Resignations by reason of principle are virtually unheard of in Pakistan politics, but they do happen elsewhere. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the Foreign Office minister and a member of the UK government, has resigned because of her disagreement with the British government policy in respect of Israeli actions in Gaza. In her resignation letter of August 5, she accused the British prime minister of undermining Britain’s historic role as an honest broker. Not all would agree with Baroness Warsi on this point. She declared that the actions of Israeli forces were morally indefensible and could likely be the basis for radicalisation (of British Muslims) that may have consequences for the UK in years to come. In that assertion, she is on firm ground, as evidenced in the way in which radicalisation, particularly among young Muslims the world over since the 9/11 attacks has mushroomed.
There are tensions within the British government that is a fractious coalition of the Conservative and Liberal-Democrat parties. Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to condemn the Israeli attacks on civilians in Gaza, and moreover, has banned his ministers from saying that the Israeli bombings were a disproportionate response to any aggression that Hamas may have shown — which probably was the straw that broke the Warsi back and left her little choice but to resign if she was to preserve her credibility in the eyes of British Muslims. And not only Muslims, she is generally respected as being hard working and principled by many of the non-Muslim electorate. Her resignation is going to further aggravate internal tensions and Tory grandees, who have long disliked and resented her, are already briefing against her, accusing her among other things of being a Hamas sympathiser. Baroness Warsi has had a rough ride from the British establishment. Her resignation over the Israeli actions in Gaza may have far-reaching implications for the British government and she remains a potent figure on the UK political stage.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2014.