The shame of Chicago

Published May 23, 2012 12:05am

ONE of the nastier forms of ritual humiliation in the schoolyard is when a bunch of kids beckon an unpopular classmate towards a group he longs to be a part of and, when he eagerly fetches up, confront him with an insult along the lines of: “What do you want? Now go away…” Sometimes the slap in the face is not metaphorical.

This unpleasant scenario crept into the mind while contemplating the saga of Asif Ali Zardari’s belated invitation to Chicago, where Nato has this week supposedly been mulling over the endgame in Afghanistan.

That is anyhow a pretty bizarre phenomenon. Not to put too fine a point on it, there’s a certain lack of geographical proximity between Afghanistan and the north Atlantic.

Any role for Nato in determining Afghanistan’s future ought to be seen as an anomaly. In fact, there’s scope for arguing that the organisation lost whatever raison d’être it may once have had once the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist.

One interesting contrast in this context is that when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the Warsaw Pact as such was not involved — unlike in the case of the military interventions in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968).

There is no evidence that Moscow demanded contingents from its allies in the Afghan battlefield, perhaps because the Soviet leadership itself was not entirely convinced that sending troops into Afghanistan was a magnificent idea.

It’s also worth considering the possibility, though, that by 1979 the Soviet Union’s comrades-in-arms felt somewhat less intimidated by Moscow than the United States’ allies did in the aftermath of 9/11. Some of the latter have subsequently had cause to reconsider, the latest being France, whose newly elected president, François Hollande, reaffirmed in Chicago his electoral pledge to pull out French troops by the end of this year, a couple of years ahead of Nato’s formal withdrawal.

Even at the end of 2014, however, tens of thousands of American troops will remain in Afghanistan, ostensibly in an advisory and training role. The Chicago conference was aimed in part at securing promises of pecuniary assistance for this relatively open-ended venture.

President Barack Obama’s reluctance, meanwhile, to grant his Pakistani counterpart the symbolic satisfaction of a bilateral tête-à-tête was also related to money matters. US press reports suggest that Zardari was expected to fetch up in Chicago with a deal in his pocket relating to the reopening of Nato supply routes via Pakistan — which were shut down following a border incident last November in which 24 Pakistani troops lost their lives.

Islamabad has seemingly been adamant in demanding an apology for that attack; the Americans have expressed their regret and conveyed their condolences, but insist that both sides are to blame for the evidently one-sided clash. There is apparently also the consideration that saying sorry would be interpreted by the Obama administration’s opponents as a sign of weakness.

Pakistan has also demanded a cessation of drone attacks, although officials from neither side expect that to be taken too seriously. The real sticking point, according to a plethora of press reports, is the vastly increased transition toll for each Nato vehicle on which the Zardari administration is insisting.

The set price used to be $250 per truck. Islamabad is now demanding 20 times as much — $5,000 — partly on the basis that the alternative northern route via former Soviet republics costs Nato twice as much.

Obama is reportedly miffed at what the Americans see as barefaced greed, given that the US has already been pouring substantial funds into Islamabad’s coffers as the price for Pakistan’s support in what used to be called the war against terror — often without, from Washington’s vantage point, sufficient returns.

There’s scope for wondering, though, whether American discomfiture in the face of Pakistani audacity relates mainly to the fact that they are still unaccustomed to doing business with Asif Ali Zardari.

Pakistan’s calculations in this context are presumably based on the assumption that Nato’s need is greater. It’s interesting to note, though, that the economic repercussions of a reopening of routes extend well beyond Islamabad.

A report in The Washington Post last week, for instance, quoted Baz Muhammad Afridi, a trader “who vends looted goods in a bazaar on the outskirts of Peshawar known informally as ‘the US market’” as saying: “We were getting quality goods, technological gadgets and American flags at very reasonable prices. But the supply suspension nearly stopped our business…. Lower-middle-class people like me will be very happy with the reopening of Nato supply lines.”

Boosting Pakistan’s black economy is obviously not an intended consequence for Nato, but it would undoubtedly appreciate a cheaper route as the military mission is wound up.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Nato secretary-general, may well have grounds for striking an optimistic note in Chicago. Principled Pakistani opposition to the resumption would have been harder for Nato to contend with — while those who have consistently considered the US-led intervention in Afghanistan as an ill-advised neo-colonial enterprise would have found it easier to support.

On the other hand, those relishing the prospect of enhanced compensation might have something to learn from what the consequences of blood money entailed for the family of one of CIA contractor Raymond Davis’s victims. Faizan Haider’s widow and her mother were shot dead last month, ostensibly in a money-related family dispute.

The future of Afghanistan, meanwhile, is no clearer nor any more secure or peaceful after the gathering in Chicago — a city that, incidentally, allows many of its own citizens little room for complacency on either of those fronts.

Don’t be surprised if the enduring images from the event are not the commonplace ‘family pictures’ of powerful leaders and their acolytes but of the thousands who took to the streets in protest, most notably the US military veterans who, in an echo of the Vietnam era, flung away their war medals with distaste, expressing their remorse in statements such as: “I apologise to the Iraqi and Afghan people for destroying your countries” and “I have only one word, and it is shame”.

mahir.dawn@gmail.com


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Comments (105) (Closed)


