Rebuttal: Pakistan on the brink of partition

Rebuttal: Pakistan on the brink of partition

This is a response to a section of Mehmet Ali Birand’s May 24, 2012, column titled “Pakistan on the brink of partition.”

It is regretted that a columnist of repute could write such an objectionable opinion piece that is not based on facts and mere conjecture. The people of Pakistan warmly received Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit from May 20 to 22, 2012. The visit offered an opportunity to take stock of our excellent bilateral relations in general and economic relations in particular. Nine MoUs/Agreements were signed to bring the two brotherly countries further together. The Turkish dignitary had the unique honor of addressing the joint session of Pakistan’s Parliament and became the only statesman in the world to have this distinction in our parliamentary history. Thus, contrary to the claims of the columnist, the visit was not limited to handshakes but was result-oriented.

The columnist referred to Pakistan’s geographic position as fragile, the weakest link of the region. This declaration has hurt the feelings of 180 million Pakistanis who have the feelings of love and brotherhood for all Turks. Our geographical position is our strength rather than weakness. Because of our unique position, Pakistan is a factor of stability in the region.

We would like to remind the columnist about some facts: We are proud to have a Parliament that represents the will of the people of Pakistan, a vibrant judiciary that is globally praised, a vigilant and free media – even freer than most of the Western countries, an active civil society, a well-disciplined and efficient civil and military bureaucracy. Knowing that these state institutions are properly working within their domains, how could our Turkish friend think about the “partition” of our motherland?

Pakistanis are victims of such biased media portraits. We feel that it is an affront to the 180 million people of Pakistan who are peace-loving and aspire to stability and development in their country and the region. Yes, we are going through some difficult times today and confronting the challenges of extremism and terrorism which have brought unrest to some parts of our country. However, this whole situation cannot be studied in isolation and from a narrow perspective. The genesis of the problem has to be traced through the prism of history. It has to be understood by analyzing the regional political and security situation of the last three decades and how it has impacted life in Pakistan. Over 40,000 Pakistanis have lost their lives in the global war on terror to make the world safer for all of us. The economic impact of over $80 billion is on top of our human sacrifices. Thus our efforts and sacrifices need appreciation rather than condemnation.

As Pakistan battles the evil forces of extremism and terrorism, and as we take steps to improve the living conditions of our citizens, we seek and count on the understanding and support of our Turkish brothers and sisters.

Abdul Akbar is a press attaché of the Pakistani Embassy to Turkey.