A New Approach

By Hoss

Note: This article is response to a post by Gorki and I thought putting the whole things as another article would be a better idea.

Can India take a new initiative, a progressive initiative without being intimidated by the right wing and utterly regressive forces in Pakistan? Our Indian friend Gorki’s suggestion that India attempt to side step the military establishment in Pakistan and deal with people of Pakistan directly, imo, is a visionary and progressive approach in Pak-India relations. By now we know that Pakistan with heavy military influence over its foreign policy, is practically incapable of presenting any new initiative to improve relations with India or even Afghanistan.

So far both countries have tried government to government channels to improve the relations; they have also tried backdoor diplomacy and the people to people contact too and as far as I can tell no real progress has been made. Years of efforts are usually nullified by one incident, and it can easily derail the whole effort pushing the countries back to the square one.

In the last two days, I read about a US initiative to spend $50 million in Pakistani media to improve its image. US wants to show that some important public projects in Pakistan are being completed with the US assistance; they want to show to the people of Pakistan that the US means well in Pakistan and it is not planning to balkanize Pakistan, to counter a major rightwing propaganda line that raises the bogey that US wants to destroy Pakistan and capture its nukes. If we are not insensate, we can also assume that the US would use some of the money to induce some folks in the Pak media to not be so aggressively anti-America and entice some others to write or comment on US efforts in Pakistan in a positive manners.

I know India cannot be this aggressive and it would be hard for India to spend money so publically in Pakistan. I think India can do a few things that can make some difference in Pakistan-India relations and put some pressure on the Pak defense establishment to start thinking of changing its approach.

<b>Of course any Indian initiative in Kashmir is not part of what I think should be the Indian approach. I think bringing up Kashmir would actually be like starting on the wrong foot.</b>

Let us look at what is common in Pakistan-Indian environments that people of both countries can relate to. I am not talking about the common cultural heritage, as far as I can tell both countries have regressed beyond the cultural affinity, it is something that can be a bridge builder but just not yet.

I think terrorism is a common thread that has emerged in the last few years as the most important problem between the two countries. So far it has been used as a dividing issue but I am suggesting that the same issue can be turned in to a uniting issue too.

This would require some innovative thinking by Indians. From my perspective, I see that people of both countries are completely tired of the terrorism and the toll it has taken on general psyche of the common folks. In Pakistan the street terrorism has most profound impact on people’s mind. Obviously, people hate it. Indians have shown similar tendencies. What approach is needed to make this a common ground for improving the relations?

As I said we have tried Government to Government approach and the people to people approach but the progress in relations remains elusive. So my suggestion is that we take another approach that takes some parts of the both approaches but I think is still innovative enough to capture people’s imagination in both countries.

Based on what I said about Pakistan’s inability to be innovative, I think this initiative must come from India. I would call the new approach the “Government to People” approach. Government would be the Indian government and people would be the people of Pakistan. The question is whether it is practical. I think it is and if done correctly would bear fruits.

The primary emphasis should be on Terrorism and if nothing else, a simple narrative can be developed around terrorism. Now the diplomats can be more careful with the words but I would plainly address the Pakistani people and tell them that the people of Pakistan and India are tired of terrorism and should help each other to eliminate this curse and since most of the terrorist groups are Pakistan based and Pakistanis suffer daily from the terrorism, they should help the Indian people to end it. Indian government should emphasis that both people are victims of this curse and both can and should fight it together.

I daily read how people of Pakistan are frustrated with their government’s inability to handle the terrorism. There is persistent feeling that some Pak agencies are behind some terrorists’ acts and that makes it impossible for the government to take decisive steps against it. Terrorism has not only impacted the businesses but also the personal lives. Just to illustrate the point, in Peshawar the store keepers have reduced the hours of operations and folks feel so insecure that they stay away from the public places and have changed their daily routine just to stay safe. Empathy from India would have a profound impact on the people of Pakistan. This is something that will resonate with the people of Pakistan and I think many Pakistanis would come forward to support a united approach against terrorism. India already has groundswell of sympathy and support in the smaller provinces in Pakistan but the people of Punjab are not any different, when it comes to terrorism. They too are tired and would like someone, some government coming forward to talk about their plight instead of listening to the crazies who still brag about the strategic depth and the strategic assets, while completely ignoring the loss of life and property in Pakistan. Terrorism is not just about material loss; it profoundly impacts the psychological well being of the people.

Instead of going to the US or the Saudi Arabia to ask for help, India needs to take this initiative. It is not going to be easy; the militants and their sponsors in Pakistan would respond with counter propaganda. India would be accused of interfering in Pak’s internal affairs and we might see some threats from the militant outfits too. There are some risks inherent in a strategy like this but I am sure if India wants to eliminate the threat of terrorism, it will need help from people of Pakistan and Indian government will have to become the voice of people of both countries.

As I said it will take some vision and progressive approach to improve relations and dealing with the terrorism requires more than just the bureaucratic responses.

214 Comments

Filed under India, Pakistan, Pakistan-India Peace Process

214 responses to “A New Approach

  1. B. Civilian

    an interesting new perspective. hoss is right on the psychological impact of terrorism. they say ‘you don’t care who came to your wedding, but can never forget those who came to a loved one’s funeral’.

    but when an indian victim of terrorism tells a pakistani victime of terrorism about confronting hafiz saeed, what does she expect the pakistani to do? not vote for the hafiz in the next elections??

    pakistanis cannot and will not squarely confront their own army, even less so on behalf of india. but they will fight for democracy… at least for a while. that they do not yet have the patience to endure the initial, agonisingly difficult stages of a re-instated, infant democracy is reasonably understandable given the state of hardship and general injustice in society.

    but there is no other way. we have to find the patience and endurance to hate mush and all that he represents for longer than two years after defeating him. we have to accept that the first few crops of politicians and versions of democracy will be quite horrendous. but we must not allow that to be used to undo our hard fought victory against dictatorship.

    how can india empathise with pakistanis’ suffering at the hands of the terrorists, show support for democracy in pakistan and help pakistanis achieve a normal civilian state without making it seem to the people of pakistan or feel like the people are taking up a direct confrontation with their own army?

  2. Majumdar

    The biggest stumbling block on both sides is a lack of trust. Indians will quote ZAB’s karnameys post Shimla Accord, BB’s support for jihad in both Kashmir and A’stan and how NS’s folks were preparing for Kargil while NS and ABV were exchanging jhappis.

    Pakistanis wud counter by G’pur, Kashmir, Bdesh and Siachen.

    Difficult to begin.

    Even if India were to take up Gorki sb and HP saeen’s approach it cud be derailed by a single incident as HP saeen also admits. And since govts in India can’t look beyond the next elections, it is difficult to ignore public outcry esp from the more vocal lot.

    Regards

  3. Hayyer

    Hoss and Gorki:
    How does the Indian government mount such a campaign? 50 million US$ is not a big sum. The advertising budget of the GOI is substantially larger than that. So it isn’t the money.
    It is the credibility of India. Its name is mud in Pakistan. Can an appeal to ordinary Pakistani’s over its’ government even be made. India would loose all credibility with the Pakistani government, leave alone the army, without gaining anything from the people appealed to. Whose line will ordinary Pakistanis buy, its own government supported media’s or a perfidious enemy? Besides it would take decades to overcome the prejudices absorbed with mothers milk.
    How far would India’s makeover effort go in the face of the continuing litany of Indian evildoing in Pakistani media’ sponsored, by PA or the Allah wallahs, even if the Pakistan government stood aside? And if ordinary Pakistanis including Punjabis bought India’s line how would they persuade their government and their army to change tack.
    India would do better to show some flexibility over Kashmir and hope for the best. It must wish that it had taken up Musharraf when he made that offer five years ago.
    The ignominy of Bangla Desh could not keep PA down. Can a media effort by India succeed? I think not. Easier I think to do more cricket, Bollywood, trade, newspapers and mutual travel.

  4. B. Civilian

    “The ignominy of Bangla Desh could not keep PA down. Can a media effort by India succeed?”

    but enough people on the streets in the most prosperous cities of the punjab can and have pushed the PA back. it has always been able to manipulate its way back into islamabad and never really had to relinquish power anyway (more a move from front stage to backstage and back to the front again). but popular, sustained support for democracy is the only way.

    this means countering the zaid hamids and hamid guls. and the disgruntled citizen too. a wiser posture from india would help only a little. a less wise policy would make the task of the democrats more difficult, but that is the scenario the democrats must prepare for and fight for democracy, regardless.

    the democrats cannot allow to be distracted too far into defending india (and be discredited as a result.) but a rational point can be made ie why should we allow fear mongering about india to be used to trump democracy and rule of law.

    india’s flexibility on kashmir can only pay any dividends, if at all, when pakistan is under military rule. otherwise, there is a real danger that it would be sabotaged by the military until… from vajpayee’s lahore yatra to the agra summit via kargil, mush showed the basic nature of the PA’s thinking.

    although the PA is not limited into not being able to see ‘beyond the next election’, its thinking is severely limited by the ‘opportunity cost’ calculation which has to be a main feature of a model based on opportunistic, illegal rule by the few… and decreasing. the other part of the cause for myopia is the extreme ‘unity of command’ at the cost of all diversity, team-working and a natural balancing of interests required in decision and policy making for a project as complex as a country.

  5. ylh

    Frankly hoss’ piece is hogwash and completely divorced from ground realities.

    This is frankly dangerous thinking to begin with. Pakistan Army is our own national army. I’d like it to stay out of politics yes but I do not wish to side with Indians v. the Army. There should be peace between Pakistan and India as sovereign states and India has no locus standi in our domestic matters beyond its legitimate interests as a neighbor. Right thinking patriots would safeguard those interests. With time and cultural linkages, India will cease to be the main enemy for the Pakistan Army. Then we might mature as good neighbors. However chicken before the egg approach does not work.

  6. hoss

    Reread, rewrite, reread, rewrite. I guess I did not follow the rule so my apology for poor writing is in order.
    Majumadar, Hayyar, B,civ
    “The ignominy of Bangladesh could not keep PA down”
    It is true that the army still refuses to learn from that humiliation and uses that as the rallying cry for its continued belligerence against India; however, that makes a new approach even more important. Responding to PA’s aggressive posturing by nonviolent, civil and a direct approach to the people would certainly shake the PA. You see right now People of Pakistan are exposed to tons of misinformation churned out by Pak media and the state, that is precisely the reason that the US wants to spend money to counter that in Pakistan. India does not have to spend that kind of money in Pakistan. All it needs is a concerted effort in its own media. The Indian media is picked up in Pakistan and has a wide audience. Invariably the Pak media would respond to that and that response too would become an avenue for a wider reach. That would make people think and I know in the current environments, a positive message and for that matter any positive message would be hard to put down by the PA or the Pak media. They would and could not ignore it.
    “the name is mud in Pak”
    I have already mentioned that there are tons of people in the smaller provinces that are not anti-India despite years of propaganda in Pakistan. There is a lobby in Punjab mostly progressives, liberal and leftists and they have been trying to create situations for better relations in India. They are always doing something to promote that cause and I think a positive message from India would immediately gather support in those sections too. The people to people contact was mostly supported by the same group in Punjab.
    The lack of trust issue is between the governments. The govt. of Pakistan will not stand aside. They are not going to do that. They will respond with catcalls, the so-called previous Indian behavior in 1971, the Kashmir issue and whatever dirt they can bring on but they have been doing this for the past 60 yrs. The difference now would be that India would be addressing an issue that impacts people of Pakistan and I think Pakistanis are ready to listen to some positive message and a message of support and not of belligerence. The message in simple terms would be that both people need to stand united against this menace and based on what I have heard and read recently, the message will resonate with people and not just the people of Pakistan but People of India too. You see this message would separate people from the government. The question would be asked why India is being attacked for a message that has support in Pakistan.
    One more thing, it is true that wishes of the smaller provinces are often neglected by the establishment in Pakistan but that is because the smaller provinces unnerve the establishment and that leads to suppression. However, Zardari has maintained his position only due to his support in the smaller provinces. So the smaller provinces have some influence in key areas. I think this message will be heard in NWFP and Baluchistan very clearly, the two provinces that are bearing the brunt of the terrorist activity. Sindhis always buy the anti-establishment message. Based on that I think a new approach is needed and it has a good chance of success.
    It is not a matter of telling people to do something about an individual; it is about developing a strategy that addresses the whole issue of terrorism which currently is one major point of difference between the two countries.

  7. ylh

    This is more nonsense. Liberal and secular Pakistanis are patriots. Only a few misguided self hating types will agree with this scheme.

    Also this small province big province divide is over played. Nor is Army separate from the people per se.

    This nonsense will only strengthen Zaid Hamid type propaganda. My appeal is to every progressive, secular and liberal Pakistani to condemn Hoss and his wild and ridiculous speech.

    This confusion of secularism, liberalism and progressive thought with ethno-fascism of linguistic variety should also be cleared up.

  8. Eman

    Sound like a nice scheme to milk India to the tune of USD 50 million.

  9. Luq

    @ylh
    Its all Asif’s fault …he should be more careful with his weeds….
    Luq

  10. hoss

    Yasser’s response is exactly what the Pak state response would be. So I am not going to blame or attack him for writing what he wrote here. His publishing this post shows that he wants to listen to all ideas and that is positive thinking.
    Any dispassionate review of the state of affairs in Pakistan would point fingers at the army Generals for the poor state of affairs in the country. It is not just a matter of conjecture, it is the undeniable reality. Who is responsible for initiating the interference in Afghan affairs, who is responsible for starting three skirmishes that escalated in to major combat conflicts with India? No convoluted answers are needed. Has the army not interfered in the past or is it not interfering in the civilian set up now? We all prefer a civilian set up over the army take over in Pakistan, do not we not know that the army has pretty much rendered the current civilian government powerless and ineffective.

    The army’s sins in Pakistan require capital punishment. But I can promise you this now that even the capital punishment would not stop this army from doing what it has always been doing. It is a national institution and must be preserved but currently the generals especially are national disgrace. Preserving its current setup or style of is not acceptable. Everything about the army has to be changed to make it more palatable to civilians and democratic set up.

    Can the people of Pakistan defeat this army? Yes, they can however; the process would be long and arduous one. There is no way the people of Pakistan can defeat the army by using arms because the arms they have paid for and are more lethal would be used against them like they were in the past in E.PAk, Baluchistan and Sindh and now in NWFP.

    My intention is not to switch the discussion here but we cannot ignore the elephant in the room in discussions like this one.

    When I thought about the whole thing, I was not thinking from the Indian perspective. I was thinking about the whole thing as a person who has strong affiliations with Pakistan. Who would like to see the country prosper and people grow rather than be placed in to a situation where they would just remain poor, non prosperous or conflicted because that is what works for the army. People in Pakistan did not join it to remain under the army rule.

    As people are aware here I am not hot on relations with India also. I don’t think much of it. What I know is that the terrorism sponsored and supported by the army would eventual lead Pakistan to oblivion. Had the army realized it on its own, all would have been fine and dandy but that is not the case. The minute I heard the COAS talk about reviving the strategic depth, I knew the Pak army despite so much international hue and cry, despite so much mayhem in Pakistan, and despite so many lives lost in Pakistan- is not ready to accept peace as an option in the neighborhood.

    So there is a need for a new initiative and since the initiative would never come from the Pak army, I concurred with Gorki that India needs to initiate a new approach. I don’t think that India is Pakistan eternal enemy; it is a neighboring country that has some disputes with Pakistan. Neighbors have differences and sometimes they help each other out too, and if there is a neighbor that can help out Pakistan in a difficult situation, we should seek that help. We have no problem with the US speeding $50 million or sending drones down; we have problems when a neighbor who is going to be around forever attempts to help Pakistan. I think India can help Pakistan more than the US ever could. We have an institution that lead to the dismemberment of Pakistan, how could we possibly allow that same institution to destroy rest of the Pakistan just to preserve itself?

    There is already a huge disconnecting between the people of Pakistan and the army; I would always support even widening it until the army is forced to give up its childish games.

  11. Dear All:

    Your skepticsm is not out of place and is duly and respectfully noted.
    However, I ask everyone to keep an open mind and suggest an ending to this speech:

    A speech that the PM of India needs to give NOW:

    I stand before you today as an elected representative of the people of India but also as a commoner; a citizen of South Asia, our common historic homeland. In that capacity I would like to speak directly to the people of both India and Pakistan on the behalf of the Indian Govt.
    There has been much misinformation spread among the common people in both countries regarding our intentions. While it is no secret that we do not agree with the Pakistani establishment on many planes, our intentions are honorable. I want to clarify the following:

    1. The GOI has no intention to destabilize Pakistan in any way and consider its borders and its provinces a part of a sovereign nation.

    2. Thus we consider any act of terror committed within the borders of Pakistan an abominable act, at par with a similar act within our own borders. Any perpetrator of such an act will never have our sympathy, either overt or covert. If we find anyone suspected of supporting such an act within our reach, that individual will be treated as if he or she has committed such an act within our borders and treated severely accordingly.

    3. India understands the pride Pakistanis have in its institutions, and specifically the Army which has acquitted itself well as an honorable adversary in the past. We understand that it is a legitimate past of Pakistani state yet we cannot deny that we have been victims of terror acts by individuals and organizations who have had support of elements within the army. We ask that Pakistani army stop this practice now that it has seen firsthand the risk involved to its own civilians in such risky ventures.

    4. India has been threatened from time to time by organizations from within Pakistan who have perpetuated acts of terror on our soil. We refuse to accept these organizations as speaking for anyone within Pakistan or anyone outside Pakistan; to us they enemies of humanity and we shall leave no stone unturned in pursuing and destroying these groups. Furthermore, we will consider anyone who supports these groups in the same category.

    5. There is much that the people of India and people of Pakistan can learn from each other; I will today ask the parliament of India to consider an active student and academic exchange program to be set up. We shall begin with a scholarship from the people of India to allow 25 deserving students each in the categories of medicine, Engineering and Management to avail the education available in the Indian Institutes that have earned international repute such as the IIT, IIM and AIIMS. We will also ask Pakistan to open its doors and allow any of our own students willing to avail its institutions of higher learning. Similarly we will encourage our Universities to make available our knowhow in the fields of agriculture, education, geology, environmental studies for the common good of peoples both sides of the border……

    Regards

  12. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    “The ignominy of Bangla Desh could not keep PA down. Can a media effort by India succeed?”

    but enough people on the streets in the most prosperous cities of the punjab can and have pushed the PA back. it has always been able to manipulate its way back into islamabad and never really had to relinquish power anyway (more a move from front stage to backstage and back to the front again). but popular, sustained support for democracy is the only way.

    this means countering the zaid hamids and hamid guls. and the disgruntled citizen too. a wiser posture from india would help only a little. a less wise policy would make the task of the democrats more difficult, but that is the scenario the democrats must prepare for and fight for democracy, regardless.

    the democrats cannot allow to be distracted too far into defending india (and be discredited as a result.) but a rational point can be made ie why should we allow fear mongering about india to be used to trump democracy and rule of law.

    india’s flexibility on kashmir can only pay any dividends, if at all, when pakistan is under military rule. otherwise, there is a real danger that it would be sabotaged by the military until… from vajpayee’s lahore yatra to the agra summit via kargil, mush showed the basic nature of the PA’s thinking.

    although the PA is not limited into not being able to see ‘beyond the next election’, its thinking is severely limited by the ‘opportunity cost’ calculation which has to be a main feature of a model based on opportunistic, illegal rule by the few… and decreasing. the other part of the cause for myopia is the extreme ‘unity of command’ at the cost of all diversity, team-working and a natural balancing of interests required in decision and policy making for a project as complex as a country.

    Your comment seems to indicate that the solution to Pakistan’s problems with India lie within Pakistan’s problems with its Army.

    Which is why you are then advocating that the main focus of Pakistani citizens interested in a better Pakistan should be making democracy able to hold its own, permanently for ever more, rather than entering into any kind of interaction within India.

    Frankly, I agree.

