by H Ahmad
Few days back, a Pakistani military delegation returned back home without going through with their US trip after they were ‘humiliated’ on the Washington Airport. According to the news reports, a brigadier was removed from the air flight while other members of his delegation were detained at the airport for some time. Dawn reported:
“United Airlines officials, however, told the US media that the brigadier, whose name was not disclosed, had misbehaved with a stewardess and told her that this would be her last mission.”
A Pakistani official commented: “This is a delegation of senior officials, led by a two-star officer, not unit captains and majors. Such responsible officers do not indulge in such behaviour.”
The statement released by ISPR read, “A Pakistani military delegation on a visit to US (on US invitation to attend a meeting at Centcom) was subjected to unwarranted security checks at Washington airport by US Transport Security Agency. Later, the delegation was cleared and US defence officials regretted the incident. However, as a result of these checks, military authorities in Pakistan decided to cancel the visit and call the delegation back.”
As the ‘ghairat brigade’ is thumping its breasts on standing up for the ‘dignity’ and ‘honour’ of Pakistan and as the media is celebrating the heroic act of ‘guarantors of our ideological frontiers’, it is pertinent to talk about other heroes too. Few months ago a parliamentarian delegation from FATA, very much civilian people, had returned home from the US airport when they refused to go through the full-body scanner, which by the way was a discriminatory security measure adopted by US for few countries including Pakistan. So, no, the recent ‘heroic act’ is certainly not the first exclusive act, and it certainly does not drive home the point that only one institution has purest of intentions of standing up for the ‘honour’ of Pakistan.
While we are at it there is another proposition; had the military delegation refused to go to U.S due to the recent increase in the frequency of drone attacks, I think it would have resonated more vibrantly with the public at large at home. More than 60 drone attacks have taken place in 2010 alone and the last seven attacks were made in the first eight days of September. The protest of these drones could have earned them a better PR. But wait, weren’t they the ones who saved the PAF airbase, from where allegedly the drones fly, and which resulted in flooding of many villages in Baluchistan? Obviously, it was again a bloody civilian feudal lord, who earned the bad name.