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Raymond Davis and misdirected energy

Published: February 20, 2011

The writer is a lawyer and political commentator based in London

Is the Raymond Davis murder case our biggest issue? Or is the 24/7 coverage symptomatic of a nation that is unable to prioritise? Surely, the families of the victims have a right to demand justice, but is that the primary concern of those who seek political gain out of a tragic incident? That’s the funny thing about the ghairat brigade. It seems to only be outraged if the perpetrator is American. Lest there be any doubts, there is little concern for the victims.

Pakistan is still reeling from the floods that devastated our country six months ago, yet it would seem we have overcome the misery that befell roughly 20 million of our people. But that is far from the case.

The UN appeal for $2 billion to rebuild Pakistan remains only 56 per cent funded. According to an Oxfam report, hundreds of thousands are still homeless, over 200,000 cases of influenza and pneumonia were reported in the second week of January alone, and one in every four children in Sindh is malnourished. It should be noted that Pakistan spends a measly 1.8 per cent of its paltry budget on health, when even Nigeria spends 4 per cent and the UK spends 15 per cent.

We need foreign aid simply to trudge along, which is unlikely to be forthcoming in the event of defiance. What makes the ghairat brigade think it can confront the US eye-to-eye is a matter that continues to perplex me.

Some assert that the US is losing control of the world as it knew it, with uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and cannot afford to destabilise its relationship with Pakistan. It is true that the US has paid lip service to democracy while supporting dictatorships and for this reason, along with its double standards on matters of human rights and civil liberties, it has earned the ire of Muslims across the globe.

However, it is also true that Egypt, much like Pakistan, is severely dependent on US aid. US military aid to Egypt totals $1.3 billion annually. Much of this aid was the result of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979, just as military aid to Pakistan was bolstered when both the Zia and Musharraf regimes cooperated with American policy on Afghanistan. Since 1975, moreover, the US has provided $28 billion in economic and development assistance to Egypt. Thus, no matter who comes to power in Egypt, its relationship with the US is not terribly at risk.

No Egyptian government can afford to dispense with US aid in the absence of alternative funding. This is the question our ghairat brigade must answer. What will be their sources of alternative funding if they believe they can run the government by shunning US aid? And I mean real workable plans and not grandiose rhetoric.

There are only a few models out there. There is the Iran/Venezuela model of confrontation, which is not feasible because we are not an oil-producing country. There is the China model, which is also not feasible because we are not willing to adopt a one-child policy and accept government heavy-handedness. And then there is the East Asian model.

The US was ruthless to Japan, Vietnam and Cambodia, but they simply put their heads down and worked hard. Ghairat didn’t really cloud their vision.

And today, they are way ahead of us, their people far more prosperous. Do we want to be a South Korea or a North Korea, is the question we need to ask ourselves.

Finally, Pakistan has no international voice. Davis has virtually not been covered by international media, where events in Egypt have taken precedence. So instead of the misdirected energy employed in whipping up anti-American sentiment by an overactive media at home, we would do ourselves a favour if like China, Iran, India, Russia and France, we had an English channel beamed abroad, airing the Pakistani perspective. That is where it is really needed.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 21st, 2011.

Reader Comments (60)

  • Zulfiqar Ali
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:13AM

    xcellent article ayesha, the ghairat brigade in pakistan is a self proclaimed guardian of our country, not to mntion Islam. But it is our media that disappionts me at times by making a news of anything just to up their ratings, without realizing it might be detrimental to our national intersts

  • parvez
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:28AM

    Very perceptive and well written.
    Over the years aid money has never fully reached the people, thus the anger. Both the donor and the receiving governments are responsible.
    When people see no corrective measures to address their grievances then issues like the Davis affair becomes an easy target to vent ones frustration on.

  • Muhammad Zahid
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:31AM

    Ayesha ijaz khan- the pakistanis has done their prioritisation at public level, this is where RAD is on top because we want an houourable place in the world-, our secular democratic leaders has also done priority in which US is on top and awam at bottom.

    You sound out of touch and locked in the box in which history and rationality is locked with western way of life and thinking. The day PK start following Islamic way of life and it’s economic system we will be vindicated. This will make you a bayghairat brigade? No a pragmatic rational thinker?