    To be seen to be supporting India rather than the Army will permanently alienate any advocate of that line, not only from that establishment, but also from many – most – of the ordinary Pakistani citizens.

    If this is so, then there’s precious little that Indians, either as a state or as individuals, can do under the circumstances.

    On the other hand, if positive minded Indians were to seek their own roles , they would probably concentrate on removing the mental barriers against Pakistan, and on substantially improving the tone in which Indian media, both news and entertainment media, speaks about Pakistan. We can, in other words, build virtual bridges to Pakistan, at numerous points and numerous locations, too many for the Pakistani pro-establishment media to cope with, too many indeed for the Pakistani establishment to cope with.

    In other words, right-minded Pakistanis get along with what they ought to be concentrating on, the defence of democracy in Pakistan. Right-minded Indians should leave them to it and themselves get along with what they in turn ought to be concentrating on, the rehabilitation of Pakistan and the ordinary Pakistani citizen within the Indian news media and entertainment media.

    It will never in reality be as simple as this.

    A beleaguered anti-democracy coalition in Pakistan will keep trying to restore itself to its grip on patriotic Pakistani sentiment, typically by one atrocity after another on Indian soil.

    The coalition will also play every parochial, communal and exclusivist card that it can. It will invoke patriotism and the martyrs of partition. It will invoke the spirit of 65, and the famous victories of the past.

    Elements within the democratic movement themselves might get distracted, and hare off towards kashmir and an Intifada like solution.

    If sufficient numbers of right-minded Pakistanis take up this cause and stick to it, democracy will prevail, and one day, cage the tiger that the country is riding on. It all depends, I think, on what the ordinary Pakistani citizen wants.

  13. ylh

    Hooss uncleji,

    Not long ago two famous ideological marxists got into a debate at a party meeting in Lahore.

    One of them, pedigreed marxist, kept asking “do you or don’t you want to smash the state”. After the millionth time, the other guy responded “what is the state?”.

    PA and Pakistan are indistinguishable. But what is more is that there isn’t even a defined player on the other side. Both countries are run by the rusted but iron based skeleton called “civil-military bureaucracy”.

  14. Vajra:

    “Right-minded Indians should leave them to it and themselves get along with what they in turn ought to be concentrating on, the rehabilitation of Pakistan and the ordinary Pakistani citizen within the Indian news media and entertainment media”

    There lies the rub; ordinarily even rehabilitating the Indians who say anything positive about Pakistan becomes a difficult chore; as was demonstrated by the Jaswant Singh saga. The dark side of electoral politics will always seek out safe villians to pin electoral hopes on unless the victim speaks up for himself\herself.

    It is for this purpose I believe that all right kind of noises should be made by sane elements; consistently, and from both sides to combat the ‘evil other’ cariature the political right in each country wants to put on the average person from the other country.

    Be warned; it is going to be a generational struggle.

    Regards.

  15. hoss

    For those who talk about Kashmir and Indian interference in Baluchistan and NWFP, Please first read the article posted just below this thread. Indians might have a few friends in Baluchistan but for the Baloch the whole Pak army is the enemy of the Baloch. Here is a little secret that you need to know. Baloch don’t care if India is interfering because they trust India more than the Pak establishment and the Pak army. No one has ever been able to explain to Baloch as to why the Pak army is attacking Baloch since 1958.

    Do you have a clue as to what is going on in Baluchistan, what the youth in NWFP is thinking and what is brewing in the interiors of Sindh? What is of primary importance to you, keeping Pakistan together or letting it fall in to pieces ala 1971. Why must fighting with India or Kashmir be more important than keeping Pakistan together? It is not in Pakistan’s national interest to continue supporting the Jihadi outfits and insisting on the discredited idea of strategic depth. Pakistan doesn’t need that sh@t.

    Gorki, I think your speech would be a hard sell even in India but it can be done. What is missing in India and Pakistan is not only the trust but a positive approach too. I think with that speech the element of optimism will be inserted by India in the whole process and that would be the positive approach versus negotiating in bad faith.

    Vajra, I agree with you that the whole thing would be met with extreme hostility by the PA, though; I think we might see a positive response from the civilian government. I also think that the civilian government in the current state has very limited influence over the process, what it can do is not hinder its workers in to buying the whole idea.

    Zardari only the other day said that the West has some responsibility in helping the democracy in Pakistan. Basically he is crying for help and as he sees the army encroachment in the civilian affairs better than you and I can. I am not a supporter of Zardari for different reasons but I do understand that the democracy or just the civilian rule in Pakistan needs major push from many sources. Since he is asking for help from the West, he should be open to help from India too though he can remain judicious about it due to his own precarious situation.

  16. vajra

    @Gorki

    Of course it’s generational! I won’t live to see it (you and BC and YLH might), my daughter will.

    @Hoss

    In your second para, you’ve got in every nuance I’d have wished for.

  17. B. Civilian

    vajra

    indians – individuals or small groups of individuals – can do what you suggest. but their primary motivation must rightly be the healthier society, better democracy and more educated/rational/aware citizens within india, as a result.

    the longer lasting democratic change in pakistan will not be brought because there is a relatively small number of people who can analyse and understand or blindly believe that democracy is the least evil system, but because people will see democracy as the only real hope of economic deliverance. that’s a very long road.

    we did have the lawyers’ movement. people with a lot of different issues had joined in; a section of them were those who had by and large missed out of mush’s banking and telecom services led domestic consumer-based growth. we had had a similar movement against ayub too, centred on karachi. there were no signs of any big movement against zia in any part of the country that matters (politically), and he had taken care of the revolt in sind even before he called the 1985 elections. while the army itself removed yahya and invited bhutto.

    one way or the other, pakistan has not had a dictator lasting much more than a decade. people keep quoting the foreign (US) aid figures and how dictatorships have managed to receive the largest part. dictatorships tend to show a slight improvement in law and order, and a slightly better improvement in perceptions about the state of law and order. the belief that only democracy can bring economic prosperity to pakistan is neither irrefutable nor is it firmly grounded in the people’s minds.

    however, since 9/11, with the horrible history of the 1990’s behind it (starting with the false hope of 1988/9), many people have come to question, ignore or generally tone down as far as religiosity and all its worst manifestations are concerned. they’ve realised that an islamicised state probably will hinder economic progress, even if because of nothing more than universal unpopularity of such a model as far as the outside world is concerned.

    9,000 pakistani soldiers have laid down their lives in fighting the taliban. many people don’t believe that the army carries the risk of islamisation. the army is after all a moderating effect compared with man right wing elements and parties. zia was an exception in terms of the part of his personality which actually least reflected the pak army in general.

    many people still think that it is the presence and tactics of the americans in the vicinity that has brought this reign of terror to pakistan. many opposed mush for being responsible for ‘brining in the americans’. but even for these people the objective is to stop the terrorism so that the economy – that is their lives – could improve.

    but it is well nigh impossible to convince enough people that there really is no alternative to democracy, ever. that would involve having to ask them to make a sacrifice so that their child or probably grandchild might eventually benefit. or to tell them that china is a failure because it is not a democracy, or, for that matter, that india is a just and happy paradise because it is a democracy.

    we can hope that the army will not produce any new ayubs, yahyas, zias or musharrafs. it’s not as desperate a hope as it may sound at first, especially to indian ears. that;s a completely different discussion though, which actually might engage with some of the points raised by YLH.

  18. B. Civilian

    gorki

    “9,000 pakistani soldiers have laid down their lives in fighting the taliban.” the speech fails to acknowledge this when it should have been the most important part of it as far as it being new and a departure from tradition is concerned.

    not many in pakistan believe that ‘elements’ in pak army support, now or in the past, those who carried out terrorist crimes in india. in any case, whatever their private apprehensions or thinking about it, the only response to indian ‘accusations’ will and can be ‘bring proof, beyond reasonable doubt’.

    that the GoI has no intention of harming pak in any way is hardly novel. the GoP says exactly the same about india. as do several governments around the world while busy looking for ways to undermine each other.

    re. point 4, a valid criticism would be that pak will have better confidence in GoI being able to severely punish supporters of terrorist atrocities in pak once it has shown to have dealt effectively with the suspects of the samjhota express attack, and, more importantly, those suspected of sponsoring the communal terrorism that took place in gujrat. etc.

    the IIT thing is nice but everything else before it has to be got right before this will work to any meaningful level. otherwise, i’d wonder before applying for the scholarship, what if i’m a student in india and get picked up for being an LeT terrorist with all three a pak id card, LeT membership card and a copy of a personal letter by hafiz saeed or lakhwi conveniently in my pocket?

  19. ylh

    Not just extreme hostility from the PA…extreme hostility from every right thinking Pakistani would be hostile to this.

    Those from across the border who might appreciate this at some level should perhaps know that this is appeal from Hoss is not the genuine appeal from a Pakistani but fanciful thinking of a dissident.

    Whatever is “brewing” in interiors of Sindh, the people of Sindh have always rejected GM Syed types at the polls. The local ANP voter votes for ANP not because he rejects the federation in NWFP but because he is sick of the Mullah. Besides secular mainstream Pakistani parties together have as a whole more votes and more seats in NWFP than ANP.
    Balochistan is a problem but not as big as some people imagine it to be. Balochistan is not even a Baloch majority province. The genuine grievance of the Baloch is cultural but I can assure you that Indian interference in Balochistan is counter productive to peace.

    All in all the sum total of the people that Hoss fantasizes number no more than 5-10 million in all of Pakistan. Do you want to risk the hostility of 150 million ? Does hoss know what the population of Punjab alone is? It is 91 million. India’s best hope lies in making peace with them and they have stated their issues clearly.

    Also Pakistan is not disintegrating. Balochistan is not 1000 miles apart with India in the middle. Fomenting a few foolish dissidents will only cause unnecessary bloodshed because Pakistan will go to any length to keep Balochistan and any other unit in the federation.

  20. ylh

    Btw Hoss is always wrong so follow him at your own risk.

    Example- After BB was martyred, Hoss wrote a piece called the “Pyre will burn” predicting the separation of Sindh from Pakistan.

    Asif Ali Zardari instead said “Pakistan Khappay”.

  21. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    indians – individuals or small groups of individuals – can do what you suggest. but their primary motivation must rightly be the healthier society, better democracy and more educated/rational/aware citizens within india, as a result.

    the longer lasting democratic change in pakistan will not be brought because there is a relatively small number of people who can analyse and understand or blindly believe that democracy is the least evil system, but because people will see democracy as the only real hope of economic deliverance. that’s a very long road.

    The reason why it came out in my comment looking as if a campaign to win the hearts and minds of Pakistanis should be the main component of an Indian plan is twofold:

    – I have mentioned this, specifically, many times before, in the context of saying that we each have to cure our own society on priority, rather than focussing on the other; it seemed redundant to hammer that same nail once more;
    – This was about Pakistan, after all.

    In order to put things beyond dispute or misunderstanding, it is clear that secular, liberal and democratic forces in India have to continue battling for the spread of secularism, liberalism and democratic values and behaviour; we have come some little way, but there is a great deal more to be traversed. As Gorki has already pointed out, the greatest hostility in India is not necessarily towards Pakistan; it is towards secular, liberal, democratic forces.

    Yes, it will take time, to address your next point. This too is known and I think most of us accept that it will take time – on both sides. So be it; unless, of course, you or somebody else knows of a short-cut. If you do, this is the time to speak up.

    Ultimately, at the end of the day, your Indian friends are looking for a way, some way, to help, without interfering. Sometimes it seems from the reactions received that you would prefer us merely to confine ourselves to sinking our heads into our hands and moaning softly. Is that the best we can do?

    @ylh

    Let us accept a point of view quite different from that of Hoss: there is a dissident set of voices who don’t represent the consensus in Pakistani society, that society is fairly coherent and well-knit, and united behind the Army for once, as it does what it ought to be doing by cleansing the west of terrorists, and India is seen as intervening in Pakistan, in Baluchistan specifically, hence, along with the prescribed zeal for the recovery of Kashmir, the jehadi and military hostility.

    Where do we go next?

  22. hoss

    Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) Executive Director Karamat Ali said the “permanent establishment” in the two neighbouring countries does not want peace in the subcontinent. Since the Mumbai carnage, the United States had sold armaments worth US$15 billion to Pakistan and India and it seemed that the two countries were now the main buyers of weapons from the sole superpower. Obviously, he said, the US would not like peace in this region and may even instigate yet another war between Pakistan and India. Ali said that there was a five- to six-fold increase in conventional weapons after Pakistan and India tested nuclear bombs, despite the fact that it was propagated that a nuclear bomb would be a “deterrent”. Armies and government leaders get hefty commissions in such deals, he maintained.

    Militarisation was paving way for intrusion in political affairs by the government, Ali said, adding that 76 per cent of the population of Pakistan was condemned to survive at US$2 per day, and indicators during the past 10 years showed deterioration in the housing, health and education sectors. Militarisation and terrorism go hand in hand and are two sides of the same coin, he said.

    Leading political analyst Prof. Tauseef Ahmed Khan said that peace in the subcontinent was vital for the poor. He suggested that research should be conducted to see what would have been the scenario in this part of the world had there been no dispute in Kashmir.

    Whenever a civilian government takes hold of the reins of power in Pakistan, a campaign against peace begins at the behest of the establishment, Prof. Khan said, adding that the majority of the people of Pakistan and India want peace, but the tiny elite always sabotage it. He said that Pakistan could not afford jingoism at a moment when even Saudi Arabia was strengthening its ties with India.

    Peace activist Saleh Ather said that the establishment opted for talks after a go-ahead signal from the United States. Zulfiqar Halopoto said that there was a paradigm shift in global politics; the “nation-state concept was being diluted,” and unions were being formed in different parts of the world.

    He said that poverty and gender inequality transcends geographical boundaries and the Kashmir issue had become an environmental and water issue rather than a demographic one. He cautioned that Pakistan had a very weak position on the water issue.
    Speaking on Tuesday at “Pakistan-India Dialogue: Civil Society Follow-up and Future Prospects” at the Karachi Press Club (KPC), Hilalay said that Jinnah rejected “religious bigotry” and wanted a “friendly and reciprocal alliance with India” right from the beginning. He had envisaged a treaty between the two neighbouring countries. Jinnah stood for “peace within and peace without,” Hilaly said, adding that the same was the posture of his successor, prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan.

    The dialogue at the KPC was held under the auspices of the Sindh Democratic Front, Pakistan Peace Coalition and the KPC.

    Former senior diplomat and political analyst, Zafar Hilalay, has cautioned against spiraling the defence budget of Pakistan, which, he said, could lead to disastrous consequences.

    Hilaly said that the Pakistani establishment never adhered to Jinnah’s policy. He regretted that the Pakistani establishment was making the country’s foreign policy although it should be a “national policy.” He said that the “uneasy stand-off” between Pakistan and India would not end because the military sees every thing through a “security prism.”

    He pointed out that when President Asif Ali Zardari assumed power, he made “revolutionary statements” regarding peace in the subcontinent and stated that India was not a security threat to Pakistan. Now, however, he was ready to fight the neighbouring country since the Pakistani establishment was against his earlier vision.

    Hilalay said that slain prime minister Benazir Bhutto understood the game that a certain lobby in India was bent upon undermining the integrity of Pakistan and adhered to a pragmatic policy. He said that Pakistan need not forgo the right of self-determination of Kashmir but should not “spend in the grave.”

    thenews.jang.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=226944

  23. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Vajra,

    Read the article the Hoss has now posted. I think it is along the lines of what I said above to the Hoss about rusted iron structure.

    First let us rule out the divide and rule – turn smaller provinces against Punjab theory which will in any event lead to hostility from the largest province of the federation. A theory akin to this would be Pakistan reaching out to sections within Indian Muslims with the purpose of “making peace with India”. It is useful to make war… not peace.

    I am not sure if you followed the famous Pakistan India Cricket exchange and the let us hold hands and sing kumbaye type deal … Pakistan’s relations with India were never as good as they were in 2004-2005. Punjab and Pakistan Army were on board. It was a continuous festival for over two years …. one would find Indians all over the place in Lahore… in bookstores, cafes, restaurants…. heck having an Indian over was a status symbol amongst the upper middle and upper classes.

    So where do we go is the question…

    1. Support the Pakistani bourgeoisie by emphasizing economic exchange. Nationalism is the preserve of the middle class… but all nationalism is subservient to economic interests ultimately.

    2. Cultural exchange is good. Pakistan already has Indian films playing all over Pakistan in every cinema… Indian films have Pakistani playback singers.

    3. Intellectual exchange… and not limited kind on partition and defence and strategic issues… but other issues like literature, development, economy, common history etc… Raza Rumi is a one man force in this regard. India and Pakistan ought to produce 1000 Raza Rumis.

    These should be short term measures… But I’ll also tell you what most Indians don’t want to hear..

    1. For durable long term peace, you’ll have to solve Kashmir.

    2. Both India and Pakistan have to tell their establishments…. hands off…. in terms of geo-political strategy India should look Eastwards and Pakistan should look westwards.. India should roll up its grand Afghan strategy … and should not consider itself a player in the great game… for engaging there would undo the one major advantage India has gotten from partition… a buffer between central asian hordes and itself.

  24. vajra

    @Hoss
    @ylh

    It must be apparent that both of you make sense, in two utterly different ways.

    They cannot co-exist.

    For those – and these are unfortunately in the majority – who believe that the contradictions in Pakistan will never be resolved within the current arrangement remaining as it is, Hoss has outlined a course of action. It does not call for action inimical to Pakistan, it does call for action inimical to the interests of the Army, the intelligence services, the civil and foreign services – what ylh at his caustic best terms the rusted iron structure – as well as perhaps the dominating province of the Punjab, as now constituted.

    For those, a minority faction, who see that prong of strategy as pessimistic and insufficiently appreciative of Pakistan’s ability to spring back to a position of long-term sustainability, there is a compelling outline by ylh, which is one that is adaptable today, here and now. It will have opponents – which course of action in this mine-field will not? – but has promise, mainly because it is based on things that we are already doing, or have done in the recent past; in short, things that will take only marginal extra effort to take up for action.

    Particularly for this option, it is important not to signal to the lunatic fringe on either side that they have an aperture; I believe that ylh might have added, but for reasons of economy, that no vast, sweeping gestures are called for on either side, thus removing a predisposition among the fringe elements of both sidesto sense victory in acts of goodwill.

    This leaves us with three options on the table: ylh’s plan, Hoss’ plan and a third plan constituted of the forbidden elements hinted at by everybody who has held a view on this subject.

    My vote is to give ylh’s idea a solid good shot, and do our damnedest, on both sides, to make it work. The people who have to make it work will never be a unified, well-organised band, a counter-terror peace force. They will be individuals and small groups with a determination to stand up for the right stance, the right path and take risks in doing so. We just have to bash on regardless, we striving on our side, to improve ourselves, our society, our country, and as part of that, to build good relations with our neighbours, including our important neighbour Pakistan; you on your side, to improve yourselves, your society, your country, and as part of that, to build good relations with your neighbours.

    Nothing in these discussions among friends will find expression immediately in our countries’ respective foreign policies or their policies with regard to each other. We are none of us decision-makers in our national counsels. Nevertheless, for those who believe that every voice, every opinion, every mind matters, this is a valid way to go.

    For now.

  25. hoss

    It is not about reaching out to smaller provinces, it is about reaching out to all Pakistanis and Indians impacted by the Terrorism, which Pakistan establishment is unable but mostly is unwilling to resolve.
    Smaller provinces come in to play because they suffer the most due to terrorism and obviously, they reject the PA propaganda lines and would listen to a positive approach from India.

    Yes, Pakistan India relations appeared headed the right way in 2004 and 05 but just a few incidents and a major one reduced the whole thing in to nothing. As soon as the civilian government talked about better relations with India, Mumbai happened. Thus proving the point that “Whenever a civilian government takes hold of the reins of power in Pakistan, a campaign against peace begins at the behest of the establishment”

    None of the people quoted in the above news item are ethnic Sindhis except for Zulfiqar Halepota. There is a broad consensus in the educated and enlightened class in Pakistan that the PA is the source of pretty much all problems in Pakistan. It is in the interest of the people of Pakistan to work with India for a peaceful co-existence in the subcontinent. A peaceful co-existence does not mean most favored nation status. It just means that both countries will not be hostile to each other and the efforts to maintain peace will be shared.
    From Pakistani point of view, the less militarized approach Pakistan takes, the better it would be for the country.

