Who's Online

We have 284 guests online

Popular

2798 readings
Haaretz: The West criticizes Pakistan but leaves Israel alone PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Friday, 13 February 2004 01:47
"The West is discriminating against us," says Shireen M. Mazari, director-general of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, referring to the nuclear black market scandal exposed in recent weeks, whose roots are in Pakistan. True, Pakistani scientists were involved in the smuggling network, but they were not alone. We are talking about an international network that included Europeans [a reference to businessmen from Germany, Holland and another European country, as well as from Dubai, Sri Lanka and Malaysia - Y.M.]. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/393414.html

'The West criticizes Pakistan but leaves Israel alone'
By Yossi Melman

VIENNA - Reports in the Israeli press in recent months, to the effect that Pakistan is about to recognize Israel and renew diplomatic ties, amuse Shireen M. Mazari, director-general of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

"The West is discriminating against us," says Shireen M. Mazari, director-general of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, referring to the nuclear black market scandal exposed in recent weeks, whose roots are in Pakistan. True, Pakistani scientists were involved in the smuggling network, but they were not alone. We are talking about an international network that included Europeans [a reference to businessmen from Germany, Holland and another European country, as well as from Dubai, Sri Lanka and Malaysia - Y.M.].



"And yet the international media is o­nly talking about Pakistan. Here is another example of the double standard. Back in 2002, it was revealed that 82 companies, including British, American and European firms, were involved in smuggling operations of nuclear know-how and technology to Iraq, yet the UN Security Council omitted their names in its report. And what about Israel, which obtained nuclear weapons with the help of France and the West, and the world, particularly the U.S., is turning a blind eye?"

Still, Pakistani scientists, including the developer of your nuclear bomb played a central role in nuclear proliferation and helped Iran, Libya and North Korea reach the brink of producing nuclear weapons.

"Our scientists were o­nly consultants. The materials were supplied by individuals from other countries. Pakistan as a state was not involved. Khan did not violate any domestic or international law. Pakistan is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, so from our political commitment point of view, we are not prohibited from doing it. o­nly in 2000 our export laws and regulations were modified.

"This is far from the truth," says Mazari in an interview with Haaretz. "It is true that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf generated public discourse, and the prevailing view is that Pakistan should at some time recognize Israel, but in the discussions held, the conclusion reached was that the timing is not right for it."

Mazari knows what she is talking about. Since 2000, she has headed the Institute of Strategic Studies, established 30 years ago. Its activities and research studies are independent but it is financed by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry. Prior to 2000, Mazari taught at Islamabad's Quaid-i-Azam University and worked as a journalist. She still writes a weekly column for The News, a Pakistani daily newspaper.

Mazari is considered to have a close relationship with the Musharaff government and is very familiar with the prevailing winds in her country's political-military establishment. Her proficiency in this area makes her a frequent guest at international seminars and conferences o­n strategic issues. Last week she participated in an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) seminar in Vienna, o­n "Innovative Approaches to Nuclear Non-Proliferation."

Mazari is quite opinionated and articulate, and her views reflect the stance of the Pakistani government, which in recent weeks has been subject to attacks in the international media for what is being called "Abdul Qadeer Khan's smuggling network."

The disclosures regarding the sale of nuclear equipment, knowledge and technology by Pakistani nuclear scientists, headed by Khan, to Iran, Libya and North Korea, were among the focuses of the seminar. In Haaretz's interview with Mazari she did not hesitate to relate to the matter of Pakistan's relations with Israel.

"After all, discussions and exchanges of views with Israelis in international forums, including the United Nations, as I'm doing here, have always been an inseparable part of our foreign policy."

Mazari says that the recent development in this sphere is that such discussions are no longer confined to hallway chats between diplomats and experts from Israel and Pakistan in major cities around the world, under the auspices of international conventions, but have spread to the public discourse in Pakistan itself.

Musharraf has commented at least twice in the past few months o­n the need to weigh the possibility of recognizing Israel. o­ne occasion was before his visit to the United States last summer. The response in Israel was enthusiastic. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom welcomed the initiative. Officials at the Foreign Ministry were asked to determine Musharraf's intentions, via their Pakistani counterparts, and some the Israeli media were already celebrating the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Then, when Musharraf's words were not followed up, particularly not with actions, Israel figured that Musharraf did not really mean it and had said what he said to ingratiate himself with the Jewish lobby in the U.S.

Mazari rejects both these notions. "He doesn't need to appease the Jewish lobby in the U.S. His position in Washington is solid, and he has very good relations with President Bush's administration. There are people in my country who think that these ties are too close."

What was behind that comment?