Khalid Hussain
May 23, 2012 06:55am
Well if US doesn't want Pakistan any more as ally Pakistan is also least interested to go forward if damage done is compensated and US stop interventions in Balochistan. I think it is unnatural alliance between the two. So better it is to part the way as early as possible.
Lee
May 23, 2012 07:05am
Earlier the NATO trucks were charged $250/truck..Now Pakisthani's want $5000/truck.. What sort of insane math or greed is this ? Does the American tax payer have to pay for this greed when their own are suffering ? What is the value addition for charging the American's such a high amount ( $5000) by the way ? Isn't it just a passage of American supplies or does Pakisthan provide & pay for the content in each of these trucks too ? I hope the American govt. does not pay a single dime more than $250/- It is un-earned money for zero effort for the Pakisthani's Take it or leave it.
MHL
May 23, 2012 07:35am
if you don't need pakistan please feel free to use the soviet republics for transit routes... stop begging to open the supply line or perhaps you still hope that some pakistani leader will feel charitable and let you off the hook for a nominal sum like musharraf did for 10 years... at least be thankful for that + rest assured there is reciprocal mistrust at every level in pakistan society, government, armed forces, civil society and for good reason + so you think there have never been any intelligence lapse by CIA ever? or there have never been any fugitives in US??? OBL was just that...
Hemu
May 23, 2012 04:13am
Pakistan and its army maintain the Taliban to realize their aim of stategic depth in Afganistan once he US withdraws . I feel the return of Taliban in Afganistan will pose greater threat to Pakistan as Taliban may seek their own version of stategic depth in Pakistan by supporting the Pakistani Taliban in its efforts to over throw the present ruling dispensation in Pakistan .
Adam
May 23, 2012 04:29am
One word..... BRAVO!
Cyrus Howell
May 23, 2012 04:35am
The US and NATO said "sorry" for the air strike when it happened. Of course sorry is never enough in a case like this. So don't try to make it enough. + They also said they were told by the Pakistan Army Command that there were no Pakistani units in the neighborhood. After those words were received the air strike went ahead. As for any snub to Zardari he was the one playing games. After second thoughts Zardari abandoned his political posture because he did not want to miss any photo opportunities of himself at the playing president. What is he in charge of anyway? + Every adult in American including the government know Pakistan cannot be trusted. That is our feeling. We don't need or want Pakistan as an ally anymore. That day is over. + Diplomatic channels always need to stay open around the world, so Obama is letting you down easy. In reality the USA needs Pakistan like a fish needs a bicycle.
Cyrus Howell
May 23, 2012 04:42am
"US President Barack Obama in January confirmed for the first time that US drones target militants on Pakistani soil, but American officials do not discuss details of the covert program." + Did Pakistani officials discuss where they were hiding Osama bin Laden?
Cyrus Howell
May 23, 2012 04:50am
I suspect the difference of $4,750 per truck will be going to the Pakistan Army Widows and Orphans Fund.
alp
May 23, 2012 04:57am
Pakistani fundamentalists hoist this kind of articles on their flag on their march to death and destruction. A more balanced two sided story explaining different rationales would have been better.
kanishka
May 23, 2012 06:20am
No shame in double game. Suggestion for Pakistan army how to get rich quickly: Impose a transit fee of $100,000 per DRONE on USA. USA and Pakistan both would be happy. No one will know how many drones attacked.
@Sajid_Ali_Khan
May 23, 2012 07:22am
“I apologise to the Iraqi and Afghan people for destroying your countries” and “I have only one word, and it is shame”.- US veterans handing back their medals. US-led North Atlantic gang in their choice to mount a blitzkrieg on an undefended Afghanistan is now rushing to the exit knowing tat no invader has been able to leave without loss. That Gen Petraeus-led CIA shoots missiles from drones killing people all of whom - men women children - it says are "militants" has caused loathing of North Americans. Pres. Obomba as a politician wants a 2nd term & in the rightwing.
MHL
May 23, 2012 07:47am
if you don't need pakistan please feel free to use the soviet republics for transit routes... stop begging to open the supply line or perhaps you still hope that some pakistani leader will feel charitable and let you off the hook for a nominal sum like musharraf did for 10 years... at least be thankful for that
Ajamal
May 23, 2012 08:05am
America has alwasy very conveniently used Pakistani dictators /inept leader like Zardari. Imagine a toll tax of USD 250 per container for almost a thousand mile road journey. Even simple container handling at any port in the world costs much more. If Pakistan had any sensible leader, it would have exerted a fair price from the US.
Anuj
May 23, 2012 08:09am
the inability of the Pakistani leadership - whether the army or civil - to give up their ally, and to give up squeezing their ally for more (blood) money is whAT shames the common Pakistani. For the US, please remember, is forced to react to the underhanded dealings and suggestions that the Pakistani leadership put up, and as the US is more transparent in their dealings, they publicise many of those for both keeping transparency but also getting the message to the Pak public about what their leadership is upto. It is NOT a one way street where one can blame one country, a fav whipping boy in Pakistan today. No one asked Pak to become from Ayub Khan's days a non NATO ally if one must know !
Ajamal
May 23, 2012 08:10am
"Cyrus Howell@Every adult in American including the government know Pakistan cannot be trusted. That is our feeling. We don't need or want Pakistan as an ally anymore. That day is over." Trust for what? America used Pakistan as their foot soldiers since 1979. By the way, how many Afghans and Pakistani were among 9/11 bombers? It was American game in Afghanistan in 1979-1989 that allowed every terrorist to take refuge in Afghanistan and then bombing of Tora Bora dispersed them into Pakistan tribal areas. Those who don't know history, should realize that Durand line between Paksitan & Afthanistan was never recognized by Pashtuns on both sides of the border.
Aziz
May 23, 2012 09:08am
Don't we need authentic experts in transport economics to work out how much should be charged? It might just turn out that the real costing would indicate that it is higher than the 'opportunity cost' of USD5000. If so would the US pay the real cost or the opportunity cost? Any bet?