  26. ylh

    Hoss,

    You seem to be saying all Pakistanis but then you start your selective Balochis this and Sindhis that.

    We want peace with India.

    There is absolutely no consensus that PA is at the root of all problems. There is consensus that Army should stay out of politics. It does not quite translate into what ethno-fascists and those who perpetually rail and whine about the smaller provinces say.

  27. Gorki

    @ BC:

    You make excellent points. As one can imagine, such a speech will never be easy, and will be greeted with disbelief, hostility, skepticism on both sides. Yet the point is that the PM will have to talk to both sides.
    Indians too, need a lot of preparation, over a very long period, to take a mature view. To put things in prespective, apart from the Jaswant Singh saga, MM Singh himself was criticized for even hinting that the British rule in India had had some benefits!
    For such a people, the period of preparation will be very slow, two steps forward, one back.
    Once we get there then will start the chapter of addressing the Pakisani side; Oh well.
    Like they say you can pick and choose your friends but not your relatives….;-)

    On a happier note, I read the following news and rather than post a link, will just cut and paste.
    Enjoy:

    “The Pakistani hockey team was delighted to find the Indian fans supporting them in their World Cup Pool B match against Spain at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    Pakistan’s veteran player Sohail Abbas said it was a great feeling and he and his teammates felt that they were playing in Lahore or Karachi. Sohail made the comment after his team’s 2-1 victory over the Spaniards.

    “After a long time, we found some crowd support in India. It was a great feeling and we felt as if we are playing in Lahore or Karachi,” said the star dragflicker.

    Having lost their first match to India, the win against Spain has brightened Pakistan’s hopes of fighting for a semi-final berth from their pool.”

    Regards.

    The veteran defender went on to add that Pakistan were taking one game at a time and will quickly put this victory behind them.

    “We will put this victory behind us and prepare for the next match. We are not thinking of the semi-final or the final. We are taking one game at a time,” he said.

  28. hoss

    vajra
    March 3, 2010 at 9:56 am

    When I agreed with Gorki, I had a specific reason for the agreement. I am beginning to think that you perhaps did not grasp it as clearly as I would have liked you to. It is not about just relations, it is all about what it is in Pakistan’s interests. Pakistan’s interest and the PA interest at this point are not the same. Anyone who says that has no understanding of democracy, nation and a state. PA is just an institution of the state it cannot be the state.
    The Pak state is faltering because the army has assumed that it is the state. In Pakistan, the people that are fighting for democracy are also fighting for wresting the control of the state from the army. Without subjugating the army to the state, democracy is not possible in
    Pakistan.

    Where does India come in this? I have explained that already, I don’t know how clearly you want me to spell this out. Please read my reference to what Zardari said in one of my post above.

    I have pointed out to revival of the strategic depth by the army in just last few days and that means that they have no intention of giving up on their jihadi friends. These jihadis are a menace to not only the people of Pakistan but the people of India too. That is where the Indian and Pakistan meet. They are both victims of the terrorism. India would like to see the end of terrorism and the people of Pakistan would like to see the end of terrorism but the most dominant institution in Pakistan publicly owns the ideology behind terrorism.

    What would you do in that situation? Make alliance with the people of Pakistan like I would like India to do or try and build relations through the same elements that show their utter disdain to the plight of both Pakistani and Indian citizens?

    You are getting caught up in oft repeated stories by Yasser. These stories have no bearing on what is being discussed here.

  29. ylh

    Yawn.

    The reason why Army plays a part in Pakistani politics has to do with the stage of political evolution Pakistani society is..it is eary for Army to be tempted. This needs to be changed. It is however not India’s business to correct that. Indian leadership has been wise enough to deal with whoever or whatever force is dominant in Pakistan. The continuity of the process alone will change this.
    The Hoss is a traitor frankly. I don’t consider him anything else but a traitor and I have no other description for him. He is not just a traitor to Pakistan but by creating a bogey for right wing fascists, he is a traitor to secular liberal causes in Pakistan.

    India does not have the locus standi to go over the heads of Pakistan’s political players …whoever those maybe. Indo-Pak relations can be based on that thing we call sovereign state relations. It cannot be based on assymetric govt-people contact. Indian government is a foreign government to me. I am not interested in dealing with it other than as a foreign government.

  30. hoss

    Who cares if one army supporter is not interested. There are millions of people out there in Pakistan who would welcome India if India wishes to initiate the process of working with the people of Pakistan.

  31. ylh

    This “army supporter” was part of the only really successful anti-military rule movement of this country.

    Oh yes this was when you were living your cosy life in another country. Wait you still are.

    A few traitors, crooks, cranks and madmen would welcome such intrusion from India yes…but most Pakistanis want peace on sovereign basis.

    And Indians would do well to realize this and deal with Pakistani majority’s sentiment instead of being seduced by these fringe elements like The Hoss.

  32. hoss

    “This “army supporter” was part of the only really successful anti-military rule movement of this country.”

    This is a serious discussion and jokes have no place in it. It was not an anti military movement, it was an Anti-musharraf movement…would be hard for you to figure out the difference.

  33. ylh

    You are the only story teller. The point is that you can’t convince a single Pakistani of anything.

    Strange that it was an “anti-musharraf” movement but somehow it outlived him…

    Strange because I was anti-musharraf only because he was a military ruler.

    The point is that your article and proposal are both crap and have nothing to do with ground realities.

  34. Hayyer

    I would like, if I may, to set the record right on
    “PA and Pakistan are indistinguishable. But what is more is that there isn’t even a defined player on the other side. Both countries are run by the rusted but iron based skeleton called “civil-military bureaucracy”. (YLH)
    India does have a defined player. It is the political leadership of the party in power. Though there is a bureaucracy in Delhi it is not a civil-military bureaucracy. This bureaucracy is both cautious and conservative. There are no prizes for tripping. Remember Vajpayee in 1999-No political leader, especially in the present set up in Delhi is going to risk another bus ride without visible goodwill from the Pakistani side. Pakistan’s PM is seen as a hard line himself and no one expects Manmohan Singh to take any chances with him. Zardari started out well and raised hopes in India, but he doesn’t seem to have been able to sustain the momentum he began with.
    So the bureaucracy, and in so far as the borders are concerned, the Army as well, will prevail as long as the political leadership feels unable to take a chance on Pakistan once again.

    “1. For durable long term peace, you’ll have to solve Kashmir.

    2. Both India and Pakistan have to tell their establishments…. hands off…. in terms of geo-political strategy India should look Eastwards and Pakistan should look westwards.. India should roll up its grand Afghan strategy … and should not consider itself a player in the great game… for engaging there would undo the one major advantage India has gotten from partition… a buffer between central asian hordes and itself.” (YLH)

    While it is undeniable that Kashmir is the sticking point in our relationship it is India that seeks peace being the status quo power. Pakistan offers no guarantees that a Kashmir solution will bring peace. I quoted the statement by Musharraf in this context, that even if Kashmir is solved India would remain an enemy. Some Indians strategists believe that Kashmir is just a red herring; that the Pakistan state as presently constituted needs enmity with India not friendship as the elan vital of its existence. How does a peacenik PM in Delhi convince anyone to take a risk again?

    I mentioned once earlier that India’s Afghan strategy is defensive and counters Pakistan’s strategic depth. Till 1979 Pakistan did not seek strategic depth and therefore did not object to India’s friendship with Kabul or its presence there. Afghanistan is an independent country and India has as much right to be there as Pakistan does in Nepal or Afghanistan. On what principle does Pakistan expect India to pack up and leave Afghanistan, or even lower its profile there? Could India make similar demands of Pakistan in Nepal and Bangla Desh?

    India has got no advantage of Pakistan as a buffer state. A buffer is what we need between Pakistan and ourselves as the history of our two nations shows since ’47. As for the central Asian hordes; we would have done very well on our own I think because it is those hordes that Pakistan has converted into its strategic depth.
    As for looking eastward and westward I can only say that it is a global world, economically speaking if not culturally. India’s North Eastern states, particularly Manipur have affinities with Myanmar, our eastern neighbour, but even for the Aryanized Ahom the focus culturally is more central. Thailand Cambodia Laos and even Indonesia may owe something of their religion and culture to the west in India, but we hardly get our outlook from them.
    And while Pakistan may want to turn its back on India, India which imagines all sorts of things about itself is hardly likely to stop looking beyond Pakistan. Friendship with Pakistan should not preclude India from looking to Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Decades ago it had made a fetish out of non alignment with Nasser and Tito. It is not going to restrict itsself to South East Asia just because it does not get along with Pakistan.

  35. yasserlatifhamdani

    Dear Hayyer,

    Without defending the strategic depth doctrine which I disagree with but which is greatly misunderstood in India, I’ll say that it is completely untrue that India’s posturing in Afghanistan was in response to strategic depth and/or was defensive.

    India’s meddling on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border started way months before 14th-15th August 1947. I have written extensively on it and may be referred to.

    Secondly… when I said geo-politically looking eastwards and westwards… I did not mean culturally – I think I was quite clear about that… I am all for Indo-Pak cultural exchange but in terms of geo-politics only … that is the first point… nor did I mean India should not look to make friends in the middle east or central Asia… but that there is no point with Pakistan trying to enlist Burma or Bangladesh … India Iran or Afghanistan… against each other. This encirclement doctrine that our “intelligence” agencies fancy is worse than any strategic depth doctrine whatever it is that you think it means.

  36. yasserlatifhamdani

    “Pakistan’s PM is seen as a hard line himself and no one expects Manmohan Singh to take any chances with him. ”

    Well that can only be bad assessment on part of the Indian civil-military bureaucracy.

  37. P Gill

    Responses in this blog clearly show the Indo_Pak divide. Each side can accuse the other of being in denial. Our perception are totally different. I am from India. My two cents worth.
    i. Both sides will gain from peace, but neither government is going to budge. Such rigid positions enjoy wide spread support within both the countries. Just look at the blogs, Practically all Indians want Pakistan to do more and vice versa.
    ii. Break up of Pakistan or India is highly unlikely. I feel if, God forbid, Pakistan breaks up, India will be in deep trouble. I know many in each country dream of break up the other country.
    iii. Neither side has any right to interfere in other country. ( e.g. BC said before anything India should take care of Gujrat rioters. Why? India should take care of it. But what has Pakistan got to do with it). In any case a support from the “enemy” side is a kiss of death.

    As far as Kashmir is concerned , no government in India will survive if it gives up any part of Kashmir valley to Pakistan. I don’t know whether any government in Pakistan can accept peace without getting some additional part of Kashmir. Neither side can budge, even if they want to.

    There is a well known strategy in conflict resolution. Defend the other side.
    May I suggest this method as a blog. Let Pakistani readers say something positive about India’s stand. And let Indians say something positive about Pakistan stand.

  38. Mansoor Khalid

    Changing a certain policy does create different vibes in any country. Some would accept it while other would condemn it. But at the end “hard steps” must be taken.

  39. karunx

    By Vir Sanghvi:

    It is hardly a secret that the Prime Minister has fought a lonely battle with his party to put the peace process with Pakistan back on track. Congressmen do not believe that there is much hope of any lasting peace as long as Pakistan backs terrorists and go to great lengths to dissociate the party from the government’s peace initiative.

    Even within the Cabinet, many ministers are sceptical about Pakistan’s sincerity. A.K. Antony is known to have reservations about talking to Pakistan. P. Chidambaram has been openly leery of Pakistan’s motives (one reason why the PMO spends so much time briefing against him these days). And even Pranab Mukherjee is said to be less than enthusiastic about the resumption of dialogue.

    Different people have different objections but in essence what it boils down to is this: India cannot afford to trust Pakistan till it takes action against those responsible for the Mumbai attacks.

    It is to the Prime Minister’s credit that he has behaved like a true statesman, facing political opposition and ignoring personal unpopularity in pursuit of a goal that he believes is in India’s best interests. Manmohan Singh has always held that a peaceful resolution of the India-Pakistan dispute is not only essential but that it is a pre-requisite for India’s emergence as a great power.

    The Pakistanis know all of this. Their position, repeatedly expressed in interactions with the international media and to their American mentors, is that they are willing to talk but that it is India which refuses to come to the negotiating table. Further, they have always taken care to distinguish between Manmohan Singh, who they see as a dove (even Salman Bashir went out of his way to praise him at his press conference on Thursday), and the rest of the Indian establishment.

    Given this background, you would expect that the Pakistanis would do everything possible to strengthen Manmohan Singh’s position and to prove the sceptics in India wrong. After all, if Manmohan Singh can demonstrate to his party that talks will yield results, then the peace process is more likely to resume.

    So, why has Pakistan done the exact opposite? Right after we agreed to foreign secretary-level talks, the Pakistani government treated this as a huge victory, declaring publicly that India had ‘blinked’, suggesting that Pakistan had stared us down.

    Then, the Pakistani foreign minister went off to Beijing and invited the Chinese to involve themselves in the resolution of the India-Pakistan dispute. The Pakistanis knew that such a move was guaranteed to incense India – New Delhi had reacted with anger to a mention of the dispute in the statement issued by President Obama when he met the Chinese leadership some months ago. Moreover, the resumption of talks was predicated on the belief that the dispute could be settled bilaterally with no third-party involvement.

    Next, a few days before the talks were scheduled to be held, the Pakistanis allowed Hafiz Sayeed – the man New Delhi regards as the mastermind of the Bombay attacks – to address a rally in Lahore, where he promised ‘many more Mumbais’ and incited the gathering to wage jihad against India.

    Sayeed’s organization is supposed to be banned. There are laws in Pakistan which make it a crime to incite violence. So, it would have been an easy matter to prevent the rally from going ahead or from, at the very least, taking some action against Sayeed after the rally was held. But Pakistan did absolutely nothing.

    The talks themselves, from all accounts, yielded no breakthroughs but were conducted in a civil atmosphere and seemed to set the stage for a resumption of the dialogue and perhaps for a meeting between Manmohan Singh and the Pakistan PM at the next SAARC summit.

    After the talks, the Indian foreign secretary held a press conference at which she gave a brief and measured summary of the discussions. In contrast, the Pakistan foreign secretary chose to be needlessly provocative at a long press conference where even the most innocuous question received a long reply.

    The Pakistanis are aware of how sensitive the issue of bringing the 26/11 masterminds to justice is in India. So, it cannot be an accident that their foreign secretary not only dismissed the events of 26/11 by arguing that such things happened all the time in Pakistan but also ridiculed India’s attempts to present a case against Hafiz Sayeed. The Indian dossier, he said, contained no evidence, only literature.

    “The real challenge before India, therefore, is to find a way of check-mating Pakistan while managing Washington’s demands.”
    There was more in a similar vein. Kashmir was the core issue that had to be settled. India should stop lecturing Pakistan. Islamabad had photographic evidence of India’s support to terrorists who operated out of Afghanistan and created havoc in Pakistan. And so on.

    In the manner of the Agra summit, where inconclusive but generally well-mannered talks were torpedoed by General Musharraf’s televised breakfast with editors, this press conference had the effect of angering the Indian foreign office. Within hours, a senior official had briefed the media to claim that the Pakistani foreign secretary took orders from the army.

    Whatever gains that could have accrued from the morning’s talks were deliberately sabotaged at the evening’s press conference.

    So, here’s the big question: if the Pakistanis are keen on talks and they know how difficult it has been for Manmohan Singh to get his government to agree to a resumption of the dialogue, then why were they acting in a manner that was calculated to make the Prime Minister look like a fool and to strengthen the position of the hawks and the sceptics?

    There is only one answer possible: the Pakistanis don’t really care about the resumption of the dialogue process.

    The only reason the foreign secretaries met in New Delhi was because the Americans pushed the Pakistanis just as hard as they pushed Manmohan Singh to return to the negotiating table. The Pakistanis know what India wants – action against terrorists – and are not prepared to grant it. Equally, they know that India will not yield any ground on the one issue they care about: Kashmir.

    Their presence at the talks was a cynical act of calculated hypocrisy. They are quite aware that they had nothing to gain from a dialogue. Their strategy is entirely different. As the Americans search for an honorable exit from Afghanistan, Pakistan will offer to guarantee stability in that troubled country and to keep anti-American forces from taking control of Kabul and Kandahar again. In return, the Americans will have to turn the screws on India.

    Pakistan reckons that Washington has no choice but to accept this arrangement. So, all it has to do is to sit back and wait for events to unfold. In the interim, it will go through the motions and play the game the way America thinks it should be played: by making the right noises about fighting terrorism and demonstrating a willingness to talk peace with India.

    All of this has disastrous consequences for India. After the nuclear deal, we are so deeply in hock to the Americans that our room for manoeuvre is severely constricted. And yet, we cannot agree to compromise our national interest only because Uncle Sam has got himself into a jam in Afghanistan.

    The real challenge before India, therefore, is to find a way of check-mating Pakistan while managing Washington’s demands. It is all very well to hold secretary-level talks. But nothing will come of such a dialogue. The terrorism will not stop. And the Pakistanis will not yield an inch.

    My worry is that by focusing so much on creating a mood for talks we are taking our eyes off the ball. The game will not be played in the conference rooms of Hyderabad House. It will be played in the mountain passes of Afghanistan as the Pakistanis try and sell India down the river.

  40. @b.civilian. quote” By now we know that Pakistan with heavy military influence over its foreign policy, is practically incapable of presenting any new initiative to improve relations with India or even Afghanistan.”
    It would be wrong to state that as it is too early. I believe Pakistan still has a capability and overall the country is a peace loving nationa with tolerant people. Diolog has once again been initiated with India and the only way out of this rivalry is good relations in future

  41. B. Civilian

    @Gorki

    i was just trying to imagine the response of an average middle class pakistani.

    @P Gill

    and what was the context of that reference? it was an imagined response to a fictitious promise that will not cause an average pakistani to hold his breath for the reasons i stated as mere examples. otherwise, an average pakistani has little interest in gujrat or any other part of india. kashmir is not as big an exception as indians imagine it to be. the pakistani’s interest is not out of propotion to that of the int’l news media at any given point in time.

  42. B. Civilian

    @Amna Zaman

    you’ve quoted hoss, i think, not me.

    i do not agree with hoss there…. to a smaller degree with the former part of his statement and a larger degree when it comes to the second part.

    i hope to start, time permitting, unless someone does so before me, a discussion about the very nature of pak army. it is not the feudal classes nor a politial party. at least ostensibly it’s a meritocracy; more so than any other institution is in pakistan. for better or worse, it cannot escape history just as it cannot defy the basic science of organisational behaviour etc. also, the army itself evolves quite differently when it is under a dictatorship from when it is not. it is a living, breathing organism.

  43. B. Civilian

    vajra

    there can be a people-to-people dialogue, of course.. as long as the basic rules of any intelligent and civilised debate are observed.

    each of us interested in participating in such a debate must make an honest effort to find out the truth about ourselves and about the other.

    disagreement should be expected and handled without emotions.

    and so on and so forth.

    as for GovtofIndia-to-PeopleofPakistan efforts it should really go no further than a humane reponse within the context of hoss’ suggestion. but if the GoI feels duty-bound to continue with what looks like finger-pointing, then the people of pak would continue to ignore even the humane empathising as it would end up appearing completely tainted.

    ylh mentioned geopolitics. hayyer has already responded. every counry wishes to gain an advantage and then add to it. it’s a free market. all one can insist for one’s own country is to always use legal and moral methods – even when defending against a competitor not averse to hitting below the belt – since, in the long run that is the most advantageus policy (even if the jungle and its law that is the int’l world makes it diffcult to see far enough).

  44. sharafs

    I never expected such suggestions from HP. Having known him to be a good observer of REALPOLITIK, this naivety amazes me.

