Monday, November 16, 2009

India's Sane Voice Warns Against Smugness

Shekhar Gupta of Indian Express argues that India has "a stake in Pakistan’s survival and moderation as a democratic state" and warns against "utterly unconcealed sense of delight" about the daily carnage in Pakistan. Gupta cautions against the prevailing "smugness" in his country and adds, "This is not just the mood of the mobs here. Even the “intelligentsia”, the TV talking heads, opinion page columnists, government spokespersons, all have the same smug air of “I-told-you-so” and “so-what-else-did-they-expect” satisfaction. And they ask the same patronizing question: hell, can Pakistan be saved?"

Gupta concludes his piece by saying, "Time has therefore come to nuance our policy as well as national mood and psychology, to not merely reopen communication with Pakistan but to also make moves, offers, anything that will enhance the power and credibility of its government which, with all its faults, is still the most moderate of all forces in that region. Finally, time has also come to set in place some kind of diplomatic standard operating procedures in case more terror attacks take place because a third round of coercive diplomacy may spin out of control. We have to now demonstrate a stake in Pakistan’s survival and moderation as a democratic state. Just bombing somebody there in anger won’t work, because people who are targeting us are also targeting the rest of the modern world, from Chicago to Copenhagen."

Here is the complete text of Gupta's column published by the Indian Express:

My alma mater of 12 wonderful years in journalism, India Today, just came out with a provocative idea on its cover: Can Pakistan Be Saved? I, however, dare to suggest that in India we need to ask that question a little differently: Should Pakistan Be Saved? Then you can proceed with follow-on questions and corollaries: is it good or bad for us if Pakistan is saved/ not saved? And if we conclude that it is good for us, in fact of vital interest to us, that Pakistan is not only “saved” but emerges a stronger, stabler, moderate, modernizing and democratic nation through its current crisis, then we need to think what we can do to help that process.

For too long now both India and Pakistan have had their judgment clouded by contemptuous distrust of each other. The Pakistanis refer to us as their enemies rather more freely. We are a bit more cautious, hypocritical, and non-Punjabi about the use of such direct language. But let’s be honest. Can we deny the fact that every new terror attack on the Pakistani establishment, every development that marks a further decline in the authority of its government is greeted with an utterly unconcealed sense of delight? This is not just the mood of the mobs here. Even the “intelligentsia”, the TV talking heads, opinion page columnists, government spokespersons, all have the same smug air of “I-told-you-so” and “so-what-else-did-they-expect” satisfaction. And they ask the same patronising question: hell, can Pakistan be saved?

One has to be brave, even foolhardy, to go against a flood of such national unanimity. But you have to now debate if it will be good for India that Pakistan continues to slide. Or, do we have the wherewithal to deal with whatever is left behind, if Pakistan does not survive? Can we deal with five anarchic, angry “stans” instead of one next door to us, with no central authority to share a hotline with? Would we prefer to live with a nuclear-armed anarchy that listens to nobody? What use will coercive diplomacy be then? Who will we bomb?

It is time therefore to stop jubilating at the unfolding tragedy in Pakistan. India has to think of becoming a part of the solution. And that solution lies in not merely saving Pakistan — Pakistan will survive. It has evolved a strong nationalism that does bind its people even if that does not reflect in its current internal dissensions. It is slowly building a democratic system, howsoever imperfect. But it has a very robust media and a functional higher judiciary. Also, in its army, it has at least one national institution that provides stability and continuity. The question for us is, what kind of Pakistan do we want to see emerging from this bloodshed? What if fundamentalists of some kind, either religious or military or a combination of both, were to take control of Islamabad? The Americans will always have the option of cutting their losses and leaving. They have a long history of doing that successfully, from Vietnam to Iraq and maybe Afghanistan next. What will be our Plan-B then?

Smugness breeds intellectual laziness. Maybe that is why we feel so comforted with the idea of outsourcing the responsibility of stabilizing and moderating the Pakistani state and society to the Americans. We talk of their Af-Pak strategy as if it is some funny superpower game being played some place far, far away. We laugh at their failures just as we smile the cynical “didn’t-I-know-it-was-coming” smile each time Islamabad receives a knock from its own terrorists. This is delusional. As the Americans would say, the sooner we get off this kerb, the better.

Both, as a responsible and important regional power, as well as a permanent resident in this very nasty neighborhood, we cannot leave our future to the Americans and sit back. We have to be constructively pro-active now. We may not like this government of Pakistan, or we may not think they have as much power as a government should have, but we have to talk to it. It’s now been a year since communication broke down after 26/11 and the prime minister’s effort to break out at Sharm el-Sheikh ran into the wall of accumulated prejudice and anger. That process has to be resumed now. We can sacrifice another two or more generations waiting and that perfect moment to make one more peace move to Pakistan may never come. So look at this as a reasonably good moment to do so.

As the Headley-Rana revelations show, nothing can guarantee another terror attack will not happen in India. It also shows that what we now face is not just the ISI or groups controlled by it. They may still play footsie with some limbs of this monster but essentially it is now out of their control. Our supreme national interest lies in Islamabad winning its own war on terror. It can be nobody’s case that the terrorists should win this war. Your enemy’s enemy being your friend is an unquestionable truism. But in this case, the enemy’s enemy will in fact be a larger threat so we must hope that the “enemy” wins and do what we can to help it in that war.

Time has therefore come to nuance our policy as well as national mood and psychology, to not merely reopen communication with Pakistan but to also make moves, offers, anything that will enhance the power and credibility of its government which, with all its faults, is still the most moderate of all forces in that region. Finally, time has also come to set in place some kind of diplomatic standard operating procedures in case more terror attacks take place because a third round of coercive diplomacy may spin out of control. We have to now demonstrate a stake in Pakistan’s survival and moderation as a democratic state. Just bombing somebody there in anger won’t work, because people who are targeting us are also targeting the rest of the modern world, from Chicago to Copenhagen.


Here's how I understand Shekhar Gupta's arguments:

If terrorism continues to grow in Pakistan and the terrorists, who are a very small minority in a nation of 170 million, score any significant victories, more frequent and bigger attacks in India will become inevitable. Some of these attacks will precipitate a much more deadly conflict between India and Pakistan that will destroy both nations. The gung-ho urban middle class in India which seems to be enjoying the death and destruction in Pakistan will become the biggest losers of India-Pak conflict. A strong Pakistani democratic and moderate state that delivers economic well-being is the only hope for India to prevent this from happening.

I think Gupta's analysis is spot on.

Related Links:

Is Pakistan Too Big to Fail?

Our faff-Pak Policy

Obama's Retreat in Mid East and South Asia

Pakistan is Not Falling

Can India Do a Lebanon in Pakistan?

Gaza Killings---Spectator Sport in Israel

Indians' Old Obsession With Pakistan

Pakistan On the Brink

68 comments:

anoop said...

Really good article by Shekhar Gupta. I second every word. Pakistan may not be failing according to me but we can get a lot of goodwill and respect by being the "bigger person". Sure, the terror they are facing today are due to their own idiotic policies from the not-so-distant past. But, those actions were by a institution that is not accountable to anyone in Pakistan-Its army. Now, its army could be cut to size if we talk ONLY to the civilian govt and give the impression that we are trying to empower them. We are morally on a higher ground here and we can drive home our point without hurting their egos. We have to be the "bigger man" now.

Anonymous said...

read the comments section of Shekhar's article.

The first one says

"hekhar, you are living in cuckoo land. The whole reason for Pakistan's existence is the hatred of India and its determination to destroy India (Much like the Arab countries who are hell bent on the destruction of Israel). "

Vishal said...

Mr Riaz,

I am fully with you when you write that Pakistan is too big to fall. Surely the chaos in Pakistan is not in Indian long term interests.

But then, the smugs : “I-told-you-so” and “so-what-else-did-they-expect” are but natural given the historic enmity between the two states and Pakistan's role in supporting militants in both Afghanistan and Kashmir.

But where I totally disagree with you is:

1) Your characterization of Afghan Taliban being 'pure' and Pakistani Taliban being bad, in one of your earlier blog entry.

2) Your stories about implication of all sort of external agencies like RAW, Blackwater, CIA and not a single article denouncing the fact that there are over 10,000 Taliban militants (as claimed by Pak military) who have actually been allowed to control a better part of Pakistani territory by successive Pakistani governments.

What's happening in Pakistan is indeed horrible. The almost daily attacks on innocent citizens are totally inhumane. But then there are questions which remain un-answered:

1) Why (only) Pakistan? Why not Saudi Arabia, why not other middle eastern countries?
2) Why there are 10,000+ militants controlling a large part of territory, where state has had almost no writ for a very long time.
3) Why a "large" number of attacks in the world have Pakistani connection
4) Why even after so many attacks, Pakistani people don't unequivocally denounce Taliban?

Riaz Haq said...

Vishal: "Your characterization of Afghan Taliban being 'pure' and Pakistani Taliban being bad, in one of your earlier blog entry."

This is false. I never used the word "pure" to describe any Taliban factions. On the contrary, I think all Taliban are a problem for peace in South Asia, I have said this in many posts.

Vishal: "Your stories about implication of all sort of external agencies like RAW, Blackwater, CIA and not a single article denouncing the fact that there are over 10,000 Taliban militants (as claimed by Pak military) who have actually been allowed to control a better part of Pakistani territory by successive Pakistani governments."

I back up everything I say with reasons why I say so. Taliban have not been "allowed". They are there because of the US invasion of Afghanistan and Pak military has been fighting them and losing soldiers. More Pakistanis have died in war on terror than any other people, except may be Iraqis.

