Response to Thomas L Friedman’s Article “Calling All Pakistanis”

Our contributor Kashkin has authored this response to Thomas L Friedman’s Article “Calling All Pakistanis” found here. In general, a lot of drivel is being published by the corporate Western media and its biased gurus to deflect attentions from the horrors of Iraq and Afghanistan. It is therefore important to note that some of us are taking the time to respond. We hope that the readers would add to this perspecive and that the blogosphere will also notice that Pakistan and Pakistanis can do without the advice of the types such as Mr Friedman. (RR- editor)

Dear New York Times Editors

Response to Mr. Friedman’s article ” Calling All Pakistanis”..He wanted ordinary citizens of Pakistan to protest. Well here is the protest in words, from an ordinary Pakistani which is more effective rather than being on the streets. Mr. Friedman must realize that his statements cannot be tolerated as they do not represent the overall picture and the correct one. If he has any shortage of ideas, I can understand that but not through boredom these articles which are meaningless and fails to take into account anything with consideration and care. I hope you pass this message onto him and appropriate action taken.
There comes a time when all one can do is to report and write based on their own perceptions – remote and alienated in their own ways to see what is actually happening outside US. Thomas Freidman seems to have picked another example where he is mixing too many things without due consideration and care. Another example how to spread a message in the most negative sense.What has he achieved from this and what was the impact? At times, this whole concept of sitting thousands of miles away, in a most comfortable surroundings do not necessarily mean that you know what is actually happening in the world which has become unstable not because of religion but the politics and policies of the West in order to pursue fanatically the interests and gains for safeguarding their concepts of democracy. This is what Pakistan and ordinary citizen of Pakistan will be protesting about. Why should we protest as we did not kill anyone in Mumbai.
This is what happens when there is no clarity and appropriate judgment. Mumbai attack has been condemned by all Muslims and no one is happy but how can one expect to condemn something when the other side has condemned Pakistan in their false accusations as an easy way out. India has falsely accused Pakistan in many instances before only to find out later, it was their own people and own problems. The problems which India currently faces are huge and uncontrollable. If this is an attempt to create a standoff between India and Pakistan, then I am afraid it’s not going to happen as India knows it very clearly and what that means for all its economic progress and future. The solution is to accept and share and have the concept of respect and trust. Mr. Friedman, I am sorry to say India never has accepted Pakistan as a mutual friend or agreed to any of the proposals that have been brought out in the past to transition into an understanding based on justice and tolerance. And this propaganda of doing the protest for Mumbai is not alone Pakistan’s responsibility. There should have been protest in the streets of West when Pakistan’s airspace was violated on numerous occasions, when people in FATA and our tribal areas were murdered in the name of terrorism and when there were bomb blasts in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and all the other cities. Why have this indifference? The people who have lost their lives were innocent and civilians and it doesn’t matter which religion, creed or sect they belong to, it should be condemned. But to highlight this fact of protest illustrates the thinking behind Mr. Friedman’s approach that if Pakistanis don’t come out on the street, then that means they are responsible for Mumbai attacks. This is where the problem begins in his analysis.
Secondly, how can Mr. Friedman justify his very own Government stance on this so called war on terrorism which has become war of terror.The US policies and the people like him were responsible for creating that sense of fear in the world to completely decimate Iraq first and now Afghanistan and Pakistan. How can he justify these actions on any grounds be it moral or ethical that it is okay to wage wars on developing nations and third world countries because they pose a threat to USA or any other on the principle of religion and fear.
Also USA has never really supported the lawyer’s movement in Pakistan. A perfect opportunity to bring some sense and justice but instead they have carried on with their policies of the past to support dictators or those who under the disguise of democracy carry out the most villainous acts and disservice to their people to support America’s claim and these wars of interest.
He is asking the question to all Muslims and yet the title of the article is “Calling All Pakistanis”. This type of immaturity is prevalent in the western media. After every incidence, there come stero-typed, clichéd responses which we have become accustomed to.
