Tuesday September 06, 2016
US Should Reject Generals As Ambassadors From Pakistan
By K. Ashraf
US Congress has cut aid to Pakistan from 540 million to 300 million to put pressure on Musharraf regime to make it move forward towards democracy.
Is this half hearted measure enough to force general Musharraf to return political power to civilians in Islamabad?
We doubt cutting financial aid into half will force the general to relinquish power and restore democracy in the country. However, it is significant as it shows US Congress’s interest in democracy in Pakistan. It is a great achievement for Pakistan’s pro democracy forces working within United States to realign US institutional polices with democratic forces in Pakistan.
It has all happened regardless of ISI’s full involvement to protect general Musharraf’s personal interests within US Congress through outfits like PALC, the organization created by ISI to restart Pakistan Caucus in the US Congress with the idea to protect general Musharraf’s interests.
Although US Congress has taken this token step to encourage general Musharraf to bring democracy to Pakistan, there is still vital support for the general in Pentagon and National Security department. Until US government’s all branches work in unison to put pressure on him to restore democracy in Pakistan the general is not going to budge.
Pakistan is the only Muslim country which has a history of strong democratic movement. The people of Pakistan have struggled for democracy through since the inception of their country. Pakistani generals denied them their democratic rights through out their history with the help of internal and external anti democracy forces.
Unfortunately, US also does not have a good record as it always showed more interest in military regimes in Pakistan, and it really bothers Pakistanis a lot.
It means US has to play more active and effective role to show to the people of Pakistan it’s the US Congress has done by cutting financial aid to Pakistan in half; and State Department officials do it time to time by issuing statements in support of democracy in Pakistan.
The other way to show more rigorous US displeasure is to reject generals as ambassadors from Pakistan.
During the past 57 years, many generals from Pakistan served as ambassadors to Washington. However, one thing is evident that US and Pakistan always had better mutual understanding when civilian ambassadors represented Pakistan in Washington.
Civilian ambassadors also enjoy wider support among Pakistani Americans Diaspora. Pakistani Americans always hop along with civilian ambassadors and work more closely with American administration and legislature to send goodwill signals from United States to Pakistanis back in Pakistan.
Therefore, US should start rejecting generals as ambassadors from Pakistan to show support for democracy and democratic forces, as a policy matter.
Ambassadors with prefixes like “general” this and “general” that do not serve Pakistan and United States well in Washington. Rejection of general ambassadors will also send signal to GHQ that US is serious about democracy business in Pakistan.
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