CIVIL SOCIETY PAKISTAN

May 29, 2008

A candid view

THE NATION

MAY 29, 2008

EDITORIAL

SENATOR Russ Feingold, one of the several US lawmakers currently visiting Pakistan, has not minced his words while making a plea for the restoration of deposed judges, unlike most other US public representatives and administration officials, who have been hedging with one caveat or the other. His argument is unassailable: their reinstatement would give the message to the outside world that in Pakistan the rule of law holds supreme, and secondly, it has the force of an overwhelming majority of the people’s wishes. While asserting that he was not siding with any particular political party, he believed that it was not necessary to link the sacked judges’ return to the Bench with other matters, an obvious reference to the constitutional package that the PPP was proposing. One hopes that his plain speaking would clinch the issue that has proved the main sticking point in forging real understanding between the PPP and the PML-N, and has compelled the latter to quit the government.
The other concern Senator Feingold (Democrat), who serves on the Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, expressed, according to the Chicago Tribune, was about the Bush administration’s flawed policy of putting all its eggs in one basket by basing its policy on the relationship with President Musharraf. One cannot more agree with him on this score, because for relations between states to be truly cooperative the basic requirement is public support of policies from either side. And as the US stance on meeting the menace of terrorism is in conflict with the commonsense understanding of Pakistanis, the Senator would find it quite difficult to turn the wave of anti-Americanism here.
Pakistanis are averse to the blind use of force against their compatriots and unreservedly prefer a peaceful, negotiated approach to the problem. Besides, the US and its NATO allies are seen, and rightly so, as occupiers of Afghanistan; so they should not expect bonhomie from the people of Pakistan.

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