  • AM
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:50AM

    very on target!

  • Arindom
    Feb 21, 2011 - 1:32AM

    Ms Ayesha, your piece has a bit of muddled thinking!!

    On one hand you want Pakistan to take the East Asian way to prosperity; on the other hand, you want an english channel to beam out the current Pakistani obsession – Davis!!!

    What do you want?

    If you want an english channel to allow the west to see first hand Pakistanis throwing roses on an assassin, mullahs demanding the hanging of foreigner whose case is still in court, or lynch mobs attacking a poor christian women accused of ‘blasphemy’, and many other barbaric happenings in Pakistani society, then you can say good bye to your East Asian development dream!!!

  • ayaz
    Feb 21, 2011 - 1:53AM

    totally disagree with Ms Khan…its moral responsibility of media to cover all national issues regardless some people are using it for their political motives…media need to make hype and raise national issues like David..its not about ghairat brigade but regardless of fact it is serious issue…and Iraq is the prime example of that…we dont need our media channels to cover international issues becuase are already living in hell and dont need extra tension about international countries…

    Feb 21, 2011 - 2:52AM

    Well, Yes in my opinion Raymond’s case is the big issue as are the floods, supporting America in Afghan war and getting aid.

    In case of floods, the big issue is not that the floods that ravaged through the country but the main point is why Zardari was not with his people.

    The main issue is not that international community is not helping Pakistan but why they are not helping Pakistan as evident by a very small fraction of required support is received?

    The main issue is not that Pakistan is getting aid from the US but the main issue is why the US is giving aid to Pakistan just to be ally in the Afghan war?

    The main issue is not that the Zia and Musharraf regimes (according to you what is definition of regimes in the first place) supported the US’s Afghan policy, the big issue is why the US which is a far far away country seeking cooperation from Zia and Musharraf what the hell the US is doing in this region especially when USSR invaded Afghanistan???

    The big issue is not that both the Egypt and Pakistan are dependant on US aid but why US aid is giving aid to these countries?

    The big issue is not that we should follow or adapt Chinese, Iranian or Venzuevlian models but the big issue is why every Pakistani government is still unable to take advantage of its strategic importance in the region?

    You are only mentioning Zia and Musharraf why you are not mentioning Bhutto as the PAKISTAN’S FIRST CIVIL MARTIAL LAW ADMINISTRATOR who was also a key instrument in bringing the Pakistan in to two? What about Benazir what you think about her tenures as PM were those times the Pakistan’s Golden times? what about Nawaz Sharif?

    And finally, what about Raymond, when he was captured he was carrying weapons and sophisticated GPS equipments and pictures of sensitive areas especially bordering with India. The bid issue is not that a spy is captured rather the bid issue is that the most powerful man in the work, the US President has to do a press conference to put pressure on Pakistan to release Raymond. and moreover, do you think is there any link between drone attacks in Pakistan and the capture of Raymond as there are no drone attacks from the time Raymond was taken in custody.

    You need to think big to sort our big issues!!

  • Amna
    Feb 21, 2011 - 2:54AM

    Pakistan is better off, without any US aid. It doesnt reach the poor masses anyway. If there is no money, the politicians can’t take it from the people.

    Since the masses are going to be poor anyway, this US aid is something Pakistanis that are well off are concerned about. SO if you look at it like that, I do not think we are being overly obsessed with this.This issue needs all the coverage it gets, the madness as to stop somewhere….this case is a blessing in disguise.

  • Muhammad Uzair Sukhera
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:19AM

    So very right! You’ve put things into right perspective. We need to work hard. Day and night to build our nation.

  • Peace On Earth
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:19AM

    You say that the US was ruthless to Japan? Well, it did what was inevitable as the Japanese would never give up fighting had it not been for the atomic bomb. Out of almost every major superpower in the world, the US is the only one that will attempt to rebuild the nation that it has invaded.

    The Pakistani media and its people are only obsessed with Raymond Davis because they want to vent their anger. I bet all the politicians are thankful that such an incident took place so as the Pakistani people will forget the problems plaguing our country and instead focus on Raymond Davis.

