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

Southasia - - Contents -

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

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