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Politics & Policy
A fair and realistic approach

Let us hope that this time US behave differently and "Compensate for the past mistakes.

From SHAMIM AHMED RIZVI
Islamabad
Sep 24 - 30, 2001

President General Pervez Musharraf appeared honest and sincere when he presented before the nation in a televised interview his assessment of the situation developed in the region in the aftermath of devastating terrorism in the United States and the decision of the Government of Pakistan to side with international coalition against global terrorism. His assessment was fair, realistic and down to earth and his decision to support the US-led onslaught on terrorists was well reasoned. The President did not mince words in admitting that any other course taken by Pakistan would have been disastrous for the country. Strongly and firmly defending his decision he said that as commander in chief of Pakistan he had to safeguard the security of the country first. "Pakistan comes first, everything else is secondary", he observed.

Serious crisis

In his about 40 minutes much awaited address to the nation, General Musharraf said that country was confronted with the most serious crisis after 1971. Pointing on extremely complex situation and mood of the American plus conspiracy and intrigues being hatched by Indian against Pakistan, President Musharraf announced that the people of Pakistan, Military personnel and the entire nation was ready to defend and protect the country and lay their lives for its safety. "Pakistan Air Force is on high alert with do or die mission", he added. The President said that our enemy has offered every kind of support to the U.S. with a mischievous design to exploit the prevailing situation and get Pakistan declared a terrorist state. "From us the American have sought our permission to use Pakistan airspace, intelligence information, and logistic support", he disclosed.

Expressing his determination to deal with the situation with courage, logic, and wisdom, in the light of Islamic principles and the precedents set by the Holy Profit he asked the nation to have trust in him. He has taken the decision after great deal of thinking and prolonged consultations with a cross section of people besides services chiefs, core commanders, National Security Council and his Cabinet. He has received overwhelming support for his decision based on wisdom and not on emotions and false notions of courage and bravery. Only a small minority hardly 10 to 15 per cent are trying to grasp the opportunity by promoting their personal agenda by inciting people, are opposed to the line of action adopted by the Government. "But this small minority cannot be allowed to make the majority hostage", he added.

The General is right that minority should not be allowed to make the majority as hostage any longer. This militant tiny minority has been holding the nation as hostage since long and their threatening posture is getting more menacing with every passing day because of policies of appeasement and accommodation perpetuated by political expediencies. The time has, perhaps, come for the Pakistan Army and thinking classes to decide whether they want this country to remain under the looming threat of Islamic fundamentalism, with a tiny but militant minority refusing to let Pakistan to pull itself out of medieval ages and get on with the job of economic and social reformation and reconstruction, or join hands to purge the polity of terrorism, blackmail and retardation.

Last hope

General Musharraf has taken the plunge, he must get the support of right thinking silent majority within the country. Above all the West specially the United States have also to realize that General Musharraf may turn out to be their last hope if they want to see Pakistan as a moderate and liberal voice in the region having substantial weight in the Islamic world as their only member with a nuclear capability. He should be extended all kind of support to discharge this onerous responsibility which he has taken upon himself at great personal risk. Based on their bitter experiences in the past, the people of Pakistan, have lost trust in the U.S. Administration. U.S. excels in leaving friends in lurch once their purpose is served. Osama bin Laden and Taliban are the products of such treacherous policies. Let us hope that this time US behave differently and "Compensate for the past mistakes", as committed by the new U.S. Ambassador in Pakistan.