Anonymous said...

Anoop: But, those actions were by a institution that is not accountable to anyone in Pakistan-Its army. Now, its army could be cut to size if we talk ONLY to the civilian govt and give the impression that we are trying to empower them.

Anoop I have tickets for you to DisneyLand.

Anonymous said...

"More Pakistanis have died in war on terror than any other people, except may be Iraqis."

Yeah so?? In this case the victim and the aggressors are both same people with same ideologies. The only difference is that the aggressors have access to weapons.

Why would anyone have any sympathy for Pakistanis the same way like victims of 9/11.

anoop said...

"Anoop I have tickets for you to DisneyLand."

hehe.. I know my words seem unrealistic-that Pakistan army will never cede control to Civilians like we have in India. But, its worth a try. We have to show the world that we are above these petty politics. We are. We only think about Pakistan when there is a terror attack or there some sleeper cells are caught here. Pakistan news is strictly restricted to the International section in our newspapers.
We are a great nation with power and as spider-man says,"With great power comes great responsibility". :)
That is why I said though we may not decide who has the upper hand in Pakistan,i.e,. Military or Civilians we should uphold the values that India and Indians believe in-Democracy,Civilian Supremacy,etc..

anoop said...

"Taliban have not been "allowed"."

---> Riaz, it is widely understood that Musharraf let the Taliban enter Pakistani territory intentionally. Even, the US was wrong in not forcing Musharraf to taking action. It is by the account of that single action of Musharraf that the Taliban were able to re-energize and plot attacks in Afghanistan. This also led to the creation of Radical Islamist groups that came together under the umbrella organization-TTP. So, you see Pakistan miscalculated in thinking, "Taliban will stay here till the Americans leave and go back to rule Kabul after that". They never thought that they are bringing with them a Radical mindset that would infect Pakistan and which is responsible for Pakistan's suffering now.!
I am glad that you think there is no good or bad Taliban. That is what India has been saying all along!

Vishal said...

>>This is false. I never used the word "pure" to describe any Taliban factions.

Ok let me search at least one source. Ok here it is. I quote your comment from your blog post http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/10/taliban-or-raw-liban.html

**This is not "The Taliban" from Afghanistan, some of whom are ideologues and purists.**

>>I back up everything I say with reasons why I say so. Taliban have not been "allowed". They are there because of the US invasion of Afghanistan

I have 2 issues:
1) If the so called agencies are the real cause of terror, then why is Pakistan government silent? Why not like Kasab's identity expose those people to the world, unless these are pure rumours. And if they are, don't they serve the purpose of absolving Taliban for their acts of terror?

2) Your assertion that Taliban are there because of the US invasion of Afghanistan, is only half truth. The other half is that it was Pakistan and US which created them. Taliban only turned against their creators when the creators turned against them.

My only point here is, if there were mistakes in the past, why not acknowledge them and why not make sure they are never repeated? When Bush said with-us-or-against-us, there were nations which said with-no-one. And if Pakistan stood with US and is already in a war against Taliban, why not treat Taliban like a real enemy?

Vishal said...

Mr Haq,

I still stand pretty much on the same page as Mr Shekhar Gupta. A safe and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interests. I think its the duty of India to help Pakistan get rid of extreme elements and if they are not doing that, its a blunder.

But all said and done, my only grouse against Pakistanis has been that inspite of the daily heinous attacks, in-spite of the soldiers fighting Taliban, there are many-many supporters of hard line Taliban ideology as reflected by articles on the web and television videos on the internet. And that is something which is at times really painful.

Riaz Haq said...

Vishal: "in-spite of the soldiers fighting Taliban, there are many-many supporters of hard line Taliban ideology as reflected by articles on the web and television videos on the internet. And that is something which is at times really painful."

That is absolutely a problem. But the numbers of such people is dwindling fast. The support for military action against the Talibs is very strong right now, according to all the polls data from IRI and Gallup.

Vishal said...

>>But the numbers of such people is dwindling fast. The support for military action against the Talibs is very strong right now, according to all the polls data from IRI and Gallup.


I am happy to hear that.

I wish Taliban are removed for once and all, and this be a lesson for the entire region to not get their hands dirty for short term goals, and perhaps not involve with US in regional power games.

Anonymous said...

Riaz, Pls read this

http://www.dailypioneer.com/215941/Ignoring-smoke-signals.html

As an indian pls explain why I should not happy if Pakistan suffers from terrorism inflicted upon it by its own people.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "As an indian pls explain why I should not happy if Pakistan suffers from terrorism inflicted upon it by its own people."

Here's how I understand Shekhar Gupta's arguments:

If terrorism continues to grow in Pakistan and the terrorists, who are a very small minority in a nation of 170 million, score any significant victories, more frequent and bigger attacks in India will become inevitable. Some of these attacks will precipitate a much more deadly conflict between India and Pakistan that will destroy both nations. The gung-ho urban middle class in India which seems to be enjoying the death and destruction in Pakistan will become the biggest losers of India-Pak conflict. A strong Pakistani democratic and moderate state that delivers economic well-being is the only hope for India to prevent this from happening.

I think Gupta's analysis is spot on.

Anonymous said...

I don't think so. In the last one year after Mumbai attacks, there hasn't been any attack in india by jihadis. One reason may be that the govt has stepped up security (faced with no choice). I am willing to bet India will have to suffer much less than the imminent destruction of Pakistan. Let pakistan be eaten by this cancer.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "I am willing to bet India will have to suffer much less than the imminent destruction of Pakistan. Let pakistan be eaten by this cancer."

It is obvious that you are very self-assured and intense in your hatred of Pakistan and express your fervent wish for "imminent destruction" of your neighbor. That's what Gupta is referring to in his piece....the mood of the Indian "mob" and "the intelligentsia".

Unfortunately, it is hard to predict terrorist attacks any where in the world, much less in South Asia. What worries me and should worry you, as it worries Shekhar Gupta, is that " a third round of coercive diplomacy may spin out of control". If it does, we are talking about the potential for a nuclear holocaust in South Asia that will not spare Pakistanis or Indians or others in the region.

Anonymous said...

since you agree with Riaz because this is your wishful thinking, I am presenting my wishful thinking. As Pak continues to get deeper into this morass, at the tipping point, US forces, with India and Israel will simply seize pak nukes and after that pak will be left to rot. In fact one can hear the giant flush sound of Pak being flushed down the toilet like a used condom.

Vishal said...

@anon
>>One reason may be that the govt has stepped up security (faced with no choice)

Lol !! Need I say more :)

Well, I don't agree with Mr Riaz on quite a lot of issues, but your statement is basically ridiculous. Just take a visit to any railway station in India and you would know for good about the "stepped up security". USA's budget for just the homeland security is $1 trillion. You can imagine how many trillions it would require for India to provide the terrorist proof security cover.

anoop said...

"If terrorism continues to grow in Pakistan and the terrorists, who are a very small minority in a nation of 170 million, score any significant victories, more frequent and bigger attacks in India will become inevitable. Some of these attacks will precipitate a much more deadly conflict between India and Pakistan that will destroy both nations. The gung-ho urban middle class in India which seems to be enjoying the death and destruction in Pakistan will become the biggest losers of India-Pak conflict. A strong Pakistani democratic and moderate state that delivers economic well-being is the only hope for India to prevent this from happening."

--> I partly agree with your comments. If Pakistan blows up India might face attacks. It MIGHT. But, we can always lock our borders and patrol the seas like the Americans do to the Mexicans.. We will definitely not end up in a situation like the kind Pakistan is in right now. But, why take the risk of nukes getting into the hands of the Islamic nutjobs? Hence,for India Pakistan's stability is important.

Anonymous said...

"But, why take the risk of nukes getting into the hands of the Islamic nutjobs? Hence,for India Pakistan's stability is important."

this is the main cause of worry. Unlike India, Pak has no future (even though Riaz would love to believe otherwise). So they can easily have suicidal tendencies. But before they are wiped out they would like to see India getting hurt badly.
Notice how Pakistanis on TV always talk about mushroom cloud over Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai. No Indian politician or self styles analyst ever talks in the same language.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from an interesting NPR radio report about Indians' obsession with Pakistan:

Many analysts believe India's biggest foreign policy challenge these days is its rivalry with China.

But changing attitudes about Pakistan isn't going to be easy. The subject dominates India's news media, which often makes no attempt to disguise its bias. A recent television newscast used the phrase "most preposterous" to describe a position espoused by Pakistan's interior minister.

"It's hysterical. It's absolutely, totally unprofessional," says Seema Mustafa, editor of India's Covert magazine. "I think the television channels have actually forgotten they are journalists, and they've become advocates for war."

She says the relationship between India and Pakistan is a paradox. "At the individual level, it turns into a whole level of camaraderie. And at the political level, it is akin to hate," Mustafa says.

Indians who take a hard-line stance on Pakistan sometimes display a strangely contradictory view of that country, Mustafa says.

"People who have been sort of going hammer and tongs about nuking Pakistan — of taking your army across and finishing that country — are people I have seen visit Islamabad and be even friendlier with the Pakistanis. And the families all start visiting each other, big gifts are taken. Then after that, they come back and say the same thing," Mustafa says.


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120470801

Anonymous said...

... about Indians' obsession with Pakistan ...

Apart from the scribes and a few ideologues - you see them on your blog - outside of cricket, most Indians have long gotten over their obsession with Pakistan. The govt of India needs to be obsessed with Pakistan - as it is. Mustafa can generalize her anecdotal data - doesn't change reality.

