Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Challenging the Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative of Pakistan

The intent of this post is to carefully assess, analyse and challenge the narrative about Pakistan being offered in a number of recent books by authors like Indian-American Professor TV Paul (Pakistan: The Warrior State), New York Times' Carlotta Gall (The Wrong Enemy) and Mr. Husain Haqqani (Magnificent Delusions), former Pakistani ambassador in Washington. Here's the essence of their narrative:

President John F. Kennedy Receiving President Ayub at Andrews AFB 
 L to R: Ayub Khan, Nasim Aurangzeb, Jackie Kennedy, John F. Kennedy

1. Partition of India was a mistake. In 1947, many in the US, the UK and India believed Pakistan would not survive and the partition would soon be reversed.

2. Pakistan has been lying to the United States to get aid since its inception in 1947.

3. The US has provided massive aid but Pakistan has not delivered anything substantial in return.

4. The duplicitous Pakistan game continues to this day.

5. Pakistani military is the main villain. It uses the pre-text of threat from India as an excuse for Pakistan being a national security state.

If one really analyses this narrative, one has to conclude that Pakistanis are extraordinarily clever in deceiving the United States and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride by Pakistanis for over 6 decades. It raises the following questions:

Question 1: Given the belief that Pakistan would not survive, how did the country defy such expectations? What role did its "villainous" military play in its political and economic survival? What does the history say about rapid economic development of Pakistan under military regimes?

Question 2: Wouldn't any country that suffered a military invasion by its much larger neighbor and its break-up be justified in feeling threatened? Wouldn't such a country build deterrence against further adventures by its bigger neighbor?

Question 3:  If the standard western narrative is correct, why have successive US administrations been so naive and gullible as to be duped by Pakistan's politicians and generals for such a long period of time? Is it not an indictment of all US administrations from Harry S. Truman's to Barack H. Obama's?

Question 4:  What role did Pakistan play in the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the subsequent break-up of the Soviet Union?

 Question 5:  What price has Pakistan paid for facilitating US military operations in Afghanistan? How many Pakistani soldiers and civilians have lost their lives since 911?

Please read the following posts on my blog:

1.  Straight Talk by Gates on Pakistan

When asked by US Senator Patrick Leahy during a US Senate hearing on Pakistan as to how long the U.S. will be willing to "support governments that lie to us?"

"Well, first of all, I would say, based on 27 years in CIA and four and a half years in this job, most governments lie to each other. That's the way business gets done." Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates June 2011


2.  US and Europe Must Accept Pakistan as a Legitimate Nuclear State:

When asked about US policy options in Pakistan after President Obama assumed office in 2009, here's what US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson wrote in a cable leaked  by Wikileaks:

"The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with the nuclear test, does not view assistance -- even sizable assistance to their own entities -- as a trade-off for national security vis-a-vis India". US Ambassador Anne Patterson, September 23, 2009 


3. Pakistan's Economic History:

Pakistani economy grew at a fairly impressive rate of 6 percent per year through the first four decades of the nation's existence. In spite of rapid population growth during this period, per capita incomes doubled, inflation remained low and poverty declined from 46% down to 18% by late 1980s, according to eminent Pakistani economist Dr. Ishrat Husain. This healthy economic performance was maintained through several wars and successive civilian and military governments in 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s until the decade of 1990s, now appropriately remembered as the lost decade.



Although Pakistan is in the midst of multiple crises of economy, energy and internal security, it has survived, even thrived, for many decades after its independence. Its economic growth rate has exceeded its neighbor India's for most of its history since 1947. Initially, the US aid of as much as 10% of its GDP was very helpful to Pakistan's development. The US aid has been decreasing over the years. It now accounts for less than 1% of Pakistan's GDP.  As to US-Pakistan ties, Pakistan has been supportive of US interests when such interests do not directly conflict with Pakistan's. An alliance should not mean compliance, and it's true of all US alliances. The interests of US and its closest allies in Europe and elsewhere do not always converge on all issues. Pakistan is no exception.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Straight Talk by Gates on Pakistan

Terror Deaths in Pakistan

US and Europe Must Accept Pakistan as a Legitimate Nuclear State

Looking Back at 1940 Lahore Resolution

Pakistan's Economic History

Pakistan: A Warrior State? A Conspicuous Failure?

Obama and US-Pakistan Ties

Can Pakistan Say No to US Aid?

Soviet Defeat in Afghanistan


Mayraj said...

Meanwhile British don't like hearing what heir own researcher found:


The British army doesn’t want you to read this book
The UK authorities are trying to block their own report on Afghanistan.


Fury over MoD bid to ban soldier's book about Afghanistan: Officials embarrassed by study they asked for
Author 'forced to resign' from the Army after Ministry of Defence pulled support for controversial book

Dr Mike Martin was one of only a handful of soldiers who could speak Pushtu fluently
Afghan conflict has so far claimed 448 British lives

Retired British general said he 'wished' he had this book while commanding in Afghanistan

Steve G. said...

Dear Riaz,

Very insightful. Are you going to attend:

The Military and Politics in Pakistan

Thursday, April 17, 2014
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Aqil Shah
Frederic Grare
Molly Pallman
+1 202 939 2292 | mpallman@ceip.org

I shall be there.

Steve G. said...

During the elections last year our young Pakistanis were palpably excited about democracy in action. On the other hand, my two colonels said to me, “Let’s just watch and wait a see what happens”. It was almost as if the politicians were regarded by the military as being a group of school boys doing their O-levels. If they passed them they would then be allowed to sit their A-levels.

In the early 1970s, when I lived in Venezuela, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a book where he talked about “los cuatro poderes” (the four powers) that ruled Venezuela. These independent powers were the politicians, the businessmen, the military, and the Roman Catholic Church. To be a success in life you had to have good friends in at least two of them.

Perhaps, there are parallels in Pakistan:

· We have the business community, but they will never achieve their potential until the energy situation has improved.

· The religious community is divided and forever bickering and fighting.

· The political community is like a group of little babies. They must learn to crawl and stand up before they can run.

· The military is a tried and tested stability. If people could see this as an asset and a positive force that can always be relied upon, then the other three powers could eventually blossom.

Riaz Haq said...

Steve: "The military is a tried and tested stability. If people could see this as an asset and a positive force that can always be relied upon, then the other three powers could eventually blossom."

I agree with your assessment.

The only successful and prosperous industrialized democracies in Asia are the Asian Tigers where benevolent dictators brought prosperity first and then democracy followed.

Countries like India which have tried democracy without industrialization have failed to achieve effective governance and prosperity for their people. After 67 years of democracy, India is still home to the world's largest population of poor, hungry and illiterates most of whom still defecate in the fields and on the railroad train tracks.

I see similarities between Musharraf's rule and those of the Asian Tiger dictators in terms of economic and social development in Pakistan in the last decade.

Please read my post on this subject:


Imran Q said...

