July 1, 2003
MUSHARRAF'S U.S. VISIT: BUSH HAILS AN 'ESSENTIAL AND DEPENDABLE ALLY'
** Moderate Pakistani
dailies say the trip cemented an "already close relationship" with
** Pakistani critics call
Musharraf's promise to deploy troops to Iraq a "bitter pill."
** Indian papers are
dismayed by the welcome given to a "military dictator."
** The U.S.-Pakistan
relationship is a "temporary marriage" driven by mutual interests.
Musharraf's 'brave effort' will result in 'several positive
spin-offs' for Pakistan-- Popular Urdu-language
dailies called the U.S.' aid package for Pakistan "encouraging," with
Khabrain stressing that Washington "still gives due importance to
Pakistan and wants a...cordial relationship." Lahore's Daily Times was optimistic
that Bush's "warmth and goodwill" would promote stronger economic
ties. Centrist writers highlighted the
"need for ensuring a balance...as between proverbial equals" so
Musharraf can avoid "serious backlash" from
"reactionary...hotheaded" elements who call him a U.S. puppet.
There is 'strong opposition' inside Pakistan to sending troops to
Iraq-- Pakistani criticism of
the trip centered around Iraq, democratization, and dependence. A majority urged Islamabad not to help
America "perpetuate its hold on Iraq" and not to be "a part of
every legal or illegal U.S. action."
Even the usually pro-Musharraf News questioned his
"surprising" decision to dispatch peacekeepers without
Pro-opposition papers blasted Bush for "evading" questions on
Pakistani democracy and Musharraf for extending a "begging bowl" that
only "put us in greater thrall to the U.S." The rightist Pakistan Observer
demanded Islamabad seek a "diversification" of military
U.S. 'indulgence' of Islamabad irks Indians-- Despite "aggressive
Indian lobbying," the centrist Asian Age noted Musharraf
"remains a strategic partner" for the U.S. because "America
desperately needs Pakistan" in the war on terror. The centrist Indian Express demanded
Musharraf implement "real democracy, real freedom and real economic
development" instead of rhetoric.
Vernacular papers stressed the rejection of Musharraf's request for
"America's intervention" in the "Kashmir tangle," but
independent Business Line alleged U.S. "insolence as the
unchallenged master of the world" might result in "a 'roadmap' of its
own for Kashmir."
Outside the subcontinent, papers label the U.S. and Pakistan 'mutually
dependent'-- Euro and leftist papers
cited Musharraf's "checkered record" to describe the trip as a clear
quid pro quo. The "dictator in
Islamabad" is an "indispensable U.S. ally" in the war on terror,
and he "needs Washington's support in his harsh crackdown on opposition
elements." The left-of-center Vancouver
Sun added that the aid package proved "siding with Washington is
worthwhile and not anti-Islamic."
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: This
analysis was based on 40 reports from 6 countries over 20 - 30 June 2003. Editorial excerpts from each country are
listed from the most recent date.
GERMANY: “Friend And Foe In
Arne Perras observed in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(6/24): “The countries in South Asia
know how to nurse old enmities....
India's Premier Vajpayee praises the big neighbor to the sky...and the
old bogeyman image of China is no longer useful; New Delhi longs for powerful
partners for economic and political reasons....
A rapprochement with Beijing is important for New Delhi for another
reason: the Indians hope to break the traditional Chinese support for
Pakistan. The dictator in Islamabad
cannot like this development. As a
countermeasure he attempts to strengthen ties to the West by touring through
Europe and the U.S.... Washington is to
nurse the bankrupt state back to life and to support Pakistani interests in
Kashmir. This is the price Musharraf
demands for his support of the anti-terror alliance, the fight against Al Qaida
and the Taliban. Today President George
W. Bush will receive his Pakistani guest at Camp David, and the President will
find words of praise.... As long as the government
in Kabul cannot drive away the ghosts of the past on its own, President Bush
continues to need Pakistan as a bridgehead....
Musharraf is certain to ask the American president not only for
dollars. For the Islamist parties in the
country protest their president, since he has got involved with the hated
Americans. To strengthen his power, he
needs Washington’s support in his harsh crackdown on opposition elements in his
country. The problem is that by doing
this, Musharraf will further cement the dictatorship even though he continues
to talk about democratization.”
TURKEY: “The US And
Fikret Ertan wrote in Islamist-intellectual Zaman
(6/25): “The visit of Pakistan’s leader
Musharraf to Camp David is significantly important for the future of Asia as
well as ties between Washington and Islamabad.... Issues on the agenda range from the Kashmir
problem to Afghanistan, and from changes in the Pakistani army to Pakistan's
official recognition of Israel.... The
issues discussed and results achieved at the Camp David meeting will not only
have an enormous effect on the US-Pakistan relations, but will also play a
determining role in the future of Afghanistan and other countries in the
region. The US-Pakistani summit could
also have an impact on the political status of General Musharraf.”
CHINA: “View Pakistan-U.S.
Relations Through The Camp David Meeting”
Zou Qiang commented in official intellectual publication Guangming
Daily (Guangming Ribao) (6/27):
“Although the nuclear storm of the U.S. and Pakistan was temporarily
laid aside due to the Iraq issue and regional anti-terrorism, it is always the
‘heavy stone in the pit of the U.S. stomach’, and there is little space left
for both sides to make compromise....