    Not to be boastful, but I along with a minority of Pakistani’s still have our eyes on the bigger issues at hand and not at Raymond Davis which is quickly being used as a puppet to gain influence and votes.

  • N
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:59AM

    so true……i like ur solution

    Feb 21, 2011 - 4:20AM
  • Khurram
    Feb 21, 2011 - 4:24AM

    We are an emotional people who evaluate things and events by their crust not by their core. Our sentiments are always strong but our control over them is most tenuous. Our feelings have little substance.

  • Singh
    Feb 21, 2011 - 4:29AM

    Davis is an over hyped issue in pakistan media where ignorant citizens are puffed with fake pride.
    Kudos goes to text books,and some cheap media which always glorify the history of invaders and rules who ruled medieval india.

    International media wont reap any profits covering a case from a country infamous media which talks only conspiracies and whose politicians can sell anything for money.

  • friend
    Feb 21, 2011 - 4:40AM

    it will be even worse than north korea, just wait and watch…

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Feb 21, 2011 - 7:45AM

    I agree with you Madam on the point about how do we think we will get by without US-led assistance if push comes to shove? And, as you say, “workable plans, not grandiose rhetoric”.

    Let us see if anyone takes up that challenge.

  • Asif
    Feb 21, 2011 - 7:45AM

    The only option we have is for everyone including business people and rich agricultural land owners to pay their due share of taxes. As per my understanding a law was passed in Pakistan, after intense foreign donor pressure, to tax agriculture in Pakistan. But there was a loophole; farmers could pay the land tax (abiyana) which is a paltry Rs 230 to Rs 300 per acre or agricultural income, whichever is greater. So all of them except maybe a few honest souls just pay the abiyana and get away with. So even business people in the cities and corrupt bureacrats and politicians have farms and poultry farms so that they can declare all their hidden income as farm income and get away with paying no taxes.
    Due to the raise in recent years in the prices of food commodities there has been a shift of more than Rs 500 billion a year in income from urban to rural areas. Witness the thousands of cars sold in rural areas each year and especially after crops are harvested.
    So yes this would be a pertinent question to ask the ghairat brigades and Imran Khan too on where they stand on the issue of truly increasing the tax base of Pakistan so that it rise from the dismal current 10% to 15% (same as India and Sri Lanka) or 20% (which is our budgetary expenditure. As more people will pay taxes more people, including the elites, will demand accountability from the government as to how their tax monies are being spent. And the inflation rate will go down as government borrowing will go down. This is the only real way up for Pakistan.

  • Noor Nabi
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:11AM

    This article reflects a voice of reason, sanity and wisdom. Salute to the author!

  • Pmbm
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:28AM

    What’s the deal?while criticizing others wasting energy, the writer extracts an article on R.D.

  • saad
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:41AM

    Good article.

    Nation needs to rise up. Stop being beggers.

    For the last 60 yrs what we have done is spread our hands for others to give us ‘charity’.

    Our govt and opposition are just concerned for their well being and when things don’t go according to their plan they divert nation’s attention to petty issues like davis and Musharraf’s case…..instead of taking a step ahead we love taking two steps back…..

    Thousands of civilian lives have been lost either thru these suicide bombers or drone attacks no one raises their voice then….how is it any different now?

    Time to get up on our feet before our political leaders sell pak to imf and us.

    God bless Pakistan!

  • Zarmeena Ikram Babar
    Feb 21, 2011 - 9:10AM

    An authentic article, I must say.
    No exaggeration, no dramatization.Last but not least an outstanding attempt made by the author to curbe those religious and ghariat bigots minds.

    It is rather agonizing to see how our polictians are misusing and exploiting from Mr.Raymond’s case. Our media- pardon me but have polluted masses minds through their fake and self-created conspiracies. Starting from Salman Taser’s murder- with every news our media has further segmented our masses into different groups.

    Today even If you talk to any well groomed sane looking man regarding Mr.Raymond’s case- he gets enraged and infuriated- calling him a brutal killer. No trial needs to be filled against Mr.Raymond in our courts since his being a US citizen is the biggest endorsement of a murderer.

