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Let Them Rise Above Their Petty Interests To Bring About National Reconciliation Whose Time Is Now, Now, Now

Politics of acrimony, incrimination, vilification and mud-slinging is back with a bang. An advertisement released by Pakistan Muslim League (Q) has appeared in the newspapers which is based on a letter allegedly written by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto to Senator Peter Galbraith way back in September 1990, soon after her government’s dismissal. Whether or not the letter in question is genuine or forged is upto the concerned persons to prove. What seems obvious is that the purpose of using this letter in the said advertisement is to bring the patriotism of the two-time prime minister of the country into doubt and question.
Three points are very important in this context. (A) If the letter is genuine and it is a comprehensive proof against BB’s patriotism, why did the Pakistan Army back her second bid for power in 1993? Were Pakistan’s intelligence agencies unaware of this letter at that time? (B) If the letter was leaked or uncovered later, why did a patriot of such unquestionable credentials as President General Pervez Musharraf embark upon an exercise to find some formula of power-sharing with a person of as doubtful patriotic credentials as BB Sahiba? (C) Why does the letterhead (supposed to be BB’s) carry the address of Washington and why is it so that Benazir Bhutto has on this particular occasion chosen to identify herself as “Mrs” Benazir Bhutto, whereas, she is either simply ‘Benazir Bhutto’ or Mrs Benazir Zardari? While raising the above points I don’t mean to question the genuine credentials of the letter. It is upto BB Sahiba herself to clarify the actual position.
The purpose of taking up this subject in this column is to draw the attention of all the political adversaries involved, to the dangers of questioning one another’s patriotism in an atmosphere which on the one hand is charged with “instability-breeding chaos”, and on the other hand intended to be made conducive to national reconciliation by the President and the Armed Forces. If ever the country needed some period of national reconciliation in which all the contenders of (and pretenders to) power would rise above their temporary petty interests and gains, it is NOW, NOW & NOW. Let patriotism of no one in the ranks of the Nation’s Leadership be questioned – just to score some points. One of the reasons of the present chaos is that some elements, not in agreement with President Musharraf’s decision to join America’s war on terror, have cast sad aspersions on his unquestionable patriotism. If he is not patriotic – and if the Defenders of our Frontiers are not patriotic, then we have no reasons to take any pride in being Pakistanis.
In the past, ZAB was declared by the same elements to be a ‘traitor’. Later these elements were forced to recognize his patriotism on the basis of his historic role in Pakistan’s Nuclear Programme. There can of course be glaring disagreements on policies. For example I am religiously opposed to making Pakistan a part of (and a party to) America’s so-called ‘War on Terror’. This in my view is a war launched with the long-term objective of ‘subverting’ the sovereign dreams of the Crescent-flying countries. But I wouldn’t dare bring General Pervez Musharraf’s or Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s patriotism into question just because they can’t find a way ‘out’ of America’s dangerous umbrella. What Pakistan needs at this point of its history is dialogue between its frontline leadership and not confrontation.

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