The relations between Pakistan and the U.S. are a ‘temporary marriage’
driven and led by interests. They still
need time to set up ‘a long and stable relationship’.”
CHINA (HONG KONG & MACAU SARS): "Bush's Praise And Great Expectations
Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News opined
(6/28): "Pakistani President
Musharraf was invited to visit the U.S., where he was warmly received by
President Bush. Musharraf was invited to
the Presidential resort, Camp David, an honor reserved for those leaders seen
to be close U.S. allies. Musharraf is
the first leader of a South Asian country to enjoy such an honor. This is not superficial diplomatic protocol;
it is a matter of fundamental interest, showing that the two countries are
mutually dependent.... The U.S. is
generous in assisting Pakistan because it wants to praise the Musharraf government
for supporting the post-September 11 U.S. fight against the Taliban and the al
Qaeda terrorist network. Moreover, the
U.S. must repay Pakistan for its support in penetrating South and Central
Asia.... Given complicated interests,
the U.S.'s number one friend in South Asia is, after all, India. While warmly embracing Pakistan, the U.S.
must strike a balance between India and Pakistan to keep India from feeling
isolated or threatened. Seen from this
angle, it is understandable why the U.S. refused to sell Pakistan F-16 fighters
even after Musharraf's visit. The U.S.
merely said that it 'did not dismiss the possibility of helping the Pakistani
military to improve similar fighters in its possession' and that 'Pakistani
defense's demands in many aspects should be met.' This is the other side of U.S. Pakistani
policy. When people evaluate the warming
of U.S.-Pakistani relations, they must consider these complicated interests."
"Musharraf's Little Secret For Bush"
Syed Saleem Shahzad wrote in the Internet-based, leftist Asia
Times (6/24): "With the
deteriorating security situation in both Afghanistan and Iraq illustrating that
the United States agenda in the region is far from complete, Pakistani
President General Pervez Musharraf, despite his checkered record on democracy
and human rights, travels to the US as an indispensable US ally.... Once again Pakistan faces core issues on
which it might be forced to compromise, which will once again test the general's
grip on the country. These include a compromise on Pakistan's nuclear program,
its long-standing position on the Kashmir dispute and its Middle East policies,
notably the possible recognition of Israel....
On the surface, Musharraf, after a number of reshuffles among
top-ranking army commanders, is in full control and there is harmony among the
ranks. But looking a bit deeper, and all is not well.... As the final arbiter in the country, his
character becomes all the more important. And behind a liberal face, it is no
secret that he has, certainly in the past, been supportive of fundamentalist
movements, and he was close to Mullah Omar....
Now, with the help of the Pakistani infantry, security sources tell Asia
Times, U.S. forces have found proof that the Hizb-i-Islami, a leading
resistance group in Afghanistan led by former mujahideen commander Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar, has been receiving assistance from Pakistan, including recruitment,
training, weapons and money. These
revelations, coming as Musharraf prepares to meet Bush, have set people wondering
whether the general knew of the Hizb-i-Islami link. And if so, just what is he
really up to?"
INDIA: "Beating Around
Tavleen Singh contended in
the centrist Indian Express (6/29): "At almost the very moment that General
Pervez Musharraf became the first military dictator to be welcomed by President
Bush into the homely warmth of Camp David I was listening to Colin Powell
expound on the importance of democracy and free societies...at the World
Economic Forum's extraordinary annual meeting on the Middle East. Those of us
who were not American in the audience, and perhaps many who were, listened with
a skeptical ear.... The problem is that
the goals of American foreign policy seem to alter dramatically when it comes
to our part of the world. Democracy and freedom seem no longer worthwhile
objectives beyond Afghanistan. How else
to explain what the man most responsible for building the Taliban into an evil,
religious terrorist group is doing in Camp David? How else to explain President
Bush's promises of Dols. 3 billion of aid to a man whose nuclear scientists
were in consultations with Al-Qaeda to help Osama bin Laden build his own
nuclear weapon? I have found it
impossible to understand why Saddam Hussein should be considered a bad man and
Musharraf a hero. Try as I have I fail
to understand why Iran should be on the US list of next most evil regime while
General and Mrs. Musharraf should be ensconced with the Bushes for a cosy
weekend.... Islamic fundamentalism is
not a person but an idea, a mindset, and there is sufficient evidence that this
mindset has permeated the whole fabric of Pakistani society ... The only way to
fight the mindest is to allow real democracy, real freedom and real economic
development and hope this will make a difference.... There was a time that the American President
could get away with befriending military dictators and lecturing the world
about democracy at the same time. That time ended on September 11."
"Price For Pervez"
The centrist Times Of India declared (6/27): "Pervez Musharraf went to Camp David
with a shopping list so ambitious, he would have returned a hero even if big
brother had okayed half the package. In the event, he got a $3 billion aid, split
between defense needs and developmental imperatives, which is a third of his
Dols. 10 billion demand. Worse, the biggest item on the wishlist, F-16 fighter
aircraft, has been struck down.... In
real value terms, the current Pakistani dictator has got precious little...the
package is subject to conditions such as an annual review, proof of Pakistan's
democratization and continued commitment to fighting terrorism.... President Bush was unstoppable in his
admiration for the general, describing him as a 'moderate Muslim' who was
committed to 'modernizing Pakistan'. Experience also warns us against taking
the American sermons about democracy too seriously.... But knowing General Musharraf, we should
expect him to window-dress the summit outcome as a grand success. For its part,
the US will need Pakistan as long as terrorists are to be pursued in that
country. President Bush appears convinced that there is no alternative to
General Musharraf in Pakistan. It is a different matter that this indulgence
has resulted in the revival and regrouping of jehadi groups on
Pakistan-Afghanistan border, leading to continued instability within
Afghanistan and civil-military tensions in Pakistan."
