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May 1, 2010

Alif

UN report indicts Pakistan’s ‘establishment’
NAVEED HASHMI writes on the UN Commission’s report on the Benazir Bhutto assassination in Roznama Ausaf that the inquiry did not unearth anything new, but simply repeated facts that were already known to the public.  Mr Hashmi claims that the only question that arises from the commission’s report is if and to what extent members of the Zardari dynasty played a role in the incident and the subsequent handling of the investigation.

The article argues that the people have always been aware of General Pervez Musharraf’s culpability in Ms Bhutto’s assassination and have always known of issues highlighted in the report, from police commissioner Saud Aziz’s decision not to conduct a post mortem,  to Baitullah Mehsud’s threats to Ms Bhutto. Mr Hashmi suggests that the culpability of the members of the People’s Party of Pakistan (PPP) is imprinted in each of these errors of omission; therefore, given that no new information was presented by the UN Commission’s report, why hasn’t there already been an internal investigation of some of the  members of the PPP?

The writer asks why those individuals of the PPP responsible for Ms. Bhutto’s security have not been brought to book, even two years after her assassination.  He is critical of the commission’s report, suggesting that the PPP leadership spent considerable amounts of money to ensure that the report did not present anything startlingly new nor contain damning accounts of their own culpability.  The author challenges President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani to fully investigate Ms Bhutto’s assassination and bring those responsible to book.

ElBaradei’s presidential prospects
SAID SHUAIB despairs on Egypt’s al-Youm as-Sabah on the state of politics in Egypt. He believes that a disconnect exists between the masses of Egypt—who struggle to have their economic rights met—while the political establishment is engaged in other (perhaps important) battles.

Mr Shuaib believes that to the extent that these two tangential struggles exist, an impact on social order is inevitable. The author believes that Egypt’s opposition parties have not learned from their mistakes of the past. He believes that real opportunities existed for meaningful “grass roots” political opposition in 2004, but these could not be sustained. Former IAEA Chairman Mohamed ElBaradei’s intends to run for president in the national elections on the platform of “change.” However, Mr Shauib believes that Dr ElBaradei has articulated nothing new in his discourse and in recent speeches, failed to connect with the aspirations of the public. While intentions for real political change may be there, they are infeasible given the nature and mechanisms for discourse in the Egypt’s parliament.

Dr ElBaradei will likely give opposition parties momentum, but not come closer to addressing “grass roots” changes demanded by the people.

It’s America’s fault
An editorial on Nawa-i-waqt criticises the nuclear security summit in Washington, DC. It contends that Mr Obama’s call for all outlying nations to sign the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is hollow and hypocritical. The piece suggests that the United States wants Pakistan, Iran and North Korea to sign the NPT. It claims that although Mr. Obama announced measures to reduce the stockpile of nuclear weapons, the United States continues to spread propaganda about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, suggesting that they could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda or other extremists.

The United States conveniently forgets that Pakistan was forced to develop nuclear capabilities because of US “allies,” India and Israel.

The article opines that the United States intends to maintain its position as the world’s predominant nuclear power and internationally isolate those who would challenge its stature. The editorial suggests that the United States has done little to curtail the nuclear capabilities of India and Israel and is allowing those countries to arm themselves to the teeth. Pakistan is threatened by both India and Israel and is, as such, fully within its right to maintain its nuclear arsenal to counter those of its enemies.

Cheering for China
Ali Badwan’s op-ed article in UAE’s al-Bayan discusses Sino-US relations in relation to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

He points out that both the Chinese and Russians have generally opposed additional sanctions against the Iranians, which President Obama favours. Mr Badwan states that the United States has historically pursued the promotion of its own strategic interests, at the expense of other nations. But with the gradual re-emergence of a new economic and political global order, this United States is finding it difficult to continue doing so. Fresh sanctions would cripple Iran economically, which is against the interests of Russia and China, as well as those of other major developing nations such as India and Brazil, who are keen to enhance economic co-operation with Iran. The United States has attempted to provoke China by supplying long-range missiles to Taiwan and then meeting with “Chinese opposition separatist” Dalai Lama.

Mr Badwan believes that the recent economic downturn has made the United States more dependent economically on China than before and that China has emerged stronger from the downturn. The author believes China’s handling of the economic crisis demonstrates the wisdom and validity of the People’s Republic’s political system, which has steered the nation’s economic policies. He suggests that the United States will be challenged even further economically and militarily by China.


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