For Every Decent Human Being

By Bilal Qureshi

Isn’t it time?

For every decent human being, it is sickening to see people being butchered the way human beings are slaughtered in Pakistan these days. Human life has no respect or value for barbaric animals responsible for these bombings and suicide attacks. And if the news of bombings and killing was not enough, I was horrified to learn that Lahore’s commissioner (incorrectly) blames India for these attacks while Punjab’s law minister (correctly) believes that the thugs being smoked out from Swat and Wazirstan are actually behind these attacks to force the government to back down. Isn’t it time for Pakistan to get united? Isn’t it time stop obsessing about India? Isn’t it time to be realistic?

If any other country had been under attack the way Pakistan has been targeted by the Taliban, you’d see the entire nation fighting back, collectively. However, in Pakistan, out of control judiciary, rogue media (read Urdu columnists and anchors on private television channels) and out of power politicians are more concerned with NRO than defeating the Taliban. No political party, except MQM and PPP has taken a clear and bold stand against the Taliban. Isn’t time to forget the NRO, at least for now, and focus on defeating the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who are out to annihilate Pakistan as we know it? Doesn’t common sense dictate that Pakistan’s first and top most priority must be to secure the homeland? Isn’t it critical to save Pakistan from becoming another Afghanistan?   What good is the issue of NRO if Taliban or people who idolize Taliban are able to totally destroy Pakistan?

Ignoring Islamabad’s incompetence for now, it seems odd, even strange that the more Islamabad tries to do the right thing, i.e. the Baluchistan package, taking on the Taliban, taking a hard line with Washington vis-à-vis civilian aid, the more louder the opposition gets in these efforts to derail everything Zardari-Gillani try to achieve.  Worse yet, while the enemy is working hard to destroy Pakistan as a peaceful country, some in Pakistan are scoring political points even at a time when the country is literally exploding from within. For example, Axis of Evil; arrogant media, politically motivated judiciary and right wing hard core fundamentalists led by Nawaz Sharif are trying to bring down the government. Specifically, all efforts are targeted towards maligning Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s democratically elected president. Otherwise, I don’t see any reason for this type of extremely charged rhetoric in Pakistan where the Chief Justice is almost openly signaling that he would target Zardari, Nawaz League is also encouraging negativity towards Zardari and the media too is obsessing about Zardari, while the country is engaged in life and death struggle. Pakistanis must learn to compartmentalize and prioritize if the country is interested in staying intact.

Don’t get me wrong. I want accountability and I want it across the board, but what is going on inside Pakistan is worrisome. Hysterical yelling, finger pointing, name calling, and other efforts rooted in bigotry  never yielded anything before, nor will we see anything this time as for as accountability goes, as it is playing out in Pakistan these days.  Unfortunately, what gets lost in this lousy circus of NRO is the fact that enemy (and I don’t mean India or America or Jews whenever I use the term enemy – I always mean right wingers and the Taliban) are getting stronger instead of getting weaker and their efforts are much more synchronized and targeted instead of sporadic attacks here and there. More worrisome is the fact the funding for these nut jobs has not dried up. And no, India is not funding these people. The money for these humanity hating animals is always coming from the Gulf States. It has always come from there; nobody paid any attention to it before, plain and simple.

Isn’t it time to pay attention to stop the free flow of money to the Taliban instead of beating the dead drum of NRO?

Whether Zardari remains in power or not, it won’t matter if the enemy is able to land a blow. Therefore, common sense dictates that the nation puts else everything on the backburner and tackles the issue of dealing with terrorism that is plaguing everything in Pakistan. In historical context, Zardari, Gillani and even Nawaz Sharif will come and go, but what is constant is Pakistan and that is what the focus should have been ever since the Taliban declared war on Pakistan. NRO is the last thing that should be debated at this critical time in Pakistan’s history.

Regretfully, it is difficult to say with certainty whether Pakistan can come out of the big hole that the country has dug for itself or not. The pragmatist in me, who also loves Pakistan say yes, Pakistan will survive all this. However, looking at the data (political, social and economical indicators), the realist in me comes to a different and a horrifying conclusion.

 Is there a future for Pakistan if the Taliban succeeding in overthrowing the government?

When Newsweek declared Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world in an article in 2007, all of us responded angrily. It was pointed out at the time that the wars are going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those countries should have been labeled dangerous, unstable or whatever. However, given Pakistan’s colossal struggles, it has become clear that Newsweek had it right all along. Pakistan is perhaps the most dangerous country in the world. And, it gives me no pleasure to predict that unless the media, the politicians and the judiciary wakes up to what is ‘really’ threatening Pakistan, there is no chance that Pakistan will be able to reverse the tide of destruction.