    People have forgotten the atrocities of the earthquake-2008.Nature reiterated its devastation on Pakistan in the form of floods-2010 and yet our masses are in deep sleep.Since our media has not poping up those flood victims relief advertisements – majority among us are least bothered, deeming those victims as completely rehabilitated.

    Now lets be realistic- we can not overlook US support,help and relief in any of the above cases. We are not slaves yet in order to survive -we need US support. Don’t think about yourselves but about millions of those who got devastated in floods.If it makes us baighariat- so what? We can not afford to sacrifice our millions of ppl for those 2,3 Pakistanis? I attach great respect for the deceased ones, families- and I know ,in no way anything can curb their pains but if their forgiveness can save the lives of millions then why not?

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 9:45AM

    There is an obvious prioritisation problem in Pakistan. It is not just with this Davis case but with everything reported and dwelled on by the Pakistani media and public. It is very frustrating to see senseless and pointless issues rehashed over and over or restated repeatedly.

    Instead of focusing on the real problems that the average citizen and government can actually do something about, superficial ones are given the spotlight. In addition those problems are ALWAYS something that the Pakistani public and governement for the most part are powerless to do anything about. It seems that the laziness that is pervasive in society is just being propogated by the media and the public opinion.

    Pakistan loves to blame everyone else for their problems. Instead of taking responsibility and reforming the government as well as institutions and overall attitude of society, they just shift the focus to something else that they can do nothing about. It is a cycle that is epeated over and over again and of course noting is done to make Pakistan better as a result.

    I find Pakistani media to basically be a tabloid type media of sensationalization of people and events that have nothing to do with the people of Pakistan. When there is something of real value to report the article is pushed to an inconspicuous placement where few will see it.

  • ad
    Feb 21, 2011 - 9:52AM

    Finally, Pakistan has no international voice. Davis has virtually not been covered by international media, where events in Egypt have taken precedence.

    i think u are blind, international media keep reporting in this issue, even yesterday guardian also posted one story on this issue.. very badly written article

  • ani
    Feb 21, 2011 - 9:54AM

    We would do ourselves a favour if like democratic countries, we had an objective URDU channel beamed at our own countrymen, airing a responsible perspective. That is where it is really needed.

  • ad
    Feb 21, 2011 - 10:01AM

    Badly written article… international media also following this stroy just not be blind. even yesterday we have an article on this particular issue in guardian.. so please do research before writing anything.

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 10:08AM

    I totally agree with you ma’am.

  • Ankur
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:01PM


    You have raised real valid points,and have made an absolutely stunning analysis about the situation in Pakistan, looking forward to read more from you.


    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:06PM

    @muhammad zahid sir would you like to elaborate that what is Islamic way of living style and economy?

  • Muhammad Imran
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:18PM

    I can bet with any body,, if the Ghairat brigade hand over to government they will sink Pakistan in Arab Sea within 5 years..

    There is difference between madness and foreign policy and every Pakistan should know.. but media and molves clinch the “intellect” of this unfortunate nation and know ” Pakistan ka Allha hi Hafiz”

  • Hmmm
    Feb 21, 2011 - 12:42PM

    Wonder if you ever follow international media. Guardian, NYT and Washington Post have all covered Davis issue in detail. Guardian even today runs it as a top story. And wonder where do the so called human life and peace NGOs who are funded by the Americans go in hiding on the killing of three Pakistanis

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 1:25PM

    @Arindom – agree with you. Apparently we are in a minority here because all the Pakistani respondents believe the author made sense. She was making sense for most of the article but rational thinking gave way to the kind of thinking (all in one sentence) that would have made the Ghairat brigade shower the author with rose petals.

    She concluded by saying – “an English channel beamed abroad, airing the Pakistani perspective.” My reaction was – whaaat? Ayesha, let the world think that there is a silent liberal majority in the country. You dont want the world to know that there is no such majority. You displayed some of that parochialism yourself when you were looking at alternative development models – You cited Iran, Venezuela and Vietnam – but there was not mention of the Indian model when you consider that our starting blocks were as conjoined as they could have been.

