Friday, February 22, 2008

Pakistan's Election : Another View


Pakistan’s national elections today are critically important for this strife-torn country’s future. They are almost as crucial for its western backers. Unless honestly conducted – and this seems highly unlikely - the vote will ignite further violence, plunging the highly strategic nation of 163 million into new dangers. As of this posting, the turnout is disappointingly low, averaging less than 35%, caused by apathy, political fatigue, fears of attacks and the widespread belief that the elections will be manipulated by the government of President Pervez Mushattaf.Only one thing is certain about today’s vote. If President Pervez Musharraf and his PML-Q party do well enough to retain power or head a coalition, the election was likely rigged. Musharraf has rigged every vote since seizing power in a 1999 military coup. Polls show only 15-20% of Pakistanis support him. The majority backs the late Benazir Bhutto’s People’s Party, and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League (PML-N). A coalition of Muslim parties, and cricket star Imran Khan’s PTI, may also garner some new voters, though Islamists have been trailing in the polls. However, Musharraf’s powerful friends are determined to keep him power. In spite of Musharraf’s having muzzled the media, jailed thousands of opponents, purged the judiciary, and stuffed the electoral commission with henchmen, Washington, London and Ottawa still support his dictatorship and continue to hail him as a `democrat.’ While piously claiming to be waging war in Afghanistan to bring it democracy, the western powers have been encouraging and abetting dictatorship in Pakistan.The reason is clear: Musharraf has rented out much of his army and intelligence service to battle Taliban in Afghanistan and tribal militants at home. His fee: up to $1 billion monthly in secret and overt US payments. Without them, Musharraf wouldn’t last very long. Musharraf and his US and British patrons are hoping the opposition will split the vote and become deadlocked, leaving the former general as last man standing. The opposition, by contrast, is talking about ending the war against Taliban and reasserting Pakistan’s interests in Afghanistan and Kashmir – something Washington and London do not want to hear.The powerful military still supports Musharraf, though for how long depends on the level of post-election violence. Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, the new armed forces chief, was selected by Musharraf and Washington as a loyal anti-Islamist who would follow America’s lead. But this capable general remains an enigma. Indian intelligence sources say the US decided in early 2007 to ease the floundering Musharraf from power and make Gen. Kiyani Pakistan’s new strongman. One is reminded of Henry Kissinger’s cynical quip that the only thing more dangerous than being America’s enemy is being its ally. Musharraf’s usefulness to Washington is rapidly nearing its expiry date.If Pakistan is rent by widespread protests and violence over brazen electoral fraud, or suffers political deadlock, the military may overthrow the widely detested Musharraf and seize power. Gen. Kiyani is said to be reluctant to see the military re-engage in politics, but there could be no alternative if veteran politicians Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, cannot produce a viable government.The best outcome would be for the military to exile Musharraf and impose temporary martial law until the independent judiciary can be restored, the electoral commission made fair, media ungagged, and political repression ended. Then genuine, honest elections could be held and Pakistan returned to parliamentary government. But once the soldiers taste power again, they may be reluctant to give it up. Until Pakistan gets a legitimate government representing its national interests, rather than those of the western powers, the country will remain in turmoil, and Pakistanis disgusted by the political process. This, in turn, will pour fuel on the rising flames of anti-Americanism and extremism.
Pakistan is facing spreading civil war, and possible secession by two of its four provinces. The Pashtun tribal uprising ignited by the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is now spreading into Pakistan, risking a full-scale uprising by that nation’s 25 million Pashtuns. Any of these earthquakes could provoke an invasion by India, met by a nuclear riposte from Pakistan. The war in Afghanistan and heavy-handed efforts by the US to bend Pakistan’s military regime to its will ignited much of the current turmoil. A majority of Pakistanis don’t want their soldiers to be western mercenaries, or their leaders to appear western yes-men. They support Taliban, and the struggle for Kashmir. But the US is so consumed by its war of revenge against Taliban over 9/11 – in which Taliban as not involved - it cannot see any of this. Pakistan is the Muslim World’s most important nation and sole nuclear power. By treating Pakistan like a banana republic, arm-twisting Islamabad into battling its own people, and ignoring its own national interests, the US is playing with fire and damaging its own long-term strategic interests. Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2008
Posted by Eric Margolis at

Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 Years of Musharraf Rule ! Factoids !

Pakistan is a predominantly agricultural country transitioning to light and heavy industry, with over 65% of its population living in rural areas.

