Friends again

Published: August 7, 2010

The tensions created by British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks about Pakistan’s involvement in the export of terror have begun to fade. President Asif Ali Zardari and the British PM have agreed to put differences aside and cooperate against terrorism. The president’s trip to the UK appears to have brought some dividends after all. There is, of course, ample evidence that the meeting between Zardari and Cameron has raised eyebrows at home. The security establishment is said to be displeased the president adopted a friendly tone, despite the British premier’s failure to make any kind of apology for his comments or try to make even a partial retraction. But this is a Catch-22 situation. Had Zardari failed to get a pledge of goodwill and cooperation against terrorism from his UK counterpart, he would have been attacked for his diplomatic failure. The situation is obviously a difficult one.

But rather than being miffed by the Cameron comments, perhaps those most angered by them need to think why they were made. There are unlikely to have been made had there been no evidence at all. Also, as head of state, one of President Zardari’s key roles is to secure agreements on military and civilian assistance from other states. As things stand right now, Pakistan needs all the help it can get. This is true not only as far as terror goes but also on all kinds of other fronts — including humanitarian. At such a time, it would not be wise to anger Britain, which is, of course, a key ally. This having been said, it is also important to strike a balance and do all that is possible to win respect and dignity for Pakistan. In this the president has struggled, coming under repeated fire in the UK – from the media, from politicians and from the Pakistani community – basically because of the timing of his trip. The meeting with Cameron has indeed, to a considerable extent, been overshadowed by these factors and this too is something for the government to consider.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2010.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • rehan
    Aug 8, 2010 - 3:12PM

    Just an observation,please don’t edit it.: Express Tribune seems to somehow have a soft corner for our President(I didn’t say Mr.Zardari).That’s very good if it is for the ‘office of the President’.Hope it continues that way many years down the lane..good for the ‘office’.Recommend

  • Nowsherwan
    Aug 8, 2010 - 6:51PM

    Friends again?
    Friend of whom? to Mr. President or to the people of Pakistan?
    The misery of the situation is that the government has turned a deaf year to the hopes and sentiments of the people of Pakistan. Whether, his visit brought aid or promises of cooperation, the fact of the matter is that he did whatever he did in his own capacity not being ” the president of Pakistan”. The President is a prestigious seat which is the bearer of a nation’s expectations. Recommend

  • Masood Mirza
    Aug 12, 2010 - 2:01AM

    The view presented in editorial can not be agreed upon. Mr. Cameron comments regarding Pakistan’s role in fuelling terrorism in the region are needed to be condemned. He instead of highlighting the issue of threat emanating from non-state actors may be from inside Pakistan, used non-diplomatic language and warned Pakistani nation as a whole to refrain from exporting terrorism. His comments have hurt already grieved Pakistani nation from the same issue of terrorism. Moreover, as for as the logic of his comments is concerned that there must be evidence behind this, is also without any base. It was simply the result of Indian propaganda of maligning Pakistan by exploiting the regional security environment where extremism has been seen a threat to the international peace and securityRecommend

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