The Nation misrepresents Bilawal’s statementsApr 11th, 2012 | By admin | Category: The Nation
An editorial in The Nation on Wednesday misrepresents the statements of Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as a call for unilateral disarmament of Pakistan particularly with regards to the nuclear assets. The Nation characterised Bilawal as ‘naive’ and ‘idealism’ said that his statement ‘overlooks some of the fundamental realities but also reinforces his stature as a beginner in the field of politics’. The newspaper went on to offer a lesson to the PPP Chairman saying,
…it is only in utopia, where one can live without weapons and expect enemies not to attack. We have fought three conventional wars with India because of its belligerence, that has its roots in its forcible and illegal occupation of Kashmir immediately after partition. Talking of nuclear weapons, he must not forget that it is Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent that has prevented India from taking it on. Our nuclear capability has minimised the likelihood of a war, and though ironic as it might seem, they are agents of peace nevertheless. There are instances when India avoided open confrontation owing to the fear that Pakistan would hit back with full force. Equally important is the fact that the nuclear arms race was triggered by India’s detonations in 1974 that forced Pakistan to follow suit. New Delhi has also been spending a lot on other lethal weapons as part and parcel of its strategic plans against Pakistan. Our survival lies in keeping ourselves strong enough to successfully foil India’s machinations.
But let us look at what Bilawal actually said:
Unlike the way it was characterised by The Nation, Bilawal did not recommend a one-sided peace. Neither did he recommend Pakistan disarm or stop spending on the national defence. Actually, he expressed disappointment that because of ongoing tensions, Pakistan and India both spend such large sums on weapons at the expense of education, healthcare and trade, and a desire for both nations to resolve outstanding issues so that more money could be used to improve the lives of the common people.
Actually, The Nation missed the distinct echo of similar principles of his mother Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who said in her last speech on 27th December 2007:
We have a firm conviction in the thinking that strong army lone does not make countries strong, the real strength of a country lies in the empowerment, development and well being of its people…You may have nuclear power or missile technology but if you are poor and deprived of basic necessities, non-one can ensure the strength of the any government or the people to make that the country’s defence is secured.
Nowhere does Bilawal suggest, as The Nation implies, that Pakistan should not have a strong national defence including a nuclear deterrent. Rather, he merely expresses that weapons alone cannot provide a quality of life to the citizens. The Nation concludes its editorial saying ‘We want Bilawal to be our ambassador in that worthy cause [of resolving tension with India], not just in recommending a one-sided peace’. Is appears their prayer is answered.