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Shame in Chicago

Published May 26, 2012 08:04pm


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WHY did Pakistan’s president attend the Nato summit in Chicago? The US had not met any of Pakistan’s conditions for resetting relations after the Salala attack: a formal apology; end to drone strikes; release of blocked military reimbursement.

Instead, it was the US which imposed a ‘condition’ for Pakistan’s participation: prior acceptance that the supply routes to Afghanistan be reopened. Following a hasty meeting, the cabinet announced that the decision to reopen the supply route had been taken and the president would attend the summit.

A surprise awaited at the summit. President Obama refused to meet the Pakistan president ‘one-to-one’ unless Pakistan agreed to the immediate release of all the ‘held up’ cargo at the Karachi port. To his credit, President Zardari did not yield to this crass conditionality. This public insult was inflicted not only on the person of the president but the entire Pakistani nation.

How can this insulting and dismissive American posture be explained?

A major reason for this dismissive US attitude is, of course, the visible differences between the civilians, military, judiciary and political parties. Insulting the president may not have been the smartest move by the Americans.

Second, after Abbottabad and Salala, the US has apparently concluded that the Pakistan armed forces are unable or unwilling to retaliate against US intrusions and attacks. The US thus refuses to accept any restrictions on future operations within Pakistani territory.

Third, US officials are well aware of Pakistan’s financial constraints. Since, at present, the US administration cannot offer financial incentives to Pakistan, further reducing or blocking payments due or promised to Pakistan is viewed as a ready instrument to squeeze concessions from Islamabad.

Fourth, it seems that the politico-military strategy in Afghanistan has shifted again. Reconciliation and talks with the Taliban do not appear to be a priority any longer. The US commander in Afghanistan declared at the Chicago summit that US-Nato forces will continue a combat role as needed after the 2013 handover to the Afghan army. Even after the planned 2014 withdrawal, special forces will remain to prevent a Taliban takeover. Thus, the war in Afghanistan will continue between the US-supported Northern Alliance and the Pakhtun insurgents. Ambassador Blackwill, the former US ambassador to India, and, more recently, CNN host Fareed Zakaria, have both articulated this approach. It fits in with America’s strategic alliance with India.

Fifth, this more hostile approach to Pakistan also converges with Obama’s re-election requirements. Despite killing Osama bin Laden, and other hawkish exploits, President Obama remains vulnerable to Republican assertions of foreign policy weakness. Another major military success could revive Obama’s flagging poll numbers. Until recently, most analysts thought a US-Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities may serve this purpose. But the Iranians will react strongly, directly and asymmetrically to such an attack. After the events of 2011, American strategists may see Pakistan as a far ‘softer’ target.

It is uncertain if either the US or Pakistan has fully thought through the potential consequences of their possible military confrontation. Whatever its weaknesses, Pakistan will be compelled by national sentiment to respond to another US attack or intervention across its borders. A limited ‘engagement’ could escalate rapidly into wide-ranging hostilities. If, during such a crisis, Pakistan’s strategic command believes that the US military strike is aimed to capture or destroy its nuclear and delivery capabilities, it may feel compelled to use rather than lose these capabilities.

To avoid such a miscalculation, Pakistan’s new nuclear deterrence doctrine, aimed to deter aggression from not only India but also from other sources, needs to be clearly and publicly spelt out. The apocalyptic danger of a military conflict between two (albeit unequal) nuclear powers should be addressed urgently by the international community.

The US-Nato should accept the measures Pakistan has proposed to avoid another shooting exchange. The US cannot continue to claim the right to strike at will within Pakistan’s territory without Pakistan’s concurrence.

On the other hand, Pakistan should help to speed up the total withdrawal of US-Nato forces from Afghanistan. The transit routes should be opened primarily to enable them to withdraw peacefully. Given the changed nature of the relationship, including cuts in moneys owed to Pakistan, it is not unreasonable for Pakistan to demand ‘market rates’ for this service.

Pakistan cannot — and has no obligation — to ‘deliver’ the Taliban to a non-existent negotiating table. If and when the negotiating process is revived, Pakistan should do what it can to help in evolving arrangements for a political peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan should hold back the Taliban from cross-border attacks on the US and Nato forces and expect that they will reciprocate by preventing attacks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan on Pakistani civilians and soldiers from their ‘safe havens’ in Afghanistan.

Finally, Islamabad must prepare for the post-American Afghanistan. The Kabul regime, which the US Special Forces will continue to support, may last as long as Najibullah; but sooner rather than later, ethnic and power divisions within the Afghan National Army, and dwindling western largess, will trigger its collapse and fragmentation into ethnic and regional militias and escalate the Afghan civil war and spread its contagion to Pakistan.

Pakistan should take the lead to construct an alternate and more peaceful scenario for Afghanistan and the region. It could promote a forum, perhaps under the rubric of the Islamic Conference, to commence an informal dialogue between all the major Afghan parties. Simultaneously, it should generate support for an Afghan national unity government from Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Iran, China, the Central Asian states and Russia.

