“Best way to defend Pakistan is to be honest”

SDPI seminar on ‘War on Terror: Post-Osama regime’
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: In the current post-Osama scenario, the “best way to defend Pakistan is to be honest” and accountable to the people of Pakistan, said Lt-Gen (R) Talat Masood at a seminar on “War on Terror: Post-Osama regime” organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Monday.

The speakers urged that the policy-makers of the country should adopt honest approach and accept mistakes in order to win back the credibility at home and abroad after the Osama incident.

The key speakers at the seminar included Lt-Gen (R) Talat Masood, Defence and security analyst; Dr Rifaat Hussain, Chairman of Defence and Strategic Studies department at the Quaid-i-Azam University; Tariq Fatemi, former ambassador and Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI.

The participants said that that since Pak-US relations are at cross-roads after the Osama incident, it is high time that Pakistan should review and redefine its policies in the interest of the nation. “Pakistan’s parliament should implement its concerned resolution and there should be an independent commission to fix responsibility for the May 2 event” they added.

Talat Masood termed the ‘May 2 incident’ as a golden opportunity for the country to recover from the ongoing crisis by accepting mistakes and being honest to the nation. “We should end this state of self-denial and challenge the conspiracy theories with truth” he advocated.

Dr Rifaat termed the incident a “unique strategic failure” and said that the time has come to decide whether US is a friend of Pakistan or foe. He predicted a difficult future for Pakistan as “US possibly will pressurize the country to unblock negotiations on fissile material technology”, and would “accept greater Indian role in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s diminished role in end goals in Afghanistan.”

Tariq Fatemi emphasized that the two countries were at cross-roads adding that both need to refrain from chauvinistic statements and emotional outbursts while reviewing their relations. He said that the Osama incident was an unprecedented event in Pakistan’s history and “now the country stands isolated, humiliated and embarrassed more than ever” as not only the US but all friends of Pakistan have misgivings against the country. “Unless Pakistan calls it violation of its sovereignty, this action may be used as act of precedence like of neighbouring capital is vowing to take” he warned adding that the Pakistan should immediately consult the relevant forums on this.

Dr Suleri maintained that it was a defining moment for the country. He urged that the parliament should be “independent and sovereign” to make national policies whereas army and intelligence agencies should abide by those policies.
Dr Rifaat added that the “military is deeply unhappy on the way the civilian government dealt with the situation as “the military and intelligence agencies have first time submitted to the will of people but there is need to go beyond that gesture” he added.

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