Yousuf
May 23, 2012 09:13am
Can anyone please tell me "What Aually" Happened in Salala Incident
mangat
May 23, 2012 09:35am
Pakistan insists that Obama offer an apology for the Salala incident. Why not Pakistan offer an apology to USA for sheltering OSAMA ?
Nushin
May 23, 2012 10:20am
Pakistan once again lost an opportunity in Chicago Submit as it moved opposite of international community itinerary . Also it is a shame for Pakistan increasing from US$ 250 to US$ 5000 per NATO
babu
May 23, 2012 10:33am
If you can not change the winds,then you can adjust your masts.America should cut off all American Aid to Pakistan and restrict Pakistani Imports as well.It takes two to tango.
Deepen C
May 23, 2012 10:39am
Two points: On one hand Pakistam says it is there war against terror also, if true (?) then why should Pakistn charge any toll anyway as they are in with the US/NATO. Secondly, if Pakistan wants to do biz with US by charging this toll then they should stop begging to the US. Period.
psingh
May 23, 2012 11:14am
Correct...if not by fault than , should be morally ....same way 26/11 too.( If any moral by heart exists) b'cause ruling govt is accoutable for credit for good deeds as well as bad .
Deepu
May 23, 2012 11:20am
Pakistan is already exorting enough money from USA on which the nation is currently surviving. If they are demanding money for facilitating a war that pakistanis themselves claiming as their own one is a sign of greed. Pakistani leaders are used to swallow humilation and infact they often opt for money at the cost of dignity.
Mdm
May 23, 2012 11:25am
it is not insane math or greed. our place is not for rent, i f someone want to use it then we will ask how much he has to pay. If NATO do not like to use we should say thank you. we lost lot of our people in this war so what we have got is war and war in Pakistan. So we must say thank you NATO.
Majid
May 23, 2012 11:27am
do not start this apology game, other wise all countries have to offer an apology to Pakistan, specially India.
Rani Chopra
May 23, 2012 11:35am
Pakistan's main enemy is neither USA nor India nor Israel. Pakistan's main enemy is Pakistan. In trying to be a Muslim country it tries to pass itself as an Arab country, a mideastern country, anything but a South Asian country with an ancient Hindu-Buddhist heritage. Pakistanis have convinced themselves that they are of pure Arab or Persian or Turkish heritage. the problem with this self-deception is that because their ancestors were Hindus or Buddhists the core values of Pakistanis are still Hindu-Buddhist with only a veneer of Arabic values, the latter manifested only when they are indulging in religious events including prayers. This is not to claim that Hindu Buddhist values are superior. But like all other value systems that come into being to meet the needs of the then prevalent society they do help members of that society. The Pakistani dichotomy and schizophrenia is the result of trying to be Arabs while they are far from it.
Socrates
May 23, 2012 11:39am
Cyrus The Pakistani government did not know that Osama was in Pakistan. The government was busy watching the cow jump over the moon.
a. rasheed
May 23, 2012 11:39am
I will be in fact whole nation will be happy if USA stops medalling in Pak affairs, None of the aid given by USA or projects financed see ligt of day.
Musofir
May 23, 2012 11:41am
Our leadership are confused...they are not clear about their point of views and ideas about the USA and Afghanistan... clarity and consensus is important for solid decisions and steps...Our military icons control the whole scenario and the civilian leadership is playing like puppet....Need concrete measures for future steps.............
Salman Mirza
May 23, 2012 11:59am
"Pakistan cannot be trusted. That is our feeling. We don't need or want Pakistan as an ally anymore. That day is over. " ----> it is not the first time that America conveniently regards Pakistan as untrustworthy and redundant after a decade long war.... every time Americas purpose is fulfilled the "most trusted of allys" becomes the biggest threat to America and that too very conveniently.... "Every adult in American including the government know Pakistan cannot be trusted."----> Pakistan has lost 25 thousandd!! civilian lives and 5000 soldiers!! not to mention the chaos caused inside our country (suicide bombings, assassinations and what not) because we chose to side with America in this war.... firstly the Adult American should be ashamed of themselves for thinking that... yes there are elements in our society (whom I also despise) who are untrustworthy and radical and our state apparatus is having major issues dealing with those elements.... but to label an entire government and its people as such after they have sided with you in a war for a decade is an insult to an entire nation (just compare the number of Americans who have lost their lives in this War on Terror and the number of Pakistanis - then talk) and thenn you ponder why an ADULT Pakistani hates America so much.....(PLEASEEEE for the last time - not because of your values of liberty and freedom - those are long lost anyways!! long before the vietnam war even) I wonder who is more untrustworthy... Americans or the Pakistanis... perhaps for you a Pakistani life is not equivalent to an American life or perhaps our lives do not matter to you as much you wish to conveniently walk away from the mess that you have created (yes it is a mess by any analysis) in our neighborhood and an top of that conveniently keep us out of the so called end game... WE the untrustworthy Pakistanis have more at stake in the future of Afghanistan than any of the NATO countries... soo yesss we WANT to be on the table where the end game is decided..... we will use every leverage that we have to be a part of it because the US is conveniently sidelining Pakistan after using it.... we have no doubt in our mind that as soon as the war ends... we will be left with 2 war torn countries to deal with while you will be sitting thousands of miles away... very convenient for the Adult American to think the way you do... but i am sorry America has not proven to be trustworthy by any means... in the soviet war as well as this one..... whyyy noww>!?!?!?? it took you ten years to see that we are untrustworthy???? noooo!!! thats not the issuee... you are right... America does not see Pakistan as a productive ally anymore so you dont need us after 2013-14 ... thats the isssueee here....!!! We have sided with America since the beginning of the cold war and have been a frontline state in two major wars America has fought in this region but we have been used as a client state by America since then (not as an ally)... You are complaining about the few billion dollars of AID (I say a few compared to other states receiving AID from America) money given to Pakistani dictators by America which never got to the Pakistani people??!??! reallyy????? and in return for what? 2 major warss... a radicalized neighbour as well as some parts of its own population (who you now wish to unradicalize).... It doesnt end here for us....America has consistently meddled in our internal affairs since our inception... supported 3 military dictators for a decade each (where were your slogans of freedom and liberty then - not for the Pakistani people i guess - only for Iraq im sure... right?)