Imran Khan said before the elections that he would shoot down US drones if given power. That didn’t happen, so he’s resorted to clogging traffic. The blocking of NATO supplies by PTI doesn’t seem to have had much effect on the transatlantic military alliance, but it has caused a lot of concern among a certain section of the Pakistani media.
Since public opinion, shockingly, is still against America’s killing campaign, the discomforted media members cannot directly ask that NATO not be caused inconvenience. Therefore, they have resorted to indirect methods. These include criticizing the effectiveness of the blockage & the choice of route as well as calling it illegal and hypocritical.
The hypocritical bit is most interesting. The argument goes that as KPK government runs many development programmes with US aid money, the PTI have no right to question the democracy bringers. An addition to “calling out the hypocrisy” literature was made in a column by a London based lawyer. She argues that since Chaudhry Nisar’s children are US citizens, it is wrong for him to question their policy. Imran Khan, we are also reminded, chose to marry a UK citizen and have children with her when he clearly knew he would be halting NATO supplies almost two decades later.
The actions of Nisar & Imran have apparently caused US & UK to refuse visas to Pakistani citizens, the exact number for which you will have to ask said columnist. In my personal experience of trying to get out of Pakistan once Gillani said “Why don’t they leave then?” it was the No-Passport policy by the PPP government that caused most concern. Bilawal & Co btw had passports and lived abroad.
She also believes that burning visas and not visiting the US or UK will be far more effective in stopping drone attacks than blocking the supplies to bases that house drones. Yes, not going on holiday stops drones; stopping supplies to drone bases does not stop drones. The logic clearly is flawless.
The application form for a visa to the US or the UK does not ask one to declare full support for their extra-judicial killing campaigns. The aid for the development programmes also doesn’t stipulate a support for drone attacks. Citizens in the two countries do not, repeat do not, pledge never to condemn drone strikes that not only often kill innocents, but also provide more fuel for terrorism.
Yet this thinking, in our more “liberal” section of media, persists. If you raise money in the US, you cannot criticize their policies; if you live in the UK, you cannot protest their transgressions.
The fact that this logic implies you have to give up your citizenship or rights or whatever just to disagree with a government’s policy of murder is not the point. The point is what this tells us about people moulding the public discourse every day in Pakistan.
Space in our newspapers is being given to people who live in another country & believe that if you so much as travel to another country, you shouldn’t criticize them. Space is being given to people who work for NGOs and believe development money means you have to support immoral policies of the donor. On our TV set are news channels that draw revenues from say the US, and their employees tell you off if you question the US war after raising money from volunteers in that country.
These people, by their own admission, link money, travel and citizenship with loyalty and support for immoral and illegal policies. How can they be, and how come they are being, afforded space in public discourse when they clearly, THEMSELVES, believe they have a conflict of interest, scratch that, believe they have a compulsion to support their “benefactors”!?