The centrist Asian Age contended (6/27): "Pakistan President General Pervez
Musharraf has returned a satisfied man from the very friendly and happy lunch
with US President George W. Bush at Camp David. He does not have the F-16s but
he has permission and full support to upgrade the existing fleet of 32 F-16s
with him at present.... Camp David was
an exercise in congeniality, a signal to the watching world that the US and
Pakistan are good friends and partners in the ongoing war against
terrorism.... Terrorism, of course, was
a major part of the conversation but reports suggest that the US emphasis
remained on Afghanistan and not on Kashmir as India had hoped.... President Musharraf...despite aggressive
Indian lobbying remains a strategic partner with the US assessment recognizing
him personally as a major ally in the war against terrorism. In fact, Washington
does not appear to be too happy about India's vilification campaign against
him, and has repeatedly used its many spokespersons to clarify their close
relationship with Musharraf....
Terrorism, yes, remains of concern but then as President Bush pointed
out to waiting journalists at Camp David, the general has helped his government
arrest 500 Al Qaeda terrorists. This then, is the bottom line. More important
and real than India's allegations of cross-border terrorism that Musharraf
insists he has controlled. It is in the light of this reality that India should
frame its responses and policies on Pakistan, the general and peace."
"New Winds In Kashmir"
Mumbai-based left-of-center Marathi-language Loksatta
opined (6/27): "Pakistani leaders,
who until recently used to harp on Kashmir being the central issue to peace
with India, have now begun talking in conflicting voices. Musharraf promised
President Bush to make 100 percent effort to end terrorist infiltrations into
Kashmir. In his subsequent encounters
with the media, he claimed that no such infiltration is taking place.... Nawaz Sharif claimed that he had come close
to working out a peace deal with India four years ago, but it was sabotaged by
Musharraf through the Kargil operation.
Bhutto talked about how she turned down Musharraf's plan of launching a
surprise attack on India and flying a Pakistani flag atop the State Assembly in
Srinagar.... During Musharraf's visit to
the U.S., Bush talked about the need for a clear roadmap to resolve the Kashmir
problem. It is probable that he is busy
drawing one. It would be daring to assume that the simultaneous attack launched
by Sharif and Bhutto against Musharraf during his U.S. tour is a mere
coincidence.... Also interesting is the
timing of Indian President Kalam's visit to Kashmir. It happened at a time when
Kashmir is in the world focus. He is the
first Indian President to have visited Kashmir in the last six years. The situation in Kashmir has changed for the
better lately. Efforts are being made by
the government and NGOs to promote economic development in the Valley. Pakistan
is upset with this because if Kashmir becomes normal, it would mean the loss of
a powerful tool to bleed India. Dr
Kalam's visit could provide a major stimulus for positive efforts for economic
development in Kashmir. The current
developments in India and abroad over the Kashmir issue indicate new winds are
blowing over the Valley."
"General Musharraf Exposed"
Punjabi-language Tribune editorialized (6/27): "The world has come to know that
Musharraf is the biggest hurdle to the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir
tangle.... His mindset has been exposed
by two former Prime Ministers of Pakistan, both of whom were popularly elected
leaders.... Both of them have disclosed
that the person responsible for planning and implementing the Kargil
misadventure was none other than Musharraf himself.... Sharif was not directly or indirectly
involved in Kargil.... Benazir Bhutto
has said that earlier she had shot down the Kargil plan when it was brought to
her.... It is obvious that in Pakistan,
the army calls the tune.... They
sabotaged the Lahore peace process....
Musharraf has threatened another Kargil, which is proof enough that he
is not interested in a peaceful solution....
The attacks on India's Parliament and the massacre of women and children
in Kaluchek put a big question mark on Musharraf's claim for peaceful
"Would Musharraf's Kashmir Dream Fade Away"
Independent Tamil-language Dinamani declared (6/27): "U.S. President Bush's banquet for
President Musharraf, to thank him for his support to the US in its worldwide
war against terrorism after the September 11 incidents, is quite
significant.... Bush has tactfully
rejected Musharraf's request for America's intervention in solving the Kashmir
issue.... It is an open secret that
Musharraf is 'madly' obsessed with Kashmir. International pressure and
diplomatic compulsion alone would make him to relent from his rigid
"Musharraf On Leash"
Chennai-based independent business-oriented Business Line
declared (6/27): "Despite all the
buildup it got, the Bush-Musharraf meeting has not gone as well as expected for
the Pakistan President. In fact, it was
a tame affair.... Gen. Musharraf must
have left Camp David with an uneasy feeling that he was on leash.... What, however, must be a matter of concern to
India is the General's open invitation to Bush to take a direct hand in finding
a solution to the Kashmir dispute, citing Bush's 'road map' for resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian tangle as a precedent....
At the moment, the US is politically correct in its stance, but India
should not count on it too long. Given its
insolence as the unchallenged master of the world and its impatience to have
things its way, the US may suddenly run amuck and put its weight behind a 'road
map' of its own for Kashmir. India
should plan its moves keeping this possibility in view."
