Frustrated by the wailing from the bill’s opponents, Shakir Husain makes the perfect analogy for the Kerry-Lugar opposition’s poor manners.
It’s Bakra Eid and your neighbour sends you some meat from their goat which they have just slaughtered. You open the door and take the bloody tray. But then you send it right back saying that you didn’t like the cut which was sent over and that the tray was also not acceptable, and the neighbours should have put a better cloth to cover the meat. If you think this is bizarre then think again. This is exactly the discourse (if you can call it that) which is happening all over Pakistan today. If you think it’s ridiculous then think again because this is the stuff of late night television where political “analysts” are saying exactly this. If you think its rude then this is the stuff which Opposition politicians are using to hammer the government from all sides without mentioning that they loved Uncle Sam’s dollars when they were in power. Welcome to the Bakra Mandi where “analysis” occurs without even reading the content of this bill which is supposed to “erode” Pakistan’s sovereignty.
This is obviously political opportunism at its worst. We won’t go into the ridiculous details of the opposition’s false claims – these are well documented elsewhere. Instead, I’ll take a moment to highlight the growing number of Pakistanis that are speaking out loudly and sanely in favor of the Kerry-Lugar bill, and the friendship, partnership, and cooperation between the US and Pakistan that it represents.
Today’s PakTribune features a column by Muhammad Ahsan Yatu that speaks very clearly to the fact that Kerry-Lugar is in our interest.
Our economy may be big but our population and problems are much, much bigger. Given our resources which are almost negligible we need help. It is up to us to reject the Bill. The US can find new and willing friends; we cannot find a single friend who is willing to help us with as many dollars as are coming from the US. O.K., there are two more ways. We should reduce our security and administrative expenditures and tax the rich. It will help us generate at least as much capital as we require to feed ourselves. But who will bell the cat? Neither will army nor bureaucracy cooperate. We cannot collect the additional taxes either. The wealth and asset distribution in Pakistan is grossly disproportionate to what a functional state must have. The 5% among us own whatever wealth and assets Pakistan has and the rest live either below or on the poverty line. The irony is that our civil-military bureaucracy and landed and moneyed elites, who are also our rulers, make up our privileged 5% class. The other way is to turn to communism. It will jump-start our stalled economy and help us grow intellectually. We can after a decade turn to liberal economy as China did. But, there are no communists around.
Sadiq Saleem takes to task the number of Kerry-Lugar opponents who cry about about ‘Ghairat’ (national honor), mostly the Islamist political parties and right-wing conspiracy theorists who are taking over the television programmes. Saleem goes on to show very plainly the hypocrisy of these self-proclaimed defenders of Pakistan’s national honor:
The economies of nations grow through aid, trade, investment and productivity, That is how Japan and Germany overcame the destruction of World War II and South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia all became Asian tigers. Pakistan’s problem has been that we are aid dependent but instead of completing the cycle and moving towards the large scale investment and productivity stage our ‘Ghairat’ makes us abandon and restarts the cycle periodically.
The ‘Ghairat’ lobby is going ballistic with the Kerry-Lugar Bill, saying that the Americans want to dictate and control “our army” but the same lobby had no problems when in 2007 US aid was provided only when the American President certified that Pakistan had agreed to “undertake a comprehensive military, legal, economic, and political campaign to” “eliminate” groups like Taliban, al-Qaeda and others and Americans saw proof of the same.
The passage of Kerry-Lugar provided a special opportunity for opposition politicians, Islamists, and conspiracy-minded journalists to make a loud noise in an attempt to further their own careers. But the people of Pakistan – the REAL Pakistani nationalists – those who have endured years of political corruption, economic mismanagement, and attempts to please the radical militants who are now threatening our children – they have had enough and are beginning to speak out. Their voices will not be silent.