The problem is that the American don't care, its just like a company (US) with a non performing BU(Pakistan), the CEO and the management have already written it off, but for some strategic reasons keeping it on the books. The BU has a steady loss and once in a while creates some waves and the management in its routine handling of things, spats it down this routine goes on... That's exactly what the relationship between Pakistan and the US. Pakistanis in their insane imagination create all these images of 'how clever they are in handling the US' ... well they are not, US handles things as they show up as there is no strategic plans by Pakistan, it really become easier for the US to handle the the day to day challenges..

Riaz Haq said...

Imran:"The problem is that the American don't care, its just like a company (US) with a non performing BU(Pakistan), the CEO and the management have already written it off, but for some strategic reasons keeping it on the books."

I disagree with you. Both US and Pakistan pursue a rational policy of engagement because both see value in the relationship which has made it last. It will continue to exist as long as both still see value in it.


Anonymous said...

Countries like India which have tried democracy without industrialization have failed to achieve effective governance and prosperity for their people.

1.India held together even though it is many orders on magnitude more diverse than Pakistan.This is because of checks and balances Tamil Nadu almost seperated in the 1960s due to imposition of Hindi as national language similar to Pakistan making Urdu a national language after riots in Tamil Nadu the circulars were withdrawn.India now has 18 national languages with English remaining a coofficial language with Hindi.This is but one of many moderating effects of democracy.

2.India is MUCH more industrialized than Pakistan on any indice you care to measure specially on the sophistication and complexity of industrial output(Engineering goods is India's #3 export category).India has scores of very competent industrial conglomerates Tata, L&T,Mahindra,Bharat Forge etc etc

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "India held together even though it is many orders on magnitude more diverse than Pakistan.This is because of checks and balances Tamil Nadu almost seperated in the 1960s due to imposition of Hindi as national language similar to Pakistan making Urdu a national language after riots in Tamil Nadu"

India held together because, unlike East Pakistan in 1971, no one invaded India to divide it in multiple piece.

Anon:"India is MUCH more industrialized than Pakistan on any indice you care to measure specially on the sophistication and complexity of industrial output(Engineering goods is India's #3 export category).India has scores of very competent industrial conglomerates Tata, L&T,Mahindra,Bharat Forge etc etc"

A few industrial companies do not make a country industrialized.

Key measures of industrialization are energy consumption per capita and percentage of GDP contribution from industries. On these measures, both India and Pakistan are at about the same level and far below the world averages.

In fact, a recent World Bank report identified India as the most deprived country in terms of access to energy: as many as 306.2 million of its people are still without this basic utility. The remaining 19 nations lacking access to energy, with the number of deprived people is as follows: Nigeria (82.4 million), Bangladesh (66.4 million), Ethiopia (63.9 million), Congo (55.9 million), Tanzania (38.2 million), Kenya (31.2 million), Sudan (30.9 million), Uganda (28.5 million), Myanmar (24.6 million), Mozambique (19.9 million), Afghanistan (18.5 million), North Korea (18 million), Madagascar (17.8 million), the Philippines (15.6 million), Pakistan (15 million), Burkina Faso (14.3 million), Niger (14.1 million), Indonesia (14 million) and Malawi 13.6 million).


Hopewins said...

^^RH: "The only successful and prosperous industrialized democracies in Asia are the Asian Tigers where benevolent dictators brought prosperity first and then democracy followed."

That may well be true for those Asian Tigers that are more homogenous societies compared to our diverse Pakistan.

With regard to our complex Pakistan, just WHO do you think could assume this 'benevolent dictator' role for a generation?

Would he be Punjabi? Muhajir? Pashtun? Sindhi? Baloch? Shia? Barelvi? Deobandi?

Yes? What are your views?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "That may well be true for those Asian Tigers that are more homogenous societies compared to our diverse Pakistan."

Asian Tigers like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are all quite diverse in terms of ethnicity and religions.

Besides, issues of differences do not go away in a democracy....Look at Indonesia and Thailand today, especially in Thailand where a minority continuously riots against governments elected by majority

Anonymous said...

The main aim of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to boost economic trade and the country has no intention of interfering with the internal affairs of any other state, said the special assistant to the prime minister, Syed Tariq Fatemi.
“The present government believes diplomatic ties encourage economic trade, but in the past they were being used to improve political ties,” said Fatemi, while addressing the interactive session on ‘Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Objectives’ organised by the Karachi Council of Foreign Relations at the Marriott hotel on Monday.

Diplomats and businessmen attended the session and inquired into any possible shift of the country’s foreign policy and its impact on trade.
The minister briefly explained the stance of the current government and its ties with all major countries, including the United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Iran and Afghanistan. He also discussed what Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government considers the best way to enhance relations with neighbouring countries.
Fatemi said that projects with China will open new opportunities for citizens as various mega projects are being launched in the country. “We have asked China to invest in Pakistan and to come assist us,” he said.
“There are 16 power projects that are being supported by China and we will be able to produce more electricity than ever before. Hopefully, it will help our economy.”
He then discussed the infrastructural projects that China is providing help with, including the Karachi-Lahore motorway, the Karachi-Gwadar motorway and the Karachi to Peshawar railway line. “The transport system in Karachi is a mess and we have asked Japan to help us with the Karachi circular railway,” Fatemi said, before turning his attention to Pakistan’s other large neighbour.
“PM Nawaz Sharif is convinced that ties with India are very important,” said the minister. “Pakistan will try to establish good relations with India regardless of the result of their elections.”
He then went on to talk about Pakistan’s relations with the United States. “Today, our relationship with the United States is more formal than ever before,” said Fatemi, before providing a brief history of the relationship the two countries have enjoyed over the years.
Fatemi also said that a good relationship with Russia is also important for the present government and added that it is trying to address the problems faced in the past.
“The foreign office is not biased or sentimental towards anyone,” the minister said on the ties with Saudi Arabia, before also stressing upon the importance of Iran. “We give great importance to Iran. We have had a historical, cultural, and religious relationship with the country for centuries, and we also share a border with them,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be travelling to Iran in a few weeks.
He then talked about the Pakistanis living abroad and dubbed them an asset to the country, before adding that the labour class abroad sends more money back to Pakistan than educated people working white-collar jobs.
Fatemi then went on to discuss the Gwadar port after being questioned by a participant. “It will be functional within the next five years,” the minister claimed. “A complete city will be built, which will include a hospital, a university and a technical institute.”


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Indian analyst M.V. Kamath's review of Daniel Markey's recent book "No Exit From Pakistan":

For a brief period the US was friendly towards India as during the Clinton regime. It didn’t take the US anywhere. Markey makes a deep study of China’s relationship with Pakistan and the latter’s own naiveté. According to Markey “Pakistan and China may claim deep, abiding friendship but in their rhetorical excesses both tend to mistake China’s hard-headed realism for generous altruism.” As he put it: “In Pakistan’s major war with India, as well as in more recent Indo-Pakistani crises, Beijing’s assistance has been marginal. China has been more likely to counsel Pakistani restraint than to back its leaders to the hilt.”

As for the US leaders, Markey add s: “The rising Chinese dragon makes friendship with India more appealing and complicates relationship with Islamabad.” And to that he adds: “Why not let China tend its troubled Pakistan filly while America cultivates the far more fertile Indian soil?” But as Markey sees it, America cannot quit Pakistan.

