Speakers at a seminar on Monday urged Pakistan and the United States (US) to revisit their policies to avoid “strategic collision” in mutual relations.
They were speaking at an interactive session on “Security situation and role of media” at South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) Media Centre on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Lieutenant-General (retired) Talat Masood said, “Divergence of policy has restrained Pakistan to take action against the Haqqani network.” He said that Washington wants to see strategic changes in Islamabad’s policy to fight against all militant organisations, which were created earlier by Pakistan against India and the defunct Soviet Union. However, “such measures are unfeasible for Pakistan and it has only adopted a tactic change in its policy”, he said.
Senator Talha Mahmood said that shift in America’s policy towards Pakistan was expected. “We are being made scapegoat despite enormous sacrifices,” he said.
He urged for paradigm shift in interior and foreign policies of the country. He also blamed the interior ministry for issuing more than 11,000 visas to American citizens.
He appreciated the all-parties conference called by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and suggested that all regional countries, including India, should also be taken into confidence. “We should send a message of peace to them because we cannot change our neighbours,” he added.
Gen Masood said that policy review is necessary because there is a paradigm shift in American’s policy towards India. He said that Pakistan could not succeed in taking benefit from US for the last six decades, as the nation today is suffering from lack of constant economic and institutional growth. “We have spent huge amounts on military related assignments to counter Indian aggression. Unfortunately, in the process we ignored our institutions, education sector, economic viability and concept of self sustaining growth,” he added.
State Minister for National Harmony Akram Masih Gill said that we need to stand united as a nation and should be ready for sacrifice to save Pakistan. He suggested that we should mobilise the international community in our favour.
Member Central Executive Committee of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Mir Baz Khan Khetran said, “We should not throw our generation in war as Afghanistan did in the past.” He also warned the establishment to work in its limits and not impose its will on civilian government.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2011.