I like to think of myself as an optimist, but also a realist. Sometimes these two traits come into conflict, and in these instances, I find that a depressing reality can easily knock the rosy tint out of my glasses. And so over the weekend I found myself nodding in agreement with Cyril Almeida’s piece about our ability to respond, but not reform, and I found myself in a bit of a funk. Today, however, my positivity has returned. Not because of any breakthrough in governance – that may still be in the distant future, but because of several pieces that have begun appearing that inject a dose of realism into the national debate and, hopefully…just maybe…are pointing towards an awakening among our intelligentsia.
National consensus against terrorism has been reached. Military and civilians are on the the same page. A major paradigm shift has been taken. The talking points are consistent, and there are signs that they are sincere. However, there are some who refuse to accept Pakistan’s resolve and are actively trying to sow doubt and undermine Pakistan’s stature in the world – especially in Washington. This is the latest narrative that has been taking hold in media, and, as we know, if the media seizes on a narrative, it must be true.
Shahid Javed Burki is a world renowned Pakistani economist. He has served as Vice President of the World Bank and Finance Minister, and his economic insights have been both appreciated and promoted by this blog. However, in his latest piece, the respected economist steps out of his area of expertise, and the political analysis that he offers is not only misguided, it poses a danger to national security.
I lost count of how many times someone emailed me a link to a news report about Sharifuddin Pirzada, the lawyer who is leading Gen Musharraf’s defence team. The report was originally written by AFP, a French media group, but it has spread like fire since, appearing in countless newspapers both in Pakistan and internationally. The explanation that Pirzada is ‘just doing his job’ is perfectly valid – that is not my issue. My issue is why this explanation is only given for lawyers who defend dictators?
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US has been termed as ‘toughest job in the world’. Much more than a mere ceremonial position, the Ambassador has the unenviable task of not only explaining Pakistan’s positions, but trying to negotiate with the world’s sole superpower that too often has a hard time appreciating a view other than its own. Having been without a permanent representative since the past seven months, our new representative, Jalil Abbas Jilani, arrived this week in Washington, DC to try to mend a relationship that many fear is rapidly approaching a breaking point. The question is, does he have the credibility to do it?