Foreign aid and sovereignty


By  Farman Nawaz  (The Frontier Post)

Foreign aid or loan is a kind of agreement between two countries or more than two countries. It is crystal clear that in any agreement – may be between two persons or countries – the two sides agree on some conditions. For example one will guarantee to provide assistance and the other will have to promise to abide by the law – the agreement.

Sovereignty in simple words is the self-government or the right and control of populace of any country on their country policies. According to Objective resolution “Sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah almighty and the powers which Allah has bestowed on the people of Pakistan are being exercised within the limits prescribed by them in the sacred trust”.  Now we know better how these powers are used in 63 years and where we stand regarding our sovereignty.

Now a days our politicians – having no moral courage to solve other eminent problems – are shouting with their full voice that Kerri – Lugar Bill is an attack on our sovereignty. Common people (having very short memory) and electronic media (having no objective) are hypnotized by these hollow slogans of politicians. People sitting in front of TV screens – listening news and then breaking news and watching angry anchors – have no time left to judge what is happening all around.

An agreement can not affect the sovereignty of any nation. We have on several occasions taken loan from IMF and the World Bank at their harsh provisions. For example reducing subsidies, levying taxes like GST and many other measures were taken to satisfy them. Otherwise these actions are taken normally by parliament. Does it mean that we have sold our sovereignty? If by availing aid in the shape of Kerri – Lugar bill we will have no sovereignty left behind to rule the country, so we have done blunders even worse than this several times in the past. When we agreed to the terms and conditions of Indian army in 1971, when our ninety thousand soldiers surrounded, when dictators crossed those prescribed limits and bowed their guilty heads in front of America, when we were waiting for American ships in 1971, when we were not brave enough in Jihad era and foreigners came to Pakistan to fight for us, when we showed cowardice to investigate the murders of our leaders, when Nawaz government handed over Aimal Kansi to America, when we sign agreements with Interpol to hand over criminals, when we started war in 2001 against the same Taliban who were declared as Pakistan brain children and whose government we accepted in Afghanistan, when we said “yes” after American call. In reality we don’t have any sovereignty left to sell this time.

My words may be harsh and may be unjustified but really it hurts when some one use sacred words or ideologies just for their selfish interests. There is no difference between Taliban and our politicians. One is using religion to defend its cruel behavior and the other is using the words like national interest and sovereignty for their vested interests. Making deals with establishment is also equivalent to sell sovereignty. People choose their leaders for running the country and solving problems while leaders choose to make deals and deceive the voters who have given a mandate to them. If Musharaf have deserted Nawaz Sharif government, Nawaz Sharif was disloyal to the people of Pakistan leaving them alone to face the dictator.

At present when our army is fighting an uncertain war against terrorists, we need foreign aid. We do not have industrial base to increase our foreign reserves. We do not have oil and gas to sell and make our fortune. Atomic bomb is a burden on our weak shoulders. Dr. T.L. Pennell a missionary in Bannu in 1892 – 1912, in his book “The wild tribes of Afghan Frontier” described a very reasonable fact about our tribal society. “When on the march the women are heavily loaded. They can often be seen not only caring the children and household utensils, but driving the pack animals too, while the lordly men are content to carry only rifles”. In my opinion Dr. Pennell tried to expose the behavior of dominant men who pretend to be the defender but actually he is trying to avoid sharing the burden.

These sentences even come true now on this modern day Pakistani politics. Pakistani people are committing collective suicides and selling their children but our politicians are rejecting foreign aid on the grounds that it will be end of our sovereignty. What we will do with the sovereignty if sovereign – ruler and ruled are not left to use it. We have the example of Afghanistan in front of us. They claimed to be the bravest and undefeatable. Indeed they compelled Russian forces to retreat but what happened with their children and young girls? Still they are under foreign yoke.

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