It has several options likes: Turn to a strategy of defensive insulation and include India – bolster it as important component in the defensive scheme; option two: Strive for a comprehensive partnership across military and civilian sectors and address ‘the threat of Pakistan-based terrorism at multiple levels’.

Option three: Downsize US Embassy, Consulates and USAID presence – a tiny skeleton staff could manage US diplomacy. Option four: Introduce a credible threat of overwhelming retaliation in order to make Pakistan think twice about using or sharing its nuclear weapons. However, Markey feels that “a strategy of defensive insulation would be effective if Washington count on firms Indian support”. He didn’t say: “If only”.

But Markey is not in favour of that. He feels that it is wise to establish “a foundation for strengthened partnership… based on a shared commitment to improving the living conditions of the people through, strengthening democracy…”

Markey wants “quiet lobbying” for bringing together Pakistan and India, considering that encouraging Indo-Pakistan normalisation is the best way to grow the Pakistani economy and enhance the nation’s stability. In the end Markey concludes by saying that “over the long run, a strong US-Pakistan relationship offers the only way to save Pakistan from a dark and violent future, the only way to protect America from the changes that lurk in Pakistani soil”.

As Markey sees it, for the United States it is huis clos, French for “No Exit”. For better or for worse, the US must stay put in Pakistan”. In a way for the Americans “You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t” help Pakistan. Right now as Markey sees it, there is no immediate way out. Patience is its own award. His book explains how Washington can prepare for the worst, aim for the best and avoid past mistakes.

Summing up Markey says: “The United States should begin by recognising that Pakistan is not a lost cause. It is more like a race that must be run as a marathon rather than a sprint.” Wise words. India can only wait and see and itself take Markey’s advice seriously. Right now there seems to be no other ray to avoid a complicated problem.


Riaz Haq said...

Economics was the basis of Pakistan’s creation

By Shahid Javed Burki
Published: January 12, 2015
A month or so ago, in the space of a few days, I got into an earnest debate with Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States. The substance of that debate is important given Pakistan’s current political difficulties as well as the country’s relations with the outside world. I have known Haqqani for decades. In fact, he reviewed one of earlier works on Pakistan, A Nation in the Making, for the now-defunct Hong Kong-based Far Eastern Economic Review. At the first meeting — a lunch at a restaurant in a Washington suburb — we talked about his recently published and much-discussed book, Magnificent Delusions.

The book, in dealing with Pakistan’s relations with the United States, covers a lot of ground, from the country’s founding to its current precarious situation. In the conversation with me, he questioned the political logic which led to the creation of Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he suggested, should have known that if his demand for the creation of an independent state was accepted, it would leave a significant number of his co-religionists behind in the Hindu-dominated independent India. A smaller minority would find their lives even more difficult in a country in which the Hindus would be even more dominant. This assertion by the former ambassador led me to ask the obvious question: was Pakistan’s creation a mistake? He said it was. I thought and told him so that this was an extraordinary statement by a person who had represented as its ambassador a country he believed was mistakenly created.

His other argument was developed in much greater detail at the house of a rich Indian businessman where the audience was presented his book so that it could be signed by the author. His speech on the occasion concerned Pakistan’s inability to live with its four neighbours — Afghanistan, China, India and Iran as well as with the United States, the country’s long-time benefactor. Including China in the list was puzzling but he said that Beijing had sent some strong messages to Islamabad about the latter’s alleged support to the dissidents in the country’s autonomous region of Xinjiang.

Both arguments need to be considered carefully since they have started a conversation in the American capital about the feasibility of what is sometimes called the ‘idea of Pakistan’. By pursuing the Islamic ideology as the basis of nationhood, the former ambassador thought that Pakistan itself had posed an existential threat to itself.

I responded to these views by saying that Pakistan was created not because its founding fathers thought that ‘Islam was in danger’ but for entirely economic reasons. The present rise of extremism is also owing to economic and political reasons. Those who follow it are not fighting a war of faith with the Pakistani state or the West. These people resent their exclusion from political and economic systems — both dominated by narrow elites — and some of them have opted for extreme violence as the preferred form of expression.

In order to understand the direction in which we should go, we must carefully understand why the country in which we live and of which we are citizens was created. The Pakistan Movement was largely the result of economic factors; religion intervened since the Muslims feared that they will be discriminated against on account of their faith. In the 1940s, when Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his political associates raised the demand for Pakistan, British India had a population of 400 million of which 100 million followed Islam. Two parts of this community, one in the northwest of the British Indian colony and the other in the northeast, accounted for 70 per cent of this community; the remaining 30 per cent was dispersed all over in what were called the Muslim minority provinces....


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an adoring review of Haqqani's book in Times of India:

What is the secret of Pakistan’s hold on the United States that Washington slumbers over its reckless nuclear proliferation and its unceasing sponsorship of terrorism?
The story goes that when Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who had never been to the US (neither had Gandhi or Nehru at that time), wanted to choose an ambassador to the US, he picked Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahani, one of the initiators of the Pakistan movement who had toured the United States in the mid-1940 s to drum up support for an independent Muslim state. In a November 1946 letter to Jinnah, Ispahani explained what he knew of the American psyche. “I have learnt that sweet words and first impressions count a lot with Americans,” he wrote. “They are inclined to quickly like or dislike an individual or organisation.”
Ispahani and his successor Mohammed Ali Bogra, who would go back to become Pakistan’s prime minister, worked relentlessly to bring Washington and Karachi (which was then Pakistan’s capital) closer, according to a recent account by Husain Haqqani, till recently Islamabad’s envoy to Washington (and Ispahani’s son-in-law ). Jinnah gave several interviews to US journalists, the best known of them was Life magazine’s Margaret Bourke-White, who also chronicled Gandhi’s life. “America needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs America,” Jinnah bragged to her. “Pakistan is the pivot of the world, the frontier on which the future position of the world revolves.”
Like many Pakistani leaders after him, Jinnah’s bluster was aimed at persuading the US to pour money and arms into Pakistan. And Bourke-White, like many Americans after her, was skeptical, writes Haqqani. She sensed that behind the bluster was insecurity and a “bankruptcy of ideas… a nation drawing its spurious warmth from the embers of an antique religious fanaticism, fanned into a new blaze.” Bourke-White was prescient in her analysis, but that did not prevent Washington from falling headlong for Pakistan, helped to a great extent by Delhi’s sense of self-importance.
At that time, India was clearly favoured rising star on the US firmament even though its ally Britain entertained misgivings. In some of the lesser-known chapters of US-India history, the founding director of the CIA, Allen Dulles, had lived in Allahabad in the late 1920s as a young man learning Sanskrit and teaching English, and had befriended Nehru and his sister Vijayalakshmi Pandit. Much later, a young American diplomat named Tom Reiner, who had gone to Birla House for a Gandhi Darshan in his first week of a Delhi posting, had physically apprehended Nathuram Godse after he shot the Mahatma. From Gandhi’s own correspondence with Ford to Martin Luther King’s idolising of the Mahatma, the personal connections and dynamics between India and US were all incredibly positive.
Nehru himself visited the US in 1949 with his young daughter Indira to meet President Truman, seeking aid for a famineprone country during meetings that were described as warm and cordial. There were expectations of greater US-India engagement despite Nehru’s well-known socialist proclivities. But Nehru didn’t conform to Washington’s expectations, charting an independent course for India, and in US eyes, gravitating to the Soviet orbit, infuriating Truman and Allen Dulles’ brother, the Cold War architect, John Foster Dulles.
By contrast, Pakistan played ball, and in fact, went on to become, in Husain Haqqani’s view, “a rentier state”. In fact, Haqqani used even more colourful language to describe his country’s way of handling America. He liked it to “a nation of rug merchants,” who would start by asking for the moon, but would settle for a dismal price, never letting a customer walk out of the shop without a sale....


