Aiming Higher, Rising Stronger
Pakistan enters its sixty-fifth year with quite a hefty baggage -- insulted, humiliated and beaten out of shape by its protector and provider. provider
Is Pakistan finally ready to change its destiny?
It is always said that before the start of the next year we should pause and ponder, take stock of the past, draw up a profit and loss account and make plans for the future. This routine has been going on ritually. But when we actually do enter the next year we forget the past and continue with what we have been doing all along.
At the threshold of its sixty-fifth birthday, Pakistan carries the ignominious baggage of 2011, which began with the assassination of the Punjab governor Salman Taseer and the daylight murder of two men in Lahore by Raymond Davis in January. The first event exposed the naked religious intolerance among not only less educated people like his security guard Mumtaz Qadri who gunned him
By S.G. Jilanee down, but also among the supposedly better educated ones comprising the lawyer community, who joined in rejoicing at Qadri’s valorous feat. The second showed how freely Americans can kill Pakistanis in their own home.
In March, Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti was killed. And on May 2, the Pakistan army was utterly humiliated when US Special Forces literally “invaded” and “occupied” the country briefly to kill Osama bin Laden.
Finally in November, US troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Salala checkpost without cause, for which America declined even to offer an official apology, trying to gloss it over as the result of mutual mistakes. Meanwhile, US senator Paul Rand threat- ened to cut off all financial assistance to Pakistan if it did not unconditionally release Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who is serving a sentence for imprisonment awarded by a Pakistani court. Rand wants Afridi released because through a fake anti-polio program in Abbottabad, he had assisted the CIA to locate bin Laden.
When the US refused to offer a formal apology on the Salala incident, Pakistan retaliated by closing the transport of NATO supplies across its territory. As a consequence, Pak-US relations nose-dived as never before.
America went on applying more heat to force a reopening of the NATO supplies. It withheld dues it owed to Pakistan for its services in the anti-terror war. Threats of total suspension of