The British Prime Minister David Cameroon, choose the wrong audience, wrong time and wrong proof to castigate Pakistan in later’s efforts against terrorists and terrorism. Mr. Cameron may have been over charged by the prospects of leveraging its position against Pakistan to seek future business prospects with India. However, a caution must be observed while delivering sweeping statements. International diplomacy requires that certain norms must be respected while addressing a third nation.
The British past glory is an obsolete history now. The fact of the matter is that it is just another tiny island floating in Atlantics and rest of the mainland Europe is trying to keep it as far on the other side of English Channel as possible. UK mired by its complex demographic factors, which also highlights the British adventurism in the past, is not in a position anymore to dictate sovereign nations as per the cravings of its past nostalgia. However, this is certainly not to belittle UK in its entirety but it is also important to put the things in their right perspective.
We are certainly critical of Pakistan’s role in the past, but that is not a fact anymore. With the elected government in place which has achieved consensus against the the extremist elements and waged a war that is practically shaking the whole edifice of extremism. Pakistan also understands that it is no longer obliged by the adventurism of the UK’s home grown terrorists to serve as catalyst for its action against the terrorists at home. Extremism is rust which is eroding the foundations of Pakistan and certainly a vast majority of the public understands that. So pushing Pakistan by giving pious sermons by a foreign dignitary in a hostile territory can serve no purpose but to create a bad taste.
Any such statement is counter productive owing to the fact that it rejuvenates the feelings of nationalism. Nationalism in the times of peace is a good thing however a country at war within itself, the nationalism doesn’t help. The whole attention of general public goes out of borders and the feelings of hostility find a new punching bag, which eventually gives another life-line to the terrorists who also join the chorus. And the extremist apologists get more potency in their rhetoric against the West and they make general Pakistani to believe that their government is the friend of ‘real’ enemy.
The move to win hearts and minds cannot be carried on this way. David Cameron’s political expediency is understandable and also his rightist approach but by issuing such statements he is simply undoing all the efforts so far his predecessors have done to create soft corner in the heart of general Pakistani about the UK and the West. In this respect Mr. Cameron must learn some diplomacy lessons from its ally across the Atlantic, the US, whose foreign minister is setting an example guide of a successful foreign policy with Pakistan, whom Western press regards as a difficult ally. She engages herself with the common man during her trips to Pakistan and is open to admitting the past wrong-doings of US in case of Pakistan. Of course detractors are still open to the criticism however inertly Pakistani’s feel more comfortable with a mix of her frank and formal remarks. These are the ways of passing on the right message and also not offending an already difficult audience.
Wiki-leaks, its timing and consequences requires a more detailed analysis which I would do sometime later as more facts unfold. But again Mr. Cameron had no right to formulate his warnings to Pakistan on the un-authentic and seemingly a multi-faceted intelligence reports.
Update: Please find here the original statments made by British PM David Cameron while addressing InfoSys IT audience in Banglore. Here is the link: