Pakistan, a Strong US Ally
By Dr. Shahid Athar
Indianapolis, IN

On the 59th anniversary of Independence of Pakistan on August 14th, I write to congratulate the people and government of Pakistan as well as Americans of Pakistani descent. Pakistan is a close ally of USA for last 50 years and in the words of Dr. Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State in 1971 after his historic trip to China with the help of Pakistan , "is a bridge which should not be destroyed after crossing once"
Over the last 50 years, through defense and economic ties the United States has given Pakistan billions of dollars in economic and military assistance. In return Pakistan has provided technical manpower, become a market for US goods and an extension of US foreign policy and war on terrorism in that region.
I remind those who have selective amnesia that in 1979 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan became the first line of defense shattering the Soviet dream of reaching the Indian Ocean. Pakistani took nearly 3 million Afghan refugees fleeing Russian occupation which put a great burden on its economy. In the Gulf war, Pakistan joined the coalition against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. When Somalia needed help, Pakistan had sent 5000 troops before the US Marines could arrive. When the US Marines handed control of Mogadishu to the UN, it was again Pakistani troops that took charge.
Even though none of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 tragedy were Pakistanis, Pakistan willingly and actively joined the US in its fight against terrorism as it was the right thing to do. Pakistan has deployed 80,000 troops on the Pak-Afghan border to fight the former Talibans and handed over hundreds of terrorists to the US. Pakistan has cooperated with Washington in every field and has allowed use of Pakistan Air bases by the American Air force.
What we saw now in England on 7/7 or last week of the alleged plot by young British citizens of Pakistani descent had nothing to do with the Pakistani government or the people of the country. It is the direct result of anger of these people over the Iraq war and blind support for the Israeli adventure in Lebanon. Both terrorism and tyranny are bad and must be condemned by those who wish for peace. As the late Indian Prime Minister Nehru once said, "We should live in peace and Let others live in peace."
(Shahid Athar, MD. 8424 Naab Rd, 2D, Indianapolis, IN 46260 317-872-5159
Former Secretary, Pakistan Friendship Association of Indiana)


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.