    The partition took place on the perspective of a social dimension. To use this psycho-social mechanism to resolve dispute through direct people to people contacts is impractical. The suspicions, distrust and hate run too high. The recent fruitless diplomacy was an icing on the Aman Ki Asha. A small incident and both neighbors start howling.

    The track 1 and 2 were initiated by a military junta under Mush.

    Of late HP is yearning to somehow side track and belittle the Army: only if wishes were horses. His wish was once premised on the notion that army must get out and fight the militants in the mountains and defeat itself. Now that it has done successfully, he wants the people of Pakistan to by pass them.

    Yes USA did spend some efforts on the media and all it got was two female anchor persons dancing with their operatives. One complied in her show by trying to belittle a security analyst.

    All Indo-Pak hostilities stem out of Kashmir. Till that is not resolved nothing would improve.

    Both India and Pakistan need to equivocally recognize the issue and make LOC as an open border. People on both sides should be allowed to merge and then wait for the people to give their verdict.

    Simon

  45. hoss

    When a new idea is floated, several interested groups support and oppose it. I had expected opposition to it from certain quarters, especially the ones that are unable to look beyond the conventional wisdom and approaches. I have discussed that in the article itself. I had also spelled out that most support for the suggested initiative from India would come from the smaller provinces that are the true victims of terrorism and two of them at this point are dealing with the Pak army and the PA sponsored terrorist groups. The urban Sindh too is a victim of the same groups. Since the daily dilemma of the Baloch, Pathan and Sindhi is of no concern to pro-establishment in Pakistan; they would raise all kind of hell to discredit the whole thing.
    Sharraf has again listed things that India has to do to improve relations as if Pakistan or specifically the Pak army did not need to do any soul searching. That is the kind of attitude that has brought Pakistan to where it is right now. Any new idea that attempts to sidestep the army equals treachery. I don’t consider army equals Pakistan. I talked about militarization of the Pakistan Foreign policy by the army; this militarization has resulted in a thirty years and counting turmoil not only in Pakistan but in the neighboring countries too.
    Sharraf also mentions how Musharraf initiated track one or two, but we also must remember that the army also sabotaged the peace initiative by the civilians in 1999 and recently when Zardari promised an improvement in relations, Mumbai happened within one month. What we see in this is that the army wants to control the process and as soon as it sees that the civilians plan to take the process further, Army practically betrays the civilian government and the country.
    We also must see that Pakistan clearly has two policies vis a vis India. One is supported by all major political parties and other supported by the army. Your patriotism immediately becomes questionable and you become an ethno-fascist right away after you differ with the army approach and support the civilian approach.
    The naysayers claim that the approach that I support would undermine the state, but the real owners of the state represented by the political parties support better relations with India and oppose terrorism in its all shapes. However, we have some who equate state with the army and believe in the army approach as the state approach. Imo, these folks are seriously deluded and their support of democracy and civilian rule is fake and immediately exposed when they prefer the army approach over the civilian and national approach.
    Here is the question: what is in Pakistan interests, end of terrorism or the status quo as presented by the army? Army has unequivocally supported the Strategic depth, a sinister doctrine that relies on paramilitary outfits to promote Army’s interests in neighboring countries as well as inside Pakistan against the people of Pakistan. These paramilitary forces trained and supported by the army have already wreaked havoc in Pakistan. The PA has unleashed them on the neighboring countries too. Should the people of Pakistan continue to support an army bent upon destroying the country from the inside to maintain power to continue to control the already dwindling resources of the country or try to come out of that Army’s influence and make it an institution that works within the constitution instead of undermining it?
    They object to India’s direct involvement with the people of Pakistan, but welcome any US intervention in Pakistan’s internal affairs and belittle the fact that the US has publically earmarked funds to approach the people of the country directly. Sharraf ridicules that the US has two TV anchors support it, but how would he respond if Two TV anchors support India on Pak TV channels?
    After the army accepts money from the US, the PA has no problem with US directly approaching the people. Let me ask a hypothetical question: If India decides to aid Pakistan army to the tune of $5 billion, would the army allow India to directly approach the people of Pakistan?

  46. sharafs

    @HP,
    [Any new idea that attempts to sidestep the army equals treachery]

    This is you saying it and not me. My idea is, ” Both India and Pakistan need to equivocally recognize the issue and make LOC as an open border. People on both sides should be allowed to merge and then wait for the people to give their verdict.” Where is the army in it?

    [I talked about militarization of the Pakistan Foreign policy by the army; this militarization has resulted in a thirty years and counting turmoil not only in Pakistan but in the neighboring countries too]

    Armies are traditionalists and stick to inertia. They are resistant to change. Who began the Afghan Conflict? Please read my column, “A Dream Turned Nightmare”

    I thought we discussed threadbare, the notion of Strategic Depth on this board. Please go back and give it another reading.

    [If India decides to aid Pakistan army to the tune of $5 billion, would the army allow India to directly approach the people of Pakistan?]

    I do not consider this question worth an answer.

  47. ylh

    Hoss,

    No one is saying Pakistan Army should not do some soul searching but your proposals are ridiculous and the fantasy of the Indian fifth columnists …nothing else.

    And there is no way anyone who is sane can compare US and India in this matter. Whether you “revolutionaries” like it or not, Pakistan and US have coordinated very closely for the last 6 decades. The main historic event of the late 20th century was brought about by their cooperation. The war on terror is the direct fall out of Pak-US endeavors. Needless to say US and Pakistan relations are of partners – strained marriage yes- but partners.

    Compare this to India. India and Pakistan have gone to war several times. There is a major dispute between the two nation states …intelligence agencies of both states routinely engage each other in a hostile manner… Pakistan and India are parties in several international disputes. Now there is no doubt that Pakistan India relations must change and become akin to US-Canada type relations but how is your wild anti-Pakistan scheme going to bring that about? All you are doing is strengthening right-wingers. Don’t try and act smug and try to earn brownie points with Indians here. Only a few months ago you were advocating blaming Taliban insurgency on India. Now you want them to directly engage with the people of Pakistan. What nonsense. Hoss mian it is a non-starter and there is nothing brilliant about your ridiculous scheme. Infact most Indians -if they are realistic – will laugh at your article.

  48. hoss

    Just saying that a proposal is ridiculous does not make it one. They are arguments in support of the proposal and you have not really presented anything that refutes my arguments.
    What is insane about comparing India and US? Since you agree that the US support has brought Pakistan to where it is, why should people of Pakistan consider that a better relationship? As far as I know in the last 60 years India hasn’t done anything that has brought comparable misery to the people of Pakistan.
    Here again the issue that both Sharraf and Yasser are trying to obfuscate is terrorism. It is not in Pakistan’s interests to remain a hub of terrorism, which is, unfortunately but proven beyond any doubt, supported and sponsored by the PA. It is clear that Pak state cannot sustain the army strategy of creating and supporting terrorists in Pakistan and to allow them to use Pakistani territory to be used against the neighboring countries. That truly makes the Pak army a rogue army and Pakistan a rogue state. Therefore we need a new initiative to counter the army’s strategy to take the country back from the Army and its terrorist’s friends. The question is why should we not accept help from India?
    India has suffered at the hands of the groups that have roots in Pakistan. But the people of Pakistan have suffered the most. When the people of Pakistan and the people of India have a common enemy, the terrorists, why should we not seek help from India to combat this common enemy? No one is asking to give up Pakistan’s sovereignty, no one asking to not discuss disputes with India, and no one is asking that we cede some territory to India. We are asking India to help us fight a common enemy. The Pak army considers the terrorist its friend and the people of Pakistan think otherwise that puts the army squarely against the people of Pakistan. Terrorism in Pakistan or anywhere in the neighborhood would not end until the PA stops sponsoring it.
    India has sought US help in this regard, it has appealed the KSA to help out, and it has approached Pakistan to curb the terrorist groups. The new approach is a suggestion to India that it should appeal to the people of Pakistan directly because people Pakistan have suffered equally or more at the hands of the same groups.
    Sharraf,
    Why would you not discuss $5 billion offer. If Pakistan allows US to approach the people of Pakistan directly, why should India not be able to do that in exchange of money? What is immoral in it from the Pakistan army’s stand point? Isn’t it all about money already?
    As far as I remember in every article you attempt to find justifications for the army’s approach. I have pointed this out to you many times. This is after you have retired and now have the ability to really speak your mind.

  49. ylh

    Hoss,

    I think all reasonable people can see who has given arguments and who hasn’t. Trying to put arguments that I have nothing to do with in my mouth will only prove what we already know about you.

    In any event… first explain why and how you have come full circle from the position that Taliban were being funded by India …

    I said you were wrong then …I say you are wrong now. You are not very balanced are you?

  50. hoss

    Fifth columnist is just a matter of opinion. I think anyone who supports the army and its terrorists sponsoring approach is worst than a fifth columnist, an actual traitor to the country. I have restrained myself and tried not to respond to your filthy language but I think I will not hold back if you continue to bring epithets to the discussion.
    You really need to grow up and stay within the norms of discussion.

  51. ylh

    Once again the fifth columnist is unable to argue logically and is now accusing me of all people of supporting terrorism just because I asked him when he changed his mind about his earlier contention that Taliban insurgency was funded by India.

    While Hoss whines, the brave Pakistan Army has driven Al Qaeda out of Damadola:

    DAMADOLA, Pakistan — The Pakistani flag now flies over the complex of caves and tunnels that al Qaida and local Taliban extremists had made their logistical hub, and a major infiltration route into and out of Afghanistan is under government control.
    In the latest example of Pakistan’s continuing crackdown, following armed interventions in Swat and South Waziristan and the detention of several leaders of the Afghan Taliban, the Pakistani military Tuesday invited reporters to Damadola to show that it had completed operations in yet another part of the country’s lawless tribal area.
    Damadola, a cluster of villages nestled up against a mountain range that marks the Afghan border, was the last redoubt of the Pakistani Taliban in Bajaur and a former hideout of al Qaida deputy leader Ayman al Zawahiri. A U.S. drone strike targeting Zawahiri in Damadola in late 2006 missed him but struck a religious school, killing some 80 people, and helped provoke a full-blown Islamist insurrection in Pakistan.
    Residents of Damadola have now raised a tribal militia that they say is 10,000-strong and can assemble on short notice. Around 1,000 members of the militia, known as a lashkar, danced, joyously waving their Kalashnikov rifles, to greet reporters on the first media visit since Damadola was taken last month.

    Tribesmen in Damadola, Pakistan, show off the anti-Taliban militia they have formed. / Saeed Shah / MCT
    “The Taliban used to slit peoples’ throats, burn schools and hospitals,” said Malik Abdul Aziz Khan, a leader of the local militia. “We have now understood what kind of people the Taliban are. We formed this lashkar for our own sake, for the sake of our country.”
    The unpaid militia will provide defense as Pakistani army forces shift their focus to other parts of the tribal area. The Frontier Corps paramilitary unit, which led the operation in Bajaur, is expected shortly to begin an operation in Orakzai.
    Orakzai and North Waziristan are the two remaining regions of the seven agency tribal belt where Taliban and al Qaida extremists are still able to take refuge in large numbers. An offensive in South Waziristan that began in October is nearly complete.
    “Orakzai is an event waiting to happen,” said Maj. Gen. Tariq Khan, the head of the Frontier Corps.
    The military offensive to subdue Bajaur, which the U.S. supported with funds, training and equipment, began in August 2008. The area’s population of around 500,000 was almost entirely forced to flee the military offensive, living in refugee camps in the adjacent North West Frontier Province.
    “Bajaur has been a long operation. The Pakistan flag is flying here for the first time since 1947 (when Pakistan became an independent country),” Khan said. “In 2008, this was an independent state run by an Afghan commander, Qari Zai ur Rehman . . . We can now switch to policing operations here.”
    All but 65,000 residents have returned, according to the Pakistani military, although international aid agencies estimate that at least 200,000 are still internally displaced. The operation inflicted extensive damage to homes and infrastructure in Bajaur, but Khan said there’s been no foreign funding for rehabilitation.
    While attention has focused on remote Waziristan, Bajaur was much more closely connected to extremist activity in the frontier province, as it’s close to the provincial capital, Peshawar, and to Swat, the huge valley that the military recaptured from the Taliban after a major offensive last year.
    Militants dug a complex of 156 caves, tunnels and training centers into the hillsides in Damadola. The ridge above — part of a mountain range known as Mulla Said — once housed the al Qaida headquarters, Khan said. Zawahiri is said to have had a house in the area, though he hasn’t recently been linked to Bajaur.
    Some 2,200 militants were killed or injured in Bajaur since the operation started in 2008, while 149 soldiers died and 612 were wounded, the army said.
    However, Pakistani military officials complained that U.S.-led coalition forces across the border in Afghanistan’s Kunar province had insufficient strength to secure the frontier. They also asserted that the extremist uprising in Bajaur was partly directed out of Afghanistan.
    Khan said that an influential landowner across the border in Kunar, whom he called the “Khan (chief) of Kunar,” had forced coalition troops, under the International Security Assistance Force, to change their rules of engagement, by alleging that innocent people were being killed. Outside experts said they weren’t certain to whom he was referring.
    “There are not enough troops on the ground (in Kunar). There is no doubt in the intent. but there is doubt in the capacity of these people (ISAF) to control the border,” said Khan, the Pakistani general. “If he (the Khan of Kunar) is going to influence military co-operation between the United States and Pakistan, then I think we’re going down the wrong road.”
    According to Khan, there were 5,000 Pakistani troops in Bajaur, while the international coalition had just 300 soldiers in Kunar under Task Force Rock. There was no immediate response from ISAF.

  52. sharafs

    Now this is becoming like a side tracking talk show of TV Channels.
    Trying to obfuscate Terrorism? Come on!

  53. hoss

    I am sure you are not a terrorism supporter, just an army supporter and a traitor. I still can’t find your objections to a direct approach by India to the people of Pakistan. Do you agree that the terrorism in Pakistan must end? And if you do, then you must have some proposals to end it. As far as I can see the Pak state is prevented by its army to end it. This is an undeniable fact that there are terrorists group that have the PA support. The PA itself has announced its unwavering support to the Strategic depth and its allied paramilitary groups otherwise known as the jihadi and commonly accepted as the terrorist groups.
    So what are your proposals to end these groups? Alternatively, what are your objections to the approach suggested? Name calling, epithets and calling it a side show is all about obfuscating, it is not about dealing with the issues head on.
    List your objections with supporting arguments perhaps you would bring something better to the table.

  54. B. Civilian

    hoss

    you can’t really compare kargil and mumbai 26/11, without presuming beyond all reason.

    also, i thought you were suggesting a change of stance, a show of patience and a gamble of an investment in the future, by the GoI… where it provides no further ammunition to the hate and fear mongers within pak, and how the fear helps strengthen those who wish pak to be a military state. but GoI cannot go any further without the whole thing backfiring, big time. to return to the saying about weddings and funerals that i mentioned in my very first comment, it would be good for GoI to attend the funeral but only if they think they can do so without saying anything controversial or, otherwise, keeping its mouth shut. only in that case would the people of pak appreciate the gesture. it would make NO great difference if india chose not to do any of the above.

    YLH/Sharaf

    this is not about bypassing the PA, even though it is the people’s right should they wish to do so. this is about not allowing the PA to bypass the people of pak and make them irrelevant as they always have done. and, NO, india has no role to play in this other than the marginal and totally non-essential one i’ve outlined above.

    YLH

    don’t you think that absolute power corrupts absolutely? did you appreciate it when negroponte was saying that musharaf was ‘indispensable’ days before and even after the feb 2008 elections?

    you opposed musharraf because he was part of the army. and, yes, i agree, that the army is not musharraf (or zia, or yahya or ayub). while the army can and is changing, there remains a big problem and a serious danger of continuing damage and resistance to the establishment of a civilian democracy and its supremacy over all things including the army. does it not?

  55. “Doubtful it stood;
    As two spent swimmers that do cling together” (Macbeth; Act I, Scene 2))

    Hi All:

    I feel more than a little responsible for the above acrimony since I was part of the idea of a GOI to people of Pakistan address. Living in the US for so long where one meets and befriends people from all over the globe; sometimes it is easy to forget that people elsewhere have different views on war and peace and far longer memories of past bitterness.
    Making peace is never easy; sometimes it needs more courage than to wage a war.
    My intentions were honest, though from the above discussion (and Vir Sanghvi’s article) it seems that the present is not a good time to talk about making or even talking peace. I guess for such a thing to happen the ground realities have to change. Currently both sides are balanced rather equally with what they feel are their unique advantages
    Will there be a good time ever? I don’t know.
    Perhaps peace is an impossible as long as parity persists. Maybe peace among men can only break out when one side wins decisively; either in a hot war like between Allies and Germany in WWII or a Cold War later between the US and the Soviets.
    Maybe we South Asians will get lucky and the pull of nationalism will weaken enough for us to see beyond our narrow prejudices and then we can sit down and talk peace.
    Till then, I think admit, I have come around to the idea that we Indians can do little but to wish our friends across the border the best as we watch from the sidelines with bated breaths as their drama unfolds.
    Vajra wrote that may be some of the younger men like BC and YLH will see better times ahead. Maybe so, and I wish them the best, for someone like me, I think Ghalib comes to mind:
    ‘Yeh na thee hamari kismet ke visaal-e-yaar hota’
    Agaat aur jeete raehe, yahi Intezaar hota….’
    At this point I am going to limit my expectations; and take YLH’s advice to look away, if not to our East; but all I want to know is this: Is there something, anything, that we ordinary Indians can do or say, that will make another terror attack on our land and the subsequent recrimination less likely to happen?

    Regards.

  56. Luq

    >Is there something, anything, that we ordinary
    >Indians can do or say, that will make another
    >terror attack on our land and the subsequent
    >recrimination less likely to happen?

    Yes, forget all about Pakistan, concentrate on trying to provide IIT, AIIMS seats to Indians who dont know if the next meal is on its way……

    Khud ko kar buland itna,
    ki har taqdeer se pehley,
    Khuda khud bandey se poochey,
    Bataa, “Teri raza kya hain?”

    Luq

  57. sharafs

    Hoss,
    Me a traitor!!
    You will have to take your words back because these are the refuge of the dumb and bigots. I am sure you are not one.Keep taking pot shots from the East Coast while we brave the odds and talk the truth.

  58. ylh

    BC,

    To me Hoss’ argument is as bankrupt an argument as the argument that had partition not happened this region would be a democracy.

    As if people of Pakistan are inherently less democratic.

    My stance on army rule is quite clear. There is no room for it in Politics. However India has no locus standi in the matter especially given that India holds on to a Pakistani territory called Kashmir.

    I am for better relations between Pakistan and India. heck I think there should be a South Asian Economic Union. However I for one am not going to be party to this sell out behavior … And how is it that hoss who believed India was behind Taliban till only recently advocating this plan? There is something amiss.

    BC the real danger to Pakistan’s civilian supremacy comes from the right wing which will only get stronger if the secular liberal Pakistanis start advocating such nonsensical views as this article puts forth.

  59. karunx

    @Gorki

    Is there something, anything, that we ordinary Indians can do or say, that will make another terror attack on our land and the subsequent recrimination less likely to happen?

    Vajpayee had suggested some time back:

    Aar paar ki ladhai (i think he was not a war-monger when he said this)

    The root cause of problem is PA, so either the pakistani aawam defeats them squarely in democractic battle, Or India smashes them in a military one.

    Besides that there is no solution.

  60. ylh

    Pakistan’s democracy ought to serve Pakistan and Pakistan Army Pakistan’s people.

    This confusion of democratic forces in Pakistan with Indian hatred for PA is what is the root cause of discord. Crooks like Zaid hamid are promoting general Zia’s ideology in the guise of their “Takmeel-e-Pakistan” movement …

    If we allow fifth columnists like Hoss to take over the liberal discourse we are going to strengthen fascists like Zaid Hamid.

    So frankly my conclusion is that India should not take a position on this beyond moral support as one democratic country to another.

  61. hoss

    “you can’t really compare kargil and mumbai 26/11, without presuming beyond all reason.”