He starts off by saying that all those protest that took place in Pakistan all over was over a cartoon, a meaningless exercise. It may appear to Mr. Friedman meaningless and futile but there was a clear message and again an element of ignorance played by Danish cartoonist and the rest for portraying Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) in a manner which was derogatory and not acceptable. The very first paragraph highlights his ignorance disguised as wisdom.  How can a person like Mr. Friedman be accepted as a leading commentator on issues of Islam and the rest where he doesn’t have any remote idea what it means to Muslims and the whole Islamic world “the Danish cartoon affair”.
Let me ask the question to Mr. Friedman as I do not remember any single protest or voices of reason and logic from India about Pakistan and its loss in all those bomb attacks and suicide plots in last two years that has taken thousands of ordinary Pakistani lives. Did he protest in Times Square? Did he ever protest about anything? The answer is NO. But he has the wisdom to share his convoluted views to the rest of the world by being irrational and irresponsible behavior.
Then he goes onto describe a hypothetical example if Indians were to crash into Karachi and kill those people. This is one of the most absurd and shocking statements I have seen from Mr. Friedman. How can he propose such solution in the wake of what has already happened. Basically he is following the same rhetoric without any evidence and without any facts to reinstate this view that the people in Mumbai attacks were Pakistanis. And then to bring out an example inciting Indians to follow the same only tells one thing, the idea to propagate to create a situation between India and Pakistan where the only beneficiary of this exercise will not be Pakistan or India but USA. Lets destabilize another region; lets create another war; let’s start up another campaign is the message I see disguised within his statements.
India as I stated earlier on has huge problems. So far, all the world has ever known is Bollywood and IT. Now with this incidence, it has exposed India’s inability to control its own borders, inability not to act upon intelligence when they knew and most importantly to ignore all what has happened in India and all the unrest that exists in all those minorities and quarters within the society. What happened in Gujrat couple of years ago was a shameful act. Did India do anything? The answer is No. What happened to Christians who were burnt by Hindu fanatics? Was there any response and protest within India? The answer is NO.
Pakistani Government may be weak thanks to all those wars we have been fighting on USA’s behalf but its people are not weak and stupid. They can see Mr. Friedman where you are   coming from and all the hidden and sinister views you   nurture, you adopt and propagate through your articles.
He is keen to have whole Pakistan brought out in the streets to grieve for the loss which ordinary citizens of Mumbai had to go through. I condemn those attacks and all Pakistanis have condemned those attacks but by protest…Let me ask the question to Mr. Freidman. Did the protest in New York, Washington and most importantly in the streets of London against attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan had any impact on Bush and its policies towards those regions. The answer is No. It was the biggest protest in London that took place and people came from all walks of life, from all quarters. And yet their views and protest were ignored and forgotten by the governments and elite. Did he participate in any of those protests or was he writing another inflammatory article on Pakistan, its inhabitants and all the issues
And in the rest of the article he carries on again playing at the edges with stereotyped and misjudgments about Pakistan and Muslims, the notions of hell and heaven and trying to incite the people from this belief that whatever comes out from West is necessarily the best thing to adopt and accepted.
Mr. Friedman needs to realize and accept one very important aspect on this whole thing. The evil of terrorism is not the religion (be it Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and so forth) but the politics.Politics when it completely ignores the basic principles of humanity, their needs and expectations. Politics when it fails to appreciate the problems and all the issues that surrounds nations be it Pakistan, India or anyone for that matter. The hidden beast which the Politics have carried within the policies of the West and its propagators to resolve the problems of the world by force rather than dialogue, through oppression rather than understanding; through acceptance rather than alienation; and through concepts appealing rather than advocating we are right and you are wrong. Pakistan has seen enough of this in its last sixty one years of existence and how all what has happened for all the wrong reasons brought a nation into turmoil..It is this he needs to understand v- the core issue and its impact and protest about it rather than being the mouthpiece for another ideology, for another half-baked solution and for another article to illustrate his ignorance and behavior which creates confusion and breeds hatred.
Rumi once said that wisdom is something that does not rely upon the condition of being old. You either have it or you don’t. Mr. Friedman today has exposed himself that he is definitely not one of them who can be called a wise person within all premises of wisdom. The voices of reason within him are absent.
Kashkin

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29 Comments

Filed under India, Pakistan, Terrorism, violence, war

29 responses to “Response to Thomas L Friedman’s Article “Calling All Pakistanis”

