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Oct 02nd
Home Columns Unsolicited Advice The SEATO Should Be Revived to Help Pakistan Secure its A-Bombs and Combat Terrorism
The SEATO Should Be Revived to Help Pakistan Secure its A-Bombs and Combat Terrorism PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Unsolicited Advice
Thursday, 27 December 2007 01:54

he assassination of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto may need the revival of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) to which the Philippines used to belong.

The SEATO counted before not only Pakistan but also Australia, France, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, the United States and United Kingdom as members.

The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty or the Manila Pact. Then President Ramon Magsaysay, the Philippines' most-popular President to date, was instrumental in organizing the SEATO. It was an international organization for collective defense. It was established on Sept. 8, 1954. It was primarily established to block further Communist gains in Southeast Asia. The organization's headquarters was located in Bangkok, Thailand. The SEATO was dissolved on June 30, 1977. At the time the SEATO was formed in Manila in 1954 up to 1972, Pakistan then included Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). It may be advisable for Bangladesh to be invited into a revived SEATO.

Perhaps the legacy of President Magsaysay should be revived. The primary purpose of the SEATO should now be to combat international terrorism. Another specific purpose may be to safeguard the atomic bombs of Pakistan, if and when the country is plunged further into chaos. The Islamic militantancy is the primary cause, among other reasons, of Pakistan’s instability.

The participation especially of the Philippines, Thailand, the United States and France – with their substantial Muslim minority population – may be advisable if Muslim peacekeeping divisions, engineering battalions and medical corps can be organized in the said countries and deployed. The entry of Bangladesh can be crucial as it is predominantly a Muslim country and it is now also the source of millions of overseas workers. Even the Philippines and Thailand are facing unrest in their Muslim-controlled provinces and perhaps peacekeepers from Bangladesh can help also maintain the fragile peace-and-order situation in Southern Philippines and the Muslim areas of Thailand, as well as Pakistan.

Perhaps Afghanistan can also be invited to join a revived SEATO, so that it can help the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries maintain peace in that country.

International terrorism has replaced communism as the biggest threat to the instability of Southeast Asia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Reviving the SEATO may pave the way also for the return of the French peacekeepers, if not a modern-day version of the French Foreign Legion, albeit composed of French Muslim soldiers. There is so much at stake, especially if the terrorists would be able to get hold of the atomic arsenal of Pakistan. The scenario can plunge the world back to the Middle Ages should the terrorists unleash the A-bombs on neighboring India and perhaps even China.

And perhaps the SEATO might as well invite Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Vietnam to join a revived collective-defense mechanism. China and Vietnam have a minority Muslim population and it will help of course if the SEATO peacekeepers deployed in its Islamic member countries belong also to the Muslim faith.

Here is an article from the Asia Society’s online digest: 'The Most Dangerous Place'
Veteran Pakistani journalist Imtiaz Gul provided an unblinking look at the situation in Pakistan's tribal areas last week at Asia Society New York. Noting that the current violence has its roots in past policy mistakes, Gul said, "I hope that the US treats Pakistan as a partner, and not as a project."  To read the article, please click on this link:
Watch: Pakistan's Lawless Frontier

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 June 2010 12:04
Comments (1)
1 Wednesday, 13 July 2011 11:52
As Posted in the Facebook by Edward Bondoc:

I concur with your article about revitalizing SEATO. It will diffuse situations such as in Spratly Is; deter other countries ulterior
motives; foster friendship; prevent/minimize arms race; enhance fair trade and labor practices; combat regional terrorism; prevent border clashes; control Pakistan's nuclear warheads; and instill harmony in Asia/Pacific region.

I guess the US assumption of China becoming a super power
and behaving itself was wrong. Now the bullying goes on..... Time for the PH to put that poker face and tell the world we won't back off.

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