    Bciv, I did not compare them I mentioned them as two incidents that immediately destroyed whatever work the civilians were attempting. While Kargil was conducted by the army itself, the perpetrators of Mumbai are still protected by the only power in Pakistan that can protect them.

    “i thought you were suggesting a change of stance, a show of patience and a gamble of an investment in the future, by the GoI… where it provides no further ammunition to the hate and fear mongers within pak”

    If you did then you missed the enchilada. I was never just suggesting a change of stance by India to placate the fear mongers in Pakistan. The fear mongers don’t need placating they need some major kicks in their oversized hineys. The approach is to deliver the kicks w/o resorting to violence. The approach is clearly to reach out to the people of Pakistan directly for help over a major dispute between the two countries.

    There are clear reasons for this approach and let me spell them out for your and everyone’s benefit again.

    1. Just a few days ago after coming back from a NATO meeting Gen. Kiyani revived the strategic depth, meant to reclaim the strategic assets that the army developed in the shape of Mujahideens, sectarians, outright terror outfits and some elements in Taliban.

    2. The Pak FS in Delhi took a belligerent stand after Pak civilian government begged the US to arrange a meeting with the India. This was done deliberately on the army’s behalf.

    3. They paraded Hafiz Saeed a known terrorist and of special interest to India, on National TV with his jihadi rhetoric and threats of Jihad.

    It is just not a matter of connecting the dots; it is too obvious for any one paying attention to it, that the Pak army has again decided to embark on a path that would lead to renowned jihadi activities not only in Pakistan but in the neighboring countries too.

    These jihadi were let loose on Pakistanis by the previous army regimes and Pakistan still has not recovered from their “patriotic and army approved” jihadi activities. Their sole purpose is to undermine the democratic forces in the country and keep the neighbors under threat of violence.

    When I picked on Gorki’s idea, I was already paying attention to the developments in Pakistan and after the Hafiz Saeed freak show which was clearly designed to intimidate India; I thought that India does need to take a new approach.

    There is a major disconnect between the Pak army and the people of Pakistan that is mainly because the army considers itself above the state. The PA is no longer an institution under the state. It violates the constitution at will and it has lost its national character. (Sometime later we might have to discuss whether the army is a national army or not. I will write up something but I doubt that after this it will be allowed to appear on PTH.) So I don’t think it is important for the people to give the PA any consideration, if India does decide to change its approach in dealing with Pakistan.

    I knew what the army lovers reaction would be but that was expected of them after they called Bengalis the fifth columnist and Indian agents. The Bengalis too tried to take the army out of the national politics and wanted to relegate it to just another state institution under a democratic set up. There is a history of such behavior and after 40 years they still haven’t forgotten their old tactics. But now people know them too and really don’t give their howls a damn. At this moment every person from the smaller provinces is a fifth columnist because he/she refuses to toe the establishment line.

    Sharafs, Traitor was not meant for you. That was meant for the person who was calling me a fifth columnist even though the army he is supporting broke up country.

  62. ylh

    You are a fifth columnist and a traitor. It is not clear however who you work for.

    No point crying crocodile tears for Bengalis… Not every person from smaller provinces is a traitor or a fifth columnist. You however are.

    Calling me an army supporter shows the bankruptcy of your arguments and that GM Syed style of politics. My democratic credentials and what I stand for are much greater than any ethno-fascist hatemonger and fifth columnist.

    The people of Pakistan – from any province- will always reject ethno-fascists, Islamo-fascists and fifth columnists. The people of Pakistan don’t want army to rule them but they are never going to conspire against it with India or Indo-phile Fifth columnists and dissidents. Similarly people of Pakistan want peace with India but they will never lie down, roll over and play dead either.

  63. hoss

    Bciv, I had made it clear in that the right wing in Pakistan would come out barking after India takes this approach.
    These are the initial lines of the article.

    “Can India take a new initiative, a progressive initiative without being intimidated by the right wing and utterly regressive forces in Pakistan?”

  64. hoss

    You have democratic credentials?? Why do you keep writing one joke after another?

    You don’t even know what democracy is all about, after promoting the army line left and right.

  65. ylh

    Yes I have excellent democratic credentials much more than over the hill failed ethno-fascist agitator living in the cosy comforts of the west.

  66. ylh

    Btw why don’t you answer how a Shireen Mazari supporter who claimed that Wall Street Journal was planting spies in Pakistan and that India was behind the taliban insurgency … suddenly turn upside down.

    You were wrong then. You are wrong now. You are always wrong. I have no respect for flip-flop opportunists like you.

  67. ylh

    And if you don’t like “fifth columnist” I can call you Benedict Arnold.

    In the future don’t shoot down a counter-point of view by calling the person giving it an “army-supporter” or toeing an army line.

    That logic might work with you incestuous little GM Syed Groupie crowd but it cannot be a reasonable counter argument, for others can also use similar name calling as you have now experienced. Let this be a lesson to you ethno-fascist traitor.

  68. sharafs

    This is all in the backdrop of the showcase secretary level diplomacy arranged by USA as reward for Pakistan’s success on WOT. The whole scheme is operating in many dimensions. The net objectives are:

    1. Allow India to play a lead role in the region including Afghanistan.
    2. Create anti Punjab hatred and divide it into smaller sections.
    3. Make Pakistan’s nuclear capability irrelevant.

    The answers to all this lie through the destruction of the Army. So far it has gone stronger in training and efficiency in the WOT. It was a knock on the knuckles for those you said that the army was ill trained to fight. In less than a year, they did what NATO-ISAF could not in 8 years. Now it is the frustration airing out.

  69. karunx

    @YLH

    be responsible in your comments, you being one of the moderators

  70. B. Civilian

    hoss

    i misunderstood you. i thought the suggestion was to forget about accusations and recriminations – which help only the fear/hate mongers, for a while, and concentrate on empathising with the common plight of the victims.

    i don’t know what your suggestion is now. what is it that you want the GoI to do exactly, other than bad mouthing the pak army in general? what purpose would that serve, in your view?

  71. B. Civilian

    YLH

    “the real danger to Pakistan’s civilian supremacy comes from the right wing which will only get stronger if the secular liberal Pakistanis start advocating such nonsensical views as this article puts forth.”

    i agree with the second part but not the first.

    the right wing, ie religious types, will not gain power through the ballot box. nor would they prevail against the army opposing them. so there is only one way for them to realise the threat they pose: let the army support/sponsor them.

    the PA is fighting them. of course, it has to make difficult choices too that you always have to make in a war, especially a multilateral and multifaceted war. you pick and choose your battles, one or two at a time, and set your priorities accordingly. but i would be much less worried and apprehensive about the whole situation if i saw the PA not resisting and defying civilian supremacy. till then, a part of me, at least, has to remain vigilant about the possibility of the PA losing its way.

  72. B. Civilian

    gorki

    GoI must do whatever it feels is its responsibility to the people of india. what we can do is return to and strengthen people to people contacts. it won’t solve any significant problem any time soon. but it will address the negative prejudices, misinformation and ignorance about the other.

    now will a future incident cause the cessation of p2p contacts? probably yes. to what end? i don’t know.

    as for a future ‘hot war’, would you suggest india or any country leave itself unequipped to even a minimal level to deal with such an eventuality? if, No, then you’ll know why the people of pakistan will welcome neigbourly empathy from the GoI but not interference in pak’s internal and national affairs and debates… especially those involving pak army.

    there is no reason why common citizens, otoh, indian or any other, cannot have and air a view about either pak’s internal affairs or debates. that is exactly what we try and do here at PTH. we do quite well when we stick to the universal rules of objective debate and research and fail, sometimes badly, when either side is unable to remain objective.

  73. vajra

    @Hoss

    There was no failure to understand your agreement with Gorki, nor the reasons for it.

    Why I leaned away from your arguments and your proposals and leaned so positively towards YLH was simply that you are too radical and too extreme in your views, and this line clearly will not fly in Pakistan, if put forward by Indians or by India officially. As proof, consider your own treatment in this most tolerant of all media, this usually very forgiving and broad-minded blog. How much worse would the furore have been if an Indian had said what you did?

    I understand very well that you have your focus on Pakistan’s interests. However, Indians cannot focus on that for the simple reason that on occasion, it may happen that Pakistan’s interests and India’s interests are mutually exclusive. I say this with sadness, as it shows very clearly that there is no section or group in either country that considers intellectual integrity to be superior to national identity. Perhaps we need time to develop, another century or so, before such a dialogue can be conducted.

    On another tack altogether, not connected to your increasingly acrid discussions with YLH and the Brigadier with his modest proposals, it seems to me that the evolution of post-Muslim identities has been frozen in place, artificially, in Pakistan. As a result, when you speak about your regional identity, and about the need to break away from the central Punjabi hegemony, you stand convicted of treason by your fellow Pakistanis. The present set-up in Pakistan will not permit a regional or ethnic identity to be expressed; it violates the idea of Pakistan articulated by the religious right wing, and held firmly in place by an iron fist, without whose sanctions it might never have had a role to play after independence.

    I agree with Gorki. This is not the moment. The Nays have it.

    Personally I will continue an individual dialogue wherever it is possible. There is no point in seeking anything further in the face of such violent opposition. At best, we can avert bloodshed for a while; we may be able to ameliorate its worst effects. May be.

    The main task ahead of Indians remains to reform and enlarge our own social and cultural horizons. The bigotry of sections of the Hindu priesthood, the fascist tendencies of the Sangh Parivar and the Shiv Sena, the liberation of the oppressed castes, of the tribes of the forest and the tribes of the mountains, a right to live for women, a right to childhood and education for children – we have enormous tasks ahead. Let Pakistan heal Pakistan, if it can, if it will. This was always so, and has not changed recently. The only thing that seems to be changing is the increasing disinclination to live as good neighbours, an increasingly bullying tone telling us that we are soon to be extinguished, and would do well to tend to our own affairs before we meet our maker.

    Since among the number who might read this, there is one with an access to online versions of the Bible, I have one parting word: Mathew, 26:52.

  74. ylh

    Vajra sb,

    Accused of treason by two people neither of whom are very Muslim in any sense of the word.
    I mean surely Brigadier sb cannot be considered a votary of Islam.

    The problem is in my opinion the issue of confusing secularism with regional or ethnic “asbiat” for the want of a better word.

    Tribal or racial prejudice is secular only the sense that it is not religious …but what we are aiming for is a post-Muslim evolution beyond religious prejudice and based on modern statehood not tribal prejudice.

    What Hoss mian is aiming for is a pre-Muslim regression. From my standpoint Muslim represents a mid-point …and tribal position a regression. This is atleast how we understand secularism.

    India is secular not because it was any more tolerant of ethnic and regional identities but because Hindu bourgeoisie was ready to move beyond Hindu.

    Hoss types and their supporters don’t figure in that debate.

  75. vajra

    @YLH

    Leaving aside for a moment the rather sterile debate that was going on, I am interested in your model of linear progression, rather than the 3D model I had imagined.

    If I have understood you correctly, you are proposing the sequence

    tribal/ethnic => religious (Muslim|Hindu) => beyond religious secular(/b)

    This has appeal, no doubt about it, although it attributes too much importance to the Hindu role in India. If you are correct, without Hindu readiness to move beyond Hindu identity, the other identity groups were too weak, and too fragmented to roll back the tide of Hindu domination. I would have preferred to think – had been thinking, in fact – that secularism might be a joint product of internal Hindu revolt against the more dominating, more regressive aspects associated with any religion, combined with the attempts of Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Dravidians, Scheduled Castes, central Indian tribes, and north-eastern tribes to establish their identity. In this view, secularism was a necessity, not a luxury, to ensure that open conflict did not break out among contending identities. As it happens, on occasion, open conflict did break out; each of the groups mentioned above were involved in this conflict at some time or the other, some of them continuing conflicts.

    Thank you for the input. It gives a lot of food for thought.

    Regarding Hoss, he may say what he does with impunity as a Pakistani. It’s a free country, after all.

    It would be highly inflammatory for an Indian to say it, and that is why it cannot serve as a platform for Indians to communicate with Pakistanis on an individual level.

  76. B. Civilian

    @YLH

    “Fomenting a few foolish dissidents will only cause unnecessary bloodshed because Pakistan will go to any length to keep Balochistan and any other unit in the federation.”

    and what would be the legitimacy of such a method of dealing with a popular/successful fomenting? and the legitimacy of a ‘stronger’ pakistan resulting from it? will it improve the chances of the resulting pakistan being able to make the PA subservient to the constitution? how is that any more progressive a model than the theocratic or tribal ones?

    if, otoh, the fomenting is unlikely to be successful or while it is not successful, why give it undue importance? instead, why not address the real issues amongst those it tries to exploit?

    calling people traitors, while it is your prerogative… how does it help? wouldn’t it be better to have a pakistan democratically strong enough to be able to accommodate and tolerate even the 5-10 million you talk of. after all, 5-10 million is not a small number. how much bloodshed would it require to change their minds? or how much democracy to ignore them and let them be ignored?

    the more the bloodshed, the greater the numbers alienated. i’m wondering if you meant to say what you said, or if i’ve misunderstood you.

  77. ylh

    You are correct and you can recognize that the current is religious or in case of dravidians historical or in turn religious…

    Secularism in Pakistan is not going to come about by appeasing Sindhi, Balochi and Pakhtun national identities, but non-Muslim minorities to exert pressure on a Muslim bourgeoisie ready to move beyond Muslim-centric view of Pakistaniat.

  78. ylh

    Previous response to Vajra.

    BC,

    Those are positions I completely agree with. I am just giving you a dispassionate analysis of the situation. Indian aid to Baloch separatists is illogical and misplaced.

    We should be able to accomodate 5 to 10 million democratically but push comes to shove, Pakistani state will use whatever force necessary…and frankly I am not going to be one agitating against it.

  79. sharafs

    On the linear line of Modernity, Secularism is certainly a progression from primordial-tribalism. I agree with Vajra for the explanation and reasoning as it exists in India.

    Yes, Jinnah too had a similar vision but the Extreme Right in Pakistan saw it as a threat to the religious ID. Since then all political illegitimates have poured into it. The biggest culprit has been the army which though very secular in character itself and allowed the right to sweep an agenda that is regressive.

    Back to Entente. I repeat that it has to begin through sobering of the Kashmir issue. Irrelevancy of LOC could be the first such step.

  80. B. Civilian

    Vajra

    “The only thing that seems to be changing is the increasing disinclination to live as good neighbours, an increasingly bullying tone telling us that we are soon to be extinguished, and would do well to tend to our own affairs before we meet our maker.”

    this is true today only based on the indian presumption of guilt on part of the PA and the pakistani presumption of innocence until proven guilty. there is little reason why india should not err on the side of caution and presume the worst. there is as little reason why pakistanis should do the same.

    but i really do not see why a p2p dialogue cannot continue. if you feel an indian on pth might be taking undue risks by speaking his mind, do you really think it would be any worse than a pakistani deciding to do the same on, say, the indian board we both read? in the end, don’t you think that both fora are equally capable of objectivity despite the strong differences of opinion, incompleteness of information and even minor prejudices?

  81. B. Civilian

    Sharafs

    “1. Allow India to play a lead role in the region including Afghanistan.”

    pak is free to do its best to stop that, if that’s what she wants and expend her energies on. as long as she does not decide on methods it adopts without thinking about things like blow back.

    “2. Create anti Punjab hatred and divide it into smaller sections.”

    what’s so harmful to pak in dividing the punjab into smaller sections?

    “3. Make Pakistan’s nuclear capability irrelevant.”

    how was or can it be relevant for a stable and democratic pakistan?

  82. Vijay Goel

    I for one 100% agree with Vajra Moshay’s post of 3.59 pm.Vajra Sahib has very clearly explained why India can not and should not even attempt the line suggested by Hoss Sahib.However we should energitically follow the path of more p2p contacts.
    One word about fears of Punjab haegomony.There was a time when many states such as Bengal,Maharashtra and the South feared the haegomony of the Hindi speaking states especially when Hindi was proposed as the National language.But the beauty of Democracy has been that gradually all such divisive tendencies gradually lose steam and the Nation becomes stronger unitedly.Once all voices have had their say freely and even many times violently better sense prevails in the long run.Democracy in India may have been inefficient, lacking in urgency but it has made us more mature and we may not be the proverbial hare but are tortoise like moving ahead though slowly.I would only ask my Pakistani neighbours to have patience tolerance for opposite views and a steadfast resolve to shun violence.

  83. ylh

    Without any regard for the unwarranted advice at the end I agree with Vijay Goel.

    And I also think p2p is where it is at.

  84. vajra

    @YLH
    @Sharafs

    I am charmed that out of an increasingly distressing discussion, such an unexpected vein of thought has turned up. It does give a nuance, an inflection to identity politics, that will be most enjoyable to work through. Thank you for your illuminating comments.

    @B Civilian

    this is true today only based on the indian presumption of guilt on part of the PA and the pakistani presumption of innocence until proven guilty. there is little reason why india should not err on the side of caution and presume the worst. there is as little reason why pakistanis should do the same.

    Why do you say so?

    Before coming to your remarks, I was referring to the increasing rhetoric from Hafez Sayeed, to the increasing incidents of terrorism traceable in part or in whole to the HuM or the JeM or the LeT, to the apparent determination of the ISI to remove Indian presence from Afghanistan by proxy bombs, to the firm support of such efforts from the Pakistan Army which is implicit, assuming that the ISI does not let loose Haqqani’s killers without permission, and finally, and most difficult to understand, the increasing hostility of the civil servants – if you had seen Salman Basheer’s press conference after the Delhi talks, you would know what I mean – and the cynical joke that the civilian government made of the indictment of Hafez Sayeed, of raising Baluchistan with an Indian Prime Minister desperate for peace and thrusting it on the agenda, knowing as they do that there is no basis to these stories, and continuing to insist that the establishment of training camps to train terrorists is nothing to do with Pakistan.

    You thought that this was due to an Indian presumption of guilt on the part of the Pakistan Army.

    Is it seriously the view of all of you that the jehadis are not backed by the ISI? Is it seriously your view that the ability of these groups to survive, indeed, to flourish has nothing to do with military support? Are we to believe that the Pakistan Army is justified in stating that the most they could shift to the western border was in the region of 35,000 troops, and that no more could be taken away because of the threat from the east? In the face of an Indian Prime Minister wringing his hands and helplessly hoping to be bailed out by an act of Pakistani kindness and response to his pleas for a discussion on peace? that the Indian threat is, at the moment, and was, six months ago, 20 times greater than when mullahs ruled Swat?

    Is this your serious perception, as a collective group of enlightened, secular, democratic, liberals?

    On the question of innocence and guilt, Pakistan has always taken the stand that there is nothing here provable in a court of law.

    True.

    Does that mean that an intelligence service will leave behind a trail of evidence that can be adduced as evidence in a court of law? Does that mean that deliberately hamstringing the case against a known incendiary will prove that the person was innocent all along? Does that mean that rocket attacks from within metres of a Pakistan Rangers outpost are nothing to do with the Pakistani state, because the person pulling the trigger, even five feet away from the Ranger post, overlooked by armed Rangers with their fingers on the trigger, is not in uniform?

    How much innocence can be assumed, considering that the clues lie wholly within the hands of the acknowledged rulers of the land, the authority that can tell the civilians what to do and what to say?

    but i really do not see why a p2p dialogue cannot continue.

    That’s not fair. Please read my post, where I said clearly,
    Personally I will continue an individual dialogue wherever it is possible.

    What is the distinction between a p2p dialogue and an individual dialogue (yes, yes, I know; what I meant was a dialogue between individuals, and you know that!)?

    if you feel an indian on pth might be taking undue risks by speaking his mind, do you really think it would be any worse than a pakistani deciding to do the same on, say, the indian board we both read? in the end, don’t you think that both fora are equally capable of objectivity despite the strong differences of opinion, incompleteness of information and even minor prejudices?

    Of course I do, which is why having written off any tom-fool notions of a people to people peace movement, I am still sending in comments to PTH.

