A 1991 NYT report, sadly still relevant

Shaheryar Azhar, moderator The Forum, makes some relevant points based on ‘In Pakistan, War Stirs Emotions and Politics’ by Barbara Crossette, Feb 1, 1991, New York Times.

In Pakistan, War Stirs Emotions and Politics

By BARBARA CROSSETTE, Special to The New York Times
Published: Friday, February 1, 1991

Reactions to the American-led war against Iraq have created political havoc in Pakistan, where the Government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to stabilize the country and restart the economy after a year of domestic turmoil.

A rift of unpredictable consequences has opened between the Prime Minister, who generally supports the Saudi Arabian and allied view on Iraq, and the Pakistani military, which is still smarting from the cutoff of American aid in October. [Complete article here]

Azhar writes:

Few lessons stand out in stark relief:

– The Pakistan army was on the wrong side of history in the first Gulf War as it is today on the Kerry-Lugar bill

– The emotional Pakistani public and media, then as now, are always eager to jump on Army’s bandwagon abandoning in a heart beat all pretense at reason, logic and reality.

– Pakistan’s politicians when in power (and thus saddled with the burdens of governing) always seem to take the right course while Pakistan’s politicians when out of power act against their better judgment and also jump on Army’s bandwagon for taking cheap shots at the government. In this example, Prime Minister Sharif played the role that President Zardari/Premier Gilani are playing today on the Kerry-Lugar bill and the War on Terrorism while PPP under Benazir Bhutto played the role that PMLN under Sharif is playing on those two key issues. Notice that the parties of the right never learn and never change. They are the Neanderthals that stalk this poor and blighted land.

– To paraphrase from this story: “In Pakistan, journalism has become the first casualty of the Kerry-Lugar bill.” Self-described ‘senior journalists’ like forum member Shaheen Sehbai (this moderator is very sorry to point out) and others like Hamid Mir and Kamran Khan are guided by what? Need one point out?

There is still time for the Army, PMLN and the Media to learn from the past and refrain from upsetting the democratic apple cart. Otherwise we know what happens to those who never learn from the past: They are condemned to repeat it! Shaheryar Azhra, moderator, The Forum

One Response

  1. Couldn’t be agree more with your views. I can’t understand why all the Pakistani janta is so hell bent upon destroying themselves, their lives by supporting military on this bill. I think this is their chance to free themselves and have a normal life. I think once all the Pakistani janta taste what it is like to be in a free and economically prosperous country they will stop supporting the military.


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