A growing population has put pressure on land, leading to urban migrations. But a narrow industrial base has not been able to absorb this workforce.
Since 2001, considerable direct foreign investment and remittances have bolstered Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves, stimulating high growth rates.
But most development has taken place in the services sector, with marginal impact on urban employment. The rural sector continues to lag behind.
Uneven development sees high inflation, especially for food. A widening trade gap threatens to draw down foreign exchange reserves and dampen GDP growth.

10 years of Musharraf rule has doubled the economy but at a huge cost of his party loosing elections. What went wrong ?

Mush begins backdoor politics, tries to befriend Zardari

Islamabad: Pervez Musharraf may be down after his hand-picked ruling party PML-Q was thrashed in the general elections, but the beleaguered President is still exploring options in a bid to hold on to power.
While he has clearly ruled out any plan to resign, the former general is now trying out ways to build bridges with both Nawaz Sharif's PML-N and Asif Ali Zardari's Pakistan People's Party.
The PPP, which has emerged the single-largest party by bagging 90 seats in the National Assembly, and PML(N) — which has 70 seats — are now in talks in a bid to cobble up a coalition government after the polls threw up a hung Assembly.
On Tuesday, the Pakistani President appeared to be trying to mend ties with Nawaz Sharif after he said he was willing to work with the former prime minister. But at the same time, Musharraf reportedly sent his aides to Asif Ali Zardari to tell him not to join hands with PML-N.
Musharraf's men reportedly even discussed possible prime ministerial candidates from the PPP. The new development came barely hours before a crucial meeting between the two victorious Opposition leaders, which is scheduled for Thursday.
Dawn News channel said Musharraf's aides met Zardari on Tuesday for discussion on the formation of the next government, their first contact since the February 18 general election.
Quoting official sources, Dawn News said Musharraf's close aides, including National Security Council Secretary Tariq Aziz, met Zardari in Islamabad and urged him not to holds talks with the PML-N on forming a government at the centre.
The PPP and PML-N have separately made their stands clear that they are not keen on forging an alliance with the PML-Q, the party which backs Musharraf and was routed in the polls.
But Musharraf's aides and Zardari reportedly even discussed the names of the PPP's prime ministerial candidates. The government team favoured PPP vice-chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the president of the Punjab unit of the PPP, and senior party leader Yusuf Raza Gilani, the sources said.
Zardari had earlier met Aziz at least once in the run-up to the polls. PPP leaders were not immediately available for comments on the meeting between Zardari and Musharraf's aides.

Musharraf has Nine Lives ?

Musharraf has Nine Lives ?
Mush's best option is to concede defeat: Experts

Watch :

New Delhi: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has been routed in the general elections by the PPP and the PML-N.
However, he is unlikely to give up without a fight and may try to break the budding Zardari-Sharif alliance. Experts believe this is one fight Musharraf cannot win.
Described often by friends and detractors alike as an elephant with nine lives, Musharraf may need all the luck and leverage he can muster up.
The single largest party, the PPP, blames him for the killing of Benazir, and the PML of Nawaz Sharif wants to impeach him.
“More likely that there will be a no-confidence motion. Impeachment is more unlikely. Two-thirds majority is needed for that, and neither party has it,” said Pakistan Affairs Analyst Sushant Sareen. “For impeachment, PML-Q will have to vapourise.”

For Musharraf, the best scenario would be an alliance between Zardari, the PML-Q and the MQM. However, such a move could prove politically unpopular for the PPP. Zardari would also have to deal with a hostile Punjab controlled by Nawaz Sharif.
For the record, Zardari says he wants the new Parliament to decide on Musharraf's fate.
“The best option would be for Musharraf to go on TV, conceding defeat, accepting the verdict, stepping down for the new Parliament to choose the new President,” said Sareen.
The pugnacious president, however, has not lasted in power for eight years by running away from a fight. He may hang on till the last bullet is fired.