    There is no doubt about the broad objectivity of the fora; both have their biases, Silk more than PTH. It is not that which is under consideration. It is the general feeling that we have let an opportunity pass, that a window has been shuttered.

    Time will tell who is right. I hope peace happens. I don’t think it will.

  85. Gorki

    Vajra wrote:

    “Is it seriously the view of all of you that the jehadis are not backed by the ISI? Is it seriously your view that the ability of these groups to survive, indeed, to flourish has nothing to do with military support?”

    Vajra: With all due respect, I would like to rephrase that question. “Morality apart, is it seriously your view that using Jihadist tactically is in the interest of Pakistan and it has accomplished (or can ever) anything so far vis-à-vis India or Kashmir?”

    I want to start with an apology, to all the Pakistanis in general and Hoss Sahib in particular for being a catalyst for such painful exchanges.

    When I suggested the PM of India should address Pakistani population over the PA I did not mean to suggest that it should incite a revolt against the PA. (To BC, of course, no country is expected to unilaterally forgo its defense services.) It was only to go to the people if the PA wouldn’t listen, to pose the above question.

    By asking it I clearly mean that I feel the answer is a NO but then what do I know?

    My reasons though are that India has so far done what Luq suggested
    “Khudi Ko Kar Buland…..”

    In fact on another site, an Indian suggested that we should continue with our economic and other plans as usual knowing fully well that the cost of living and doing business in this neighborhood will be a ‘Pune’ two to three times a year and a Mumbai or Parliament attack once every 2 to 3 years. This is in fact what the GOI is doing.

    The problem with it is that, in this way it is worst of both the Worlds.

    It is not only India that has to settle to live in a reactive mode, even Pakistan has to do the same. It still would not be so bad if at least the PA was in charge but even that will become a question mark because in effect The foreign policy of Pakistan will be dictated not by its people or PA but by a handful of Jidadist, who can bring the subcontinent to a state of War at the time and place of their choosing.

    If that war occurs, regardless of what happens, it will extract a very, very heavy price from the people of Pakistan (even if India be damned)

    Now this is the question from PA: Is the cost benefit ratio of such ‘tactical assets’ in its favor?

    Then there are the international costs involved.
    I hope that even as India remains reactive inside the continent, it should become very pro active diplomatically elsewhere.
    It should very actively enlist not only the West (which is very receptive anyway) against tactical and strategic use of terror groups but also Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and even China (it has its Xingiang to think of) to actively isolate those elements in Pakistan who think the terror groups are a force multiplier.

    If it succeeds then it can isolate those elements (as opposed to the people of Pakistan or the PA) within who do not grasp the futility of using these completely loose cannons as an instrument of policy.

    The bottom line is this; there is a consensus in India that it is in India’s strategic interest to freeze all contentious issues with Pakistan and focus on development; if possible.
    The question is this, can the people of Pakistan come to such a consensus or not?

    Notice that I have stayed clear of making any moral argument.

    Regards.

  86. hoss

    Vajra,
    What I outlined is not about a timid approach, there is no doubt that it is a radical approach and probably not for faint hearts. As I have said in my article and in several posts by some posters, the PA reaction would not be anything less than ballistic. We can see that on this board clearly and the PA is not represented by anyone but we do get glimpses of what the PA response would be. Personally, I don’t get intimated by this. I have dealt with this before and every person from the smaller provinces is fully familiar with this response. Not too long ago the Bengalis dealt with the same catcalls.

    A belligerent response does not mean that people shy away from some solutions, the new approach is radical no doubt about it but when you get to a point where you clearly see the avenues for a democratic discourse are being systematically shut down, the radical approaches appear on the horizon. Some fail and some succeed that is the nature of the beast called politics and international politics. Cowed down by verbal assault is not a long term strategy.

    In your last post to Bciv, you have outlined the India grievances, in my several posts I have outlined the grievances shared by Pakistanis and especially of Pakistanis from the smaller provinces. Who is responsible for those grievances being aired out by you, me, not to forget Afghans, and many others? So when I suggest that India join with the people of Pakistan, I really don’t find anything out of this world. It is a natural response. It is radical in the sense that it has never been tried before in India-Pakistan context.

    Yasser and Sharrafs are upset because they think it undermines the state of Pakistan, my contention is that state of Pakistan and the PA are two different things. We have as much claim over the state as the army. Who really is using the state to launch terrorism? It is not the people of Pakistan but the army.

    I have shown that the P2P is not enough when you are dealing with the PA that has sabotaged many P2P efforts.

    The whole thing is an idea, a proposal, we don’t know what the India government’s reaction would be it might not agree with it and reject it and it might like parts of it but not the whole. However, the approach does bring to fore the need and the exigency of some solution before the PA is able to send the whole region in turmoil by its irresponsible acts. Learning from the past and especially the Pak army’s past is everyone’s responsibility. Ignoring the PA’s previous deeds is akin to inviting the PA again to repeat the same stuff.

    The other objection is would the new approach not be an interference in the internal Pakistani affairs. Yes, it is. I never denied it. But why would the PA object to anyone interfering in Pakistan’s affairs when it does allow the US and KSA to interfere in internal affairs regularly. Did Pakistan itself not interfere in other countries affairs? Twice in Afghanistan already, in 1977 and then again in 1994 when Pakistan launched and brought to power a group supported by it. Am I asking India to interfere in Pakistan at the same level that Pakistan did in Afghanistan? No, certainly not. I would fight tooth and nail if India supported arms groups to interfere in Pakistan, but at the same time I see no problem in seeking Indian support on political issues. India and the people of Pakistan need to take a common and joint stand against the PA.

    Btw, a translation of my article has appeared in a Sindhi paper and I am told a Baloch weekly would run it too.
    Btw, it is getting increasingly

  87. hoss

    The last sentence got cutoff.
    It is getting difficult to post via BB, so I will post response to the new posts later.
    Thanks.

  88. B. Civilian

    vajra

    the ship has turned, i believe. it’s a supertanker, not least of the multifront war where simultaneous multiple fronts must be avoided, as best as possible.

    you are airing your annoyance with the slowness of the turning, and your belief that no such thing has taken place. as for the evidence and reports, are you suggesting that indian reports are more reliable than pakistani ones? or that you are witnessing things that i am not? you may well be right on both counts. but like you say, only time will tell. if i may borrow your own words with your permission: ‘Time will tell who is right. I hope peace happens. I think it will.’

    Gorki

    that indeed is the GoI policy and line in toto, subject to the establishment of the veracity or otherwise of GoP claims about balochistan etc.

  89. B. Civilian

    The biggest culprit has been the army which though very secular in character itself and allowed the right to sweep an agenda that is regressive.”[Sharafs]

    isn’t that what hoss said as well? so how come he is a traitor (notwithstanding that being called a traitor doesn’t mean anything since it is one of the most common labels any one may find herself associated with)?

  90. Gabban

    Hi !

    Actually, it is not the army of Pakistan / ISI that is wrong or right … it is the countries : USA and Saudi Arabia that should be taken to task … of USA, it should be asked: (1) why are they giving money ( and ammunition and weapons ) to PA ? Nay, why are they even dealing with PA over the Government of Pakistan ? (2) why are suppliers ( world wide ) of arms and ammunition not asked to stop / prevented from business with PA/ISI ?

    The approach as suggested by this article will not bear the reconciliation … the people of Pakistan are indifferent to the created hostilities between the two countries … Pakistan was not created for the people already living there, there was harmony in this region; … Pakistan was thought of for those of north India by few who took it upon themselves to draw attention and cite insecurity of all Muslims without actually conducting a opinion event … please look closely … historically, the people of the region, now Pakistan, have always been cordial with people of the region now India …

    The present situation is created and maintained specifically by Corp Commanders of army of Pakistan, the ISI with support of the USA and Saudi Arabia who do not represent the people of Pakistan … these persons, organisations and countries have their own agendas distinct from the people of Pakistan …

    If harmony should be between India and Pakistan and to get rid of terror gangs ; if development is to be in the regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan; if Osama bin Laden is to be caught,
    (1) finance and weaponry must be stopped overnight for 50 years to the army of Pakistan, ISI, to anyone in the region
    (2) to stop cultivation of poppy in Afghnistan ( in order to prevent money to the disrupting gangs ) total cultivation in Afghanistan should be prevented for 10 years ( food grains should be distributed by the international agencies ; the farmers of Afghanistan should be monetarily compensated per historic record of harvest ) …

    Unless USA and Saudi Arabia are checked the present hostilities between India and Pakistan cannot change … the suggestion of this article is not valid as the people of Pakistan have no say at all …

    Truly, never mind the Nuclear aspect of Pakistan, it is immaterial I dare say !

  91. Gorki

    BC:
    “that indeed is the GoI policy and line in toto, subject to the establishment of the veracity or otherwise of GoP claims about balochistan etc”

    I hope for the sake of my republic that there is no Baluchistan angle in this.

    Dense that I am, one thing that I still cannot grasp is this: what is the up side in this whole thing for the people of Pakstan that they are being asked to risk their whole future and well being for?
    Or do they not see a down side and believe each time India will huff and puff and there never will be a war; what if they guessed wrong?

    Regards.

  92. ylh

    Hoss,

    Looks like your sindhi and balochi papers are running out of issues to mislead the people about.

    No wonder more and more Sindhis and Baloch are turning to Urdu and English press.

  93. B. Civilian

    Gorki

    “what is the up side in this whole thing for the people of Pakstan that they are being asked to risk their whole future and well being for?”

    the people of pakistan took the risk they took on feb 18, 2008… and the reasons they took it for are obvious. and they had the struggle of more than a year before that. r u saying that they are lining up to do anything other than spit on hamid gul? or are they supporters of terrorism and jihadis? please tell me what is this act exactly that the pakisani people are supposed to have committed that has surprised you into thinking they have all decided to commit mass suicide?

    “for being a catalyst for such painful exchanges”

    but this feud between YLH and hoss is older than this present article by hoss. since i know YLH knows his mind better than most, and hoss is more than capable of speaking for himself, as he has done, i just ignore the feud and only hear/read the real arguments instead. i fully expect to have to do the same in future, on other threads too.

  94. B. Civilian

    “Or do they not see a down side and believe each time India will huff and puff and there never will be a war; what if they guessed wrong?”

    depends on what you mean by huffing and puffing whether it serves any positive purpose to acknowledge it.

  95. Gorki

    BC:
    “the people of pakistan took the risk they took on feb 18, 2008… and the reasons they took it for are obvious. and they had the struggle of more than a year before that. r u saying that they are lining up to do anything other than spit on hamid gul? or are they supporters of terrorism and jihadis?”

    I hear you and also understand your ‘turning around the tanker’ analogy.
    I sincerely hope that you are right.
    More than that, what I hear here on the PTH that the ‘people’ here believe (rightly) that the PA is ‘their’ army.
    I hope that the PA too agree with that and read the people’s verdict of Feb 28th 2008 and respect their wishes, and rein in the ‘jihadi independent contractors’ from undertaking any new foreign policy initiatives before clearing it with the PA first.

    Regards.

  96. Tilsim

    I am weighing in rather late on this. Given the successful operations of PA in Swat, Waziristan, Damadola etc, can we now dare to think that PA leadership is now rejecting the Jihadi mindset within it’s ranks? Lots of things seem to be pointing that way for the moment. We should also not forget that in the last days of Musharraf, an initiative on Kashmiri peace was commenced which was very different from the Kargil way of thinking. Certainly the PA leadership cannot be accused of inflexibility in the political line it takes.

  97. B. Civilian

    “I hope that the PA too agree with that and read the people’s verdict of Feb 28th 2008 and respect their wishes, and rein in the ‘jihadi independent contractors’ from undertaking any new foreign policy initiatives before clearing it with the PA first.”

    for that, i think, we need to answer the question: who is the PA? what is the PA? something we really haven’t discussed yet, at least partly because we have been paying too much attention to the not uncustomary, given the posters involved, fireworks here.

    what are the factors that tend to ensure continuity in the PA? what factors negate continuity? what type of things are naturally candidates for becoming traditions and strong traditions at that? and what things are unnatural and difficult to stick?

    what part is the PA ideology? what part remnant ill effect of the poison administered? what part contra-indications of the anecdote? and what part pure economic and institutional interest?

    who are the people who form what is the PA? what can and cannot be ensured, in terms of indoctrination (which is common to all institutions, esp military institutions), from generation to generation, from one (historical) era to the next?

    any one of many of us that you interact with here could just as likely have been a member of the PA as not. i remember vajra mentioning about his interaction with a member of the PA. i wonder if thinks if any of the questions i’ve tried to list as mere examples are pertinent or make sense. or if he proposes new ones and others. also, what he thinks are the answers… and if they make any difference or not.

  98. hoss

    What is the upside of the whole effort? Good question and probably got lost in the muddle. From India’s point of View, Terrorism is the primary unresolved conflict between the two countries, as we have observed in the recently concluded talks, despite many efforts by the Pak delegation to drive the talks to other directions, India did not budge. In the end, the Pak delegation pretty much decided to pull a Musharraf on Delhi. The PA stamp on the talks and refusal to discuss terrorism led to its failure. The question is why would Pakistan not talk about terrorism?
    Obviously, terrorism is not only India’s problem. It is a major problem in Pakistan more than in India. Pak is never tired of saying that it too is a victim of terrorism, yet Pakistan would not agree to discuss that with anyone. If both countries are a victim of terrorism and it is beyond any shadow of doubt that almost all terrorist groups have roots in Pakistan, then wouldn’t it be sane for both countries to take a common and mutually agreed approach to end it?
    Now w/o walking the last 100 posts backward, we know exactly who sponsors terrorism in Pakistan and who is behind the terrorist groups, who nurtures them and who provides cover to them.
    So that is a problem that India has to deal with. India cannot resolve the terrorism issue without help from Pakistan. In other words, until India somehow the other convinces the PA, the terrorism in India would not end. Terrorism is something that would make India watch its back all the time.
    The interest of People of Pakistan is also to end the terrorism in the country but interests of Pakistanis go way beyond that. Pakistan can never be a democratic and truly federal or even a secular country, with the army at the helms. It is visible to all that people of Pakistan perhaps would have a hard time in dealing with the army on their own.
    So making an alliance on one immediate problem with Indians and Indian government would bring immense pressure on the PA and could possibly make the PA surrender its support for the terrorism or at least allow the civilian establishment to go after the terrorists group. End of terrorism would be a major upside of the whole effort for India. Success here would provide enough boost to Pakistanis to push to consolidate the civilian rule in the country. An established civilian government is a guarantee that the both countries would be able to resolve issues peacefully and with mutual respect.
    What would be the PA response? We saw some glimpses of the response here but this response is not sustainable when you see public mood shifting by Indian gestures. So far the belligerence by the army has met with belligerence from India too. A country cannot remain belligerent in the face of positive approaches from the other side supported by its own population.
    The down side is that the PA might win the argument in Parts of Pakistan and might even attempt another takeover. Isn’t something we deal with in Pakistan anyway? I can pretty much guarantee that the PA will not win this argument in the small provinces; they are totally against the PA. India might need to sugarcoat its approach based on its own studies as to what would work in Punjab. Sindh and Baluchistan did not support army action in 1971, why would they support the army now. We know exactly what the situation is in NWFP.
    Gabbon,
    People have a say but muted by the army and its henchmen.
    For the uniformed! Just one Sindhi Newspaper Kawish outsells all English newspapers combined in Pakistan. Kawish is also the third largest selling newspaper in Pakistan after Jang and Nawaiwaqt. Besides Kawish, Sindh has a few other well circulated Sindhis dailies. Number of Sindhi language cable networks exceeds all Punjabi and Pashto language cable networks.
    This is wrong to suggest that All Pakistanis considers the army as “their army” it is something that flies in Punjab only and not even in NWFP anymore.

  99. hoss

    Pakistan army is not a national army. Pakistan is a federation of four provinces and the army under its own commands, not instructed by any civilian or lawful government in Pakistan, has conducted army actions in Bengal 1971, Sindh in 1983-84, and in Baluchistan– people have now lost count of the army actions there. There is one going on in Baluchistan right now. There is an army action going on in NWFP also. The army for eight years did not act against the terrorists groups in NWFP but finally under the US pressure it did act however, it allowed all major leaders to escape. The ones that are captured are not booked under any law and that means; they might actually be released when the US pressure is not there anymore.
    No one should have any doubts about the army. The revival of the strategic depth is not for the benefit of the country and should be opposed by all democratic forces in Pakistan.

  100. B. Civilian

    ” The ones that are captured are not booked under any law and that means; they might actually be released”

    do you think the present courts will not release them? did peshawar high court not release sufi muhammad? is it not possible, albeit indefensible from a due process pov, that the army does not trust the courts not to play ‘heroes’ to the PTI and worse types and release these rascals?

  101. insight

    @……..Pakistan will go to any length to keep Balochistan and any other unit in the federation.”
    -ylh

    –So it appears from the other thread on Baluchistan human right issues. It tried that in E.Pakistan and we know what happened. Just addressing the “any length” part. PA did that to Bacha Khan too and his speeches are on the record for his complements to his time in Pakistani jails worse than he faced anytime in his time in the prison. But here PA has succeeded so far considering that Pakthunistan has not appeared yet. This attitude of going to any length to save something ends up losing it.

    South Asia needs to cool down and different approaches are desired than force.

  102. insight

    General Musharaf of PA calls Pakistan as a happening place. Is this how all PA –the so called state thinks or he is an aberration? Then so was Zia an aberration, so was Yahya Khan and you name it, yes Ayub Khan too. Why not treat PA as a part of the state an not state. The whole world, except dictatorships, do that way. Why pakistan is so different that people treat PA like wholy Koran above all criticism. Agreed India should not criticize but why not Pakistanis themselves.

    Just for foot note:
    Bill Clinton during his short 5hr stay in Pakistan, coming from 5 day visit to India, gave a televised address to Pakistani public when Musharraf ruled after coup. Musharraf had no option. he is always stuck in no-option situations. So much for the PA, Clinton did not trust Musharraf’s security. It was all under US’s control. May be pakistan can take such gesture from US only and not from India, which if does will not be for bullying but for mutual interest and I do not see any Indian polician criticizing PA even ever there was an address to Pakistani (and Indian) public.

  103. insight

    Just a link to make a point that even Pakistanis know that Indian Army is different from Pakistani Army.

    “Well done, Mr Antony By Kamran Shafi
    Tuesday, 02 Feb, 2010”
    “”What we have to ask ourselves is this: is it possible that our government and its generals will draw some lessons from what is happening in India?”

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/14-kamran-shafi-well-done-mr-antony-220-zj-06

  104. insight

    Just a link to make a point that even Pakistanis know that Indian Army is different from Pakistani Army.

    “Well done, Mr Antony By Kamran Shafi
    Tuesday, 02 Feb, 2010”
    “”What we have to ask ourselves is this: is it possible that our government and its generals will draw some lessons from what is happening in India?”

    w3dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/14-kamran-shafi-well-done-mr-antony-220-zj-06

  105. sharafs

    I must admit that HP never shoots from the hip. He has deliberately fired this SHOSHA which I have begun to understand. Shaheen Sehbai is also coming up with some gun powder. But this will remain a shosha. The people are fully supporting this WOT.

    I am the honorary Colonel of a Sindhi Battalion in Waziristan. Its been fighting there for three years. ( http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/sindhi-soldiers-of-pakistan-army-repel-terrorists-from-afghanistan/ )I remember, our first casualty, a Sindhi Havaldar could not be given a proper funeral because the local mulla declared him to have died for Kafirs. Since then many have fallen by the line of duty and whole villages turn up. What I am trying to argue is that perceptions of people about the army are changed and positive. About 15% of all fatalities are officers leading from the front. There have been some daring operations where only officers have participated. The high state of motivation would not be possible if ranks knew of the alleged duplicity.

    So the scheme to malign and disgrace the army would not succeed. It would rather expose the people who wish to do it.

  106. yasserlatifhamdani

    Insight….