Needless to say, Pakistan can play this positive and unifying role in Afghanistan only if it is itself united on its policies. The adoption of the parliamentary guidelines was a good step in this direction. American insults and injuries should convince all power centres in Pakistan that our salvation can be found at home, not in Washington. We should not sell ourselves for scraps of aid or transit fees, nor be intimidated by superior power. Strength lies in national unity and pride. We must continue to demand an American apology to revive engagement.

The preceding analysis may be overblown. But responsible Pakistani policymakers cannot afford to dismiss the possibility that this analysis is close to the truth. They must anticipate the consequences of US policy and postures on the basis of its current actions and postures.

The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN.


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (127) Closed

bubby May 27, 2012 01:41pm
A nice and patriotic article full of wisdom.
Kailash May 27, 2012 04:01am
If an ambassador thinks in this way, no wonder general public r so radicalized and hate so much to anything and everything unislamic.
Ismail May 27, 2012 04:02am
Clearly a mouth piece of the establishment which isn't surprising considering the position the author had representing Pakistan at the U.N.
A Salama May 27, 2012 04:18am
The art of negotiating with holding gun to one's own head.....thank you Munir Akram!
Mohammad Ali Khan May 27, 2012 04:24am
Strategy of US and its allies is to enter a phase of war in which they will minimize casualties and expense, but retain special forces of significant strength to influence the outcome.The desired outcome is a denuclearized Pakistan. Pakistanis can.t afford to enter into a direct confrontation,but they will be provoked to do so. Pakistan should not be provoked into a conflict.This situation favors US and its allies because in the long run the corruption, tribalism and religious fanaticism in Pakistan will self destruct Pakistan. If Pakistan wants to progress and avoid a break up,it should not provoked into a war,and more importantly stop corruption,religious fanaticism and tribalism.
pkj May 27, 2012 04:29am
Are you telling Americans and NATO how to run theirs business.Alas. wake up Mr Akram.smell the coffee--pk j
nirode mohanty May 27, 2012 04:40am
In the Pakistan interest, Pakistan can do the following: 1. Close all terrorists camps including Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba. 2. Close the Quetta Shura and hand over Mullah Omar. 3.Do not send any insurgents to Afghanistan 4. Do not try to form a government that is not acceptable to Afghanistan 5. Free the doctor America will appreciate it very much with more aid.
Chaigram May 27, 2012 04:42am
'Strength lies in national unity and pride. We must continue to demand an American apology to revive engagement' Well said Mr. Akram, I wish there is some one in the Govetnment listening to the practical and logical voices within Pakistan. What we hear is the irresponsible statements from politicians like Mr. Bilawal and Nawaz Sharif. There is no long term strategy or even a small light at the end of the tunnel......
Hari May 27, 2012 05:05am
wow.....That's quite some Imagination running wild there.
Babu May 27, 2012 05:18am
Last 70 years of world history would be a valuable guide to the policy makers of pakistan at this critical time.
Rashid May 27, 2012 05:24am
Very well written, balanced nationalist approach which is definitely voice of people of pakistan and will have full support from masses. We can not afford any military exercise with US but yes you are right, what if it is imposed on us by purpose? Looking at US growing alliance with india which is no secret now, we need to be prepared for every thing and go for premptive diplomatic strikes as soon as possible, to strengthen our position. World has become safer at sake of pakistan. We have to be very clear in our policy now. State of pakistan can not be compromised any further, NO MATTER WHAT. No more bullying...... and this time it should not be a request.
Aviratam May 27, 2012 05:54am
"If during a crisis, Pakistan's strategic command believes that the US military strike is aimed to capture or destroy its nuclear or delivery capabilities, it may be compelled to use rather than lose these capabilities". Hmm. The Ambassador, of course, does not have an answer, but suggests, to prevent any "miscalculation", Pakistan should spell out its "new nuclear deterrence doctrine" to meet such an eventuality. We wait with bated breath!
BRR May 27, 2012 06:10am
A self-delusional article, without any semblance of sanity. Talking about a possible nuclear conflict with the US in such a irresponsible way is unbecoming of an ambassador. Shame on him, his opinions are juvenile.
Joe May 27, 2012 06:51am
He is a former Pakistani ambassador? Really?
Jaihoon May 27, 2012 06:52am
Mr. M. Akram has erroneously termed the Afghan terrorists sordid deeds as Pakhtun insurgency. Pakhtuns in Afghanistan are the main victims of the Afghan terrorists inappropriately called Taliban, who merely stooges promoting an alien agenda. They are traitors and their sponsors are sworn enemies of the people of Afghanistan.
habib May 27, 2012 07:00am
God help you Pakistan, if this is your ambassador... mr ambassador please advise pakistani establishment to think about its own integrity rather than waiting for afghan civil war , gone are the 80s
Nadeem May 27, 2012 07:05am
I think the retired ambassador is now angling for the job of military spokesperson
Guest May 27, 2012 08:09am
