Shah Mahmood’s circus

In his emotional speech at a rally in hometown Multan on February 20, ex-minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that he had been punished because of telling the truth that Davis’ did not enjoy diplomatic immunity. “I was told that taking a stand on this issue can deteriorate relations with US, but I cannot make any compromise on the honour of my country… We’ll not bargain the country for the sake of aid. We’re Muslims and it is our belief that Allah Almighty opens 100 new doors if one is shut,” he said. Qureshi expressed his astonishment at the fact that US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had hinted that Pakistan-US relations had strained in the wake of this issue.

Qureshi’s grandstanding has created a niche for him to develop as a leader. There are those of the view that in a party rife with allegations of corruption, he is clean, educated and articulate and in an ideal world, he is eminently qualified to be a leader of his political party and the country (The News, Feb 18). Other media pundits are more cautious; things may not be what they appear. The Davis case has become part of a larger political game and may be a symptom of the problem of harsh terms of reference within which Islamabad is dealing with the US. Talat Hussain (Dawn, Feb 21) looks at Qureshi as having committed political suicide but personally redeemed himself by his speech.

The man who had never criticized drone attacks went further, saying that the US had ignored the energy crisis in the country, “If they can strike a nuclear deal with India why can’t they see the energy crisis being faced by Pakistan?”

Oh the trouble one bungling secret agent can cause…

 

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