Kerry Lugar Bill and the Conspiracy Theorists

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

The conspiracy-monger brigade of Pakistan is up in arms against the Kerry Lugar Bill.   Hysterical shrieks are being heard from all corners against it.   Those who had struggled for rule of law and democracy only a few months prior ago are now hailing the top brass of the Pakistan Army for taking a stand against this “anti-national faustian bargain”.   All and sundry have denounced it as the worst compromise in Pakistan’s history. 

May I ask the gentlemen who have taken upon themselves to create this false national frenzy over this issue of immense national importance what it is in the bill that they feel “violates” national sovereignty?    How can a legislative act of another country determining the terms and conditions on which they will help us be a violation of our national sovereignty?   There are some points that need to be reiterated as they haven’t been mentioned enough times by those who matter:

1.  This Bill/Act to be is a US Legislation and not an agreement between Pakistan and the US.

2.  The certification clauses in the Agreement provide a way out for Pakistan whereby the US President and Secretary of State can effectively turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s failings if they please.   There is no other way of looking at it.

3.  In  the event that Pakistan does not fulfill any of the conditions,   only military assistance may be halted, not developmental assistance.

4.  Nobody is forcing Pakistan to do anything that it doesn’t want to but let us consider what it is that is being asked of us?

a.  That there should be civilian control over the military.   How is this against Pakistan’s interest or national sovereignty?  Didn’t Mr. Jinnah say the same thing again and again?  Don’t we as a people want the military to stay out of politics?  If not what was Qazi Hussain Ahmad of Fitna Maududiat jumping about against Musharraf?  Or is it that they want a military of their choice to itnervene?     We have long asked the US to stop aiding military dictators.  Now that they legally undertake it we are whining about it.  How ironic!  

b.  That Pakistan should not proliferate nuclear technology.  How is that against our interest?  The very concept of nuclear doctrine is based upon us having it and others not having it.   How has our “national sovereignty” violated if we are asked that in order to get military assistance we ought to adhere to a code of conduct vis a vis nuclear weapons?  Don’t we wish to be a responsible nuclear state?

 c.  That Pakistan should not allow its soil to be used for terrorist activities against any other country.  Do we not want Pakistan to be free of terrorism? Don’t we proclaim to be a peaceful member of the comity of nations?   So long as we try our best,  our friends in Washington will ensure presidential certification.

Cheap and petty politics is being played on a non-issue.   In the process the  bogus “National Security” argument is being utilized to undermine Pakistan’s civilian democratic structure.   It is therefore imperative that all civilian democratic parties realize that this false frenzy and conspiracy theory constitutes a grave threat to our existence as a democratic nation state.  

It may also be remembered that Pakistan has sought American aid from day one.  Even the father of our country, Mr. Jinnah, was of the view that the Americans would gain from helping Pakistan but his vision was of collaboration of two democracies working for the peace and security of the world and in defence of democracy itself.  Today the US is finally aligned with that vision because instead of helping military rulers,  it has extended a hand of friendship to the people of Pakistan.  Let us not shun this hand.  Let us take as equals and let us refuse to be misled by rabble rousers who are making a mockery of our nation state.

23 Comments

Filed under Pakistan, USA

23 responses to “Kerry Lugar Bill and the Conspiracy Theorists

  1. Bloody Civilian

    where does the Bill mention ‘nuclear proliferation’?

  2. Tiberius

    More evidence of Pakistan being a masonic conspiracy!

  3. Gabban

    Yasser bhai,

    Congratulations … all seems well explained and said ! … these people have spared no effort to quench Pakistan … woe be to them.

  4. Rabia

    good article

  5. humpak

    well what are you trying to establish ———— that all those who are showing their concern and rejecting Kerry Lugar Bill are conspiracy theorists including majority of Pakistanis, major political parties and above all military brass of Pakistan

  6. Pervaiz Munir Alvi

    I had written a piece on this subject earlier this year. The article was posted here at PTH on May 24, 2009 under the title of “Strings Attached”. Of course it is a bill passed by the senate of an other country and as such it does not have any bearing on the government of Pakistan. But the bill would have long term implications on Pakistan, both good and bad, if the government of Pakistan accept this ‘aid package’ as presented. Pakistani nation must be fully informed about the details and pros and cons of this deal. To the visitors of this blog may I suggest to read my article of May 24, 2009. Perhaps Rumi Sahab could bring the article back to the front page or provide a link here. The intention is to invite national debate on the subject and not necessarily denigrate any one point of view.