Is anyone listening in Pakistan?

32 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Democracy, History, Identity, India, Islamabad, journalism, Pakistan, Parliament, Politics, Terrorism, violence, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari

32 responses to “For Every Decent Human Being

  1. Mustafa Shaban

    @Bilal: All political parties have condemned the Taliban. The debate is on how to deal with them and establish the writ of state. You speak as if the 15000 Taliban are a super mega army that can defeat our 800000 man professional Army. The TTP dont stand a chance against our armed forces.

    There is evidence compiled by many people that India is behind the TTP. Also just because different people have different opinion on TTP does it mean that some people in the Army or security forces are being less aggressive or less determined to defeat the TTP? So I dont see your point.

    Also Army is doing its job and the politicians are doing thiers, both are taking action against the TTP and are active and are discussing different issues as well. Its called multitasking, dont governments and opposition do a few things at once?

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  4. Milind Kher

    @Mustafa shaban

    The biggest error that can be committed in a war is to underestimate the enemy.

    One factor that makes TTP strong is that it is very united. The other is that it has many sympathizers in rural and economically depressed areas.

    A painful realization that we all have is that academically and culturally evolved people do not have much muscle power. So, that is a cause for worry.

  5. Mustafa Shaban

    @Milind: I understand what you are saying, and you are right we should not underestimate the enemy. TTP is very strong, but they are not equipped to take down are army. They are capable of launching terrorists attacks here and there but in combat they can only keep our Army busy for a while but eventually they lose out on the battlefeild. The biggest advantage for the Army is that the people are supporting the Army and against the TTP, there are few sympathizers of TTP today, most are stnading with Army.

  6. mohammad

    Rag tag talibans equipped with AKs or pocket launchers do not pose no threat to pakistanis even if there was no military as literally pakistani society armed to the teeth. The real threat comes from talib sympathetic upper class clean shaven or otherwise who fantasize of turning pakistan into afghanistan. To defeat such elements every organ of government has to function properly including judiciary and decide on crucial symbolic cases such as NRO beneficiaries is part of our struggle.

  7. Hossp

    So now we have a pro Zardari propaganda piece. Like Mohammed above wrote, dealing with the Taliabn cannot be a big problem. The Western Propaganda machine made the Taliban some formidable enemy, the Pak army showed that if you really wanna fight them, you can do that.
    The 30k being sent now will mostly be sitting on their hands in Afghanistan, if the US army does not have the will or the desire to fight the Taliban.

    The civil society and the courts must keep pressure on Zardari and other corrupt leaders to make sure that the next generations of leaders stay away from corruption.
    Previously, the army was brining charges against the civilians and no one believed them. Now the courts and the society overall is asking for accountability and that is a good omen.

    Btw, Zardari has no role whatsoever in dealing with the terrorist.

  8. Milind Kher

    @Mustafa Shaban,

    On paper, it is not difficult to take out the TTP. However, there does not appear to be tangible evidence that the movement has been crushed. I would sincerely hope it is, because no civilized society deserves to have terrorists on its soil.

  9. AZW

    @ Hossp:

    Unlike you, Muhammad has a more nuanced view of the Taliban. Many of us do not view Taliban as the root cause of the problem. They are a sore symptom of all the failed Pakistani policies to attain a horrible idea of a strategic depth in the West, which itself was a manifestation of Pakistan pursuing itself as religious nationalist state.

    The policy of allowing an ulta orthodox religious militia, prepped in the madrassas within Pakistan, with an active backing of Saudi Arabia will likely go down as one of the most stupid state policy every executed by one of the world’s most populous nations.

    The biggest risk from Pakistan comes from uber nationalists (found in abundance in Pakistan Army) and the so called “Ideology of Pakistan” guardians, who will fail to learn from their collossal mistakes and continue to pursue a reactionary stance where a mix of violent religion themes and Pakistani nationalism will continue to keep Pakistan pitted against its neighbors.

    Yes, the rag tag army of Taliban will likely not defeat the Pakistan Army. Yet, it will continue to kill thousands before it is beaten down. And you and your Army colleagues seem to be thumping each other backs and high fiving that see, Taliban were never that much of a problem that the world made it out to be.

    But sadly, the way I see you, or PMA or Brigadier Samsons of Pakistan see the world, the art of victim mentality, conspiracy theories, and wild mental acrobats in deciphering the world leaves an eerie feeling; that the decision makers in Pakistan Army, and higher political offices probably share your ideas of a conspirational world. That they have not learnt from their follies. That old ghosts will never be let go. That this intellectual bankruptcy that got us here to the first place, is not going anywhere. We are still not out of the woods yet, and already we are not showing the humility to introspect and mend our ways.

