Let them have F-16s

A poverty-stricken Pakistani woman and her child wait in an impoverished locality of Khori Garden for free distribution of food items at the same place where earlier a stampede killed 20 women and children queuing for food handouts in an impoverished district of financial capital Karachi. (RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images)

On June 16, in Lahore, a rickshaw driver, his wife, and three children took poison, driven to despair by extreme poverty. Only the wife survived. On June 17, another young man committed suicide pushed over the edge by poverty and unemployment. On June 18, the Pakistani information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira advised people who are killing their children because of dire poverty to instead hand them over to the Baitul Mal (the Islamic treasury which serves as a social support system). Today in Raheem Yar Khan, a woman in her early thirties jumped in front of an approaching train along with her three children, ages 2 to 7. All died on the spot…

In related news, Pakistan received a shipment of the first three of its order of 18 new F-16 fighter jets from the United States. It has also received over $10 billion in military aid since 2002. It’s to keep Pakistanis safe, you see.

Author: Idrees Ahmad

I am a Lecturer in Digital Journalism at the University of Stirling and a former research fellow at the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies. I am the author of The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War (Edinburgh University Press, 2014). I write for The Observer, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Al Jazeera, Dissent, The National, VICE News, Huffington Post, In These Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung (TAZ), Adbusters, Guernica, London Review of Books (Blog), The New Arab, Bella Caledonia, Asia Times, IPS News, Medium, Political Insight, The Drouth, Canadian Dimension, Tanqeed, Variant, etc. I have appeared as an on-air analyst on Al Jazeera, the BBC, TRT World, RAI TV, Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon, Alternative Radio with David Barsamian and several Pacifica Radio channels.

11 thoughts on “Let them have F-16s”

  1. Pakistan is owned by the Pakistani Army, not the people of Pakistan, and Kashmir comes first to the Army …. !

    After 63 years and four wars, how long they will live in denial and dream of wresting Kashmir from India, a many times larger and stronger nation …. ?

    1. Dear Neel 123, Hi!

      Most respectfully, your comments are not factual. Pakistan has elected government since two and half years. Unfortunately present government is the most corrupted one in the history of Pakistan. (According to the world report) The parliamentarians are not educated and about 60% or more (Court investigations are in the process) has fake degrees. These officials have no clue how to run the country. Also Pakistan has to allocate lots of resources for war on terror. Thousands of Afghan refugees are living in Pakistan and a big burden on the economy. Moreover, the frequent suicide bombing ruining the economy. The economy is taking a big hit. Pakistan’s economic conditions were not as bad as under any army rule and also under General Musharraf. If USA and western countries open up their markets for Pakistan and stop giving economic aid to this corrupt government, people will solve economic problem themselves.

      Pakistan is facing lots of complex problems and it is not that simple. Pakistan is fighting its survival war since its independence. India has been attacking Pakistan frequently since 1947, and it has always started the war with Pakistan. Pakistan has never attacked India first. Indian government is continuously increasing defense budget and piling up arms from all over the world. Pakistan fear security threat from India. That is why Pakistan needs F-16.

      Kashmir is a part of Pakistan; India grabbed it by force in 1947. According to the partition rule of 1947, Kashmir should be the part of Pakistan because Kashmir had a majority of Muslims population in 1947. So the basis of partition was religion. “The majority Hindu populated area will be India and Majority Muslim populated area will be Pakistan”. Now, people of Kashmir are getting killed every day since 1947, it is an army occupation since 63 years, thousands of innocent women and children have been killed by the Indian army. Indian army is involved in raping women, killing children, grabbing and destroying property. The vast majority of Kashmir Muslims (99.99%) want to become a Part of Pakistan. India also refused to obey UNO resolution regarding Kashmir and it is a big problem and matter of human rights concern, could be a cause of future war between India and Pakistan. That is why Pakistan needs F-16 to keep India with in its borders.

      1. @ Tahir,

        The Elected Govt. in Pakistan is a sham, the real power lies with the Army.

        Pakistan has been getting more financial aid than its actual expenses towards Afghan refugees and the war on terror. It would run into tens of billions of dollars, when considering loan waivers in addition to direct aid. Pakistan economy was doing well on papers during Musharraf because Pakistan got about 12 billion dollars during that period.

