By Saeed Qureshi
It does not behove the PPP ministers to castigate and revile their former counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi, holding the prestigious portfolio of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. These foul mouthing ministers retaken in the cabinet are no angels themselves. I wonder if these guys including Babar Awan, Fauzia Wahab, and Ahmad Mukhatar possess an iota of dignity and honorable conduct as to heap indignities and diatribe on Shah Mehmood whose ouster was patently not on the basis of certain pious principles but for ulterior motives that are now well known.
A respectable colleague is now being branded as villain and unwanted simply because he did not agree with questionable postures of the prime minister and the president of Pakistan on certain foreign policy issues notably that of Raymond Davis who killed two Pakistan citizens, Even if someone like Mr. Qureshi who has been and is still a party loyalist cannot concord with certain decisions of the party command or the prime minister, he should be given a warm, hearty and honorable send off.
Has Shah Sahib’s personality undergone a metamorphosis in a matter of a few days that he is being vilified and despised with bitter acrimony and scathing remarks? By doing so the minions of the PPP in power are demeaning themselves and not Shah Sahib.
If the PPP high command is sending a message that whosoever takes an independent stand would be shown the exit door, then it is a sordid attempt on self defacing and shows shallowness of the prime minister and his cabinet ministers. The condemnation of Shah Sahib by the PPP ministers does not lower his stature and rather it has been glorified further.
If Shah Sahib takes a tough stand against the Indian duplicitous attitude towards Pakistan and also cannot endorse that Raymond was a diplomat and enjoyed the diplomatic immunity, then instead of punishing him by way of relieving him of his post, he should be praised and commended for a highly moral, principled and rightful stand.
There must be enormous pressure on the president and the prime minister from America for dispensing with Mr. Qureshi. The sacking of Shah Mehmood Qureshi bears out the unpalatable fact that a person now under trial for killing Pakistani citizens was more powerful and important than the foreign minister of Pakistan who is also a member of the ruling party with resolute loyalty and unflinching commitment.
It appears that the PPP high command treats its ministers as garbage to be disposed off if it becomes too burdensome. The PPP is being run on personal whims, likes and dislikes and with vendettas against the dissenting voices within the party. The critics no matter how sincere and well-intentioned they may be are being penalized for offering saner and sound counsels.
The PPP”s revolutionary fervor has been down sliding ever since the incumbent lot of this party came into power. It is one of the incomprehensible enigmas of the present times that a person who is overburdened by serious allegations of corruption and money laundering is now the president of Pakistan as well as an all powerful chairman of his party. That he takes the crucial decisions about the destiny of Pakistan and makes high profile appointments of ministers, ambassadors and the chief executives of the state corporations is simply mind-boggling.
He has such worthies in his retina of power and glory who not long ago were treated as the scum of the earth, bootleggers, and were running errands of bureaucrats for small favors. The law minister is the worst enemy of law and the defense minister is a past master in all such matters that ruin the security and imperil the safety of the citizens of this hapless nation. These pygmies in power have no fear of God and openly defy and ridicule the rulings of the superior judiciary. The level and dimension of misappropriations of national wealth and pulling all the dirty tricks and immodest machinations for self-enrichment have never been as frightening and limitless as of now.
Every good plan or suggestion is sidetracked and every vicious and self perpetuating scheme is floated. The uproars of the masses suffering due to myriads counts, be it power outrages, the scarcity of water, lawlessness, travesty of justice, unemployment, health and education hazards, the poverty and poor utilities the government seems to be impervious. Even in case of Haj scandals certain questionable and inappropriate appointments were made in haste to scuttle the due process of law.
The PIA scandal that entailed colossal financial loss to the country and immense sufferings and hardship to the air passengers was taken lightly and no timely remedial action was taken one of which was to remove the controversial MD of the airlines.
So in case of Raymond Davis, the PPP government is bent upon taking the side of the culprit who killed Pakistani citizens in cold blood for no compelling reasons. To argue that he is a diplomat and therefore should be released I would bet that if a Pakistan diplomat kills even one person in a western country he will not be allowed to go his home country. Let all the diplomats carry arms, kill at will and with abandon in a host country and then be released because of the diplomatic status they enjoy under the Vienna Convention. The diplomats seldom carry firearms on their body and roam in the crowded suburbs where the ordinary people live. Let a Pakistani diplomat kill a Saudi national for very pressing reasons and just watch what happens to him.
The incumbent Pakistani government is weak, morally bankrupt and unable to withstand the external pressures because it has no popular support or legitimate domestic locus standi. It is a kind of a stooge that can lower itself to any depth even if it means sullying the national honor. What about the devastated families of three young men who lost their lives and what about Shumaila who committed suicide as she could not bear the shock and loss of her husband Faheems’s gruesome murder?
Do we have an iota of feelings about the young bride who embraced death in a state of sheer mental agony and utter helplessness? Even after her death there is no national mourning that she deserves. The people in power have stony hearts.
Senator John Kerry now in Islamabad is a friend of Pakistan. He along with Senator Lugar sponsored the so called Kerry-Lugar bill for allocation of $ 7.5 billion aid to Pakistan over a period of five years. During his press conference in Islamabad with regard to Raymond Davis case, he maintained a low and humble profile. He quoted the sayings of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad in order to appease Pakistanis and solicit support by way of pardoning the American citizen. But at the same time he weighed the adverse implications for Pakistan in case Raymond was nor freed.
His main thrust of the argument was that by virtue of his diplomatic status Raymond was entitled to be released and handed over to the United States for the American courts to try him. He also argued that it was not an infringement of the laws of Pakistan if Raymond was released under the provision of diplomatic immunity.
The Raymond case puts Pakistan in a very tight corner and it would be interesting to watch how Pakistan government can accommodate American request or pressure for release of Raymond Davis and simultaneously justify it before the people of Pakistan as well as meet the imperatives of Pakistani laws.
The writer is a Dallas-based freelance journalist and a former diplomat writing mostly on International Affairs with specific focus on
Pakistan and the United State. In Pakistan, he had worked for several years as a senior correspondent for daily “The Muslim” and “Pakistan Observer.” In 1992 he founded his own English opinion weekly Diplomatic Times and was its Editor and Publisher until 2001 when he moved to the United States.