  7. Pervaiz Munir Alvi

    Please read what I had said in the last paragraph of my May 24, 2009 article:

    “Before accepting these funds Pakistan government must revisit the history of its bilateral relationship with the USA. Even though Pakistan government has been insisting on the revival of the old ‘strategic’ relationship between the two, USA on her part prefers to keep the bilateral relations only on ad hock ‘fee for service’ basis. This aid package clearly states that if Pakistan military does not comply with the conditions set forth there may be another arm embargo against Pakistan. What about the set back that Pakistan and its armed forces could suffer because of yet another American embargo against Pakistan? Who will reimburse that loss? Furthermore is it wise on part of Pakistan to ‘rent out’ its armed forces to another power for 750 million dollars per year for ten years? On the civilian side it is the responsibility of the provincial and federal governments to plan and implement developmental projects for the betterment of its citizens. It should only be the Pakistan government as the final decider of what projects should take priority and where such projects should take place. It appears that by accepting this package Pakistan government would forfeit that responsibility to a foreign government who will determine the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of the developmental projects and not the Pakistan government. But the sad irony is that Pakistani ruling elites, like they have always done in the past, will take the money regardless of the long term implications and consequences of this ‘Enhanced Partnership’.”

  8. Pervaiz Munir Alvi

    Here is the caviar:

    “If the Secretary of State does not certify that the Security Forces of Pakistan have met certain security standards by year 2012, then the bill would prohibit the necessary licenses and programs for American private entities to export major defense equipment to Pakistan”.

  9. Anwar

    I have same views as PMA…
    Outsmarting the White man is not that simple…. just wait and see!

  10. Hossp

    There is no doubt that every loan, all aid, and every financial commitment has some strings attached. No bank would lend money without certain conditions. So in a way the US has every right to attach some conditions to the bill. As a recipient country Pakistan will have to comply with the conditions. So there is no point in saying that the conditions are only binding on the US admin and Pakistan can go on its own merry way.

    In principle I agree with most of the known
    conditions. We don’t know if there are any unknown or hidden conditions that have caused so much consternation in the army. The other issue is that if these conditions apply only to the military aid then why are they tied with the civilian aid? Pakistan military had, in the past, on many occasions accepted conditional aid and since the conditions were not made public, the army had no problem with them.

    Now we are dealing with the two issues here: why the US made such a huge diplomatic faux pas by making the conditions public, and secondly, has the Zardari admin again failed to gauge correctly the public and Army’s growing nationalism? The Nationalism which is falsely channeled as Anti Americanism by the Pakistani media.

    I think Zardari and his friends in the US are simply looking to provoke the army because they feel that they are secure due to the US support.

    How accurate is the assumption that the US would not allow the army to act against the civilians? I am not too sure about that. The Army can manage to sideline Zardari and his group with another set of civilians without flipping the cart upside down.

    In my opinion, the path the US and Zardari have chosen to confront the army is full of land-mines and in the end would actually hurt the civilian establishment.

    Pakistan army’s connections with the Pentagon are well known and the army Generals issued statement only after meeting General McCrystal. Coincidently, McCrystal is a lynchpin in another power struggle within the US establishment.

    If Zardari really wants to confront the army, he has to appeal to the public and show his sincerity. Right now the assumption is that he is only fighting to keep his own and his party position and has no interest with the continued efforts to strengthen democracy in the country. That leaves him in a big hole and I think this current situation shows he is also under some false assumptions. This would actually cause many problems for the already fledgling efforts to restrict the army interference in the Pakistani affairs.

    A bad and poorly thought out steps and strategy by Zardari and his friends in the US who are clueless when it comes to dealing with the Pak army.

  11. Junaid

    What I dont understand is that as a beggar nation, why dont Pakistan happily and gladly accept what every they get out of the yanks.

    Beggars are not choosers.

    Either stop begging or stop whinging.

  12. yasserlatifhamdani

    This morning I heard five dirt poor Pakistanis, who would be the real beneficiaries of this bill, abusing the Kerry Lugar Bill and declaring that it is all thanks to the great sipah salar kiyani that the bill will not be passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly.

    PMA,

    What long term implications …. let us have that debate right here… that the US will not allow defence aid in case Pakistan fails to play within the parameters that it has set for itself?

    I am afraid I don’t quite understand… we have received aid in the past on conditions that are far worse than those given here.

  13. Pingback: ISPR's statement on Kerry-Lugar only represents Army's view - Navy - WCCFtech.com | Forum

  14. imran

    its just absurd.

    wht part of our sovereignty are we worried about?

    our right to be a dictatorship?

    or our right to sell weapons of mass destruction?!?

    i get the N wants a mid term election.

    Q is worried tht the democracy clause means they never come to power again.

    and the army? they should express any reservations to their commander-in-chief the democratically president of pakistan.

    perhaps the money should only be spent in the areas of mnas n mpas who support the bill.

  15. Hayyer

    Hear Hear

  16. Hayyer

    PMA:
    ‘Furthermore is it wise on part of Pakistan to ‘rent out’ its armed forces to another power for 750 million dollars per year for ten years?’
    These questions should have been asked long ago. As long ago as 1954 when Ayub Khan told the US government, “Our Army can be your army”. Seato, Cento, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, even Afghanistan are examples of the problem. It is not the price (of 750 million dollars) that is important but the principle.

    It is unfortunate but unavoidable. Elements which are perceived by the US to threaten it are supposed to be living in Pakistan’s frontier areas. The choices are to get rid of them, let the US fight them on your soil, or, defy the US, none of them pleasant options.

    Hossp:
    “Now we are dealing with the two issues here: why the US made such a huge diplomatic faux pas by making the conditions public, and secondly, has the Zardari admin again failed to gauge correctly the public and Army’s growing nationalism?”

