You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Don't Make Pakistan's Enemies Happy

THERE are some pundits in this country waxing eloquent on the unfortunate incident in Lahore on Tuesday. They demand to know why our cricketers were sent to Pakistan, which they say is not a safe place — as if Sri Lanka were! Yes, Pakistan is experiencing some problems and it may not be the ideal place for us to play cricket at this moment….

Sri Lanka … knows how hurtful it is to be questioned on her ability to provide security to visiting VIPs….

In 1996 … several cricket-playing nations did not want to play in Sri Lanka in view of terrorist threats…. But, Pakistan and India came here and demonstrated to the world that the situation was not so bad as it was made out to be….

So, it was Sri Lanka’s turn to stand by her all-weather friend, Pakistan, when she was invited to play cricket on the latter’s soil. And she did. Unfortunately, the least expected happened….

It is being claimed in some quarters that the Sri Lankan team had not been provided … adequate security. What is ‘adequate security’? No security is adequate where terrorism is concerned. In a world where the Pentagon has come under a terror attack and well-protected world leaders have perished at the hands of terrorists, there is always an element of risk in any kind of security arrangement….

Therefore, can we afford to complain about security arrangements in other countries?

Most of all, when its High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Bashir Wali Mohammad came under a terrorist attack in Colombo in 2007, Pakistan did not fault Sri Lanka. Instead, it gave an assurance that nothing would affect Pakistan-Sri Lanka relations. That is how friends should handle difficult situa tions…! Our cricketers are pre cious to us and we heaved a sigh of relief when they escaped death and returned home safely. Now that the boys are back, we must put the unfortunate Lahore episode behind us….

It is thanks to friends like Pakistan that Sri Lanka remains undivided. But for Pakistan’s un stinted support for Sri Lanka’s war on terror, perhaps there would have been no country for Mahela and others to rep resent in international cricket. Several were the occasions when Pakistan was so generous as to part with even the ammunition stocks reserved for its use to en sure that Sri Lanka’s war would go on…. No sooner had the Sri Lankan team been attacked than a sinister campaign was launched to discredit Pak istan…. Let no contribution be made to that deplorable move. Sri Lanka can rest assured that Pakistan will investigate the incident thoroughly … and bring the terrorists concerned to book. So, there is no need for pundits amongst us to tell Pakistan what to do.

That is the best way they can show their gratitude, if any, to a friendly nation in crisis struggling to avoid an adverse propaganda onslaught. — (March 05)


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