Gifting peace to the region

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Zaheer Bhatti

THE American elections this year have generated many contradictory vibes, some positive worth emulating, and others which throw the gauntlet back at the greatest Democracy of the World. It was not only an upset win for Donald Trump against the run of popularity polls and predictions in favour of Hilary Clinton but attracted the most vociferous and violent protests in at least 25 major cities across the US against Donald Trump including even in States that he won.
Worth emulating particularly by Pakistan’s political leadership, is the graceful manner in which in the world’s biggest race for ascendency to rule; this one leading the incumbent to the coveted Oval Office, the looser accepted defeat and instantly pledged to work together with the winner for the glory of the country. Media analysts, the political divide and Trump’s opponents in the US nonetheless gave vent to their feelings of outrage over the outcome of the poll as they thought that Hilary who cumulatively earned more vote compared to Trump ought to have been the winner.
Hilary Rodham Clinton made an emotional speech to acknowledge the people’s verdict though with a pinch of salt nursing the pain, but no ignominy in her defeat. She all the same reiterated her wish that the United States would continue with its global policies and commitments while working for the good of its people without discrimination. Donald Trump her fiercest foe in the contest having won, appeared to be disarmed of his contemptuous vitriolic and brash pomp during the campaign in which he was hurling insult and abuse particularly upon its own female population besides causing humiliation and concern among the immigrants whom he threatened to send home. He appeared to be all sugar and honey for all in the US and pledged to work with them without consideration of colour, cast or creed, suggesting obliquely that what he said during the campaign ought to be looked upon as an election gimmick. How true that is to be remains to be seen though his first reiteration after election to send back illegal immigrants post-haste does sound alarm.
The initial reaction of some European nations such as Germany and France upon Trump’s election have been one of dismay as he is little known in the political arena except his impulsive outbursts during the campaign which did not present the man in good stead with global US partners as he comes out as an unstable and unpredictable person donning the supreme mantle of the presently sole Super Power. Trump’s only reasons to fame have so far been his affluence and riches acquired from the inherited construction business besides Casino roulettes and a popular realty TV Show he once hosted. But all this should take nothing away from Trump as to his prospects of success as the President of the United States; remember Ronald Reagan who was a film actor and Jimmy Carter who ran a Peanut business prior to holding the coveted office, both in their own time reasonably successful Presidents, the former in favours with Pakistan and the later against it; both though in pursuit of US objectives. Election pledges are largely ploys meant to win over the electorate playing on their weaknesses; in the present case the white majority, pretty much like his predecessor Barak Obama did in pledging to resolve the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India to win over the large Muslim sentiment in the United States, or as Pakistan’s politicians pledge to bring back looted money from the national exchequer, break the begging bowl and solve the crisis of energy, unemployment and rising prices; all meant to fool the common man. But once in power, these pledges evaporate in thin air.
But one reckons that the world should focus on Trump’s maiden policy statement declaring that he would seek to cultivate cordial relations with all countries of the world which desire to maintain them. While some nations might prefer continued status quo, this would essentially call for re-constructing respective bridges; in the case of Pakistan, building a narrative of reality and while bringing home to the US the benefits of Pakistan’s CPEC venture with the People’s Republic of China designed as an economically viable trade route for benefit of entire global community, seek American help to resolve its core issue bedevilling relations with India; that of a plebiscite in disputed State of Jammu and Kashmir to decide future of State according to standing UN Resolutions to which all member nations of august body were morally and legally bound.
With Donald Trump expressing his love for Pakistan while attending a ceremony and he also offering to mediate over Kashmir with Pakistan and India, Pakistan’s leadership must seek to reinforce this rhetoric and while reciprocating the gesture waste no time in recounting its cooperation with the US even at the expense of its relations with other nations, culminating in Pakistan’s lead role in the current US campaign against terrorism. It should highlight the heavy price in men and material it has paid in the process besides earning rancour of the Taliban evicted from rule in Afghanistan besides a raw deal at various times at the hands of its erstwhile ally clamping undue sanctions upon it. Pakistan must seek justice if not recompense by asking the US to stand by the commitment of the World Body over resolution of the Kashmir dispute with a UN supervised plebiscite to determine accession of the State according to the wishes of its people.
It needs to be emphasized afresh upon the present political leadership in the US in particular and the other members of the UN fraternity in general that since the riparian lifeline of Pakistan an agriculture-dominated country flows out of the majority Muslim State of Kashmir; the reason why the founding father of the country termed Kashmir as its jugular vein, it ought to have acceded to Pakistan even according to the British Partition Plan itself. This is an issue which has bedevilled Pakistan-India relations for decades and destabilized the whole region, presently culminating into a mass uprising in State for nothing short of liberation from Indian occupation.
This issue could no longer be left to be resolved bilaterally as maintained by Trump’s predecessors because there can be no bilateralism among unequals where one views it as struggle for freedom and other bent upon branding it as terrorism. Britain whose unfinished agenda of partition happens to be Kashmir, together with the US must abandon status quo and gift peace to this region by causing implementation of the standing UN Resolutions. Who knows that the unpredictable Trump might trump his predecessors and deliver to the world what the Statue of Liberty could not thus far.
—The writer is a media professional, member of Pioneering team of PTV and a veteran ex Director Programmes.

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