Daily Archives: January 21, 2010

Our Commitment to Pakistan

By Robert M Gates, US Secretary of Defence

Exclusive to The News, Pakistan

Published on January 21, 2010

We are including the link to an important op-ed by US Secretary of Defense Mr. Robert M. Gates. Mr. Gates repeats the message given by Hillary Clinton, that reaches out to the Pakistani population deeply suspicious of the US motives in the present war against extremism. The message looks to repair the trust deficit that has developed over time between Pakistan and the United States, and is a welcome step for the uneven relationship between the two countries who fight the common enemy in this present war. For the full article, please follow the link at the end of the post (Editor)

Nearly 25 years ago, in 1986, I arrived in Islamabad for my first visit to Pakistan to meet with this country’s military leaders and see firsthand the training of the Afghan resistance along the border. At the time, our two countries were working together in unprecedented ways to combat a common foe. As part of this effort, our militaries went to school together; our intelligence services shared insights; and our leaders consulted each other on strategic issues. The long-standing friendship was based on a great sense of mutual commitment, purpose, and benefit.

I was still in government in the early 1990s, when the Soviet Union left the region and the US largely abandoned Afghanistan and cut off defense ties with Pakistan – a grave mistake driven by some well-intentioned but short-sighted US legislative and policy decisions.

Thankfully, times have changed. Even so, much is still made in the media of a “trust deficit” between our nations. As I meet with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders during my visit, I will emphasize that the United States wishes to relinquish the grievances of the past – grievances held by both sides – and instead focus on the promise of the future. I will repeat President Obama’s message that the United States is fully committed to a stable, long-term, strategic partnership with a democratic Pakistan – an enduring relationship based on shared interests and mutual respect that will continue to expand and deepen in the future on many levels, from security cooperation to economic development.

(Contd..)

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=219826

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, Democracy, FATA, Great game, History, Islamabad, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Terrorism, USA, War On Terror

Is Pakistan ready for democracy?

By Bilal Qureshi

“The Canadian military planners expect that Pakistan will collapse by 2016, and the territory will be occupied by India. Sound bizarre? Not so to the security analysts in Ottawa.” Downhill for Pakistan? (Dawn) Tariq Amin-Khan. Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For the record, I want to make clear that I am a staunch supporter and promoter of democracy, but lately, I have started to wonder if Pakistan is ready for democracy after all. I don’t mean to agree with or advance the argument that Islam has no room for democracy. My argument is based on entirely different set of circumstances and it has nothing to do with religion.

We all know that unfortunately, Pakistan has been deteriorating for some time. Unlike what most anchors and jihadi elements in Pakistan would have you believe, the reality is that Pakistan has almost run out of options in terms of second and third and fourth chances. Today’s Pakistan is actually on life support (thanks to Washington) and we have to see how long would the Western world keep replenishing Pakistan’s depleted oxygen tank. And, even if this artificial support continues, it will end one day because everything comes to an end, eventually. So, will Pakistan be ready when the flow of aid will stop? This is the question that frightens a lot of people, including myself. Continue reading

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Filed under Democracy, Pakistan, Society, state

Secularists And Jinnah’s 11th August Covenant

There is no more a sacred covenant than this speech by the founding father, statesman, law-giver and philosopher in chief ,  Mr. Jinnah,  for this country and it spoke clearly, undeniably, incontrovertibly, clearly not vaguely that religion would be separate from the state and that religion would be the personal faith of an individual. I’d like to add that there are 30 odd other speeches of Jinnah which also speak of an inclusive democratic polity unfettered by priests with a divine mission but 11th August is the most important speech because it is spoken to the constituent assembly which was about to start framing the constitution of Pakistan.    This is a solemn promise and should have the status of a sanctified compact between the state of Pakistan and all its people.   It is this compact that the honorable justices of our Supreme Court should have considered when they chose to spray the judgment against NRO with Islamic injunctionsYLH

By Ishtiaq Ahmed

No ideological tendency in Pakistan identifies itself with the August 11 speech of Jinnah with greater enthusiasm than the secularists. Among them are included the marginalised leftists, oppressed minorities, retired senior bureaucrats and radical intellectuals. Both Marxist and liberal versions of secularism inform their thinking. The secularists are divided on many things, but agree that the secular nature of the Quaid’s message is unequivocal and incontrovertible. Their lament is that his unworthy successors broke a sacred covenant of equal rights bequeathed by the Founder of Pakistan. Continue reading

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Filed under Egalitarian Pakistan, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Left, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, liberal Pakistan, minorities, Pak Tea House, Pakistan, People's Pakistan, secular Pakistan, secularism