Pakistan Fails Miserably to Protect its People from the United States
March 6, 2010
EDITORIAL The NATION
Qamar Zaman Kaira, the minister for Information and Broadcasting, shot his mouth off during a meeting with journalists the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. It was really shocking to hear him say that the government wouldn't ask the U.S. to repatriate her. His comment flies in the face of popular sentiment and greatly embarrasses those calling out to have this hapless woman rescued.
Would Mr. Kaira have said the same if his own daughter had met with such a fate? His callous disregard for this daughter of the nation, demonized as a terrorist by the United States in order to sling mud at the dignity and credibility of the Pakistani public and Diaspora, is condemnable. Has he any idea of the suffering of her children who have disappeared and her family, all because of the groundless theory that she single-handedly tried to assassinate a group of U.S. commandos in Afghanistan? Was he just too timid to annoy the Americans?
In the first place, since it's beyond doubt that she was handed over to the U.S. by General Musharraf under dubious circumstances, it is obligatory for the government to leave no stone unturned to secure her release. Secondly, Minister Kaira’s statement also shows that the government is run by people who give priority to their own selfish motives, rather than safeguarding the rights of the masses.
Likewise, it's easy to guess what response he would have about other persons handed over to the U.S., and who have families in Pakistan that have been struggling to learn of their whereabouts. On the one hand, people like Kaira have sided with the United States, and on the other, they've shown themselves to be lily-livered about holding the intelligence services accountable for illegal acts – like abducting innocent citizens in broad daylight.
By any reckoning, missing persons are the victims of the arbitrary activity of a number of agencies, which are proof of the pro-American policies pursued by the previous regime and unflinchingly endorsed by the current leadership.
Their tragedy has also brought home the fact that the government’s commitment to the people is only skin deep. Their cases have dragged on and on in the vain hope that the civilian dispensation would ensure their release. There hopes have now receded into oblivion.
Mr. Kaira’s comments will deeply inflame public feeling. Coming from a member of a democratically-elected government, these remarks have dismayed the average patriotic Pakistani, particularly in regard to their confidence in our civilian leaders. Since he was a usurper, they were right to expecting virtually nothing from General Musharraf. Yet in Pakistan, even democratic appearances can be deceptive.