Pakistanis and their understanding of Libya

The image of Qaddafi as some kind of anti-West warrior is a myth.

Letter August 27, 2011

LONDON: This is with reference to Ayesha Ijaz Khan’s article of August 26 titled “Anti-West not a leadership quality”. It’s a shame that many Pakistanis view the revolt of the Libyan people who are trying to break free the shackles imposed on them through a four-decades-long dictatorship as some kind of foreign-inspired conspiracy.

This view quite conveniently ignores the fact that since December 2003 Qaddafi has been friendly with the West, offering oil concessions to oil companies no questioned asked. Pakistanis also seem to forget that it was Qaddafi who, after giving up his weapons of mass destruction programme, offered the IAEA evidence of AQ Khan’s proliferation activities.

Also, Nato’s intervention is not really motivated by Libya’s oil since that is already under the control of various western companies. The major concern for European countries was the fact that they are afraid of a wave of migrants and refugees making their way across the Mediterranean and the embarrassment of having cuddled up with Qaddafi over the past 7-8 years.

The image of Qaddafi as some kind of anti-West warrior is a myth and probably owes more to what he did in the 1970s. Furthermore, we have no qualms about cosying up with Turkey and calling it our historical ally, despite the fact that it is Nato’s second-largest contributor and was one of the first countries to recognise Libya’s National Transitional Council. It seems that bashing the West is more important for some of us than the welfare of the Libyan people.

Nadir El-Edroos

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2011.

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