Republished from: “Zardari comes of age”
By Azam Khalil
Pakistani President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari has proved that he has come of age and that in spite of whatever his critics have to say about him. During his recent visit to the United States Mr. Zardari who had poor support from his foreign ministry that is infested with ‘Foreigners’. The President emerged as a clear winner.
The articulation and the negotiating skills shown by the President in a hostile forum and environment will help Mr. Zardari to attain the role of a statesman for this country. The amount of success achieved by Pakistan during these difficult times will help the country both in the short term and long term achievement of certain national goals. Before he went to the United States Mr. Zardari had won substantial funding for his country at a friends of Pakistan meeting in Japan. While foreign loans and aid were welcome at this stage of the global recession yet it should not be a long term goal for the government of Pakistan.
People who have been assigned the job of planning economic activity and recovery must concentrate to generate productive activity that allows Pakistan to gain a foothold in trading relationship with Europe and other emerging economies. Only by increasing production and creating an atmosphere that is industry-favourable can this country compete with its rivals who have slowly been edging out Pakistan from several lucrative markets in the world. Therefore both the economic policies and financial management require intense hard work at every level of the country that will allow Pakistan to attain economic stability. Only when this goal of economic viability is achieved will the country be able to protect its national sovereignty and also protect other vital national interests that go with them.
Pakistan was well aware of the fact that the American administration has several key members who are lobbyists for India and as such they will continue to foment trouble for Pakistan. Therefore it becomes essential that committed Pakistani diplomats were assigned the tasks to tackle this hostile atmosphere in the American administration and win a even handed policy from the Americans that was presently loaded against the interests of Pakistan.
The insistence of the Americans that the Indian government was not creating any problem for Pakistan by helping the insurgency in some areas of N.W.F.P. and was also not involved in the subversive activities by certain elements in Balochistan was an example of the bias of the American administration. This was mainly due to the fact that several key policy makers were known Indian lobbyists and as such they would only formulate policies that would help India and create problems for Pakistan.
Mr. Zardari must be on his guard whenever he engages the Americans and so should be the case of the army Chief who should put his foot down on any American policies or suggestions that were contrary to the facts and hostile in nature for this country. One wonders as to what happened to the tons of evidence that is available with Pakistan against India on its devilish role in trying to destabilize Pakistan by helping foreign elements who are fighting against Pakistan’s security forces in Swat and were actively engaged in sabotage of vital instillations in Balochistan.
Another test for the leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party and its government would be how they tackle domestic politics because without popular support they would quickly lose the international recognition that is now being poured on them. It was therefore absolutely essential that Mr. Nawaz Sharif instead of hatching conspiracies against the elected government of Pakistan Peoples Party should sincerely extend his political support because only a united front of the democratic forces of the country will be able to counter the mechanisms of hostile elements who are out there to harm Pakistan.
The question will soon emerge as to whether Mian Nawaz Sharif is sincere when he states that his party will not destabilize the elected government of Pakistan Peoples Party or he continues to expand his political support by enticing members of PML (Q) not only in the province of Punjab but also at the National level and that includes members of the Senate. If these conspiracies do not end no government civil or military will be able to send a strong signal to the Americans or other hostile forces that will continue to work against the interests of this country.
Finally it would be appropriate if the President takes the entire nation into confidence on the amount of success that he achieved during his visit to the United States and also identifies the areas that continue to be trouble spots for this country. He should seek the cooperation of all the democratic forces in the country only then it will be possible for his government to resolve some of the serious problems that are being faced by the nation today.
It is also the duty of the President and his government to harness all the available resources that are at the command of the government for the armed forces of the country who are fighting a war of attrition that is being funded and aided by the Indians directly and through the Afghan government. The people must support the armed forces to the hilt if they want to get rid the country from the menace of extremism, sectarianism and other misguided campaigns that were being carried out to weaken and harm Pakistan.
Pakistan must go on to decisively crush those who were fighting against the armed forces in some areas of N.W.F.P. and that the forces must be provided with the equipment and funds that were necessary to defeat these foreign mercenaries. This does not mean that there was no local support for these extremists. Therefore the causes for domestic support must be identified and tackled in a mature way. The time demands that the government and its people act together otherwise the options available may run out resulting in more difficulties for the future.