  1. neel288

    Mr Kashkin,
    It is not enough any more, for an ordinary Pakistani to say that, he has no reason to feel apologetic , or protest, since he has not been directly responsible in the killings, perpetrated by his fellow Pakistani, radicalized and trained to kill, again by his fellow Pakistani.
    You have to be utterly shameless, when you mention that all of Indian accusation are false. The whole world knows the truth about Taliban and a host of terror outfits in Pakistan, that have patronage of the Pak army and the ISI. The US knows it first hand, as they were a party to the whole affair, during Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. You guys in Pakistan still need evidance, when the nabbed Pakistani is the living evidence at hand ?
    India has its internal problems, however be advised that the Pakistanis have no business harping on those issues. All they need to be concerned about is the Pakistani nationals involved in terror attacks on a neighbouring country.
    The noose is tightening around Pakistan’s neck and there is no escape this time. Time is running out on you, see the writing on the wall and act now.

  2. guessworker

    Indian politicians who have hogged all the NSG commando cover are on the defensive. With election less than year away, they are trying to fight terrorism in media instead of where it should be fought, in Pakistan’s LET infested regions.

    http://onlybombay.blogspot.com/2008/12/amul-butters-take-on-mumbai-politicians.html

  3. Anwar

    This from Prof. Asad AbuKhalil’s blog…
    Thomas Friedman is willing not only to prove his ignorance of world affairs on regular basis but he also is undisguised in his arrogance. “Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?” What kind of question is that? Why should the Muslims feel as if they are responsible? Would he ask Who in the American world is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real Iraqi and Afghan people by US BOMBS AND ROCKETS? Is he willing to ask: Who in Israel is willing to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people in Lebanon and Palestine by Israeli bombs? This is a silly question but you know what: lest you accuse Friedman of prejudice against Muslims, he does have a token Muslim friend (“a Muslim woman friend wrote me”), just like bigots are willing to say “my best friend is black.” Let me guess: his Muslim woman friend’s first name is Irshad, no? You want Muslims to take to the sreets? Let me ask you to take to the streets and go play with some marbles, as we say in Lebanon.

  4. Anwar, in response to your quote from the blog of the good professor … unfortunately we in Pakistan know all about the Jehadis in our midst … you can see their grafitti in almost any town, city or village … and they are killing us too… the saddest part of this is that we KNOW… and we do nothing to eradicate them from our midst …
    yes, I agree that Americans SHOULD come out in large numbers against the killings in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Israelis SHOULD protest the killing of innocent people in Lebanon and Palestine … but if they dont, does that mean that we ‘play marbles’ with the killers in our midst? who, I repeat, are killing Muslims… Pakistanis … as well as anyone else who raises their ire!
    We can debate this intellectually until the cows come home, but meanwhile people are dying and we have to face the fact that unfortunately Muslims are involved in most of these murderous attacks!

  5. K4Kafir

    Anwar, Americans did come to streets against the Iraq war. They came in millions. Go back and check these protests just prior to the war.
    They just came out against initiator of Iraq war, Bush, in large numbers, in fact 70 million of them or so. They all voted for the guy who opposed the war from day 1 – Obama.

  6. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Pakistan: Responding to Thomas L Friedman

  7. Monkey

    K4Kafir, you are right but Prof. is not debating whether they came out or not, he is making the point that Friedman would or would not ask them to take to the streets like he is urging the Muslims (read: Pakistanis) to. And just for the record, Pakistanis did also. It was small, but nonetheless they did.

    But then again, why should I go out on the road and protest? I didn’t kill anyone. I would if someone came out protested when of ‘me’ was killed. Till then, I do not see any reason to take to the roads.

    I do not need to feel apologetic for being a Pakistani, even if Pakistanis were behind the attacks. India supported the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and they never apologized. The common Indian never protested. So then why should I, a common Pakistani, take to the streets for the Mumbai attacks? If I do protest, it would be for my own land, for my own country and my own nation, not for a country and nation that is cowardly and blames foreign forces to save face without any real investigation.

  8. Monkey

    And I must add, that I condemn the Mumbai attacks and the loss of life but I cannot feel any more of their pain because all around the blogosphere, Indians are not just satisfied by blaming Pakistan, they are literally questioning our national honour. It is infuriating, and as much as I admire Jesus Christ, I will not present my other cheek to the Indians.

