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Scoop Opinion: Instead Invite God!

Note: The following commentary comes in the wake of the decision by US President Bill Clinton not to visit Pakistan during his upcoming tour of South Asia. Clinton's decision not to visit Pakistan in his upcoming tour has been received badly in the world's newest nuclear power - not the least because Pakistan has for some time regarded the US as a major ally. The article is written by a Pakistani for a Pakistani audience and was originally distributed on the Pakistanforum list-serve.

Scoop Opinion: Instead Invite God!

So President Bill Clinton may not visit Pakistan after all. In fact he should not. The price of such a visit is just going to be too high for us to pay. But his loss of not visiting Pakistan could be our gain. It could be a blessing in disguise.

A long time ago, Pakistan used to be America's frontline state. She safeguarded the north-eastern tip of the oil-rich region from the communist threats. The price was rather high then too, but we could still afford it.

Then came the wars of 1965 and 1971, and pragmatism replaced America's dying allegiance with Pakistan. China was coming into her own. Suddenly, the chessboard lit up with new challenges which demanded new motions, new moves. America wanted a new game where Pakistan was no longer a pawn.

America sure loves to play. America is so spoiled it takes everything in life as a plaything - including fraternity. America is deeply religious, that is why there is a church at every block. The Soviet Union was a godless country because religion according to Karl Marx was "opium for the poor." Even in the diminished confines since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow kept its friends. America became wiser and less moral. She changes allies faster than her citizens change spouses.

So why do we need Clinton to stop over in Pakistan? Senator Tim Johnson has already said that America cannot help in solving the Kashmir dispute. Other US officials have repeatedly said it, but when ears become used to pledges not kept, even hollow promises are music to the ear.

We need America for our economic survival they say: those living in posh houses in Islamabad. Some experts!

Our country suffers not from poverty, that is a trademark of many developing countries. She suffers from dependence. And dependence is worse than poverty. Poverty is vivid and an open invitation to get out of it. Dependence hides poverty into a delusion until bones refuse to carry the burden of rotten flesh which lived off of crumbs.

Then dependence has the habit of getting costlier and costlier. It starts with a misnomer called 'Aid' but it turns into AIDS unless treated in time. Pakistan did not treat her dependence because people never really realized how important it is to pay taxes, spend less and preserve what they have. On the first call of strike in the streets of that country, buses are burned, shops are looted, and prolonged work stoppage is forced. We sure practice "strike" to letter and spirit - we really strike at the roots of our wellbeing.

Being Muslims, Pakistanis should be great believers in destiny if only they add actions to their convictions. They should understand that nation-building takes sacrifices and convictions. Sooner they decide to stand up for themselves and not fear America's wrath, sooner God will accord His protection to Pakistan.

The record speaks for itself. We stood up to the United States; we became a declared nuclear power. We stood up to BJP; we defeated them on the heights of Kargil. We stood up to the United States and found a more reliable friend in China. We stood up to the Soviet Union and we secured our western border forever. Whenever we did anything moral and took a chance, we have been rewarded - in spite of half-heartedness of our rulers.

So tell BJP to serve Clinton an assortment of Bollywood beauties and let him have a ball. As for us, let's invite instead the Creator of this Universe through our prayers and deeds to visit us. He has the power to show up uninvited, but He likes invitation.

by Shahid Mahmud

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