Where Is The Mourning, Mr. Zardari?October 29, 2009
To Our Elite And Not Just The President: Was a reception for a foreign guest more important than sharing the grief of your people?
More than one hundred innocent Pakistanis killed in one day, more than two hundred in less than a month. Attacks linked to our own and America’s failed Afghan policy. Attacks supported by anti-Pakistan forces in the region and not just unknown ‘extremists’. Children left without parents, a nation terrorized. And the response of our political elite? Dinner, toasts and merrymaking in Islamabad. Was a reception for a foreign guest more important than sharing the grief of your people? A shameless foreign-backed ruling elite.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—One hundred and ten killed in one day. More than two hundred dead in less than a month. If this were any other country, emergency would have been declared, nation would have been mobilized, and intellectuals would have moved to question the policies of rulers who draw their strength from Washington and London and not from the people and the interests of Pakistan.
Above all, there would have been a national mourning.
But not in Pakistan. Not in a country where one ruler sold his nation in exchange for a deal offered to him by the Am-Brits and where ‘elected’ rulers consider receiving someone from Washington and London the high point of their careers.
The list of grievances is long:
1. WHERE ARE THE RAPID EMERGENCY TEAMS: Many of the dead in Peshawar probably died beneath collapsed buildings. Where are the millions of rupees that were spent after the 2005 earthquake on rapid response rescue teams?
2. MOUNRING: How many innocent Pakistanis should be killed before our ruling elite decide to declare national mourning? How many Pakistanis should die before our President and Prime Minister cut short their toasts for Mrs. Hillary Clinton and rush to Peshawar to be with their own people?
3. FIND CULPRITS: We know our own citizens are involved in this terrorism, but the small terror army in South Waziristan is not getting its money and weapons from inside Pakistan. Rehman Malik’s Interior Ministry and the military’s spy agencies have credible, strong and detailed information about how a US-controlled Afghanistan is being used for anti-Pakistan activities. BLA and TTP terrorists have a safe haven there. Terrorist Abdullah Mehsud was killed in 2007 slipping back from Afghanistan through Balochistan [and not the tribal belt] after meeting his backers there. We know why the Chinese were targeted here. We have enough evidence of the condemnable role played by India and its puppets in Kabul, and of the suspicious role of at least the US intelligence if not the US military and the Obama administration. And yet our government and the ruling elite of Pakistan are shy of mentioning this publicly. How many Pakistanis should die before they move? How many of our children must be orphaned before you speak up? You are being forced to ditch Kashmir and submit without questions to whatever Washington wants to do in Afghanistan. Why can’t you take a stand? What are you afraid of? That your assets in American and British banks will be seized?
4. SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES: US diplomats camouflaged as Afghan Taliban carrying weapons and pictures of sensitive buildings have been arrested, not once but many times. US ambassador Anne Patterson has been using her personal rapport with President Zardari and the Interior Minister to allow US security firms into Pakistan, mostly to repeat the same mistakes of Iraq and Afghanistan. Pakistanis don’t want any of this. Pakistanis don’t agree with the American view that Pakistan is a war theater following Iraq and Afghanistan, and we will resist this. ‘Extremism’ is not the only explanation for the terrorist army in South Waziristan. America’s role in Afghanistan is also a big reason for the regional mess.
I make these grievances, and so do most Pakistanis, knowing that we are seeing a shift in this country. Patriotism and PakNationalism is on the ascent here. Take the example of one Pakistani politician who received a call from the US embassy last week. Senator Tariq Azim was asked to visit the US Embassy building in the secured diplomatic enclave because a former State Department analyst-turned-academic, Mr. Daniel Markey, wanted to see him.
Senator Azim accepted the request for the meeting but politely declined to come to the embassy. He said if Mr. Markey wants to see him he should come to the senator’s office. Sen. Azim’s action was not about being antagonistic to Washington. He is a proponent of strong ties with America but he wanted to make a statement on US meddling in Pakistani politics, where Washington’s diplomacy with Pakistan shifted over the past two years from the Pakistan Foreign Office to direct contacts and private dealings with political parties.
Show some pride and compassion and share the grief of your people before it’s too late.