Riaz Haq said...

Sellout Husain Haqqani dislikes his home country #Pakistan just as Gordon Chang and Mixin Pei abhor #China http://on.wsj.com/1d0b2A8 via @WSJ

Hussain Haqqani, in the same category as sellouts like Gordon Chang, Minxin Pei, Karim Sadjadpour, Fawad Ajami, etc, has a problem with China-Pakistan alliance. Here's his Op Ed in Wall Street Journal:

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Islamabad this week with promises of $46 billion in investment for Pakistani infrastructure. If all envisaged projects materialize, Pakistan would get a network of roads, railways and energy pipelines linking Pakistan’s port of Gwadar to China’s westernmost Xinjiang region. China would also build Pakistan’s half of a long-delayed natural-gas pipeline from Iran. This would be a shot in the arm for Pakistan’s faltering economy and consolidate a decades-old strategic partnership.

The Obama administration would also like China to induce Pakistan to abandon its role as a terrorist safe haven. China has been concerned by Pakistan-based jihadists operating in Xinjiang and U.S. officials hope Beijing can be successful in persuading Pakistan to clamp down on the various Islamist groups operating from its soil. But China’s economic reassurances could also reinforce Islamabad’s miscalculations about its regional clout and dangerous ambitions of keeping India strategically off-balance through subconventional means, including terrorism.

Just as Pakistan turned to the U.S. soon after independence in 1947 to seek weapons and economic assistance against India, Pakistan’s leaders today see China as a supporter in their bid to be India’s regional rival. The U.S. disappointed Islamabad by refusing to back its military confrontations with India even while selling Pakistan U.S. weapons (intended for other purposes). Now it might be China’s turn to be the object of unrealistic Pakistani expectations.

Unlike the U.S., China has refrained from lecturing Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders, creating an impression of consistency lacking in U.S.-Pakistan ties. China has been a major supplier of military equipment to Pakistan and was particularly helpful in Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons.

By supporting Pakistan militarily, China has ensured that a large part of India’s military remains tied down in South Asia and is unable to challenge China in the rest of Asia. But India remains the larger market and China’s willingness to use Pakistan as a secondary deterrent against India hasn’t meant abandoning ties with New Delhi. Chinese trade with India in 2013 was $65 billion, six times its trade with Pakistan. In Pakistan’s 1965 and 1971 wars with India, China disappointed Pakistan by not opening a second front against India.


China’s investment in Pakistan, and indeed investment from other sources, would materialize more easily if Pakistan put its house in order. Instead of exhausting itself in competing with an Indian neighbor six times its size, Pakistan needs to confront religious extremism, eliminate terrorism and pursue economic reforms that they talk about but do not implement. Pakistan’s elite needs to start paying taxes to overcome one of the worst tax-to-GDP ratios in the world. Defense spending needs to be rationalized and critical investments made in education to overcome a paucity of skilled manpower.

More likely, the promise of Chinese money will lead Pakistan’s leaders to think China will become their economic and military patron. Mr. Xi would do well not to let that happen, and instead to emphasize reform. He shouldn’t forget that money does not always buy Pakistan’s favor or encourage change in Pakistan’s policies. China may actually lose popularity in Pakistan once its companies arrive and demand primacy of economic considerations. Then China might find itself where Pakistan’s previous benefactor, the U.S., is today. After having provided $40 billion in aid to Pakistan since 1950, the U.S. is now viewed favorably by only 14% of Pakistanis.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's US based Beijing basher Minxin Pei on China's $46 billion investment in Pakistan:

China has put together massive bilateral aid packages for strategic allies and resource-rich developing countries designed to strengthen its economic ties to these nations. The latest manifestation on this front is the $46 billion energy and infrastructure deal China announced for Pakistan. And when President Xi Jinping visited Latin America in July 2014, he signed contracts worth roughly $70 billion.

On the surface, China’s strategy of competing with the U.S. in global finance and investment seems both prudent and shrewd. With a large chunk of its foreign exchange reserves invested in low-yielding American Treasuries and other securities, allocating hundreds of billions of dollars of its forex-reserves into alternative assets (overseas infrastructure and natural resources) may diversify risk and generate better returns. In addition, money diplomacy is more potent than gunboat diplomacy in peeling off American allies; just witness the recent rush of nearly all America’s longtime allies into Beijing’s arms as the AIIB is about to close its doors to new members.

However, China’s strategy is as flawed as it is unsustainable. Taking on large global financial commitments, as China has recently done, entails significant risk. Running a startup multilateral development institution presents complex technical and political challenges for which China has little experience or demonstrated competence. Investments in infrastructure and natural resource projects in developing countries can be endangered due to ethnic conflict, terrorism, and political instability. China’s most recent setback in Sri Lanka, where a change of government threatens billions of dollars in Chinese investments in infrastructure, is just one example of the fallout that can come from such activities. In Pakistan’s failing state, huge Chinese investments might fare even worse.

Beijing has also overestimated China’s financial capacity. Despite China’s rapid growth, the U.S. economy, with a GDP of $17.4 trillion in 2014, is still two-thirds larger than the Chinese economy ($10.4 trillion). More importantly, as history shows, constructing an alternative global financial order requires uncontested economic hegemony and resources. When the U.S. designed the post-World War II global financial system (the so-called Bretton Woods system) in 1944, the American economy made up half of the world’s GDP. Since China accounts for 13.4% of the world’s GDP, it is questionable whether it has sufficient resources to underwrite an alternative system.


Riaz Haq said...

Here's China basher Gordon Chang on Pak-China corridor:

Beijing is not only creating militants and then taking them on. To make matters even worse, the Corridor enters China through an area India claims as its own. Beijing says it does not take sides in the territorial dispute over Kashmir, but at the beginning of this month, it abandoned its asserted neutrality. In a December 2 release, Xinhua News Agency stated that the Khunjerab Pass was “on the China-Pakistan border.” “The pass,” China’s official media outlet stated, “is a strategic point on the Karakoram Highway, which links China’s Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region.” New Delhi, however, maintains Gilgit-Baltistan is part of India.