... and you have the audacity to say that you think Pakistan is untrustworthy!?!??!?!? America is a big bully in the comity of nations which is throwing its weight around ... well that superiority doesnt last forever - consult the european nations - they have atleast learnt how to respect other nations and their sovereignty even after colonizing and ruling them for hundreds of years... Uncle Sam however thinks they are superior to everyone else! thats why you only get your own point of view and no one elses (the world is divided between the good and bad for you) And finally... We already know that as soon as this war ends America will cease to be our Ally (its happened to us before... we never expected any better) Nevertheless, you the Adult American should atleast have the decency not to disrespect the thousands of Pakistanis who have lost their lives in this War!!! civilians and soldiers included by saying that Pakistan is untrustworthy!!! We have our own interests to defend because naturally you are not going to!!! so yess we have to see and make a policy which suits our needs in the future! This time we sincerely hope that America does not require Pakistan any more so that we can live peacefully ... perhaps with a lot of hardships in the beginning without the AID and etc... and we also fear there will be sanctions against us.... but atleast we will be able to develop as a nation without any foreign interference! I am sorry but America's friendship is too demanding and also thankless! contdd.....
Salman Mirza
May 23, 2012 12:00pm
As for the charge of 250 v/s 5000 for a container... well that was decided with a military dictator and his priorities were different because that understanding came with a different sort of military aid and assistance... yes we want more money!! you want to call it greed.... call it whatever you like.... We want money to reconstruct our country!!! we want money to unradicalize our nation... we want money to develop our roads, hospitals and schools... be it zardari or be it anyone as our leader... Any money that the US has given has only gone to a few pockets (I would not take the blame away for that from our leaders but the US has been partly responsible for that - as i said earlier the US has supported 3 military dictators in Pakistan)..... you cannot even fathom the cost that our nation has paid in this war... any amount of money would be insufficient... for starters you can begin by payingg something that you pay other nations!!!!! "The US and NATO said "sorry" for the air strike when it happened. Of course sorry is never enough in a case like this. So don't try to make it enough. They also said they were told by the Pakistan Army Command that there were no Pakistani units in the neighborhood. After those words were received the air strike went ahead." -------> you perhaps neeed to get your facts corrected before you speak like this!!
Amir
May 23, 2012 12:07pm
Mahir sahib, excellent article!
kayt
May 23, 2012 12:33pm
Well, why are aren't there strong leaders for the modern times? I guess the madrasas are not helping. You folks would do better to close those camps and open up more schools.
Adil Jadoon
May 23, 2012 12:41pm
I say we all vote for Imran Khan and reduce this relationship to what it should always have been. Neither of us trusts the other, with good reason and sooner we return to a friendly rather then a dependent relationship, the better off we will be. We don't want any aid and do not expect us to waste our blood for you. We will control the terrorists on our side of the border and you can do the same on yours. As for the Afghan people their welfare should be Pakistani government primary responsibility as they are and will always be our brothers and sisters.
babu
May 23, 2012 12:46pm
If America had sensible leadership,they would have never given a DIME to a country like Pakistan.
Adil Jadoon
May 23, 2012 12:46pm
Actually it was busy stealing money form its own people and trying to cover its tracks. And also lets be fair the Americans wanted to ridicule Pakistan military which they did after the military had been their biggest supporter yet, which brings us to the attitude of the American establishment with perhaps correctly sees all interaction withPakistan as a transaction specially in view of haw they conveniently forgot which country provided them with the land routed for the last 10 years. I say lets call it a day and have cordial relations instead.
Adil Jadoon
May 23, 2012 12:52pm
Pakistani people do not see this as their war any more as this is more political now then a war against terrorism (which was flawed from the beginning). Also apart from our incompetent government (which is only in place because of the NRO in 2007) most people do not want to have a transactional relationship with the USA but a cordial one. We tried being friendly in during the cold war (the US airbases are still here from where the U2 planes use to fly over the USSR) but it only led to more misery for us. Lets be open to each other and admit we have a different view on how to solve the problem in Afghanistan but the best way forward should be what the Afghan people want and unfortunately no one is interested in that.
@hasanarshad_
May 23, 2012 01:00pm
Waiting on india to apologize for occupying Siachen
Jawwad
May 23, 2012 01:08pm
The charges are for the wear and tear to the roadway systems. Haven't you heard of paying a toll in US or most other countries? 250 was decided by a military dictator not the civilian government which is in place today. How much you were paying for gas back in 2001?
jawwad
May 23, 2012 01:10pm
The charges are for the wear and tear to the roadway systems. Haven't you heard of paying a toll in US or most other countries? 250 was decided by a military dictator not the civilian government which is in place today. How much you were paying for gas back in 2001? Russia is charging you $10,000 per truck.
Toxic
May 23, 2012 01:15pm
I think US should agree to pay 5000$ transit fee per truck if they want Pak route. And US Tax payers should rather be happy instead of cursing because this is still half of the money spent to pass trucks thru Soviet routes. Pakistani leaders should spend this money on family planning and education of illeterate public.
