By Ansar Abbasi
If one brushes aside President Asif Ali Zardari’s wish to “hug” the “gorgeous” vice presidential Democratic candidate, Sarah Palin, as his comment in a lighter vein, the outcome of his meeting with the Indian prime minister is too serious an issue to be overlooked.
Both the episodes, however, prove one thing i.e. the PPP co-chairman is not in the right mood that is required from the holder of the office of president.
His interaction with Sarah Palin made the day for the western and Indian media while the Pakistani media underplayed the event. However, what he had agreed to in his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly has upset many here.
Group Editor Jang Mehmood Sham’s letter from New York, published in Jang on Friday, speaks volumes about the pro-India joint statement issued by the two leaders after their meeting in New York. It is rare to see Mehmood Sham so much critical and apprehensive in his writing.
While the Pakistani media generally missed the catch, Mehmood Sham did not mince his words to criticize the joint statement. He wrote that senior Pakistani journalists, whose hearts feel the pain of their country, were upset and furious to read the joint statement. The senior journalist failed to comprehend how did the president and his team agree to the joint statement that was described as completely one-sided. Pakistan, in this statement, accedes to all that India has been pursuing Islamabad for the last ten years, Sham quotes those keeping a close eye on Pakistan-India relations.
Sham’s letter also exposed the lack of professionalism and coordination in Pakistani camp, which is dominated with the likes of Husain Haqqani and Hussain Haroon.
Sham’s letter raised many eyebrows here and furthered the apprehensions, which were already raised here. The questions are raised if Pakistan’s destiny is in secure hands and whether the said statement was a consequence of some latent pressure from the United States, which expects from Pakistan to shift its balance of relationship in favour of India than China, ignoring the Kashmir issue.
A senior PPP leader was recently told by his diplomatic connections that China was not happy for being ignored during the recent months.
President Zardari did well towards cementing Pakistan-China relations by announcing in his very first press conference after entering into the presidency that China would be the first country he would visit as president. However, it did not happen. Now at a time when the president is touring New York, Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is on his visit to China.
One hopes that President Zardari’s yet another announcement, made in his first press conference after his taking oath as president, that the nation would hear good news on the Kashmir issue within one month would not have the same flavour as that of the outcome of his New York meeting with Manmohan Singh.
Whether its non-seriousness on part of the present rulers or a collection of incompetent hands, the things are far from satisfaction in all fronts, including economy, governance, diplomacy, political stability, law and order, terrorism, etc.
The dilemma of today’s democratic Pakistan is that the prime minister and his cabinet are dependent on the president even on issues that purely fall in their jurisdiction whereas parliament is simply irrelevant precisely as it was under Musharraf. The mounting challenges that the country is facing require seriousness, sincerity and complete focus of all. But this is not happening as all the eyes are set on one man — Asif Ali Zardari. And the quandary is that the president is not in the right mood that is required to pull the country out of present gloominess.
Regarding his scandalous dialogue in front of the world media with Sarah Palin, one can only say that no matter what the president does in his personal life but his public life should be reflective of the values and norms of the society, which he represents.
Source: The News, 28/9/2008