  9. I was in Peshawar when the people came out into the streets against the cartoons in the Danish newspaper … they attacked the KFC restuarant on Khyber Road and a couple of people were burned alive in the process …
    …what is wrong with this picture?… isnt it ironic that protesting an insult to our Prophet who advised against violence, someone innocent was killed? …
    Yes, I am angry when Pakistan is blamed for whatever takes place anywhere in the world…. but I am more angry with those Pakistanis who make such accusations possible… and I agree with Friedman that one way to stop this insanity is for each and everyone of us to stand up and be counted against the brutalization of our society!

  10. Monkey

    Zeenath, if only he meant it in good faith. Doesn’t the title “Calling all Pakistanis” when he is in fact talking about Muslims in general, seem weird to you? Why pin-point me or you or another Pakistani who was just as shocked and harrassed to find out about the attacks, when not pin-pointing a common Indian/American/Canadian/Brit/whoever else to protest against things?

  11. Adnann

    Friedman does invoke a thought that Pakistani society needs to conjure sooner or later. There was a mass murder perpetrated in Mumbai and fingers are now being pointed at Pakistan where the gunmen allegedly originated, trained across various locations, and were indoctrined to get themselves killed, and kill scores of innocent civilians.

    Pakistan’s first response was suspicions and outright denial. Fair enough; these are serious charges, and need to be verified. However there is a nagging discomfort that the evidence strongly pointed towards a group that thrives openly in our society, gets funded in our society, recruits among the impressionable young men in our society, and even allegedly gets help from the official spy agency.

    Unfortunately, there have been reports beginning to filter out that verify the statements given by the lone surviving gunman named Ajmal Amir Qassab (http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008\128\story_8-12-2008_pg1_2).

    Friedman’s analogy with Danish cartoon protests may be a bit far-fetched, but he does point out something that Pakistani society needs to be looking at itself more closely. As Friedman said:

    “Because you can’t have a healthy society that tolerates in any way its own sons going into a modern city, anywhere, and just murdering everyone in sight — including some 40 other Muslims — in a suicide-murder operation, without even bothering to leave a note. Because the act was their note, and destroying just to destroy was their goal. If you do that with enemies abroad, you will do that with enemies at home and destroy your own society in the process”.

    His comments hit at the heart of violence that is eating Pakistan inside out. This senseless violence is often tried to explain away in Pakistani society as a reaction to something elsewhere. At the end of the day, it remains a senseless violence; deliberately aimed against the innocents, and unless Pakistanis rise themselves to get rid of these groups, the rest of the world will siffer, but Pakistanis themselves will continue to be the biggest victims themselves.

    Adnann

  12. K4Kafir

    Defending Faridkot.;-)

    A crowd formed, some holding large canes, and other journalists from the region showed up. “Don’t film here,” a man said. When two journalists working for an international news agency kept filming, the crowd started punching and kicking them. Their mobile telephones and digital-video cassettes, called DVs, were taken.

    Near the Tribune’s car, a few men talked about smashing its windows, stealing the reporter’s purse and setting the car on fire. “Just burn their car,” one man said.

    “I know everything,” one boy told the journalists. “Just keep quiet,” a man told the boy. “Are you mad?” another man asked.

    Finally, the villagers allowed the journalists to walk around—but only along one street, and only with an escort that quickly grew to 20 men.

    A reporter for a Pakistani television station said he filmed the house where some villagers said Qasab had lived, and then hid the videocassette in his sock. The footage showed a man inside the house named Mohammad Ghafoor Ahmed denying knowing the Qasabs and said he was the real owner of the house.

    “Off the record, everyone said Qasab was from Faridkot,” the TV reporter said. “But on the record, they refused.”

    When told about what happened in Faridkot, Bilal Siddique Kamyana, a police commander in charge of Okara district, replied: “I can’t say anything.”

    A bit later, when the news service journalists came to the police headquarters and complained about their stolen phones and video, Kamyana placed a call.

    “Sir,” he said, “your men have snatched the journalists’ DVs and telephones. You can erase the images, but please give them back to the journalists.”

  13. Majumdar

    Monkey,

    I do not need to feel apologetic for being a Pakistani, even if Pakistanis were behind the attacks.

    There is no need to apologise. What GOP needs to do is to close down all terror camps, in its own interests if not others.

    India supported the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and they never apologized.

    No, they did not. But they did later cut off the support system to LTTE. Which Pakistan has not.