    The biggest risk is not that Pakistan would not defeat Taliban. Biggest risk remains that Pakistan continue at its ways once Taliban are vanquished.

  10. Hossp

    AZW
    “But sadly, the way I see you, or PMA or Brigadier Samsons of Pakistan see the world, the art of victim mentality, conspiracy theories, and wild mental acrobats in deciphering the world leaves an eerie feeling; that the decision makers in Pakistan Army, and higher political offices probably share your ideas of a conspirational world. That they have not learnt from their follies.”

    I fail to grasp your point. Are you suggesting that the US, NATO and India are not in Afghanistan? If you think they are there for some altruistic reasons than I really have no response for your conspiracy theories allegations. As long as they are there, they have to be accounted for in every analysis to have some meaning.
    Pakistan army is working with the Pentagon and the US for the last 60 yrs and was a member of the CENTO, SEATO and many other secret alliances. CENTO and SEATO were just like NATO. With that much cooperation, would you say we should not even think about the role the these alliances had over policy making in Pakistan?
    What do you think Pakistan Army was thinking when it decided to act against the liberal afghan state by raising the Mujs?

    Though I object to living in the past but I do realize that decision made in the past have impacts on decision being made now.

    I don’t know much about Mohammed’s background and I agreed with his comment about the military strength-which really is nothing when compared with the US or the Pak army.

    We need to ask this question repeatedly and as many times as possible as to why both the US and Pakistan will not make a coordinated effort to defeat the Taliban. Why is the US army sitting and debating the surge when the Pak army is fighting in FATA? Pakistan has only 30k troops in Fata why can’t the US and NATO that number 100000 now can start operations in eastern Afghanistan to eliminate the escaping taliban?

    Asking questions is not conspiracy theory. trying to come with a rationale is not conspiracy. Conspiracy theory is when you believe in every thing the media writes and take that gospel.
    So please refrain from accusing others when you really are stuck on one little thing somewhere.

  11. AZW

    “Pakistan army is working with the Pentagon and the US for the last 60 yrs and was a member of the CENTO, SEATO and many other secret alliances. CENTO and SEATO were just like NATO. With that much cooperation, would you say we should not even think about the role the these alliances had over policy making in Pakistan?”

    What does this above collection of words mean? That being in old defacto alliances of the 1950s and 1960s mean that we measure Pakistan-centric failed “strategic depth” doctrine from a supposedly US inspired excuse. I refer to mental acrobatics of our policy makers exactly due to the statements that you have given. Stop making excuses from our failures that were driven by grandeurs of our policy makers where USSR was beaten back and Afghanistan was somewhat of a provincial territory governed by our supposed proxy Taliban Militia.

    I would kindly ask you to read Ahmad Rashid’s “Descent into Chaos” which is a damning indictment of the pride that had embedded itself in our Army top brass. Where the statements like “My boys are riding right now with the Taliban and conquering Kabul” (an ISI official), or “don’t worry, we have these (Jihadi lashkar leaders) by the balls and they cannot go against us” (a boast by Military Intelligence official) were common place in the 1990s and 2000s Army conversations.

    Another excellent read for your comfortable arm chair analysis would be “The Ghost Wars” by Steve Coll that shows that throughout the 90s, it was Pakistan and Pakistan alone calling the major shots in Afghanistan, with United States leaving Afghanistan to Pakistan’s mercy. The destruction of Afghanistan (where more civilians died in five years of Afghan infighting than the 10 year Soviet occupation) was done as we supported one bloody Mujahideen dictator after another, before we finally settled on Taliban.

    All of our actions are coming back to hit us, as our policies planted the seeds of worldwide Jihad. Don’t live in your make believe world that world was going to leave us alone, if our products were not willing to leave them alone.

    US, India are here in Afghanistan. It is time to stop singing our anti-India mantra and support the democracy in that poor country, no matter how imperfect it is. Stop going only after the Jihadi lashkars that take us on. There is an active resistance in Afghanistan that has roots in Pakistan. Weed out the Taliban where ever they are, no matter who are they fighting. Stop this nonsense of strategic assets and good/bad Taliban. How many of kicks on the can do we really need before we get it: that a stable Afghanistan is both in Pakistan’s and United States interests. That a surge in US forces in Afghanistan along with a concerted effort by Pakistan to tackle all of the Jihadis can really stem the cancer of this Jihadi doctrine; a Jihadi doctrine where world is a black and white canvas of good and evil, and where Paksitan is a hair’s breadth away from being in their crosshairs, if we fail to support the Jihadis. That Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, LET, Jaish, TTP, Afghan Taliban, Hikmatyar Group, Haqqani Group all spout from the same fountain of medieval regressive philosophy that we taught them for the past 30 years in our madrassahs. And until we own up to our responsibility to tackle them with a steadfast purpose, neither us nor US can win this war.

