Turmoil in Egypt

Democracy is a long-standing issue in Pakistan, and backing for it in Egypt also acts to strengthen it at home.

Editorial July 28, 2013
A girl holds Egypt's flag as she attends a sit-in protest organized by supporters of the deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo July 11, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

Around a month after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in one of the military coups, Egypt has been familiar with through its history, the Pakistan Foreign Office (FO) has finally spoken out in the matter, condemning the assault on democracy and the ouster of an elected leader. The remarks come as Egypt tumbles into chaos with violent protests, amidst talk of arresting Morsi for alleged links with Palestinian militant groups. The many supporters of Morsi, elected as Egypt’s fifth president last year, have — naturally — not taken kindly to this at all.

What happens in Egypt is still to be seen. Things remain volatile and very far from settled. But the stance taken by Islamabad is welcome. The right thing has been done by strongly supporting democracy and the processes that stand behind it. Democracy is, of course, a long-standing issue in Pakistan as well, and backing for it in Egypt also acts to strengthen it at home — soon after our first democratic transition in over six decades. We must now hope that Pakistan will continue to stand by principle and back democracy, as it has done in the case of Egypt. This would also help bolster its image in the international community.

Of course, Pakistan can have no direct say and have only a limited impact on what happens in Egypt. The story of Mohamed Morsi is far from over. But the comments from the FO at least make Islamabad’s position perfectly clear. This will go down well at home and also amongst the people of Egypt. Pakistan has shown it stands with democracy everywhere in the world and this is an important message to send out at this time for a variety of reasons, linked both to foreign policy issues and our own domestic affairs. The FO statement, even if it, perhaps, came after some delay, is then to be warmly welcomed as one which sends out the right waves around the world. We hope similar backing for democracy around the world will continue into the future, even as it grows stronger in our own homeland, on a soil long hostile to it.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2013.

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SharifL | 8 years ago | Reply

@Toticalling: Moral of the story is that it is much easier to get rid of secular leaders, but it is another ball game when it comes to the 'faithful' Suddenly the whole world gets excited about it. In Tunisia two very important secular leaders have been killed. Same can be said of BB and Taseer in Pakistan. Some things never change, it appears

Toticalling | 8 years ago | Reply

We cannot deny that to overthrow a democratically elected president is anti-democratic. Yet the perception of a very large proportion of the Egyptian people felt that the Muslim Brotherhood were becoming increasingly undemocratic. This is clearly a huge aporia. How can anti-democratic actions save democracy? The risk is that the people will be persuaded that democracy doesn't work and that it must be suspended in a state of emergency which means that it will probably be abandoned altogether. The instinct of the Muslim Brotherhood is not democratic either. It wants to enforce Islam upon the Egyptian people. If the Nazis had been overthrown by violence at the outset of their reign of terror that would have been anti-democratic but it might possibly have returned Germany (eventually) to democracy. Of course the MB are nothing like as bad as the Nazis but the logic of the comparison, if not its degree, illustrate the point. Yet, Morsi must be released and handed over to Red Cross or another neutral country.

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