aaa1 Obama must revise Pakistan policy, US expert warns against continued use of force

WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (APP): A veteran American foreign affairs expert, Eric Margolis, has advised President-elect Barack Obama to adopt a new policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan with a thrust on exploring political solution to the conflict and warned that prolonging the Bush administration’s over reliance on force risks destabilizing the entire region.

The syndicated writer and journalist, who has been a consistent critic of US actions and air strikes on Afghan villages and into Pakistani territory, pleaded a deeper understanding of the security imperatives in the region. He pointed out that India has widespread intelligence activity in Afghanistan that causes concerns in Pakistan.

“Until we bring the Pushtoon people and the Taliban and give them a share of the political power, there will be no stability in Afghanistan and this war will go on endlessly,” he said Friday in an interview with a US TV channel while discussing prospects and pitfalls for American policy in the region.

He deliberated on a host of issues in the light of his latest book “American Raj : Liberation or Domination.”

Margolis argued that the Afghan war cannot be won militarily and the Obama administration must revise US policy towards Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Even the Secretary General of NATO has said that there is no military solution to this conflict. There is only a political solution,” he stated.

“If we keep charging ahead “and I think the Bush Administration’s policy has been completely wrong-handed. To sustain the war in Afghanistan, which we should not have been fighting in the first place, it sustained an ugly dictatorship in Pakistan, which faulted all our claims about supporting democracy,” he added.

Asked what advice he would give to the new US leader Obama, he answered, “I will say: Mr President! This war has no military solution.  You must find a diplomatic settlement to it. You should continue the political talks that have already started under the Saudi auspices.

You’ve got to find some way. You painted yourself into the corner even before you got into the White House by announcing we are going to kill (Osama) bin Laden, we’re going to attack Pakistan, if necessary, and we are going to send 15 to 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan. I’ll say you are leaving yourself no maneuver room here.

You should be starting, at least, through may be the British, may be the French, or Canadians to start a process of talks with Taliban not to divide Taliban as now being proposed, but to deal in a genuine negotiation to try to find a settlement to the war.” On implications of the Indian presence in Afghanistan he said.

“The Indians are very active in Afghanistan. They have their intelligence agents everywhere. They are trying to turn Afghanistan into an Indian protectorate. They are causing great consternation in Pakistan.”

He went on to speak of worst case scenarios in the nuclearized region, if India feels tempted to intervene in Pakistan in case Pakistan  is pushed to instability as a result of lingering Afghan conflict.  Margolis rejected the possibility of militants getting hold of nuclear weapons.

His book ‘American Raj’ explores the origins of the mistrust between the West and many of the world’s Muslims – and how to resolve it. He stresses that the violence directed against the West by a small minority of people is not religiously motivated but has political reasons.

Margolis takes readers on a journey across the political and cultural landscape of the Muslim world.

He contends the Muslim world’s anger is rooted, first, in the decades of colonial control of the Middle East by Western nations, and then by the continuing influence leaders in the United States and other Western governments have sought to exert over the rulers of the region’s Muslim states.

Margolis recounts how many of these rulers have been dictators and how their undemocratic and often oppressive governments have sparked public hostility toward their Western patrons and toward America in particular.

Margolis says he wrote ‘American Raj’ to help Americans understand why the Muslim world often seems hostile to the United States.

“I stepped back into early 19th century and showed the steady progression of resistance in the Muslim world to Western colonialism – first European colonialism and then the domination by the West – and I am trying to put the context of violent groups in the Muslim world in a context of resistance to occupation rather than as being motivated by religion, as certain


President Zardari calls Clinton, gets support for the Biden Lugar dollar 15 billion package

President Asif Ali Zardari Friday called Senator Hillary Clinton on telephone who has emerged  as a choice of President‑elect Barack Obama for the US Secretary of State. The President,   now in New York to attend the dialogue on interfaith harmony, said Pakistan was striving for peace in the region and its nascent democracy needed support and cooperation of the international community to confront several challenges it was facing.
Hillary Clinton, a senator from New York, extended  full  support to President Zardari  for the dollar 15 billion  assistance under the Biden‑Lugar bill for the next ten years as a long‑term engagement with Pakistan.

Nations caught in crossfire of extremism must be helped by international community: President Zardari


UNITED NATIONS, Nov 13 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari says the world community should commit itself to eliminating the root causes of extremism and terrorism, giving all people in all societies renewed faith in their countries, in their laws, and in the futures of their children.He said this while addressing the special session of the United Nations Interfaith Dialogue in New York City on Thursday(13th).

aaaaaaaaa4 In his speech President Zardari urged participants of the interfaith conference to   cchave consensus on an international agenda which may ensure (i) Hate speech aimed at inciting people against any religion must be unacceptable; (ii) Injustice and discrimination on the mere basis of one’s faith must be discouraged ‑‑‑ not only in words but through meaningful actions; (iii) Bigotry manifested in Islamophobia and anti‑Semitism must be combated; (iv) Dialogue, and not discord, between civilizations and faiths must be encouraged;

(v) Nations with little resources caught in the crossfire of extremism should be helped, strengthened and aided by the international community.

The President said that unfortunately at a time when most Muslims are advocating interfaith dialogue, they also witness events that frustrate our call for dialogue. “We hear hate speeches across countries and regions in which Islam as a religion is attacked. Hate speech against Islam also leads to injustices against Muslims. Indeed the imaginary fear of Islam has been rising.  This is exactly what the terrorists had hoped to provoke.  Those in the West that accept this are falling into the trap of the terrorists.”

He said “This imaginary fear of our religion has created a new form of discrimination and is giving rise to new tensions.

“Let us translate the dynamic messages of our respective religions for the good of humanity and not to create strife. Let us turn the messages of hope imbedded in our faiths into living and practical reality”.

President Zardari further said “We still confront a dangerous world of confrontation and terror, threatening to provoke the “clash of civilizations” that this Dialogue was instituted to prevent”.

He said that in His last sermon on the occasion of His last Hajj, the Holy Prophet of Islam—May Peace Be Upon Him—said,  “You are all children of Adam, and Adam was created from clay. You are all equal.”

The President said “It was this principle that caused Pakistan and the Philippines to have been the original co‑sponsors of the General Assembly Resolution on “Promotion of Inter‑Religious and Inter‑Cultural Dialogue, Understanding and Cooperation of Peace.”
Nations caught in crossfire of extremism must be helped by international community: President Zardar

He said “In Pakistan, we have already created the Benazir Democracy Institute. We have created the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Foundation to expressly promote and encourage dialogue, inclusion and exchange”.

He said that he came here as the representative of the 180 million people of a country that was created with deep ties to Islam but from the very first days, in the vision of our founder the Quaid‑i‑Azam, dedicated to the pluralism sanctified in the Holy Quran.

“As the elected representative of Pakistanis ‑‑‑ suffering from the menace of hatred ‑‑‑ I reject those who would divide us and rally around those who would unite us as creations of the one and only God” the President added.

He said that he was representing a country where the struggle for Islamic principles of gender equality, tolerance and reconciliation has brought us to the center of international stage.

President Asif Ali Zardari also said that Islam is tolerant of other religions and cultures and internally tolerant of dissent.

“Allah tells us over and over again, through the Holy Quran, that He created people of different views and perspectives to see the world in different ways and that diversity is good.

“It is natural and part of God’s plan. Islam accepts as a fundamental principle the fact that humans were created into different societies and religions and they will remain different”, he added.