Beijing, despite everything, looks like it is absolutely determined to do whatever it takes to first build and then secure its corridor running through the heart of Pakistan. Its plan, however, is almost certainly misconceived, bound to cause more turmoil in already troubled areas.


Riaz Haq said...

Is U.S. Trying To Make Up To Pakistan?

A little too late?
Although US has agreed to provide Pakistan precision strike capabilities in the near future, one has to question if it’s a really desperate move from Washington to patch things up with a country that is slowly slipping away from its influence?

American policymakers do realize that they have to change their mindset toward Pakistan but on the same hand, they need to realize that the Pakistani authorities would definitely have a trick up their sleeves and will use USA’s efforts as a great chance to fill the gaps it has in its defensive and offensive capabilities while also making sure that a major chunk of assistance is taken from Moscow and Beijing.

U.S trying to retain an ally?
Since its early days, Pakistan has been always an important ally for Pentagon, thanks to its geographical location. And in the coming years, Pakistan’s importance to US cannot be ignored. However, broken promises and duality has really started costing US and it is high time for Washington to wake up before the damage it has done is irrevocable.

Currently US shuffling across the board and doing all it can in a bid to stop the Chinese armada that has already become so influential in Pakistani policy and they are unsuccessful in doing it. With the growing economic corporation with Beijing and rapidly growing bilateral ties with Moscow, has forced Washington to offer Pakistan gifts that China and Russia cannot. And although this is going to help Pakistan from a defensive point of view, it is basically US making attempts to keep a bird in its cage like it has for years.

The growing power of eastern block is alarming for Washington, as not only economically but also militarily, they are getting strong and forming alliances that will help challenge America’s global presence and influence. This alliance can shift the economic hub and can tilt the balance of power towards the east. Though it is not simple as it sounds but the reality is that it is happening, albeit at a slow pace.

Now, it is up to US policymakers how they want to change all that. Changing the tone towards Pakistan might be a good start indeed!


Riaz Haq said...

Mosque and military have shaped the idea of Pakistan: Husain Haqqani

New Delhi: Pakistan's former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani said the country should not live by the slogan 'Pakistan in Danger' and it should focus on friendly relationship with India.
Haqqani's speech on Thursday was played as a recorded video message at the ongoing Penguin Spring Fever Literary festival as he could not make it to the event.

Clarifying his absence, Haqqani said that he could not avail the visa as he applied late and it takes very long for a Pakistani to get an Indian visa.
"In 1948, Bengali leader Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy said that Pakistan will not prosper if the leaders try to run it on the basis of fear, just as the country was formed on the creation of the fear that Islam is in danger," Haqqani, who has written the book 'Pakistan - Between Mosque and Military', said.
He also said that Pakistan has to overcome the baggage of partition, that is manifested in the forms of militancy and militarism .
"The debate on partition has been going on for long and it was debilitating for the country. It divided the country and led to the formation of Bangladesh. Pakistan can become plural and modern society if we shed the baggage of partition," said Haqqani.
The author also argued that Pakistan's militarism is a result of the difficult relationship between India and Pakistan.
"In my book, I have argued that how mosque and military have shaped the idea of Pakistan," he said.
Stressing on the need for friendly ties with India, he said that the country has to accept criticism in the right earnest.
"People of Pakistan need to understand that the criticism of the policy are not questioning the right of the people of Pakistan to live in peace. It is important to come to terms for Pakistan that progress is important and that modus operandi with India is important," he noted.

"The country is young, 100 million are below the age of 22 and are talented people whose potential is yet to unleash. It is up to the world to see Pakistan as that of poets, of artists, of small and battled liberals, of landed aristocracy or that of an establishment," he said.


Riaz Haq said...

Let’s have quick look of Mr Hussain Haqqani’s [Nowadays an American Scholar who lecture on Democracy] dirty and filthy past while he was part and parcel of Army-Jamat-e-Islami Axis which is riddled witch scandals and corruption. A detailed CV of Husaain Haqqani is at the end to corroborate the comment.

With brainwashing on the one hand and erosion of academic freedom on the other, the campuses (once temples of learning and enlightenment) have been turned into centres of rowdyism and repositories of deadly weapon. Students belonging to various schools of religious thought, regional and ethnic groups, particularly the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba (the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami) , have played havoc with educational institutions. Professors were another target of the victimization carried out in this period. Members of the IJT launched a concerted campaign against professors known for their liberal views. In Punjab University, particularly, many professors were forced to resign, others were sacked.

The situation was no different in the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, which had in the 70s attracted many brilliant Pakistanis who were teaching abroad. As the harassment became unbearable, most of these professors went back. To what extent fundamentalists blocked scientific knowledge can be assessed by one incident at the Karachi University, where a zoology lecturer was stopped from teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Similar incidents occurred frequently in the philosophy and the economics department. The situation has worsened wit the passage of time. During that period, a policy of appeasement towards the IJT made matter worse. Guns boomed at the Karachi University Campus for the first time in 1979 when, according to Imran Shirvanee, Raja Javed, a supporter of IJT, used a sten gun ‘to tackle the opposition.’ When the pen and free expression are throttled, the only means open to tackle opposition is a firearm. At that time, the IJT was the ruling party in Karachi University politics with Hussain Haqqani, Raja Javed was his close aide.

Haqqani is a man of many roles. The former Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent was the media advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif when Benazir Bhutto was at the centre {1988-1990}. He switched to serve caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in 1990, and then switched back again to serve Sharif when he was elected Prime Minister. In 1992, he was sent to Sri Lanka as Pakistan’s High Commissioner. On the eve of Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal on 18 April 1993, he jumped the sinking ship and joined President Ghulam Ishaq Khan bandwagon. Immediately, he was rewarded by being made a special assistant to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Balakh Sher Mazari with the rank of Minister of State. Asked by BBC if he now deserved a mention in the Guinness Book of Records for switching loyalties so often, his reply was classic: I was always with the President.’”

Mr Haqqani. Right from this student politics with the Jamaat’s student wing, the dreaded Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba, at Karachi University there is much that Mr Haqqani is answerable for. The violence at the university and the brutal suppression of free speech that the IJT imposed on the campus in those days was done with Mr Haqqani very much an active player. Many still say that he was the architect of the IJT’s policy of using brute force to suppress opposition opinion. We next saw him on PTV – which was a kind of a launching pad for him -during the 1985 partyless elections. It was an election which destroyed Pakistan’s politics in more ways than one and much that we see wrong with Pakistan’s politics today dates back to that election. It was because of the destructive potential of the election that every liberal and progressive party in the country boycotted those elections. Yet there was Mr Haqqani at his most articulate, lauding the farcical exercise as if it was the best thing that had happened to the country since its birth.


Riaz Haq said...

Husain Haqqani is a "scholar" whose research for his book "Magnificent Delusion" is based almost entirely on the work of press reporters like Time-Life's photographer Margaret Bourke-White and her fellow American journalists whom he quotes extensively to support his positions. Haqqani finds them more credible and insightful than Jinnah, Liaquat, Truman, Eisenhower, Dulles and other top leaders and policy-makers in Pakistan and United State.


Riaz Haq said...

