Guest Blog by Asim Khan
Dear New York Times Editors
Response to Mr Friedman’s article “Calling All Pakistanis“..He wanted ordinary citizens of Pakistan to protest. Well here is the protest in words, from an ordinary Pakistani which is more effective rather than being on the streets. Mr Friedman must realise that his statements cannot be tolerated as they do not represent the overall picture and the correct one. If he has any shortage of ideas, I can understand that but not through boredom this article which is meaningless and fails to take into account anything with consideration and care. I hope you pass this message onto him and appropriate action taken.
There comes a time when all one can do is to report and write based on their own perceptions – remote and alienated in their own ways to see what is actually happening outside US. Thomas Freidman seems to have picked another example where he is mixing too many things without due consideration and care. Another example how to spread a message in the most negative sense.What has he achieved from this and what was the impact? At times, this whole concept of sitting thousands of miles away, in a most comfortable surroundings do not necessarily mean that you know what is actually happening in the world which has become unstable not because of religion but the politics and policies of the West in order to pursue fanatically the interests and gains for safeguarding their concepts of democracy. This is what Pakistan and ordinary citizen of Pakistan will be protesting about. Why should we protest as we did not kill anyone in Mumbai.
This is what happens when there is no clarity and appropriate judgment. Mumbai attack has been condemned by all Muslims and no one is happy but how can one expect to condemn something when the other side has condemned Pakistan in their false accusations as an easy way out. India has falsely accused Pakistan in many instances before only to find out later, it was their own people and own problems. The problems which India currently faces are huge and uncontrollable. If this is an attempt to create a standoff between India and Pakistan, then I am afraid it’s not going to happen as India knows it very clearly and what that means for all its economic progress and future. The solution is to accept and share and have the concept of respect and trust.
Mr. Friedman, I am sorry to say India never has accepted Pakistan as a mutual friend or agreed to any of the proposals that have been brought out in the past to transition into an understanding based on justice and tolerance. And this propaganda of doing the protest for Mumbai is not alone Pakistan’s responsibility. There should have been protest in the streets of West when Pakistan’s airspace was violated on numerous occasions, when people in FATA and our tribal areas were murdered in the name of terrorism and when there were bomb blasts in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and all the other cities. Why have this indifference? The people who have lost their lives were innocent and civilians and it doesn’t matter which religion, creed or sect they belong to, it should be condemned. But to highlight this fact of protest illustrates the thinking behind Mr. Friedman’s approach that if Pakistanis don’t come out on the street, then that means they are responsible for Mumbai attacks. This is where the problem begins in his analysis.
Secondly, how can Mr. Friedman justify his very own Government stance on this so called war on terrorism which has become war of terror.The US policies and the people like him were responsible for creating that sense of fear in the world to completely decimate Iraq first and now Afghanistan and Pakistan. How can he justify these actions on any grounds be it moral or ethical that it is okay to wage wars on developing nations and third world countries because they pose a threat to USA or any other on the principle of religion and fear.
Also USA has never really supported the lawyer’s movement in Pakistan. A perfect opportunity to bring some sense and justice but instead they have carried on with their policies of the past to support dictators or those who under the disguise of democracy carry out the most villainous acts and disservice to their people to support America’s claim and these wars of interest.
He is asking the question to all Muslims and yet the title of the article is “Calling All Pakistanis”. This type of immaturity is prevalent in the western media. After every incidence, there come stero-typed, clichéd responses which we have become accustomed to.
He starts off by saying that all those protest that took place in Pakistan all over was over cartoon a meaningless exercise. It may appear to Mr. Friedman meaningless and futile but there was a clear message and again an element of ignorance played by Danish cartoonist and the rest for portraying Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) in a manner which was derogatory and not acceptable. The very first paragraph highlights his ignorance disguised as wisdom. How can a person like Mr. Friedman be accepted as a leading commentator on issues of Islam and the rest where he doesn’t have any remote idea what it means to Muslims and the whole Islamic world “the Danish cartoon affair”.
Let me ask the question to Mr. Friedman as I do not remember any single protest or voices of reason and logic from India about Pakistan and its loss in all those bomb attacks and suicide plots in last two years that has taken thousands of ordinary Pakistani lives. Did he protest in Times Square? Did he ever protest about anything? The answer is NO. But he has the wisdom to share his convoluted views to the rest of the world by being irrational and irresponsible behavior.
Then he goes onto describe a hypothetical example if Indians were to crash into Karachi and kill those people. This is one of the most absurd and shocking statements I have seen from Mr. Friedman. How can he propose such solution in the wake of what has already happened. Basically he is following the same rhetoric without any evidence and without any facts to reinstate this view that the people in Mumbai attacks were Pakistanis. And then to bring out an example inciting Indians to follow the same only tells one thing, the idea to propagate to create a situation between India and Pakistan where the only beneficiary of this exercise will not be Pakistan or India but USA. Lets destabilize another region; lets create another war; let’s start up another campaign is the message I see disguised within his statements.
India as I stated earlier on has huge problems. So far, all the world has ever known is Bollywood and IT. Now with this incidence, it has exposed India’s inability to control its own borders, inability not to act upon intelligence when they knew and most importantly to ignore all what has happened in India and all the unrest that exists in all those minorities and quarters within the society. What happened in Gujrat couple of years ago was a shameful act. Did India do anything? The answer is No. What happened to Christians who were burnt by Hindu fanatics? Was there any response and protest within India? The answer is NO.
Pakistani Government may be weak thanks to all those wars we have been fighting on USA’s behalf but its people are not weak and stupid. They can see Mr. Friedman where you are coming from and all the hidden and sinister views you nurture, you adopt and propagate through your articles.
He is keen to have whole Pakistan brought out in the streets to grieve for the loss which ordinary citizens of Mumbai had to go through. I condemn those attacks and all Pakistanis have condemned those attacks but by protest…Let me ask the question to Mr. Freidman. Did the protest in New York, Washington and most importantly in the streets of London against attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan had any impact on Bush and its policies towards those regions. The answer is No. It was the biggest protest in London that took place and people came from all walks of life, from all quarters. And yet their views and protest were ignored and forgotten by the governments and elite. Did he participate in any of those protests or was he writing another inflammatory article on Pakistan, its inhabitants and all the issues
And in the rest of the article he carries on again playing at the edges with stereotyped and misjudgments about Pakistan and Muslims, the notions of hell and heaven and trying to incite the people from this belief that whatever comes out from West is necessarily the best thing to adopt and accepted.
Mr. Friedman needs to realize and accept one very important aspect on this whole thing. The evil of terrorism is not the religion (be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and so forth) but the politics.Politics when it completely ignores the basic principles of humanity, their needs and expectations. Politics when it fails to appreciate the problems and all the issues that surrounds nations be it Pakistan, India or anyone for that matter. The hidden beast which the Politics have carried within the policies of the West and its propagators to resolve the problems of the world by force rather than dialogue, through oppression rather than understanding; through acceptance rather than alienation; and through concepts appealing rather than advocating we are right and you are wrong. Pakistan has seen enough of this in its last sixty one years of existence and how all what has happened for all the wrong reasons brought a nation into turmoil..It is this he needs to understand v- the core issue and its impact and protest about it rather than being the mouthpiece for another ideology, for another half-baked solution and for another article to illustrate his ignorance and behavior which creates confusion and breeds hatred.
Rumi once said that wisdom is something that does not rely upon the condition of being old. You either have it or you don’t. Mr. Friedman today has exposed himself that he is definitely not one of them who can be called a wise person within all premises of wisdom. The voices of reason within him are absent.