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Sunday, October 24, 2021

White hope?

Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House has created mixed feelings in Pakistan.

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
January 24, 2009 12:45:27 am

Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House has created mixed feelings in Pakistan. Dawn’s editorial on January 20 observed: “The worst-case scenario is Obama’s warning of unilateral strikes in FATA against terrorist targets is only a precursor to widening the theatre of the Afghan war to include the tribal areas. The best-case scenario is that Joe Biden’s initiative as a senator,the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2008,is a signal that America will seek to definitively change the transactional,military-based relationship with Pakistan into one that emphasises human development and institution-building.” Confident,yet apprehensive about things to come,Daily Times viewed: “The Muslim world will watch Obama’s first steps very carefully. America and the West have a better face in Obama to start a dialogue between civilisations.” The Nation’s editorial,made microscopic predictions of the Oval Office’s possible pronouncements. “The Jewish lobby in the US continues to be a hurdle in the way of peace in the Middle East and the reduction of pressure on Iran. Indian financiers who had backed Hillary Clinton could oppose the resolution of Kashmir in accordance with the desires of the Kashmiri people. Will the new President have the ability and the will to use the immense authority he wields to bring peace to the world and fulfil the aspirations of the freedom-loving Palestinians and Kashmiris?”

Let’s move on

Questioning Pakistan’s stance on the Indian dossier,S.M. Naseem,on January 19,wrote in Dawn stating: “The debate on the Mumbai massacres is being carried on not in terms of the horror and destruction inflicted,the dangers posed and the measures to prevent such incidents,but on how verifiable the evidence is and how severe punitive action should be.” New York-based writer Rakesh Mani,in Dawn similarly warned: “Politically,launching strikes against militants will give rise to support for Pakistan’s mullahs and pose a threat to the country’s stability. Economically,the battle will hit hard at India’s booming economy and Pakistan’s crumbling one. A crisis is the perfect opportunity for solutions. It must be used to curb a dangerous national obsession with faith,and to arrange an economic marriage in South Asia.”

Dawn reported on January 20 that “tensions between Pakistan and India de-escalated with a “friendly handshake” between Interior Adviser Rehman Malik,and Indian High Commissioner Satyabrata Pal.” The positive effect this goodwill gesture was augmented by PM Gilani’s bouquet and message for his Indian counterpart’s good health after he underwent angiography.

Media watch

While Daily Times on January 19 reported National Assembly Speaker,Faisal Karim Kundi as urging the media to “play their role against anti-Pakistan propaganda by the West,” President Asif Zardari wasn’t as generous with advice. The News quoted him on January 19 as saying that “journalists were the biggest terrorists in Pakistan,” as they “misreported things and presented the situation in a non-objective manner.”

PM’s Swiss holiday

Terming PM Yusuf Gilani’s impending trip to the World Economic Forum at Davos as a “a five-day junket that looks more like a taxpayer-funded family vacation,” The News on January 19 questioned the need for the PM to go there with his wife at a time when money-saved-is-money-earned should be the motive. “The event will be attended by no more than 10 heads of state. Diplomats claim no important bilateral meetings have been confirmed so far… Reportedly,Indian PM Manmohan Singh will not be going. This puts an end to speculation about a crucial ice-breaking meeting between the leaders of the two estranged South Asian nations.” Kamal Siddiqui,in his column elaborated on the topic: “Our leaders have decided this is a good opportunity to go abroad “to explain Pakistan’s position.” While analysts in Pakistan advise caution and keeping a low profile,leaders want to lead delegations to present our point of view. At state expense,all our leaders think of is to milk the country just a little more. We pay for their vacations. And we get nothing in return,except lies.”

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