  12. azhar aslam

    oh we are listening, you boot licking, wordy, distrotionist mian bilal….

    except when we reply your friends at pak tea house will find it difficult to accommodate our views…

    so shall we or shall we not ?

    we would rather spend time fighting karijaan terrorists and mujrimaan terrorists ( in the garb of politicians) than wasting time exchanging words with your inane stupidities and inaccuracies..

    ce la’ vi

  13. PMA

    AZW (December 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm):

    “But sadly, the way I see you, or PMA or Brigadier Samsons of Pakistan see the world, the art of victim mentality, conspiracy theories, and wild mental acrobats in deciphering the world leaves an eerie feeling;”

    Sir, your reference towards me is really disappointing. What “victim mentality?” What “conspiracy theories?” And what “wild mental acrobats?” Sadly you have put validity of my “world view” into question without even knowing what my world views are! I have pointed out the presence of Indian military bases in Tajikistan and obviously that has upset you. Soon after the fall of the Soviets, India decided to move into Tajikistan, a country which has no common borders with India but is only at a stone-throw-away distance from Pakistan. There is a signed and sealed ‘Defence Agreement’ between the Tajik dictator and New Delhi. What is the purpose of Indian military bases on Pakistan’s western borders. Just ask yourself. Indians are not in Tajikistan for sight seeing or to learn Persian. India’s increasing military expansion beyond her borders has created further instability in the South Asian and South Central Asian areas. It is not a some ‘conspiracy theory’ hatched up by some wide-eyed blogger with wild mental disorder. But sir if you choose not to see such military developments in your neighborhood, then it is your prerogative.

  14. vajra

    @PMA

    Why are you disappointed when you invite criticism by such wild-eyed writing in the first place?

    1. You made much of Indian presence in Tajikistan, and that is rich and precious considering much earlier Pakistani presence in Saudi Arabia and in Jordan (we all know who was responsible for Black September); why is sauce for the goose not sauce for the gander?

    To take up your own question, were Brigadier Zia ul-Haq and Pakistan Army armoured corps troopers there in Jordan for sight-seeing? Not as far as the Palestinians found.

    Is it that the Tajiks are dominated by a dictator whereas the Saudis and the Jordanians, in their democratic consensus, had decided on a union with Pakistan, starting with a military union?

    2. It seems strange to you that the Indian Navy is present in ‘the Arabian Sea’. Considering the number of incidents involving Indian merchant marine sailors kidnapped and held for ransom, sometimes with considerable hesitation on the parts of the ship-owners before ransom was paid, it is strange that you consider it strange.

    Just a reminder: the Pakistan Navy is also present patrolling the Horn of Africa. Are you unaware of this, or did you choose to ignore this as it did not suit your treatise? Are they also part of your view that every South Asian naval unit over there is part of a conspiracy of some undefined sort (unless you call the Asokan Empire, which never made a move towards North West India, a conspiracy, or a template for future imperialism)?

    3. The cherry on the cake was your allusion to a menacing Indian military presence in the Far East. Is it now your case that Indian presence in its own territory is debatable? Or do you find something militarily strange in a military station with units of Army, Navy and Air Force stationed together in a small station a fit site for experimenting in joint military command of all elements by a single commander?

    There is a maxim in English Law Courts about a plaintiff approaching the court with clean hands. It is a maxim which bears remembering.

  15. Hossp

    AZW
    December 14, 2009 at 12:49 am
    Sorry I did not see your post earlier.

    I have read both books. Ahmed Rashid makes more sense when he analyzes the policy. But boasts of some army officers really don’t mean much. Steve Coll’s book is mostly half truths and a repetition of some folklore type stuff which is far from the reality, when dealing with Pakistan. I am from Pakistan and have been following Pakistan politics for more than thirty years, I certainly know more than Steve Coll about Pakistan and as much as Ahmed Rashid as politically we both come from essentially the same background.

    While I agree with what you say about the militant groups and their abhorrent ideology, I just don’t think a confession from Pakistan would be enough to change everything. Sure we want democracy in Afghanistan but we also do care about the foreign forces in that country. India is a minor player in the area but Pakistan is not. We have more Pushtoon living in Pakistan than in Afghanistan. Pakistan cannot ignore anything that impacts the Pushtoon because eventually it will impact Pakistan.