I now wonder why Pakistan's foriegn policy and its failure of the past 60+ years has been consistantly *******, we had People like him the front runner of this policy . He was if I recall our person at the uN table some times too WOW who needs enemies in Pakistan , when we have such friends available who had contributed too to the state the nation is now in
Sheraz May 27, 2012 08:12am
Quit the war on terror in its entirety. Pakistan cannot afford to act as a proxy of another superpower. Stop begging for and relying on aid. Learn from success stories. Pakistan should learn to stand on its own feet. Otherwise, the Americans and everyone else will keep exploiting Pakistan.
Daoud May 27, 2012 08:19am
If such a character (I use that word as an understatement) was a former "Ambassador", it is hardly a surprise that Pakistan finds itself so utterly isolated in the world today. This goes with the saying in Hindi/Urdu -- "Jaisi karni, waisi bharni". Ordinary Pakistanis should give chaps like this some due credit for where they now find themselves.
JNC May 27, 2012 08:25am
Who made him an ambassador in the first place? He talks about a nuclear exchange between US and Pakistan so casually. This is an embarrassment.
Muttaihada Khan May 27, 2012 08:40am
"Strength lies in Unity and Pride". When did we ever as a Nation expererience these two virtues?
Pavas May 27, 2012 09:27am
Why always Pakistanis are predicting a nuclear war?? I have read many a time Pakistan and its people talking of using nuclear weapons at a drop of hat!! Every nuclear weapon state (USA, Russia, France, UK, China and India) have their declared "no first use policy" of their nukes except Pakistan!!Why so?? After WWII USA has fought practically uncountable number of wars..Even after disastrous results in Vietnam and in Somalia it didn't even threatened to use nuclear weapons. Neither it threatened to use nukes in Yugoslavia nor in Iraq and nor in Afghanistan!! Pakistan must understand that nuclear weapons are meant for deterrence against any possible conflict..In today's world there is not even a remote chance of war involving nuclear weapons unless some fanatics decide to end the world completely..
md1 May 27, 2012 09:34am
Imagine he was Ambassador to UN!!!
habibullah May 27, 2012 09:53am
unthinkable analysis,Munir Akram is going beyond possibility
FactCheck May 27, 2012 10:15am
Now you know why Pakistan foreign policy is a failure. With Ambassador like these, expecting anything else would be insane. Self aggrandizement and entitlement die the geographical location was and is always a problem with Pakistan. If that is not enough, then there is nuclear bogey and Pakistani’s talk about the most destructive weapon man ever invented like it is fire crackers on an independence day. If the ambassador thinks one can hold rest of the world hostage with it, he is sadly mistaken. If America sneeze, Pakistan catches Pneumonia. Realize the fact that the world has been kind to Pakistan all US has to do is to put sanctions, finite. Yes, Chinese would veto, but can you survive without trade with the west and loans from IMF, World Bank and Asian Development Bank? Can you?
Baba sidni May 27, 2012 10:21am
Who used nuclear weapon in wwii
(Dr.) B.N. Anand May 27, 2012 10:29am
Sir This article coming from such a distinguished diplomats smacks of only being jingoistic in it's approach rather than be being pragmatic for to find a way out for the country to come out of this difficult situation. I still believe Pakistan took a bold decision to go to Chicago and and be able to state it's position in face to face with the NATO countries leaders. The US is still smarting from the pressure of having been prevented of not being able to use the land supply route to Afghanistan. That situation is bound to change some time and it will ultimately happen only with the consent of Pakistan. Till then, Pakistan has to keep weighing its options which have to be rather more of diplomatic rather to be of suicidal in nature. Yes, only Pakistan has to decide itself and it has to convert its moment of crisis into an opportunity. None of its immediate neighbors like Iran and China will be of any help in this regard. Moreover, Pakistan has to live beyond the date of US withdrawals in 2014, as US will surely not pack off completely and leave the field wide open for Pakistan. BNA
Ahad May 27, 2012 11:06am
We all need to concentrate on just one of the recommendations,that all pillars of this state need to be united against all evils
Feroz May 27, 2012 11:07am
The Establishment is definitely feeling the heat from boxing itself into a corner with false bravado. Now it is trying to scare the World and win a few concessions. The ruling elites have taken the nation to the edge of the precipice, no signs of ever learning from mistakes or history.
Badar May 27, 2012 11:10am
A great article indeed. Munir Akram analyzed the current situation correctly and discussed possible future scenarios. This article was not for every one to understand. Ambassador gave direction to so called policy makers in Islamabad. Hope they'll take some notes from this article. It might be good for India to accept the fact they better not follow US policy blindly in Afghanistan. They'll be very disappointed after US/NATO leaves. US and NATO ego is too high. But they will have to leave Afghanistan soon. They have no choice. They are bankrupt financially. Afghan war has only escalated the process and brought them to the brink.
Tanveer Arif May 27, 2012 11:15am
...ambassador at UN??????? OMG
krishnan May 27, 2012 11:22am
