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Learning a lesson from China

Published Jul 12, 2012 03:23am

WHEN an American surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter jet collided near the Chinese coast, the Chinese pilot was presumed dead after the jet crashed into the sea whereas the American plane made an emergency landing on the Hainan Island in China and the crew was kept under custody.

Later, the Chinese government announced that the Americans were improperly spying on them. Four days after the crash, the Chinese demanded a serious apology. At first, the US officials released a statement that they regretted the death of the Chinese pilot.

It was not enough for the Americans to be forgiven and their plane and crew to be returned. Days passed until the US ambassador to China wrote a letter that they were ‘very sorry’ and apologised for landing on Chinese soil without permission.

The incident clearly marks the difference between the two ‘sorrys’. The first is just regret. The second is a wholehearted apology.

In our case, the second sorry must have been expected and then accepted, but the government, without having a clear concept of the two different meanings, accepted the first one.

The government has accepted ‘sorry’ by the US in haste to improve relations with it. This is hurting the ego of thousands of soldiers fighting for our protection and everyone else who is a true patriotic Pakistani.

MUHAMMAD IBRAHIM TARIQ Lahore