Many columnists and writers in Pakistan newspapers have commented on the ‘flexibility’ of Iran under President Rouhani that has paved the way for an anticipated accord with the US over the nuclear issue. But this understanding with the US has a longer history. It was Iran’s strong and principled stand under ex-President Mahmood Ahmadinejad that the West in general and USA in particular understood that Iran cannot be bullied or browbeaten into abandoning its peaceful nuclear programme. Iran’s strong stand obliged the US to talk with Iran and take its views seriously, rather than brushing these aside in a threatening manner.

That the politics of principle and of courage pay dividends at home and abroad is illustrated by the controversy over the impending legislation in the US Congress which wishes to impose a new round of sanctions against Iran in the context of Iran’s nuclear programme. In the context of Pakistani politics, ‘flexibility’ is synonymous with lack of principles or scruples. In this sense what one needs in Pakistan is less ‘flexibility’ which would translate as having more principles.

All Pakistani political parties and their leaders need to learn from Iran. Including PTI, the sportsman turned politician. His idealization of Malaysia and Singapore is misplaced and holds no analogy for Pakistan. Singapore is a City-State with no agriculture, and Malaysia has a miniscule population in a country with abundant resources on a per capita basis. These two countries, unlike Pakistan, are far away from the cockpit of global conflict set in motion by belligerent imperial countries.

The people of Pakistan need politicians with strong principles, such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President Rouhani, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez Gamal Abdel Nasser, among others. These are not only persons with strong principles. That is people with intellectual depth and strength of character. No one in Pakistan fits the bill – no one on the horizon either.


UK, December 13.