"Peace With Pakistan Not An Easy Task"
Pro-BJP Bengali-language Bartaman held (6/27): "That Pakistan is not at all inclined to
forge a peaceful compromise with India becomes evident once again in
Musharraf's recent expressions.... Bush
has chosen not to give Musharraf clearly a blank check in order to pressure
India in giving the green signal for sending its troops to Iraq. The US
President and his team now want to cajole India on the one hand and keep
Pakistani rulers in confidence on the other. That is why Bush played carrot and
stick with Musharraf.... However,
Musharraf will not be able to get Pakistan metamorphosed into a democratic
nation only since America wishes so....
Now, zealotry is the stimulus behind Pakistan's every action. It is
fundamentalist Islamists, who control NWFP. They assume important positions in
Jamali's government, too. It is beyond Musharraf's capability to dislodge them
even if America wants that. Rather, Musharraf knows well that America would not
be able to save him in the face of counterassault by these zealots. So, he is
constantly changing his hue like a chameleon and advocating for peace in
Washington and at the next moment turns towards his own country and yells, 'we
need Kashmir first!'"
"General On Wobbly Ground"
The nationalist Hindustan Times stated (6/27): "Even as India has reached an
understanding on several issues with Pakistan's all-weather friend, China, the
latest meeting between George W. Bush and Pervez Musharraf points to a
reaffirmation of Pakistan's old Cold War ties with the U.S.... Musharraf's visit to Camp David denotes some
kind of a 'special relationship' with a 'friend, not master'.... However, for all the camaraderie, the
Americans cannot be unaware that their 'courageous' ally is not on the
strongest of wickets in his own country....
So, as in the past, the US is bolstering the position of General
Musharraf and the Pakistan army in the hope that they will fight its wars in
the region.... But the Americans cannot
be unaware that his position remains insecure, as is evident from General
Musharraf's repeated reference to Kashmir as the 'core' issue.... India's hope will, therefore, be that the US
carrot of dollars will be accompanied by the stick of forcing Pakistan to end
"An Obligation In Return On Anvil"
The Bangalore-based left-of-center English-language Deccan
Herald opined (6/24): "There
are many hopes, fears and expectations attached to this meeting (at Camp David)
by different groups.... So far as the
establishment is concerned, it is mighty pleased that the Americans have invited
Musharraf to Camp David, a treatment reserved for good friends.... Above all else, the hope is that America will
strengthen and deepen the cooperation between the Musharraf government and his
country. With that is attached hopes of
getting military hardware that has so far been denied to Pakistan. There is also, somewhere in the agenda, a
package of economic aid. Insofar as the
matter of sending troops to Iraq is concerned, Musharraf's government is likely
to be too willing to oblige the US.
There is a whole and seemingly big lobby of the religious-minded; it is
represented by Muttehada Majlis Amal (MMA).
The latter is mighty afraid that Musharraf...will do a deal with the
Americans to make Pakistan a more secular place and suppress the MMA. The MMA is the standard-bearer of
anti-Americanism in the country.... In
the past all MMA groups have worked closely with the Americans and were always
treated by liberal-minded Pakistanis as US stooges. Now they are basking in the aura of
"All The President's Men"
Wilson John held in the pro-BJP right-of-center Pioneer
(6/25): "General Musharraf was
quite comfortable with the Americans-and vice versa. Both are equally adept at
playing games. Washington has its priorities clear. The General is not
ambiguous about his either. As for us, we seem perpetually destined to be
caught in a vacuum of sorts, unable to score the goal. With the General now
sitting comfortably across US President George W Bush at Camp David, there
could be no reason to remain uncertain about their mutual trust and
understanding. So what about the US 'plea' for Indian troops in Iraq?.... When the General, his Premier and the mullahs
are with them, why would the Americans be interested in our peace initiative? Peace
in South Asia would deny them any locus standi in this region. The generals
they prop up at regular intervals in Pakistan would become impotent without an
enemy at their doorstep. Democracy in Pakistan would mean no American
interference in the region. That is the last thing Uncle Sam desires."
"Funds For The General, Not Fighters"
K.P. Nayar stated in the Kolkata-based centrist Telegraph
(6/25): "America desperately needs
Pakistan and Bush acknowledged it in so many words in the context of the war
against al Qaida. But the White House is also worried that Musharraf and his
government are duplicitous in their fight against Islamic extremism.... Osama bin Laden is widely believed to be
hiding in FATA and crossing the border with Afghanistan.... The disagreements between the US and Pakistan
also surfaced when Bush said...that realization of Musharraf's 'vision of
moderation and progress will require movement toward democracy in
Pakistan'.... It was clear that
Musharraf had come under pressure from Bush to accommodate political elements
in Pakistan's scheme of things."