    Could the conditions have been hidden? The processes preclude that possibility (sorry for the alliteration). It is the media that brought it about. Who can stop them?
    Have the Army and the public not always been nationalistic? Nationalism everywhere can get hyper, but does it grow? It does seem to be anti Americanism from what one reads in the media and the blogs, not just plain old nationalism.

    “How accurate is the assumption that the US would not allow the army to act against the civilians? I am not too sure about that. The Army can manage to sideline Zardari and his group with another set of civilians without flipping the cart upside down
    In my opinion, the path the US and Zardari have chosen to confront the army is full of land-mines and in the end would actually hurt the civilian establishment.”
    Now that is a frightening assessment-That the political establishment is even now, after all that has happened, willing to be the army’s cats paw.
    The US cannot block the Army from staging a coup. America needs your army more than your army needs America, in the ongoing western struggle certainly. All that the Americans can do were the Army to take over is to suspend aid. It would still need the Pak army to fight its battles on the frontier. We can, in such an event, look forward to some more fluttering in the Washington dovecotes before everyone settle down to business as usual.

  17. PMA

    Hayyer (October 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm):

    SEATO & CENTO and Pakistan’s involvement in those pacts must be seen in the light of the Cold War. Pakistan joined these now defunct treaties nearly sixty years ago with that precise background and under its civilian governments. Even your own country India, which is an American ally now, joined Communist Soviet Block during the Cold War era. But this discussion is not about India-Pakistan or the Cold War. That era is over. Today it is about America, the sole super power, its foreign policy and her regional alliances in the Middle East, South-Central Asia, and South Asia. This latest ‘aid package’ by the USA, designed to safeguard American interests in the region, must be seen under present geopolitical conditions and not that of the Cold War era. The Pakistani government must explain to its people the pros and cons of this latest American offer. This ‘package’ must be openly debated in the National Assembly of Pakistan. The clauses of the agreement deemed not in the national interest of Pakistan must be repealed or modified before the government is allowed to sign the deal. Look at your own country India. Did your national assembly not debate the issue of nuclear deal with America before government of India signing it. I don’t blame Americans for wanting what they do. But Pakistan too must do what is in her own best interest. You sir may voice your opinion, but the discourse must remain purely a Pakistani debate, and not an India-Pakistan one. Thanks for the interest in Pakistan affairs.

  18. Hayyer

    PMA, Sir:
    I have not tried to make this an Indo-Pak discourse. India was not mentioned in my comment.
    It is of-course a Pakistani debate but let me just put some correct two of your notions.
    1. India was not in the Soviet camp. It was part of what later became the non aligned movement, and followed a policy of what used to be called neutralism. John Foster Dulles the American Secretary of State called India’s posture ‘immoral’. In 1971 India signed a treaty of piece and friendship with the Soviet Union in the wake of the looming war in East Pakistan. This was not a treaty against the US.
    2. In parliamentary systems of government parliamentary approval is not required for the Executive to proceed in any course of action. India’s Parliament did not discuss the nuclear deal before it was signed. It was not necessary and the government rightly refused the opposition demand. The same principle holds true for Pakistan I presume.

  19. PMA

    Hayyer (October 10, 2009 at 2:06 am):

    I said India “joined Communist Soviet Block during the Cold War era” and you sir said, “India was not in the Soviet camp.” Well, lets just leave it there. Karry-Lugar Bill is not about the Cold War anyway. And thanks for the correction that America-India Nuclear Deal was not debated in the Indian national assembly.

  20. Hayyer

    Sorry for the typo in line 4. Ignore ‘put some’ please.

  21. Hossp

    “Could the conditions have been hidden? The processes preclude that possibility”
    “Have the Army and the public not always been nationalistic?”
    Hayyer

    Pakistan and the US have a history of signing agreements that were not made public. Pakistan signed many defense related agreements and their existence was acknowledged years later. I am sure US military aid after 9/11 also had some agreements that were never made public.

    The US congress attaches clauses in many agreements in committee meeting that are never made public. Countries sign concealed/secret agreements regularly and no one should be surprised if the current K(il)L bill has some trigger clauses that have been concealed.

    I think your concept of nationalism is commonly accepted nationalism. The Pakistan nationalism for years was a brand name. It was “Muslim Pakistani” nationalism(Muslim first Pakistani later). Now I think the Muslim part of the Pakistani nationalism is losing its allure so to speak and giving way to the just Pakistani Nationalism. It is good but like the new converts, Pakistanis are somewhat more religious about it right now.

  22. YLH

    Hayyer,

    Well said sir.

    Starting with Mr. Jinnah himself (read his “Equal Partners in Defence of Democracy” speech if you get a chance) Pakistani leaders did make the choice of siding with the US in the cold war conflict. It is not the alliance but whether an elected government is kentering the alliance because when an elected civilian gov does, people are beneficiaries at some level. The problem is with military dictators. This is what this bill addresses.

    India’s stance in the cold war gave birth to the notion of “cooperative non-alignment”..go figure.