Pakistan - on the other hand - has chosen to define itself as "not-India". It makes a concerted attempt to identify with the Arabs (conveniently ignoring large, virulently anti-Arab Iran in between). The (non-Madrassa) school syllabi reek of anti-Hindu diatribe. The less said about the Madrassa "syllabus" the better. Add the ease with which conspiracy theories spread among the Pakistani media and "elite" and you have a perpetual storm (in a teacup). If it's not the US doing map-making then, then it's Indian "hegemonistic ambitions" or "mischeif"; or Israeli "evil design"; or the faviroite: the axis-of-evil US-India-Israel doing the crusader-yahood-hindu thing to bring down the "Citadel of Islam". Truth is the Citadel of Islam is chopping away at itself like an inveterate leper - no help needed.

anoop said...

@Anonymous,

A comment by Seymour Hersh in the Newyorker came to my mind. In that one of the Pakistan's man in uniform said the nuclear bomb has done the opposite it is supposed to do. He said now they have to protect and guard the nukes than the other way around!
Says a lot about the situation in Pakistan.

anoop said...

@Anonymous,
"Apart from the scribes and a few ideologues - you see them on your blog - outside of cricket, most Indians have long gotten over their obsession with Pakistan. The govt of India needs to be obsessed with Pakistan - as it is. Mustafa can generalize her anecdotal data - doesn't change reality."

--> Exactly. India can be India. India is a historical state and has been for thousands of years. Pakistan has to define what it really is. They said their culture is different than the Indian's and we need partition. But,the culture they are most fond of is ours, they express is by watching our movies,TV soaps,listening to our songs,etc. I dont know how a average Pakistani defines his identity. If he goes for a identity based on Islam, he will be reminded of the creation of Bangladesh where Pakistanis butchered fellow Muslims. So the identity based on Religion is out of the question or they would have to answer that unnerving and deeply embarrassing question like why did we kill Muslims in Bangladesh?
Now,what identity is left? You can be anti-India! Or,not-India.

Riaz Haq said...

anoop: "Exactly. India can be India. India is a historical state and has been for thousands of years...."

Don't be so sure. Speaking about it last April, the US South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Brookings Institution said, " But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated".

Nationhood is not very old concept. It has come in vogue no more than a couple of centuries ago. Before that it was allegiance to cities or tribes etc. brought together by force of arms under great empires such as Roman, British, Russian, Omayyad, Abbasid, Ottomans, etc. When these empires fell, anarchy and violence often ensued that took a terrible toll on many of their components.

Nationhood is a concept that is usually more psychological rather than physical. Name any nation, and you'll see differences in ethnicity, tribe, caste, culture, religion, sects, etc etc. Symbols of nationhood such as national anthems, flags, speeches etc are usually manufactured, as is the rhetoric to hold the nation's together. But what practically holds them together is a sense of shared interest and fear of outside enemies.

anoop said...

"Don't be so sure. Speaking about it last April, the US South Asia expert Stephen Cohen of Brookings Institution said, " But there is no all-Indian Hindu identity—India is riven by caste and linguistic differences, and Aishwarya Rai and Sachin Tendulkar are more relevant rallying points for more Indians than any Hindu caste or sect, let alone the Sanskritized Hindi that is officially promulgated"."

---> Absolutely. You are correct but Indianess doesn't have to be associated with his Religion. That is a person's private matter and he can be whoever he want and can do anything that is within the boundaries of law. India was not formed based on the identity of Religion and hence a secular,democratic constitution was framed. This is the real secret of Indian unity and identity. Its very identity is so flexible that it can incorporate all kinds of views. It promotes a plural society.
We have already seen the proof of that plural society when Dr.Manmohan Singh, being a Sikh takes oath under a Muslim president(back in 2004) with regard to a seat vacated by a catholic in a country where 80% of population is Hindu.
Let me give you another example of how India is evolving. Take the 2 most popular pastimes in India- Indian Film Industry and Cricket.
We have unending line of non-Hindu(mainly Muslim) stars in our Film industry. Mind you this is a medium that runs purely on People's whims and wishes. You cant shove any star down their throat and ask them to glamorize them and worship them.
In cricket you will always find there is no distinction between a Hindu player and a non-Hindu player. Harbhajan is respected as much as a Zaheer is or a Dravid is. They all deserve our accolades because they are playing for India and not a Hindu Republic of India.
Pakistan becoming just Pakistan and not Islamic Republic of Pakistan goes against the very idea of Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

anoop: "I quote your comment from your blog post http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/10/taliban-or-raw-liban.html

**This is not "The Taliban" from Afghanistan, some of whom are ideologues and purists.**"

The way I have used "purists" after "ideologues" does not mean they are "pure" or "good". It simply means they are much more focused on fighting an identified enemy occupation they target in Afghanistan, rather than ordinary civilians.

There is no power, US, India or Pak, that can kill or jail all of the Taliban...there are simply too many and they have too much support among Pashtoons in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead, a more practical approach is to isolate and defeat the most violent and dedicated fighters and then work with the rest to reform them and lead them to a more peaceful region and the world.

Anonymous said...

"They all deserve our accolades because they are playing for India and not a Hindu Republic of India.
Pakistan becoming just Pakistan and not Islamic Republic of Pakistan goes against the very idea of Pakistan."

Tarek Fatah, a Pakistani Canadian and a known critic of fundamental Islam, Sharia and Hijab has mentioned in his wonderful book "Chasing a Mirage, the tragic illusion of an Islamic State" that the tolerance in south asian culture is mainly a product of Indian culture (read Hinduism).

Pak can not show a single case of A R Rahman type convert who had a successful career. heck the person will not be even alive next day if he converts out of islam.

Sometime back Indian supreme court declassified homosexuality or lesbianism as a crime. Irfan Hussain mentioned how in Pakistan the society would encourage killing of any homo/lesbian.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "that the tolerance in south asian culture is mainly a product of Indian culture (read Hinduism)."

It's clear that Tarek Fattah has little knowledge and no experience of living as Sikh in Delhi in 1984 or a Muslim in Gujarat in 2002 or a Christian in Orissa in 2008.

Fanatics of all religions, Abrahamic or other, are all alike.

Fattah needs to read the extensive research by Prof Paul Brass of what he calls India's anti-minorities "riot machine" run by the Sangh Parivar.

anoop said...

Musharaf Zaidi speaks against the structural and societal issues that has given rise to and sustain extremist ideology in Pakistan.

http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=209046

He even compares and contrasts Pakistan to US and India where democracy is flourishing and incidents are few and far between.

Vishal said...

This was what I was talking about:

Taliban did not attack GHQ: political party in a rally

http://thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=209323

It seems Taliban are strong enough to take control of a large Pakistani territory, but alas not strong enough to attack GHQ. :)

And Mr Shahbaz again rapping India for all the troubles in Pakistan, mentioning proof but no proof.

Why shouldn't Indians get riled up hearing all this?

Riaz Haq said...

Vishal: "And Mr Shahbaz again rapping India for all the troubles in Pakistan, mentioning proof but no proof.
Why shouldn't Indians get riled up hearing all this?"

It's routine in India to blame every thing on ISI and Pakistan where scant evidence exists. Take the case of Samjhota Express blast that killed a large number of Pakistanis was carried out by Purohit and the gang but blamed by India's IB on ISI.

SM Mushrif, the author of "Who Killed Karkare?" and former police chief of Maharashtra state, has raised some very serious questions about the role of the Indian intelligence in the increasing violence committed by Hindutva outfits against India's minorities, and how India's Intelligence Bureau diverts attention from it by falsely accusing Indian Muslims and Pakistan's ISI, as was done in Malegaon and Samjutha Express blasts.

http://www.riazhaq.com/2009/10/terror-in-india-who-killed-karkare.html

Vishal said...

You raised 2 points here:

1) Samjhauta Express Bombing
2) Karkare's death

As for 1, both the accused "Prasad Shrikant Purohit" and "Pragya Singh Thankur" as of now are "behind bars" and the case is with the court. Note it's the Indian investigative agencies which unearthed them.

As per 2, yes this has been a major controversy, and one big reason has been the missing "faulty bullet proof jacket". But then, there have been many demands about enquiry and many more articles in the press about investigation.

But both these are nothing when compared to what is happening in Pakistan. At one side Pakistani forces are fighting Taliban and there is chaos, and on other side there are Pakistani people which support them.

Isn't it obvious? Few years back Pakistan supported Taliban, and they used to restrict their dirty games to Afghanistan. Now, you are siding with their enemies (read US), its but natural they would reply back in kind. Why didn't the Pakistani leadership think about this beforehand, and if they did, why be in such a dual state of apologetic attitude blaming everyone for their misfortunes.

Riaz Haq said...

Vishal, I understand your desire to deny or explain away the heinous role of the Hindutva terror outfits in framing Indian Muslims and blaming the ISI for all of their own misdeeds. But if you seriously want to understand the role of radical Hindus in India, I suggest what Mushrif has written.

In Hemant Karkare’s net (of investigations, of course) many big and small fishes of VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Sanatan Sanstha (which has been found to be involved in Diwali-eve blasts in Goa) had been trapped. Serving and retired army officers, academics, serving and retired officials of India’s premier intelligence service were ensnared in Karkare’s fishing net. The menacing power of the latter groups, inspired by sustained anti-Muslim hate campaigns of the last six decades, gave the plot a sinister and highly destructive character.