    While you disagree with the US role in the area you look at Pakistani role differently as if the Taliban is not just the second generation of the same Jihadis that the US supported. In fact some of the players are still the same. I don’t know what you were doing in the 80s I actively worked against the Pakistani actions in supporting the Muj then. That was as wrong as the Pakistan role in the 90s.

    The point remains that since 2001 the US army is in Afghanistan and in the last eight years a new generation of Taliban has emerged which as we clearly see doesn’t give a sh*t to what Pakistan says or does. They are fighting Pakistan and there is no reason for a pacifist response.

    I am afraid your ideas are basically bogus and belong to some Khankha. Monks don’t run this world. The reality is whole lot different. If all Pakistan does is confess, confess, and confess more about its previous crimes then that is all its going to do and would soon lose the country to the criminals.

    Finally, lots of Pakistan army’s crimes are due to its past relationship with the US. The reason Pakistan was involved with the previous Afghan war was due to its alliances with US against the Soviet Union during the cold war. If you don’t understand that then you can only read Ahmed Rashid and Steven Coll as much as you want but you would never understand what they write.

  16. AZW

    Hossp:

    I urge you to consider what you are saying here:

    1) Empty confessions mean nothing for a nation. Pakistan can confess all it wants, yet the resolve not to repeat the mistakes is what will determine its future. Stop making excuses out of other nations, real or imagined, to justify our follies.

    2) I am sure you have been following the Pakistani politics, for and against, over more than 30 years. Think about the failed policies of Pakistan and where they have led us; if last 30 years are not a good reflection of our actions and their futility, why do you not unshackle yourself from the same mentality?

    3) “Sure we want democracy in Afghanistan but we also do care about the foreign forces in that country”.

    Listen to yourself here. Do you hear the hollowness of your own argument here?

    4) There is a clear enemy who has vowed to bring destruction to the country. You yourself admit that the enemy is brutal and would not stop until it sees Pakistan towing its line. And all you are concerned about is that the enemy in the east is increasing its influence in Afghanistan.

    5) After seeing 62 years of our nation’s political history, and after comparing the elected political system from the Army led governments, do you still not get it that democracy is still the best among the worst systems out there?

    You and PMA all get testy when we point out that you are chasing around ghosts as the devil stands right in front of you. And all we can do is look at our country at bewilderment and see enlightened folks like yourself singing the same tunes we were singing 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. Because cliches have not taken us any where. If we don’t know who we are or who our really enemy is, then we are doomed if the present crisis does not jolt us out of our profound apathy.

  17. yasserlatifhamdani

    This is just a comment to clarify a few things… it is not the DCO Lahore alone who has blamed India. The Chief Minister of Punjab, the Interior Minister and the Prime Minister have also blamed India.

    Now what does that mean…. well I am not going to speculate because I have already burned my fingers in such games. However… let us keep an open mind about everything on both sides of the border.

    What I do know is that historically ideological congruence has never been a sine qua non for temporary political alliances. What ideological congruence exists between say Pakistan’s ISI and India’s Maoist rebels … yet I hear some voices claiming ISI support for Maoists.

    Supposing if India is involved… what could the Indian policy makers be thinking supporting the Taliban or Waziristan militants… well for one, historically this is not the first time India or pro-Indian elements have dabbled in Waziristan. But that historical evidence has been discussed to death (and Uncle Hossp takes umbrage to my conclusions) …. secondly Indian policy makers show a much greater understanding of Pakistan’s difficulties … than most international commentators. Waziristan militants will never be a serious threat to India. The threat to India emanates from South Punjab and ISI-backed Lashkars… not independent hardened Pakistani Taliban.

    Violence by Taliban against the Pakistani state also weakens the ISI-Lashkar alliance because of divergent interests. However…. Taliban are unlikely to run over Pakistan and take control of the nuclear weapons per se but they create enough panic in the international community to seriously consider that possibility. Indians thus are very ably exploiting American populace’s worst fears about nuclear weapons. So all in all… India knows that Pakistan’s state structure is ironclad and it won’t fold… so Taliban themselves are a very calculated risk…. for them. From a strategic point of view…. it seems to me that it is highly unlikely that Indians would not want to play the game this way… because it is a catch 22 for Pakistan and a win win for India.

    This is ofcourse the kind of speculation I promised I wouldn’t indulge in… however it cannot be discounted that easily now that responsible functionaries of the state have started claiming that India has some role in this terror. But that brings us back to the real issue… no matter who pulls the strings… the finger on the trigger is that of Taliban and allied Islamist groups.

