Instead of apologising and compensating for its misadventures on Pakistani soil, USA’s arrogance and lack of impropriety has been shown by its administration yet again, especially by releasing ‘peanut’ aid conditional to Pakistan’s action against the Haqqani network, supposedly operating against the foreign forces in Afghanistan from across the border. It needs to be ignored with contempt, as this incongruous demand has surfaced again, after its memogate ploy backfired and days of intense activity in the US hierarchy failed to make any dent in the Pakistani resolve at the official and people’s level over the American excesses.

When Yousuf Raza Gilani assumed the office of Prime Minister and ordered the judges’ release, I wrote that a real breakthrough had been achieved by restoring the judiciary. This decision - I had hoped - would become the stepping stone for the new setup to ensuring the rule of law in Pakistan. My appeal to the country’s patriotic forces was that they should frustrate any move by their adversaries and not allow the ray of hope appearing on the horizon to disappear or die down. Little did I know then that even this, apparently, democratic order had been brokered by the same outside power, which has held Pakistan in ransom soon after its appearance on the world map, due to the self-seeking agenda of Pakistani leadership. That has remained in disarray because of the early demise of its Founding Father, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

What has happened ever since is a continued slide downstream. Despite assurances, the judges could only be restored with street pressure and a word from, you know where. Contrary to the protestations from every corner of the country to let national institutions function within their respective spheres without interference in each other’s’ affairs, there has been continued defiance of the ‘highly restrained’ judiciary’s orders by the executive. That has also failed to build bridges with the armed forces, despite its unambiguous demonstration of sincerity and obedience to the executive authority.

Had the judicial restraint and extraordinary gesture shown by the military been reciprocated, the government would neither have found itself in a suicide mode-like handling of the memo scandal, nor would it have had cold feet on many occasions on which it ought to have stood up such as the Kerry-Lugar sell-out package, the Raymond Davis episode, the Abbottabad swoop, and the Nato assault on the Salalah checkpost. The realisation that a force in a mercenary mode can never boast of sovereignty, and needs to face up, nevertheless, has come to the Pakistan government belatedly when a lot of irreparable damage has been caused to national polity.

The government tried to bulldoze the approval of Kerry-Lugar Bill as a great deal; made noise about Davis’s daylight blue murder of Pakistani youth, but eventually facilitated his exoneration with a VIP send-off; it instantly congratulated the US over Osama’s supposed recovery and killing in Abbottabad and praised it as a great victory. Even after doing everything according to US bidding, Nato was emboldened to such an extent that it attacked and killed 24 Pakistani jawans. And yet our leadership had the cheek to proclaim that no foreign boots on ground would be tolerated, as if these invaders - the so-called security contractors and trainers - were Martians.

Indeed, there is always a time of redemption, if you have the courage of your convictions. Whenever in the past, the government was asked to redefine and renegotiate its terms of engagement with the US, Nato and Isaf, keeping in view Pakistan’s security and economic requirements, it was scoffed by the agents of the West, as a beggar’s bid to choose. However, now that the government has finally put its foot down, even the staunchest of Pakistan supporters suspect that with some renewed trickery by the West, this stand off might end with little or no gains achieved. So before that eventuality is encountered, it is time to recount and claim what is clearly due, besides pragmatically arresting the American war proliferating into Pakistan’s own backyard:

i    An unqualified written apology by Washington over the Salalah checkpost.

i    Compensation for the martyred, according to the demand and satisfaction of the bereaved families.

i    Written assurance through the UNO that misadventures violating Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty will not be repeated, and that the two will work in tandem towards the de-escalation of the armed action in Afghanistan and a peaceful settlement will be negotiated to facilitate an honourable allied force withdrawal.

i    In order to rebuild the shattered confidence and allay Pakistan’s concerns, Washington must enter a similar strategic nuclear deal with Islamabad as with New Delhi, and also reverse India’s policing role in Afghanistan.

i    Pakistan has suffered over $70 billion, since thoughtlessly agreeing to fight America’s war, which should be reimbursed.

i    Pakistan sustains a huge loss on account of hosting over 30 million Afghan refugees whose numbers has multiplied over the last three decades. This should be quantified and the costs continually reimbursed to Pakistan by the world community through a UN mechanism, until these refugees can be repatriated back.

i    With the above conditions fully met, Pakistan will only allow food supplies and non-military provisions through its territory at predetermined transit cost.

If most of this does not happen, you will be back to square one.

The writer is a freelance columnist.

Email:

zaheerbhatti1@gmail.com