Among the plans unearthed by Karkare was a blueprint for the assassination of 70 prominent Indians who could by a hindrance to the project of Hindutva. Interestingly, most of the persons marked for elimination would, naturally, be Hindus because it is they who primarily run the dispensation. The conspirators were also unhappy with organizations whose Hindutva they suspected to be less virulent than desired.

Mushrif believes that the Indian IB is up to its neck in conspiring with the Hindutva groups against Muslims and creating troule between India and Pakistan, and now one of the former IB leaders KC Verma is heading RAW as of early this year.

The power establishment that really runs the affairs of this country (Mushrif says it is not Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh or Rahul Gandhi) does not want to expose the Hindutva terrorists.

Vishal said...

Well you take 1 incident by some nut-jobs who happened to be Hindus and choose to weave stories around that. Good for you !! I would hate to say that, but how many thousands of terrorist incidents (out of religious hatred) occur every year and what percentage of them are committed by Muslims?

But the fact that it is an "Indian Muslim" who wrote this book and Indians are accepting this as a point of view.

In Pakistan that would have been quickly passed as blasphemy and the writer killed. (particularly if the writer was not a Muslim)

Riaz Haq said...

Vishal: "Well you take 1 incident by some nut-jobs who happened to be Hindus and choose to weave stories around that. Good for you !! "

You either don't understand the facts here, are you are choosing to deliberately dismiss the facts.

It's not me, but a very senior retired Indian official who has the inside knowledge that you are dismissing....and then diverting attention by talking about him being a Muslim rather than paying attention to what he wrote.

Anonymous said...

india oops taliban sends 16 more pakis to jahannum.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091119/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

That's your score of the day. I hope it continues daily.

Anonymous said...

here is one more today in NYT. Another Paki army officer arrested for international terrorism. Of course you can say NYT is a biased paper and only S M Mushrif has monopoly over the truth.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/19/world/asia/19mumbai.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=headley&st=cse

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Another Paki army officer arrested for international terrorism. Of course you can say NYT is a biased paper and only S M Mushrif has monopoly over the truth."

There is no question that Pakistan has a terrorism problem and it's dealing with it on a daily basis. But does that mean that the problems that Mushrif points to do not exist in India? Aren't a number of serving, not just retired, Indian Army officers as well as IB officials implicated by Mushrif? Haven't there been bomb blasts involving Indian right-wing Hindu groups in India, the most recent one on Diwali eve in Goa?

Anonymous said...

"There is no question that Pakistan has a terrorism problem and it's dealing with it on a daily basis."

the world does not care if bombs go off in Pak due to their own people. that is for pak to deal with. The world is concerned with Pak doing it to others, most notably India.

" But does that mean that the problems that Mushrif points to do not exist in India? Aren't a number of serving, not just retired, Indian Army officers as well as IB officials implicated by Mushrif? Haven't there been bomb blasts involving Indian right-wing Hindu groups in India, the most recent one on Diwali eve in Goa?"

There is nothing to indicate that what Mushrif has claimed in his book is even 25% true, let alone 100%.

India's right wing group is still a fringe and is not an issue to even india, what to talk about other countries. Despite your exaggerations (based on muslim Mushrif's blabber), India is not seen fostering extremists the way Pak did since Zia's era and are now paying the price.

Also you can stop quoting self on Pak's so called allegation against india for the current turmoil. Let NYT etc talk about it first. Yesterday Gilani claimed that proof will be provided at 'suitable' time. Your grandson will be waiting for that suitable time.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "India is not seen fostering extremists the way Pak did since Zia's era and are now paying the price."

The key words here are "not seen fostering extremists". That's exactly the kind of inside information Mushrif reveals in his timely book. By the time it's "seen" by ordinary folks in India and the world, it'll be tnoo late.

Meanwhile, the India IB folks will continue to protect the right-wing Hindu bombers and divert attention by blaming Indian Muslims and/or ISI.

Anonymous said...

"The key words here are "not seen fostering extremists". That's exactly the kind of inside information Mushrif reveals in his timely book. By the time it's "seen" by ordinary folks in India and the world, it'll be tnoo late. "

sure. whatever you say sir. It is your blog and you can write anything you want. Who am I do dispute it :-)

"Meanwhile, the India IB folks will continue to protect the right-wing Hindu bombers and divert attention by blaming Indian Muslims and/or ISI."

It seems India does a far better job in convincing rest of the world , specially the west. heck, Pak can't even convince its own people that India is behind attacks. What to talk about slap by Clinton or Holbroke.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "It seems India does a far better job in convincing rest of the world , specially the west."

I don't disagree.

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8367612.stm

Indian justice system is punishing those who attacked christians in orissa. Can the same be said about Pakistan when Ahmediyas and Shias, Christians and Hindus are killed.
In India there is no way a TV program will be shown asking for muslims to be killed. Watch Dr. Israr Ahmed's program where he advocates killing of Ahmediyas on account of being burtad.

anoop said...

"Mushrif believes that the Indian IB is up to its neck in conspiring with the Hindutva groups against Muslims and creating troule between India and Pakistan, and now one of the former IB leaders KC Verma is heading RAW as of early this year."

---> So,you think India is responsible for Mumbai incident and covering up. If my fellow Indians hadn't died in that incident i'd have laughed it off. Ok lets say India is responsible and not Pakistan. Then,
1)why did Pakistan accept that conspirators from its soil?
2)Why did the UN security council banned JUD? Was India able to fool all the premier intelligence agencies in the world,including Pakistan's?
3)Who is Kasab? And,why did you TV channels went in search of his identity,story which brought Pakistani govt to its knees and were forced to accept he is a Pakistani?
4)Why is the world silent about this incident when it is so obvious for a middle aged guy sitting in front of a computer?
5)Is that guy who wrote the book a intelligence guy and I didnt know people in bureaucracy had this intimate knowledge about Intelligence matters? How does he know all this? He has some mighty intelligence knowledge!
6)Why on earth has the Pakistani govt banned a "charity" organization like JuD? Isn't it criminal to ban an organization that has done so much for Muslims?

Riaz, suggesting India and Indians were responsible for Mumbai is like saying 9/11 was done by Isreal and Indian agents. You can even argue that America let it happen intentionally so that it can achieve its "strategic objectives".

"You either don't understand the facts here, are you are choosing to deliberately dismiss the facts.

--->WHAT FACTS?????? You are connecting dots that dont even exist!
I spoke about the newyorker video about paranoia in Pakistan. I had also mentioned about how increasingly Pakistan's elite,educated are believing non-nonsensical conspiracy theories. You,my friend,belong to that category. Its so sad that educated men like you believe in this crap. What is more alarming is there are many educated,privileged even secular minded Pakistanis who are like you. I'll give you the link again in the hope you will approve it.

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/11/11/world/1247465633296/tuning-out-the-taliban.html

I see a country suffering from deep paranoia and cant decide which side of the fence they live in. I see a country where yesteryear's friend's have become today's enemies.

"It's routine in India to blame every thing on ISI and Pakistan where scant evidence exists. Take the case of Samjhota Express blast that killed a large number of Pakistanis was carried out by Purohit and the gang but blamed by India's IB on ISI."

--> Dont forget its the sinister Indian intelligence and not any non-Indian institutions that broke the plot about Samjhota blasts and Melegaun. You guys didnt even accept that Kasab was a Pakistan until it was inevitable! See how effective and honest our agencies are? Pakistan also blindly accepted like us it was terrorists from their side just because its so easy to believe that as Pakistan has become in this decade the epicenter of Terror.
WE and our Intelligence agency headed by a Hindu revealed the Plot about those blasts.

"The power establishment that really runs the affairs of this country "

--> I've no words Riaz. Only a fellow Pakistani(sane one that is) can counter this argument. I being a voter know its not true and frankly,I dont need anyone else to believe that. But, if its THAT important for you to think India is actually run by its intelligence agencies to justify all the stupid,nonsensical things you keep talking about go ahead. This argument doesnt hurt me or my country in any way. So good luck with convincing people about this argument.
At this time I am reminded of words from the video where a Pakistani observer points out the sickness that is engulfing Pakistan in the form of Patriot-conservative-Islamist apologists..

Riaz Haq said...

anoop: "So,you think India is responsible for Mumbai incident and covering up."

No, I did not suggest that anywhere. But what Mushrif says stands. Mushrif believes that the extremist Sangh Parivar, with IB's help, took advantage of the opportunity created by Mumbai terror attacks to eliminate Karkare. Karkare's mysterious death, the appt of pliable Raguvanshi and the subsequent dismissal of some of the charges against Purohit support Mushrif's charges of collusion.

anoop said...

"No, I did not suggest that anywhere. But what Mushrif says stands. Mushrif believes that the extremist Sangh Parivar, with IB's help, took advantage of the opportunity created by Mumbai terror attacks to eliminate Karkare. Karkare's mysterious death, the appt of pliable Raguvanshi and the subsequent dismissal of some of the charges against Purohit support Mushrif's charges of collusion."

