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    slaves for ever?

    do pakistanis agree with view of the following article. can pakistan become really independant without depending on west?

    Slaves forever

    Masud Akhtar Shaikh

    Pakistan achieved independence more than fifty years ago, but it seems
    we are destined to go on living as slaves forever. This is what our track
    record of over half a century indicates, and this is what the menacing
    omens about our future predict. Two centuries of serfdom have had
    such a devastating impact on our psyche as a nation that we have not
    yet been able to rid ourselves of political, economic, and mental slavery.
    Like a bird which forgets the art of flying when released from the cage
    after prolonged captivity, we too have forgotten how to live as a
    dignified, independent nation. Even today, long after having successfully
    broken the mortifying chains in which we had been rotting, we are quite
    content to continue living as born slaves.

    For many years after Partition, we kept hanging on to the apron strings
    of the British, knowing fully well that they were by no means our
    well-wishers. And yet, we remained dependent upon them even in the
    most sensitive matters affecting our defence and national security. Our
    unexcelled skill at deceiving ourselves did not allow us to realise that the
    primary concern of our crafty foreign masters was their own national
    interest which prevented them from providing us nothing more than a
    false sense of security.

    For many years, they had a complete control over Pakistan's foreign
    policy, so much so that whenever some international developments
    necessitated an expression of our views or the line of action our
    government was going to follow, we kept waiting for a signal from the
    British government, and then said whatever was in line with the wishes
    of the latter. A classic example of this was the British aggression against
    Egypt over the Suez Canal issue. It was immediately condemned by all
    freedom loving countries except Pakistan which kept mum till the British
    came up with some lame excuses justifying their hostile excursion.

    Disappointed with the British, Ayub Khan decided to change the
    country's de facto masters. This is how we fell into the American trap
    which meant all-round slavery. So perfect was the American control over
    Pakistan that none of our governments could dare defy the wishes of
    the US government.

    By the time Ayub Khan raised the slogan of `Friends, not masters', our
    slavery to the Americans had been perpetuated in all fields. Apart from
    mental captivity to their social norms, we had become subservient to
    them in political, economic, and military affairs as well. That situation
    continues to exist, albeit in a much worse form, till today. Thanks to the
    liberal economic aid we have been getting with the kind courtesy of our
    American friends, we now find ourselves permanently mortgaged to the
    World Bank and the IMF. Both these US-controlled financial institutions
    are holding the noose so tightly around Pakistan's neck that we cannot
    even think of deviating from any course set for us by America,
    howsoever dangerous it may be from the point of view of our own
    national interests. We now have no choice but to remain Uncle Sam's
    most obedient servants and keep obeying his direct and indirect dictates
    for all times to come.

    This is the background that explains many of the major policy decisions
    taken by various governments in this country from time to time. Let us
    recall a few such decisions, especially those which damaged our own
    national interests beyond repair. Allowing America to monitor the Soviet
    communication networks from our territory; consenting to allow the US
    Air Force to use Badabher air base for flying out hush hush U-2 missions
    over the Soviet air space; joining Cento and Seato, the two
    US-sponsored defence pacts meant primarily to protect America's
    strategic interests; promptly complying with American order to hand over
    Pakistani nationals to the US authorities for trial in the US courts without
    any formal extradition treaty with that country; and more recently,
    handing over the strategic heights of Kargil to India on a platter.

    Again, neutral political analysts have reasons to believe that the military
    regime is pursuing an overly harsh policy towards the religious parties
    merely to assure Washington, that the government of Pakistan is quite
    averse to fundamentalism, a term that has assumed the dimensions of
    an anathema for America and all its Western allies. This could well be the
    reason why repeated attempts are being made by the authorities in
    Pakistan to rein religious parties by exercising an effective control over
    the religious seminaries throughout the country. The recent ban on the
    raising of funds for jihad may also be a part of the same deal.



    There are a number of other important decisions of the present military
    rulers also which people are attributing to the same cause. The pardon
    granted to Nawaz Sharif and his kith and kin and their packing off to the
    so-called exile in Saudi Arabia is one such decision. Another pertains to
    the readiness of the rulers to yield to IMF pressure in connection with
    the prices of petrol and petroleum products, tax survey, downsizing, etc,
    even on the risk of losing popularity with the masses and with other
    important segments of society. Similarly, the government's latest
    decision to make the teaching of English as a compulsory subject right
    from class one, in all schools in the country, smacks of our lasting
    slavery.

    What is disappointing about this whole affair is our inability to win over
    the Americans despite all the sacrifices the people of Pakistan have been
    forced to make over the years. Will our continued conduct as slaves
    ever help?



    The author is a retired Colonel and freelance columnist


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