Archive for November 3rd, 2009

Hillary and Pakistan

November 3rd, 2009
Hillary Clinton In Pakistan, Oct 2009

Hillary Clinton In Pakistan, Oct 2009

Hillary Rodham Clinton went back a very wise person after having interacted with the real Pakistan that the USA had so far ignored. That real Pakistan powered by a vibrant civil society backed by a fearless media has now come into USA’s reckoning for the first time ever. One has to hand it out to Ms Clinton that she did a great job from the US point of view and for neutralising some of the damage done by the Kerry-Lugar Bill (KB). Having been wife to a governor for 12 years, USA’s first lady for eight years and then an elected Senator from New York for nearly eight years, there could not have been anyone better equipped than Hillary to handle the US-Pakistan relations’ crisis.

The KLB, with all its fall-outs, had heightened tensions between the US and Pakistan while the government was quite content. The support for KLB on the part of the Government of Pakistan will never be able to stand the test of time. When the bill will be put into operation, the anti-KLB stand taken by Pakistan’s intelligentsia, media, civil society, all political parties except PPP and most significantly the Pakistan Army will continue to ring in one form or another. The USA went wrong in reading the pulse of the real Pakistan and missed an opportunity to soothe relations with Pakistan. In such an environment came Hillary Rodham Clinton.

She was quick to realise that her visit would be fruitless if she did not interact with real Pakistan. She had done her homework well in order to not be shackled in the name of security. She had come equipped with her own security of a few hundred personnel. Needless to say that Ms Clinton’s encounters with the leading media personnel, college students in Lahore, tribal elders, members of the National Assembly, her visits to Police Lines, historical monuments and the tomb of Allama Iqbal went well. There is little doubt that Hillary Clinton returned to USA knowing that Pakistan will, in future, have to be dealt with in the light of its public perceptions. She must have understood that no individual can ever deliver Pakistan to anyone on a platter for use in the international power play unless the people-of-Pakistan factor is taken into account. Pakistanis, as a nation, must give all those people who interacted with Hillary Clinton in public debates and interviews broadcast live by the media, a standing ovation for having put real Pakistan on the drawing board of US policy makers. And if those in Washington still do not see the real Pakistan on their drawing boards they will make a mistake, diplomatically, as fatal as the mistake they made in Iran in 1979. Thirty years down the road, the US has still not been able to make diplomatic inroads into Iran.
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