        India always attacked Pakistan first is a big lie….you seem to live in denial like most Pakistanis ! You need to read from authentic sources, not from mischievous propaganda by the agents of the Pakistani army… remember Kargil … ? it is the Pakistani Army that is engaged in a proxy war with India by sending the muslim terrorists in India since 1989.

        India increases defence budget because it has a bigger enemy in China ! Truth is, we Indians do not care about Pakistan.

        Why did Pakistan send the army regulars in the guise of tribal raiders into Kashmir to grab it by force, when the issue was being discussed in UN ? The issue was sealed after that incident….. Kashmir is not negotiable after 63 years …. !

        According to the partition rule of 1947, India was for the Hindus and Pakistan was for the muslims. Today the Hindu population in Pakistan gas been decimated, where as in India the muslims are a thriving community. So the argument that Kashmir should go to Pakistan just because it has muslim majority does not work.

        It is time you Pakistanis come out of denial and accept the reality !

        1. Hi! Nell,

          This is all politics my friend, smart way is to just remain factual. You and I can not solve Indian problem, what you saying is an Indian mind set.

          As matter of fact, UN have had established that India had started all the wars with Pakistan. KARGILL incident happened in disputed, occupied territory, it is not an act of war.

          Secondly, during the past nine years war on terror has cost Pakistan approximately 56 billion dollars; you have all the aid figures, you can calculate again, and see if Pakistan has made any profit.

          Finally, Indian army executed four more innocent Kashmir’s today, what they were doing a peaceful demonstration, ASKING HUMAN RIGHTS in the biggest democratic nation OF the world. Since 1947, Indian army have killed 250, 000 people in Kashmir including children and women. IN REALITY, MAJORITY OF THE MINORITIES ARE LIVING IN INDIA BELOW POVERTY LEVEL. (Ref: The Times of India). Indian army enjoys killing minorities. India has no threat from Pakistan but with in.

          Indian Army men and officers denied visa for Canada B/O Human right violations.
          (Indian Media)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYrRkQFfb4w

          Just for your Info: What is your respected leader Mr. J. Nehru repeatedly advocated about Kashmir, enjoy please.

          “Our view which we have repeatedly made public is that the question of accession in any disputed territory or State must be decided in accordance with wishes of people and we adhere to this view.”

          (in telegram No. 402-Primin-2227 dated 27 October 1947 to Prime Minister of Pakistan repeating telegram addressed to Prime Minister of United Kingdom).

          “In regard to accession also, it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of State and their decision.”

          (in telegram No.413 dated 28 October 1947 addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan).

          “ …….the people of Kashmir would decide the question of accession. It is open to them to accede to either Dominion then.”

          (in telegram No.255 dated 31 October 1947 addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan).

          “Kashmir should decide question of accession by plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as those of the United Nations.”

          (Letter No. 368-Primin dated 21 November 1947 to Prime Minister of Pakistan).

          “We are anxious not to finalize anything in a moment of crisis and without the fullest opportunity to be given to the people of Kashmir to have their say. It is for them ultimately to decide.

          “And let me make it clear that it has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a state to either Dominion, the accession must be made by the people of that state.”

          (Broadcast to the Nation: “All India Radio”: 2 November 1947).

          “The issue in Kashmir is whether violence and naked force should decide the future or the will of the people.”

          (Statement in Indian Constituent Assembly; 25 November 1947).

          “We have not opposed at any time an over-all plebiscite for the State as a whole…….”

          (in telegram dated 16 August 1950 addressed to the U.N. Representative for India and Pakistan: S/1791 : Anne 1(B).

          “The most feasible method of ascertaining the wishes of the people was by fair and impartial plebiscite.”

          (Joint press communique of the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan issued in Delhi after their meeting on 20 August 1953).

          “People seem to forget that Kashmir is not a commodity for sale or to be bartered. It has an individual existence and its people must be the final arbiters of their future.”

          (Report to the All-India Congress Committee, 6 July 1951; The Statesman, New Delhi, 9 July 1951).

          “Kashmir is not a thing to be bandied about between India and Pakistan but it has a soul of its own and an individuality of its own. Nothing can be done without the goodwill and consent of the people of Kashmir.”

          (Statement in the Indian Parliament, 31 March 1955).

