PINA seminar: Assange deserves a Noble Prize


LAHORE: Speakers at PINA’s seminar on “Post WikiLeaks Pakistan” held on Sunday recommended the Nobel Prize for Wikileaks owner Julian Assange for courageously unveiling truth about Pakistani and world leaders. The seminar’s participants agreed that Islamic countries leaders were exposed after the revelations made by Wikileaks and there was a need to development mutual relations and brotherhood amongst all Islamic countries.
They stressed upon the need for reviewing national priorities to reduce dependence on foreign aid and evolve a national self-reliance strategy. Speakers highlighted that WikiLeaks revelations had resulted in a serious trust deficit between the leadership and people, which called for reforms in the electoral process enabling the masses to elect honest and credible leadership.
They urged the Foreign Office to play its due role in regulating interactions between foreign diplomats and the country’s civilian and military leadership. The seminar was presided by former ambassador Javed Hussain and addressed by political and defence analysts and civil society activists.
Hussain said that WikiLeaks was a loss to US diplomacy, as information sources for US diplomats were likely to dry up. He criticised the civilian and military leaderships for their tilt towards the US and said that national priorities need to be redefined, as we had turned Pakistan into a security-oriented state instead of a welfare one. The former ambassador said that if Pakistan wanted to reduce reliance on external assistance, its leadership ought to reform itself, safeguard economic sovereignty and become a role model for the whole nation.
PINA Secretary General Altaf Hassan Qureshi welcomed WikiLeaks revelations as a revolution of light, which needed a serious and deliberate analysis for Pakistan’s future. He said that the disclosures had shaken major world powers, which would have to adjust themselves to the changing geo-political realities. WikiLeaks would lead to greater transparency in interstate diplomacy and governance, he said.
The PINA secretary general said that in view of Assange’s great contribution for exposing hidden facts, he was a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize and many countries were queuing up to support him. Qureshi said that WikiLeaks was first to make public the video footage of the US Army massacre in Iraq and also unearthed its atrocities in Afghanistan. Senator SM Zafar said that WikiLeaks had confirmed many things people already knew.
He welcomed WikiLeaks and appreciated the exceptionally bold initiative of its team. Zafar said that the disclosures had created an awakening about the US and Pakistani leadership’s mindset and provided information about the relationships between many regional countries. The senator called upon the judiciary to ‘do more’ in its anti-corruption drive, which would lead to good governance and zero tolerance against corruption. Lieutenant General (r) Nishat Ahmad said that we should not smell any conspiracy in WikiLeaks and adhere to our national interests to promote the welfare of the people.
He gave examples of Japan and Germany, which despite destruction at hands of the US in World War II had progressed as US allies to become economic giants. Nishat suggested that instead of viewing the Pak-US relation in an emotional manner we should face harsh realities to see where the interests of our people were.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Khurram Dastgir said that we should get knowledge from the WikiLeaks data. In case of Pakistan, we were aware about the pro-US policies of our leaders who invited the Americans to interfere in our affairs, he said. Dastgir emphasised that we should not negotiate informally with foreigners and notes must be taken by Foreign Office experts even in one-on-one meetings. The MNA said that the federal government should send a message to keep diplomats in place and observe the Foreign Office protocol.
He said that self accountability was need of the hour and that country enjoyed sovereignty, as long as it was economically strong. Munir Lodhi, Brigadier (r) Farooq Hameed Khan, Colonel (r) ZI Farrukh and Engineer Anwar Hussain Mujahid also addressed the seminar.