    First of all my comment was not one of pride or a boast in favor of the army etc… but a matter of fact statement. Those who foolishly believe that nurturing a revolt in Balochistan is going to help anyone (except maybe the Shaikhdoms of the middle east or US vis a vis China and Iran or India vis a vis Pakistan) are playing with fire and living in a fool’s paradise.

    Bacha Khan was jailed a few years under a civilian government (1948-1954) for colluding with Afghanistan and Fakir of Ipi of Waziristan who had declared Jehad against the Pakistan government because Pakistan government was not “Islamic enough”. His brother – the famous Dr. Khan sb then joined the republican party and became CM of West Pakistan…. Bacha Khan was jailed again by Ayub Khan’s government for again colluding with Afghanistan I believe… and he spent a lot of time in Kabul as well. Don’t you find it a tad bit hypocritical of Bacha Khan and his progeny that while they were in power in NWFP in the pre-partition period they never once raised the issue of the re-naming of NWFP? Oh but then even Bacha Khan was proudly “Frontier Gandhi”. Now all of a sudden they have found a convenient political slogan in the name “Pakhtunkhwa”?

    Interestingly …. Zia ul Haq never jailed ANP and ethno-fascist types… one wonders why.

    As for going to any lengths… East Pakistan was a different story … there a people had risen up and there was genuine people’s movement against what was perceived to be colonial exploitation by a power sitting 1000 miles away. And there was always India to help it along.

    Who amongst the tribals of Balochistan or “Pakhtunistan” is going to lead this massive revolt ? You? Or Bacha Khan’s progeny?

    Do the math… hypothetically if a referendum is held today in Balochistan on the basis of adult franchise … not even 20% will vote for separation from Pakistan…. but I suppose the “Baloch nation” (read raggle taggle tribals and their self styled Marxist guerilla supporters) wants self determination for itself (though it is a minority in Balochistan). Well they will not get it.

    My solution is three pronged:

    1. Economic and political empowerment of the people … even if the Sardars don’t allow it.

    2. Real and genuine protection to Baloch language and cultural traditions (but not ridiculous tribal traditions).

    3. Name-change for Balochistan to something more indicative of the ethnic makeup of that province.

    Don’t listen to people like Hoss and other self styled marxist-type fifth columnists…. only a constitutional process within the federation of Pakistan can redress Balochistan’s grievances against the Pakistan Army especially and other issues generally… and PPP is doing wonderfully on that front… and for those of the rest of the submerged sub-nationalities … the solution does not lie in going over the top of the Pakistani government’s head and flirting with Indian government … Indian government cannot do anything in Balochistan except get a whole lot of people killed.

    And if India is serious about peace with Pakistan… and accepts the hairbrained third rte analysis of this fellow… well can it really afford to ignore 91 million people of Pakistan’s majority province and hobnob with a handful of such Hoss types?

  107. Majumdar

    Tilsim,

    Given the successful operations of PA in Swat, Waziristan, Damadola etc, can we now dare to think that PA leadership is now rejecting the Jihadi mindset within it’s ranks?

    Not really. PA is going only after bad jihadis- i.e. the ones who act against Pak interests. There is no evidence that is ready to act against the good jihadis- the ones who act against Indian interests eg LET.

    Regards

  108. B. Civilian

    majumdar

    are you suggesting the PA should urgently open a full-fledged LeT front as well? two all-out battles on its hands instead of one?

  109. vajra

    @Hoss

    I quite get what you’re saying, and it is not a question of getting intimidated, not for an Indian, that is. My Army is bigger than your Army!

    In my understanding, you have stated that the main destabilizing force in the entire South Asia region is not Al Qaeda, it is the Pakistan Army. This Army claims to be an institution of the country Pakistan, but behaves just as it will, with little or no reference to the elected leadership of the time. In that role of autonomous institution with no accountability, it has initiated and fought three wars with its neighbour, and it has initiated several police actions within Pakistan, the state it claims to serve.

    This is not my view, not necessarily, it is what I understood is your view.

    If so, it is difficult for Indians to see what will be achieved by trying to by-pass the Pakistan Army. They appear to have a tight grip on matters within the country, and especially, from your account, within the smaller provinces. Will this grip fall apart? Unless the PA disintegrates, or unless there is external intervention, from the US, say, this is unlikely. If the PA sticks around, and without external challenge from an overwhelming adversary, what is the upshot?

    From the PA point of view, it has held the country together against odds, and in spite of the restlessness and the grumbling from the smaller provinces, it has managed to keep the country in one piece. Its big failure was in 71, and it is obviously determined never to allow that to happen again. Will you blame a Pakistani citizen for aligning himself or herself with this view? Unless such a citizen happens to be a member of a smaller state, or a Punjabi with misgivings about the nature of the state as it is today, with democratic aspirations, say, who wishes to see change.

    Therefore the balance of benefits tilts in favour of the PA for a large number of Pakistanis. It was very, very weak perhaps, at the time of the overthrow of Musharraf, later, when the insurgents took over border regions and started bombing Pakistani cities, but when the PA went into action, clearing up one Agency after another, there was an almost audible sigh of relief from the entire country, and everybody relaxed; the Army was back defending the company, and not sulking in its tents, and all was well.

    My conclusion is that it is for the Pakistani citizen who feels disfranchised to take over the state and to shake off the influence of the largest state and of the Army, if they feel so strongly about it. Indian sympathy will be counterproductive, and will actually weaken their chances of getting enough support from within the Punjab to get their movements for greater say in national matters under way.
    As you have pointed out, any official intervention will count as an interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan. I agree that there has been such interference before; two wrongs don’t make a right. Nor does Pakistan’s interference in other countries count as a justification.

    Individuals can, and presumably will continue to be in conversation with Pakistani individuals; for the Government to get involved is the kiss of death.

    Till the minorities gain more power and show that working with them is meaningful, or till they join hands with like-minded citizens in the Punjab to sustain, secular, liberal and democratic forces, there is little to be gained for India to talk to them. This also explains in part why India is extremely unlikely to have worked with the Baluch insurgents: there is simply no point. They can do nothing, and are doing nothing. Getting into bed with them would do India harm and would do the Baluch no good. And so on for the rest of the minorities as well.

    It’s nothing personal, Hoss, it’s a question of which path to take.

  110. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    are you suggesting the PA should urgently open a full-fledged LeT front as well? two all-out battles on its hands instead of one?

    Well, I agree it wud be foolhardy to expect PA to fight two wars at the same time. But that is immaterial really. Even when PA wins the war on the Western fornt (looks like it has almost won the war) it is quite unlikely to take on the good jihadis- the LET at al. For two reasons:

    1. LET attacks mainly Indians, not Pak interests.
    2. Unlike TTP, LET is mainly Punjabi and PA will never take on Punjabis.

    I will only be too happy to be proved wrong.

    Regards

  111. B. Civilian

    “Unlike TTP, LET is mainly Punjabi and PA will never take on Punjabis.”

    when has the LeT shied away from attacking and killing (fellow) punjabis, directly or indirectly (through helping and encouraging others including the TTP)?

  112. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    when has the LeT shied away from attacking and killing (fellow) punjabis?

    From what little I know about jihadi orgs, I am not sure that LET is killing Punjabis. I may be wrong though. But I hope you not are confusing JEM/LEJ with LET. In any case, when the LEJ and their likes do kill fellow Punjoos they are Punjoos of the wrong sect- Mirzaees, Shias etc. And it goes without saying that while the awaam may overlook an ocassional atrocity by LEJ types against folks from the wrong sect, any widespread action by PA against Punjoos will be tolerated by the awaam.

    Regards

  113. B. Civilian

    LeT is suspected of providing logistics type support to those who went on to attack ‘non-minority sect punjabis’ (to the extent that the attacks were in the punjab, devoid of sectarian profiling). in terms of its rhetoric, the LeT certainly is support and succor to all of the ilk, including the TTP.

    and does it matter which organ(s) of state deal with the LeT, as long as it is dealt with?

  114. B. Civilian

    also, when the LeJ gets busy clearing out the hazara in quetta, it is in the service of the TTP. isn’t your enemy’s friend, nay agent, your enemy?

  115. B. Civilian

    ok, the quetta thing helps the shoora. which the TTP, in turn, takes inspiration and more from.

    should we move on to the JeM linkage back to killing majority sect punjabis too?

  116. Majumdar

    and does it matter which organ(s) of state deal with the LeT, as long as it is dealt with?

    It wud be nice if some organ does deal with the LET. But I dont think this is going to happen.

    For one thing with the LET gone, there is little chance that India will sit down to discuss anything with Pak.

    Regards

  117. B. Civilian

    “any widespread action by PA against Punjoos will be tolerated by the awaam.”

    what do you think would the javaans think about it?

  118. B. Civilian

    “there is little chance that India will sit down to discuss anything with Pak.”

    and what exactly does the PA gain from india sitting down and discussing anything with Pak?

  119. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    when the LeJ gets busy clearing out the hazara in quetta, it is in the service of the TTP.

    Pls do not confuse LEJ or the JEM with LET. The first two are the bad jihadis and have little to do with India really, LET is a different story altogether.

    Regards

  120. B. Civilian

    ….and how and what does it lose if india does not do that?

  121. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    Pak will want some progress on Kashmir, else it wud be very frustrating.

    Regards

  122. B. Civilian

    majumdar

    i’m absolutely not confusing them. i’m dealing with all three separately. but there is an ideological link which is unavoidable. also, what do you think that makes a young recruit choose between the three? imagine yourself in the shoes of a recruiter. how would your sales pitch be different in subtle and not so subtle ways?

  123. B. Civilian

    “else it wud be very frustrating”

    so all this is about avoiding a bit of frustration!? is that all?

  124. Majumdar

    Civvie mian,

    but there is an ideological link which is unavoidable.

    Dont get me wrong- I agree with you. But many folks in the Pak establishment (and some gentlemen I otherwise respect very much on chowk) see otherwise. I think they are making a big mistake.

    Regards

  125. Majumdar

    To give you an example, Riaz Haq sb is a great admirer of the JuD.

    Regards

  126. B. Civilian

    i know exactly where you’re coming from, majumdar. i only play the fool in order to try and rob you of the opportunity to pull the trousers off riaz haq types and save me embarrassment through association. it’s less embarrassing if i do it instead of you, if you see what i mean😉. i’m not always around and in any case not always successful.

  127. vajra

    @Majumdar

    I very strongly doubt that either the PA or the foreign service wants any movement on Kashmir. It will remove a huge driver for their consistently anti-Indian position. What will they do with 24 hours a day without India to plan and finagle against? Sit in their plush offices, link hands and sing Kumbaya?

    It was never about Kashmir. It has been made clear, amply clear, again and again, that after Kashmir is annexed, they will go on to other targets. It is true that these schemes and plans are today almost the monopoly of the lunatic fringe. Unfortunately, from where I’m sitting, it does seem curious how the lunatic fringe contributes so much to the ongoing saga, right from the suggestion of the name of the country. Who is to say that these stories too will not some day become part of the foreign policy and the military policy of Pakistan?

    There has to be a break in this self-feeding mechanism, strife leading to the primacy of the weapons of strife, the primacy of the weapons of strife leading to perpetuation of a culture of strife. That is the main task we must see Pakistanis perform from our side, before anything more substantive than P2P contact can happen. There is nothing that Indians can do about this, contrary to what Hoss thinks, sincere and earnest though he is by his own lights. His formulation has nothing for India, given Pakistan’s present frame of mind.

  128. vajra

    @Majumdar

    Nothing but a strong democracy in Pakistan, in full control of the Army, is a guarantee of peace for India.

    Nothing that India or Indians can do will further this process. Any support given to the democratic forces of Pakistan will utterly destroy the reputation of these forces.

    All India can do is guard the borders, respond appropriately, not always violently, to acts of terrorism committed by sea-borne or air-borne or land-based terrorists from Pakistan, and go about its legitimate business without being intimidated by the bullying tactics of the Pakistani establishment.

  129. hoss

    Vajra,
    I am now confused with your different prognostics. While you do agree that nothing short of democracy in Pakistan guarantees a peace in the area, however, in your other post you would rather deal with the army despite your own admission that “after Kashmir is annexed they will go for other targets”. This lack of consistency shows a lack of clear thinking as to what you really think is right. I also beg to differ on “there is nothing India can do, contrary to what Hoss thinks”. There is a lot that India can do and that’s why the US is pushing India to step forward despite a consistently belligerent PA. India has to walk a fine line between a consistent and pragmatic approach and the impression of hegemony that any Indian move might create. That means initially the Indian policy too would lack consistency or uniformity but over a period of time they would, with the US help, figure out what works the best.

    Not having a democratic government or a civilian government in Pakistan in control of its foreign and defense policy, results in continuously cantankerous relations between the two countries. The way the army is entrenched in the Pak political sphere would require multifaceted, huge and consistent efforts by both India and the democratic forces in Pak to eliminate the PA input in regional affairs. I generally feel that Pakistanis are on the right path of establishing that control but the effort has been so feeble for so many reasons that it took the US intervention in 2007-8 to install a barely civilian façade. This effort has to pick up the pace or in the coming years we might see instability in Pakistan spilling in to India. I think the jihadi terrorists are still in the army’s control, but the way many internal and international forces are operating in Pakistan now, we might see them slipping from the army’s grip. The Jihadis strength and demands for more contribution in the state affairs would grow in future. The PA is completely caught up in its own so called success in forcing the US to accept its pov, but I think it is a temporary gain and the US will start putting its feet down because by now the US also realizes that a long term strategy with the Pak army and its jihadi allies would impact US interests in the area.

    Insight,
    The stories about Fakir Ipi’s revolt are just fables blown out of proportion to support the establishment’s pov. He was just a minor irritant and nothing else. If a referendum is held today in Baluchistan almost 80% would vote for separation. These ignorant just have no clue what is taking place there. They would rather bomb the people to keep the territory. In Sindh with ethnic Sindhis voting, the ratio would be 60:40 against Pakistan. What I am hearing from NWFP is not encouraging either. Pashto youth is convinced that Taliban are the PA’s front and Pushtoons are being sacrificed to serve the PA’s interests in the area.

  130. B. Civilian

    vajra

    “Sit in their plush offices, link hands and sing Kumbaya?”

    but what about things that are intrinsically unsustainable? add to that the fact that a wish to exist in a vacuum does not make it so, nor gain you the ability to rewrite the basic laws of nature. how lucky can you get, and how many times? all this is only part of my reasons to believe that things might well be changing.

  131. vajra

    @Hoss

    This is the programme I expressed support for, not unalloyed support, but support in preference to your plan:

    1. Support the Pakistani bourgeoisie by emphasizing economic exchange. Nationalism is the preserve of the middle class… but all nationalism is subservient to economic interests ultimately.

    2. Cultural exchange is good. Pakistan already has Indian films playing all over Pakistan in every cinema… Indian films have Pakistani playback singers.

    3. Intellectual exchange… and not limited kind on partition and defence and strategic issues… but other issues like literature, development, economy, common history etc… Raza Rumi is a one man force in this regard. India and Pakistan ought to produce 1000 Raza Rumis.

    These should be short term measures… But I’ll also tell you what most Indians don’t want to hear..

    1. For durable long term peace, you’ll have to solve Kashmir.

    2. Both India and Pakistan have to tell their establishments…. hands off…. in terms of geo-political strategy India should look Eastwards and Pakistan should look westwards.. India should roll up its grand Afghan strategy … and should not consider itself a player in the great game… for engaging there would undo the one major advantage India has gotten from partition… a buffer between central asian hordes and itself.

    YLH’s recommendations are like the curate’s egg – excellent in parts.

    That apart, however, there is no mention of support for the Pakistan Army in all this. Nor is there any mention of support for the Pakistan Army in my last two posts. Which post were you referring to, and could you cite the passage?

    Where you and I differ is that I don’t think that it is going to be effective to tell Pakistanis to overthrow their army. Even if we find willing listeners, it is unlikely that they will prevail.

    Secondly, I don’t think that the US is pushing India. It is pushing India all right, pushing it to compromise with the Pakistani foreign service and with the Pakistan Army long enough for the US to withdraw its troops and announce to the world that the rest is up to the Afghans themselves. US policy in Afghanistan, and consequently in Pakistan, is being run by the Pentagon, not by Foggy Bottom.

    Thirdly, nobody is going to intervene and save your bacon for you, not the US, not the Indians, not the Martians, nobody. Until the people of Pakistan gain full control over their own Army, there is no point in talking to them. If they never gain control over their own Army, there is never any point in talking to them on substantive matters, only on the superficial aspects, the atmospherics represented by the first three points of YLH’s plan.

    Please do not take the stance “With me or against me.”

    If that’s what Pakistan wants, that’s what Pakistan will get, until the day that the US decides that its troops pull-out is complete. After that date, there will be no pressure on India even to do these minor and harmless kinds of things, which makes everyone smile and shift to a different channel. During all this period, Pakistan will continue to ship terrorists trained and equipped in Muridke across the land, the sea, and presumably some day, the aerial boundaries. If there is a sufficiently bloody act, the Government of India may be moved to act in spite of its nature and character, and there may be clashes and conflicts. These may escalate; they may stay low-key and low-level. After US troops remove themselves from Afghanistan, there will increasingly less tolerance and patience displayed in India against the terrorists. There will be incidents, sometimes there will border incidents. Finally, one day, the decision will have to be made: fight or flight.

    I sincerely hope that it doesn’t happen within my life. Rather sadly, I believe that it might.

  132. B. Civilian

    hoss

    “What I am hearing from NWFP is not encouraging either”

    what, no figures? i was expecting percentage ratios there too in the style of your local weatherman.

  133. hoss

    Vajra,
    It’s hard for me to quote using BB. I do see where disconnect is. You are still stuck in India-Pak relations w/o any substance. Cultural relations don’t need movies and TV shows. Those relations exist for centuries, still cultural similarities and exchanges don’t prevent conflicts. What I have suggested has very little to do with improving relations between the two countries, it has everything to do with two people making an alliance against a common adversary. That alliance may lead to better relations or just cordial relations or just cultural relations will be decided in future. Sometimes allies take different paths or part Company once a common goal is achieved. This is realpolitik not some feel good cultural exchange. In fact, no one is even asking for India to overthrow the PA. The whole effort would be to end the PA’s sponsorship of terrorism in Pakistan and outside of it. The weakening of its abilities to use paramilitary forces against the people of Pakistan would surely open the PA up for many other moves. Only the people of Pakistan can take those next steps.
    Bciv, it is just a matter of time before we will be able to assign numbers, percentages and ratios to it. And it sure is moving in that direction faster than you would like to believe.

  134. ylh

    Hoss is a joker. He doesn’t know shit about history. He doesn’t even know the ethnic make up of Balochistan. He is stuck in some la la land.

    As for Fakir of Ipi …he was the forerunner of Behtullah/Hakimullah Mehsud …one only needs to pick up last month’s Economist to confirm the facts about it…and the history of the “taliban” movement in Waziristan since 1890s.

    My point about Ipi was why that Kabul collaborator Bacha mian was arrested by Pakistan.

  135. vajra

    @B. Civilian


    but what about things that are intrinsically unsustainable? add to that the fact that a wish to exist in a vacuum does not make it so, nor gain you the ability to rewrite the basic laws of nature. how lucky can you get, and how many times? all this is only part of my reasons to believe that things might well be changing.

    I have to concede you a point. It is true, Pakistan’s present predicament is unsustainable, it is subject to the vagaries of the atmosphere and it is offensive to the laws of nature. And yes, this singular run of good fortune that we have observed may not continue: statistically at least a change is overdue.

    But what about Saudi and US financing? Will that plug the hole in the bucket long enough? When will it run dry?

    If that shows signs of drying up, and consequently some modification of the present arrogant stand is to be expected, there might be some tangible reason for India and for Indians to enter into a dialogue with more substance to it than we thought.

    A lot depends on the economic performance of the two countries then, in which case Manmohan Singh is justified in believing that economics and development and growth exceeds the pain of this cold war that is being played out.

    If India continues to expand at a reasonably healthy rate, and if Pakistan stagnates, the situation will see itself worked out very rapidly.

    If India expands and Pakistan expands, the situation remains what it is.

