LAHORE - Speakers at the PINA Seminar on “Resetting Pak-US Relations after Osama” called for breaking the beggers bowl in order to maintain relations with the US with dignity and equality, and recommended unilateral rejection of US aid under Kerry Lugar Act.
It was emphasized that if the US continues to push Pakistan against the wall and repeatedly violates Pakistan’s sovereignty, then no Pakistani government, political leaders nor Pak Army or intelligence agencies shall be able to support US in the region.
It was highlighted that restoring public confidence in state institutions was essential before bringing any paradigm shift in Pak-US relations.
The seminar strongly advocated the setting up of the National Security Council (NSC) as the Defence Committee of Cabinet (DCC) had failed to come up to the security challenges. The proposed NSC would entrust policy making to the political leadership in coordination with professional experts and military establishment.
It was resolved that at this crucial juncture, the entire nation must stand behind its armed forces and other institutions to enable them to withstand international pressure. The speakers reiterated setting up of an Independent National Commission to investigate into security and intelligence lapses and fix responsibility, with recommendations for reforms in the system.
The seminar was presided over by former foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri and addressed by Senator SM Zafar, former Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz, Ex-Ambassador Javed Hussain, Pak-US relations expert Syed Mowahid Hussain Shah and political analyst Qayyum Nizami. Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri stated that the US has committed great blunders in its dealings with Pakistan in the past.
He criticized CIA Chief Leon Panetta on his arrogant statement that US did not trust Pakistan in Osama operation. He advised the US not to talk-through the media, but engage Pakistan diplomatically.
Altaf Hasan Qureshee, Secretary General PINA, in his opening address highlighted the grave security challenges facing the nation after the Osama operation and the PNS Mehran terrorist attack. He stated that PINA was the first to organize a seminar just after the Abbottabad operation and condemned the naked US aggression against Pakistan.
Senator SM Zafar stated that the nation’s confidence must be restored.
He feared that US might approach United Nations Security Council for authorization of its attack on Pakistan’s nuclear assets if terrorists reach close to these installations. He said that recent statements of top Chinese leadership was very encouraging and hoped that China would probably veto such move in the Security Council. He suggested that the Independent National Commission must investigate 1) How Osama Bin Laden stayed in Abbottabad for so many years with large families without the knowledge of ISI, IB and police authorities? 2) Why US did not show trust in Pakistan in the Osama operation and 3) Why the response mechanism had failed?
Sartaj Aziz stated that Pakistan could easily forego US economic aid since it is not more than ten percent of the annual budget. He said US aid with pre-conditions is not acceptable.
Mowahid Shah was of the opinion that the current political setup was incapable of delivering any results in safeguarding national interests.
He proposed convening of OIC Summit in Lahore like the one of 1974 to revitalize Muslim unity against state terrorism in Kashmir, Palestine and Chechnya as well as stopping the use of derogatory language against Islam by the West.
Qayyum Nizami compared Pak-US relations to those between a landlord and his subjects. He recalled how late President Ayub Khan had referred to the Americans as cheaters in his autobiography “Friends Not Masters.”
“On one hand the establishment declares Pakistani Taliban as assets and on the other condemns them as terrorists. With such an approach, how can the political leadership frame a national anti-terrorism policy?” said Ataur Rahman, a renowned columnist.