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جمعرات، 30 اگست، 2012

Nam Summit in Tehran


It is a sane voice that foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has raised at the Non-Aligned Movement ministerial conference in Tehran. Escalating confrontation over Iran nuclear programme threatens further instability in the region she has aptly warned counselling dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the outstanding issues. But predictably hers is going to be like crying in the wilderness. For at the heart of opposition to Iran nuclear pursuit is not really the issue of nonproliferation it is the racial profiling and geopolitical objectives of its detractors.
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Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit’s Ministerial meeting in Tehran, which she addressed on Tuesday, that the region was destabilized by conflicts which Nam could help solve, like the Kashmir issue, or the solution of the Palestine issue by means of giving the Palestinian people the right of self-determination. However, creditable as it is to bring up the subject of Kashmir at a summit of an organization of which India is accounted for as one of the founders, Ms Khar and the Foreign Office must consider how long they intend to get by only paying lip service, and doing nothing practical to help the Kashmiri cause. Pakistan must keep in mind that India opposed its admission to Nam, and it does not at all like any occasion where Pakistan can raise the Kashmir issue, and thus in any way internationalise it. However, Ms Khar is likely to forego this opportunity of exposing the true face of India because President Asif Zardari, who is leading the delegation, wants to use it as an opportunity for meeting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the summit.

Ms Khar also paid due attention to the summit host’s main concern, when she spoke about how the US was pressurizing Iran over its nuclear programme, and how this was destabilizing the whole region. The summit has been devoted to ‘Lasting Peace Through Global Governance’, and as a neighbour of Iran’s, with which it has a joint gas pipeline project, Pakistan is likely to find itself involved if the USA or Israel attacks it. Pakistan’s suggestion, that the matter be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, resounds as the voice of reason in a war of words that is apparently growing more surreal with each passing day.

Ms Khar’s call for an end to the bloodshed in Syria was also timely, and reflected the concern of Pakistan for stability in the region. It also reflected standing by fellow Muslims when they faced difficulties. However, this is a message best conveyed by President Zardari to Dr Singh in their meeting, with particular reference to the oppression of the Kashmiri people, and the need to give them their birthright of self-determination in accordance with the UN resolutions on the subject, which express the international community’s consensus on the subject. That is supposed to be the reason for occasions like the Nam Summit, after all, to give states the chance to bring matters to the attention of other world powers.


It is a sane voice that foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has raised at the Non-Aligned Movement ministerial conference in Tehran. Escalating confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programme threatens further instability in the region, she has aptly warned, counselling dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the outstanding issues. But predictably hers is going to be like crying in the wilderness. For, at the heart of opposition to Iran’s nuclear pursuit is not really the issue of nonproliferation; it is the racial profiling and geopolitical objectives of its detractors.

Otherwise, in the region the nuclear tinderbox is veritably Israel’s nuclear adventurism. The Jewish state is sitting on a running nuclear weapons programme with a large deadly arsenal in the basement. So long as this powder keg is not defused, the region will certainly know of no nonproliferation. If today it is Iran, yesterday it was Iraq and some suspect Syria, and tomorrow it will definitely be someone else. But instead of taking the bull by the horns, the pseudo nonproliferation champions are intently chasing the red herring, leaving Israel all untouched, rather all protected.

So much so, on the obscene excuse of possession of weapons of mass destruction, a war party led by the United States illegally invaded and occupied Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. But the same western champions of nonproliferation shy away from, if not outrightly oppose, any move at the world forums to compel Israel to open up its nuclear installations to international inspection and monitoring. One cannot even recall how many times have the United States and its European sidekicks done it.

Yet presently they are leaving no screw in their bags unturned on Iran to force it to abandon its nuclear pursuit, which it says is solely intended for peaceful purposes but which they insist is aimed at weapons. The funniest part is that in the whole affair they are giving an open field to a nuclear Israel to behave like an angel, feeling threatened from an Iran that according to their own experts and intelligence hounds is still far from a nuclear weapon. They are wooing and cajoling it in every manner.

And with their increasing intransigence against Iran, they are in fact encouraging the domineering Israeli hawks to invade the Islamic Republic to take out its nuclear installations. If that happens, that would be the most devastating thing to occur. The Iranian response would certainly be very swift and strong. And the ensuing conflagration would not merely destabilise the entire region. It will send out stormy ripples worldwide, as well. Verily, it will be a holocaust of mammoth dimensions. The consequences will, of course, be unpredictable and unforeseen, with the Jewish state itself certainly receiving no lesser mauling.

The self-styled nonproliferation champions must know this. And even now they can give way to sense and honesty to tackle the issue of nuclear proliferation in the region. If they are sincere to their profession of nonproliferation, they must work for a nuclear-weapon-free region. That necessarily entails that the Jewish state must first renounce nuclear weapons and disarm. With this provocation out of the way, the objective of nonproliferation in the region will be quite within the reach. But the essential is if the nonproliferation champions are sincere at all.

And that is a big question mark. After all, who doesn’t know that America wants the unimpeded Israeli hegemony in the region and treats the Jewish state as its policeman of the region? And who doesn’t know that segments of European polities have a very soft corner for the Jewish state? Expecting a fair play from the world powers on the nuclear issue in the Middle East is thus a tall order. But in it alone lies the key to the nuclear issue in the region.

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