Tuesday, September 23, 2008

US media: Open hunting season on Pakistan

پاکستاان لیجر | PAKISTAN LEDGER | پاکستاني کھاتا |Sept. 23rd, 08 | Moin Ansari | معین آنصآرّی |

Pakistan faces many wars. She faces wars from India and her proxies in Afghanistan. She also faces a war of words from the US press under the influence of the Indian lobby

As Pakistan gets hammered by Taliban and Al Qaeda bombs in Islamabad (the Marriott to be precise), and by Hellfire missiles in FATA, the feeding frenzy in the US press builds to a crescendo. This week Newsweek published an article titled, "Pakistan's Double-Cross" by long-time Pakistan-sufferer, Sumit Ganguly. When Pakistanis read Ganguly's vicious hatchet job on Pakistan (and on history), they should take a deep breath and pause before they react. Despite his boring residual partition rage, Ganguly is not the one that has made Pakistan foreign policy target No 1 for US presidential candidates. It wasn't Ganguly who loathes ordinary Pakistanis so deeply that he thought it okay to reject their overwhelming will, and insist he knew what was good for Pakistan better. It wasn't Ganguly who signed the NRO, or fired the judges. Pakistanis need to learn very quickly that Pakistan's battles will be won and lost by its people, not by Cold War analysts trying to be relevant in Washington DC.

While English-speaking Pakistanis will either seethe with rage at Ganguly, or at the Pakistani "establishment", ordinary Pakistanis will have no reaction at all. It's not just that they can't read English, it's that they can't read period. That's why they don't know what the Magna Carta is. That's why they can't check the roznamcha for a record of their presence at the police station. That's why the FIR system favours the rural and industrial elite. That's why they have to depend on the feudal and industrial elite. That's why they vote for the PPP and the PML-Q. And that is why the rage of these English-speaking Pakistanis is heart-warming but without efficacy. The rage will not free ordinary Pakistanis from the clutches of their political and economic realities. The News: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 by Mosharraf Zaidi

However there was a silver lining from an unusual source-The New York Times

Help Pakistan government fight terrorism, NYT urges US

* Editorial says increasing civilian casualties driving more people into Taliban’s hands

NEW YORK: An influential United Stated newspaper on Monday cautioned the Bush administration against attacks inside Pakistani territory and called for devising a policy to bolster Pakistan’s civilian government while enlisting its full support in the fight against extremists.

“If an American raid captured or killed a top Al Qaeda or Taliban operative, the backlash might be worth it. But if there were any chance of permanently rooting out extremists from the Tribal Areas, that will have to be done by Pakistan’s military, backed up with sustained programmes for economic and political development,” the New York Times (NYT) said in an editorial that expressed dissatisfaction with Pakistan’s efforts to counter terrorism.
The editorial also noted that US President George W Bush’s decision to send troops across the border was made in desperation.

Civilian casualties: “We fear that a rising number of civilian casualties, on both sides of the border, is driving more people into the hands of the repressive Taliban and other extremist groups. These attacks are also making Pakistan’s new President Asif Ali Zardari look weak and irrelevant,” said the editorial, titled ‘Running Out of Time’.

“He (Zardari) deserves a chance, and American support, to fulfil his promises to bolster democracy, clean up Pakistan’s intelligence services and work with the US to defeat terrorism.

“Zardari made a start, inviting President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to his inauguration,” the NYT said, noting that in his speech to parliament on Saturday he had said his government would not allow terrorists to launch attacks on any neighbour from Pakistani soil, nor would it tolerate further American military incursions.

The NYT editorial said that US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen had made a ‘fence-mending trip’ to Pakistan last week, and that Pentagon officials say they are reviewing the overall strategy.
“Any revised plan must do a lot more to avoid civilian casualties and support, rather than undermine, Pakistan’s civilian leaders. Congress can do its part by approving a $7.5 billion aid package, intended to strengthen Pakistan’s democratic institutions and its counterinsurgency capabilities,” the editorial said. app

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