--> Riaz, this is not Pakistan and the govt is not rightist one and we are not ruled by a non-secular constitution . You and that guy Mushriff are connecting dots that dont even exist!
Purohit is in Jail,where he belongs and not preaching large crowds like Hafiz Saeed is. Comparing the 2 cases we can safely say Purohit is not going to be free like the terrorist Hafiz Saeed is.
If Purohit comes out of Jail anytime like Hafiz Saeed has, I will concede that our position has weakened.
Karkara's death was not mysterious and its proven beyond doubt it was a Pakistani Islamic-terrorist who killed him. To suggest IB would coordinate with the very forces they are built to fight is preposterous. IB is not under the army like in Pakistan but under firm Civilian control and its cadres are picked from the military as well as the civilian services and are the best in the business and patriotic. They are not a force like the ISI which has supported Islamic parties to bring down ZAB in the past. Their record is clean and I nor the nation don't have any reason to doubt their sincerity or efficiency.
Besides, what are you trying to prove? That IB is like the ISI?
How come Pakistanis(I know Mushriff is an Indian) are usually the only ones to suggest such a preposterous ideas?
Its like complimenting us in a way. We are fooling the world all the time with respect to our activities in Afghnanistan, IB supporting terrorists, with regard to Kashmir,etc. I guess Pakistanis are too intelligent to be fooled and they see right through us! We have failed miserably... :-(
I am reminded of a saying which says, "you can fool some all of the time or you can fool all some of the time. But, you cant fool all all of the time."

Riaz Haq said...

anoop:

I believe Mushrif knows far more about the power and machinations of India IB than you or I will ever know.

anoop said...

"I believe Mushrif knows far more about the power and machinations of India IB than you or I will ever know."

--> If there are traitors in IB then they will be exposed sooner than later. But, please stop bringing down the IB to the level of ISI. IB doesnt spy on its own citizens and would never go against the govt's wishes.
I shudder to think what conspiracy theories you and your Urdu press would come up with if there was a BJP govt at the center!
You have accused the thoroughly-secular Congress and "Mr.Clean" Dr.Manmohan Singh of supporting terrorists. If BJP were in power I would assume there wouldn't have been much difference between the kind of garbage that comes out of your Urdu Press and your blog. And, forget about accepting Kasab is a Pakistani you guys would counter claimed that he is actually an Indian spy trying to pretend to be a Pakistani.
Or, you would say "Hindus" are the only ones capable of killing innocent people and RSS and VHP are responsible for Mumbai as they wanted to stage a coup and overthrow the secular govt and establish a Hindu Republic in order to murder innocent Muslims.
See how creative I can be and connect the dots that apparently hadn't existed before?
India can fool the world once or twice but not all the time and apparently Pakistanis are the only one who can see through the "hindu" mindset and realize that IB is really responsible for Karkare!
I can only appreciate the creativity and sheer imagination of your Urdu press "journalists" and even some nutcases in India.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a BBC report on Karkare's wife demanding inquiry of her husband's murder:

The wife of a top police officer killed in the 2008 attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) has demanded an inquiry into his death.

Kavita Karkare said she had still not been told exactly how her husband died, a year after the attacks.

Anti-terrorism chief Hemant Karkare was killed along with two senior police officers outside the Cama hospital.

At least 174 people, including 14 policemen, died when 10 gunmen attacked sites in the city on 26 November 2008.

One of the gunmen was caught alive and is currently on trial. Nine others were killed.

Body armour questions

Mrs Karkare told reporters: "So far no senior officer has told me what exactly happened that night."

She said she had discovered her husband's bulletproof jacket was missing after she filed a freedom of information request two months ago.

"I also came to know that the file which had the date of purchase is also missing."

Mrs Karkare is demanding answers following media reports which have questioned the quality of bulletproof jackets used by the police.

The wife of another officer killed alongside Mr Karkare has filed a similar "right to information (RTI)" request to see police records.

Vinita Kamte said she needed the information to reconstruct the sequence of events which led to the death of her husband, Ashok, and other police officers.

Mrs Kamte said she had received several records and was waiting for some more.

"I am studying the records of calls made to the police control room. It is unfortunate that we have to apply to RTI to get information and speak to the media about it."

'Trauma'

Mrs Karkare said the policemen who died had been treated as martyrs. But she asked if candlelit marches and compensation were enough to forget what happened.

Many relatives of policemen who lost their lives were undergoing psychiatric treatment to cope with the trauma, she added.

Police commissioner D Sivanadhan told the BBC that an inquiry was being conducted and further details were awaited.

An independent inquiry has already criticised the Mumbai police for a lack of co-ordination in dealing with the attacks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting opinion by Irfan Hussain who is often praised and cited by Indians when he harshly criticizes Pakistan:

A year later (after Mumbai), perhaps we can look back on the attack with a greater degree of objectivity, and count the winners and the losers.

The real winners, of course, are militant groups, like the Lashkar-i-Taiba, and their shadowy backers in Pakistan. They have achieved what they set out to do: sabotage the peace talks between India and Pakistan. Although these negotiations had not achieved a breakthrough, they had greatly improved relations between India and Pakistan.

The second prize goes to the security establishments in both countries, although this is truer of Pakistan than it is of India where the military is firmly under civilian control. The reality is that soldiers and spies need enemies to justify their lavish budgets. Peace between traditional enemies means cuts in defence, and less toys for the boys.

Obviously, the biggest losers are the victims of the attack, and their friends and families. But the other big losers are the people of the subcontinent. Millions in the region will continue suffering, just because their leaders remain locked in a 60-year old conflict. And when there was a glimmer of hope of some kind of resolution, relations have plunged to a new low.

The militants’ victory is not restricted to poisoning bilateral relations between India and Pakistan: by hitting Mumbai, it has ensured that there will be no cooperation between the two countries in the war against extremism in the foreseeable future.

This is no small victory. The war being waged on the Pak-Afghan border is perhaps the most decisive conflict of our times, and its outcome will affect the region for years to come. In order to combat the Taliban and their various partners effectively, active cooperation between India and Pakistan is crucial.

After the Mumbai attack, India has refused to pursue peace talks, arguing that as long as Pakistan tolerates the presence of terrorist organisations on its soil, there can be no meaningful negotiations. Again and again, the Indian leadership and media have echoed the mantra of Pakistan ‘not doing enough’ against the planners of the Mumbai attack.

In several articles, I have argued that it is precisely because of the atrocity that peace talks need to be pursued with greater focus and political will. Does India really want to hand a major victory to the perpetrators of the attack?

I have also suggested that in order to reassure the Pakistani military that it has nothing to fear on its eastern border, India could easily withdraw one of its divisions deployed there. This would encourage Pakistan to transfer more troops to its northwest where the real battle against extremists is now going on.

They miss the point that one negotiates with one’s adversaries, not one’s friends. And they have the bizarre notion that peace is a reward for good behaviour, not a mutual need. The fact is that India needs peace just as much as Pakistan does. True, it is Pakistan that is currently being battered by an unrelenting wave of terrorism. But a Pakistan destabilised by extremist violence should be New Delhi’s worst nightmare.

Those who think a victorious Taliban would stop their mayhem on Pakistan’s eastern border are living in cloud-cuckoo land. These thugs have no respect for international boundaries, and have repeatedly declared their intention to ‘liberate’ Kashmir. Many of them also want to re-establish Muslim rule over India. These insane goals will ensure that terrorist groups will go on trying to hit Indian targets.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report from India Today on India army-air force debate over cold start:

The army and air force are battling it out over how to beat Pakistan in a flash war if and when that happens.

The Indian Air Force is not convinced about its role in the army's "cold start doctrine" for a future Indo-Pak war.

The strategy envisages the air force providing "close air support", which calls for aerial bombing of ground targets to augment the fire power of the advancing troops.

The growing tension between the two services is evident in a statement of air vice-marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, deputy director of the air force's own Centre for Air Power Studies.

"There is no question of the air force fitting itself into a doctrine propounded by the army. That is a concept dead at inception," Kak said.

A senior army officer disputes the notion of a conceptual difference between the two services. "The air force is supposed to launch an offensive under the doctrine by hitting targets deep inside enemy territory," he said. But he admitted the air force was hesitant about 'close air support'. 'Cold Start' is a post-nuclearised doctrine that envisages a "limited war" in which the army intends to inflict substantial damage on Pakistan's armed forces without letting it cross the threshold where it could think of pressing the nuclear button.

The doctrine intends to accomplish the task before the international community led by the US and China could intercede to end hostilities. Kak said, "The air force has the primary task of achieving 'air dominance' by which Pakistan's air force is put out of action allowing the army to act at will."

But he sees little necessity for the air force to divert frontline fighter aircraft for augmenting the army's fire power, a task that, in his opinion, can be achieved by the army's own attack helicopters and multiple rocket launchers that now have a 100-km range.

But he agrees the two services should work according to a joint plan. It means the air force would launch 'battlefield air strikes' to neutralise threats on the ground based on an existing plan. But that would be different from an army commander calling for air support on the basis of a developing war scenario.

That is not the only problem facing the doctrine. In the past few weeks, many have expressed doubts about the army's ability to launch operations on the basis of the new doctrine.

There are also apprehensions about the army's incomplete deployment of forces, lack of mobility and unattended infrastructure development.

But senior officers say the army has identified the units, which would constitute the eight division-strong independent battle groups out of its three strike corps. These battle groups would comprise mechanised infantry, artillery and armour.

"The forces have exercised as constituted battle groups at least six times since 2004. Each of the identified unit knows where they will be deployed," a senior General said.

According to him, the time for deployment has been cut down to "days". "No longer will the movement of troops require three months like it did when Operation Parakram was launched after the attack on Parliament in 2001," he said.

The army also debunks the idea that the troops lack mobility. Some armed forces observers have said only 35 per cent of the army is mobile inside the country.

They have, thus, concluded that even less numbers would be mobile inside the enemy territory.

