Monday September 25, 2023

Trump’s statement

September 01, 2017

The entire Pakistani nation is deeply hurt by the US President Donald Trump’s recent speech in which he accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorist safe havens. Voices from different segments of Pakistani society are being raised to record their protest.

A wave of anti-American anger can also be observed throughout the country. Bilateral talks and official visits with the United States also stand suspended as a mark of protest against Trump’s hostile statement. The National Assembly has also unanimously passed a resolution in this regard.

Historically, Pakistan and the US are natural allies. At the time of independence, the world was divided in to two blocs – the communist bloc and the western bloc. The Western Bloc, led by the US, has a vision of a democratic society based on tolerance, interfaith harmony and civil liberties. This is what motivated Pakistan’s first PM Liaquat Ali Khan to join hands with the US.

Since then, Pakistan has been supporting the American agenda on all fronts. Whether it was the sensitive matter of allowing the US to fly a U-2 spy plane against the Soviet Union from the Peshawar airbase or arranging the secret visit of US diplomat Henry Kissinger with Beijing, Pakistan actively allied itself with the US to end the international politics of tussle and confrontation. The Pakistani people also greatly value the good work carried out by USAID across the country.

In response to the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan, Pakistan played a crucial role in defeating the Red Army, which ultimately resulted in the end of the cold war. No doubt, the US provided military and financial support in this critical period but it was actually Pakistan’s courage that helped the US become the only superpower in today’s unipolar world. At that moment, the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan saw the US as a great ‘moral force’ to promote peace and prosperity. Unfortunately, the US leadership decided to abandon them without ensuring political stability in Afghanistan.

I believe that the US decision to leave Afghanistan alone after the Soviet pullout is in fact the root cause of today’s global terrorism. Later, the horrific 9/11 attack forced the US to come back to Afghanistan but in the shape of an enemy and an invader. Pakistan once again became the US ally and frontline state. All peace-loving citizens of Pakistan and the US deserve the right to ask the American leadership about the reasons for leaving Afghanistan to chaos and anarchy. The US was seen nowhere during the initial period of civil war and Taliban rule. Pakistan was left alone to struggle for regional stability and integrity. The dynamic role played by Pakistan in this regard has also been acknowledged by Russia, China and other regional players.

Contrary to Trump’s narrative, Pakistan is not responsible for the American failure in Afghanistan. Pakistan is actually a victim of terrorism and the number of sacrifices made by the Pakistani nation is much higher compared to any other country. It is really very painful that, instead of acknowledging Pakistan’s positive role in fighting terrorism, the US accuses Pakistan of harbouring terrorist safe havens. Neither any of the 9/11 hijackers nor Al-Qaeda’s top leaders are from Pakistan. These facts disown Trump’s claim that Pakistan is trying to harm US interests.

In today’s world of diplomacy, every country aims to project a positive image on the international level. Here, we must admit that Pakistan needs to focus on its own branding as well. There are so many success stories that must be shared with the international community. We need to convey the message in an effective way that Pakistan strongly condemns terrorism all its forms and manifestations. Operation Zarb-e-Azb was conducted by the Pakistan armed forces against all kinds of local and foreign militant groups. Operation Raddul Fasaad aims at eliminating the hidden terrorist sleeper cells across the country. The role of Pakistan’s foreign missions to brief the international community about the positive outcomes of such efforts has been lacking till now. The appointment of talented non-Muslim Pakistani nationals to present the case of the country could also be beneficial.

Finally, we must not ignite the fire by showing an aggressive reaction. There seems to be some sort of misunderstanding and lack of trust between the US and Pakistan which can only be resolved through effective communication and cooperation. Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that the US must trust that no country has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism. Instead of halting bilateral visits, the government of Pakistan must invite Trump to visit the Pak-Afghan border and see our work himself.

The dubious role of anti-Pakistan elements must also be exposed on the occasion. With the prayers of peace and prosperity for whole mankind, I hope that the US will soon realise that Pakistan is a sincere, friendly and trustworthy country, and our cordial ties are in the best interests of the entire region.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani