January 17, 2009 12:58:14 am
Prince Harrys derisive remarks towards a classmate of Pakistani origin drew flak from the press. Dawn and The News reported on January 12 : Prince Harry called an officer from the Pakistan Army who studied with him at the Sandhurst Military College,our little Paki friend,and when he saw another officer wearing a veil,he exclaimed: You look like a raghead. His office has issued an apology. The reports added the British defence ministrys reactions: This sort of language is not acceptable in a modern army. Dawn,on January 13,carried the views of British PM Gordon Brown and the officers father. Brown said the British public would give Prince Harry the benefit of the doubt as his apology was sincere. The father was reported as saying he couldnt accept the apology and Harry should say sorry to the Pakistan government.
The Kasab absurdity
On January 15,columnist Kamila Hyat,in The News attempted to resurrect the issue of Mahmud Durranis sacking and questioned the need to conceal Ajmal Kasabs identity. The question is why an attempt was made to cover up this fact,especially as media teams had already visited Kasabs home. The assertion that these people could be Indian agents is obviously absurd…Dismissing Durrani only worsened matters,making it seem Pakistan was determined to hide the truth and would punish anyone who didnt lie. Mushfiq Murshed,in a column in The Nation on January 16,attempted to unearth the possible conspiracy theory behind Durranis sacking The motive behind the dismissed NSAs unauthorised announcement about Kasab is incomprehensible… If handled deftly,such an admission,the first of its kind from Pakistan,would have had a positive impact on world opinion. The announcement should certainly not have come from an NSA and that too without the approval of the head of government… Whatever the intention,the disconnect among the policymakers has adversely impacted the image of the country where state policies seem to be conducted through TV and SMS.
Pinning hope on Biden
Pakistan conferred its highest civilian medal,the Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam on US Vice President-elect Joe Biden for helping them get rid of Pervez Musharraf. This move has,however,kicked up a storm. Quoting PM Yousuf Gilanis justifications,The News on January 13 reported: Biden played a key role in the restoration of democracy. It wasnt the political parties,but the pressure from the US and Biden that forced Musharraf to remove his uniform, he claimed,terming Biden pro-Pakistan. Columnist Mahmud Sipra in Daily Times,on January 15 pinned high hopes on Biden as the next US vice-president. Biden is no stranger to Islamabad. This visit should be viewed as the precursor of how Washington is going to deal with Pakistan during the next four years. It seems the Obama administration is set to expand the dirt road to Islamabad to a dual carriageway. The way it should be…That bit about being part of Americas War on Terror ought to be re-branded as Pakistans War on Terror.
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