Zardari-Clinton meeting

It is important to communicate the Muslim viewpoint to the people in the West at an intellectual level.


Editorial September 25, 2012

The meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session saw the president take up the issue of the anti-Islam video, stating categorically that “Pakistanis are deeply dismayed at the film”. The president also quite rightly expressed the view that a few individuals “should not be allowed to endanger world peace in the garb of freedom of expression”. While the president’s statements may not bring about any concrete change in the US position on the matter, which has stated that it will not ban the video, the fact that the concerns of the Pakistani people, and Muslims at large, were communicated at the highest level, is the right approach towards registering the hurt and anger that was caused. In such matters, it is important to communicate the Muslim viewpoint to the people in the West at an intellectual level, instead of resorting to measures which only confirm the stereotypes of Muslims being intolerant and violent.

Ever since the low point of the Salala attack, relations between Pakistan and the US have been moving in the right direction. Nato supplies are, once again, being transported through Pakistan and threats of cutting off aid have been muted. A new US ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson, has been appointed, who had a chance to meet the president in New York. Even on seemingly unsolvable issues like the Haqqani network, Pakistan has signalled a slightly greater willingness to carry out a large-scale military operation in North Waziristan. And while we continue to officially condemn drone attacks, at least in private, the reality of these strikes is acknowledged.

While things might be going better than expected in the short term, the fact remains that long-term strategic divergences are just being papered over for now. Our population also remains stubbornly anti-American and there is every possibility that the next elections will bring forth a political leadership that is less inclined towards engaging the US. Things might be looking less bleak at the moment, but there are many bumps in the road ahead. However, the latest parleys between the two countries do give some hope of a stable relationship to form in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2012. 

COMMENTS (7)

gp65 | 9 years ago | Reply

Communication is a 2 way process. Make an effort to listen to what the world is telling you also.

Maverick | 9 years ago | Reply

@Cautious: Obama is not going to meet a foreign president- Zardari or anyone else- on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly session, particularly with elections looming around the corner. So, perfectly appropriate for his Secretary of State to meet with Zardari. US-Pakistan relations are back on track, much to the chagrin of the Indians.

Please stop making wild inferences and clutching at straws.

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