  • Farrukh siddiqui
    Feb 21, 2011 - 1:32PM

    The axis of Pakistani military and corrupt politicians and the US has existed for decades. Despite US-security pacts and aid, Pakistan got dismembered and is now a failed state. This formula has not worked. Pakistan should learn from India and focus on domestic development and stop fighting Western wars. Ms. Ayesah needs to get her facts right about Egypt. She does not seem to be at all familiar with Egypt. Egypt is NOT severely dependent on US aid. Egypt makes more than $12 billion from tourism alone. It gets more than $11 billion a year in investment flows. US non-military aid is just $0.7 billion. Egypt would have progressed much more had Mubarak and his cronies not plundered and amaased a fortune of billions of dollars. I am disappointed at the poorly researched quality of this article

  • Yousuf Nazar
    Feb 21, 2011 - 1:38PM

    Ms. Ayesha would be better advised not to talk about economic models. Her facts are simply wrong and reasoning confused. Egypt is not dependent on US aid. Pakistan’s aid is a myth. The cost of fighting western wars (1980-2011) vastly exceeds any benefit. They have destroyed the country. We have a security state model – sustained by foreign aid and enriching Pak Army and the elites. It is a hopelss model…!!

  • Ummi Khann
    Feb 21, 2011 - 2:15PM

    The heads of our rulers are down to the feet of USA from past 60 years, But today the name of our country is in top list of failed states index, forget japan, south Korea, today we are compared with Afghanistan, nigeria, Sudan etc. Which means that there is something wrong in this Master-slave relationship. 1.5 billion aid per year in which 2/3 will be distributed through there NGO’s are less then peanuts as compared to our total fiscal budget. Are we prepared to sell our sovereignty & independence for such less price?
    & UN which claims to maintain international peace and security in whole world, if they will stop aid on our flood effected people just coz we dont release a killer, a spy, a under cover agent of CIA, who is a threat to lives of millions of people wondering on the streets of our country. Then we should send curse on such lunatic org. Then this is a very uncivilized world.

  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Feb 21, 2011 - 2:30PM

    What a ludicrous point of view! Awareness of and action against Pakistan’s many shortcomings and insistence on justice taking its course in the Raymond Davis case are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one must oppose the handing over of Davis to be consistent in demanding progress in Pakistan. To anyone but the wilfully blind the man was involved in highly suspicious activities that no self-respecting state can allow another to undertake or license on its territory. Obama has made a colossal mistake in invoking diplomatic (don’t want to hear the words again) immunity for him. And quite independently of the rights and wrongs of the case, public sentiment on the issue is at a pitch only someone as blind as a Gaddafi could ignore. No one in their right minds could advocate giving in to the U.S’s bullying in this case.
    Incidentally, to avoid misunderstandings, I condemn the killing of Taseer just as I condemn, not just Davis’ acts of murder, but the rest of his probable undertakings in Pakistan. It’s about time intelligent and right-thinking people in Pakistan came out to take ownership of the protests against the WOT, for example, instead of discussing it in drawing-rooms and leaving the demonstrations to the Mullahs.

  • shahzad
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:02PM

    Ayesha, if wishes were horses…. While I agree with you on what needs to be prioritised, especially at the media end, but then what do you do if the entire American pressure on Pakistan is to resolve this Davis affair. The pronouncements from president Obama downwards; the number of Congressional delegations; the cancelled trilogues and plans for executive level visits placed on hold. The provision of KLB support – everything is on hold. That is how the US wants to play this baby. It has the making of a game-changer between US and Pakistan if Pakistan refuses to play ball. Perhaps Pakistan will, eventually, but it must lie in the realm of state-to-state mature interaction, not as a submission to American diktat. States, and especially America must know how to reach agreements.
    Any that we write and speak must be intended to bring realism into play. Each nation has opinion constituencies; and without making one or the other only right, which certainly is not the halmark of a liberal disposition, we need to find workable solutions. The choice remains between following the law where this case belongs even by American legal standards, and getting our act together like Japan, South Korea, Cambodia (as you mention), or Vietnam, as I suggest, we shall have to make a national determination. In this larger media led debate, because our Parliament which should have actually been leading this debate – rationally, not on the basis of political point scoring – is mute, we may just develop some agreed thinking that just might show some sense to both states. Wishful thinking…… I know. But at least we try.

