One can’t keep accepting hard cash from the US and expect to give nothing in return
In the wake of the pricey (to us few taxpayers) prime ministerial visit to the US for the purpose of an audience in the Oval Office which has left things deemed important pretty much as they were prior to it, a ‘famous political analyst’ told us that it was not fair to describe the US as a friend of Pakistan, one reason being that it had caused serious damage to the most Islamic of Republics over a long span of years, elaborating on a few selected issues.
Coming not long after the unsurprising Pemra directive that the media must bear in mind Article 19 of the much-mutilated Constitution and restrict “comments that may affect relations with friendly countries” this is a clear pointer to the fact that we have all been aware of for donkey’s years that the US does not fit into the Pemra restrictions. Pemra was of course somewhat hysterical as the local media did not take kindly to a stampede that had occurred in a most friendly country (the Yemen affair was an aberration).
Well, this leaves the media in a bit of a hole, if it takes Pemra seriously, because most countries of the world surely come under the heading of ‘friendly’ and that leaves a lot of toes that may not be trodden upon. So that leaves Israel (which officially does not exist), the traditional enemy, there are a couple of rather ‘iffy’ other neighbours, and the major benefactor, mentor, adopted uncle, the mighty US, which are fair game.
The obsession with the traditional enemy is understandable. For the richest, most powerful and leading institution of the Republic, it is a raison d’etre, as the ‘core’ issue will not go away. It depends on maintaining the status quo of 68 years’ duration. The politicians have no choice but to follow suit. The people have been brainwashed into acceptance.
Afghanistan has not been in the friendly category since it opposed Pakistan’s application for membership of the UN in 1947. This has of late been explained as having been a lack of directive to the Afghan representative from his government as to a clear position. But then, the only truly friendly period of ties with an Afghan government was when the Taliban were ruling. Apart from that it has been a few ups and lots of downs. It is a bit of a generalisation but normally those who accept regular and frequent handouts from benefactors hold a grudge against the giver — a chip on the shoulder, inferiority complex type of thing. Towards certain benefactors, highly friendly countries, in Pakistan’s case it is not so. It tends to creep and crawl before the few who exhibit generosity that can only be repaid in kind. Not so when it comes to the US.
It was in 1947 that Jinnah approached the US asking for succour and financial help that could keep his country afloat. From then on it has been ask, ask, and in response give, give. Realistically one cannot keep accepting hard cash and other hardware and expect to give nothing in return. It is only when you can stand on your own feet, with height and weight with you, that you can look another in the eye and claim some sort of equality.
The other factor that Pakistan needs to get into its wooden head is that though the US may need the country for certain of its strategic national interests, it is not the be all and end all. The US — and the rest of the world — does not awake each morning with thoughts of what Pakistan is up to in its weary head. It has many more worries with which to occupy itself. And for heaven’s sake, at some time in its admittedly troublesome, tiring life Pakistan must stop playing the victim; it must own up one day to its own disastrous shortcomings and inabilities.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.
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