The visit of a US scholar to Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, in which he delivered two lectures, one to journalists at the Peshawar Press Club and the other to students at the Peshawar University, has greatly been appreciated by the people.
The visit was arranged by the US Embassy, Islamabad. US Press Attache in Pakistan Elizabeth O. Colton, Ph.D and other officials were present at both the Press Club and University.
This type of visit will certainly strengthen the hands of those people, who have been fighting a difficult war against terrorism. This is the best way of winning a war against terrorism. Winning the hearts of the people is a must for helping defeat terrorism.
Actually, the terrorists want to create the type of atmosphere in the world where the people cannot mix with each other. But this latest initiative of US Embassy is a right step at the right time.
Pakistan's help is of vital significance for the US to establish peace in war-torn Afghanistan, and without its support Afghanistan can never be peaceful. Think-tank Brooking Institute's Dr Philip H Gordon during his lectures, said the American mission to stabilise Afghanistan was not possible without cooperation from Pakistan, which had entered a long-term strategic relationship with the US to reach this goal.
Dr Phillip said, "we are working together to ensure that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are completely flushed out from Pakistan" and adding, "The Bush administration fully supports democracy."
He said it was unfortunate that the partners on terror were victims of terror adding that more attention should be focused on the economy as poverty was the root-cause of most problems.
"We cannot win a war on terror through repression and violence alone as it will lead to more violence and turbulence," he said, adding that an influx of money and an economic boost could be the only remedies to the problem. He said the US, like other countries, had strategic interests that led to partnerships and added that geo-strategic politics creates relationships.
He added that President Pervez Musharraf was a strong United States ally in the on-going war on terror and that the American government highly valued the courageous and bold policies of the Pakistani government in this regard.
He admitted, however, that the strategic interests of the United States sometimes clashed with human rights interests that should be reviewed and taken into consideration to win over people 's hearts.
He agreed that the US should grant more aids and extend financial assistance to Pakistan as it is the major victim of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11. In response to the ups and downs in the US-Pak relationship in the past, he said the relationship was often dominated by negative images that should be replaced with positive ones.
Additionally, he added that the US was paying a heavy price for supporting Mujahideen in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion, and added that US forces should not have left Afghanistan at that crucial time. He maintained that the strategy of winning over the hearts of the people and a democratic set-up could be a lasting remedy to the growing threat of Muhahideen.
After the lecture the US scholar answered several questtions put farward by the newsmen. "The US scholars can guide us," said a journalist present there.