Like everyone else, I too was taken aback by the fierce opposition to the Kerry Lugar bill. Not sure what the fuss is about, I decided to read about it. So, I read everything that was available on-line about the bill. During my research, I realized that the government of Pakistan has done nothing wrong. It is an aid bill, conceived and finalized by a foreign government to help Pakistan. And, there is nothing new in this bill that Pakistan has not seen or dealt with before.
In my quest to educate myself about Kerry Lugar, I decided to talk to couple of people in Washington and they all agreed that Pakistan has to be realistic about ground realities. For example, if foreign countries stopped giving aid and money to Pakistan, it would be impossible for Pakistan to survive couple of weeks. But, if you read or listen to folks in Pakistan, especially on TV, you’d think that the sky is falling, and it is partly because Zardari is the president and partly because of Kerry Lugar.
Funny, right? Of course not, it is a very serious matter and it could hurt the country badly.
But, let me help you understand two simple facts. One, Pakistan is a poor country that almost entirely relies on aid to survive. Let’s not pretend that Pakistan is somehow independent or economically self sufficient. Two, it is up to the donors to decide what conditions or strings to attach to their aid.
But, people in Pakistan have gone nuts in their attempts to demonize Kerry Lugar and by extension Zardari, plain and simple. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find anything in Kerry Lugar that suggests or recommends that Pakistan stop being an independent country. If looked objectively, this aid bill actually helps Pakistan become a stable and self sufficient country, provided everyone in the country commits to helping and saving Pakistan.
I am not sure if the recent wave of horrific attacks on Pakistan’s civilian and military establishment is enough to unite the country, but, Pakistanis must realize the actual threat is not Kerry Lugar aid bill. It is the danger of being destroyed by the nut jobs carrying out attacks inside Pakistan. Instead of focusing on Kerry Lugar, the country has to come up with strategies to beat back the hate mongers targeting Pakistan and Pakistan’s infrastructure.
In an ideal world, Mian Nawaz Sharif and other so called political leaders would back the government and the military to root out the terrorists, but Pakistan’s political leaders, especially those who are not in power are scoring political points. Yet, I know it is pathetic, but it is also true. (By the way, one day, Nawaz Sharif would suffer because of Ch. Nisar and other thugs in his party.)
The attacks in Lahore are another opportunity for every Pakistani to drop everything and get ready for the fight that is being forced on the country. Pakistan has to understand that unless Pakistan fights and defeats the Taliban and their wretched supporters inside Pakistan, the country would continue to be under attack, day after day, city after city, building, and bus/train station after train station. It is either let the Taliban destroy Pakistan, or unite to defend and save Pakistan to fight back.
Ac Churchill had said, it is time for Pakistan to declare that “whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,” and this is the spirit that will not only help Pakistan achieve victory, but also secure Pakistan’s future. It is the responsibility of today’s Pakistan to hand over a secure, prosperous and healthy Pakistan to the next generation and Pakistanis are obligated to do everything to protect Pakistan.
There is no other way, but to fight for a better tomorrow, no other way, except to fight back.