Musharraf pushes Swiss to Prosecute Zardari

· Corruption case against PPP leader resurrected · Beleaguered president in bid to sink coalition talks

The battle for power in Pakistan took a fresh twist yesterday when the government reinvigorated a Swiss corruption case against the opposition leader Asif Zardari on the eve of post-election power sharing talks that threaten President Pervez Musharraf.
Government lawyers urged a court in Geneva to prosecute Zardari - whose Pakistan People's party won the most seats in Monday's election - on 10-year-old charges of stashing $55m in kickbacks in a Swiss bank account.
The move was seen as a pressure tactic against Zardari, the husband of the assassinated Benazir Bhutto, as he prepared to start negotiations later today for a coalition government with the second-placed opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, who has campaigned to oust Musharraf.
Despite a massive anti-Musharraf factor in Pakistan's general election, the retired army chief rejected calls for his resignation from the presidency, indicating that he would serve out his five-year term of office. His staunch ally, the US, urged the opposition to work with him.
The Swiss case against Zardari stalled last year after Musharraf struck a "reconciliation" deal with Bhutto under which all corruption charges would be dropped. But since her assassination on December 27, and this week's election victory, all bets appear to be off.
"There has been no ruling in 10 years. Why? The answer is simple - because this is all political," Zardari's lawyer, Saverio Lembo, said.
Musharraf's political survival could depend on preventing a united opposition front that, with enough votes in the new parliament, could impeach him. To do so he may try to exploit differences between Sharif and Zardari. Sharif wants Musharraf to go and for senior judges who were sacked by the military leader last November to be reinstated. But Zardari's PPP has taken a softer line, keeping open the possibility of working with Musharraf and remaining ambiguous about the position of the former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is currently under house arrest. Addressing the media outside his Islamabad home last night, Zardari said both issues would be solved by the next parliament. "Parliament will decide which president it can work with and which president it cannot," he said.
The negotiations starting today will be complex and possibly slow. Under the constitution there is no time limit for forming a government.
Yesterday the American ambassador, Anne Patterson, held a long meeting with Zardari. Afterwards he denied that she had tried to pressure him to work with Musharraf. "I don't think the diplomatic corps works on political lines. They do not give political positions," he said.
President George Bush, on a trip to Ghana, deemed the elections "fair" and said he hoped the new government would work with the US. "We need Pakistan as an important ally," he said. "We've got interests in helping make sure there's no safe haven from which people can plot and plan attacks against the United States of America and Pakistan."
But EU observers said they found evidence of significant manipulation in favour of Musharraf's party, particularly in the run-up to polling. "A level playing field was not provided for the campaign, with authorities primarily favouring the former ruling parties," Michael Gahler, head of the observer mission, told reporters.
The irregularities persisted last night, with the election commission failing to declare the results in a handful of constituencies - seats that could be vital in any future vote against Musharraf.
Samina Ahmed, south Asia director of the International Crisis Group, said there was evidence that pro-government rigging had deprived both opposition parties of an outright majority, but they should stick together if Pakistan were to achieve a transition from military rule. "Both parties have been deprived of a majority. That makes them vulnerable to manipulation. They need to realise that if they do not join hands, they cannot stabilise the transition. They have got to work together."

Efforts to Form New Coalition after Pakistan Elections

Efforts on to form PPPP, PML-Q, MQM, ANP coalition

* Numbers game- Coalition means :
PPPP (87)+ PML-Q (38)+MQM(19)+ANP(10) +PPP-S (1) + 27 Independents= 182

* Shujaat, Elahi, Ebad meet President Musharraf
* Zardari meets US ambassador

* Makhdoom meets Shujaat

ISLAMABAD: Power brokers have stepped up their efforts to prepare a blueprint for a plausible combination of coalition partners to form governments at the federal and provincial levels. Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi arrived here on Wednesday and met President Pervez Musharraf to discuss the post-election scenario. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad also came to Islamabad and met with President Musharraf. “The president discussed the political situation with the PML-Q and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders,” a source told Daily Times without disclosing any details.

After these meetings at the President’s Camp Office in Rawalpindi, a close friend of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim also met Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a source said, adding that it was part of the efforts to form a coalition government. Efforts were on to remove the differences between the PPPP and the PML-Q, they said. “The first priority of the power-that-be is to work on a coalition involving the PPPP, PML-Q, MQM and the Awami National Party,” the sources said. Sources said there was little possibility of the PPPP joining hands with the PML-N because of the latter’s clear position on the issue of sacked judges and resignation of President Musharraf. A PPPP source said they might arrive upon a compromise. PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar told Daily Times his party was more interested in fulfilling its promises to its voters rather than forming a coalition government.

The PML-Q president was not forthcoming at this moment, sources said. “Chaudhry Shujaat is following a wait and see policy,” the sources said. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has said his party would prefer to sit on the opposition benches, but a final decision would be taken at a meeting of the party’s ticket holders on February 23 in Islamabad.