"There are certain elements in Pakistan who believe that we should recognize Israel and have diplomatic relations with her. Some of these elements argue that recognition does not necessarily mean friendship. Others support the idea in the hope that it would undermine Israeli-Indian relations. There are some who even believe that we could achieve military cooperation with Israel, and we would be able to buy weapons, but these are minority views.

"It is clear to me that Israel is unable to sell us advanced weapons because the U.S. would prohibit it, as she did with the sale of the Phalcon early warning aircraft to China, while at the same time the U.S. permits Israel to sell these aircrafts to India. The assumption that recognition of Israel would weaken the Israeli-Indian alliance is false. What's more, we ourselves are currently in the process of improving relations with India."

Does this mean that the considerations that motivated the Pakistani government not to recognize Israel just now are based o­n a strategic concept and other interests?

"No, o­n the contrary, the consideration is mainly in principle. We did not recognize the apartheid regime of South Africa, and we did not have relations with it. There is great support and sympathy in Pakistan for the Palestinian cause and it is not merely among the Muslim parties.

"This is support that is shared by all the political elite. It was in there even when we knew that Yasser Arafat was an ally of India. Thus the decision reached is accepted by most of our political and military establishment, and the view is that as long as there is no progress in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and a reduction of violence, we cannot recognize Israel. And when we do, it has to be in the framework of pan-Islamic policy, which will be formulated by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in which Pakistan has a central role."

The impression in both Israel and the West is that Pakistan is o­ne of the states in which the ideas of anti-Semitism are easily accepted.

"This is also an unsubstantiated assumption based o­n the misunderstanding of our society. Anti-Semitism is not widespread in Pakistan. We don't have a Jewish community. True, here and there there are marginal expressions of anti-Semitism, as there are in many societies in the world, not o­nly among Muslim communities, but mainly in the Christian world. Most people in Pakistan, certainly the elite, the educated, know very well how to distinguish between Israel and Judaism. Criticism of Israel and Zionism cannot be defined as anti-Semitism. Even so, many in Pakistan do think that the Jewish lobby in the U.S. is very influential and does have close relations with the administration. But that is a fact, isn't it?"

Khan broke no laws

The frustration, the almost restrained anger in "the West that doesn't understand us" is leitmotif in the words of this executive director of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.

"The West is discriminating against us," says Mazari, referring to the nuclear black market scandal exposed in recent weeks, whose roots are in Pakistan. True, Pakistani scientists were involved in the smuggling network, but they were not alone. We are talking about an international network that included Europeans [a reference to businessmen from Germany, Holland and another European country, as well as from Dubai, Sri Lanka and Malaysia - Y.M.].

"And yet the international media is o­nly talking about Pakistan. Here is another example of the double standard. Back in 2002, it was revealed that 82 companies, including British, American and European firms, were involved in smuggling operations of nuclear know-how and technology to Iraq, yet the UN Security Council omitted their names in its report. And what about Israel, which obtained nuclear weapons with the help of France and the West, and the world, particularly the U.S., is turning a blind eye?"

Still, Pakistani scientists, including the developer of your nuclear bomb played a central role in nuclear proliferation and helped Iran, Libya and North Korea reach the brink of producing nuclear weapons.

"Our scientists were o­nly consultants. The materials were supplied by individuals from other countries. Pakistan as a state was not involved. Khan did not violate any domestic or international law. Pakistan is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, so from our political commitment point of view, we are not prohibited from doing it. o­nly in 2000 our export laws and regulations were modified.

"When he and others were involved in this in the 1980s and 1990s, there were no legal restrictions, and yet the Musharraf government was ready to make an extra effort and tightened export controls over nuclear material and equipment. It set up the National Command Authority to oversee nuclear weapons. Our nuclear program is under the full control of the military. And above all, the government did not hesitate to investigate Dr. Khan, who is a national hero in Pakistan, and put him under house arrest."

Mazari notes that there is harsh domestic criticism over this move, and a feeling that Musharraf is doing to Khan what the Americans did to Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, whom they used and then discarded.

(Oppenheimer is considered the father of the atom bomb and the key man in the Manhattan Project, which developed the bombs dropped o­n Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war doubts were raised about the project and Oppenheimer was suspected of being a Communist and denied his security clearance).

"Even so, instead of appreciation we are o­nly being denounced by the West," continues Mazari. "It's because we are Muslims. The West is prejudiced against Muslims. That is why there is o­nly talk of the Muslim terror. The IRA are Catholics, but there is no talk of Christian terror, o­nly of the terror organization from Northern Ireland.

"It's the same with the Islamic bomb, while the nuclear bomb is ours, it's Pakistani, not Muslim. We paid a heavy price for developing it, in international sanctions and isolation by the world. For this reason we will not give it up, but we will also not transfer it to others."
Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2004 01:47
 

Latest News