    So how do we deal with it:

    1. We have a clearly defined enemy : Pakistani Taliban. We should concentrate on defeating them.

    2. We should wash our hands off of the civil war in Afghanistan. This means let the allies, Afghanistan government and Afghan Taliban battle it out … and wait and watch as to emerges victorious there. We can then establish ties with whoever legitimately comes out on top.

    3. We should convince the Americans that the Drone Attacks are not in anyone’s interest… and will continue to foster violence.

    4. US needs to re-evaluate its strategy in the war on terror. It needs to look more carefully at its ally Saudi Arabia (whose king the US President bows down to) and its funding of religious schools all over the world including the US. Isn’t it ironic that the 9/11 bombers found sanctuary in American Muslim community?

    Isn’t it ironic that Khalid Shaikh Muhammad is a graduate of a small Baptist College in Mid-western United States…. Ramzi Yusef, Aafia Siddiqui… were all radicalized by American Muslim Imams in their American colleges.

    Now connect the dots … 5 American Muslims- educated in American Universities and radicalized by the Islamic Student Organizations on those campuses…. arrested in Sargodha Pakistan… for alleged links to Taliban. How do drone attacks on the hapless tribal folk of Waziristan help… when what US really needs is to monitor the ISNA, ICNA and other Islamic conventions in the US? Most of these organizations funded extremist Islamist groups all over the Islamic world… So bombing the tribal areas is not a productive course at all. Let us admit that the war on terror has failed. Now it is time for the US to go back to the drawing board..

  18. yasserlatifhamdani

    “There is a maxim in English Law Courts about a plaintiff approaching the court with clean hands. It is a maxim which bears remembering.”

    One who comes into equity must come with clean hands.

    Politics however is a dirty game with one end… Power… what you do with that power is what determines whether it was worth it… And global power politics is absolutely evil.

  19. yasserlatifhamdani

    The actual latin maxim is … ex turpi causa non oritur actio …. no action arises from an illegal transaction…

  20. vajra

    @yasser latif hamdani

    Your analysis was convincing and also a source of considerable discomfort. I hope that someday it is found that there was in fact no Indian involvement or minimal involvement, mainly of an ameliorative nature.

    The alternative that you have depicted in somewhat shadowy silhouette is very distasteful. Again, I hope you are wrong and that this emerges sooner rather than later. Until that time, the feeling of malaise must continue within every thinking Indian sensitive and even partially knowledgeable of the situation on the ground and the major issues involved.

  21. Majumdar

    Vajra/Yasser,

    I wud be very surprised if there was no Indian involvement with TTP or at least some factions of it. Indians are hardly doodh ke dhooley huye. Even apart from B’desh there is an even worse example of Indian interference in another country’s internal affairs- Sri Lanka. India’s role in that country has been as despicable as that of Pakistan in A’stan.

    Regards

  22. yasserlatifhamdani

    I hope so too… because you know that India as the enemy narrative only weakens the Pakistan we aspire to… and hits at the very root of the justification for the creation of this country.

  23. yasserlatifhamdani

    Last post to Vajra.

  24. Bloody Civilian

    i agree with yasser: the talib or even the mullah/jehadi is not necessarily the enemy of india; ie if left on his own.

    Vajra

    there is a stark difference, purely on a logical level, between india in tajikstan and pak in the ME in the 70s and 80s. the latter was about making some money by exporting HR. it was the military equivalent of pakistani labourers going to the ME. in tajikstan india is spending, not making, money. india are not providing pilots for tajik migs, but parking her own migs there. and pak mil personnel in iraq, jordan, SA being even further west of pakistan itself, could have hardly led to a feeling of encirclement on india’s part.

  25. Bloody Civilian

    hossp

    it’s not about forgetting about pakistan’s legitimate interests, but going about it the right, moral and legal way. we’ve tried all the alternatives and have ended up seriously damaging our institutions and destroying our own society (and a’stan’s) in the process. the ‘rat children’ (a.k.a. shah dolhay shah ke choohay) in muridke and south punjab are our own youth. we’ve created militias/lashkars within our own society.

    this kind of change, at a societal level, needs a far more fundamental transformation in our thinking and worldview than has been evident from many of your analyses.

    and as AZW said, we should learn to see the difference between legitimate interests and fantastical chimeras. given the self-destruction of the last 30 years, it’s time we concentrated on putting our own house in order.

