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Musharraf in the Middle East - towards a more progressive foreign policy?

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    Musharraf in the Middle East - towards a more progressive foreign policy?

    Genreral Musharraf has embarked on a three-nation tour of Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. During the last 15 months, the General has been welcomed in some 26 countries, 18 of which have been Muslim.

    Western opinion writer's may talk of the international 'isolation' of Pakistan. But, has it not in fact been a unique chance for Pakistan to build a more progressive foreign policy? A foreign policy anchored more firmly with the Islamic world, and more in line with our cultural and ideological foundations?


    Syria, Pakistan sign cooperation pacts

    DAMASCUS: The Syrian and Pakistani governments on Monday signed six cooperation agreements during the visit to Damascus of Chief Executive General Pervez Musharraf. General Musharraf and Syrian Prime Minister Mustafa Miro signed an overall programme of cooperation between the two governments, and five other agreements, covering industry, science, technology, agriculture and news, with an arrangement between the Syrian and Pakistani news agencies, Sana and APP.

    The agreements signed between the two sides include Executive Programme for Cultural Cooperation 2001-2005, First Executive Programme for Science and Technical Cooperation, Cooperation Agreement between SANA and APP and MOU on Agricultural Cooperation. Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar, Minister for Science and Technology Dr. Attaur Rehman and Commerce Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood signed the agreements on behalf of Pakistan.

    Pakistan's Ambassador to Damascus Sibte Yahya Naqvi and director general Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) Ali Abd Al-Karim Ali signed the agreement of news cooperatioon on behalf of APP and SANA, respectively.

    General Musharraf and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad then inaugurated an information technology training centre in Damascus, set up jointly with Pakistan, at a cost of $400,000. The Damascus Information Technology Centre is financed by Syria, Pakistan's Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) and the Scientific and Technical Cooperation Committee of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

    Syria shares half of the cost, and the two commissions the other half. Syria is lagging behind its Lebanese and Jordanian neighbours in information technology and has only 5,000 Internet subscribers from a population of more than 17 million people. The official Sana news agency said that Pakistan was going to lend Syria $10 million to pay for the purchase of Pakistani information technology equipment. The agency also reported that the two countries would sign an agreement to avoid double taxation.

    Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad reiterated his desire to further cement Syrian ties with Islamabad in, "different domains," particularly their co-operation in the economic field here on Monday. Gen Musharraf described his visit to Syria as "successful", saying, Bashar Al-Assad wanted to visit Pakistan. The chief executive had invited Syrian leader to visit Islamabad so that Pakistan could reciprocate the hospitality shown to him and his delegation during his visit to Damascus.

    The Syrian President Monday attended the inaugural ceremony of an Information Technology Center in Damascus set up through the co-operation of Pakistan, Syria and COMSATS. Gen Musharraf inaugurated the IT center where Syrian Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa Miro was also present.

    "It is a small mirror for the coming co-operation between our two countries," said Bashar Al-Assad. He said every Syrian citizen was highly indebted to each Pakistani and to all those who had helped establish this IT Center. In his brief remarks on the occasion the Syrian President said there was no pretext that this IT center should not grow with the speed with which it was established.

    This center was set up within three months of the signing of the agreement between Syria and Pakistan through the strenuous efforts of Science and Technology Minister Dr Attaur Rehman. Syrian President said he had met Gen. Musharraf at the OIC Summit at Doha and they had agreed to meet again. "I was pleasantly surprised with the speed in which Chief Executive responded to this agreement," said Bashar.

    Bashar said he, during nearly 90 minutes talks with Gen Musharraf on Sunday had told the latter that nobody could any longer "accuse us that these countries do not act as speedily as they talk". The establishment of the IT center also emphasized that, "we can achieve anything if we have the will." "As they say that the distance of a million miles starts with one step and the co-operation among the states can start with the projects like this," he said.

    The chief executive, who proposed on Sunday "a dynamic Pakistani-Syrian partnership for development" to the Syrian president, also laid a wreath at the Mausoleum of the Martyr on Mount Kassiun, which overlooks Damascus. He later left Damascus for Amman, and was due to go on to Lebanon.


    Originally posted by Mursalin:
    Western opinion writer's may talk of the international 'isolation' of Pakistan. But, has it not in fact been a unique chance for Pakistan to build a more progressive foreign policy? A foreign policy anchored more firmly with the Islamic world, and more in line with our cultural and ideological foundations?
    Mursalin,I believe you are right on the mark there.Over the years the stuff that pakistan did to anger the west is exactly the stuff that brought us closer to the islamic world.Just one example but case in point are the nuclear explosions.While the west imposed sanctions and western media screamed,media from Indonesia to morocco praised pakistan's decision,and governments supported it.
    Not only muslim countries but thirld world countries in general like countries that stand up to the west.That is what pakistan should do.Now is not the time to suck up to the west but to look elsewhere and improve our relations with muslim countries in general and the third world at large.
    I believe General Musharraf therefore has the right idea about increasing realtions with these countries and thus giving pakistani foreign policy a more dynamic turn.It's about time that happened anyway.We have suffered enough becuase of the lacklustre foreign policy of previous governments.
    After this,General Musharraf should also visit some african countries like sudan,kenya,other african countries etc.