PAKISTAN: "To Sit With The Superior And Expect No Threat To
Abdul Qadir Hasan opined in leading mass-circulation Urdu-language
Jang (6/30): "At last we
have had our Camp David. The previous Muslim leaders to have been there were
President Anwer Sadaat, President Husni Mubarak and Yasser Arafat. When guests are to be treated as special,
they are invited to Camp David. But when
President Bush used the words "this person" with great admiration for
General Musharraf, Pakistanis were obviously deeply offended. During his elections, he didn't even remember
the name of the Pakistani President, but now he is all applause for him. The only thing common between the two
presidents is that both are in their positions because of the blessings of
their supreme courts. There is a lot of
controversy in the news following Camp David. Some of
those who went with the President have not yet returned. The news correspondents have also not returned,
and as for the American press, it is also not free. So what actually happened
is blurred. But apparently, President
Musharraf is the whole and sole head of Pakistan. As for India, it is still a very close friend
"The Mouse That Roars"
Kunwar Idris held in Karachi-based center-left independent
national English-language Dawn (6/29):
"Now the door to power seems to have been shut on the religious
parties by Bush's tribute to Musharraf as a courageous leader and a friend who
is also an essential and dependable ally in the war on terror. Since the
opposing forces in this war are religious, the parting of the ways between
Musharraf and religious parties for the present appears complete. The possibility of the MMA joining the Q
League-led coalition at the center thus stands ruled out.... The essence of all this argument is that
General Musharraf, acting contrary to his own instincts, must no more give way
to the reactionary forces in return for political support. Now that his friend Bush has conveyed this
message to him, which the lesser mortals at home could not, he should take up
the cudgels for his own short battle against all kinds of dogma alongside
Bush's long war on terror."
"Rhetoric And Reality"
Irfan Husain declared in Karachi-based center-left independent
national English-language Dawn (6/28): "As I write this, General
Musharraf is on a nine-day visit to the United States. Frankly, even a close
relative would start getting on my nerves if he stayed for that long. But obviously, America is a big country and
the Americans are a hospitable people....
Although India has been overtaken by China, it has made significant economic
progress nevertheless: with foreign exchange reserves of $82 billion, it has
told the developed world that it no longer wants foreign assistance, and all
loans and grants should be given directly to NGOs. Pakistan, on the other hand, still needs its
begging bowl, although we seem to be getting greedier: the recent pledge of three
billion dollars made by President Bush to Pakistan at Camp David was greeted
with cries of derision by the opposition in Pakistan, who maintain that far
greater largesse should have been forthcoming for our role against Al-Qaeda and
the Taliban. I think it was the famous
American film director Stanley Kubrick who said: "Big states behave like
gangsters, while small states behave like prostitutes."
The center-right national English-language Nation asserted
(6/27): "To leave no room for any
misunderstanding the Bush administration has made it clear that the $3 billion
aid package announced on Tuesday is not without strings. General Musharraf has,
according to a senior US official, committed himself to the fulfillment of
three wide-ranging demands: working with the U.S. vigorously on the war against
terror, ensuring that Islamabad is not involved in nuclear proliferation, and
moving towards democracy. There would be
a review at regular intervals to evaluate if Pakistan is efficiently pursuing
the agenda. As the U.S. official put it,
if things go badly in the specified areas 'we are not going to request (the
package) and Congress won't approve it. And that is a bargain Pakistanis are
entering with their eyes wide open.'
Pakistan is required to assist the U.S. in its fight against terrorism
in a number of ways.... Apparently not
considering assurances already given by President Musharraf sufficient enough,
he has been told he is expected to ensure no country is provided assistance
that could lead to its acquiring nuclear weapons. The government has denied there was any
pressure on Pakistan to roll back or freeze its nuclear program. While one
welcomes the assurance, incidentally the only minister to accompany the
President on his sojourn to Camp David, Senator Shaukat Aziz's visit to Kahuta,
where even Mr. Jamali has not been, has given birth to questions. The question of democracy receives the lowest
priority in the order of conditionalities....
Judging from the President's eagerness to commit Pakistani troops (to
Iraq), despite strong opposition in Pakistan, a perception is bound to be
created that the demand could be one of the unannounced conditions."
"Troops For Iraq"
The centrist national English-language News (6/27): "President Musharraf's disclosure that
he has in principle agreed to send Pakistani troops to Iraq in response to the
request made by American President George Bush at their Camp David meeting is
surprising.... That such an important
decision would be made without a parliamentary debate, considering the
sensitivity of the issue, runs contrary to General Musharraf's cherished goal
of strengthening the tradition of democracy in the country. His undertaking is
not likely to be welcomed in the country where a majority of people views the
Americans and British as occupation forces in Iraq. Dispatch of troops to the
Arab state is tantamount to becoming part of an invasion force that subjugated
a sovereign state.... Sending troops to
help UN's peacekeeping operations is one thing, but assisting the invading
forces even after their action's post hoc ratification under the international
law is another. Pakistan will do well by
abstaining from intervening in murky Middle East politics. Any such move may cost Islamabad its long-term
friends in the Arab lands that also opposed the Iraq war. The lure of financial packages is tempting,
but more tempting is integrity of a nation and its resolve to live by
"An Ill-Advised Idea"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn
(6/27): "It is unfortunate that
President Musharraf should have chosen a foreign TV channel to let it be known
that Pakistan had decided in principle to send troops to Iraq. Knowing the
sensitivity of the matter, he should have discussed it first at home and,
better still, referred the proposal to a joint session of parliament.... Reports say that Egypt, Syria and Saudi
Arabia, too, are opposed to the presence of any Muslim troops in Iraq, because
Bush administration officials continue to threaten such Muslim countries as
Syria and Iran.... It would therefore be
advisable for the government not to take a decision on the question in a hurry
and seek a national consensus on the issue. Cooperating with the US on the war
on terror is one thing; helping America perpetuate its hold on Iraq quite
"Dependence On A Single Country"
The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
commented (6/27): "Prime Minister
Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has said that Pakistan will not depend on one
country to meet its security and defense needs.