In the same page we have articles by almeida et all talking sense and this gent is again talking ghairat language.Allah bachayey pakistan ko.
Thommu May 27, 2012 11:43am
This guy was the Pakistani ambassador to UN? Unbelievable. It seems your country needs Allah's special protection from its own leaders.
Arindom May 27, 2012 12:01pm
was he really an ambassador?WoW!
raika45 May 27, 2012 12:03pm
This possession of nuclear weapons by your country is giving the people the wrong impression regarding military supremacy.They feel you country is now invincible. To the extend that an ex prominent diplomat to the UN no less, is advocating its use against America.Not forgetting that a SINGLE nuclear powered American stealth submarine equipped with nuclear tipped cruise missiles off the coast of your country can cause untold damage and misery to your country.Having such men representing your country in the world body boggles one's mind as to what sort of administration and government your country has.
mangat May 27, 2012 12:35pm
Pavas says "After WWII", not during WWII.
Syed Habib Ahmed May 27, 2012 12:36pm
I have had the pleasure of working with Ambassador Munir Akram. he is one of the best multilateralist produced by Pakistan. He knows to the hilt the art of negotiations. I still remember, all nations of the world would listen in pin drop silence what Amb Akram had to say, be it on trade issues, human rights or disarmament. He knows very very well where the interests of Pakistan lie, so please listen to him carefully and in all seriousness.
Mushtaq May 27, 2012 12:37pm
A great article indeed. It may however sound odd to the proponents of the idea who have been exposed in this article; enemies of Pakistan (the aixs of 3 evils) or the likes will be rightly irked. Any way only the patriotic citizens of Pakistan are good enough to take care of these evils in the region; hopefully they will never dare even looking with their evil eye, else that will be removed from that ugly face. Excellent article; hopefully will info the protagonists to wake up.
American May 27, 2012 12:38pm
I am tempted to say people like him are responsible for backing Pakistan into this corner where there are no friends...only enemies every where. Pakistanis are perpetually waiting for that knight in shining armor to come on a white horse and rescue them from world wide conspiracies.
N.K Nair May 27, 2012 12:44pm
I can't believe this! Am I reading Dawn or The Nation? How can you allow an article which advocates war and that too a nuclear war?? I never came across a columnist advising his government to attack the sole superpower with nuclear weapons! God save us all.
Muhammad Ishaq May 27, 2012 12:47pm
He looks very, i don't have words, in this analysis.
Guest May 27, 2012 12:48pm
With ambassador like him,no surprise where Pakistan's predicament.
guest May 27, 2012 12:50pm
Dharmendra of Shollay
Muhammad Ishaq May 27, 2012 01:02pm
and how our army will live without US.
Amir Saeed May 27, 2012 01:14pm
How idiotic! Why would the US use nuclear weapon against Somalia or Vietnam? there was no existential threat involved.
Shri May 27, 2012 01:35pm
Mr Munir Akram, to me, comes off as a delusional hawk who can not complete any argument without threatening the use nuclear weapons. Use of weapons should be last thing on the mind of a diplomat, but as it appears in so many of his articles, nuclear weapons are first thing on his mind. It is indeed a bad idea to have such people as ambassadors when there are far more level headed people available in Pakistan. He must understand that militarily, Pakistan can not tame any of its enemies, including India leave apart super power US, diplomatically it still stands a good chance to live with honour and dignity.
Lahore_a May 27, 2012 01:38pm
This article should be immediately removed , unless a Pakistani General start taking it seriously. This is as amateurish as it can get. . Nuclear conflict with United States? Let me tell you this . F-16 come from US and Missiles are North Korean. Delivery system is mot going to work from day one. They will disable the delivery system , they may have already figured it out. Only option is to use the arsenal right here. And that is exactly how our strategic minds work. Look at the situation now. To gain so called strategic depth , we have ruined our economy and security. -these two -economy and security-should have been the strategic depth instead- They have perfected this during cold war. They had a response system in place for the mighty Russians and their arsenals- larger than the US-. Then this article calls for a conference to solve Afghanistan's problems. Such novel idea, why did not anyone think of this before?
Tariq K Sami May 27, 2012 02:21pm
Karzai is packing his bags. Expect more refugees. America will walk away like it did the last time.
shouvik mukherjee May 27, 2012 02:29pm
Most of the commentators have more sense than the author.
Imran May 27, 2012 03:09pm
Your suggestions are very valid except number 4. Do not form a govt not acceptable to Afghanistan? Sounds rather silly. We are a democracy after all. How would India feel if asked not to form a govt unacceptable to Pakistan?
Lahore_a May 27, 2012 03:11pm
Strength lies in Economic development and internal security.. It lies in investing in the citizens of this Country.It lies in ensuring that every single child gets a world class education so we can build a strong and productive generation of Pakistanis who can change the misguided policies that have brought us to our knees by a generation of these misguided fools who were our policy-makers and should be ashamed of themselves. This apology has just become a moot point for begging more from the United States. Just to get more concessions. The dead soldiers demand answers from our Generals actually. They are being used as pawns to get a better deal.