Abbas
May 23, 2012 01:26pm
you want to profit handsomely from the deaths of Salala soldiers.
ichhi baan
May 23, 2012 01:44pm
If the US in 1990s could refuse the delivery of F-16s that Pakistan had ordered and paid for, and on top of that charge the consequential storage fee for several years, why blame Pakistan if it wishes to charge the transit fee of $5000 per container, to just repair the roads damaged by over 300 heavy containers per day passing through thousands kilometres in Pakistan for the past 12 years? By the way the same Americans are paying $2000 - 3000 paer containers to Taliban for transit from Pakistan border to Bagram base near Kabul, a distance of 250 km!
Mubeen
May 23, 2012 01:47pm
Cyrus i think you are overlooking the burden this war had on Pakistan because of refugees from afghanistan, growing terrorism in pakistan, defense spendings for a war etc whereas the US will surely be using oil money to cover the costs as they did in iraq in this case minerals etc. Your 10 year war will have the same result as Vietnam, stories for a good movie and the price paid by civilian deaths, soldiers scarred, money used to test weapons and a stage all set to go bad again!
Salman Mirza
May 23, 2012 02:21pm
Pakistan is not fighting the war in Afghanistan... it is only facilitating.... why shouldnt Pakistan charge a toll? Is it so wrong to charge for a facility another country has used... secondly the issue is just not about the containers... The US is refusing to pay the outstanding dues of the Pakistani military for the war that they are fighting in the tribal belt (may be the US can afford such wars... Pakistan surely cannot) The US says that these military invoices have been inflated (upto about 40 percent) which knowing the Pakistani military is quite likely.... well why not pay the remaining 60%???? the honest truth is that the US has been using this carrot and stick approach with Pakistan for a while.. now when Pakistan wants more carrots (for various reasons- poverty, corruption etc etc) because its fat and obese and cant grow its own carrots... the US has a problem giving them more carrots... whereas Pakistan feels its entitled to them! I dont think Pakistan is begging... but merely trying (and miserably failing) to assert the only leverage it has (NATO supply routes) to get more money... Americans think its extortion... Pakistanis think its only fair because the earlier deal was unfair and Pakistan had to bear way too many additional costs.. therein lies the problem!
vivek
May 23, 2012 02:22pm
Lower-middle-class people like me will be very happy with the reopening of Nato supply lines.” Really don't know the compensation in pakistan but columnists on this side of the border are very well paid and well connected to politics
Socrates
May 23, 2012 02:38pm
A Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. track down Osama bin Laden was convicted of high treason Wednesday and sentenced to 33 years in prison. Shakil Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify bin Laden's presence at the compound in the town of Abbottabad where U.S. commandos killed the al-Qaida chief last May. The operation outraged Pakistani officials because they were not told about it beforehand. Had they been told they would have warned Osama who could then have left the house and saved his skin.
BRR
May 23, 2012 02:54pm
One one hand, Pakistan begs aid, food, IMF loans, etc. On the other hand, it wants to hold the same nations hostage - by not allowing transit of goods for NATO - demanding 20 times what the customer had been paying - how many deals can such tactics make? Clearly, someone or something has got to give, and the loser is both sides. The denouement has begun.
IKS
May 23, 2012 03:10pm
Now that golden egg laying Osama is gone, Pak wants nato trucks to turn into next golden egg laying duck.
Sharif
May 23, 2012 03:12pm
NATO would be paying that much ($4,750) more to Pakistan for its programs for training and arming not only the Haqqani network that attacks NATO forces in Afghanistan, but also other terror groups as well, particularly those that attack the West, Chechnya, Kashmir, and Sinkiang. Thus NATO has a serious responsibility to the rest of the world in the matter of the funds they provide to Pakistan.
BRR
May 23, 2012 03:13pm
The writer may be ignorant of this, but in the US, "the cost to operate a truck, considering all private costs, varies by the distance traveled, ranging from 21.17 cents per ton-mile for shipments of less than 250 mile to 7.69 cents per ton-mile for shipments of over 500 miles. Thus, a 1000 mile NATO supply route, for a 4 ton truck load, should not cost more than $320 or so. The writer, being ignorant, if nor arrogant, does not even address this issue, apparently the bone of contention.
Ali
May 23, 2012 03:21pm
mate and who is responsible for the growing terrorism in your backyard... i think you guys need some introspection.
IKS
May 23, 2012 03:25pm
If NATO summit seems bizzar as claimed by this article, why did Zardari went? his trip also is eqaully bizzar. All Pak can do now is punish a humane Doctor into 33 years of prison for helping world humanity to find Osama. Thereby he releaved the world from the king of the terrorists which Pakistan is so loudly professing to have joined to fight against the terror, but acts in favor of Terror by sending the nice doctor to jail! Hope that India understands this and do not trust Pakistan to have gas pipeline through Pakistan. Hope that Dawn is capable enough to post this comment on their pages for world public to read.
Quratulain
May 23, 2012 03:27pm
Superb write-up
SL DUA
May 23, 2012 04:30pm
@salman Mirza:_You said, America is a big bully in the comity of nations...._People of third world developing countries may also agree to it. But counting other's sins does not make you a saint. What did Pakistan do to Afghanistan by militarily supporting Taliban, who were anyway Pakistan's creation, to take over Afghanistan? During Taliban rule, were you not a bully for Afghanis?_You also said, Pakistan has to defend its own interests in Afghanistan. Every single adult in Asia knows what are those interests, in addition to normal interests as a neighbour. By any jugglary of words you can not hoodwink this world regarding your 'Stretegic Depth'. That is why you wish to be a bully for Afghanistan. I am not saying, who will achieve what, but surely the world knows your intentions, which are no secret anyway, to be BULLY for Afghanistan. You need to get your facts corrected for yourself, others already know it. continued...........
SL DUA
May 23, 2012 04:31pm