Former envoy (Husain Haqqani) lobbying against #Pakistan in #Washington: Aziz


A former Pakistani ambassador in Washington has been lobbying against his own country and creating problems for the government in Islamabad, says foreign policy wizard. Though Sartaj Aziz didn’t name anyone, it was obvious that he was referring to Hussain Haqqani.

“He is trying to circumvent all our diplomatic efforts aimed at boosting bilateral ties between Pakistan and the United States,” Aziz said. “The Foreign Office has serious reservations about his activities in the US.”

Indian PM’s visit to US: International lobby ‘active against Pakistan’

Aziz made the statement in the lower house of parliament after opposition MPs criticized the government over recent foreign policy fiascos. Aziz downplayed the opposition’s criticism, saying Pakistan had the lowest budget for the Foreign Office — Rs15 billion — while Turkey had a Rs82 billion budget and Iran Rs40 billion. “The Foreign Office budget has been increased by 14% over the last three years,” he said.

Foreign policy

According to Aziz, Pakistan was pursuing a ‘balanced policy’ based on non-interference and protection of national interests and nuclear assets and its sovereignty.

“Indian Prime Minister Narandra Modi’s recent trip to Muslim countries should not be construed as a failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” he said. Pakistan enjoys historical relations with the Muslim world based on common religion, Aziz said. “Modi’s visit will not affect our ties.”

Aziz also said that Pakistan was ‘making successful efforts’ against India’s attempt to seek a membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. About the new border management plan with Afghanistan, the de facto foreign minister said: “The war against terror cannot be won without effective border management.”

All is not bad

Aziz said criticism for criticism’s sake would not go down well as the CPEC, Central Asia-South Asia-1000 and besides Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline were the projects for regional connectivity. “Pakistan’s political role will enhance after becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.”

About Afghanistan, the foreign policy wizard said Pakistan was pursuing a ‘no-favourite policy’ and making efforts to restore peace in the war-ravaged country through the Quadrilateral Coordination Group.

Meanwhile, NA approved 19 demands for grants of four ministries, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Food Security and Water and Power. The opposition had moved over 700 cut motions but they were rejected in a voice vote.

Riaz Haq said...

No Surprise in Pakistan Not Being Declared a ‘Terrorism-Sponsoring Nation’


Strategists who assumed that India could bring about such a declaration are poor students of history and do not understand how Washington works.

Our “strategists”, who had made the present leadership believe that they would be successful in declaring Pakistan as a terrorist-sponsor nation, are poor students of history. They may be good at event management by organising the prime minister’s diaspora meetings, but they don’t seem to know how Washington works. The closest India came to designating Pakistan as “terrorist nation” was in April 1993, when Narasimha Rao was prime minister. At that time, the Indian embassy and intelligence had jointly made nearly successful efforts to convince the US government of Pakistan’s role in fomenting terrorism against India and also in conniving with the drug mafia. Personal lobbying by ambassadors Abid Hussain and Siddharth Shankar Ray had almost convinced the US State Department to take a stand.

Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister of Pakistan at the time. Buffeted by the then president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Sharif sent his confidante, Nisar Ali Khan, to Washington DC to plead his case for “retention”. Khan met then secretary of state Warren Christopher on April 7, 1993. According to the Federal Register, he presented a 5’X 7’ silk rug as a gift to the secretary valued at $500. Although Khan described the talks as “useful”, the state department delivered an unprecedented snub that very evening, warning Pakistan that it would be designated as a “terrorist sponsoring” nation if there was no improvement. Sharif was dismissed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in July 1993. He moved the Supreme Court General Abdul Waheed Kakar, who was army chief, intervened and made both of them resign.

My personal enquiries at that time with the state department had revealed that it was Benazir Bhutto, on a private visit to Washington DC at the time, who had personally pleaded with the Clinton administration at different levels not to put Pakistan in the company of Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Cuba. Benazir had met even assistant secretary level officers in the state department, setting aside protocol as a former prime minister.

The US 9/11 National Commission has reported another move in 1998 by the state department’s counter-terrorism coordinator to designate Pakistan as a terrorist sponsor due to the ISI’s “activities in support of international terrorism” by supporting attacks “on civilian targets in Kashmir”. This was overruled by then secretary of state Madeleine Albright, who said that “putting the Pakistanis on the terrorist list would eliminate any influence the United States had over them”. Deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott had also felt that “additional sanctions would have bankrupted the Pakistanis, a dangerous move that could have brought ‘total chaos’ to a nuclear-armed country with a significant number of Islamic radicals”. This is the US’s stand even now. They need Pakistan to control Afghanistan. That India can substitute Pakistan in Afghanistan is a pipe dream.

Riaz Haq said...

Heated exchange between Haqqani, Ishrat over Pak-US ties


“CSF was not assistance. It was our money that we spent to support the US logistic operations in Afghanistan during the war on terror and it was reimbursed later. I sat in cabinet meetings where we approved allocation from our own budget to support the US operation. That money was later reimbursed by the US government through the CSF,” Dr Ishrat said while responding to Haqqani’s point that Pakistan did not deliver enough after receiving the US assistance after 9/11.

While praising the Indian progress after independence, Haqqani strongly criticised Pakistan for failing to utilise $43 billion aid it received from the US since 1949 for its development.

Haqqani argued that the US should not provide large-scale assistance to Pakistan. However, the former ambassador of Pakistan was reminded by no one else but an American former official that the US assistance was given to Pakistan to protect US national interests.

“May be you are not serving your national interests by giving money to Pakistan,” Haqqani told the former US official. Haqqani said during his tenure as Pakistan ambassador he received the CSF bills that were objected to by the US authorities. “Once I received a request for $120 million for beef that was used by Pakistani soldiers serving in Swat and $100 million for barbed wire in tribal areas. I was asked by US officials what kind of barbed wire costs that much.”

The moderator of the discussion had to intervene to stop the heated exchange between Ishrat and Haqqani as the former ambassador started interrupting Ishrat. Dr Ishrat said whatever assistance Pakistan received was delivered when the US needed Pakistani support. “Whether it was during the 1960s Cold War or 1980’s Afghan war and the recent war on terror, the assistance was given to promote the US national interests in the region.”

He said Pakistan did not need an aid model that never worked as it could not promote development. He said the US and Pakistan should cooperate in educational exchanges and human resource development as South Asian country’s had huge potential.

“US Fulbright programme is helping Pakistani students but these students need to be sent to the top US universities to learn science, mathematics and related subjects,” Ishrat said adding that currently majority of Pakistani students were placed in less famous universities as it cost less.

To this, Husain Haqqani argued that Pakistani students were not enough talented to get admission to the top Ivy League universities prompting a response from Ishrat. “This is not true I know many Pakistani students in my institute who are brilliant and could get admission anywhere,” Ishrat, who served as dean and director of the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi, said.

Speaking on the occasion Robin Raphel said the US assistance to Pakistan did achieve objectives. “We always know money can’t buy you love but when you build road, you build hospital or school, people do like that,” she said. She listed major development projects that were completed in Pakistan with US assistance provided under the Kerry-Lugar bill.

