The Nation on Wednesday included a cartoon that described the behaviour of the government in several recent events as “surrender”. The cartoons appears intended to make the point that the government has a pattern of “surrendering” on issues and is doing so again regarding allowing NATO supplies. The cartoon is misleading, however, because it incorrectly describes the end of each event as a “surrender” when the true result was something unrelated and actually different in each case.
For reference, the cartoon we are examining is below:
Let us now recall the true outcomes of each of the events noted in the cartoon:
Dr Aafia’s Case: President Zardari ordered the government to provide free legal aid to Dr Aafia, and government officials in Islamabad and the US worked for her defence from the beginning of her case, including hiring an expensive legal team on the insistence of her brother Mohammed Ali Siddiqui. The government’s support for Dr Aafia continues as Interior Minister Rehman Malik met with Dr Aafia’s sister in March to discuss continued efforts to obtaining her early release.
Raymond Davis Case: Raymond Davis was arrested by Pakistani police, indicted by a Pakistani court, and was sentenced to 41 days imprisonment, Rs 20,000 fine for carrying an illegal weapon, and diyat of Rs 200 million to the heirs of the deceased.
Osama’s Case: This is a tougher nut to crack. What exactly is the case? That Osama was present in Pakistan? This much has been confirmed by al Qaeda and his wife. That the Americans carried out the raid without informing Pakistan? That too is not contested. There was never a “surrender” to anyone, so it is not clear what this means.
US Apology over Salala: The same day this cartoon was published, Ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman was quoted in Dawn saying, “Pakistan will continue to press for an apology, and work for best outcomes for our nation. As the foreign minister said, Pakistan has made its point, and we will continue to do so”. Again, it seems that no surrender has been offered.
NATO Supplies: Discussion on whether or not to re-open NATO supplies took place at a joint meeting of Defence Committee of the Cabinet and military leadership. No decision was announced, but there are reports that the leadership is close to an agreement to re-open supplies at a cost of $1 million each day and other possible conditionalities. That’s a negotiated settlement, not a surrender, and it hasn’t even happened yet.
To surrender is to quit, to give up, to submit. In none of these cases did Pakistan surrender to anyone. The Nation may not agree with the outcomes in each of these cases, but to term any of them as ‘surrender’ is misleading.