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Fighter aircrafts for Pakistan?
Sir: Analysts are trying to determine if Pakistan will get F-16 fighter aircrafts in the wake of the recent meeting between Presidents Pervez Musharraf and George W Bush. In the existing international political scenario, where the US is striving to emerge as a global policeman, it is highly unlikely that the US administration will risk India’s annoyance. It will, therefore, consider selling these aircrafts to Pakistan only if India acquiesces.
If the US is now providing some military hardware to Pakistan, its use is essentially confined to containing terrorism and protecting America’s interests in the region. If, in the process, Pakistan benefits too, this is only incidental. Let it be said, however, that the rapid growth of terrorism in Pakistan and elsewhere is largely due to America’s illegitimate and chauvinistic policies in our region.
However, even if the US approves the sale of F-16 aircrafts to Pakistan, what guarantee is there that the sale will not again be vitiated on some frivolous ground under some other piece of legislation such as the Pressler Amendment previously?
The problem with Pakistan — and India!
Sir: We are prisoners of religious obscurantism. The original intent of religion is lost with the passage of time. India is cursed with a caste-torn society that prefers construction of temples to construction of economic infrastructure. Indian society is moth-eaten, where corruption and vulgarity have become the norm of the day. Democracy and secularism have lost their value.
The leaders of South Asia never realised the trauma of the two-nation theory. They fell straight into the colonial trap of ‘divide and destroy’. Meanwhile, the Indians failed to understand the strength and spirit of Islam in the Subcontinent.
The Pakistani mind is governed by religion. They admire the seventh-century culture and heritage of Saudi Arabia. Is it surprising that the people of Pakistan are more interested in preserving their religious roots instead of going back to the Indus Valley Civilisation which is far more sophisticated than the Middle Eastern heritage?
The people of Pakistan do not accept secularism or the fact that Indians and Pakistanis are the same people and belong to the same civilisation. They believe such ideas negate the two-nation theory and the creation of Pakistan.
Those living in Pakistan consider religion to be a panacea of all their ills. But the world is gradually discovering that religions have made it difficult for them to have greater security, peace, and prosperity.
Sir: I agree with President Pervez Musharraf that Pakistan’s well-being supersedes all other concerns and issues, including his dual role as army chief and president of the country. But I must point out that we cannot create perfect democracy overnight. Democracies evolve over a period of time.
Take the example of the United States of America. It took that country well over a hundred years to develop democracy in its present state and form. Although democracy in America is not perfect either, it is still in better shape than it is in most other countries.
Under the circumstances, Pakistan needs to strike a via media. It needs to secure its territorial integrity while guaranteeing the economic and social welfare of its people. But at the same time, it needs to stay the course of democracy.
It will surely be a bumpy ride. But we will be able to reach our destination one day.
Let’s not worry about Turkey
Sir: This letter in response to Ijaz Hussain’s article, “New hiccups to Turkey’s EU membership” (Daily Times, December 8).
Mr Hussain is very concerned that Turkey should get EU membership without any reservations or controversy.
But does it really matter to Pakistan if Turkey becomes an EU member? It is up to the Turks to determine how desperate they are to be part of the European Union and what terms of entry they are prepared to accept. Such questions have no particular interest to the people of South Asia.
Perhaps we should leave Turkey’s problems to the Turks.