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For all the wrong reasons?

May 22, 2011

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What are you doing protesting outside the KPT gates for? Go protest outside the GHQ instead.

I saw something on TV last night that got me all confused. An excited young man outside the KPT cried “we’re going to block all Nato containers here.” I was puzzled. Was my memory beginning to play games on me?

Having previously worked at a global shipping concern that manages shipping and logistics for Nato, I knew for a fact that the KPT does not have the operational capacity to berth large vessels because of shallow water. But I still called up my colleague and confirmed. Apparently, other than the occasional East-bound cargo, most Nato supplies still come in and go out through the Port Qasim Terminal.

It appears that our local ‘Che Guevara’ has got his guerilla tactics a little messed up. And here they were – thousands outside the KPT in what resembled a rock concert – blocking Nato supplies.

A lot of people (and most of my friends who attended this protest) would argue that it doesn’t really matter much since it is meant to be symbolic. Which leads me to the question: What does this ‘dharna’ really symbolise? The PTI website tells me it’s a protest against “US drone strikes.”

Let’s break that down: US - Drone - Strikes

US Why should the US be allowed to poke their noses into your matters? It’s a question of sovereignty! Really? Recent WikiLeaks cables reveal that the Pakistan army asked for increased US drone support. When your own military asks for it, it isn’t much of a US operation now, is it?

US Drone So you’re mad at the fact that it’s a drone - an unmanned robotic jet. They should at least give you some respect and put a man in there! Would you rather have a Pakistani F-16 (US-donated) carrying out the same operations? It appears that something of that sort is already on the cards. Or will you prefer to wait until the time the country proudly produces its own fighter-jets – to bomb its own people?

US drone STRIKES Aaah! So it’s the strikes that you’re protesting against. You think there shouldn’t be an operation at all – Pakistani or American! What about all those militants and insurgents blowing themselves up? And what about the TTP, that has declared war against Pakistan? Shouldn’t we be fighting our enemies?

Or do you support an operation against terrorism and militancy, but you don’t agree with the inhumane way it’s being carried out? If that is the case, then what are you doing protesting outside the KPT gates for? Go protest outside the GHQ and I might as well join you!

Or better still, maybe you should just all go home.

Sajjad Haider is an Assistant Producer at Dawn.com