  26. Mustafa Shaban

    @YLH: you have your own analysis on Islamic extremists operating in Pakistan and elsewhere, I also understand that you have taken some names. What I dont understand is why you are including an innocent women Afia Siddiqui among islamic fundamentalists, she is an innocent person wrongfully taken away by the US and no justice has been done to her. Afia Siddiqui is an ordinary woman and has nothing to do with any terrorist orginization or radical group.

  27. yasserlatifhamdani

    The other version is that… Afia Siddiqui is a terrorist who was arrested as a combatant last year in Afghanistan.

    From what I have read this version seems to be much more truthful than your “innocent women” version.

  28. vajra

    @Bloody Civilian

    Not entirely.

    The involvement in Saudi Arabia and Jordan went beyond outsourcing military human resources. If you go through the records carefully, both in these two cases and in the cases of the Air Force-to-Air Force collaboration in Iraq, Syria and Jordan, Pakistani pilots were trained on modern planes and fought in air-to-air combat. This was part of a broader understanding – besides these three states, Iran and the UAE were also involved on Pakistan’s side – that these allies of Pakistan would quickly and without bureaucratic interference from the western powers, cribbing about weapons agreements and other such pieces of paper, transfer aircraft, military equipment, and arms and ammunition to Pakistan in time of war.

    Today, the situation is so damnably hostile to Pakistan that we tend to forget what happened earlier; it was at some times India that had an impression that it was surrounded on all sides.

    Pakistani ‘out-sourced’ soldiers manning Arab purchased equipment, irrespective of the direction the money flowed, still spelt a force multiplication hostile to India.

    That was then; this is now. That which happened does not gainsay YLH’s chilling summary of 2:25 pm.

    @Majumdar

    I have come to the conclusion that rather than re-inventing the wheel, it is better to refer the case of Shotobuddhi, the Excessively Thoughtful Indian, to two excellent therapists, eternal masters of their profession. In their words, there is a little list, of people who would never be missed, which includes

    …. the idiot who praises, with enthusiastic tone,
    All centuries but this, and every country but his own;

  29. Milind Kher

    Today, Pakistan is out on a limb. The US has changed its stand and has now started talking tough to Pakistan, and as a consequence, other countries have also pulled back.

    The sad part is that the common Pakistani is suffering with terrorists running riot and no strong leader to push hard against them. Couple this with the paragraph above, and one wonders where hope lies.

  30. AZW

    Yasser:

    There is no doubt that R&W, CIA, Iranian Intelligence agents all crawling the streets of Pakistani cities. For your speculation that Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan manages to get in touch with Indian Agencies (enemy of my enemy), you are assuming a lot more that India would somehow become an ally of TTP Pakistan Chapter, which is a sworn enemy of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, itself an India ally. India seems to have a remarkable insight as to see that Pakistan would weaken badly but not fail as India supports TTP.

    Aside from the fact that our armchair speculation remains what it is: pure speculation, don’t you realize that it takes us away from the stark reality staring at us at all times. That it was not India that got us here in this mess. It was not Afghan President who is responsible for the mess we have in our country. It is us and us alone; yet we never fail to find the India boogeyman as the proverbial dump hits our fan. Our seasoned veterans pride ourselves as brilliant tacticians, worrying about our assets in Afghanistan when US has left town. 70% of our population viewed Taliban favourably up to 2007. And now all of this thinking has landed us with daily suicide bombings, being the terrorist central of the world where every Jihadi wannabe lands to fulfil his dreams, and from where almost all of the terror attacks of the last 15 years were planned, financed or executed. On East, militants from our soil target India. On West, our soil is used to bomb Afghanistan and now Iran.

    Yet we hold on to some Jihadi lights as our latest assets, hanging desperately to a strategy that has failed time and time again. Ahmad Rashid lamented this Pakistani thinking in his book repeatedly back in 2003. Yet we stubbornly refuse to listen.

    My uncle once wistfully remembered how in 1971, Pakistanis hated India for tearing the country apart. But little did Pakistan realize; it was Pakistan itself responsible for its own dismemberment. It was too late once all was said and done. It is déjà vu all over again 38 years later.

    Pakistan cannot remain stable with an unstable Afghanistan. An unstable Afghanistan will unleash the fresh cycle of violence that will hit Pakistan with full force. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. Supporting Jihadi assets that run amok in Afghanistan is an episode we have seen before. But desperate times call for courageous and steadfast actions. Pakistan needs to put an end to any Afghan resistance being supported within our borders. We cannot obsess with Indian influence and try to keep countering it with the same failed strategies. Our economy is in shambles, hundreds of people die on the streets every week, schools are closed for weeks, major North West Areas almost got run over by the Taliban, yet we smugly proclaim that things are under control, and our resident experts on TV channels and here contort themselves to find the world order being imposed upon us, and pronounce that it is US that has got it all wrong, and has no will or strategy to find the Taliban.

