According to media reports, the new ISI chief, General Zaheer-ul-Islam would be there in Washington on 2nd of this August to hold talks with CIA Director David Petraeus on counter-terror cooperation and intelligence sharing. Since after the ‘uncivilized and unethical’ raid of the US marines in search of Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad, the relationship between the two countries is continuously at stake. Moreover the Salala incident in November 2011 and beheading of 17 Pakistani soldiers by the Afghan insurgents in the last week of June 2012 added salt to the injuries. US reaction over the sentencing of Dr Afridi who illegally helped the US authorities in locating Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad also widened the distances. But the most painfully pinching issue has been the continuous re-occurrence of drone attacks on innocent people who in fact have nothing to do with the terrorists and terrorism. Though the government of Pakistan responded vehemently to all these issues by ordering the US authorities to vacate the Shamasi Air Base and by closing the Nato supply route through Pakistan but these actions could not pacify the Pakistani nation. People had been demanding two things; a clear cut apology from the US authorities over Salala incident and a full-stop to the drone attacks. In the beginning the US authorities paid no heed to the demand of apology but ultimately they had to surrender before the increasing pressure exerted by the government of Pakistan and consequently there came an ‘unwilling apology’ from the US government regarding the Salala brutality. As far as the drone attack issue is concerned, the situation is still the same. After the reopening of Nato supply line it was expected that there would be a considerable reduction in drone attacks but the things never changed. Gen. Zaheer-ul-Islam will have to concentrate largely upon the issue of the drone attacks during his talks with the US authorities in Washington. On behalf of the whole of Pakistani nation, he will have to convey the message to his US counterpart that the security forces of Pakistan have all required ability and skill to counter the drone attacks and Pakistan’s silence over the drone attacks must not be taken as cowardice or inability to respond to aggression; this silence is simply an attempt to avoid apparently ‘imminent’ Third World War.
PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER,
Multan, July 22.