Amid an alluring inflow of eulogize, backed by unique fragrance of adore for President Musharraf, the fabulous chief of today’s world, George W Bush has announced a US three billion $ economic assistance package for Pakistan.
The five-year package envisages support in defence and social sectors. The two countries-simultaneously-signed two agreements for free trade and cooperation in science and technology. Bush pragmatically praised Gen Musharraf for reforms in education sector and to establish a tolerant society and backed peace process in South Asia. He, however, made no commitment on the issues of F-16s or 1.8 billion dollars loan write-off.
The historic Camp David parleys, held in a cordial environ, between President Bush and President Musharraf virtually set foundation for broad-based and durable Pak-US relations, as the latter had expressed the desire in London prior to his departure for United States.
These ties will hopefully be sustained and smooth, contrary to the ups and downs of the past. The two countries have already proven to be partners and allies in the fight against terrorism and there is appreciation at the Capitol Hill about Pakistan’s pivotal role in dealing with terrorism in Afghanistan n’ elsewhere. There is also a realization in the US administration about Pakistan’s legitimate security needs in view of the hostile n’ perilous scenario in the South Asian region.
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 at home. There has been no headway on the issues of loan write-off and F-16 warplanes. The two agreements for expansion of the Pak-US economic ties and for transfer of technology, which the two countries have inked, 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 defence. Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz’s assertion that about one billion dollars will be available with Pakistan out of the economic package for debt retirement is, however, encouraging.
President Bush phrased President Musharraf as a ‘courageous leader’ and a friend, who has offered ‘essential’ help to the US in its war against terror. President Musharraf reciprocated the words of his host for the special gesture of the prestigious Camp David invitation. Bush was also appreciative of the political and educational reforms initiated by the Pakistani leader.
Though, the opposition in Pakistan will continue to lift eyebrows-prima facie with a zest opposition for the sake of opposition-one expects that President Bush will do more in a short span of time with a singular parameter of honesty n’ equilibrium to back-up Pakistan in the same style, Musharraf opted to go along in the US-led crusade against terrorism-despite heavy odds, well known to the globe all-over. What the US president aired at the Camp David is of-course nothing beyond ‘a peanut’.
The dazzling head of the solo world power would expectantly go through all the pros n’ cons with a microscopic gauge with an instantaneous support to Pakistan in multi-directional arenas like political, monetary n’ diplomatic facets, beaming new vistas of friendship between the two states. If he can prolifically spend a robust sum of ventures like the ones-he did recently in Afghanistan n’ Iraq-he can conveniently do ‘a bit logical’ for the friends with Pakistan atop, who went out of the way to back his perceptions-of-course with their own fortitude to obliterate n’ scrap terrorism in its all forms and manifestations. Whatever President Bush has proclaimed for Pakistan-at the Camp David-augurs well, yet he is ought to chip in more, at least to give a boost to US image in Pakistan.
To end, every realistic soul would concede that as an overall, the US visit of President Musharraf has unquestionably has superbly been a success. His overt vision vis-a-vis multifarious issues of universal significance has been acknowledged by all segments-may they the reliant of the Bush administration, the politicians n’ the media, a forceful emblem of the 21st century epoch. His ecstasy for projection of the Kashmir dispute with an affirmative response has been the hallmark of this voyage-wherein everyone well understood Kashmiris’ cause with zest for its instant solution via a meaningful process of Indo-Pakistan dialogue.
This reality is more apparent from the magnitude of India’s anguish, which has once again started a drive of loath towards Pakistan-as the New Delhi warlords are in no way set to bow before the global voice for the solution of this dispute, in line with Kashmiris’ aspirations. That is why they [Vajpayee n’ his colleagues] are feeling perturbed, spitting words of anger unabated eventually plugging the perceptible course of ‘amity’ with one ruse or the other. This manifests the reality of Musharraf’s triumph. The Pakistani nation looks forward for an identical acquiescent mind-set from the leaders of Germany n’ France as well to the insight of Musharraf, which is as clear as crystal.
The author is a noted journalist, political analyst and ex-Director News Pakistan TV. He is a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).