Zardari meets US ambassador: PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also met US ambassador Anne Patterson and discussed with her the post-election scenario. A source said President Musharraf’s close aide Tariq Aziz was also present in the meeting. The PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar denied a meeting between Zardari and Tariq Aziz

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pakistan Elections - National and Provincial Assembly - Party Seats

PARTY------- NA---PA---SA---BA- --FA--- FCT*


PML (N)------66----101----0----0-----5----(1)

PML (Q)------38----66-----9----17----6

MQM----------19-----0--- -38----0-----0



PML (F)------3------2-----5-----0-----0



IND.*-------- 27-----35----1-----10--- 18


Reserved Women


Reserved Minorities


Grand Total


*FCT - Federal Capital Territory
2 National Assembly Seats.

*IND - Independent Winners.
No party affiliations.

Pakistan Elections - National Assembly - Party Seats

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Malaysia to build World's Largest Call Centre in Karachi

Malaysia to build World's Largest Call Center in Karachi

Sunday, February 17, 2008

12000 seat call center will one of the largest in the world. Named IT tower this 47 storey tower to be built adjacent to Civic Centre at a cost of $200 million with the signing of an agreement in Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal signed the agreement on behalf of the City District Government Karachi and Gochi Kon on behalf of the Malaysian construction company IM Technologies, a consortium of IGM Investment, Jable-Ali Limited and Mall Park Limited.The consortium will construct the IT tower in 24 months, which will consist of three shopping malls of international standard, 12,000-seat call centre, 240-room five-star hotel, business centres and car parking facility for 2,100 vehicles while 50,000 people will be given employment opportunities.

Addressing the ceremony, Mustafa Kamal said that the cooperation of Malaysian companies and investments made by them in ongoing mega projects in Karachi will prove helpful in bringing the two countries closer to each other.He said the importance of the project can be judged from the fact that 4,000 out of 10,000 call centre seats have already been booked before the beginning of work. He was confident that by working together, the IT complex project could be completed much before the stipulated timeframe of 24 months.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, the City Nazim Karachi, Syed Mustafa Kamal said that ground breaking of the project had already been held in Karachi to ensure timely completion of the project and to motivate the stakeholders to put in their best in the project.
Kamal said that this project will be a tangible symbol of friendship between Pakistan and Malaysia and will serve as a binding force to undertake other such projects by the Malaysian in Pakistan. He also thanked the Malaysian Company for trusting and playing its role in progress and development of Pakistan.
Krishnan Tan, CEO and Managing Director of IJM Corporation Berhad while delivering the welcome address appreciated the efforts of the City Nazim in making it possible for a Malaysian Company to undertake such a huge project in Pakistan and said that the project after its completion will be cherished by the people of Karachi and will be a great commercial success.
The contract award was signed by the City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal on behalf of Karachi Development Company Limited and Mr. Krishnan Tan, CEO and Managing Director of IJM Corporation Private Limited of IM Technologies Pakistan (Private) Limited. They both exchanged the signed documents.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Pakistan tells US to Shut up

Pakistan tells US to Shut up !