    Regards

  14. Monkey

    Majumdar,

    Thanks for your response, I read your comments regularly on this blog. They are always very interesting, I think you should start blogging on this space 🙂

    You very correctly pointed out that closing terror camps is in our own interest. It is eating away most at us. And yes, I would protest on that but not because some Friedman guy writes a biased article.

    And yes, it is time that the support to these groups is cut off. Only a few days ago, I was reading about how Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who is a wanted man in India, is roaming about freely in Pakistan. And Jamat-ud-Dawa and Jamia Binoria Town are operating freely when they have known links to LeT and Lal Masjid fundos respectively.

  15. Majumdar

    Monkey,

    Thanks.

    Btw, Talibs have in the past day stepped up attacks on NATO trucks and convoys in Peshawar rather brazenly. If Pak soil is being used for terror against India, it is a matter of time before it is used for attacks against USA. And an attack on USA will have worse consequences for Pak than merely a hostile Hindoo media. (Not to mention what these militants could achieve in Pakistan itself).

    Regards

  16. Vandana

    Castigating Friedman for his article is easy but denying the core issue he is highlighting may not be that easy……..the terror outfits that were nurtured for various ‘strategic’ reasons and interests by the pakistani intelligence and the army seem to have become independent, sub- systems within the Pakistani state.
    In the end India will get through these harrowing times with or without Pakistanis condemning the attacks but I wonder how long will the Pakistani state survive this onslaught on its structure from within.

  17. Stuka

    Dunno about Pakistanis but Indians have clearly shown that ultimately, they march for governance over all.

    Delhi went to polls the day after the Mumbai attack started. In fact, the shootings and killings were going on in Mumbai while the people in Delhi went to vote. Turnout was very high by historical standards – usually that helps BJP as well.

    But it is the Congress that has won for the third consecutive time – essentially because Shiela Dikshit, the CM has a clean image and has done good work in terms of infrastructure.

    Another shining spot is Mizoram – a state wracked by insurgency right up to the late 80s, went to polls and the local party (Mizo National Front) was defeated by a federal party – Congress.

    This is not to say that I am a congress supporter per se. I was personally hoping for BJP won in Rajasthan, but it lost. BJP is winning in MP and Chattisgarh.

  18. mj

    Adnann,
    So glad to know many people inside Pakistan understand the potential time bomb that is ticking and Pakistan has much more to lose from this philosophy of turning a blind eye to intolerance/poisonous propaganda being ingrained to young unemployed minds. This is a cancer that will hollow Pakistan much before it has disastrous impact on other countries. The era of justifying violence in the name of some supposed reaction to ills else where or injustice is so past its time.

    People on this blog like Kashkin who are feeling infuriated by Friedman’s sane advice- irony is that they do not even know what he stands for. He is one the most reasoned non hawkish voices in US and he has endlessly criticized short sighted policies of current US administration. He understands middle east quite well and he has reported from front lines in Lebanon and other hot spots in Middle east. I hope some of those critical of him would read some of his books or articles- instead of just burying their head in the sand. They probably did not see that the majority of US population voted Bush out, that is how protest against policies in shown in democratic countries.

    Pl realize that it will soon be a matter of time that world attention moves to Pakistan- it is already happening. Obama understands that war against extremism will be won or lost in Pak-that’s the real territory.

    So people need to go beyond name calling or discussing Ind-Pak relations or India’s own problems-that will be immaterial when the heat turns to these elements in Pakistan from world over.

    Indians are interested in progress, getting educated and make a life of hard work, with govt taking responsibility for nternal security. They do not have time or money for war with countries like Pakistan. As someone rightly pointed out, even after these attacks, the ruling Congress party won in 3 states on local issues.

    It is better that Pakistanis also understand that and focus on generating jobs and education for their growing population.

