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When we ruled the world
Sir: Fifty-four years is nothing when you look at the broader historical
picture. South Asia, some 250 years ago, was one of the largest economies
in the world. Its excellence in economic, social, cultural, and military fields was unsurpassed. Our forefathers used to run the show. We used to rule the world.
The scene today is woefully different. South Asians are known the world over for their pauper standing and lack of pride. We are depicted, perhaps rightly, as some of the most venal people in the world. Our society is morally and intellectually bankrupt. Sanity has been lost forever. We are now taking orders from countries that once used to follow our instructions. How ironic.
We made the Western world what it is today. It was our riches and resources that lined their coffers as a result of which life in that hemisphere is as liveable as it is. Any history buff will back me up. If only we could learn from the past and improve. Most unlikely, but hereís to hope.
Sir: There was an interesting item in the papers claiming that India was waging the war of attrition and was only interested in playing headgames with Pakistan. Troops have been massed on the border since last December and are meant to weaken Pakistani resolve. This is an interesting argument but I fear war is closer than we would like to think it.
Many wonks are also blathering on about the need for national reconciliation and bringing Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Altaf Hussain into the consultative process. What these journalists conveniently forget is that all three of these politicians are absconders from the law. If these people are given the right to come back and mess things up, I say we give amnesty to all criminals.
COL (R) RIAZ JAFRI
Sir: Qazi Hussain Ahmed impressed me with his performance on Hard Talk Pakistan aired on the BBC recently. My impression of him after this interview is completely different from that I had earlier. During his chat with Riz Khan, Qazi Ahmed acknowledged that Al Qaeda and Taliban were in Pakistan but that they were not interested in destabilising the country. This was the only point at which my preconceived notions of him were
reified. Who else could be behind the terrorist attacks in Islamabad and Karachi?
George Fernandes on Sunday spoke at a ministerial conference in Singapore and started crying. The emotional outburst was explained later as a reaction to Pakistani aggression in Kashmir. RAW was as involved in the grisly incidents here as ISI was in the Lok Sabha attack or the Godhra train tragedy. Qazi Ahmed is an intelligent man. He should recognise the fact that Qaeda and Taliban operatives and all those that support them are the real source of terror.
Not museum pieces
Sir: I think the statement made by Pakistanís newly appointed UN ambassador was timely. Pakistan cannot rule out the first-strike option and our envoy made that crystal clear in New York. Our nuclear warheads are not museum pieces; they are lifelines to 140 million Pakistanis. Our enemy must recognise the fact that we are ready and able to defend ourselves.
ATA TUFAIL KHAN
Sir: Kudos to Sylva for his superb goalkeeping. The so-called French Reservists outfoxed the champs with their skilled play. Hats off to the Senegalese who managed to rout France. Its time for France to wake up and realise that without Zidane it isnít worth much. It is also clear the frogs cannot play under pressure. Denmark and Uruguay must be rejoicing. Iím betting on Brazil.
Feel free to make sense
Sir: The article, That Warlike Stench All Over Again, by Benazir Bhutto, printed in your paper on May 25, was a lot to chew on. For someone who was schooled at some of the finest institutions in the world, Bhutto cannot write for toffee. In the words of Eliot: Words strain/Crack and sometimes break/Under the tension/Slip slide perish/Decay with Imprecision/Will not stay in place/Will not stay still.
The blind leading the blind
Sir: I am amazed at how inept our intelligence system is. How is it that we have ignored the massive infiltration of Al Qaeda and Taliban into our towns, villages and urban centres? If press reports and recent incidents are any indication, their presence in Pakistan is very real and very dangerous. Your story on May 30 credited Washington, not Islamabad, for making this discovery.
Why do our reporters have to rely on foreign publications to pick up stories? This is the sorry state of our nation. Are our thought processes so stunted that we have to rely so blindly on foreign resources? An American journalist working here in Kuwait confessed that the media in the Western world is run by a small group of people who are seeking to accomplish their own agendas.
If intellectuals like him realise that the American press is run by a bunch of Zionist hoodlums, why canít we? We must not believe everything that is printed. The word of the American man is not the final word and yet you give so much column space to such lies. All I am saying is this: journalism needs to be more balanced. Whether its Al Qaeda or the FIFA world cup, coverage must be concise and clear without any biases.
One step forward, two steps back
Sir: The clouds of war are hanging over our heads. Foreigners are being evacuated, foreign delegations are coming in attempting to prevent all out war. According to experts, some 30 million people will die in case the conflict goes nuclear.
And while all this is going on, the bearded community is pressing the government to revive the Religion column on the voting form. Disgusting. If a voter ticks the box and proclaims himself a Muslim he will have to take an oath then and there and pledge allegiance to Islam. How progressive? This is all nonsense and it must stop. The government must not give in to such demands.