ahmad May 27, 2012 03:11pm
Very thoughtfull. Read it a second time after reading comments. Still believe, it is very thought through
IndianDude May 27, 2012 03:14pm
LOL! A perfect once line summary of the author's article.
Devendra May 27, 2012 03:35pm
Dear Syed Habib, Ofcourse the nations of the world listened in pin drop silence to ambassodor Munir Akram. They were dumb founded by him and stunned in to silence.
Sheraz May 27, 2012 03:53pm
Very convenient, isn't it?
Brijesh May 27, 2012 03:56pm
Is anyone surprised at the turn of events for Pakistan? I guess only its citizens are. What is happening to and in Pakistan is nothing that the world had not predicted. Pakistan has to go against its homegrown terrorists. All the countries in the neighborhood have reformed and tackled terrorism. Pakistan continues to maintain its ostrich like attitude. This is not just an issue of transit, but an issue of terrorism.
ashu May 27, 2012 03:56pm
Thank you Mr. Munir Akram for suggesting the last straw of "not-so-hidden-nuclear threat to US' that would certainly destroy any thing and everything but the US! I am sure former ambassadors like Mr. Akram have played a significant part in taking Pakistan into the plight where it finds herself now...
Sheraz May 27, 2012 03:57pm
Indians flooding a Pakistani news site and lecturing what we should and shouldn't do. What a predictable comments. The last thing Pakistanis need is lecturing from some Indians.
S.A.Khan May 27, 2012 04:42pm
Pakistan as a nation that does not reason logically. This is reflected in its national life. It is a fragmented nation. It gets what it deserves
knocking reality May 27, 2012 04:49pm
and you think Pakistan with its small nuclear arsenal without proper delivery mechanism to reach US.. is existential threat to USA????
Thinker May 27, 2012 05:15pm
Suprized to see such an article from Mr. Munir Akram who was a smart diplomat. But it's not a Bad idea it will spell the end of the Pakistan army /ISI as we know it today which has pratically destroyed the national unity of Pakistan " a new Pakistan will emerge under the tutulage of the Americans which will have better relation with India and other neighbours and a fresh start without the army in control of things for a new begining . cheers true instead of giving a medal to this Dr. Afridi they they put him jail ,only the planners in Pakistans establishment which belongs to one province would do that and let the world know that they were in cahoots with those hidding OBL, I don't think people of Sindh Baluchistan and Paktun Khaw have a say in anything
guest May 27, 2012 05:19pm
i think he meant...forming government in the last time you supported Taliban govt. in Afghanistan who brutally ruled Afg. people
Jay k Raman May 27, 2012 05:31pm
Fight a Nuclear war with USA. Is he really an ambassador? God save Pakistan .
Suraj May 27, 2012 05:32pm
tribalism? or Talibanism?
TheseusIam May 27, 2012 05:33pm
"Despite killing Osama bin Laden, and other hawkish exploits" Hmmm...killing a genocidal maniac like Osama is "hawkish"? Support for terrorists appears to be a mainstream thing in Pakistan. That's going to be really bad for pakistans future?
TheseusIam May 27, 2012 05:41pm
It's important to read and comprehend before asking a question.
observer May 27, 2012 05:43pm
Given the fact that none of the delivery systems available to Pakistan (Hatf, Shaheen, F-16) reach anywhere near US or its major European allies, how does Mr Munir propose to use the N-weapons against the US/NATO? I am sure he is not serious about using the 'Diplomatic Pouch'.
TheseusIam May 27, 2012 05:44pm
It's too late don't you you think. Pakistan has been a proxy for too long. You can't get free without giving back something for all these years of receiving "aid". What's being asked of Pakistan is reasonable. Stop supporting Taliban and other terror groups.
observer May 27, 2012 05:47pm
Imran I think you are reading it wrong. There are two negatives here (Do not and Not acceptable). Once the negatives cancel each other out, the suggestion would read- Do try to form a Government acceptable to Afghanistan. There is nothing objectionable here.
ali May 27, 2012 05:48pm
I couldn't agree more. If the write is the sort we send abroad as ambassadors then God help us.
TheseusIam May 27, 2012 05:50pm
Balanced? You are a scary man!
TheseusIam May 27, 2012 05:52pm
If you fins this article "practical and logical", you must be even more scarier than this "ambassador". May Allah save Pakistan from the like of you.
Makhdoom May 27, 2012 06:05pm
"The Kabul regime [will collapse and Afghanistan will fragment into] ethnic and regional militias." Way to wish for your brother what you wish for yourself. Why is that Pakistan must always seek its success and prosperity in the destruction and misery of others? It didn't wok in the past and it won't work in the future. Another Pakistan-controlled regime in Afghanistan à la Taliban will remain a pipe dream. That is because ISI is no more popular in the Pakhtun regions of Afghanistan than it is in the "Northern Alliance" provinces. Heck, KP and FATA consider it their enemies! A LOT has CHANGED since the 1990s.
Jaihoon May 27, 2012 07:34pm
Very sensible suggestions on your part that will fall on deaf ears in Pakistan,whose leaders are under the illusion that they may ultimately succeed to rule Afghanistan by their stooges-- the so-called Afghan Taliban--who are a bunch of medieval creatures and barbaric and most savage characters brained washed in the Pakistani seminaries.
