Islamabad has decided has decided to drop certain phrases: “descriptions like frontline state in the war against terrorism overcast country’s positivities.  Therefore, we are doing away with this phrase,” a senior security official is quoted in the media.  Insidiously pathetic, isn’t it?

Unmindful of the fact that a mere change in the lexicon and terminology does not alter the nature of the reality of the lethal consequences of war that is inflicting terror on this nation and its citizens, the Pakistani image-makers are now trying to hide behind meaningless and empty words.  How far can a political absurdity be extended? This government has no resolutions to offer to the national problematics – it is clueless to the concept of the conflict-resolution strategic paradigm, and its incompetence in conducting and managing Pakistan’s foreign policy is quite obvious.  This government does what it is told by its patrons in Washington D. C. and other capitals in Western nations.  Consequently, the Zardari-Gilani regime has virtually surrendered Pakistan’s sovereignty to policy-makers in the US -West.  Without a doubt, this government has demonstrated pathetically inarticulate capabilities to voice and promote Pakistan’s national interests vis-à-vis the US-Nato global objectives and their ever-growing interference in this nation’s affairs.  And this is in spite of the fact that WikiLeaks and the Palestinian Papers have aptly cautioned people all over the world that the US-West leadership cannot be trusted – their entire political discourse is wrapped in deceptions and political manipulations. 

Not in our name, Prime Minister!  Not in our name!

In another callously-managed foreign policy political engagement, Islamabad is poised to open yet another “war on terror” front on Moscow’s behest. In recent meetings with Russian officials, Yousef Raza Gilani’s government seems to be bending over backwards to accommodate Russia’s tactical military-political demands that are most certainly going to further deteriorate the already volatile political situation in northern Pakistan.  “Moscow suspects that Muslim extremists in Pakistani sanctuaries have links with militants from…Muslim Russian regions… Pakistan and Russia could cooperate in tracking down militants from Central Asia living in Pakistan’s tribal areas on the Afghan border,” reported Reuters. 

Not in our name, Prime Minister!  Not in our name!

Had Pakistan been in possession of its full faculties in independent foreign policy decision-making, ideally it would have at once pointed out to the Russian delegates that Pakistan’s relations with other nations are based on the universal respect for democracy, full and fair treatment of democratic aspirations of people, equal rights for minorities, self-determination, non-violent and non-military settlement of political issues wherever they may be in any part of the world.  Pakistan’s foreign policy managers would have also ideally contended that if the entire international community has agreed to a national referendum in south Sudan for a political settlement of an issue, why can’t the same principle of people’s self-determination be applied in Kashmir, Palestine, as well as in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon  and, of course, in the troubled Muslim regions in Russia where there are massive drives for democratization through people’s power.  After all, the Russian strategic proposition of tracking down militants from Central Asia will be a military solution to a political problematic in absolute violation of international norms and democratic principles.  Come what may, Pakistan cannot let the Russians violate its sovereignty in the same manner as the US and its Western allies already have.

Not in our name, Prime Minister!  Not in our name!

It was Henry Kissinger, the former US Secretary of State, who developed the conflict management rather than conflict resolution doctrine in international affairs, giving US control over global politics with coercive methods in diplomacy.  It is hard to imagine that foreign policy managers in Pakistan’s incumbent political establishment could be familiar with the negative fallouts of Kissinger’s doctrine.  (It is so because these folks are not talented, visionary nationalists like Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister who is developing new concepts in international diplomacy.)  And Zardari-Gilani foreign policy initiatives are always “ad hoc,” with financial aid and the backing of the regime in Islamabad of paramount importance .  The important point is that Pakistan with Zardari-Gilani leadership is still stuck with Kissinger’s model of conflict management – thereby expanding, extending and continuing  political-military strife – while what Pakistan needs so urgently is a proactive and preemptive peace diplomacy on the Turkish Foreign Minister’s developed model of conflict resolution rather than the mere management of conflicts.  It is only then that Pakistan can be saved from further destabilization and ultimate political-economic destruction.  American dollars have not helped yet, nor will Russian rubles resolve our problems.  It is time to say “NO” to the United States and “No, thank you” to the Russians.

The foremost victims of the Zardari-Gilani conflict management model are:  truth, law, national dignity, pride, independence, self-reliance and the consequential decision-making in national affairs.  Obviously, (to borrow some terms) it is a predictably polished, slippery performance full of “self-justifying clap-trap.” 

Not in our name, Prime Minister!  Not in our name!

Pakistan has to assume “zero tolerance” for US-Nato and Russian global and domestic political interests. The change in the lexicon or terminology will not make the conflict disappear in northern Pakistan – nor will military-political cooperation with the Russians for further expansion of the conflict and the ensuing atrocities silence the resistance in Russia, Afghanistan and elsewhere, wherever that may be. 

Do not plunge this nation into yet another Zardari-Gilani regime’s personalized misled and disastrous foreign policy crusade. 

Not in our name, Prime Minister!  Not in our name!


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