Karachi, Jan.20 (ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's niece Fatima Bhutto, has questioned the University of Texas's decision to name a chair of Pakistan Studies after Charlie Wilson, the man she says masterminded the creation of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In article protesting the move, Fatima Bhutto describes Wilson as "the notorious U.S. congressman who helped destabilize that country?
She says that an effort by the Pakistani diplomatic mission in Texas to raise funds for a chair of Pakistan Studies at the University of Texas in Austin and name it after Charlie Wilson, " is possibly the stupidest."
"Good-Time Charlie," as Wilson was affectionately known by Afghan warlords and Texan socialites alike, led Congress into supporting the CIA covert operation aimed at funneling money and arms into Afghanistan through Pakistan's military and secret services, the ISI.
That money, it should be said, did not go to Afghan refugees fleeing the Soviet's communist invasion. It went to the mujahideen in the form of 17 million dollars worth of anti-aircraft weapons, armaments, and other war toys.
By the end of 1983, she claims, Wilson had managed to siphon 300 million dollars of unused Pentagon cash to the Afghan mujahideen. Before they were the Taliban bad boys of the region, the mujahideen were one of Wilson's pet projects.
While she admits that she and her aunt, Benazir never agreed on much, Fatima says in her article that "the idea of such a chair would be one more thing we'd not see eye to eye on-she had quite a different relationship with the Taliban than I do."
Why Pakistan would choose to honor Wilson is beyond everyone, even the Texans. According to the university's newspaper, the Charlie Wilson Chair prompted several professors to send a letter to the dean questioning the naming of the chair.
The liberal arts development office at the university said that it "has not heard any concerns from the Pakistani community about the naming of the chair," she adds.
"Well if that's the case, count me as the first. There's no need to go back in history to find this choice outrageous. Wilson's legacy remains omnipresent in Pakistan. Inspired by the success of its neighbors, Pakistan now has their very own Taliban (thank you, Charlie), and the ISI continues to exert its might over the country in a distinctly undemocratic way," says Fatima Bhutto.
Fatima Bhutto is a graduate of Columbia University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She is currently at work on a book to be published by Jonathan Cape in 2010 and writes regularly for the New Statesman among other publications. Fatima lives and works in Karachi. (ANI)