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Syrian crisis and the US

September 01, 2013

THE Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria has indeed been a very devastating one. However, the fact that senior officials at the White House in Washington think that they hold the key to the solution of Syria’s problems is even more disturbing.

The economic recession and social problems the American government faces in its own land today should be enough to keep them occupied.

The US would do better to solve its own problems before launching missile strikes in a country which never asked for its services and let the UN do its job. After all, charity begins at home.


Aafia Siddiqui case

WHY has Aafia Siddiqui’s case, on which the US has given a roadmap for her release, come to the surface now? Pakistan is the first Muslim nuclear power.

In a bid to attack Syria, the West would want Pakistan’s support. The present Nawaz Sharif government is gullible. It has very good ties with Saudi Arabia and a little nudge with Aafia Siddiqui’s release roadmap (this could give political points to Nawaz Sharif), Pakistan may support the strikes.

The strikes may very well destabilise the whole Middle East and also threaten the Muslim population.

Further adding to this murky scenario is, if true, the disturbing threats by Prince Bandar bin Sultan to Vladimir Putin and the memo by Putin to his armed forces.

Prince Bandar reportedly asked Putin to leave Syria alone in return for potentially controlling global fossil energy prices and output or the kingdom will use Chechens to cause havoc in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi next year.

Unmoved, Putin has asked his armed forces to prepare for major strikes on Saudi Arabia if the West attacks Syria.

Russia and China have both abstained from the Security Council emergency meeting on Syria. This could raise doubts that should a UK-drafted resolution to attack Syria be tabled, will Russia and China remain absent and not use their veto. The same as they did when a mandate for Iraq invasion was sought.

Syria turmoil grows by the hour.

It threatens to engulf the Muslim world, fuel hatred for the West and will put possibly hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in danger. A pessimist may call this a harbinger for World War III. All the major stakeholders need to tread carefully, and even take a few steps back.

As for Pakistan, it needs to realise its true position in this crisis. It must emerge as a united country, putting first the interest of its people, then the region and the Muslim world.


Sister’s role

THE PML-N has been critisising the PPP and the Pervez Musharraf government over the years as far as the Aafia Siddiqui case is concerned.

Now it is time for the PML-N government to take a hard stance on Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s case.

Dr Siddiqui’s sister, Fauzia Siddiqui, has been running from pillar to post and making continuous endeavours for repatriation of her sister from the United States.

A few years ago US officials had told the Pakistan embassy the ways through which Dr Siddiqui could return to Pakistan. They said if Pakistan could sign the international convention (Council of Europe Convention) which relates to transfer of sentenced persons and the inter-American convention, things would be much easier for Pakistan to legally pursue Dr Siddiqui’s case.

Fauzia Siddiqui attended the federal cabinet meeting on the PML-N’s invitation and the agenda of the meeting was related to Dr Siddiqui’s return to Pakistan.

This was a ray of hope for Dr Siddiqui’s family and it was a laudable step taken by the PML-N government.

The meeting was informed that soon after the approval of a summary by the cabinet a letter would be written to the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, making a formal request for accession.

The PML-N government should continue its efforts for the return of Aafia Siddiqui to Pakistan.