The army officials, however, pooh pooh the criticism claiming 100 per cent of the Indian troops are mobile.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting report by Reuters in Pakistan:

By Alistair Scrutton

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - If you want a slice of peace and stability in a country with a reputation for violence and chaos, try Pakistan's M2 motorway.

At times foreign reporters need to a give a nation a rest from their instinctive cynicism. I feel like that with Pakistan each time I whizz along the M2 between Islamabad and Lahore, the only motorway I know that inspires me to write.

Now, if the M2 conjures images of bland, spotless tarmac interspersed with gas stations and fast food outlets, you would be right. But this is South Asia, land of potholes, reckless driving and the occasional invasion of livestock.

And this is Pakistan, for many a "failed state." Here, blandness can inspire almost heady optimism.

Built in the 1990s at a cost of around $1 billion, the 228-mile (367-km) motorway -- which continues to Peshawar as the M1 -- is like a six-lane highway to paradise in a country that usually makes headlines for suicide bombers, army offensives and political mayhem.

Indeed, for sheer spotlessness, efficiency and emptiness there is nothing like the M2 in the rest of South Asia.

It puts paid to what's on offer in Pakistan's traditional foe and emerging economic giant India, where village culture stubbornly refuses to cede to even the most modern motorways, making them battlegrounds of rickshaws, lorries and cows.

There are many things in Pakistan that don't get into the news. Daily life, for one. Pakistani hospitality to strangers, foreigners like myself included, is another. The M2 is another sign that all is not what it appears in Pakistan, that much lies hidden behind the bad news.

On a recent M2 trip, my driver whizzed along but kept his speedometer firmly placed on the speed limit. Here in this South Asian Alice's Wonderland, the special highway police are considered incorruptible. The motorway is so empty one wonders if it really cuts through one of the region's most populated regions.

"130, OK, but 131 is a fine," said the driver, Noshad Khan. "The police have cameras," he added, almost proudly. His hand waved around in the car, clenched in the form of a gun.

On one of my first trips to Pakistan. I arrived at the border having just negotiated a one-lane country road in India with cows, rickshaws and donkey-driven carts.

I toted my luggage over to the Pakistan side, and within a short time my Pakistani taxi purred along the tarmac. The driver proudly showed off his English and played U.S. rock on FM radio. The announcer even had an American accent. Pakistan, for a moment, receded, and my M2 trip began.

Built in the 1990s by then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, it was part of his dream of a motorway that would unite Pakistan with Afghanistan and central Asia.

For supporters it shows the potential of Pakistan. Its detractors say it was a waste of money, a white elephant that was a grandiose plaything for Sharif.

But while his dreams for the motorway foundered along with many of Pakistan, somehow the Islamabad-Lahore stretch has survived assassinations, coups and bombs.

A relatively expensive toll means it is a motorway for the privileged. Poorer Pakistanis use the older trunk road nearby tracing an ancient route that once ran thousands of miles to eastern India. The road is shorter, busier and takes nearly an hour longer.

On my latest trip, I passed the lonely occasional worker in an orange suit sweeping the edge of the motorway in a seemingly Sisyphean task.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately people like Shekhar Gupta, though they may exist in large numbers in India, are generally out-shouted by the emotional types in the media.

Obviously the people close to power will side with the noisy, over-emotional types who may (or may not) represent the thoughts of the intelligentsia, or even the people.

I wonder if this is the same in Pakistan.

An Indian reader

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "I wonder if this is the same in Pakistan."

Paklistanis have their share of hyperpatriots, though probably not as numerous or vocal as in India.

Irfan Hussain, a Dawn columnist and harsh critic of Pakistan, shared the following anecdote with his readers:

A foreign journalist working for a newsmagazine's South Asian bureau says he loves Pakistan because "In India, when you write a critical article, the people are furious with you. In Pakistan, when you write a critical article, everyone agrees with you."

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a interesting report in the News on polls conducted in India and Pakistan on relations between the two nations:

By Mohammad Malick

ISLAMABAD: The two nations have repeatedly gone to war in the past. Their governments continue sabre rattling and spewing bellicose rhetoric. But identical nationwide opinion surveys conducted by the Jang Group and the Times of India Group in India and Pakistan show that a majority of the billion and a half people of the sub-continent want to live as peaceful and friendly neighbours and share the same humane goals like any other civilised polity; economic prosperity for all, education for the youth, health for the needy, absence of violence and elimination of existential threats.

In Pakistan, 72 per cent of the respondents desired “peaceful and friendly relations with India” whereas 60 per cent Indians were hopeful of such an eventuality. This relative lesser percentage may be owing to the fact that presently 88 per cent of Indians consider Pakistan as a high/moderate threat to India’s well being. In contrast, 72 per cent Pakistanis perceive India as a high/moderate threat. The 88 per cent threat perception notwithstanding, it is heartening to note, however, that over 59 per cent of Indians think that a peaceful relationship would be established with Pakistan within their lifetime, an optimism shared by 64 percent Pakistanis.

While vested interests on both sides may have led the people to believe that every Pakistani wakes up paranoid with India and that every Indian goes to bed fretting over the next deadly Pakistani move, statistics show otherwise. Half the people polled in India thought about Pakistan “sometimes”, while only 16 per cent thought about us in a more focused manner. As for Pakistanis, 32 per cent appeared to be seriously concerned over the state of our bilateral relations. Hardly the figures for two peoples supposedly obsessed with each other’s ultimate annihilation, would not you agree?

Riaz Haq said...

In a presentation to Pakistani media, Gen Kayani reiterated his widely reported comments on the Pakistan Army’s view of the situation in Afghanistan and the way forward there.

History, unresolved issues, India’s military capability and its ‘Cold Start’ doctrine meant that Pakistan could not afford to let its guard down. Repeating a well-known formulation, Gen Kayani said: “We plan on adversaries’ capabilities, not intentions.”

The tough, matter-of-fact line on India was in stark contrast to that of Gen Kayani’s predecessor, Gen (retd) Musharraf, who tried hard to push for peace with India in his latter years in power.
------------------------
The general was particularly keen to highlight the threat posed by India’s ‘Cold Start’ doctrine. Turing the traditional theory of war on its head, ‘Cold Start’ would permit the Indian Army to attack before mobilising, increasing the possibility of a “sudden spiral escalation”, according to Gen Kayani.

The Pakistan Army’s concerns about ‘Cold Start’ are well known, but Gen Kayani went as far as to put a timeline on its implementation: two years for India to achieve partial implementation and five years for full.

If true, the strategic impact could be of the highest order: defence analysts have speculated that ‘Cold Start’ may lead the Pakistan Army to lower its nuclear threshold as a way of deterring any punitive strikes or rapid capture of territory by the Indian armed forces.

Yet, Gen Kayani was also keen to point out that he did not have a one-dimensional view of security. Despite the fact that India’s defence budget is “seven times” that of Pakistan’s “there has to be a balance between development and military spending,” the general said.

He also pleaded that “peace and stability in South Asia should not be made hostage to a single terrorist act of a non-state actor”, a reference to the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Refusing to talk to Pakistan would send a bad signal on two counts: one, the non-state actors would know that they have the power to nudge India and Pakistan towards war; and two, within India it would become clear that relations with Pakistan could be suspended indefinitely.

The comments on India, though, came only later in an extended Power Point Presentation that covered everything from the operations in Swat and South Waziristan to the “way forward” in Afghanistan. Gen Kayani seemed relatively pleased with the reaction his presentation received when first unveiled at a meeting of chiefs of defence staff of Nato and its allied countries in Brussels late last month.

Emphasising what he termed the “fundamentals”, he claimed that until the Afghan government improved its credibility and governance record and until the Afghan population began to change its perception that Isaf is not winning, the Afghan government would not be able to establish its writ and the local Taliban would not be “weaned off”.

But on Afghanistan, too, India featured in Gen Kayani’s comments. Rejecting India’s reported interest in training the Afghan National Army and the country’s police force, Gen Kayani argued that Pakistan had a more legitimate expectation to do so.

Taken together, Gen Kayani’s comments suggest that the possibility of a thaw in relations between India and Pakistan any time soon is low.

Both India and Pakistan appear to have firmly lapsed into the old pattern of highlighting the differences between them and the threats they face from each other, while nominally leaving the door open to an improvement in relations if one side addresses the other’s concerns.

Unlike the past, though, the stakes appear to be higher because of the uncertain future of Afghanistan and a ‘nuclear overhang’ that may be affected by ‘Cold Start’.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from NY Times story about declining power of Pakistan's feudal class:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power. Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/world/asia/29feudal.html?_r=1&hp

Riaz Haq said...

You often hear rhetoric about India-Pakistan friendship. But friendship is a two-way street.

Musharraf was very serious about making friends with India on his watch from 2000 to 2007. He offered significant concessions and tried very hard to reach an agreement with Delhi on Kashmir, but to no avail.

Instead of of responding positively, India stepped its hostility by opening a new front in starting a covert war in Pakistan via Afghanistan.

Here is how South Asia expert Stephen Cohen described India's ambivalent attitude toward Pakistan recently:

Indians do not know whether they want to play cricket and trade with Pakistan, or whether they want to destroy it. There is still no consensus on talking with Pakistan: sometimes the government and its spokesman claim that they do not want to deal with the generals, but when the generals are out of the limelight, they complain that the civilians are too weak to conclude a deal.

In addition to Kashmir, the other key and potentially more explosive issue between India and Pakistan is that Indus water.

