I like defense analyst Dr. Shireen M. Mazari for her blunt and direct style. But mostly I like her for her ability to offer Pakistani decision makers practical ideas to improve policy.
Take for example her advice to our politicians currently debating new terms of engagement with the United States. She suggests they add one more clause to their 30+ recommendations. This suggestion is simple: Ensure that a Pakistani note-taker is present in every meeting between Pakistani and American officials without exception.
This is a brilliant idea. Pakistan has suffered $70 billion dollars in losses, thousands killed and injured, and an unstable neighborhood thanks to helping an ungrateful Washington invade and occupy Afghanistan.
We got nothing in exchange for this help except headache. This happened because one general and several politicians failed to protect Pakistani interests while negotiating arrangements with the Americans. Former president and army chief Gen. Musharraf struck several verbal understandings with the Americans, and recently President Asif Zardari has been secretly meeting American emissaries at neutral locations like Dubai without informing the Pakistani government.
If a law is passed stipulating the presence of a note taker in all Pak-US interactions, this would help prevent the repeat of the disasters under presidents Musharraf and Zardari. This idea is standard practice in government-to-government relations. Unfortunately, it assumes an added importance in the context of our bad experience with untrustworthy allies like the Americans.
This idea is one of many that Dr. Mazari shares in her opinion piece on the story.