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Can America ‘divorce’ Pakistan?

November 02, 2012

THE moderator asked a stunning question -- ‘Is it time for the US to divorce Pakistan’? Republican presidential candidate Romney was prompt and clear in his response: “No, the US can’t divorce a nation on the earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and is on the way to double that at some point, a nation that has serious threats from terrorist groups within its soil.”

President Obama nodded as consent to what Mitt said about Pakistan. Both were present at the third and final presidential debate prior to the November election.

The US may not be in a position to divorce Pakistan for the sake of its own interests; but the question is whether Pakistan is ready to divorce the terrorist groups freely operating within its soil?

A country which has lost 40,000 civilians and military personnel at the hands of the militants in the last 10 years still seems to be non-serious on ways to handle this menace.

The other day President Zardari said that as he couldn’t build consensus with opposition parties on an imminent operation in North Waziristan, therefore, action against militants hiding in the tribal agency has been deferred. Parliament failed to make any effective anti-terrorism laws, no changes were made in the penal code to ensure arrested militants remain behind bars for some time.

At present it’s a game of swinging doors -- terrorists are caught but got released by courts within days and weeks. How many terrorists have been hanged for their heinous crimes against humanity? None. As President Zardari himself mentioned that terrorists have full support and backing of religious seminaries (madressahs) and will unite at a minute’s notice to rebuke the action against them.

Yes, they have got moral and material support from religio-political parties and seminaries but does it mean that we shall accept defeat and surrender in front of these terrorists?

Americans may not be ready to divorce us for the safety of our Pakistani nuclear arsenal but we Pakistanis have to divorce the mindset and inadvertent support to militants.

This mindset has made us suffer repeatedly. We are living in post-9/11 world wherein time for non-state actors to advance the state’s interests is over. We shall first learn to be honest with ourselves and then set the priorities. If not checked on tome, things may go beyond marriage contract and divorce.

MASOOD KHAN Jubail