Whither our national pride?
A Pakistani court has given the government three weeks to decide whether Raymond Davis, a US official accused of killing two Pakistanis, has diplomatic immunity. Since Raymond Davis shot dead to Pakistanis, there has been tremendous pressure from the US officials and lately President Barack Obama in a press conference urged Pakistan to release the murderer, as he enjoys diplomatic immunity.
According to legal experts, all diplomats do not enjoy blanket immunity, and it has yet to be established whether he is a diplomat or member of the technical staff or contractors’ employee. Though, the US administration itself did no say in so many words, yet it conveyed the message through its media and law makers’ statements. Representative John Kline, a member of the three-member delegation of House of Representatives, had also said that many lawmakers would support cutting aid if the American, who the United States insists has diplomatic immunity, is not freed. Already, trilateral talks between the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan due later this month have been postponed, which is reflective of strained US ties with Islamabad.
Earlier, the US had threatened Pakistan of severing diplomatic relations and cutting US aid to Pakistan if Raymond Davis, who was arrested on 27th January after shooting dead two Pakistan motorcyclists, was not released immediately. It is difficult to comprehend why the US goes to the extent of snapping diplomatic ties with Pakistan and also put everything at stake especially in view of its ongoing war in Afghanistan? Senator John Kerry had insisted that Raymond Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity under Vienna Convention, to which Pakistan is a signatory, adding that the courts have no jurisdiction so far as this case is concerned. But the problem is that it is already in the court, and it is up to American government and Pakistan’s foreign office to prove that he is eligible for diplomatic immunity. Americans have to understand that Pakistani courts are as independent as American courts, though in latter case there are Indian caucus and Jewish lobby who have been instrumental in using sentiments of families of the American Jewish citizens killed in Mumbai attack in 2008.
The issue of summons for ISI chief and members of LeT by New York court in Brooklyn speak volumes about it. The orders were part of a case filed by an injured US citizen and the heirs of the four others, who were killed in the terror strike on 26th November, 2008. DG ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, his predecessor Lt General (R) Nadeem Taj, Major Ali and Major Iqbal are among the Pakistani officials who have been summoned. Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi are also among the list. The counsel, for assassinated Jews Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg, a US-Israeli citizen and his wife Rivka, said: “Summons already issued, and they will have to appear before the court in person or through a lawyer. I have told my clients that the case may take years before any verdict but they are ready to take the matter to its logical end,” the counsel said, adding that they wanted a proper compensation”.
The question is whether David Patraeus and Mike Mullen could also be summoned and tried by Pakistani courts because those killed in drone attacks have filed petitions in Pakistani court. America should remember that Pakistan is neither the 51st state of the US nor it is a banana republic. Anyhow, the summons for ISI chief and others from American court could arguably be the result of ineptness of Pakistan’s foreign office and the government that did not seek access to Headley, whereas India by having access to Headly used as a propaganda tool against Pakistan. If a case against the terrorists was in Indian court, so was a case registered against terrorists who are under trial in Pakistani court. It is unfortunate that Pakistani leadership seems to have no concept of national dignity and self-respect, and one would not know how long it would continue taking insult heaped on Pakistan by members of US administration, which even a banana republic’s leadership would not tolerate?
It is generally believed that the major cause for our national woes and miseries is corrupt, unimaginative, wishy-washy and namby-pamby leadership, which has been victim of self-contradiction, self-abnegation and self-abasement in its thoughts and actions. Since 1950s, almost all governments, whether democratic or military, failed to make this resourceful country into a self-reliant country, which is the primary reason for dependency on America and others. Perhaps, it will not be an exaggeration to say that almost all rulers in the past remained in office at the pleasure of the US - till the time they looked after the American interests. And whenever any one of them became unpopular because of the flawed policies, he was disowned by America. Of course, Pakistan’s leadership is responsible in equal measure for signing the defemce pacts in 1950s whereby the US and the West had committed to help only in case of communist aggression.
From President Obama to late Richard Holbrook to US Generals, all considered Pakistan as epicenter of terrorism, but they always conveniently forgot that the US was also equally responsible for creating the spectre of terrorism, and therefore it should share the blame and the responsibility. Before 9/11, Pakistan was not familiar with terrorism and suicide bombings, and one did not see terror in any form or manifestation before the Afghan jihad in 1980s. It was the United States and its cohorts who introduced this predominantly moderate polity to the dangerous phenomenon when they were fighting a proxy war against the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan. Apart from roping in zealots in hordes from all over the world and disgorging them in Pakistan to cross over to the Afghanistan battlefields, bagfuls of greenbacks and petrodollars were unloaded here by America’s CIA for religious radicalization. This created fanatics locally as well to fight this proxy war that they had labeled as Afghan Jihad and its fighters mujahideen. Osama bin Laden was projected by international media as a great mujahid who had sacrificed every comfort of life and all his wealth for the sake of jihad.
There is no doubt that Pakistan should have good relations with the US and other countries of the world, but a line has to be drawn beyond which Pakistan should not go. Tomorrow, if the US invokes its active policy of containing China and wants Pakistan to be a part of the alliance, Pakistan should say no to any such suggestion because Pakistan cannot afford to be a part of big game. There is a perception that Pakistan was disintegrated by becoming part of Seato and Cento against former USSR in 1950s. But it should also be remembered that flawed domestic policies, lack of socio-economic justice and unequal development of the regions were equally responsible for the break-up of our motherland. And our allies had acted as silent spectators which was act of criminal negligence and betrayal.
But there is a long list of the US betrayals of this country over the past six decades, and this list is becoming lengthier with the passage of every decade. In the coming decades too, predictably the list will continue expanding, as Pakistan invariably comes to every US administration as a sacrificial goat to be exploited, manipulated and used, and then ditched to the abattoir when found no use of.