Our litigious nation, smart enough to explore and exaggerate issues for extracting political gains, spent no time in dealing with the so-called “enemy plane”, from Israel, calling it a move against the state’s integrity.
By Rafiq Jan
A huge outcry, on the Israeli plane landing saga, on the social and broadcast media by Pakistani politicians and Pakistanis alike has perplexed me yet again. It reinforced the idea that our nation had ample spare time to exaggerate non-issues and turn them into issues of national priority.
The Israeli high-level delegation had reportedly visited Oman in a plane that could have been detected by millions on the “RADAR 24” app worldwide. The plane apparently flew close to the Pakistani airspace, however, technically the commercial information of the Radar 24 app is not in real time. This is a security function that does not let public apps know the true parameters of any flight in air.
But the truth was later unraveled that Israel and Oman had embarked upon a journey of establishing bilateral diplomatic ties. This also reinforced a rather well-established fact that all the Gulf Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, have “some” ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia, considered as the “leader of the Muslim world”, has further opened and warmed up to Israel.
However, Pakistan has long been at loggerheads with Israel. The travel ban for Israel, imposed in the form of an annotation on Pakistani passports, has brought serious backlash and shame for the country in the global arena. Moreover, such practices have also resulted in trade and economic limitations with the global community.
This is because Pakistan has always been lured to jump into someone else’s problems and wars, just to show its support for the Muslim world. However, such support has done little good for Pakistan over the years. One also wonders whether such support, especially for the Gulf countries, is worth it for Pakistan.
I, personally, have given 35 prime years of my life working in the Arab (GCC) countries. I can vouch that in these 35 years, even though treated as a “highly qualified” and an “in-demand” professional, I was also treated as a citizen from a “least respected Muslim country”. Hence, these 35 years have been nothing but an identity conflict with myself. A conflict where I reassured myself that I was a “free” human being. Each day of my life in these Arab countries was spent mustering courage to face the humiliation of being treated as a non-Arab Asian.
Having said that, in the perspective of my very own experience, there is no argument left as such to expect anything in Pakistan’s favor from the Arab states in general and Saudi Arabia in particular. Even if we get something, it will have stern conditions attached to it. The Arab rulers have absolute trust in power of money and they have been using it in all their affairs with the developed countries. This power is also rooted in the glitter of oil; a weapon effective enough to create a dent in any power bloc.
After all those decades of appeasing the Arab states in return for “peanuts”, Pakistan must learn a lesson that merely voicing concerns over atrocities in Palestine by inciting our innocent and naive citizens to hold countrywide rallies will reap nothing. Moreover, expressing “solidarity” with Gaza and Yemen will take us nowhere other than rebuttals, rejections and pressure from the global community.
Israel, having no land border with Pakistan, remains a “non-threat” threat to us. However, an undeclared and unrealistic thaw in relations has existed, which has proven detrimental for us rather than Israel. Moreover, Israel’s hatred has been successfully exploited by our enemies to keep Pakistan as an underdog state, despite brimming with natural resources, a mighty army, and an incredible knowledge economy. It is because our rulers have always operated on the ideology of self and vested interests. Such interests have also kept our masses ignorant, further resulting in extremist narratives among our youth. This situation has been aggravated by lack of proper education, social awareness and authentic leadership.
Pakistan is definitely at the cross-roads of its own “renaissance” with endless opportunities waiting to be grabbed. It has finally arrived at the end of the dark tunnel where a ray of hope and prosperity is just a few wise and dedicated steps away. But those few strides take sincerity, honesty and collective efforts from all the stakeholders, otherwise this will be the last dead-end in our journey, “Lest WE Fail”.
The author is based in Doha, Qatar
Disclaimer: Views expressed here are that of the author’s and do not reflect or represent the policy or views of the CRSS. CRSS Blog is an open platform inviting views from all sections of the society.