At a Press conference in Multan, he said if the U.S. refused to give
F-16 fighter planes, Pakistan would buy compatible warplanes from other sources
including France.... Prime Minister
Jamali’s statement that Pakistan will not depend on one country to meet its
security and defense needs represents an objective view of the situation. What’s, however, imperative is the need to
strengthen the economy to have bucks in hand to attract the nations exporting
military hardware and warplanes. France is obviously too willing to sell its
Mirage warplanes, which are equally good as the F-16s. Pakistan already has a fleet of Mirage
warplanes. We, therefore, welcome Prime
Minister Jamali’s stand on diversification of purchase of defense
equipment. In such diversification, in
fact, lies the strength and viability of the national security."
"Musharraf At Camp David"
Ravian wrote in the Lahore-based liberal English-language Daily
Times (6/27): "President
Musharraf’s visit to the U.S. has been billed in Pakistan as a major
event.... The visit will further cement
the already close relationship between the Bush and Musharraf administrations
and will have several positive spin-offs, including additional debt write off,
improved access to the U.S. markets for Pakistani exports, continued
concessionary assistance from multilateral agencies as well as USAID. The visit could also open up possibilities
for training civil servants to improve the deteriorating standards of
administrative skills in Pakistan. Military and police exchanges could also be
stepped up. These are no small achievements
since macro economic recovery will be consolidated, debt burden will decline
and greater fiscal space will be available for social expenditures.
Opportunities will be created for the Establishment to open up its mind to the
West (after years of sanctions and reduced contact) in a healthy, constructive
fashion.... President Musharraf’s visit
to Camp David will have a lasting impact only if he can translate the warmth
and good will with the Bush administration into a flow of private U.S.
investment into Pakistan’s manufacturing sector.... But this requires strengthening the
investment climate in Pakistan. That, in turn, requires delivering on a large
part of the quid pro quo that the Bush administration seeks i.e., curbing
militancy and reducing tensions on the Eastern and Western borders. It also means a parliament that meets to
legislate rather than to cause mayhem.
If President Musharraf and the Pakistani Establishment doesn’t deliver
on this, Camp David will have been a mere photo-opportunity for the family
"Conditional U.S. Aid"
Pro-Muslim League (N) Urdu-language Pakistan observed
(6/27): "With a reference to the
aid conditions, a U.S. spokesperson has said that Congress would annually
review Pak adherence to the conditions....
We should be satisfied that the Pak nuclear program was not discussed,
meaning thereby that America has recognized (and accepted) it. Instead of
asking for the rollback of the program, Pakistan has been asked not to transfer
the nuclear technology to any other country....
As far as the fight against terrorism is concerned, Pakistan has a clear
stand on that.... We need not have any
concern over the precondition of our journey on the democratic path. However,
at Camp David, President Bush has not given a good signal by evading a question
on democracy in Pakistan."
"The Issue Of Sending Troops To Iraq"
Lahore-based independent Urdu-language Din maintained
(6/27): "Several aspects of what
was discussed between the U.S. and Pakistani President are now becoming
known. As was expected, the issue of
sending Pakistani troops to Iraq was also discussed, as President Musharraf
revealed in his TV interview.... We do
not know what forced President Musharraf to agree 'in principle' to send troops
to Iraq, whereas the earlier stance was quite the opposite, and Pakistan had
refused to be part of the Anglo-American occupation forces.... Being an ally in the U.S. war against
terrorism does not mean that Pakistan should be a part of every legal or
illegal U.S. action, especially when the international community has not
endorsed the U.S. action in Iraq.... It
is important for Pakistan to avoid this scenario as long as possible. Pakistan
can only send its troops to that country if asked by a representative Iraqi
government, and then too as part of an Arab Muslim peacekeeping force.... However, if there is no option but to send
Pakistani troops to Iraq, we must be clear about who will foot the bill: the
United Nations or the OIC?"
"Camp David Talks: Pak-U.S. Ties Have Strengthened"
Lahore-based populist Urdu-language Khabrain stated
(6/26): "One thing that is obvious
from the Camp David summit is that the U.S. still gives due importance to
Pakistan and wants to maintain a cordial relationship with us. The warm welcome accorded to President
Musharraf, the two-hour meeting, and the $3bn aid package announced have
allayed fears being expressed earlier that the U.S. would abandon Pakistan
after achieving its objectives, as in the past leaving Pakistan
empty-handed.... One important
development from the Camp David talks is that President Bush has acknowledged
that Kashmir is an 'issue.' Addressing
the joint press conference, President Bush clearly said that Pakistan and India
must resolve all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, and that the U.S. would
play its part in the matter. This
signals that either the U.S. is ready to mediate or that it has some proposals
for a Kashmir resolution.... The aid
package the U.S. has announced for Pakistan is also encouraging. This would not only help reduce our foreign
debts, but strengthen our defense by allowing us to make military
purchases. The trade, science and technology
cooperation would lead to our country’s progress. President Bush’s satisfaction at Pakistan’s
democratic process will strengthen President Musharraf’s position on the
domestic front.... However, there are
some expectations that could not be fulfilled.