  • khan
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:02PM

    Ohhh c’mon
    what is it with you people? why do you always have to prove we are a dead nation without US aid? why do you want PK to be a slave?
    tell me this: almost all governments so far were pro american, we did as we were commanded and received the reward in terms of aid; what good did that bring? its been whole 63 years and we are worthless so far, how long do we have to continue like this?
    The day we turn our back to US and all other Zionist regime, blessings of Allah SWT will be with, this is tawakkul im talking about. only solution is to follow the path described by Quran.

  • Abdullah
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:11PM

    The Pro-western loby has been trying to warn since long that our country and nation cannot live without a couple of billion$. Their intentions are very clear. We have been depending on US since last 6 decades, where are we standing today ?? What have we got out of it ?? Our economy .. so poor. Our national institutions…discredited and corrupt. Our political system…based on american puppets and every time corrupt and inept feudals are seen in assemblies .. Should we still continue this uncle sam based syetem ? is this fruit of american based democracy ? ….Shame on it.

  • Faraz
    Feb 21, 2011 - 3:44PM

    This is a time now stop talking start working to build this country,which has great potentials from human resources to natural resources.(apnay ghar ka gund ghar welay hey saaf kertay han bahir welay nehe).

  • Asim
    Feb 21, 2011 - 4:26PM

    Come on, Ayesha, Egypt didn’t break its imperial shackles by being so dismissive of every ideological thought process. You need the ability to go over the top at times and fight for your rights.

  • Chak number. Vih' not Caterbury'
    Feb 21, 2011 - 4:52PM

    It is the people of Pakistan who have been waged in this war. Its the people of Pakistan whose lives are miserable because they have lost 30,000 countrymen since US entered the region.

    We should acknowledge that media professionals and audiences are not reactionary for the sake of being so. They are amplifying concerns about genuinely problematic policies and politics. Roger Hardy, a British journalist who has written extensively about the Middle East, often refers to a “deep well of grievances” from which many members of the global Muslim community draw.

    This well gushes with the many factors that have produced tensions between the Muslim world and the West: colonial history, contemporary geopolitics, systemic inequalities of development, and ideological marginalisation — the backdrop that seamlessly links Davis to drones. And it nourishes to various degrees the frustrations of various people, whether they are vociferous journalists, political activists, enraged clerics or suicide bombers.

    In the end i would like to acknowledge that ahead every power of this world there is a supreme power of GOD and he does not depend on the world logic, economic theories. He is ALMIGHTY, He is with the oppressed and AGAINST all oppressors. He is the only RAY of HOPE for us PAKISTANIS

    you may call us ghairat brigade but ghairat is the only thing that is left with the poor!

  • Hmmm
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:03PM

    @Zarmeena Ikram Babar:
    Who has ruled Pakistan s ever since Jinnah’s departure? Those were all pro-american rulers – what good did it do to the nation? America’s help to Pakistan is over hyped. The only difference is that America relies more on giving us loans than coming and actually developing Pakistan. China does more than America but is never given the credit.

    Pakistan will not crumble without America – it will get better as people will start realizing their own potential. We are already fighting their war and they pay us peanuts in return. This surely has to end. America is not here to rule this world forever, we should rather take this opportunity to form new strategic alliances. It is very easy to bring in the ghairat issue for the so called liberal writers. It is strange that the very band of writers who heavily criticize Taseer’s murder have gone so soft about the murder of two Pakistanis.

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 5:10PM

    the lady does not understand that the Ghairat Brigade that she’s speaking up against is in fact the one that handled the outcomes of the floods when the Govt. was literally sleeping and crippled after seeing the damages of such magnitude. What she also does not understand is that we are unable to stand up as a nation because the US slavery keeps dividing Pakistanis on ethnic / sectarian grounds, and if the US influence is waived off on Pakistan, we can really emerge as a proud and strong nation. what she fails to see is that Raymond Davis is our key to Freedom and therefore the energies she believes are misdirected, are actually working in the direction of freeing us of US influence. its sad that people with such great minds fall prey to the same American enslavement policies that are termed as “liberal thoughts”.

