This too shall pass ! | By Khalid Saleem

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This too shall pass !


THE Corona Virus appears to have turned the whole world upside down! This need not have
been so.

What happened to our faith all of a sudden? We all do believe in the Almighty – the beneficent, the merciful.

Don’t we? And yet, all we think is negative thoughts. This need not have been so. This may be the right time for introspection.

A good back look over the shoulder may be what is called for. We may need to do our sums all over again. Somewhere down the line, we may have been amiss.

It is never advisable to cross swords with nature. This is what humanity appears to have been guilty of. The French have a way with words.

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” remains as true today as it was when formulated.

It may be a good idea, therefore, to take look down the memory lane every once in a while, if only to gauge the march of civilization.

And, what would be a better place to make a start than one’s own backyard?
Not all that long ago, the ‘Jammu and Kashmir dispute’ was what our policy makers were pleased to call the ‘core issue’.

No conversation in the capital was complete without a longish reference to the merits of the case.

It was normal practice to arrange for foreign visitors to call on all the high ups in the capital.

And as he, or she, went through the usual VVIP round of visits, one could visibly discern them getting a bit green around the gills at each call when they received the full treatment.

Our own VVIPs, it appears, had very little else to talk about and so they instinctively launched into the ‘core issue’ routine. The advent of the ‘War on Terror’ engineered a sea change.

‘Terrorism’ became the new buzzword! Through no fault of ours we were sucked into the vortex. Most of the travails of this region can be traced back to the advent of the war on terror.

The two American military assaults– first on Afghanistan and then on Iraq – resulted in unleashing forces that the world is now finding it difficult to come to terms with.

One wonders if the perspicacious reader has had the occasion to notice that every once in a while the US and Western security agencies make it a habit to announce that they have unearthed another ‘terrorist plot’.

One would have no objection to this except that when making announcements the spokespersons, more often than not, jump the gun.

The inevitable result is that the finger of suspicion invariably points to ‘Islamic extremists’ and those too of ‘Asian origin’. This time the finger of President Trump mercifully found another scapegoat.

China, this time, became the ‘fall guy’, with the President never tiring of calling it the “China virus”. Mercifully, the Muslim world appears to have escaped the sinister finger.

Another corollary that caused understandable heartburn was that of our own armchair critics jumped on the “liberal” band-wagon and started an animated campaign of self-flagellation at what they are overly quick to admit was a “Pakistan/Muslim connection”.

Most – if not all – of them, who incidentally spend their summer holidays in the hospitable climes of the United Kingdom, tried to outdo one other in firing their salvos at Pakistani “Islamists” and their “terrorist-nurturing madrassahs”.

The unholy efforts of our own pen-pushers result not only in inviting unnecessary flak from around the world but also in bringing a bad name to the country as a whole.

Violence in any part of the world can under no circumstances be condoned. It becomes all the more reprehensible when the victims are innocent civilians.

This said, one must add the caveat that it is not at all fair to jump to the unwarranted conclusion that ‘the epicentre of all that is evil lies in Pakistan’.

If anything, recent episodes have proved – if proof was at all needed – that terrorism is a worldwide phenomenon and has no fixed abode.

The rational thing to do would be to analyze and effectively tackle the root causes of such terrorism rather than look for ready scapegoats to chastise.

It may also be of some import to also look closely at the root causes of the War on Terror and its instigators, as well as what it has spawned.

The ongoing FATF debate in the press is a matter that should be viewed and tackled with a lot more seriousness than what one sees at the present.

The FATF is in the nature of a whip that vested interests are busy using to chastise states like Pakistan for uncommitted sins of omission and commission. The pity is that the victim states do not stand up and be counted as they ought to.

Given the quagmire in which states like ours find ourselves today and are fighting a battle for survival, what we can do without is the constant barrage of pinpricks from the very quarters that possibly engineered the whole thing.

Meanwhile, it would be in the fitness of things for us as a nation to ensure unity in our ranks and, if at all possible, develop a backbone.

It is hardly necessary to take lying down all the accusations and insults hurled in our direction by people who are certainly no well-wishers.

Meanwhile, we need to give Nature the credit it deserves. It is never a good policy to fight a losing battle.

Man would be well advised to cooperate with Nature on its own terms, rather than challenge it at every step. Meanwhile, humanity must keep faith.

Or is that asking for the moon?
— The writer is a former Ambassador and former Assistant Secretary General of OIC.