  19. muhammed

    monkey and kashkin,

    I myself being a pakistani is quite dissapointed by the comments you made against a respectable journalist like freedman.He has a commendable knowledge on the middle east matters and has been a very vocal anti bush policies.
    I can understand that his remarks may have hurt us but we also know deep in our hearts that each and every word he has said is correct and it is certainly a time for us to introspect ourselves about our role in the global community.
    I was extremely disappointed that educated thinkers like you came up with such a jingoistic piece of text.
    If we educated dont stand up and take up against the fundamental elements in our society our society will slowly but surely crumble.
    There are fundamental elements in every society .BJP could have easily won the elections but the neighbouring country didnt want such elements to harbour.India I am afraid is way ahead of us not because of their abilities but just because of its willingness to progress siding the fundamental elements.
    So please stop being jingoistic and let us try to build a progressive society

  20. A

    I will admit I could not make it past the first paragraph of this article. I will also admit that I haven’t been able to do more than skim most of the articles by your main contributors without wanting to wretch my guts out with sheer disgust at the apalling nationalistic sentiment that serves to add nothing to society – either Pakistani, Indian or global.
    Your lead contributor has spent all his time playing the blame game and the oh why should do it if nobody else is doing it charade. Comments that amount to a why should we protest the attacks in Mumbai if Mumbai didn’t protest the attacks in Orissa only serve to highlight this attitude. Comments that repeat an all too well known fact that India has its own share of problems not the least of which is Hindu fundamentalism and terror do not provide any new insight.
    My only hope is that your contributors as well as a lot of commenters understand the fact that religion/communalism (Muslim, Hindu whatever) breeds terrible destruction and causes insurmountable suffering and loss. This isn’t about Indians blaming Pakistanis for being a failed state, or Pakistanis blaming Indians for having an incompetent government. Change can only come if we curb fundamentalists – be they Indian, Pakistani or whoever. And if we continue to go down this route of non-cooperation due to nationalistic sentiment and flawed patriotism we’re all going to lose out in the very short run.

  21. A
    Thanks for visiting and making the comment. This is a free space and if you have a counter-argument please write it here and do not ‘wretch your guts with disgust’..

    RR

  22. A

    Thank you.
    I did go back and read the article and the comments because it would not be fair to comment without having done so.
    My last post was a bit hasty, and added nothing to the discussion either – thereby contradicting my view about contribution etc. But I would like to share my thoughts – they are still a bit nascent and haven’t been internalised enough for me to be able to come to any conclusions, so this might be a bit of a ramble as opposed to a comment on this article. So I do apologise to the author. Although, I am sure the theme of my comment will not be far removed from the general discussion around this post.
    I have been reading this blog for a while, and what has left me a little disappointed is the attitude both of the contributors as well as the commentors because what I expected to read was dialogue along the lines that I have been having with my Pakistani friends. The reason I have been so disappointed is because all I seem to be encountering is a mutual hatred of the sort that I haven’t experienced personally between Indians and Pakistanis. Most of my conversations (yes they generally avoid Kashmir) have been around constructive solutions to deal with a common threat to both societies – that of fundamentalism. Be it in the name of Allah, Ram, Jihad or an unknown cause, this threat is likely to leave the both societies quite crippled and cause insurmountable tension both within our respective national borders as well as across the border. What I think about terrorism/fundamentalism/religious persecution etc. is that it invariably has the ability to detract from the generally agreed notion that both countries are fighting a common threat/enemy. However, in the face of attacks – be they in Islamabad or Pakistan, all dialogue across the border between citizens that both understand the many threats to society and seem to effectively be able to discuss constructive solutions to these issues seems to no longer be rational and is reduced to patriotic jingoism which has very little meaning.
    I will admit that when the blasts in Islamabad happened, or the Marriott bombing, or the assassination of Bhutto – I did not hear anything about Pakistan blaming India. It was automatically pointed at fundamentalists in the NWFP region or elsewhere within the country. So I can understand that it would be natural to put up a defensive guard when the Indian media as well as the Indian leadership utters the words Pakistan in the face of the recent terror attack in Mumbai. However, should tables have been turned, what I would have heard would not be Pakistan but would be Pakistani. By this I mean people that hold citizenship (which I think has been demonstrated) but are in no ways the state of Pakistan or every ordinary citizen. In my opinion as opposed to hating the other country for pointing out what (could hugely have embarrassed the Indian government had it turned out to be false) is almost certainly factual is foolhardy. As opposed to shutting down all elements of reason, wouldn’t the rational response have been – here is someone that holds a Pakistani passport that is killing people elsewhere in the world, lets deal with it and ensure that no more people with Pakistani passports are allowed to cause trouble in Pakistan, India or elsewhere.
    I know this sounds a bit idealistic – and I do not for one moment pretend to believe that it is an easy solution or more importantly one that my country follows either (Orissa, Godhra etc.) but I would like to believe that it is a rational one that demands accountability and a failure to allow citizens to tarnish the name of the country.
    Call me idealistic – but instead of venting and spewing at eachother, shouldn’t we be focussed on handing over/trying within our borders eachothers criminals, and ensuring that our individual states are held accountable (both being democracies) especially in times of terror like these?