previouscomment continued: You said, you want to reconstruct your country. For that my best wishes for people of Pakistan. But is it really so ? You want to eat grass and a 1000 years war, for what ? Because you do not want to live in peace, neither allow others to live in peace._For DAWN: If you have published Salman Mirza's comments, I hope DAWN will publish my comments also.
Z Khan
May 23, 2012 04:39pm
Americans till yesterday were harping on about keeping only transactional relations with Pakistan and no more as a frontline ally who ,by the way, suffered the most from this insane war. so if Pakistan demand a reasonable value compare to the other available options, than why so much hue and cry. we now know that it was costing NATO a meagre sum of $250 per container via Pakistan compare to $10,000 per container on the alternative route. despite all our sacrifices, both human and financial, what we were getting in return? 1 Billion dollar a year with strict provisions attached plus taunts and ridicule from the top to the lower rank officials in US administration for the last ten years. now we know that our rulers had sold this country and its people's lives for free.
krish
May 23, 2012 04:46pm
I dont know if every adult knows the fact that the US is in this region with its troops just to ensure that no one else can build a pipeline from central asia to the sea through afghanistan. So dont be under any impression that the USA does not need Pakistan. If not then why hasnt the US bombed Pakistan after they found bin laden in abbotabad and it was clear that paks knew it all along. Infact the real story is that the US administation always knew that Pakistan had hidden him but still did ( and will continue) to play along with Pakistan. Eventually the US were able to track him down and did a solo attack because it doesnt look good for the US that bin laden is not dead. And all of this for what ? To keep up the dollar heagemony through the control of the pipeline, if an idependent pipeline is established then the central asian countries will sell their oil in currency other than the dollar and US will go bust. Dont tell me that the well informed americans are not aware of this !
krish
May 23, 2012 04:48pm
Not just movies my friend, its to keep the dollar afloat. if an independent pipe line comes through across afghanistan then the US goes bust.
NASAH (USA)
May 23, 2012 05:02pm
Indeed a trillion dollar question!
krish
May 23, 2012 05:06pm
What do the americans care about the price, its the rest of the world thats paying for it anyway. The dollar is a fiat currency that the US prints and dumps it on the rest of the world, so actually its not the american tax payer but the rest of the world paying for this.
shafi
May 23, 2012 05:07pm
The transit will remain closed! period
Sinha
May 23, 2012 05:25pm
This is thoroughly confused article by a (purposefully?) confused man. First he goes on to say that NATO should not be in Afghanistan. He is right, NATO should have been in Pakistan instead where the Al Qaeda leadership was actually hiding. Second he wants Pakistani government to open up the NATO supply lines for a war he does not support so that BLACK MARKET vendors in Peshawar can survive. What kind of insane logic is this? Is this how intellectuals in Pakistan think? Third, he says US should apologize for killing a military post which was providing cover for the Taleban.
Tariq
May 23, 2012 05:26pm
I wonder what's happened to the bellicose Pakistanis who were loudly predicting that America will come begging on its knees when Pakistanis closed the NATO supply routes. They apparently did not know that Afghanistan had borders with other countries beside Pakistan which could be used as alternate supply routes.
Guest
May 23, 2012 05:35pm
Cyrus I reckon roads do not pop up for free and it takes money to repair and maintain them. Whats the cost of transportation in US? Would you like to do the maths for us? Pay up the amount or find alternatives. Its simple economics isn't it?
Priyo R Das
May 23, 2012 05:35pm
Actually apology to the entire world.....
s.khan
May 23, 2012 05:36pm
Pakistan government was not hiding Osama. Whole country can't be held guilty for the action of few individual citizens who aided and abetted Bin Laden. The govt. action is more reflective of incompetence than the conspiracy in hiding the wanted man. If the govt was involved, it could have provided some armed men to guard his house, developed a get away plan in case Americans got on his trail and be on the lookout for Americans invading Abbotabad to kill him. None of that happened. Moreover, BinLaden's documents collected by Americans didn't provide any clue about the collusion with Pak govt. The incompetence of Pak army/ISI is further indicated by their inability to detect the arrival of American special forces, conduct of operation and the departure. How can you say that the display of incompetence in this respect didn't extend to his hiding in Abbotabad? It is incompetence all around. Please provide some logic or information as a basis for your conclusion.
Guest
May 23, 2012 05:39pm
Dude are you spraying tar on the roads and rolling them up behind the trailers carrying your payload? It takes money to repair the road network that the containers erode. The $250 was setup by a dictator without any calculation or any rationale. If we want to fix it to what it cost us whats the problem? Its our infrastructure and its not built solely for NATO supplies. Get your facts please. $250 is the amount which is far below what a usual citizen would pay for transportation cost. How much do you pay for transportation over a 1000 mile stretch in US?
Priyo R Das
May 23, 2012 05:41pm
No matter what you say or how much you write, Pak has to get the trust of the entire world back by showing action. That does not mean not apologizing for hiding OBL for a long time and prosecuting and convicting the person who helped finding OBL. See your neighbours, how they are growing by joining the right side of the history!
s.khan
May 23, 2012 05:48pm
Mubeen, You must know that Americans are brought up to lookout for themselves. They don't care about "others". No matter how much you sacrificed they will never appreciate. It is not part of their psyche. They are doing the same to Mexico where 50,000 people have died infive years. Americans want drugs and American Government wants the suppliers to solve this problem for them. They have completely failed to curb the demand. The burden falls on Mexico. Same thing happened in Columbia where USA provided weapons for the carnage. With friends like that who needs the enemy.
A. Khan
May 23, 2012 05:49pm
