Islamabad: As various embassies in Islamabad remained busy celeberating their independence, democratic or armed forces days as per their respective calendars, the topic of discussion amongst all these functions remained the very obvious which way Pak-America relationship are heading?
The message from our friends on diplomatic (or even other) assignments hailing from western countries including US remained quite loud and clear that no one is going to leave Pakistan unattended now rather would be willing to help them in whatever way they can. However, majority of them remained quite cautious about the continuous tight lipped policy of the Pakistani armed forces and vulnerability of the elected government to both internal and external threats from extremists.
What baffles many out there is the unanimity amongst most of the western diplomats and now even the representatives of Royalties from Arabian Peninsula seem to have started agreeing with this notion that problem of Pakistan lies within and not outside. Pointing fingers on others might have worked for sometime but not anymore. The concerns, whatever, Pakistanis try to raise, be it about Indian hegemony, US interventions and uneven playing field for Pakistani businesses on world platform are all considered by our worthy diplomats as part of the conspiracy theory which at best could cloud the reality for a time being but in the long run just compound the problems.
Amidst all such official functions of Russians, Romanians, Argentineans and even Norwegian, one such talk from the outgoing Norwegian Ambassador Robert Kvile need a special mention here in this regard. Reading from his diary, the ambassador gave his own account of what he perceived about Pakistan’s social, cultural and even geo-strategic and geo- economic situation by emphasizing on the point that instead of looking for conspiracy theories, Pakistan need to rise above these things and should focus on its people.
During an interesting Q&A session where many preferred to stick to his future plans and others on Norwegian delicacies, some did point out the real concerns of not only the Army but the people of Pakistan. However, knowing that he has travelled the length and breadth of this country, learned Quran, been to various religious seminaries and been active throughout the flood rescue and relief operations during his eventful days in Pakistan where he very diplomatically cooled down the rising tempers of the people and the government alike over the publication of objectionable cartoons of holy prophet by Afton Posten (a Norwegian publication), his simplistic view remained the same that put your own house in order instead of living in an imaginative world.
But is that so simple for the Pakistan to just turn the page like computer windows to move from one set of programming to another? Certainly not. Because after being taught to fight in the name of Islam for almost quarter of a century and turning this great liberal country into a quasi-theological conundrum, the world wants to see this transform with a wink of the eye from Mujahedeen to enlightened moderates. It might be easy to do that military command level but certainly not on at the troops level and perhaps that’s the point where not many western diplomats like to travel knowing it was their doing which they had to correct now at the cost of billions of dollars and thousands of precious lives. But throughout these two extreme, what remained painfully true for the locals has always been the fact that neither they were part of the Mujahedeen revolution nor they are in favour of imposed moderation, because in both cases they were the ones who had to bear the fruits of drugs, arms and now suicide bombings.
Similarly, it is very easy for the modern social scientists to brush aside any concerns against the hegemonic policies of the west against the under developed or developing countries under the huge carpet of conspiracy theory but in reality they don’t differ from those mullahs who force their laws on others in the name of religion just to make their ends meet. Such a grave ignorance, no matter Noam Chomsky while sitting in US refers to it anyone from Pakistan does it remain a major cause of concern for all those who do not want to take any proverbial left or right and want to travel on a middle road. And anyway there hardly is any such divide existing now especially after the corporate world has taken over the very concept of nation-state and has segregated the world into even simpler and less ideological terms of haves and have-nots.
Though the Norwegian Ambassador did not had the time to listen to all this conversation which took place after he left early because of his other commitments, but after getting the sense of the few curious minds, he was kind enough to accommodate this point of view but without leaving his stance that still Pakistan’s problems lie within and has to be cured from within by using its huge human resource, natural wealth and better policies.
Certainly, the Norwegian Ambassador is not the first one to point such things; there were many others who share his thoughts within the local population. But then during these gatherings you also come across diplomats like Ambassador Rodolfo Martin Saravia of Argentine, who spares no moment to highlight the good side of Pakistan and its people to every visitor from abroad. During a recent dinner, he had hosted at his residence in honour of the newly appointed Ambassador of Holy See Embassy Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra where he was quick to point out to all those locals and foreign dignitaries around the table that despite being surrounded by so many issues and problems, people of this country need far better life than they are subjected to.