Fred May 27, 2012 07:34pm
The World wonders why Pakistan chooses to support the terrorists killing citizens in Pakistan, harbored and protected terrorists within the country, defends the Taliban even thought they kill Pakistanis and are trying to over through the government of Pakistan and only offer the people of Pakistan a future of poverty and hunger? Pakistan is full of intelligent people who understand wright from wrong and good from bad so why are the citizens of Pakistan choosing to support the terrorists? What will like in Pakistan be once the Taliban conquer Pakistan?
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 07:57pm
"US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed Sunday not to let the United States be “gouged” by Pakistan on the price it charges for overland deliveries of American military supplies to Afghanistan." DAWN
Dr.M.M.Khan May 27, 2012 07:58pm
For a former Ambassdor youe forthright viewa are really appreciated but your confrontational cum compromise stand is confusing. Don't you think Pakistan itself is in a corner. There is going to be no apology. If USA wanted to apologise it would have done a long time ago. Being nationalistic has it's limits. We are going to blink first as we always do. We must find a way out from this mess which is partly of our own making.
PNP May 27, 2012 08:12pm
6, And most importantly, do not pick such men as ambassadors of the country.
Fazl Rab May 27, 2012 08:22pm
Representatives of a country who cannot speak the language of their Nation have a foreign mindset to start with. Foreign Service Officers of Pakistan fall 100% in this category. Gone are the days of Ambassadors like Habib I Rahimtoolla, M A H Isphahani, Mr Ikramullah and the like of them. I have met with many of the later ones including Mr Husain Haqqani. They are in their respective countries of accredition simply for the glory and perks of the job. Send anyone of them to NigeriaWe should not expect anything better than the mindset of Mr Munir Akram. Send anyone of them to Nigeria, Central African Republic or Sri Lanka and look at their faces!!
gp65 May 27, 2012 08:29pm
I think he meant in Afghanistan. In other words Pakistan should not try to bring Afghan Taliban in power in Afghanistan, if that is against the will of Afghan people. I doubt he was referring to a government in Pakistan in those terms.
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 08:33pm
Any Muslim democracy is problematic. Democracy is a form of government where a congress must find agreement before laws are passed. Militant Islamists do not want to agree on anything but Sharia Law. "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." Sharia Law cannot not have the force of international law, agreements and treaties. It is local. Politics is local. Clerics can be trusted with Sharia, but they cannot be trusted to run a national economy, Both Russia and China are proof that central economies do not function.
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 08:39pm
There is plenty of pride but not a lot of unity. Only the business community in the Arab States has unity. The rest of the Arabs spend all their time bickering and worse. The universal question that Islam posses is, Which man is the best?
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 08:45pm
That would be very diplomatic. If acted upon it would indeed solve a great many of Pakistan's problems. As Albert Einstein once remarked, "I do not know what weapons World War III will be fought with, but I do know World War IV will be fought with rocks and clubs."
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 08:48pm
Shouting is a compromise between fighting and running away.
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 08:49pm
Pakistan can stand on it's own feet, but all the boots are in Islamabad.
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 08:50pm
It seems to me they are going to find out.
Cyrus Howell May 27, 2012 09:00pm
"My admiration for the West is not at the expense of others; rather, it is an invitation to those others to acknowledge their illusions and go beyond their inferiority and liberate themselves from backwardness. They should be fair towards those nations that achieved prosperity for themselves but did not monopolize it for themselves and instead allowed the whole world to share the results of this progress, so that other nations of the whole world now enjoy these achievements. Furthermore, Western civilization has given to the world knowledge and skills which made it possible for them, the non-Western nations, to compete with it in production and share markets with it." + Ibramhim al-Buleihi
Babloo May 27, 2012 09:05pm
Entire Pak foreign policy is based on self delusion and propoganda only beleived by them.
Saeed May 27, 2012 09:25pm
This article is for serious discussion and introspection, not for all those who don't know what negotiations is all about. Ambassador Akram is a polished diplomat and one the country should be proud of . Not the ones sent by this regime without merit or qualifications. Read it again and as he said "it may be overblown " but it is closer to the truth. Well done sir , great analysis, wish the selfish rulers would wake up.
Fair and balanced May 27, 2012 09:35pm
