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Thursday, 24 February 2011

Raymond Davis - causing a real stir!

I received this comment form Aga Haider Raza it is published in verbatim:

A lot of chatter, gossip and conversation have taken place in regards to the Raymond Davis issue last month. From Davis being a CIA spy to the murdered motorcyclists being ISI agents, not a single story has been missed. Alleged phone records between Davis and TTP have surfaced along with Davis’ need of naswar, board games and ladies.

Who is Raymond Davis? No one really knows beyond the fact that he allegedly shot dead two motorcyclists. But the anger and resentment directed towards the United States and the government in Pakistan is not due to the murder of two men.

So where is all this anger coming from? Pent up frustration due to load shedding, gas shortages, and an incredibly high inflation rate would surely be the answer many speak of. But what it honestly boils down to is the lack of communication on behalf of the government and a trust deficit widening between the people of Pakistan and a government for the people, by the people and of the people. President Zardari has consistently refused to lend an ear to public sentiment. His purpose of doing so remains a mystery. Dirty politics continues to be played while the public has been taken for a joyride.

The President – who was elected by a large margin – refused to reinstate the judiciary fired by Musharraf. The President refused to remain in Pakistan while severe floods hit the country. The President refused to properly address the murder of Governor Salmaan Taseer.
And now with a major international relations dilemma, the President has again refused to side with the very people who swept him in to power. One may argue that this critique should be directed towards Prime Minister Gilani, but we all know it would be a waste of ink and paper if I were to do so.

The deaf ears of the government have surely been a source of frustration for Pakistanis. This lack of communication is rather ironic considering Gilani’s Administration pride on labeling themselves the ‘People’s Government’. President Zardari never lets us forget the great sacrifice his wife gave to this country, but yet refused to stand up to the very extremists who killed her. Based off of news reports, it seems the President would rather allow Davis flying back to the United States than hold him accountable in Pakistan. These news articles now only certify Bob Woodward’s assertion, where in his book he quoted President Zardari as saying “collateral damage worries you Americans, not me”.

Due to the Raymond Davis saga, a key member of the Pakistan People’s Party has been refused his previous Cabinet post as Foreign Minister.
In the recent reshuffling of the Cabinet, Shah Mehmood Qureshi was offered Water and Power rather than the portfolio of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But where does Mr. Qureshi fall into this tale titled Raymond Davis?

Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s (SMQ) case is surely an interesting one. A clean-cut politician, SMQ has been known for his honesty and uprightness. It comes as no surprise that he was unable to backdate a letter, signing off on Davis’ immunity. After all, if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides blanket immunity to Davis (which SMQ has refuted), it becomes binding on all courts in Pakistan. But the icing on the cake was surely SMQ’s refusal to take the portfolio of Water and Power once he was unceremoniously asked to vacate the third floor of the Foreign Ministry.

SMQ may have his flaws. There are many in the blogosphere who dispute his achievements as Pakistan’s Foreign Minister. A few in the twitterworld have stated SMQ’s sole purpose of speaking publicly on the Davis issue is to gain ‘political mileage’. Career diplomats have taken a swipe at SMQ, articulating that he has allowed his ‘child- hood’ friends key positions on MoFA’s third floor. While politicians have come out arguing that SMQ resigned due to his resentment towards the issuance of Pervez Musharraf’s arrest warrant. Despite such stories and the government finding methods to disturb SMQ’s arrival in Multan, the Makhdoom held a rally in his hometown of Multan, which saw the presence of over 30,000 supporters.

SMQ has lent a voice to Pakistan. He is merely doing what the government has been unable to do so. Listen to the people. Pakistan wants to know the true status of Davis’ immunity. Pakistan does not want extremism to overtake the state. Pakistan wants to walk in the global arena with their heads held high. SMQ now seems to be taking the stance Pakistan wants. It is probably too early to call the heights SMQ can potentially reach, but surely he his reaching for the glass ceiling. Pakistanis have become frustrated at the sugarcoated statements provided by the Gilani Administration. Transparency and accountability that speak to the core of democracy is missing for the current government, and Qureshi seems to offer this imperative cog in the democratic wheel.

While it is no small feat to gather such a crowd as witnessed in Multan, SMQ is a seasoned politician. His speech at the conclusion of the rally should be the center of focus rather than the quantity of attendees. SMQ argued Raymond Davis does not have blanket immunity, while asking his supporters to walk with him, heads held high. He reminded Pakistan the value of a green passport, he reminded Pakistanis of an identity that has been lost over the past three years. Although he moved Multan with his fiery rhetoric, in order to truly represent Pakistan, SMQ needs to move the nation.

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