Why is Zardari going to these meetings ? He is not the head of government. And if Zardari had any pride, he would have stayed away, since he was invited as an after thought. Fair enough, if NATO doesn't think Pakistan is important enough, then we won't come. Fact is Zardari went just so he could get his photo taken with Obama and a few other world leaders.
Bong
May 23, 2012 05:57pm
I dont understand what is the brouhaha about ? US should give US$5000 per container to Pakistan and they should deduct the amount from the aid being given.
Sam Mathur
May 23, 2012 05:58pm
Salman, "Pakistan is not trustworthy" comes from the following examples: If you agree that bin laden was a terrorist and his death was a good thing, then how do you justify sending the doctor who helped in identifying this terrorist to jail for 33 years? The government pledges that they do not support terrorism, but many terrorist networks and their leaders freely roam the streets? You take no actions against "certain terrorist groups" because they provide you with stretigic depth after USA leaves Afganistan. You capture terrorists and murderers but nothing happens to them forever. Why?? For an American sitting 10,000 miles away - it all adds up to the fact that you will say anything to get money and never keep your promise. Nobody denies that many Pakistanis died since 9/11 but, did you not create a safe haven for terrorists as long as USA continued to pay you to kill them and you pretended to fight with a few of these groups?
Shah
May 23, 2012 06:08pm
Sir, Please do not misunderstand me but tell me please what about the apology to Bangaladesh. Please offer an apology to Bangladesh - It is overdue.
R.Kannan
May 23, 2012 06:10pm
Is the increase in terrorism actually caused by the war in Afghanistan?
Avjed Iban
May 23, 2012 06:12pm
So what was accomplished after all this insane actions of NATO and USA forces all these years of war and destruction? One conclusion comes to mind: The Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980's has proven to be a success after all....with a little help from OSAMA,,,,Can you hear laughter of old retired Soviet generals????
amit
May 23, 2012 06:50pm
IF You are a friend expecting friendship why are you extracting money and by the way 250 usd is not small amount in pakistani currency
abhishek
May 23, 2012 08:08pm
Many people say that USA can not be trusted...arguably most pakistani people will quickly agree....and many americans say that pakistan can not be trusted.Actually its all about power and equation....they have power of money,economy and weapons and so they do what ever they want and in their terms its all right and others r wrong....pakistan when had power with USA good equation tried to poke their nose in india....and in their terms they were right.Same is with India as india had power and so do things of their own....same is with them who did in iraq on the name of WMD, then afganistan on the name of war on terror....and npossibly next no. is of pakistan....and may be india toooo....its all about good or bad equation with powerful.Why russia didn't did anything when they did in iraq or afgansitan.Same is with russia.same is with Iran as they also tried to suppress their neighbours........no one wants peace in this world as then how their business will run.When people will run the real sense of this, only then peace will come.....and humanity will have the best days all across the world ......as its never good that a small portion of people takes all resources......but then darwin will say ....my son, thats the way evolution happens.....I still pray that whole world will get peace one day.
Palijo
May 23, 2012 07:06pm
Mangat Bhai, This whole Osama story is very fishy indeed when he was alive and when he was outed as dead. The whole world knows he worked for CIA for a long time and organisations like these never let go of their assets. He served up a handy excuse for them to do what they think they need to do. it didn't suit them to catch or kill him early so they let him slip from Tora Bora caves that were built with their money and their consent/ knowledge. Now it suited BHO to declare OBL dead so there is the great SEALs drama.
Halakuhg
May 23, 2012 07:26pm
Excellent response Salman..
Shahid
May 23, 2012 09:29pm
What about damage to the roads caused by thousands of these very heavy trucks?
Sandip
May 23, 2012 09:50pm
US wouldn't pay a cent more than $500.
Sumant Bhalla
May 23, 2012 10:14pm
Pakistanis keep repeating that they have paid a very heavy price in the war on terror, but they never admit they are the ones who have created all the terrorists.
Devendra
May 23, 2012 10:53pm
Salman, America will be glad to rid of Pakistan as soon as it can extricate itself from Afghanistan. You are so right about that. And, you will have your wish. Just be careful, as we say in USA, what you wish for.
Devendra
May 23, 2012 10:57pm
Ajmal, You got one (A sensible leader)? Do you hope to get one in short term? OR IN LONG TERM? If Pakistan claims to be American ally and fighting the terrorists in it's own soil, then why the terif in the first place? Forget about how much.
Devendra
May 23, 2012 10:59pm
It is called "Fauji Fund." And, Cyrus, you are so right about the Land of The Pure.
Devendra
May 23, 2012 11:01pm
Khalid Saheb, The separation is coming the day we get out of Afghanistan and not a day later. INSALLAH!!!!
Haq Parast
May 24, 2012 01:00am
Instead of complaining why not go for alternate route? We don't need USA as a friend or as an enemy. Remeber, you are answerable to your tax payers and not us. No one will pay 4 billion dollars a year after 2014 other than american tax payers with exception of few millions from UK, France & Germany. If their friends from middle east wants to come forward that is their choice. Just leave us alone. What is the point to repeat same stories after every few years? We need to completely seal the border with Afghanistan with exception of few entry points like India did on the border.
Gary
May 24, 2012 01:18am
What..??? You raised & harbored Terrorists for your purposes. You exported terror in neighboring countries. When they went uncontrollable in your own country, you need world to pay to clear your mess..??? Shame on you..
Cheema
May 24, 2012 01:59am
Why did the US special forces kill osama. Why they did not arrest him and investigate directly from osama whoever helped him all these years in Pakistan. Osama might also have divulged the whereabouts of his close Alqaeda associates who are still in hiding. Is it fair to blame Pakistan without identifying the officials on Pakistan side who allegedly collaborated with osama or other proof of Pakistan Government involvement. Pakistan is a large country and it is not impossible for any criminal to sneak into the county from long and porous Afghanistan border.
Essjay
May 24, 2012 02:31am