There were hopes that the U.S. would provide the paid-for F-16s. It is also a fact that we attach unrealistic
hopes to some issues, and we are disappointed when these are not
fulfilled. There is a need to keep
treading on the path we have embarked upon and keep working for positive
"Camp David Talks"
Lahore-based independent Urdu-language Din held
(6/26): "A brief review of the Camp
David talks shows that they focused on four or five issues.... The first was global terrorism, a top U.S.
priority, and President Bush’s remarks demonstrated that he is satisfied with
Pakistan’s role and President Musharraf’s efforts against Al Qaeda...saying
that the success against Al Qaeda so far could not have been possible without
him.... Next is the issue of the aid
package, which is encouraging in itself.
Even more important than the aid package itself is the fact that the
U.S. has lifted curbs on Pakistan’s purchase of military hardware. In the next 5 years, $1.5bn would be spent on
buying spare-parts and parts for the existing F-16s--the lack of which had
rendered some of these jets useless....
Moreover, an important development is the Trade and Investment Framework
Agreement, after which the two countries could develop a Free Trade
Agreement. This would give Pakistani
products, especially textiles, easy access to the U.S. market. Another positive development is President
Bush’s promise to play an active role in improving Indo-Pak relations.... Yet another important issue deals with
President Musharraf’s domestic strategy. President Bush’s endorsement of
President Musharraf’s reforms will undoubtedly have disappointed some Pakistani
politicians who had pinned hopes on the U.S. for ‘a change of guard'.... Statements by some Pakistani circles that
Pakistan’s action against terrorism was at U.S. behest are immature. Was it not in Pakistan’s own interest to
fight terrorism that held the country in its vice-like grip? Could Pakistan
have hoped to live in peace or enjoy stability in the presence of terrorists
who would flee to Afghanistan--where they had havens and training camps--after
committing terrorist acts in this country?
Whatever Pakistan has done in the past against terrorism and what it
continues to do now is its own requirement.
There is no denying this fact. As
far as the Camp David talks go, it would not be wrong to say that the results
have been satisfactory and stand testimony to cordial Pak-U.S. ties."
"The Miraculous Effect Of Camp David"
Sensationalist Karachi-based Urdu-language Ummat declared
(6/26): "In a joint statement at a
press conference at Camp David, the figure of 3 was played with
effectively. The U.S. has announced a
$3bn aid package for Pakistan. Half of
it is going to defense. Of the remaining
amount, America is, for the time being, only giving $3 million to be spent on
women's development. Before the
President's tour the impression was that the U.S. would write-off the loan of
$3bn. The American president stuck to
this figure of three but stretched it to five years. Moreover, the amount on defense seems to be
for dealing with Islam-loving movements in Pakistan. According to a rough estimate Pakistan
suffered a loss of $10bn during the American war on terrorism in Afghanistan,
which was a heavy blow to Pakistan's economy.
This all could be attributed to the magical environment of Camp David,
with importance to Jews being associated with David, and a place where all
secret decisions are done in the favor of the Jews, or against the
"What Was Given In Return For $3bn?"
Karachi-based Urdu-language right-wing, pro-Islamic Jasarat
maintained (6/26): "General
Musharraf has exchanged Pakistan for a $3bn package that is hypothetical and
imaginary and which spreads over a period of five years. While assigning half
the amount for defense, Bush iterated the fact that Afghanistan could not be
won without the cooperation of General Musharraf. He very proudly announced that Musharraf
caught hundreds of Taliban and members of Al-Qaeda for America. What has not come to the fore is what
Pakistan has given away. It was an
obligation on the part of General Musharraf to take the nation into confidence
before his trip, but he didn't even bother to take the parliament into confidence,
let alone the nation. As a result, the
whole nation is in total darkness."
"General Musharraf At Camp David!"
Pro-Muslim League (N) Urdu-language Pakistan opined
(6/26): "In view of Pakistan’s
economic needs, the financial assistance package is less than
satisfactory. Contentment is not in
sight even if we look at it (assistance) from the perspective of Pakistan’s
doings in Afghanistan.... While dealing
with America we should keep in mind the American culture and values. The concept of friendship relished over here
is non-existent in America."
"Outcome Of Camp David Parleys"
The Islamabad-based rightist English-language Pakistan Observer
(6/26): "President Bush has
announced a three billion dollar economic assistance package for Pakistan after
talks with President Musharraf at Camp David on Tuesday. The five-year package envisages support in
defense and social sectors....
Seemingly, however, the outcome of the Bush-Musharraf parleys at Camp
David has fallen short of public expectations, apparently in view of the media
hyped projections by the official quarters in Islamabad. There has been no headway on the issues of
loan write-off and F-16 warplanes. The
two agreements for expansion of the Pak-U.S. economic ties and for transfer of
technology, which the two countries will sign during President Musharraf’s
visit to Washington, are of a general nature.
In view of the unduly long duration of the assistance package, it will
hardly make any major impact on the country’s economy or defense."
"Camp David Talks"
The centrist national English-language News editorialized
(6/26): "Pakistan-United States
relations, which had suffered a decline in the late 1990s, were once again on
the rise, with President Musharraf and U.S. President George W. Bush
reaffirming the close ties between the two states.... There was a lot in the Camp David meeting
that gave a feeling of deja vu in circumstances that were not dissimilar from
those of the 1970-80s. Ironically, it
was Afghanistan that had brought states together in a military profiled
relationship then and now. The script
was repeated; only the actors were changed....
