Why India should not celebrate the Trump tweet


PHOTO/Daily Pakistan

I am an avowed well-wisher of Pakistan. Like any patriotic Pakistani, I would like to see our neighbour emerge as a prosperous, peaceful, harmonious, stable, secure, united and democratic nation, living in peace and cooperation with all its neighbours. I believe that a resurgent Pakistan, whose population is smaller than all but five countries in the world, can greatly contribute to the progress of South Asia (of which it is an integral part), Asia and the world at large. Pakistan’s pain is my pain, and Pakistan’s joy is my joy. This is because even though India and Pakistan are two separate, independent and sovereign nations (and so may they remain in future), I share my civilisational, cultural and spiritual identity, as also the priceless heritage of over 5,000 years, with my sisters and brothers across the border. I do not want any harm to come to one who is, after all, an offspring of Mother India.

However, when Pakistan continues to harm itself by trying to harm its neighbours (India and Afghanistan in particular), it’s time the rulers and people of Pakistan learnt a few basic lessons. One of them is how to safeguard their national self-respect, sovereignty and independence. So far, in its 70 years of existence, Pakistan has bartered its freedom, honour and sovereignty in pursuit of its flawed goals on so many occasions that it is now being humiliated by the very imperial power it relied on, assisted, and received arms and alms from.

Which self-respecting nation, when it gets globally insulted by a tweet by an American president (no respecter of the honour and sovereignty of weak nations), does nothing but offer a weak, formulaic protest? Donald Trump accused Pakistan of “lies and deceit”. He almost described Pakistan, without using those derogatory words, as a beggar and cheat nation that took “33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years”. He blamed it for not fulfilling its obligations and castigated it for “fooling” the aid-giver. Worst of all, in a charge that sticks, Trump slammed Pakistan for giving “safe haven to terrorists”.

A day after this New Year slur, the US has blocked the promised 225 million dollars in military aid to Islamabad.

Trump’s tweet is so unprecedentedly undiplomatic, indeed downright demeaning, that the least Islamabad must do is ask the American ambassador to go back home and drastically reduce the level of diplomatic ties with Washington. It must reject any further “aid”, military or otherwise, from the Trump administration, and also stop all further assistance to America in its war operations in Afghanistan.

But after having done what it must to assert that it is not a vassal of any world power, Pakistan – its army, its political establishment, its intelligentsia and its people – must do some honest soul-searching. Why have they come to experience this ignominy? Their introspection should begin from the time their country joined hands with USA and Saudi Arabia in defeating the now defunct Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in 1978. The fact that India did not condemn the Soviet invasion strongly enough, and did not demand the pull-out of its troops from a country which is a member of the South Asian civilisational family, is one of the low watermarks in our foreign policy. Not surprisingly, the Soviet Union paid a heavy price for its unjust and imperialist action. But what did Pakistan gain from its own foreign policy fantasies?

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