  23. A

    Also – I don’t mean to spam this site – but the comments on this post are actually a lot more in line with what I have generally heard from my friends. So perhaps I should have left my rant on the “Open Letter to all Indians” post – which is what it really is a reponse to.

  24. A journalist of the caliber of Friedman couldn’t have cited a worse example than the one about the Danish Cartoons. He could just as well have cited the example of how the entire Pakistani nation riled their support with the lawyers to topple an unpopular government. That was just as good an example to cite for when Pakistan was quick to garner support in order to protest. Unfortunately Mr. Friedman had his blinders on and committed an indiscretion that no journalist of standing would condone. Having said that, I believe the content of Mr. Friedman’s article was essentially well meaning and bi-partisan.

  25. kashkin

    In response to comments on this article:

    We felt the sorrow for Mumbai attacks in the same manner as we feel for what happens in Pakistan but this does not mean we feel apologetic and come out on the streets to protest considering when full facts of this event haven’t even been made public other than random incidences on the media and pointing fingers at people and institutions. If they are involved, then surely they need to be punished, whether the people involved are from Pakistan or from India. It’s not that we do not protest. The whole nation protested over judiciary issue, we protested over what happened in Iraq and in Lebanon.

    Also the point I wanted to make was that we need to understand the root causes of this phenomena as well. It’s no good jumping on the bandwagon and start raising slogans and blame game. Pakistan, like any other country has its fair share of issues and concerns, be it political or social. There is a never day that goes past when Pakistan is not in the news. Same goes for India as well. India has taken great pride in promoting this sense of democracy and the rest and yet when it comes to seeing those democratic principles and its application towards Pakistan, they seem to conveniently ignore and forget.

    Never have I remembered an incidence where India has actively made an effort to resolve any of the issues that have been taken to UN, water, trade and the list goes on. Why it is Pakistan always have to make amends and appear apologetic just because we have problems internal and external some by our own makings and some by the world for their own gains and interests.
    The other thing that comes to mind that it’s not Pakistan harping on issues of India but India itself which has wasted no time and effort to promote this sense of indifference and blame game to the wider community. We need a peaceful region and for that there has to be an active responsibility on both partners. It’s not difficult a concept which cannot be comprehended or understood.

    As far as someone pointed out that its Pakistan who created Talibanisation and whole host of terror outfits in Pakistan, then I am afraid you really have to dig deep to realize America played a very active role in creation of these elements which everyone tags it as if Pakistan were solely responsible. It’s the same western writers and columnists that wrote profusely, effortlessly to praise those people as Mujahedeen’s fighting their war to defeat the Red Armies of Soviet Union and its break up. As we all know what happens when there is a war; what followed from that war was a simple, psychological reaction. . Pakistan took million of refugees as a result of this war with Soviet Union. This ISI and all that follows take its mark from those days my friends.

    To fight terrorism, fight the inherent beliefs and conspiracies theories which need to be eradicated. This belief that exists in India and the whole world, that Pakistan needs to be Balkanized otherwise this world will not be a safe place. What an absurd idea to make and propagate? Pakistan is not trying to Balkanize India or breaks it into little provinces? So why this need on India’s part whether the media, policy makers in alliance with neocons and the rest to have this view. Wow, what a way to apply charter of democracy and all its obligations by creating instability in these regions and then blaming everything on Pakistan. Why have never said that Hinduism and Christianity have its roots in terrorism. So why label Islam and terrorism as one. This is where the problem begins.

    And to all those people engaged in supporting Friedman stating he is not hawkish and the rest. Well the simple answer to that is, read his article again and many of what he has written before. The underlying meaning in his articles and columns are derogatory and without much substance. Freedom of speech and action doesn’t necessarily mean that you remove yourself from the responsibility of knowing what is right and wrong. Words need to be utilized effectively and for benefit of humanity not to take sides and generate this false sense of euphoria that all we do in Pakistan is wrong.

