By: Ghalib Sultan
George Fulton, aka George the foreigner, who became a Pakistani (thanks to a dictator’s Prime Minister) has been true to form. After nine years, he has written two columns (Express Tribune March 2 and 3) to say Khuda-Hafiz in our words, and Good-bye in his, to Pakistan. In these columns, he has castigated Pakistan’s military and intelligence services and the ‘mullahs’, implying a nexus between the three that, in his opinion, is doing in Pakistan. This is what most westerners say, and they say so when their designs are thwarted and they come up against the bulwark that defends Pakistan, and in doing so, earns their wrath. What Pakistanis consider as their assets are made out to be liabilities and attacked relentlessly. Small wonder that our larger Eastern neighbor, and the Western-backed segments to our west, join the chorus; even adding new twists and insinuations. George the ex-Pakistani was no exception.
To be fair to the Pakistani George (assuming that he has not turned in his citizenship) he has some good things to say about Pakistan-at least about those with whom he could relate and interact. He, however, considers Pakistan in isolation probably because it is Pakistan that he experienced first hand or because he wants to do so deliberately. He does not say anything about the brutal massacres of Muslims and Christians in India by crazed fanatic Hindu mobs. Nor does he talk about the brutality of the Hindu dominated military and para-military forces in Kashmir-the rapes, the tortures and the killings. These do shape opinions and reactions in Pakistan even if the naked aggression by India that broke up Pakistan in 1971 is forgotten-not that it is or ever will be. He is critical of our nuclear weapons but says nothing about what drove Pakistan to get them. He writes about Pakistani society but this society is no different from societies elsewhere in the world-all have warts, injustices, corruption, vice, drugs, violence, exploitation, haves and have-nots; the good, the bad and the ugly. And like many other societies, Pakistan is going through a transitional phase.
This does not say that there are no problems in Pakistan. There are serious problems that the state is addressing against great odds. The average Pakistani, like the average person in all other countries, wants peace, security, health care, education and the opportunity to work and play without fear for the security of his loved ones. It is the resilience of this average Pakistani that has enabled the state of Pakistan to survive and make progress. Fulton, while fulminating, did not have much to say on this. He also seems to have forgotten that the destabilization and radicalization of Pakistan is in direct proportion to the US/NATO aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan without any reason-in fact, on the basis of distorted facts. Small wonder then, that the US and NATO stock is so low in the Muslim world-and falling.
Khuda-Hafiz George, and may you be safe from dangers wherever you go to find what you did not find in Pakistan. Pakistanis will not miss you, nor will you miss them.