Excellent article by Dawn! As routine Indians readers (wonder how much time they have on their hand) have tried to bust an opinion that forms a nationalistic view of Pakistan. Moreover Indians are suggesting to remove this article from Dawn. The only reason they read Dawn because it is the only forum in Sub-continent that offers voices to both end. I can not find a single Indian/Pak media or paper that is not biased. Now let's come to the article itself. 90% negative commentators did not try to critically analyze the article. Mr. Akram is not offering advise to Pakistani military, he is only analyzing. What India or any other country would do if they are attacked by an enemy? What is the purpose of Nuclear weapon if that is not going to protect a country. United states' politics are one of the most corrupt and dangerous for the world peace. 90% world wars where US was involved were started to score political mileage at home. Those days are over now. The world can not take that cowboy attitude. China is in the house and US is on wrong side (India) again to counter Chinese balance. In 10 years every country will be saluting to the new super power including the pseudo super powers of south Asia.
mohni May 27, 2012 11:05pm
He was a very good diplomat and knew the art of negotiations but he was on a wrong track he still lives in a cold war era. Now states are no longer prime object and subject of security. States are no longer black boxes. It is the people who are at the heart of every concept, paradigm and narrative. Where are people in Munir Akram's analysis? What he has to say on human security? He has spend all his life cocconed into UN buildings in New York and elsewhere. It is time for him to go and meet real people of Pakistan. Nuclear weapons might have provided secuirty to some imaginary Pakistani state but actually has made people of Pakistan insecure. Can he tell us how to provide security to the people of Pakistan?
Tariq May 27, 2012 11:29pm
The thing that amazes me is the way Pakistanis continue to believe (Hope?) that the Taliban will once again take over in Afghanistan after NATO forces withdraw. It is a naive and misplaced belief. In their first incarnation, the Taliban were mainly supported by Saudi Arabia (financially) and Pakistan (logistics, operational training). Today, Saudi Arabia has no interest in seeing the Taliban back in power. After all, the Taliban were willing supporters of Saudi Arabia's sworn enemy (Osama Bin Laden). This leaves Pakistan as the only country willing to support the Taliban. Pakistan can barely pay its own bills. I don't see how it can provide the Taliban any financial backing. I see the world giving Pakistan a stark choice: Taliban or the rest of the world. I believe the Pakistanis will come to their senses and ditch Mullah Omar.
Akil Akhtar May 27, 2012 11:39pm
Does Dawn need your approval to print any article...
Akil Akhtar May 27, 2012 11:42pm
The usual mob froma cross the border seems to be annoyed by anything in support of Pakistan...
Rayed May 28, 2012 02:14am
Problem with us Pakistanis is that we don't have the critical mass of educated people who can go to comment box and write something good in response to an article written in the best interest of our country. All the westerners responding to this article with anger, please don't. You have a stockpile of bombs (that the author is showing a remote possibility of using) to destroy the world ten times over. Can some one explain me why? I mean once the US government knew that they have enough weapon to destroy the world twice then why they kept on producing more bombs.
omar May 28, 2012 02:36am
I like these nuclear delusions from Munir Akram. Pakistanis have made enemies of every one and want to nuke every one out.
Global Desi May 28, 2012 02:39am
Everyday, pakistan is humiliated on some front by everyone on planet Earth -- but pakistan's "izzat" and especially pakistan military's so called "honor" only comes into picture only when it comes to India -- so everytime there is any discussion of India infringing of anything pakistani (always imaginative, never real), you have pakistan's military or civial government or judiciary (whoever is in power in paskitan on that particular day) fires up and talks up defending pakistan's izzat!! -- what makes it funny is that the drone attacks and diplomatic isolation is real, but pakistanis does nothing, or cannot do anything, about that - but imaginative India's infrignment evokes sharp reaction or izzat and honor! :) -- grow up pakistan, or you will become another Afghanistan! - Well wishing Indian, despite Pakistan's baseless consistent and historic hatred towards India.
tariq May 28, 2012 02:51am
I have no idea what the author is talking about, the US bombs Pakistan every other day, so where is the pakistan Army, these guys are delusional. Without US money, Pakistan cant even meet its payroll, much rather trying to fight the US. Good Luck trying to play with the big boys
Indian May 28, 2012 02:59am
Do you remember taliban government form by pakistan in afghanistan? Pakistan is at the 1st stage of democracy with weak institution and that is we see retd. army officials in every plitical party in pak.
Some Sense May 28, 2012 03:10am
No wonder Pakistan keeps sinking!
switch hit May 28, 2012 04:17am
I am sorry, but did you say "pakistan is a democracy"?! -- I mean, did you seriously claim to be a democracy?? - did you really say/type that?!?!
Alam May 28, 2012 04:56am
Was there any existential threat involved when US dropped N. bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? US can invade Iraq and cause death of millions innocent civilians on the pretext of finding WMD which were never there but talking of using N. weapons in self defense is considered idiotic. You can destroy any country with conventional weapons but talking of using n weapons in self defense is silly.