    In the end, people who lost their lives in Mumbai were same like me and you if you remove the fabric of religion and countries. The innocent blood was spilled as it has been spilled in Kashmir, as in Lebanon, as in Congo and the rest of the African nations for different ideologies and its purpose, as the blood has been spilled in Palestine, Chechnya, in all those places. Innocent people lost their lives belonged to all religions. I felt the same pain and anguish as I felt when people in Marriot and all the other places in Pakistan lost their lives. It was not their fault. The fault lies with us as individuals, as society and as states where we fail to appreciate the underlying problems that have existed in our society. It’s that we need to understand that it’s that deep and hidden human psychological profile that undergoes a strange transformation when the very justice and humanity they deserve is taken away from them. It’s not the religion and it’s definitely not ISLAM that creates this but it’s the politics we engage and in the manner we engage. It’s those things we lose when we follow blindly others in the name of interest and democracy and all which becomes apparent when those events have taken place. The root of the problem and its cause you may want to argue lie in Pakistan but if you think it clearly it resides in the corridors of Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Kashkin

  26. Adnann

    Kashkin:

    You are lumping everything in your comment here; judiciary, Iraq, Lebanon, US influence on Talibanization in their war against USSR, then Palestine and Chechnya. It seems like a hodge-podge of all previous grievances, with a token sympathy for innocent lives lost in Mumbai.

    At the end, this confused thinking is what has helped Jihadis and their sympathisers dehumanise their foes, and allowed targeted civilian killings to be justified. Spilling the innocent blood is always justified because innocent blood is being spilled elsewhere in the world.

    There was a mass murder of innocent civilians by religious fanatics. Pakistani territory, Pakistani nationals trained Pakistanis to kill innocent civilians in cold blood. Whatever has happened in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, Ahmedabad has nothing to do with murder of civilians in Mumbai, and cannot be justified based on any precedent. These groups planned killing civilians, they have done it before, and they will do it again if not stopped now.

    It seems finally Pakistani establishment is getting it that the various Jihadi groups acting inside Pakistani territory are destroying Pakistan due to the black and white division of world as Muslims against the axis of oppressors that losely comprise of US, UK, India, Israel. Failure to deal with these groups now will bring more terrorism in the West, India, and of course destruction in Pakistan, that will find itself helplessly between a rock and a hard place.

    Yasir,

    It seems the link to Pakistani citizens as gunmen in Mumbai is becoming quite strong. Daily Dawn was able to locate and interview the father of Ajmal Qissab, and how the area around his village is picking ground for LeT and other Jihadi organizations.

    http://www.dawn.com/2008/12/12/top6.htm

  27. pravar

    Dear Adnann
    I applaud your clear thinking and concern for well being of Pakistan state. It will only be served by rational thinking people like you to realize that this is a cancer that needs to be removed. When enough Pakis will stand up and say not in my name, not in name of my grand religion that teaches bhaichara, will there will be psychological defeat of these extremist elements(whatever be their religion) and both countries will proceed on path of progress focusing on taking their population out of poverty.
    you see in India too, the local population refused to take the bait of going to more hawkish parties in state elections and instead focused on telling politicians to put the house in order

  28. Neo

    Dear Pak Citizen,

    Sure all of you will agree to me that, if both India and Pakistan focuses its own businesses and prioritizes their developmental initiatives, it will be good for their future.

    How does it benefit a common citizen if their neighbor’s growth is positive or negative.
    How de we look at Singapore or a Dubai , may be with a bit of envy but definitely should not be with a vengeance.

    Since Independence, for time and again the political/spiritual leadership fed wrong seeds and vested interests for some of their own benefits. Its common reaction in both of us that we get nationally united and get the anger against the other.

    Lets take a resolve now

    To Make a correct judgment and voice our views loud and clear.
    Not allowing the political and spiritual leads or the media to influence us.

    By this way we can make the leadership to be focused on the priorities of the Nation rather than their diverting tactics.

    In India we don’t get carried away by our leadership statements on the WAR but we made them work on the priority aftermath agendas. We silenced the Raj Thackeray’s and marked a full stop any separatism tactics. Look forward for more and more united loud voices from our nationals to ensure the Government systems accountable.

    Similarly we request the Pakistan common public to look in to their Internal Priorities and voice loud, ensuring their leadership is doing right things for the future of Pakistan.
    Please introspect yourself and make right judgment calls.

    Let there be value based stands and leadership in future for both of us
    & Lets act now.