By Salman Ali
There has been a lot of ranting, lately, over the famed Kerry Lugar Bill passed by the US congress about the aid package to Pakistan. As usual, Pakistani politicians and masses took to protest and retaliations over the bill, because of the usual silly argument of the bill being from US. Most of those ranting loud claims of the bill’s connotations and it’s inevitable implications are the ones who haven’t yet even read the bill in it’s totality – and well….that makes about 90 percent of the total opponents of this bill.
It’s a commonly observable phenomenon in this society of ours that the top 10 percent that’s bestowed with the bite in the governmental cake, even when entirely undeserving of being a parliamentarian or a senator, usually are entirely incapable of intellectual dealing with issues of vital national and international importance. This becomes manifest times and over again at several instances when these suit-clad ignorants try to play their usual rhetoric towards something which totally lacks the capacity to contain such a dimension – and the result is that they form opinions and make decisions without the slightest trace of conscience of the issue at hand and this ignorance persists throughout the tackling of it – even after it’s being implemented.
And what to say of the masses. They are the rest of the 80 percent deaf and dumb beings who are played with by the earlier cited 20 percent. They are like a disoriented group of humans each of whom clings to what seems the most attractive on the surface – some move on to the Shareef group, impressed by Shahbaz’s rhetoric and his short-term, ill-planned reforms. Other take to JI’s stance, fooled like always through the popular religious sentiment which JI has been cashing in since ever.
Coming over the issue at hand, namely Kerry Lugar Bill, it all stands pretty true. The latest in the series is JI’s so-called referendum against the bill. After Juma prayers, I was able to snatch a peek at the poll JI had installed in front of the mosque for the purpose. And not surprisingly, it were only the turban-clad, bearded madressah students voting a ‘namanzoor (unaccepted)’ for the bill. And one can be pretty sure not a single one of them would have actually read the bill. Let them alone, the higher-ups of JI, ranting incessantly against the bill’s anti-Pakistani undertones seem barely to have read the bill(from the nature of their objections). Even our parliamentarians are quite unaware of the exact clauses of the bill, hunching wildly in favor or against it – and that pretty much hints at their methods of opining and decision-making.
Now here’s to some popular myths about the bill, as received through frequent msgs on my mobile for the last few days:
1 – Army will not interfere in politics:
Well…that’s true – the bill asks for a mechanism to keep army at bay – at barracks, to be exact. But is that not exactly what we want? I am quite unable to grasp why would a sane being even object to it!
2 – Army’s major postings will be approved by US:
BULLSHIT! I wonder what sort of idiotic morons make those rumors – but then again, in a nation where Christian towns are burnt to ashes over a tiny, false rumor, it is understandable why people give space to such lameness. Well…..as a matter of fact, there’s no such clause in the whole bill. The bill only asks for the army postings to be done by the civilian government, as is done in all democracies around the globe and as is very desirable in our country too.
3 – There will be no restrictions to US citizens(black water) in Pakistan.
Again, nonsense. There’s absolutely no clause in the bill that asks for such a thing. All anti-terrorism operations within Pakistan are not even to be co-ordinated together with any US force or personnel. Within Pakistan, Pak army is to tackle all security issues.
4 – There will be access of US to any person related to nuclear energy. (A Q Khan)
The bill, in it’s connotations, only implies that US will keep an eye out for the possible occurrence of a nuclear proliferation from our end and if so happens, will cut short the aid package, stopping the immediate next installment.
5 – Aid will be given to persons, not Pakistani government.
Persons is an intended replacement for non-governmental organizations that the actual aid package talks about.
“PREFERENCE FOR BUILDING LOCAL CAPACITY— The President is encouraged, as appropriate, to utilize Pakistani firms and community and local nongovernmental organizations in Pakistan, including through host country contacts, and to work with local leaders to provide assistance under this section”
That’s precisely the original statement. However, the aid is still to be doled out to the government when it’d have been far better off in the hands of standard, well-reputed NGOs working here, considering the corrupt reputation of the current government. Nevertheless, the myth is a mere rumor, albeit sadly so.
6 – ISI will be under American joint of chief staff.
Now that’s the most hilarious one. I am, literally, quite baffled at the creativity of the original creators of these rumors.
Having done with that, I’d say that there’s nothing wrong with the bill, really, when considering it in it’s entirety. True, the language of the bill is somewhat commanding and hence rude, but then again, it’s us who need the money – and beggars don’t complain. Those whining over the language actually need to complain against accepting aids and taking yet another temporary opium injection for our crumbling economy, for that’s what all the recent aid had been. No long-term planning is done through this aid package and it’s one half vanishes with the governmental affairs and accounts (no wonder – we boast of having, afterall, the largest cabinet) and the other half never makes it to the actual reforms it is intended for.
The only thing about the bill that’s unacceptable to our masses is that it’s straight-forward. There are two ways of saying ‘aid us in Afghanistan’ – one is by asking Pakistan for being an ally in Afghan fiasco- and the other is to ask Pak army to protect US operations in Afghanistan by taking care of this side of the border. That’s what the bill does and that’s where our false patriotisms are stirred. So much for this pretense!
Therefore, the sentimental gibberish of the so-called patriots with their falsely-inflated patriotism which’s actually a miscolored ignorance over the bill-issue, needs to rest! They have absolutely no idea about what they are talking about, and unless they do, to engage in a debate with them is nothing but like stooping to the level of a stupid to prove him wrong – which, in turn, only results in one being defied for they are far more experts at being stupid.
What’s more, without accepting this aid package, we are left in an economic crisis where we have yet again to get a hefty loan from IMF which, obviously, we then have to return with the interest – which means another strain on our economy for the decades to come. I guess accepting this aid package, then, wins out to be a far better package especially when it doesn’t ask of the government to increase electricity charges and petrol charges, as opposed to IMF’s conditions.