Pakistan tells US to look into its own Nukes safety procedures before pointing a finger at us !
It pointed out that recently:
"The [U.S.] Air Force has made substantial changes in its handling of nuclear weapons in the wake of a B-52 flight last August during which the pilots and crew were unaware they were carrying six air-launched cruise missiles with nuclear warheads."
-- "Air Force Alters Rules for Handling of Nuclear Arms," Washington Post January 25, 2008.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, JANUARY 25--At a press conference in Islamabad today, Pakistani Brig. Gen. Atta M. Iqhman expressed concern about U.S. procedures for handling nuclear weapons. Iqhman, who oversees the safety and security of the Pakistani nuclear force, said that U.S. protocols for storing and handling nuclear weapons are inadequate. "In Pakistan, we store nuclear warheads separately from their delivery systems, and a nuclear warhead can only be activated if three separate officers agree," Iqhman said. "In the United States, almost 20 years after the end of the Cold War, nuclear weapons still sit atop missiles, on hair-trigger alert, and it only takes two launch-control officers to activate a nuclear weapon. The U.S.
government has persistently ignored arms control experts around the world who have said they should at least de-alert their weapons."
Iqhman also questioned the adequacy of U.S. procedures for handling nuclear weapons. He expressed particular concern about the August 29, 2007, incident in which six nuclear weapons were accidentally loaded under the wing of a B-52 by workers who did not observe routine inspection procedures and thought they were attaching conventional weapons to the B-52. The flight navigator should have caught their mistake, but he neglected to inspect the weapons as required. For several hours the nuclear weapons were in the air without anyone's knowledge. "The United States needs to develop new protocols for storing and loading nuclear weapons, and it needs to do a better job of recruiting and training the personnel who handle them,"
Iqhman said.
Iqhman added the Pakistani government would be willing to offer technical advice and assistance to the United States on improving its nuclear weapons handling procedures. Speaking anonymously because of the issue's sensitivity, senior Pentagon officials said it is Washington's role to give, not receive, advice on nuclear weapons safety and surety issues.
Iqhman pointed out that the August 29 event was not an isolated incident; there have been at least 24 accidents involving nuclear weapons on U.S.
planes. He mentioned a 1966 incident in which four nuclear weapons fell to the ground when two planes collided over Spain, as well as a 1968 fire that caused a plane to crash in Greenland with four hydrogen bombs aboard. In 1980, a Titan II missile in Arkansas exploded during maintenance, sending a nuclear warhead flying 600 feet through the air. In a remark that visibly annoyed a U.S. official present at the briefing, Iqhman described the U.S.
nuclear arsenal as "an accident waiting to happen."
Jay Keuse of MSNBC News asked Iqhman if Pakistan was in any position to be lecturing other countries given Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan's record of selling nuclear technology to other countries. "All nuclear weapons states profess to oppose proliferation while helping select allies acquire nuclear weapons technology," Iqhman replied. "The United States helped Britain and France obtain the bomb; France helped the Israelis; and Russia helped China. And China," he added coyly, "is said by Western media sources to have helped Pakistan. So why can't Pakistan behave like everyone else?"
Iqhman's deputy, Col. Bom Zhalot also expressed concern about the temperament of the U.S. public, asking whether they had the maturity and self-restraint to be trusted with the ultimate weapon. "Their leaders lecture us on the sanctity of life, and their president believes that every embryo is sacred, but they are the only country to have used these terrible weapons--not just once, but twice. Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the plane that bombed Hiroshima, said he never lost a night's sleep over killing 100,000 people, many of them women and children. That's scarcely human."
While Iqhman glared reproachfully at Zhalot for this rhetorical outburst, Zhalot continued: "We also worry that the U.S. commander-in-chief has confessed to having been an alcoholic. Here in Pakistan, alcohol is 'haram,' so this isn't a problem for us. Studies have also found that one-fifth of U.S. military personnel are heavy drinkers. How many of those have responsibility for nuclear weapons?"
John G. Libb of the Washington Times asked if Americans were wrong to be concerned about Pakistan's nuclear stockpile given the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan. Colonel Zhalot replied: "Millions of Americans believe that these are the last days and that they will be raptured to heaven at the end of the world. You have a president who describes Jesus as his favorite philosopher, and one of the last remaining candidates in your presidential primaries is a preacher who doesn't believe in evolution. Many Pakistanis worry that the United States is being taken over by religious extremists who believe that a nuclear holocaust will just put the true believers on a fast track to heaven. We worry about a nutcase U.S.
president destroying the world to save it."
U.S. diplomats in Pakistan declined comment.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Do Pakistanis Lack National Spirit ?

Do Pakistanis Lack National Sprit ?

We REALLY lack national spirit! So quick to blame, so slow to appreciate. Here is a
debate that is mind boggling. We love or hate Pakistan ?
Why are some of us are so disgusted at the thought of Pakistan ? They hate it because the wrong party is in power ?

We look at our neighbours in envy and the minute Pakistan comes to mind a negative vibe runs down our spine ? Why is that ? Is this constant brain washing and a constant barrage of anti-Pakistan articles in the media. Here is a very thought provoking article ? Look beyond Musharraf in this article. Try to see what the author is trying to say !

Do Pakistanis lack National Spirit ?

The problem with Pervez Musharraf is that he wants his people to be as patriotic as the Turks and Iranians and, more recently, the Indians. But the Pakistani intelligentsia's problem is the same as sixty years ago: It prefers cynicism to nationalism. That's what the spat between the Pakistani president and a Pakistani journalist at a British think tank really comes down to. Critics are calling on President Musharraf to apologize to Mr. Mohammad Ziauddin, a senior editor with the Pakistani Dawn newspaper, for calling him anti-Pakistani and questioning his patriotism. At first glance, the journalist is vindicated. He simply asked Mr. Musharraf why he was trying to convince his western audience of the professionalism of the Pakistani security institutions when recently a wanted terrorist slipped away from the custody of Pakistani police.

