Remembering 9/11 – Dr Ramesh Kumar

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Exact 19 years ago on September 11, 2001, when the entire Pakistani nation was mourning the death anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, some global terrorists succeeded in targeting the world’s only superpower, the United States. The tragic incident of 9/11 was termed as the second largest attack on American soil after the Pearl Harbor attack during World War II.

The horrific 9/11 attack resulted in the loss of around 3000 innocent lives and more than 6000 were injured. Two passenger planes were hijacked to crash into the World Trade Center, which was the symbol of the US’s economic development. Within a few seconds, the twin towers collapsed and that horrible scene was broadcast live by TV channels all over the world.

Right after the 9/11 tragedy, the then US president George W Bush declared a ‘war on terror’. In my view, it was in fact a clear turning point in the history of modern time. In his first message after the attack, President Bush warned that the US would take strict action against the culprits. The leadership of other countries was also informed that there is no room for neutrality to curb terrorism and prompt action should be taken to support the United States.

At one end, Americans were in a state of grief and on the other end, the US government was active at the diplomatic front to form a global coalition against terrorism. On the very next day, very important resolutions were passed by the UN Security Council and General Assembly, paving the way for military action against terrorists and their hideouts.

General Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani ruler of that time, was among those few international figures whom the United States asked support immediately after the horrific attacks. Certainly, the situation in Pakistan was very tense and complicated due to its geo-strategic position and cordial ties with the Taliban regime. On the eastern border, India assured the US full cooperation by providing military bases. In the long-term national interest of Pakistan, it was decided to join the US-led global coalition against terrorism.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has had to pay a heavy price to support the ‘war on terror’. Extremist forces targeted Pakistan in retaliation. A series of suicide attacks were started across the country. According to an estimate, around 80,000 Pakistani people have lost their lives in this war on terror. We should acknowledge our brave armed forces and security institutions whose everlasting sacrifices and tireless struggle under the various operations have maintained peace throughout the country.

While expressing my heartfelt condolences to the victims of the World Trade Center tragic attack, I would like to say that every conflict of the world could be resolved through negotiation. During the last 19 years, the world has gone through enormous changes. In order to achieve national interests, friends and foes are being changed by every country on the diplomatic front. Today, the US is willing to have peace talks with all those forces against whom war was launched nineteen years ago. However, if the US wants to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, it should not repeat the mistakes made during the decade of the 1990s.

On the occasion of the death anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam, I also would like to remind the international community by quoting his statement regarding foreign policy in these words. “Our object should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with or immediate neighbors and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nation’s Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world”.