UK newspaper The Telegraph has been on an anti-Pakistan tear for the past few weeks. First, a column by their reporter Dean Nelson accused President Zardari of misusing funds for earthquake relief, a claim that was thoroughly debunked by the website Pakistan Media Watch. Today, the newspaper publishes an article by Con Coughlin calling for a coup! Why is this British newspaper so intent on attacking our government?
Actually, this is not the first insulting column by Mr Coughlin. Earlier this month he accused President Zardari of being “more concerned with politics than his people”, a slap in the face of our President who was at the time meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss aid for flood victims and opening access to British and European markets so that Pakistan can build its own economy and not rely on foreign aid in times of crisis.
It’s ironic that Mr Coughlin suggests a military coup is in order for Pakistan since his 4 August column insults not only President Zardari, but the Pak military also calling the army’s response to the floods a “failure”. The irony being, of course, that this demonstrates both an utter lack of knowledge and insight on the part of Mr Coughlin about the military’s relationship with the rest of the government and its response to the floods.
In fact, as The Globe and Mail reported just last week, the military has improved its stature with its response to the floods, and American Senator John Kerry praised the military’s response saying,
“I was impressed by the quality of the leadership, the generals who were showing us the organization that they’ve put in place, and the amazing cooperation between their military and ours was really an example of how we can work together and improve the relationship between our countries and do good things for people.”
Coughlin, on the other hand, references Altaf Hussain’s backwards call for martial law and registers disappointment that the generals seem uninterested in derailing the democratic process.
But Pakistan has had enough of coups and dictators. It is a testament to the professionalism and the nationalism of our generals including Gen Kayani that there is honest cooperation between the military and the other branches of government. There will be non coup, because we neither want nor require any such thing. Despite Mr Coughlin’s ill-conceived insults, our military and our government officals from all parties are doing their best to manage a disaster unlike any in history.
But the most important point is this: Pakistan is a sovereign nation with a democratically elected government. How dare this Briton Mr Con Coughlin suggest a military coup to overthrow our government! Pakistan may have had a rough time over the past 62 years, but it has been far better than living under the jackboot of British Imperialism.
Can you imagine if Mr Coughlin was saying this about any other country? Calling for a coup against a democratically elected government is beyond the pale of civilized behaviour. Where is the responsibility of the British media? Or is it the bitter flavour of the Telegraph’s latent imperialist racism that is souring my tongue?
We may be going through some trials now, but he wave survived worse. Inshallah, this crisis will only strengthen our unity and our resolve to build our democracy and our nation. Either way, though, Pakistan is our country, not Britain’s, and we will decide how to govern ourselves without the “help” of neo-imperialists like Con Coughlin. Let him worry about his own country, please, and leave us alone.