    Pakistan needs the strength to own up to its responsibility now, and firmly put an end to the militant activities taking place at its soil, or abroad. Otherwise, we are in this fight for a lot longer than we can ever afford it.

  31. Gorki

    The other day Bilal Qureshi Sahib started his post as follows:
    “It is sickening to see people being butchered the way human beings are slaughtered in Pakistan these days…” and addressed it to every decent Human being.

    Today, I read an email from a dear friend addressing another, asking what should he, as a decent man and a responsible citizen, do for his country in these unsettling times.

    I reproduce a part of his mail below.
    “I don’t want to be a candle-burning peacenik at the border, and sacrifice national security for a few minutes of a warm, schmaltzy feeling. Nor do I want my country involved in promoting terrorism and terrorist acts which kill unarmed civilians, women and children.” He wrote.

    In effect he is asking the most important question a citizen in a democracy and a decent man can ask, should ask, in such times when confronted by pleas from other decent men like Bilal Sahib.

    There is a world wide war going on that affects all of us. A relatively few determined men armed with suicide vests and brainwashed with hateful ideologies have changed the way we live, work and think. Mothers wonder if there is a safer way to provide education for their children; ordinary citizens driving to work reflexively look around for an escape route should someone taking too long at a checkpoint turn out to be a bomber. Others wonder if it would be safe to travel back home during Christmas.

    Since this shadowy war involves all of us, many of us have felt an urge to get involved and stay involved. Yet we don’t know how. Most of us are ordinary people who till recently were quiet contented to live out our ordinary lives. We have jobs to go to, bills to pay, families to take care of, children to put through college. Besides, most of us can’t tell (and till recently didn’t care) whether the acronym TTP stands for a terrorist organization or a life threatening blood disorder.

    Nevertheless we understand what is important and what is at stake. We live in many different countries around the globe but enjoy the common benefits that come with being the citizens of benign secular democratic republics that promise unprecedented political rights and freedoms to its citizens. We recognize that never before in human history have so many people lived in so much freedom and so much prosperity. This is at stake.
    We understand that to alleviate poverty and injustice for our less fortunate countrymen we need to extend these benefits to others; yet that too is at stake.
    Above all many of us hope that this world is a little when we leave it than when we were born into it and that too is at stake.

    Yet we are also aware of our limitations. My friend ended his email by asking pointedly yet poignantly: “What should I do? Can I make a difference? Can I do anything more than writing in a futile manner in blogs and mailing lists?”

    I leave it up to a far more intelligent and experienced superior and mentor to answer my friend’s private question yet would like to propose something here to all the good folks who wrote the 30 odd preceding comments to the above post. Specifically I am talking about people like YLH, AZW, PMA, Rex Minor, Milind, Hossp, BC, DAN, Majumdar, Luqman etc. but also all those who come to this oasis called the PTH, to make a difference.

    I may be overreaching but please hear me out.

    I suggest that over the next few weeks all of the above should lay out their respective and most reasonable positions with the aim of coming up with a blueprint for an ideal outcome; a wish list; or a dream plan for a ‘grand bargain’ that they would like to see if their leaders were to sit around a round table to make a grand settlement.
    Such positions should be honest to the utmost and bolstered with their reasons why it would be important for their own countries’ goals but also why it should be acceptable tot the other side too.

    Above all I ask these individuals to lay out their proposals in a way that provides security for their side while first categorically rejecting the use of ALL kinds of terror tactics and terror groups as a overt or covert policy tool.

    Then if after a frank discussion all the PTH regulars; the Indians and the Pakistanis, the conspiracy theorists and the idealists, the Taliban apologists and the ruthless pragmatists can even grudgingly agree upon an outline of a settlement that they can live with and that provides for a peace plan that does not compromise security, and is also pragmatic but does not sacrifice their national aspirations and above all is plausible; then maybe it can be circulated widely using all means of communications; the internet blogs, the mailing lists, the media, the non official organizations, personal contacts etc. to solicit enough signatures from like minded citizens so as to catch attention of those actually in positions of power to make a difference.

    Who knows; someday when enough blood has been spilled and everyone is exhausted enough, and the stalemate has been going long enough; then the Pakistanis and the Americans, the Indians and the Chinese, the ISI and the RAW, perhaps even the Taliban and the Iranians might well want to sit down for a grand bargain and take a look at a amateurish plan first proposed and signed in by their citizens?

    Regards.

  32. vajra

    @Gorki

    Amen.