Articles of the year 2005

The Ostrich Mode
Published on September 22nd, 2005

The Media in Pakistan and abroad has been in a frenzy analyzing the meetings of the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Israel in Turkey. It is heartening to note that Pakistan has been given an inordinate importance in all the discussions. This does indeed show that the world takes us much more seriously than we ourselves do. The decision to talk to the Israelis has brought us a new position on the world stage, where we can be heard and felt,. To be an Ostrich and pretend Israel does not exist is ludicrous in the extreme. If we have a view on Kashmir is it not better to tell the Israelis? If we have a constructive suggestion is it not better to be able to talk to the Israelis directly instead of through the toothless United Nations, who the US does not listen to anyway, nor do the Israelis for that matter. We should drop the Ostrich mode and move into he real world, and be seen and heard by one of the pillars of the US thought processors. Ignoring the Israelis will not make them go away. The sooner we deal on a bilateral basis with them the better for us, and maybe even for them.

We in Pakistan keep ourselves confined to wondering whether there is a quorum in the House or not. Whether the Elections were fair or not. Even though the results have shown that the Government has strengthened its position, the vociferous rebuttals of the opposition of all the results and repeatedly so, give the hardiest supporter of the Government perhaps a little nagging doubt on the genuineness of the outcome. It seems the Opposition parties are better equipped in the art of Parliamentary battle, and keep wrong footing the Government time and again, at least in the Media exchanges on TV. Recently the TV has been full of the debate on the talks with Israel, and the Government spokesmen were invariably out performed by the Mullahs, and some of the retired Generals who would dearly love to 'Thrash the Indians in Kashmir as we thrashed the Russian might in Afghanistan". -----Really! The other good one was " By meeting with the Israelis we have sacrificed the Kashmiri case" ----- How pray? Are the Israelis in Kashmir, or are the Kashmiris in Palestine? These remarks needed some strong rebuttals, for there are many simple people out there who may just buy these ridiculous statements as the Gospel.

The Maulanas are skilled at debating and given the minor vote bank in the Country, they excel in using this skill to give the impression that they have far larger numbers behind them. Except for the MQM speakers the Q' league fails badly in these confrontations on Television.. Winning an Election and getting into the House is one thing, but defending the Governments position on a National debate is something quite different especially when faced by the silk smooth Maulanas. The Prime Minister will have to cut down his Cabinet on Quantity, and make up with quality. It is not enough giving an MNA an important portfolio, if he cannot defend the policy of the Government he should be replaced, for the issues facing us today are of a serious nature, as we are embarking on a new international role. For the President to be addressing an International forum in New York, and to be seeing Maulanas berating him on Television, does no good to the President's image of being the undisputed leader, it could damage Pakistan's new position in the world.