Dissenting opinion: The lone politician who refused to sign the APC declaration

Published: October 6, 2011
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Minto cites maintenance of status quo among flaws in resolution.

Minto cites maintenance of status quo among flaws in resolution.

ISLAMABAD: 

The lone voice of dissent that echoed at the All Parties Conference (APC), demanding a paradigm shift in the foreign and security policies of the country got no attention from the government or media.

Veteran left-wing politician and constitutional expert Abid Hassan Minto refused to sign the declaration as it did not accommodate the dissenting view the Worker Party Pakistan (WPP) president expressed at the APC.

He described the whole process as a cosmetic exercise and said, “We cannot become part of the status quo.”

Minto said that all stakeholders in the war against terror were playing a bluff game in order to gain more weight.

Addressing a party workers meeting in the federal capital after the APC, Minto said that dissenting opinions were not incorporated in the 13-point resolution, which was devoid of any substance and spirit as the majority of its proponents and authors represented the traditional mindset of hegemony and strategic depth.

“The conference was meant to seek proposals on the current situation, but the direction and policy was kept intact, which according to our point of view, is against the national interest. We and other likeminded parties tried our best to change the policy direction, but it seemed that many things were already decided before the APC,” the WPP leader said.

Minto called it ironic that the military establishment has primacy over the parliament in formulating foreign policy and its priorities. Despite continuous failures, strategic depth is still been offered as a panacea to all ills. This policy has proven to be a disaster and made the country isolated in the world while fragmenting society on sectarian lines.

He said that the time has come to devise a clear, unambiguous and transparent strategy with regard to the country’s sovereignty, domestic and foreign policies, and economy, and put an end to military intervention in politics and policymaking and make the parliament sovereign and give the army the same role as is being assigned in civilised countries. “No army in the world has corporate interests or runs private businesses. Our army is not answerable or accountable to any institution; even an elected parliament cannot question the army.”

He said that nuclear bombs cannot guarantee security, but foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence and good relations with neighbours can.

Manto said that the truth has to be faced for national security and prosperity. “The adventurist, cold war mindset has to change,” he added.

He proposed that a ‘regional cooperation forum’ should be effectively formed and to get rid of “imperialist forces” and get independence from the political and economic stranglehold of imperialism. “Without that, there can be no peace, stability and development in Afghanistan or Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Tauseef
    Oct 6, 2011 - 6:57AM

    Waiting for some hate comments directed at this sane voice.

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  • yousaf
    Oct 18, 2011 - 7:22PM

    Certain climates and soil are not suitable for some flora to grow,in the same way our social climate does not suit sensible thought or ideas to florish.We still suffer from the British legacy where we were taught “not to question why,but to do and die”.The British were clever,they knew that to question means to reason and reason seeking leads to research and research leads to new ideas,which the British did not want for us to do,lest we become knowledgeable.The negative atmosphere created by the British went very well with the rulers who came after they left hence the status-quo is retained to this day and will be retained for many more years to come.

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