These projects included the 2,400 megawatt electricity project, 1,100-kilometre road in tribal areas, clean energy project, the largest Fulbright programme and university partnership apart from $1 billion humanitarian assistance.

Praising Vision 2025 programme of PML-N government, she said Pakistan under the current government had better sense of development priorities. She said the current Pakistani administration was not talking much about aid but the focus had now shifted to trade and business opportunities.

Riaz Haq said...

CNN's Peter Bergen's opinion on whether Pakistani official knew of Bin Laden's presence in Abottabad:

The bin Laden story in the New York Times magazine is an extract from (Caroltta) Gall's forthcoming book, "The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014."
Gall makes two astonishing claims in her Times magazine piece.
The first claim: An unnamed Pakistani official told her, based on what he had in turn heard from an unnamed senior U.S. official that "the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of bin Laden's presence in Abbottabad." ISI is Pakistan's powerful military intelligence agency.
The second claim: "The ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: bin Laden...the top military bosses knew about it, I was told."
It is, of course, hard to prove negatives, but having spent around a year reporting intensively on the hunt for al Qaeda's leader for my 2012 book "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad," I am convinced that there is no evidence that anyone in the Pakistani government, military or intelligence agencies knowingly sheltered bin Laden.
How did I arrive at this conclusion?

On three reporting trips to Pakistan I spoke to senior officials in Pakistan's military and intelligence service. They all denied that they had secretly harbored bin Laden. OK, you are thinking: "But they would say that, wouldn't they?"
Well, what about the dozens of officials I spoke to in the U.S. intelligence community, Pentagon, State Department and the White House who also told me versions of "the Pakistanis had no idea that bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad"?
During the course of reporting for my book I spoke on the record to, among others, John Brennan, now the CIA director and then President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser; then CIA Director Leon Panetta and his chief of staff, Jeremy Bash; then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Mike Mullen; then Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright; then director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter; then senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council, Nick Rasmussen; then head of policy at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy; Michael Vickers, who was then the civilian overseer of Special Operations at the Pentagon; Tony Blinken, who is now the deputy national security adviser; and Denis McDonough, who held that position before Blinken.
These officials have collectively spent many decades working to destroy al Qaeda, and many are deeply suspicious of Pakistan for its continuing support for elements of the Taliban. But all of them told me in one form or another that Pakistani officials had no clue that bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
Indeed, an early debate between senior national security officials at the White House, once CIA intelligence established that bin Laden could be hiding in Abbottabad, was whether to mount a joint U.S.-Pakistani raid on bin Laden's suspected hideout.
This plan was rejected because the officials were concerned that such a joint operation carried the risk that word would leak out about the bin Laden intelligence. This debate would have been moot if the Pakistanis already knew bin Laden was living in Abbottabad.
And, by the way, if the U.S. government had any evidence that the Pakistanis were knowingly sheltering bin Laden, as Gall claims, why cover this up?


Riaz Haq said...

Islam in South Asia presdates Mohammad Bin Qasim's invasion.


A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia is a critical literary, historical
and intellectual analysis of a 13
th century Persian text which tells the story of the Arab invasions of
Sindh in the 7-8
th centuries. Asad Abbasi finds the book an important re-examination of a key text
which has been used to perpetuate the myth that Hindus and Muslims are historic enemies, despite
offering a moral conduct for governance.
A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia . Manan Ahmed Asif.
Harvard University Press. 2016.


Asif implies that previous commentators have invariably selected, chopped, derided, ridiculed, and ignored parts of
the text to fit their own agendas. But there are two common assumptions that still hold, primarily because of how Ali
Kufi frames his work: first, the Chachnama is a translation of an Arabic manuscript, and second it is a book about
conquest in eighth century Sindh. Asif rejects both these assumptions. He argues the Chachnama is an original
book of political theory written in Persian addressed to the audience of thirteenth century Sindh.
Asif builds on work by Muzaffar Alam and A.C.S. Peacock in challenging the notion that the text is a translation.
Alam, an eminent Mughal historian, proposes that translation was key part of ‘Persianisation’ i.e. process for the
elites to move away from religious values towards more secular methods (p. 55). Peacock, Professor of History at St Andrews, views the translations of that period as ‘transcreations or commentarial interpretations’. Asif highlights that
in the 13th century claiming a book’s Arabic heritage was customary but also very prudent for raising author’s
profile. Kufi’s contemporaries such as Awfi and Juzjani are known to have employed similar methods. The historians
of thirteenth century may call their own work translations but ‘saw pedagogy and self-reflection as key function of the
texts’ (p. 60).
Asif also argues that the Chachnama does not fit the mould of other conquest narratives within Arabic
historiography. These differences are stark: while the conquest narrative deals in proper names; the Chachnama
gives ‘general attributes’ and uses generic citations (p. 63). The Arabic conquest literature focuses on plot of the
story, description of land and regions; Kufi, instead, writes about ‘inner turmoil, deliberation, doubts and planning of
the campaign’. The conquest narratives paint dismal picture of pre-Islamic times; Chachnama informs the reader of
the wealth and resources in Sind before Muhammad Bin Qasim. Furthermore, unlike the conquest narratives, Kufi
draws comparisons between the Hindu ruler Chach, and the Muslim ruler Bin Qasim (p. 66). Based on these
differences, Asif contends that the Chachnama is not a conquest narrative but ‘an Indic political theory’ which is
‘deeply ingrained in the physical geography and spatial constraint of the thirteenth century’ (p. 67).
Asif’s interpretation differs significantly from those of earlier commentators.


The falsehood that Hindus and Muslims are enemies who have been engaged in conflict since time immemorial is
perpetuated by centres of power to establish legitimacy. The British used it to legitimise colonisation, for Pakistani
state it provides legitimacy for military expenditure and for Hindu nationalists it becomes the basis for delegitimising
last one thousand years of Indian history. Asif’s new volume seeks to challenge the misinterpretations of the
Chachnama that has arisen from its use in these instrumental narratives.

Riaz Haq said...

"Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb" by Strobe Talbot


Clinton telephoned Sharif, the Pakistani PM, to whet his appetite for the planes, huge amounts of financial aid, and a prize certain to appeal to Sharif—an invitation for him to make an official visit to Washington.

“You can almost hear the guy wringing his hands and sweating,” Clinton said after hanging up.

Still, we had to keep trying. Our best chance was an emergency dose of face-to-face diplomacy. It was decided that I would fly to Pakistan and make the case to Nawaz Sharif.

On arrival in Islamabad, we had about an hour to freshen up at a hotel before our first official meeting, which was with the foreign minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, and the foreign secretary (the senior civil servant in the ministry), Shamshad Ahmad.

When we got to the foreign ministry, we found that the Pakistani civilian leaders had finally figured out how to handle our visit, and the result was a bracing experience. My two hosts rolled their eyes, mumbled imprecations under their breath, and constantly interrupted.

They accused the United States of having turned a blind eye to the BJP’s preparations for the test.