A South African water expert and Harvard professor John Briscoe recently argued that Pakistan was woefully vulnerable to Indian manipulation of the timing of water flows of the Jhelum and Chenab; that the Indian press—unlike the Pakistani media—never noted the other country’s views on the issue, and was instructed on what to say by the Ministry of External Affairs; and that India lacked the leadership of a regional power, as Brazil had been magnanimous in similar disputes with Bolivia and Paraguay.

Here is the exact quote from Briscoe's piece published in April 2010:

Living in Delhi and working in both India and Pakistan, I was struck by a paradox. One country was a vigorous democracy, the other a military regime. But whereas an important part of the Pakistani press regularly reported India's views on the water issue in an objective way, the Indian press never did the same. I never saw a report which gave Indian readers a factual description of the enormous vulnerability of Pakistan, of the way in which India had socked it to Pakistan when filling Baglihar. How could this be, I asked? Because, a journalist colleague in Delhi told me, "when it comes to Kashmir – and the Indus Treaty is considered an integral part of Kashmir -- the ministry of external affairs instructs newspapers on what they can and cannot say, and often tells them explicitly what it is they are to say."

http://www.countercurrents.org/briscoe050410.htm

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from a piece by David Pilling of Financial Times published recently:

(There have ben many a dire warning about Pakistan failing), yet Pakistan has survived. In its partial victories against Islamist militants it may even have made some kind of progress. It is all too easy to think of Pakistan as a failing – even a failed – state. But it might be better to see it as the state that refuses to fail.

To appreciate just how remarkable this is, cast your mind back to this dangerous year’s catalogue of fire and brimstone. First, following its victory in Swat, the army turned its attention on South Waziristan, bombarding militants in lawless areas bordering Afghanistan. Many considered that an important step, given the well-documented links between the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency and tribal militants, part of Pakistan’s quest for “strategic depth” in Afghanistan.

Second, and partly as a result of the army’s offensives, there has been a wave of counter-attacks on hotels, mosques and police stations. Last October, militants mounted a brazen raid on the supposedly impregnable headquarters of the 500,000-strong army. That led to alarm that men with beards and a less-than-glowing feeling towards America were getting perilously close to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

Third, Pakistan has had to adapt to a dramatic shift in US policy towards Afghanistan. In December, President Barack Obama ordered a surge of 30,000 extra troops, a military intensification that has sent militants scurrying across the border into Pakistan. Worse from Islamabad’s point of view, the US president has committed to drawing down those troops from next summer, a retreat, if it happens, that would once again leave Pakistan alone in a nasty neighbourhood.

Fourth, the economic outlook remains precarious. Pakistan just about avoided a balance of payments crisis which, at one point, saw its reserves dwindle to just one month’s import cover. But respite has come at the cost of being in hock to the International Monetary Fund, which has extended some $7bn in loans. With tax receipts at a miserable 9 per cent of output, it is unclear how it will make ends meet.

As if these man-made calamities were not enough, Pakistan has been drowning in the worst floods in its history. At one point, no less than one-fifth of the country was under water.....

Remarkably it has not been. Why not? A partial explanation for Pakistan’s staying power is that it has become an extortionary state that thrives on crisis...

There are more benign explanations too. The strength of civil society has helped. Many refugees from the floods, like those from Swat, have found temporary shelter with the networks of friends and relatives that bind the country together. The army’s response to the floods has also underscored, for better or worse, the efficiency of the state’s best-run institution. Even the civilian administration, weak and discredited as it is, has clung on. If, as now seems plausible, Mr Zardari can survive, power could yet be transferred from one democratically elected administration to another for the first time in Pakistan’s 63-year history.

One should not overstate Pakistan’s resilience. The world is rightly alarmed at the mayhem that rages at its centre. But, if you care to look on the bright side, you might conclude that, if Pakistan can survive a year like this, it can survive anything.

Riaz Haq said...

I am sure many Indians looking for Obama to bash Pakistan (as that British novice PM Cameron did) would be sorely disappointed by the following statements Obama made to Indian students at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai:

"We want nothing more than a stable, prosperous and peaceful Pakistan".

"It may be surprising to some of you to hear me say this, but I am absolutely convinced that the country that has the biggest stake in Pakistan's success is India."

Here's more from the Washington Post today:

Obama commemorated the Nov. 26, 2008, massacre (in Mumbai) on his arrival Saturday when he laid a white rose at a memorial to the victims and spoke at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and Tower, a main target of the attack. But he infuriated many Indians by not mentioning Pakistan in his tribute, reinforcing the impression here that Obama cares less about India's grievances than he does about defending a key partner in the Afghanistan war.

The issue will probably come up again Monday, Obama's final day in India, when he appears with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the U.S. and Indian media and later addresses the Indian Parliament. Obama could well face questions over his position on Kashmir, a religiously mixed region in the subcontinent's northwest that both India and Pakistan claim.

How he portrays the U.S. interest in Pakistan, whose weak government is defending itself against its own Taliban insurgency, will probably determine whether his visit here succeeds in convincing Indians that he is serious when he says, as he did Sunday, that "the U.S.-India relationship will be indispensable in shaping the 21st century."

Anonymous said...

Sitting with Hindians its like Pakistan is about to be evaporated in thin air and patting each other or by themselves for being the expert sage of million years and vedant shaivite which pakistanis are not will show how deprived they are and there life b/c they are vegie deprived and dont believe in reincarnation .


Just watch pakistani T.V. Duniya Ptv Geo Sama Life is 99% usual .Some people dont bother to know if some Salman was killed b/c it never mattered in there life Thse Gov, Foreign Misters And Pakistani Presidents are focus of Hindians . There are two reasons for this

1. it is common to look whats outside your home doubting that you got worst deal than the neighbour Thats why you read books on pakistan pakistani and rest of India never heard of

2. B/c you coming from less starved family of India having money to come to USA have plenty of free time Instead of going to restaurant and blowing 200$ or malls spending as much or any club with the same value membership Yu choose to sit it out at home with your computer Actually its not bad idea i do the same .You think life stand still b/c some high fi families father is no more .Man on the street are as happy or sad as they were before 4111 as they ever will be.Go read Atish And Meherbanos Oxford English Eulogies and gush with crocodile tears As if those who dont publish in NYT or come onNDTV dont suffer when there father dies and only these people are tragedy prince princess

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts from a Wall Street Journal Op Ed by Rupa Subramanya Dehejia on potential for India-Pakitan trade:

How does India fit into this picture? And can two nuclear-armed rivals with a fraught relationship meaningfully engage in trade and commerce with each other?

Trade is one of the engines of growth and development but in the case of Pakistan, this potentially important link with India is virtually missing. At present trade is roughly $2 billion a year.

Pakistan accounts for less than 1% of India’s trade and India less than 5% of Pakistan’s trade. Contrast this to the bilateral trade relationship following independence, when 70% of Pakistan’s trade was with India while more than 60% of India’s exports went to Pakistan.

According to Mohsin Khan of the Peterson Institute, economists estimate a “normal” trading relationship would be five to 10 times larger than the current amount.

There is also an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion a year in trade that takes place unofficially through third countries, especially the United Arab Emirates.

If this could be normalized as bilateral trade, it would occur at a much lower cost and therefore greater economic gain.

I’d argue that we must at least try to improve our economic relationship even if the political relationship is still frosty. The great exemplar here is the European Union, which was built on the premise that binding neighbors together economically was a prerequisite for ensuring peace and prosperity for all. We in India have yet to fully absorb this lesson. A prosperous Pakistan will not only be good for Pakistanis themselves but also good for us in India.

It’s time for the liberal commentators on both sides of the border to stop wringing their hands about the demise of a secular liberal democracy, because Pakistan hasn’t been that for some time, if it ever was.

While the support that the Indian intelligentsia has offered their counterparts in Pakistan following the assassination is heart-warming, it’s not consequential in the big picture. Liberals in Pakistan may fight on but it’s time for us in India to accept that Pakistan is an Islamic state with Islamic values and laws.

The crux here is that trade and commerce know no religious boundaries. We must work towards building a stronger bilateral relationship on that basis.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's BBC's Soutik Biswas on Indian reaction to recent events in Pakistan:

Sections of the Indian media and some pundits have been gloating about the fact that Osama Bin Laden was eventually found and killed in Pakistan by the US.

It is a familiar, triumphal "we-told-you-so" line, reminding the world that Pakistan was a haven for terrorists.

Some experts - egged on by a hysterical sabre-rattling media - have even been suggesting that India should also go into Pakistan and take out people like the cleric Hafiz Mohammad Saeed who have been blamed for plotting attacks against India. Foreign affairs guru Fareed Zakaria describes it as the rhetoric of India's strategic elite with its "Cold War fantasies".

Not surprisingly, this has evoked a harsh reaction from Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir who warned against such "misadventures" which could lead to a "terrible catastrophe", and headlines in the Indian newspapers as 'Hit by US, Pakistan barks at India'.

Much of this reckless talk, of course, has its roots in the grievous losses India has suffered in violence planned and executed by groups across the border, climaxing in the nightmare of the 2008 Mumbai (Bombay) attacks. But, as many seasoned experts say, India needs to keep its calm and pursue a more hard-nosed pragmatic policy towards Pakistan.

So it is heartening to hear from sources in the Indian government that India believes in a more reasoned and sober approach to Pakistan.

India cannot, say the sources, use what they call a "giant swatter" approach to Pakistan, like the US. "Unlike US, we live next door to Pakistan, our ties are deeper, and we were once the same country," they say. Also, nuclear-armed Pakistan is no pushover, and India could burn its fingers badly if it attempted an operation like the one which took out Bin Laden.

