“The latest US-Nato attack on our security forces is the gravest so far as this single assault has killed more than 28 Pakistani soldiers and injured many. The Pakistani civilian and military leadership have utterly failed to effectively respond to the US-led foreign aggression.” – Ansar Abbasi reported in The News on November 27.
Since 9/11 Pakistan has been subjected to countless attacks by the US. Let me remind my readers of the time, shortly after 9/11, when Pervez Musharraf bowed before Bush’s demands. Our safety, security and sovereignty were compromised there and then, as soon as it was decided that we would be an ally and party to the heinous crimes and anti-humanity agenda that was to be pursued by the US on our soil.
This understanding and the pacts formulated as a result paved the way for 56,000 sorties which took off from Pakistani soil and bombed our brethren in Afghanistan. The same became the basis of ruthless human rights abuses which took place in their cover. Illegal abductions ,disappearances, target killings, mass terrorism and destruction programmes have plagued and haunted this poor nation, pushing it to the brink of collapse. Some of the world’s most notorious prisons and detention sites, such as Guantanamo Bay and Bagram Air Base, were created in the aftermath of 9/11 and have since become spaces where humanity bleeds to date.
A direct attack on our armed forces on November 26, 2011, no matter how serious an offensive it may seem, is still nothing in comparison to what the poor civilians have been subjected to as consequences of bad policies and the aggressive launch of the war on terror by the Americans in a bid to acquire control over the region.
The question is how much more time the civil and armed leadership would need to wake up from its slumber and finally realise the interests of its own civilians and nation. The US has been aggressive from the beginning and has been maintaining its stance. On the other hand, we (the Pakistani civil and military leadership), have been behaving as slaves most of the time; sometimes apologetically and other times trying to appear bold, but in truth, speaking out in timid defiance at best. It shows nothing but our pathetic failure in defending the nation, in spite of being a nuclear power and, according to most accounts, the sixth largest army in the world.
From the May 2 operation to handing over Shamsi base; the GHQ attacks; the Raymond Davis issue; all the acts of terrorism and ongoing disappearances of Pakistani nationals for the sake of dollars; drone attacks; the current Memogate issue – the list of unfortunate incidents that have taken place here is unlimited. Each incident speaks volumes of the repeated embarrassments the nation has suffered and our government’s cowardice in the face of it all.
What is left of a country like Pakistan which receives dictation from the foreign powers – the orders becoming increasingly strict since 9/11? We are drained morally, economically, socially and psychologically; moving fast to meet our end. All that is left is honour and integrity. There is a moral imperative to act now to salvage what little remains.
Speaking from a purely humanitarian angle, representing the masses and particularly the aggrieved who have suffered the deadly spell of Pak-US cooperation, I would advise the leadership to remain silent but let its actions speak out loud and clear this time, in favour of a change.
The utter dejection of the families of missing persons, the unsolved mysteries of the unnumbered disappeared, the tragic tales of pain and grief, of forced separation from loved ones, the legacy of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was sentenced to 86 years of imprisonment by the US – all this lies heavy on the nation’s conscience.
Unfortunately, the masses have lost faith in the political or armed leadership as they have repeatedly been cheated, ignored and left to suffer endlessly. However, the last ray of hope or opportunity remains, given that there is a willingness to undo the harm that has been done. The following steps need to be taken without further delay:
• Block the Nato supply line once and for all.
• Immediately release all the missing persons dumped in detention cells, share lists of their names and reveal their status and place of custody.
• Negotiate and facilitate Dr Aafia’s release via diplomatic channels.
• Revise foreign policy to better serve the interests of the nation.
• No cooperation with the US; freeze all ongoing projects with it.
• Specify a date for achieving the above mentioned targets.
• The National Reconciliation agenda for the comfort of the aggrieved.
All this must be initiated immediately and implemented in letter and spirit without mention and rhetoric. I repeat “without mention” as the leadership’s words and promises have lost credibility. It is time now to act. This is the only way to win back the people of this aggrieved nation.
The writer is chairperson Defence of Human Rights.
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Courtesy: The News International