    Pakistan is not standing alone. Emerging superpower China, and the previous superpower runner up Russia will stand up with Pakistan in the world’s media only if Pakistan takes the stand. Apparently the only international media that she watches is that of the West – and considers it as an example.

  • Ali
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:11PM

    The media has nothing better to do than harp on about Raymond Davis.
    The government ministers keep repeating this name ad nauseam because trying to do something productive like sort out the countries energy crisis, poor education standards etc etc actually require some hard work.
    In most proper countries this case would not be in the newspapers more than a day or two.
    However newspapers/media don’t want to tackle difficult issues like children living and dying in poverty, no chance of an education, starvation, ill health. There is so much misery out there, newspapers/media could make documentaries about the daily struggle your average person suffers to survive.
    They could highlight government inefficencies/embezzelment in areas like education. Help to clamp down on power theft/make documentaries showing the civic duty of every citizen.
    If we all directed as much energy towards these key issues something might change for the better.

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:15PM


    Being well-informed is one thing. Being whipped up into a frenzy is another.

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:19PM

    @Farrukh siddiqui:

    II think Eqypt is No.2 or 3 in terms of ranking of the size of US assistance. Israel is first. Pakistan is now up there too,

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:26PM


    There are agriculture income tax ordinances in all provinces because of IMF conditionality. A sector which contributes 21% to GDP has a tax yield of Rs 1-2 billion! That would be a minuscule % of GDP with lots of zero’s in front of it.

    The tax-to-GDP ratio you are talking about is FBR tax revenue only. To get to total revenue-to-GDP you have to add all the other stuff — surcharges and other non-tax revenue including some Rs 260 billion profits of the State Bank which reverts to the budget.

  • mussarat ahmedzeb swat
    Feb 21, 2011 - 5:49PM

    Aid is good for our gov officials it never reaches the people. What difference would it make to ordinary citizens if the aid is stoped?

  • Maulana Diesel
    Feb 21, 2011 - 6:04PM

    To all of those who think that Egypt hardly gets any aid from the US please read the following from Reuters:

    This clearly shows that the US has given $2 billion yearly to Egypt since 1979. Egypt is the second largest US Aid recipient after Israel.

  • Kashif Jan
    Feb 21, 2011 - 6:45PM

    Ms. Khan,

    UK spending on health as a % of GDP is 8.12% and not 15% as you quote. Please get your facts right before you publish an article

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 8:19PM

    Having perused the comments to the piece, I would simply like to add the following points:

    1) I have read the story in the Guardian, NYT’s coverage and the random story in NPR as well, however, BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera have not really covered it on television—a big story is one that not only makes it to print media but one that makes it to tv and repeatedly–only then does it make an impact. This has definitely not been the case for Raymond Davis internationally.

    2) Asif above has made an excellent comment which I endorse. Our tax to GDP ratio for 2009-10 was 8.9%—this is one of the lowest. And the questions he asks are precisely the questions we need to ask of our politicians. Instead of shunning US aid, we can ask where it went. It is also a myth that none of the funding from abroad reaches the masses. Just this weekend I was talking to someone who worked alongside Anita Ghulam Ali in setting up 1000 schools in rural Sindh with World Bank funding—I don’t think I need to elaborate on US clout with WB and IMF and what would happen to it if we continue to confront.

    3) It is quite disappointing that instead of coming up with possibilities for alternative funding people resort to simply making comments like “your reasoning is confused or you shouldn’t be talking about this”—-I am referring to the bizarre comment by Yousaf Nazar—please come up with an alternative instead of making a silly remark. Here is a table summarizing US aid to various countries—perhaps you can look at it and learn something:

    As Mr. Meekal Ahmed rightly said, Egypt is up there with Israel and Pakistan is at about number 5.

    4) Mr. Farrukh Siddiqui—I suggest you too look at the table I have linked. In addition, although you are wrong about Egypt not being dependent on US aid, you are right that it also has a lot of tourist revenue. Where exactly do you think that revenue comes from? Mostly, it comes from western tourists. If Egypt is not on good terms with the west, that revenue will also be affected—so again, no government in Egypt will confront the west.