The President's view went something like this, 'Why a Pakistani journalist is asking me this question that embarrasses Pakistan, in London, in front of a British audience at a British think tank, when not a single European journalist posed this question to the Pakistani president throughout his nine-day visit?' So, who is right? Mr. Ziauddin or Mr. Musharraf? You will hardly find Turks or Iranians who wash their dirty laundry in the bright glare of world cameras the way Pakistanis do, and, to be more precise, the way Pakistani politicians and media do. Even exiled Iranian liberals, who disagree with the mullahs in Tehran, calibrate their criticism when it becomes too focused on Iran. The Turks just won't hear it against their country. The Israelis are as protective about Israel as a jealous wife, which is surprising because cynics tease Israel by saying it has so many ethnicities it can't be a nation.

Indians are a good example too. India has been anxiously building up its nationalism over the past decade in order to bolster its claim to a military superpower role. Since there is no precedence for Indian nationalism in the strict sense of the word, New Delhi has turned to its film industry and expensive PR advertisements on CNN to prop up a newfound sense of patriotism. Pakistanis have not met a single Indian visitor to Pakistan who would be willing to speak against India on any issue on Pakistani soil. This is impressive since tens of delegations of Indian professionals and activists, from all shades of Indian opinion, have visited Pakistan over the past four years as part of the peace dialogue. In contrast, members of Pakistani delegations visiting India during the same period have given scores of interviews criticizing their own homeland for everything under the sun.

Our own hero, Mr. Imran Khan, recently selected an Indian city, Mumbai, as a venue for a huge press conference where he accused Pakistani military and government of assassinating Benazir Bhutto. If his choice was not intentional, it certainly was in bad taste. There are millions of U.S. citizens of Chinese descent, disconnected from mainland China for three or four generations. But even during the height of Sino-American political tensions, I have not heard or seen a single U.S. citizen of Chinese descent agreeing to write or speak against China in the same way that other American commentators do. Out of more than a billion Chinese, hardly any Chinese in the West is ready to form a political association to work against China's interests. There have been a few dissidents but they never had an impact.

In Pakistan, ordinary Pakistanis have no problem with Pakistani nationalism. The real problem lies with the intelligentsia, mainly journalists and politicians. In six decades of Independence, the Pakistani intelligentsia has failed to build and evolve a sense of Pakistani nationalism. This failure becomes clearer when compared to China, Israel and Turkey, where politicians, journalists and thinkers led the nation in building and consolidating their own nationalist identities. The Pakistani intelligentsia has always justified its lack of interest in a Pakistani nationalism by pointing out that Pakistan consists of several ethnicities and languages and cannot be united on a single nationalist platform. Of course, this is a brazen excuse. Pakistani thinkers, journalists, and politicians have either been preoccupied by communism and socialism or simply held back by incompetence to ever think about Pakistani nationalism.
This is why it is understandable that in the seconds before he actually stepped up to the microphone to ask his question, Mr. Ziauddin never thought for a second whether his question is 'good or bad for Pakistan.' He never for a second thought to himself, 'Well, it is good that nine days in Europe and nobody questioned the President on the escaped terrorist. Musharraf is defending the Pakistani record and the audience appears to be genuinely listening. I oppose Musharraf, but here, in London, he is the President of my country. I won't question the competence of Pakistani security institutions before a foreign audience.' Would Mr. Ziauddin have been wrong if he restrained himself in this way? Many Israelis disagree with Israel's policy of killing innocent civilians during conflict. But so far no Israeli journalist has embarrassed the Israeli president and prime minister this way on their many foreign tours. Many Indians disapprove of the systematic Indian atrocities in Kashmir. But how many Indian journalists have confronted their leaders with this fact on foreign soil?

A western journalist will not understand this mindset. That is why I am not very bothered by what the British media has written about this spat between our President and one of our senior journalists. Politics in Europe have evolved so much that patriotism and nationalism have been rendered obsolete, at least at the official level. But, for God's sake, this is a country under attack. Pakistan has enemies even when we are not involved in Kashmir or Afghanistan. Pakistan's detractors are bent on proving to a global audience that this country is a rotten apple and it's okay if we invade it. We need to prove this is not the case, even as we deal with our internal problems. That's what our President, whether you like him or not, was doing in Europe. Was that too much for a senior journalist like Mr. Ziauddin to understand?

This is why President Musharraf owes an apology to no one. It is time someone took a stand for Pakistani nationalism.