President Zardari just settled the largest question that's been spinning around the study of Pakistan's history. In an interview with Dawn's Monthly "The Herald" he was asked:
Dawn: But the government stumbled into it... (referring to the looming threats of terrorism)
Zardari: No, you did not stumble into it. You were created out of it. You supported the winning side in World War II. Out of that conflict, the Muslims of the subcontinent asked for a country and got a country despite a lot of opposition. The then Pakistan was like what you see in the flood areas. There was no infrastructure. Roads were made, areas were brought under irrigation, and look at the per acre yield and the amount of industries you have now. And in between you are struggling for your survival and had five wars.
Wow. Let me repeat that. In his capacity as President of Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari has just said about the leadership of the Muslims of India, "You supported the winning side in World War II. Out of that conflict, the Muslims of the subcontinent asked for a country and got a country despite a lot of opposition". Wow.
You have to admire the historical honesty of that statement, moving beyond the government enforced historical amnesia of the Zia era, which I worry the late Benazir Bhutto could not get beyond, and into a world where information is available at your fingertips. This helps in clearing up a lot of problems of historicity people face in Pakistan. Good on Zardari for getting us beyond the hackneyed Ziaist narrative. One that lives on in the shadows of many of our television commentators.