".. we want money to develop our roads, hospitals and schools." - There is only one Honourable way to get that money: EARN IT - not by asking for aid. Pakistan does have a right to ask for $5,000/container, for EVERY container that goes from Karachi to Afghanistan, not for only NATO containers. If so, that will give the US the right to ask $140 billion for a Boeing 787 being sold to Pakistan, instead of $140 million, and to increase the import duty by 20 times for imports from Pakistan.
Essjay
May 24, 2012 02:36am
Is the foreign aid - military, civil, humanitarian - that Pakistan receives from NATO countries part of the opportunity cost calculations?
Girish
May 24, 2012 02:56am
and here we are thinking that Pakistan is also fighting the war on terror... atleast that's what was told to us by the Pakistani leaders. If so, wouldn't it be prudent to allow the NATO supply trucks to pass along rather than treat it as a cash cow? Let's imagine for a second that NATO is willing to pay this amount, what is the guarantee that the Military and the Mullaha won't gobble it up, just as they have been doing. If you are not able to recognize how radicalized your society has become, you better wake up to the reality. Don't blame the Americans for your mess, you are an independent sovereign nation. You participated in the war on terror becuase you knew you supported a government in Afghanistan that harbored terrorists. Your policies are coming home to roost, bear with it or deal with it.
Zar Murad Khan
May 24, 2012 05:44am
From the past incidents and experience it is clear to all of us that America has neither become a good ally of any one nor it will be except her own interest ! As I think that now she is departing from Afghanistan,so she do not need Pakistan any more,Therefor the fund for Pakistan is decreased by 57% and also denying to pay $5000,in this way she tries that how Pakistan is to be ousted.But my opinion is this that if Pakistan is to be separated from this alliance then it has not to face these challenges which is facing now.
hlatif
May 24, 2012 07:12am
I don't have a problem if US / NATO do not need Pakistan, then can keep using the Soviet Republic routes which would cost them more than USD12000 per truck and hey no need to thank Pakistan for letting them use its roads and infrastructure for 10years for next to nothing... Lee -there is no additional charge... this should have been US$5,000 from the start... it is the cost of repair and maintenance of infrastructure when thousands of trucks use roads stretching thousands of miles per month year upon year... see what Soviet republics are charging and ofcourse they remain an ally in war on terror... so if you are happy to pay more to them please feel free and spare our roads...
Saurabh
May 24, 2012 08:08am
chill man
Salman Mirza
May 25, 2012 01:31pm
I agree with you Davendra... that was my point... that America will leave sooon.... it will indeed have tremendous social, economic and other costs on Pakistan... but you need to understand the impact of US intervention in Pakistani Politics through out our existence to realize how much harm it has done to our Country... Pakistanis are equally to blame for letting that happen... All I am saying is that in the long run we will be better off... so will many other third world nations in our situation! As a Pakistani I want Pakistan to be free of US dependence thats all...
Salman Mirza
May 25, 2012 01:36pm
I agree with you Girish.... I am completely aware of the mess that has been created by our governments in the past (especially under ZIA) ..... I wish we had acted as an independent sovereign nation, which we havent in the past for 60 years..... we have to see our long term interests and goals... which includes deradicalizing our society!! but what i fail to understand is that how can people forget the soviet war and its impact on our society and the afghan society??? is the US not to be blamed for that??? to understand what I am trying to say you need to understand Pakistani politics and history...
A Greedy So and So
May 25, 2012 02:04pm
Ones character has already been exposed - though what remains to be decided is the price. This will be determined by the proverbial supply and demand - supply and demand of dollars that is.
Salman Mirza
May 25, 2012 02:06pm
lets not talk about honor here in the world of international politics... Especially America! (How the US steals resources of other nations is not hidden from anyone... you dont need to go that far... just ask your neighbours in the South... all of Latin America will agree with me) Although I do agree that Pakistan should EARN and not live off US Aid... I think that is precisely what I said... leave us alone.. we have way to many problems... first you create these terrorist with the help of ISI... it was all good when they were terrorizing others... now when they have turned towards the US.... you want to eradicate them by gunss!! well we have to bear the costs for that!!
An Observer
May 25, 2012 02:08pm
Pakistan made its bed and has to lie in it no matter however uncomforatble.
A Greedy So and So
May 25, 2012 02:15pm
Ones character has already been determined - what remains to be decided is the price. This will be determined by the proverbial laws of supply and demand - supply and deamnd of dollars that is.
Salman Mirza
May 25, 2012 02:16pm
ummmm... I think your knowledge of history cuts off in the 90's.... perhaps you should read more to find out whho actually created these guys... I never said that it was a good policy to support terror groups... I also agree that the same policy has now biting us back... but we were not alone to use these terror groups for our own national interest...so did the US and I believe the US should also pay for it! perhaps get a better understanding on history first and then determine whos mess this is! As for exporting terror to neighboring countries.... yes... the most affected in this regard is India... and I believe that our policy towards India was a wrong one.... and this policy of ours has ruined our own society! it has wasted an entire generation of Pakistanis not to forget the killing innocent people in India and Pakistan.... you think Indian intelligence has not done anything Pakistan?!? wow you really live in a black and white world!
Salman Mirza
May 25, 2012 02:38pm
Also, we are trying to both deal and bear with it! thats the reason why 25000 pakistanis have dies in bomb blasts and terror attacks! you think this mess was created by Pakistan alone?
An observer
May 27, 2012 12:53am
You are unable to differentiate trees from the woods. Your whole country has been messed up so bad due to your own decisions and instead of rectifying those all you seem to be eager for are more and more dollars - whatever happens to the country seems to be the least of your concerns!