Will Bin Laden's killing have an impact on India-Pakistan talks, which got off the ground in recent months after a long frozen silence?

Not really, say Indian authorities. ....

Riaz Haq said...

There was an article in Forbes magazine issue of March 4, 2002, by Steve Forbes titled "India, Meet Austria-Hungary" which compared India with the now defunct Austria-Hungary. Here is an excerpt from the text of that article:

Influential elements in India's government and military are still itching to go to war with Pakistan, even though Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has taken considerable political risks by moving against Pakistani-based-and-trained anti-India terrorist groups. Sure, Musharraf made a truculent speech condemning India's ``occupation'' of Kashmir, but that was rhetorical cover for cracking down on those groups. Washington should send New Delhi some history books for these hotheads; there is no human activity more prone to unintended consequences than warfare. As cooler heads in the Indian government well know, history is riddled with examples of parties that initiated hostilities in the belief that conflict would resolutely resolve outstanding issues.

Pericles of Athens thought he could deal with rival Sparta once and for all when he triggered the Peloponnesian War; instead his city-state was undermined and Greek civilization devastated.

Similarly, Hannibal brilliantly attacked Rome; he ended up not only losing the conflict but also setting off a train of events that ultimately led to the total destruction of Carthage. Prussia smashed France in 1870, annexing critical French territory for security reasons, but that sowed the seeds for the First World War. At the end of World War I the victorious Allies thought they had dealt decisively with German military power. Israel crushed its Arab foes in 1967, but long-term peace did not follow.

India is not a homogeneous state. Neither was the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It attacked Serbia in the summer of 1914 in the hopes of destroying this irritating state after Serbia had committed a spectacular terrorist act against the Hapsburg monarchy. The empire ended up splintering, and the Hapsburgs lost their throne. And on it goes.

Getting back to the present, do Indian war hawks believe China will stand idly by as India tried to reduce Pakistan to vassal-state status? Do they think Arab states and Iran won't fund Muslim guerrilla movements in Pakistan, as well as in India itself? Where does New Delhi think its oil comes from (about 70%, mainly from the Middle East)? Does India think the U.S. will stand by impotently if it starts a war that unleashes nuclear weapons?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Express Tribune report on Seeds of Peace in Pakistan:

Seeds of Peace, an international youth based organisation established in 1993, aims to empower young individuals from conflict areas to help bridge differences. Aiming to create a better understanding amongst the youth to work towards ‘co-existence’ and ‘reconciliation’, the organisation was the brainchild of American journalist John Wallach. The first such programme involved about 50 young participants from the Arab-Israel conflict zone who were invited to the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, USA.

Fahad Ali Kazmi, the joint secretary of Seeds of Peace-Pakistan, said the basic aim here is to incorporate the voice of youth in conflict areas. “We started the mock parliament last year to sensitise youth in conflict areas to help appreciate the counter narratives of global issues,” said Kazmi, who ‘graduated’ from an international camp in 2002 and returned to Pakistan as a ‘Pakistani Seed’.

Seeds of Peace came to Lahore in 2001, the same year it opened its offices in Mumbai and the next year in Kabul. Every year 10 to 12 young individuals from Pakistan and India are invited to the United States for the 250-day camp where they interact with youth from across the world.

Seeds of Peace-Pakistan’s first mock parliament session was held last year, aiming to acquaint the youth in conflict areas of India and Pakistan with a political understanding of issues on both sides. Last year, a mock Indian parliament was held in Pakistan by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan and a similar event was held in India whereby Indian Seeds engaged in a mock Pakistani parliament. The concept, said Kazmi, is to eradicate prejudice and build bridges to better understand one another.

This year, Seeds of Peace-Pakistan will organise a Mock Afghan Parliament, whereby Pakistani youths will be educated about the workings of the Afghan parliament and also assigned roles and positions to take. “With Afghanistan and Pakistan engaged in a political conflict, we thought of engaging Pakistani youth in understanding the Afghan perspective,” Kazmi said.

Teams from across Lahore will participate in the event. Between 25 and 30 young people from different schools across Lahore including Beaconhouse School System, Divisional Public School, Lahore Grammar School and Crescent Model High School are participating in the event.

A workshop will be conducted by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan on November 20 to educate the participating youth about the Afghan constitution and the dynamics of the Afghan parliament.

“The Pakistani Seeds are working in close collaboration with their Afghan counterparts to understand the political dynamics of the Afghan parliament,” said Kazmi while talking about the workshop which precedes the mock parliament that is to be held later in the month. At the end of the workshop a three-day mock parliamentary session will be convened for which three to four major areas of debate will be identified and a sample Afghan parliament formulated. The three-day mock parliamentary session will end on November 27.


http://tribune.com.pk/story/289754/seeds-of-peace-fc-college-to-host-mock-afghan-parliament/

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Op Ed by Indian diplomat and parliamentarian Sashi Tharoor on his recent visit to Pakistan:

I write these words in Lahore, in the midst of a brief but hugely interesting visit to Pakistan. As one who has always advocated hard-headed realism in dealing with our neighbour, while greatly respecting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s vision that the highest strategic interest of both countries lies in development and the eradication of poverty rather than in military one-upmanship, I have begun to think of how much we could both gain if we replaced our current narrative of hostility with one of hope.
What is the way forward for India? It is clear that we want peace more than Pakistan does, because we have more at stake when peace is violated: we cannot grow and prosper without peace, and that is the one thing Pakistan can give us that we cannot do without.
By denying us the peace we crave, Pakistan can undermine our vital national interests, above all that of our own development. Investors shun war zones; traders are wary of markets that might explode at any time; tourists do not travel to hotels that might be commandeered by fanatical terrorists. These are all serious hazards for a country seeking to grow and flourish in a globalising world economy.
Even if Pakistan cannot do us much good, it can do us immense harm, and we must recognise this in formulating our policy approaches to it. Foreign policy cannot be built on a sense of betrayal any more than it can be on illusions of love. Pragmatism dictates that we work for peace with Pakistan precisely so that we can serve our own people’s needs better.
So we must engage Pakistan because we cannot afford not to. And yet — the problem of terrorism incubated in Pakistan will not be solved overnight. Extremism is not a tap that can be turned off once it is open; the evil genie cannot be forced back into the bottle. The proliferation of militant organisations, training camps and extremist ideologies has acquired a momentum of its own. A population as young, as uneducated, as unemployed and as radicalised as Pakistan’s will remain a menace to their own society as well as to ours.
-----
Let us show a magnanimity and generosity of spirit that in itself stands an outside chance of persuading Pakistanis to rethink their attitude to us.
The big questions — the Kashmir dispute and Pakistan’s use of terrorism as an instrument of policy — will require a great deal more groundwork and constructive, step-by-step action for progress to be made. But by showing accommodativeness, sensitivity and pragmatic generosity, India might be able to turn the bilateral narrative away from the logic of intractable hostility in which both countries have been mired for too long.
The joker in the pack remains the Pakistani Army. Until the military men are convinced that peace with India is in their self-interest, they will remain the biggest obstacles to it. One hope may lie in the extensive reach of the Pakistani military apparatus and its multiple business and commercial interests.
Perhaps India could encourage its firms to trade with enterprises owned by the Pakistani Army, in the hope of giving the military establishment a direct stake in peace.
The world economic crisis should give us an opportunity to promote economic integration with our neighbours in the subcontinent who look to the growing Indian market to sell their goods and maintain their own growth. But as long as South Asia remains divided by futile rivalries and some continue to believe that terrorism can be a useful instrument of their strategic doctrines, that is bound to remain a distant prospect. If India and Pakistan can embrace an interrelated future on our subcontinent, geography can become an instrument of opportunity in a mutual growth story and history can bind rather than divide. It is a future worth striving for, in the interests of both our peoples.


http://www.asianage.com/columnists/geography-hope-787

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Daily Times report on Indian parliamentarian Mani Shankar Ayer's speech in Lahore:

Indian Rajya Sabha member Mani Shankar Aiyar has said that Pakistan is not a failed state and any strategy by India built on this assumption will be “dangerously misleading”.

“Yes Pakistan has its difficulties. But so do we. So any strategy built on the assumption that Pakistan cannot hold is misconceived, misplaced and dangerously misleading,” Mani Shankar said during a lecture at a local hotel on Wednesday.

The lecture was attended by noted scholars, media persons and peace activists.

Shankar said, “Pakistan’s nationhood is firmly anchored in history, civilisation and spiritual belief. Pakistan has one of the largest populations in the world. It has a high degree of political and philosophical sophistication. Pakistan has a resilient economy, a strong bureaucracy and a strong military, and extremely lively and informed media. How can it possibly be a failing state?”

He said Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline was an excellent idea, which should have completed. “The idea of IPI pipeline was not merely aimed at meeting energy needs of India and Pakistan, but was to build confidence and trust between the two states,” said Indian writer and former diplomat.

He called for uninterrupted and uninterruptible dialogue between India and Pakistan. He admitted that the mindset of reconciliation was building faster in Pakistan than in India. He said that both countries could solve their issues through constructive engagement. “If there is no peace, there will be no prosperity,” he said.

He said that India needed to recognise that terrorism is a global issue. “Pakistan is a frontline state, with horrific consequences for itself. No state in the world has suffered as much from terrorism as Pakistan itself,” he said. He stressed the need to formulate a joint strategy to fight terrorism.


http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\05\24\story_24-5-2012_pg7_12