But while the strengthening of Pakistan and United States ties is a
matter of satisfaction, there is need to italicize the need for ensuring a
balance in the relationship. A good turn
must not be audited in dollars but equated in deserving another good turn. Friendship must be meaningful and balanced as
between proverbial equals, the actual differences in size notwithstanding. It can be hoped that the new chapter opened
in Pak-U.S. ties will prove more sustainable and Pakistan can look forward to a
friendship that would be meaningful and satisfactory. The refusal to provide F-16 was a sad slip up
on this expectation. In making the new
relations a going concern, President Musharraf went beyond the extra mile and
took risks that could have a serious backlash.
It was a brave effort and hopefully the U.S. will appreciate it through
word and deed."
"Denial Of A Secret Deal Or Pressure On Our Atomic
An editorial in leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang
read (6/25): "Pakistan has
categorically refused any deal at Camp David.
Secretary of Foreign Affairs Riyadh Khokar in a media briefing also
iterated that there is no hurry on the issue of acceptance of Israel. In fact, Musharraf has openly stated that
Pakistan's nuclear program is serving as a deterrent, so it will stay where it
is and not be rolled back. He also agreed
to sign a non-Proliferation pact with India."
"Encounter At Camp David"
Karachi-based center-left independent national English-language Dawn
editorialized (6/24): "There has
been a great deal of media interest in the Musharraf-Bush meeting scheduled for
today at the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David. Publicists in both Pakistan and the U.S. have
pointed out that the meeting's venue is one that is usually chosen by American
presidents to welcome visitors in a specially friendly and informal
setting.... President Bush will no doubt
urge the Pakistan leader to persevere with current peace initiatives and not
merely restrain the hotheaded elements within the establishment and the jihadi
groups, but also make them understand that the world has changed. Events since 9/11, the Iraq war, and the new
belligerent face put on by America have increased, not lessened, Pakistan's
vulnerability. The room for manoeuvre is
becoming increasingly restricted. Seeking more economic and military handouts
will put us in greater thrall to the U.S. and its objectives in the Middle East
and South Asia. The American keenness to
have army detachments from India and Pakistan in Iraq for peace-keeping duties
can only involve us more deeply into a complicated scenario: both countries
should rule out any participation unless it is under UN auspices. The only way in which American pressure can be
neutralized is by the countries of the region on their own agreeing to live in
peace--a perception that was perhaps behind the Indian prime minister's sudden
and unexpected offer to resume talks with Pakistan. If we need America, America needs us
"Kashmir Conflict And World Opinion"
Leading mass-circulation Urdu-language Jang contended
(6/24): "President Musharraf has
reached Washington on a six-day visit, and his meeting with President George
Bush in the contemporary scenario is being watched with interest not only in
the subcontinent but also by the world at large. During the same period, the Prime Minister of
India is on a first time tour of China for six days. The results of this tour are also awaited
with great interest by the world community.
It is true that for peace in the region it is very necessary for players
in the region to have better understanding and cooperation amongst each other. Up to now the Indian stockpile of missiles
and nuclear weapons have been very openly associated with dangers from China,
but China has never hinted at any such apprehensions against India. Following the two visits of President
Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpai, it will be clear how history takes its course."
"Three More Years"
Aftab Iqbal argued in second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt
(6/24): "What is the mission for
which our "darling" president needs the uniform for three more
years? Inadvertently, the wretched mind
is drawn to Israel.... In keeping with
the Roadmap, independent Palestine appears to be in place by 2005; settling
other issues might take up to another year.
Going by this calculation, 2006 is the year for Pakistan’s recognition
of Israel, exactly three years from now.
And for that much time General-sahib needs the uniform.... It (the recognition) can only happen if
Islamabad is controlled by a uniformed person; this huge burden is
beyond...anyone else. It is said that
Israel would be a key issue at the Camp David talks, and General Musharraf
would not think twice over being cooperative.
But the point to ponder is how come the sensitive and secret
institutions swallow this bitter pill, which so far have not accepted their
government’s U-turn on Afghanistan, Mujahideen and Kashmir.... The season of mayhem is nearing by the
Stars In Washington"
Serge Truffaut wrote in liberal French-language Le Devoir
(6/26): "Musharraf obtained almost
everything he wanted…. He agreed to the principle of lending military support
to the coalition presently in Iraq…. On
the domestic front the addition of Pakistani soldiers in Iraq will greatly
exacerbate tense relations between Musharraf and the religious leaders reputed
to be the among the most fundamentalist in the Muslim world. For Pakistan to side with the Great American
Satan will be deemed intolerable in the eyes of millions and millions of people
who wrongly believe that Bin Laden is a hero."
"Bush, Musharraf Need To Heads Together At Camp David"
maintained in the left-of-center Vancouver Sun (6/20): "If most of the sharp, painful and
dangerous problems facing United States' foreign policy were wrapped up in one
convenient package, it could be labelled Pervez Musharraf, the president of
Pakistan.... The Bush-Musharraf shopping
list for their Camp David meeting is too long for them not to be able to agree
on some significant joint purchases. Moreover, they both need to show their
publics some payoffs. Musharraf needs to demonstrate that siding with
Washington is worthwhile and not anti-Islamic. Bush could do with a clear
victory in the war on terrorism. The capture of bin Laden would be perfect.
More than that, Bush needs to show that Pax Americana doesn't mean U.S. service
men and women being shot at and killed every day in dusty, dirty corners of the