Monday, July 03, 2006

A US-Pak Journalist Lashes Out at Mush


Hasan Jafri is a Pakistani-born journalist who began his career in Karachi. He is currently based in the US. Yesterday he wrote this piece for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

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Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Pakistan has to earn U.S. aid
Tuesday, July 4, 2006

By HASAN JAFRI

Congress has proposed to reduce aid to military-ruled Pakistan by $150 million for not carrying out overdue democratic reforms. But President Bush's Pakistani allies say they want all, not some of the money, $3 billion over five years.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad, has reassured Pakistan, saying, "We are a democracy, Congress has its views, but I would like to make very clear that this administration is totally committed to providing the full amount."

Make no mistake: this would be a misstep. Gen. Pervez Musharraf's military regime should be made to offer specific concessions, not just for democratic change, but with respect also to nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

There are compelling reasons why. Pakistan helps the United States in the war on terrorism but not nearly enough. The leaders of Pakistan's two largest political parties, which also happen to be moderate politically, are barred from contesting elections. And Dr. A. Q. Khan's nuclear parts bazaar welcomed shoppers from Iran and al-Qaida.

Enforcing congressional cuts and spelling out what the United States expects will tell Pakistan's military regime unequivocally to clean up its act.

For starters, the U.S. could tell Pakistan to apprehend more top terrorists. Second, Pakistan should allow the world community meaningful access to Khan. Third, Pakistan must let Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, civilian opposition leaders languishing in exile, to come home with guarantees they will not be arrested or harassed in the country's Wild West court system. Musharraf is promising elections in October.

Bhutto and Sharif should be allowed to contest.

The United States' Pakistani critics will assail those demands as imperious, but the U.S. has little choice. The hands-off-Pakistan policy initiated following 9/11 is failing. Islamic radicals and Taliban are a dangerous and growing threat in Pakistan.

To build a power base independent of Bhutto and Sharif, Musharraf has appeased radical Islamists. This is the genesis of news stories about Pakistan's leader walking a U.S. tightrope as he tries calming bloodthirsty clerics gathered below. It is also the reason why Pakistan has been so distracted from its international commitments.

After 9/11, Musharraf promised to find Osama bin Laden but the search for bin Laden has turned into the search for Jimmy Hoffa.

All signs point to northern Pakistan as the al-Qaida leader's hideout, yet bin Laden is free. A scalpel put to Pakistan's military budget may induce the country's once prolifically productive secret police to rediscover its knack for finding people.

Khan merely needs to be delivered to the world community. Even Pakistanis, who overwhelmingly support their country's nuclear program, are stunned Khan has not been questioned at length by a neutral government or by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Musharraf says no way -- Khan is a national hero. Yet Pakistan has not been shy about rendering its heroes before. Many of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are Pakistanis, and before Islamabad turned away from the Taliban they, too, were feted as great icons. Today's terrorists were yesterday's mujahedeen.

Aid cuts and clear conditions for resumption will help Islamabad become a responsible ally. Pakistan is the world's sixth-largest nation, and it must not nurture Taliban sympathizers or hide the sales records of a nuclear Macy's.

Bush should support cuts proposed by Congress and tie future assistance to concrete reform.


7 comments:

the olive ream said...

With no due respect to the author of this article, but his drivel sounds like sycophantic tripe rather than credible critique. He is regurgitating the same points (that seem rational) used by other self-righteous American journalist. I would give credit to Mr. Jafri (and the like) for pointing out the obvious, only if he were to critique the Bush Administration and its obliteration of Human rights in the US and around the world.

The bastard nuclear issue is always brought into argument. Why the F**K should any country give up, or dismantle their nuclear bombs when the fanatical fascists US has an arsenal of thousands of nuclear warheads?! Who exactly died and made them god?

Honestly, who actually feels safe with MR. double-digit IQ possessor BUSH having access to nuclear options. No (sane)person, that's who!

Mr. Jafri and the US need to get over themselves and their pretentious horses and look at the actions and deeds of the US before arguing what other countries should be forced to do or not do.

Here ends my rant.

Onlooker said...

Olive Ream

You are perfectly entitled to 'rant', as you say ;)

However the point is that no other country has been so prolific in providing nuclear bomb know-how to any foreign country willing to front up with the necessary millions in cold hard cash.

Up front money appears to have been the only proviso (nothing about friendly diplomatic relations or any other benefit for Pakistan as a whole).

One can hardly suggest that countries such as North Korea, Libya or Iran are key allies of Pakistan - in Libya and Iran's case currently it appears to be the opposite. And North Korea is run by a loony who lets millions of his people starve to death.

Personally I agree with you that we have had too much hypocritical ravings from the US and others about who is entitled to possess the bomb who is not.

But reality states that as far as international nuclear proliferation goes no one has done more damage than our very own - the great and very rich AQ Khan.

the olive ream said...

Onlooker,

I appreciate your comments. But by no means do I defend A.Q.Khan. Individuals have sold out their countries for far less.

What I despise is the hypocricy of it all. The US has funded (covertly or overtly) and supported military dictatorships, extremists and sadistic rebel groups for their own avarice in countries around the world. They have broken their own laws as far as funding and transfer of military technology to one specific country in the Middle East, I am sure you know which country I am talking about.

I am sick and tired of the concept of a fairness consistently being associated with the US government. How can one critique North Korea, or Iran or Pakistan or any other country for that matter and not highlight the murder of 100,000 plus Iraqis, the unlawful detention of innocent people, and the skewed and sadistic logic of 'rendition' by the US.

I am fed-up with the mainstream not addressing the real issue. It is the military industrial complex, the corporations and the cartels and the repulsively rich interest groups who are to blame for what is happening globally. By labeling it 'Globalism' or the 'War On Terror' does not hide the true culprits.

In simple terms, it is a fight between two disparate groups. The Haves and the Have-nots. The Haves are obviously winning.

Anonymous said...

Are Musharraf and the Pakistan govt. fighting the haves on behalf of the have-nots in the region? If so, which have-nots are those?

DrPak said...

Lets keep in mind that AQ Khan was in place long before Musharraf came onto the scene. The nuclear devices were tested in 1997 and that made A Q Khan an untouchable national hero. Let's not lay the blame for AQ Khan on the doorsteps of whoever happened to be in power at the time the revelations of his nuclear bazar were made public. For his part, Musharraf became suspicious of AQ Khan due to his unauthorized visits to Iran and clamped down on him before the whole scandal exploded. I don't believe for one minute that Musharraf would have ever allowed nuclear technology to be peddled in this way. That sort of gross irresponsibility and corruption would have been manifest in other policies of the General's. To this day, not even Musharraf's harshest critics can accuse him of corruption.

To me, the levels of irresponsibility associated with the AQ Khan scandal reminds me very much of Benazir and Sherif, who happend to be the ones in charge during the 90s, when AQ Khan rose to power.

Sherif and Bhutto should never come near this country again. Anyone who so grossly rapes the trust given to them through the ballot box is nothing short of a traitor in my opinion. It's all very well and good to talk about democracy, but when you've got these two perverts walking around the corridors of power, I'd rather take my chances with the good General.

maakhter said...

When a Muslim country tries to acquire or transfer nuclear technology then the use of Islamophobia becomes very evident...Read More

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