      Couple of more points about this,
      I am particularly pleased that we are signing agreemnets in the fields of industry,science and technology,agriculture and especially IT.This is the way to go.
      This is where pakistan can woo many muslim and african countries.Even though we are a poor country we have many skills in fileds of industry,Science and IT that these countries don't.This is the sort of co-operation from which we can both benefit.
      Business,trade and investment generates wealth which all parties can use for development in their own countries.


        When General Musharraf assumed power he made some flattering comments about Turkey's Attaturk - not about his secular credentials but his military prowess. And the Americans and the European's got all excited thinking the CE would make Pakistan a secular state and like Attaturk cut his country off form the more conservative Islamic world. May be they wanted to hold Musharraf's Pakistan up as a "model" secular Muslim state? But of course the great CE has greatly disappointed them and instead strengthened relations with our Muslim brothers.

        I say the west should "isolate" us further so we can move even closer to the Islamic world. After all we are an Islamic country and were created as such and our destiny is as a full part of the wider Islamic world. Unlike the American's we have always received unconditional economic, military and nuclear co-operation from Muslim states like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Libya and Syria.

        At least the good general is not swaning off to western capital's to sign co-operation deals - he's going to Muslim countries and signing such deals and that's good for Pakistan, the countries concerned and wider Islamic unity.


          'Science and Technology cooperation between Pakistan and Syria'!!! Great idea!


            Ah poor ZZ any sign of Muslim unity scares the hell out of the Indians, who as we saw in HINDU Nepal are detested by their neighbours (all of them). Hence the jealous remarks.

            I've read somewhere today that Pakistan and Turkey are moving towards unprecedented defence cooperation. I'll post the story as soon as I find it, but I'm sure ZZ has some jealous remarks in store to post for that too?


              pakistan needs some friends now total isolation is not good for pakistani mind
              it will make them nuts and do some desparate
              tricks get attention.


                rvikz I suggest you concentrate on India's sad excuse for a foreign policy instead of mouthing the usual Indian envy lines. I mean it can't be easy for India to be REVILED by ALL it's neighbours, including the HINDU ones, and pipped to the post in every country in East Asia by Great China.

                At least our CE is being welcomed with open arms by scores of Muslim countries. Contrast that with India's predicament where effigies of Indian leaders are being burned in HINDU Kathmanndu?

                Our CE is signing lucrative economic, business and military deals in places like Damascus, Beirut, Amman and Ankara among many many other Muslim capitals. What's happening to Indian business? Well Indian businesesses are being torched in Nepal, and China is beating Indian companies to all the major countries of East Asia!


                  ok mallik thanks for your advise how make friends


                    More welcome coopeartion between Pakistaan and Turkey.

                    Pakistan, Turkey to intensify defence cooperation

                    By our correspondent

                    ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey resolved on Tuesday to intensify defence cooperation and underlined areas of possible joint ventures in defence production, a senior official told The News. The Pak-Turkey defence talks kicked off with the visiting Turkish Commander Land Forces, General Hilmi Ozkok, holding a series of meetings with Pakistani defence officials on the first day of his four-day visit to Pakistan.

                    An official announcement said General Ozkok met Chief of General Staff Lt Gen. Muhammad Yousaf Khan. The Turkish commander was briefed on the prevailing geo-strategic situation in the region. Pakistan and Turkey have a joint military training programme, and recently a Turkish military contingent held joint military exercises at Cherat.

                    General Ozkok held meetings at the GHQ, Defence Ministry, Joint Staff Headquarters and Naval Headquarters. On arrival at Chaklala Base, the Turkish commander was received by CGS Lt Gen. Muhammad Yousaf Khan, Corps Commander Lt Gen Jamshed Gulzar and other senior military officers.

                    General Ozkok, also visited General Headquarters and met Secretary Defence Production Lt Gen (retd.) Lehrasab Khan before and Director-General Joint Staff Lt Gen. Mohammad Naeem Akbar. General Lehrasab and General Akbar briefed the Turkish General about areas of interests where both the countries could cooperate in defence production. General Ozkok also called on Naval Chief Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza and got an overview of the Pakistan naval forces.