THE PAKISTAN – U.S. CONUNDRUM


March 8, 2016: Social Sciences Society along with the SZABIST Student Council organized a seminar on “Pakistan – U.S. Relations, similarities and disconnects”. The seminar aimed to discuss the political dynamics of the turbulent relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. over the years and how national interests shaped the interactions between the two states.

The enthusiastic students of the department of social sciences, Syed Arif Hussain (Chairman), Beenish Zehra (Vice chairman), Navroz shah (General secretary), Aurangzaib kakar (Student Council Security head) orchestrated the proceedings.

The keynote speaker for the event, Hamid Mir (Senior Journalist) stated that the similarities between Pakistan and U.S. are very few yet disconnects are many. He stressed that in order to get a clear understanding of the relations between the two countries; issues need to be viewed keeping in mind the historical events. He evaluated the major events like the 1965 war which according to him was the ‘first betrayal’ by the U.S. In 1971, according to Hamid Mir, the general public perception about the U.S. involvement was very different from reality. U.S. State Department’s declassified documents revealed that the U.S. did not want Pakistan to destabilize as they wanted to break the China-USA deadlock with Pakistan’s help. He further elaborated on how the USA tried to stop Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto from developing the Nuclear program and how General Zia-ul-Haq with the help, protection and supervision of the U.S. weakened all mainstream political parties including PPP,ANP, Jamaat-e-Islami and made them into factions like Sipah-e-Sahaba, Sipah-e-Mohammad, MQM etc. Lastly, he said it’s noteworthy that from 1947 to 1999 all the dictators who came into power were given dollars and support from U.S. while it placed sanctions on every political government. From 2001 onwards after 9/11, the hatred for Americans had escalated among the general public to an extent that the Americans used to say about Musharraf that he is the ‘only non-terrorist in a terrorist country’ because he gave permission for drone attacks. Hamid Mir said that Confidence Building Measures at the level of the people need to be proposed to put positive effect on a common Pakistani’s psyche – only then there will be a future for Pakistan-U.S. relations being similar otherwise disconnects will be more.

Dr. ZubairGhouri (Media Professional) presented the opposite side of the coin which in his opinion, Mr. Hamid Mir had ignored. He said that in International relations, only one ‘P’ works and that is ‘Power’ and the perpetuation of power. So, U.S. would do anything to protect its vital interests and oppose any threat to its power. He stressed that Pakistan needs to get out of this convict mentality where they put all the blame on foreign forces and consider themselves as the best, it needs to first respect its own self then expect other countries to reciprocate it.

Ali Muhammad Khan (MNA - PTI) took the podium and energized the audience with his impassioned speech. His main focus was on how when Islam was spread and Muslims were in power, the Muslims did not play with people’s lives like the U.S. is doing these days. This according to him is the one of the biggest disconnects.

The event ended with the concluding remarks from the Head of Campus, Mr. Khusro Pervaiz, who said that there is a need for future discussions on this vital issue.

           
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