          “We had given our pledge to the people of Kashmir, and subsequently to the United Nations; we stood by it and we stand by it today. Let the people of Kashmir decide.”

          (Statement in the Indian Parliament, 12 February 1951).

          “We have taken the issue to the United Nations and given our word of honour for a peaceful solution. As a great nation, we cannot go back on it. We have left the question for final solution to the people of Kashmir and we are determined to abide by their decision.”

          (Amrita Bazar Patrika, Calcutta, 2 January 1952).

          “If, after a proper plebiscite, the people of Kashmir said, ‘We do not want to be with India’, we are committed to accept that. We will accept it though it might pain us. We will not send any army against them. We will accept that, however hurt we might feel about it, we will change the Constitution, if necessary.”

          (Statement in the Indian Parliament, 26 June 1952).

          “I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir. It is not that we have merely said that to the United Nations and to the people of Kashmir; it is our conviction and one that is borne out by the policy that we have pursued, not only in Kashmir but every where.

          “I started with the presumption that it is for the people of Kashmir to decide their own future. We will not compel them. In that sense, the people of Kashmir are sovereign.”
          (Statement in Indian Parliament, 7 August 1952)

          “The whole dispute about Kashmir is still before the United Nations. We cannot just decide things concerning Kashmir. We cannot pass a bill or issue an order concerning Kashmir or do whatever we want.

          (The Statesman, 1 May 1953)

          “Leave the decision regarding the future of this State to the people of the State is not merely a promise to your Government but also to the people of Kashmir and to the world.”

          (In telegram No. 25 dated 31 October 1947 addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan).

          “In regard to accession also it has been made clear that this is subject to reference to people of State and their decision.”

          (In telegram No.413 dated 28 October 1947 addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan).

          “That Government of India and Pakistan should make a joint request to U.N.O. to undertake a plebiscite in Kashmir at the earliest possible date.”
          (In telegram No. Primin-304 dated 8 November 1947 addressed to Prime Minister of Pakistan).

          “We have always right from the beginning accepted the idea of the Kashmir people deciding their fate by referendum or plebiscite………..”

          “Ultimately, the final decision of settlement, which must come, has first of all to be made basically by the people of Kashmir…….”

          (Statement at Press Conference in London, 16 January 1951, The Statesman, 18 January 1951).

          “But so far as the Government of India are concerned, every assurance and international commitment in regard to Kashmir stands.”

          (Statement in the Indian Council of States; 18 May 1954).

        2. Hi! Neel123,

          Indian army has killed 21 more Kashmirs children and women since June 27th, 2010 and entire occupied Kashmir is under day and night curfew. What a democracy you guys have in India?

          I hope you loved the comments made by your ex prime minister posted by me in my previous reply about Kashmir and his commitment to UNO.

          Can we do referendum in Kashmir by the Kashmirs????
          You know Neel Indian government is trying to avoid it since the year of 1947.

          I can bet you India Pakistan problem can be solved and these two countries could have peace.

  2. A sad state of affairs. Zardari and his cronies are finishing off what was left of the country. And even the pinheads from the army are getting a raw deal; I’m pretty sure those F16’s were supposed to be delivered over a decade ago. Mushy tried asking for F22’s as compensation for the delay some years ago and got told to get on his bike.

  3. When will Pakistanis learn? When will they rise up and put an end to this garbage? Who are these F-16s for? No one is interested in attacking a country in complete chaos – the despicable income gap, the shameful literacy rate, the inability of the government to provide the most basic services to its citizens. No one wants Pakistan!

    I feel helplessly sorry for my fellow Pakistanis every time I read about things like this. I pray to God this changes some day and that I can do something to help out.

  4. I see no ‘rationality’ in linking poverty with defence expenditure – i’ll prefer to stay hungry but to not compromise on defence.

    pverty is due to many other reasons and i wonder why they are not pointed out.

    Even families have to compromise on ‘food’ and ‘clothes’ to support ‘education’ and other needs.

    the actual causes of poverty should be mentioned then to compromise on other needs.

    1. With what the author has written and even then if you do not agree with that, one has to be ignorant to not see the rationality when there is ubiquitous poverty and privation…now if you manage to get your head out of your own backside then perhaps there is a chance!

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