shrirang May 28, 2012 05:34am
What a line brother,
Deb May 28, 2012 07:08am
Point no. 4 actually means that Pakistan should not try to force any government on Afghanistan that Afghans dont want. You misunderstood what is actually written in plain English.
Deb May 28, 2012 07:29am
Do you really believe India is following US policy? And that too blindly!!
Wazir K May 28, 2012 08:35am
When it comes to fighting, you know very well that we don't run away, and your policy makers exactly know that. Shouting is also a warning so that there are no regrets on either side.
Wazir K May 28, 2012 08:39am
When shall we see the day when Indians stop poking their noses in the affairs of others and concentrate on theirs for the sake of humanity. These lofty suggestions do not go well from a nation, majority of which is living below poverty line and most of whom dont get a respectable bread at the end of the day. Alas.
Tameer Shahzad May 28, 2012 01:05pm
All the author is saying that Pakistan does have the nuclear deterrence. Why are we translating it into the statement that Munir Akram (or Pakistanis) WANT to have a nuclear war. Please rest assured, Pakistanis are as much rational people as any other nation.
Waseem May 28, 2012 04:00pm
better find something original, should you suggest something. only juggling out the official lines of otherwise dodgy foreign only shows how much of your own creativity you have got.
Deb May 28, 2012 04:46pm
Actually, that is probably the only thing that can save Pakistan now.
GNK May 28, 2012 06:01pm
The point was not misunderstood and replied to in simpler English. Right now, the Americans have forced a government onto the locals that Afghans despise. This does not seem to be a problem to anyone, yet Pakistan must be "careful". There is a word for this,oooooohhhh... If this was not an expression in plain English, it means, go fly a kite some where else
GNK May 28, 2012 06:10pm
Matter of opinions. Respecting opinions is not scary
Ammad May 28, 2012 07:06pm
I am an ardent reader of dawn's articles and editorials and have come across some very informative and in depth reports but this in the past few months stand as the best in my view. The author has excellently delineated the past, present and future courses. The article presents an informative as well as a critical view of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-US strategy. The possibilities listed out might appear to be outrageous but the way regional dynamics are changing, the analysis evolves to be an excellent and true forecast of events and situations. Lastly, the critique is articulated in the most befitting of manners and it could be judged by the audience feedback it has managed to generate. Good job Mr. Munir. Hats doff to you!
Jim May 28, 2012 09:54pm
How can Pakistan stand on its own feet? It has none. Even its crutches are borrowed.
Jim May 28, 2012 10:01pm
Laughing at all the PakNationalist claptrap. You guys don't even have electricity to power up a home or factory..and you will launch nuclear weapons? Oh, I forgot. Maybe you will manage with diesel generators.
gp65 May 29, 2012 01:12am
I think you misread point 4. HE has not talked about Pakistan is being concerned about choosing a Pakistani government based on Afghan preferences. He is saying that Pakistan should not impose a government on Afghans that the Afghans do not like.
gp65 May 29, 2012 01:16am
fyi - Hussain Haqqani is married to the grand daughter of M A H Isphahani - whom you seem to hold in high esteem.
Tripathy May 29, 2012 09:18am
" But the Iranians will react strongly, directly and asymmetrically to such an attack. After the events of 2011, American strategists may see Pakistan as a far ?softer? target " .Yes because bitting the hand thjat is feeding you definitely goes aginst the consince .
Jayesh May 29, 2012 10:16am
It is obvious that the author has little knowledge of the aftermath of a nuclear exchange. He would do well to read about what happened in Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The nukes used back then were a 100 times less powerful than what Pakistan and India possess.
Asim May 29, 2012 12:24pm
Jim, we might not have electricity but we still made the Nukes. Launching them is easier then that you know! But they are weapons of mass destruction and must not be used by any country.
HSI May 29, 2012 03:12pm
Pakistan's self centered ideology is fulled by people like Mr. Akram. I know of very many Civil Services individuals who would fall into the same category. It is unfortunate that people like him take an unilateral approach and often mix it with religion, deterrence etc. and present it as a national cause. US is bombing into Pakistan territory because of a deal signed between a Pakistani President & US. Mr. Akram cannot undo the fact so he has brought a nuclear angle to the issue. Likes of Mr. Akram need to understand that going along with the world order is also in the National Interest of Pakistan.
Shahid May 29, 2012 04:37pm
I completely agree to your assessment of the article above.
@omarali50 May 31, 2012 08:23pm
"assume a can opener"
Sandip Jun 07, 2012 10:32pm
Please also try and ensure that your policy makers actually follow the prescriptions in this article. People across the border are certainly waiting with bated breath to see the results.
Harish Puri Jun 08, 2012 06:59am
Can these views be taken to reflect the official stand of the Pakistan Foreign Office?
Engr Jalal Jun 24, 2012 12:48pm
Excellent Article.. Down to earth review.. He has spoken the heart of Millions of Pakistanis and Muslims globally who are fed up of American Cruelty and Brutality.