As for the carrots I had brought, the Pakistanis gave me a version of the reaction I had gotten from General Wahid five years earlier.

Offers of Pressler relief and delivery of “those rotting and virtually obsolete air- planes,” said Gohar Ayub, were “shoddy rugs you’ve tried to sell us before.” The Pakistani people, he added, “would mock us if we accepted your offer. They will take to the streets in protest.”

I replied that Pakistanis were more likely to protest if they didn’t have jobs.

Gohar Ayub and Shamshad Ahmad waved the point aside. The two Pakistani officials were dismissive. The current burst of international outrage against India would dissipate rapidly, they predicted.

We set off with police escort, sirens blaring, to General Karamat’s headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Karamat, who was soft-spoken and self-confident, did not waste time on polemics.

He heard us out and acknowledged the validity of at least some of our arguments, especially those concerning the danger that, by testing, Pakistan would land itself, as he put it, “in the doghouse alongside India.”

His govt was still “wrestling” with the question of what to do he said, which sounded like a euphemism for civilian dithering. There was more in the way Karamat talked about his political leadership, a subtle but discernible undertone of long-suffering patience bordering on scorn

For example, he noted pointedly “speculation” that Pakistan was looking for some sort of American security guarantee, presumably a promise that the US would come to Pakistan’s defense if it was attacked by India, in exchange for not testing.

“You may hear such a suggestion later,” Karamat added, perhaps referring to our upcoming meeting with Nawaz Sharif.

I should not take such hints seri- ously, he said, since they reflected the panic of the politicians. Pakistan would look out for its own defense.

What Pakistan needed from the United States was a new, more solid relationship in which there was no “arm- twisting” or “forcing us into corners.”

By stressing this point, Karamat made clear that our arguments against testing did not impress him.

Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb

I shared a car back to Islamabad with Bruce Riedel and Tom Simons to meet Nawaz Sharif.

What we got from the Prime Minister was a Hamlet act, convincing in its own way—that is, I think he was genuinely feeling torn—but rather pathetic.

On this occasion Nawaz Sharif seemed nearly paralyzed with exhaustion, anguish, and fear. He was—literally, just as Clinton had sensed during their phone call—wringing his hands. He had yet to make up his mind, he kept telling us. Left to his own judgment, he would not test.

Riaz Haq said...

"Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb" by Strobe Talbot


I shared a car back to Islamabad with Bruce Riedel and Tom Simons to meet Nawaz Sharif.

What we got from the Prime Minister was a Hamlet act, convincing in its own way—that is, I think he was genuinely feeling torn—but rather pathetic.

On this occasion Nawaz Sharif seemed nearly paralyzed with exhaustion, anguish, and fear. He was—literally, just as Clinton had sensed during their phone call—wringing his hands. He had yet to make up his mind, he kept telling us. Left to his own judgment, he would not test.

His position was “awkward.” His government didn’t want to engage in “tit-for-tat exchanges” or “act irresponsibly.” The Indian leaders who had set off the explosion were “madmen” and he didn’t want “madly to follow suit.”

But pressure was “mounting by the hour” from all sides, including from the opposition led by his predecessor and would-be successor, Benazir Bhutto. “I am an elected official, and I cannot ignore popular sentiment.”

Sharif was worried that India would not only get away with what it had done but profit from it as well. When international anger receded, the sanctions would melt away, and the BJP would parlay India’s new status as a declared nuclear weapons state into a permanent seat on UN SC.

I laid out all that we could do for Pakistan, although this time I tried to personalize the list a bit more. Clinton told me 2 days before that he would use Sharif’s visit to Washington and Clinton’s own to Pak to “dramatize” the world’s gratitude if Sharif refrains from testing.

This point aroused the first flicker of interest I’d seen. Nawaz Sharif asked if Clinton would promise to skip India on his trip and come only to Pakistan. There was no way I could promise that.

All I could tell Nawaz Sharif was that Clinton would “recalibrate the length and character” of the stops he made in New Delhi and Islamabad to reflect that Pakistan was in favor with the United States while India was not.

Sharif looked more miserable than ever.

Toward the end of the meeting, Sharif asked everyone but me to wait outside. Shamshad seemed miffed. He glanced nervously over his shoulder as he left.
When we were alone I gave the PM a written note from Secretary Albright urging him to hold firm against those clamoring to test.

The note warned about the economic damage, to say nothing of the military danger, Pakistan faced from an escalating competition with India. Sharif read the note intently, folded the paper, put his head in his hands for a moment, then looked at me with desperation in his eyes.

At issue, he said, was his own survival. “How can I take your advice if I’m out of office?” If he did as we wanted, the next time I came to Islamabad, I'd find myself dealing not with a clean-shaven moderate like himself but with an Islamic fundamentalist “who has a long beard.”

He concluded by reiterating he had not made up his mind about testing. “If a final decision had been reached I'd be in a much calmer state of mind. Believe me when I tell you that my heart is with you. I appreciate & would even privately agree with what you're advising us to do.”

Riaz Haq said...

Sour grapes India: Pakistan has clearly won in Afghanistan
September 21, 2021, 2:52 PM IST

By Sunil Sharan in Strategic Insights, India, World, TOI


Much hand-wringing and hair-pulling is going on in India over Pakistan’s “1971” moment. Actually Pakistan has had two 1971 moments. Once when they ejected the Soviets from Afghanistan in 1989, and now.


The fight then is clear. It is white Christian nations versus brown Muslim nations. The US has been involved in the following campaigns after 9/11: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. All Muslim nations. It has met defeat in Afghanistan and Iraq, and been dealt a bruising blow in Libya, Syria and Yemen. Estimate of Muslim lives lost from war and displacement caused by war since 9/11 vary between five and ten million.


Much is being made of Blinken’s statement that the US would like to see Pakistan evolve the way it, the US, wishes. This is just wishful thinking. When the Americans were all over Afghanistan (and Pakistan), they could not force the Pakistanis to do what they wanted to do. Now that they have hightailed out of Afghanistan, are we expected to believe that the US has more leverage over Pakistan now than before?


Other than the US, the country that has clearly lost out in Afghanistan is India. For 20 years, India has poured over $3 billion in aid and reconstruction into Afghanistan, all of which, in a jiffy, has just landed in the hands of the Taliban. Pakistan has now become without doubt emboldened to launch a second jihad to liberate Kashmir from India. India cannot be naïve and altruistic anymore. It has to ramp up support for Pakistan’s Baloch rebels as well as instigate the Taliban in amalgamating Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province into Afghanistan, a long-cherished dream of its.

India just cannot afford to be a mute and idle spectator in the AfPak region. Its very survival is at risk. Pakistan has often accused India of fomenting terrorism in its own territory through the Pakistani Taliban. But think about this. The Pakistani Taliban wants to impose sharia in Pakistan, just as it’s been now imposed in Afghanistan.

But Pakistan’s Muslims are Hinduized. They don’t want sharia, just as India doesn’t want an enormous territory on its western flank under sharia. It is in India’s interest that Pakistan stays Hinduized. Why then would India support the Pakistani Taliban?