Interview with writer and political analyst Shahid Qureshi
Pakistan’s relationship with the United States has always been one-sided and it’s very abusive…It’s a situation where the country has been ruled by assets or pawns or agents or whatever you want to call [them]. So they (the Pakistani government) are not the true representative of the people of Pakistan. The previous elections were rigged and…30 million votes were false.”
The Pakistani government is not the people’s true representative, but consists of pawns or agents who are complying with the demands of the United States, says an analyst.
Thousands of people recently held massive demonstrations in the eastern Pakistan city of Lahore to protest Islamabad’s decision to reopen the routes on its soil, which were previously used to transfer supplies to the US-led forces in Afghanistan.
Pakistan blocked the passageways following US-led airstrikes on two checkpoints in the country’s northwest in November 2011 which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The reopening of the routes came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced in a statement that she offered “deepest regrets for the tragic incident” during a telephone conversation with the Pakistani foreign minister.
Press TV has conducted an interview with writer and political analyst Shahid Qureshi to further discuss the issue.
The video also offers the opinions of two additional guests: Agha Murtaza Pooya, the secretary-general of Pakistan’s Awami Islami Mahaz, and Afghan journalist Sultan Faizi.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Qureshi how do you see it. I mean has it been just a total disrespect by Islamabad I would say not just the United States but Islamabad in basically ignoring the demands of its people because the Pakistani people from the very beginning were not very keen on having this military equipment, this NATO, US-led forces coming through the country but they have continually been met by deaf ears from its government. So how do you see it in general?
Qureshi: Well, it’s a very interesting situation that in the past 60 years Pakistan’s relationship with the United States has always been one-sided and it’s very abusive. For example in financial terms Pakistanis have had losses of about 70 billion dollars in the past 12 years.
And the total US aid to Pakistan was about 28 billion dollars in the last 60 years. Even in the past 3 years the money which Pakistan should have got for the coalition support fund, they haven’t got that which was 3 billion dollars.
So Pakistan is fighting this war on credit and the US has been cleverly making this possible through the as your guest in your studio said through the people they planted or the people they support or the assets they have in Pakistan. I mean it’s a situation where the country has been ruled by assets or pawns or agents or whatever you want to call [them]. So they are not the true representative of the people of Pakistan. The previous elections were rigged and we know that over 3 crores which is 30 million votes were false. So the government is not a true representative.
I must say that I don’t want to get into any more trouble for my colleges, specially the journalist colleagues who are being killed and threatened by the mafias in Karachi and all over Pakistan in northern areas by the Taliban or other elements just because those journalists are bringing up the truth out.
Some of these people are claiming that these killings and these target killings and these threats to journalists are happening under the pretext of- the US is asking them to do it which is not true. I don’t believe that the US has a policy to kill journalists or to trap journalists this is the mafia, financial mafia in Karachi which is ruling the country, making more losses to the country than this whole war on terror.
Press TV: Mr. Qureshi how do you see it now with the situation that is happening in Pakistan. It seems this time around though that the Pakistani people are basically saying that they have had enough. What’s the difference, first of all do you think that the people- because we’ve seen demonstrations, we’ve seen marches in many different cities and the people were saying that enough is enough. Will they be able to put enough pressure on Islamabad to actually bring about some changes?
Qureshi: Well, people’s power is always great and one should not underestimate the people’s power but at the same time no one can ride on your back unless it is bent and with the greatest respect to your guest in your studio it is not about the cost that how much money has been lost, it is about how the nation state is building itself. The leadership in the past 60 years of Pakistan was like if the US says jump and they used to say how high.
Even the current regime is the same side- they want to just jump and the current regime’s response towards opening the NATO supplies, surely NATO is a big alliance of more than 50 countries and they need to consider some ground realities in their mind but at the same time the US is also in trouble itself. If the US solves its internal problems then they might not have all these external problems which your guest has mentioned, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, or in Syria or in Africa.
The US insider problems are linked with the financial terrorists which are based in various banks and war industries who needs these kinds of conflicts and war zones to produce, one, their weaponry, two, to keep the US people in fear that if you don’t do that, then we will lose the sovereignty or they are going to come and attack us.
I have no doubt that nobody is going to come and attack or invade the United States from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria or anywhere else. There is no assessment available in the next maybe 50 years that [there is] any chance of Pakistanis going to invaded the United States.
It is the fear which is created by the internal elements in the United States and they’re spending about 7 billion dollars a month in Afghanistan which is a lot of money for the US tax payers and to keep that thing running the private military contractors, the mercenaries they are fueling these wars and they have brought shame to the honorable profession of being a soldier.
At the same time I’ll bring it back to the question about Pakistan. Pakistan’s military and the 180 million people are available to the United States for 1.5 billion dollars a year for rent if you allow me to say and this whole country has been rented for such a cheap rate with its military.
Now with greatest respect to the people in power that if they just have peace in one city- Karachi they might not need any aid from the United States maybe for a long time. The amount of money drained from Pakistan every year in the name of development, in the name of corruption is far higher and far more than the US is offering to Pakistan.
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan and Pakistan. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ and also studied Law at a British University)