“Hands off please, Uncle Sam,” was the all to polite plea…posted by Bill Arnett @ 12:57 PM Permalink …from a leading Pakistani newspaper after Musharraf Pervez administered the oath of office to Yousaf Raza Gillani, Pakistan's newly elected prime minister.
It is quite obvious from the chilly reception of two American delegates, already on the scene to apply pressure against our "ally" to continue America's eternal war on terror, that this "visit" failed to have its desired effect. You know, the war that Americans and every country we can talk into, buy, or blackmail will be fighting forever.
From the NYT:
[…]"…the American visit might send a negative message to Pakistanis, coming on the same day as the new prime minister’s inauguration…" is a statement that should rightfully shame every American, as it is a not so subtle reminder of the unpopularity of America, its leaders, and its so-called "diplomats" whom collectively do not exhibit any diplomatic skills or ability to negotiate with enemies or allies alike.
In Islamabad, a somewhat stiff President Pervez Musharraf, wearing a business suit, administered the oath to Yousaf Raza Gillani, a longtime aide to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a bitter opponent of Mr. Musharraf who was assassinated in December.[…]
The new government has acted swiftly to reverse or counter some of Mr. Musharraf’s decisions. On Monday, in his first acts after being officially chosen by an overwhelming majority in Parliament, Mr. Gillani immediately released the judges detained by President Musharraf when he imposed emergency rule last year, and said he would seek a formal United Nations inquiry into the assassination of Ms. Bhutto.
The visiting American officials, Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte and Assistant Secretary of State Richard A. Boucher, met with Mr. Musharraf, whom the Bush administration has long considered a crucial ally in its campaign against terrorism. But his party was soundly rejected in recent elections, and the leaders of the new coalition government have said they intend to shift focus from military operations to negotiations in dealing with Islamic extremists in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.[…]
Mr. Sharif [another opponent of President Musharraf] had a strong message for the visiting officials on American pressure to fight the Islamic extremists. “It cannot be that while wishing to ensure peace for others our country is turned into a killing field,” Mr. Sharif said at a news briefing on Tuesday afternoon. “We want peace in America, but we also want a peaceful Pakistan.”
Referring to their discussion of plans to open talks with the militants, Mr. Sharif said: “I told them that situation has changed now. There is no more one-man show. Parliament has come into being, and the Parliament will decide all policies. No individual today can give a commitment on anything.”
Mr. Sharif and Mr. Zardari have both said that in order to stop the spate of suicide bombings in recent months, they intend to negotiate with the militants who are battling the Pakistan Army. [Negotiation! Why, what a marvelous idea! Why doesn't America a try it? Bill] Reports of American concerns over such overtures, as well as the Bush administration’s continued backing of Mr. Musharraf, despite the overwhelming rejection of his party by voters, have fueled a new level of Pakistani frustration with the United States.
The News, one of the country’s leading daily newspapers, published an editorial on Tuesday titled “Hands off please, Uncle Sam,” urging American leaders to “realize the need to give the democratic government in Pakistan time and space” to put in place a “thoughtful plan of action,” free of “any effort to intervene in their working or curtailing their right to independently decide what is best for Pakistan and its people.”
Omar. R Quraishi, op-ed. editor of The News, said in an interview that the American visit might send a negative message to Pakistanis, coming on the same day as the new prime minister’s inauguration. “I think they are here to ensure that Pakistan’s support in the war against terrorism is not jeopardized in any way,” he said. But military action by the Pakistani Army and missile strikes by the United States in the tribal areas of Pakistan have resulted in retaliatory suicide bombings in the cities, he said, adding, “People want an end to the suicide bombings.”
John Negroponte, architect of Latin American death squad regimes back in the eighties is the best we could find to send for "diplomatic efforts" with this government born anew? Personally, were I Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani I would view this sending of Negroponte a threat to both the security and safety of the Prime Minister, specifically, and Pakistanis, in general.
And the statement, "People want an end to the suicide bombings,” made in the context of American desires for further military action in Pakistan, simply demonstrates a growing world sentiment that America is not fighting against terrorists, but only fighting to expand American hegemony, regardless of who gets hurt.
The only terrorist attack on America in the last 7 years was the attack carried out by ELF, a long-listed terrorist organization based right here in America, an attack, needless to say, that the bush maladministration completely failed to detect and prevent even with all the "superpowers" he has assumed for himself.
In my opinion sending these two "diplomats" at the very time the new Prime Minister was being sworn in was a deliberate attempt by the bush maladministration to taint Gillani's new government with the stench of American politics right from the start.
And that is one powerful stench indeed.
SHORT NOTE: In case anyone noticed I haven't posted in a while, it was because of a horrible fall I had last week that left me twisted in agony for days. I've been telling people it was a Gerald Ford impersonation gone awry. Anyway, I can at least sit upright and open the lid on my laptop today, so it feels good to be back.