    Finally, I have not at all said that Pakistan should be fighting wars to get US aid so please dont put words in my mouth. I have simply said that it cannot be going the path of confrontation till it has alternative sources of funding in place.

  • Yusaf Khan
    Feb 21, 2011 - 8:24PM

    @ HQ….you said that emerging superpowers China and Russia will help Pakistan stand up to the US. Have you forgotten that we fought the Russians in Afghanistan and the same Ghairat brigade that is now foaming at its mouth against the US was taking $$$ from the same US by the truckloads. Russia will want its revenge against Pakistan which is why it always takes the side of India and Afghanistan against Pakistan. The Russians are not going to forget or forgive.

    As far as china is concerned they are not stupid to take on the US for the sake of Pakistan. The US is china’s largest overseas market and second largest source of FDI. Can you please explain why China would take on the US for the sake of Pakistan? What does China have to gain by that?

    The author is correct. We should purely focus on making Pakistan a stronger nation and Insha’Allah once we are strong and standing on our own feet then you are more than welcome to take on the whole world.

  • Feb 21, 2011 - 9:25PM

    Mr. Kashif Jan, Have a look at this table– and once again, if you dispute something provide a link to your source.

  • Arifq
    Feb 21, 2011 - 10:29PM

    Ayesha Ijaz Khan, the mere fact people like you are expressing themselves, offering the public a non-conventional view gives hope to this country, not everything is lost. Keep writing.

  • Farrukh Siddiqui
    Feb 22, 2011 - 12:04AM

    Mr. Meekal: Please check your facts… I am drawing directly from the statistics of the Institute of International Finance and the Economist Intelligence Unit… USAID is a small portion of the Egypt’s inflows. It may be second or third in absolute terms it is NOT severely dependent on USAID. This is an absurd claim which cannot be substantiated.

  • pmbm
    Feb 22, 2011 - 1:30AM

    Lady has exposed her confused mindset, but article has brought out some sensible comments.

  • nasir
    Feb 22, 2011 - 4:22PM

    pak can not survive without US aid …infact the bureaucracy can not survive…

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Feb 22, 2011 - 5:16PM

    @Farrukh siddiqui:

    Confirmed today that Eqypt is in second place as far as US assistance goes; Israel is no. 1 (obviously) and Pakistan is No.3.

    Of course I agree with those who wonder where the money goes.

  • Nasar Ali
    Feb 23, 2011 - 2:25AM

    Let’s have another look at the situation. There are three reasons why the Raymond Davis affair appears to be engaging the attention of the Pakistani nation so much. The first is the enormity and brazenness of his self-confessed crime of shooting dead two young motor bikers in broad day light at one of the busiest cross roads in Lahore and then making a video film of them before fleeing from the scene.The second is the crude strong arm tactics of the US Government, including its highest and mightiest figures, of threatening and pressurising Pakistan to secure his release and freedom on the most spurious grounds of his “intrinsic” immunity on account of being a “diplomat”. The third is the sudden display of the mailed fist by the Americans to Pakistan, notwithstanding its enormous sacrifices in the war against religious extremists of all shades and hues and the devastation wrought in Pakistan by the American misadventure in Afghanistan in their futile quest for Osama bin Laden.. That this has also bared the hollowness and falseness of America’s oft trumpeted profession of being in a strategic partnership with Pakistan of course makes for an added and compelling attraction.
    You have read unwarranted meanings and drawn the same kind of conclusions from the scanty coverage of the RD affair in the western media. Yesterday’s revelation by the New York Times and the Washington Post that their reticence in the matter was due to the State Department’s advice is proof enough of this.(which in turn has confirmed for us the truth behind the sloganeering of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the western world.). So you see it is not that the Pakistanis do not know where their real interests lie or that they are paranoid. That is an illusion fostered by their rulers in tandem with their overseas masters because they do’nt own their souls any more..

  • Khurram
    Feb 23, 2011 - 3:09AM

    @Amna very well said and I wholeheartedly agree with you. The US Aid or for that mattter any Foreign Aid always ends up in the pockets of the mighty and strong, nobody cares for the poor and weak who form the bulk of the Nation, now if they can survive without it so can Pakistan.

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