    If India stagnates and Pakistan expands, look for war: Pakistan will put most of her money into arms and insurgency support, India will suddenly realise that the advantage is being lost rapidly, and there is every circumstance for a spark to ignite the bonfire.

    If India stagnates and Pakistan stagnates, again, status quo.

  136. B. Civilian

    hoss

    why don’t you spell your plan out? what is it exactly that you would have GoI do? a list of salient steps, please? what benefits do you envisage accruing from each step and how (ie taking into account the pakistani side of the eqaution)?

    thanks

  137. B. Civilian

    vajra

    indeed the ‘india expands-pak stagnates’ scenario would help focus pakistani minds further, but i do not necessarily agree with the rest of your india-centric examples. the pakistani people have to and have been reacting and responding to both a much narrower and wider set of stimuli. india does not figure in much of it.

  138. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    The stimuli are as they may be; it is some very few of the responses that Indians are concerned with.

    The ones where scooters explode and several score Indians lie dead or maimed.

    We would be happy not to figure in it at all.

  139. B. Civilian

    vajra

    that may well be your objective, but i hope not your entire analyses. in fact, i’d hope it is not your entire hope either. regardless of whether i hope too much, i hope the analysis can carry on to something remotely complete before too many conclusions are drawn.

  140. B. Civilian

    sharafs

    your comment of 05 march 10:16am was late in appearing because of the weblink within it. those who wish to read it and can do so now.

  141. rex minor

    In my view the aricle contains a very noble idea for improving relations among the people of India and Pakistan. Hoss has also tried to use very soft vocabulary in expressing his thoughts and a vision. However, the reality of the two people has been grossly underrated in this article.

    . Both people consider each other as the number one enemy in their relations, not since the creation of Pakistan but for several centuries prior to that. Is it easy to forget history?

    . Pakistan Army is no different than the people of Pakistan, and the Indian Army is the same as the people of India. No one should even try to create a wedge between the respective armies and the overall population.

    The civilian Govts. in both India and Pakistan have been all along belligerent towards each other. This is not to say that the Generals of these countries have been less aggressive.

    The only way forward for the people of the sub-continent would be to improve their inter-cultural activities, promote tourist industries and trade relations, step by step with a minimum involvement of the Govts. A dialogue and tolerence toward each other would someday bear fruit. The slogan of terrorism and independence of Kashimir are nothing but a diversion.

  142. hoss

    B. Civilian
    March 6, 2010 at 12:56 am
    “why don’t you spell your plan out?”

    I have not called it a plan. I have presented an idea and a suggestion. Though in several posts I have shown how this is a good idea. If any time the Indian government wishes to adopt the idea and develops a plan based on this, and need my input, I sure will oblige…

    Bacha Jamhora,
    So you find a lowly Economist reporter with dubious credentials as historian to support your wacky theories. Find some authentic research to satisfy your vainglorious assertions.

    When we talk about Baluchistan we are talking about the ethnic Baloch. The Pathan and Baloch don’t contradict each other and I am sure these two groups would figure out something, if the Baloch are able to disassociate themselves from the federation.

  143. ylh

    Hoss what are your credentials … Why don’t you enlighten us.

    The problem with you is that you write everything from “memory” having imagined history in your head.

    Everything else is a conspiracy to you- the US national archives, economist, WSJ etc etc.

    You are ethno-fascist version of Hakeem Zaid Hamid… Hakeem Hoss.

    Your pipedream of creating a racist Baloch state to weaken Pakistan and Iran and to hinder China is likely to fall flat on its face.

    This grand right-wing Pentagon Ralph Peter’s Plan is going to be the biggest disaster and shame on you for peddling such theories to weaken Pakistan.

    Pehlay Russia kay tatoo thay …ab neo-cons kay tattoo ho.

  144. ylh

    Brigadier Simon Samson Sharaf ret. on Aaj TV at 7.

  145. hoss

    Here is some new info on Baluchistan. The first page is in urdu but you can explore the menu at the left.

    sagaar.org/joomla/
    Tons of info, videos and pictures.

  146. PM

    Here is some new info on Kashmir. .

    http://kashmir.forumakers.com/forum.htm
    Tons of info, videos and pictures.

  147. PM

    If you look at Indian press these day, the focus is to demonize PA.

  148. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    Well, yes, rather. It was a limited objective, stated in reply to an observation, which was itself presumably a limited one. To remind myself of the context, I am reproducing the original observations made in this conversation:

    indeed the ‘india expands-pak stagnates’ scenario would help focus pakistani minds further, but i do not necessarily agree with the rest of your india-centric examples.

    Indeed. The why follows, I presume.

    the pakistani people have to and have been reacting and responding to both a much narrower and wider set of stimuli. india does not figure in much of it.

    Quite fair in itself. But what are these narrower and wider set of stimuli? Surely there are such, no doubt about that. As it happens, what was presented was a limited set of four conditions, and the possible response to each as a stimulus.

    Your observation amounts to saying that isolating these four sets of conditions is misleading, because the country of Pakistan will not have responded to one or two such conditions, but to a vast number in addition.

    Again, perfectly true, but then the effects of any limited developments cannot be studied in isolation. It is like saying that this is not a simple equation but a complex one, and unless the independent variables are each known and identified, unless their coefficients are calculated and unless their inter-relationships are analysed and their effects isolated, the dependent variable will never be possible to calculate, even estimate.

    In other words, the challenge to the logic proposed is simply that the entire tale should be told and not a thread of the narrative alone.

    But who will add the details, the other variables, their coefficients and their interactive effects? I feel ill-equipped to do that; having raised the point, it does seem appropriate that you should!🙂

    My response, you will note, was restricted, as a direct result of this thinking, that presenting the entire multivariate equation was significantly beyond the scope of this kind of discussion, and will probably exhaust a few issues of any appropriate learned journal.

    It sought to explain that a minimalist view was being taken. The same hypothetical conditions that I proposed can be seen to be infinitely nuanced as befits a slice of real life, whereas I was proposing four conditions in isolation.

    Help!

    The stimuli are as they may be; it is some very few of the responses that Indians are concerned with.

    The ones where scooters explode and several score Indians lie dead or maimed.

    We would be happy not to figure in it at all.

    And you said, reverting to your earlier thought:

    that may well be your objective, but i hope not your entire analyses. in fact, i’d hope it is not your entire hope either. regardless of whether i hope too much, i hope the analysis can carry on to something remotely complete before too many conclusions are drawn.

    Sure, but based on what set of inputs? And what responses to these? Such an analysis at a national level based on facts and figures which are authentic is frankly beyond me. You should do it, or motivate somebody similar to do it.

  149. B. Civilian

    vajra

    actually, i had written some explanation in that regard, but lost it in the single-deep clipboard that windows os offers, when i wised to cut and paste it into pth but got distracted by something else en route that i also wanted to copy and paste. will this do for a respectable cop out?

  150. Gorki

    Dear Arun:

    “PM Manmohan Singh is an upholder of the Gujral Doctrine. Why are speeches necessary?”

    I think the speech is necessary not to advance a new doctrine but to educate people on both sides and to firmly counter false propaganda.

    While we live in an information age, ironically the information is completely dominated by the mis-information.
    The Indian PM may not have budged from the Gujral doctrine, but not many in Pakistan know of it and (even few believe it) if one reads the Pakistani media.
    What the Pakistanis media reports often and loudly though is not the Gujral doctrine but an occasional obscure provocative statement like that by the Indian army chief, taken some what out of context.
    In such an atmosphere the right wing conspiracy theorists like Zaid Hamid thrive by spinning wildest of the tales and find ready believers.
    This pulls the entire society into a decidedly rightward, anti India stance.

    I think my original idea of addressing the Pakistani people has been misunderstood. While I mentioned that India should stand up to the Pakistani right wing establishment, it was somehow misunderstood to mean that the speech should try to incite the people into a revolt against the PA. That was not my intention.

    Rather, I suggest that the hypothetical speech by the Indian PM should aim to strongly refute all that India does not intend to do but is pinned on it (and believed) in the absence of any strong denial, from our side.

    That needs to change. An average Pakistani needs to hear counter arguments from official Indian sources to those of the self appointed security experts and other wild conspiracy theorists that seem to have the blessing of the right wing.

    After reading the vociferous responses from the Pakistani side even on this liberal blog; I have come to believe that the best way to deliver this message will be by NOT addressing the Pakistani population directly but to speak to the fellow Indians but in a way that the Pakistanis can not help overhearing the message.

    Thus the Indian PM will have to repeatedly tell his fellow Indians that while India has been under repeated attacks from across the border, it is the work of a miniscule minority and the other 99.9% of the people have nothing to do with it; and also remain helpless to affect it.
    In such a situation, India will aggressively pursue the criminals but will refuse to vilify that silent majority or to threaten retribution upon it because such a course would be immoral and against its own sense of justice.

    It will be tricky but if done right, and after taking the principal stake holders into confidence (opposition, army officers, media opinion makers, key celebrities etc.) it is expected that over time, it will lead to a more mature and even a self confident Indian nation.
    Such a nation can be expected to remain confident in its own righteousness even as it remains stoic in the face of any more terror provocations.
    Over time, it is hoped that the ordinary Pakistanis will start noticing India’s restraint and will then at least start doubting and questioning the fear mongers amongst them.

    Once this happens and the India bogeyman is no longer able to scare the masses into willing submission, the establishment in Pakistan will have no choice but to engage in a debate on more relevant issues like development, and democracy. For the Indian side too there is a potential dividend; if our leadership and media can learn to resist the hysterical response to random acts of terror, the terrorists too can be made irrelevant to the larger India Pakistan dialogue; nothing but an ordinary nuisance.

    That is how we will win.

    I admit that such a scenario seems far fetched in today’s climate of fear and mistrust. We may have to wait a long time for all this to come to pass.
    But then again, a long time may be a long time but it is not eternity; sooner or later it too comes to an end.

    Like the poet wrote:

    “Dil na-umeed to nahiñ, naakaam hi to hai
    Lambi hai gham ki shaam, magar shaam hi to hai”

    Defeated it may be, but the heart does not despair
    Sorrow’s evening is long, but it too will pass
    (Faiz Ahmed Faiz)

    Regards.

  151. Luq

    >It will be tricky but if done right, and after taking
    >the principal stake holders into confidence
    >(opposition, army officers, media opinion makers,key

    Such an effort will be suicidal to the INC, and instantly bring the right wind fascists to power in India.

    Luq

  152. Luq

    typos wind = wing

  153. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    Hah! Custard!

    Actually, I’m grateful you raised the point: even on my (by-now battle scarred) Mac, I’ve lost really good stuff to some quirk of memory management, and if it weren’t for the need for a stiff upper lip, and for keeping you on a tight leash, I’d be joining you and blubbing my heart out. Now I’ve started writing the longer comments outside the browser, on a Word file, and then transferring it on-line once good and ready. Long and boring though.

    @Luq

    You got it right the first time, but with one word wrong, not the one you thought. These right-wingers are nothing but bags of wind, some obnoxious, some resoundingly loud, but all evil in intent and purpose, though not in impact.

  154. vajra

    @Gorki
    @Luq

    I’m not so sure that it will crush the INC (no bad thing by itself) or bring the Sangh Parivar to power. I think that the Sangh Parivar’s efforts at whipping up religious hysteria, and an associated political hysteria which in foreign policy terms puts Pakistan squarely in the cross-hairs, is already not credible with most Indians.

    Note the repeated defeats of the Shiv Sena in Mumbai recently, which diminished it in spite of Pawar’s strenous efforts to re-build it and pull down his own alliance partners at the Centre, the INC. Note also that even two days ago, Asha Bhonsle could get away with saying in front of Raj Thackeray that Mumbai belonged to all, not just the Maharashtrian. A sign of the changing times, in my opinion.

    Quite apart from the political aspects, Luq, civil society should adopt this tack, and bring about a climate in which a central government can safely advocate this line of friendship with the people, but firm and robust resistance to the state apparatus, with no danger to its own continued political existence.

    I think Gorki has it right in this re-formulation. I also think that this is nobody’s baby in the central government, except Manmohan Singh’s, and it may not take off. Finally, the Gujral Doctrine sucks, big time; it is associated with surrender to Pakistani bullying and I don’t think Gujral could really bring about any acceptance of his Doctrine outside his brief tenure. If we have to go to the people of India and the people of Pakistan, it has to be with a better thought through justification for peace.

  155. ylh

    Arun,

    Why are you, your sister Sadna, your sidekick A’null and everyone else from your ilk of Indian ultra-nationalists so interested 1. In Pakistan 2. Following me from website to website.

    Choose your next words carefully for they might be your last on this website.

    Apna kaam karo…tum scoundrel log kiyoon obsessed hota hai yaar?

  156. lal

    I respect ur intentions for a new south asia gorkey sahib,but the proposed speech by PM to Indians almost sounds like nehru on china

  157. B. Civilian

    @rex minor

    “Pakistan Army is no different than the people of Pakistan, and the Indian Army is the same as the people of India. No one should even try to create a wedge between the respective armies and the overall population.”

    you have been telling us, consistently, for some weeks now that the pak army is not a national army. that it is an army of occupation in the nwfp. and that the pashtuns, or ‘afghans’ as you sometimes call them, would be better off if they were no part of pakistan ( i presume you mean pakisani pashtuns).

    i doubt you’ve suddenly undergone a 180deg change of heart and mind. so, what gives?

  158. Insight

    ylh and Hoss:
    Thanks for the comments.
    @Bacha Khan was jailed a few years under a civilian government (1948-1954) for colluding with Afghanistan and Fakir of Ipi of Waziristan who had declared Jehad against the Pakistan government because Pakistan government was not “Islamic enough”.
    ylh: Based upon what I know, for Bacha Khan it was not a question of Pakistan government not being “Islamic enough”. This somehow sounds like Taliban movement not finding Pakistan govt Islamic enough. That is not an accurate representation of the facts. I would look forward to such new information if you can direct me to a relevant link. I have no idea about Fakir of ipi but I did not come across his reference in relation to Bacha Khan. I do not know how significant that is.
    With Khudai Khidamatgaar (KK) movement where women were involeved, Bacha Khan’s emphasis on education of all including women, this if at all can called Islamic, it is good thing. It is entirely opposite to Taliban.
    @Don’t you find it a tad bit hypocritical of Bacha Khan and his progeny that while they were in power in NWFP in the pre-partition period they never once raised the issue of the re-naming of NWFP? Oh but then even Bacha Khan was proudly “Frontier Gandhi”. Now all of a sudden they have found a convenient political slogan in the name “Pakhtunkhwa”?”
    ylh: In fact Bacha Khan led Khudai Khidamatgaar (KK) Non-violent Movement (hence Frontier Gandhi). Their identity was Pushtoons. Did they ask for change the name of NWFP? I do not know and I think not. But what’s in a name when they are calling the shots. Is KK movement by Pushtoons not enough since it was pathan-led movement anyways. KK collaborated with Indian Congress for Indian independence struggle and was against partition. Indian Congress ditched Bacha Khan over the issue of partition and referendum of NWFP. Well, referendum landed these pushtoons with Pakistan (not India) with a narrow margin of 50.1%. Bacha khan did not like Muslim league from day 1 and he is on record telling Indian Congress that “you are deserting us now, I told them and throwing us to the wolves.” Pretty harsh! So the question of change in name came only when Pushtoons became Pakistani and lost their identity and were living in NWFP which does not represent their identity, while others are ethnic-based provinces. It makes sense to me that they asked for Pakhtunistan and Pakhtunwa (true the came in 1980).
    Back to the topic, Indian govt is not mature enough to draft a speech that can reassure many Pakistanis without pissing off some. The point of speech cannot be any comment on PA. It could be statement of Indian intentions or lack thereof. Indians can say they want stable intact Pakistan and expect the same from Pakistan.

  159. Insight

    ylh:

    @@Bacha Khan was jailed a few years under a civilian government (1948-1954) for colluding with Afghanistan and Fakir of Ipi of Waziristan who had declared Jehad against the Pakistan government because Pakistan government was not “Islamic enough”.

    ylh: Reading again it seems you said Fakir of Ipi, (not Bacha Khan) of declaring Jehad against the Pakistan government because Pakistan government was not “Islamic enough”.

    Is that so?

  160. ylh

    Insight,

    I am afraid you haven’t read much history.

    I wrote 5 part series “NWFP History”. Search my name “yasser latif handani” + “NWFP” in the search slot or google NWFP history.

    Your statement that something magical happened where Pushtoons lost their “identity” suddenly…after Pakistan was created is no real argument.
    It was precisely that Bacha Khan did not have the good grace of accepting that NWFP was now part of Pakistan.

    He wanted a slogan. Olaf Caroe claims that he supplied it to Bacha Khan.

  161. ylh

    “Sounds like the taliban movement”

    Yes it does. I recommend you read about Fakir of Ipi yourself and not rely on Hoss mian and Bacha Khan apologists.

  162. ylh

    And I have the discretionary powers to throw off trolls and crooks like you.

    So take a hike.

  163. Gorki

    ‘The price of civilization is constant vigil; nations should love peace but keep their powder dry’. (Will Durant in the story of Civilization)

    Lal Sahib:

    “…but the proposed speech by PM to Indians almost sounds like Nehru on China”

    The problem was not with Nehru’s speech but with our lack of military preparedness. If we had won the 1962 conflict, the same speech would have been celebrated for its magnanimity.
    Great Nations have to learn to use both the soft power and the hard power in a tandem; one without the other means nothing.

    What I am proposing is not concessions or a unilateral disarmament of any kind but a nuanced approach to the complex issue that can only be from a position of strength. Even as the PM delivers the speech India will have to remain prepared to meet and defeat any and all external challenges.

    Look, the dilemma facing any Indian PM is this; India wants to do a China in the next decade; that is freeze its regional conflicts and focus wholeheartedly on economic growth yet Pakistani right wing elements want to impede it by keeping India in a geo political quagmire. For this, they can use the only tool they knows will get the Indian attention; threats of terror.
    Yet the intermittent acts of terror by themselves are but pinpricks, and can’t dent our nation’s economic trajectory. For that to happen we will have to hysterically overreact and land ourselves into an unnecessary war with Pakistan.

    It is a chapter from OBL’s playbook; who did not expect the US economy to collapse only after he destroyed a couple of large buildings; for that to happen it took GWB to fall into a trap laid for him.
    All I am asking is for the Indian PM to act smarter than GWB and not let anyone lead him into a similar trap. In other words not be Bush; how hard can that be?

    Arun is partly right when he says that our relationship with Pakistan is not our primary concern; the trick is not to be forced by forces inimical to us into making it one. Which means the time to rationally weigh our options and to prepare the nation is now; when things are cool. Once we have a crisis on our hands it is easy to be stampeded by mass hysteria into making irrational decisions.
    The reason why the PM should address our nation now is to convince it that this is not a sellout under pressure but a carefully thought out and vetted strategy.

    Laying out this ‘new approach’ by clearly stating that while terror groups will not be given any quarter, but from now onwards India will not threaten the fragile Pakistani democracy because it is not in our best interest. By refusing to indict the ordinary Pakistani merely on the basis of guilt by association will take away the initiative from the terrorists.
    It will not only stop rewarding their attention seeking behavior but also hit them where it hurts; credibility with the ordinary Pakistani which in time will stunt out their capability to obtain funds and recruits.

    I am not oblivious of the fact that an average Pakistani is currently hostile to India but it is in part out of a fear of an image of a belligerent India that has been sold to them by the right wingers. No one in Pakistan can speak up and clear India’s image and vouch for its good intentions in this regard; only India can counter that image. It needs to do so to damage the credibility of those who seek to destroy our republic.

    Like I said before, it will not be easy, but if somehow an Indian PM is indeed able to bring about this change in perception; and the anti-India mantra loses its mojo it will be very hard for the generals and the mullahs to rally the people of Pakistan against the evil Indians or the hunood-yahood bogeymen. It would then be a sweet revenge on all those who aim to not only thwart India but also democracy in Pakistan.

    Once, the people of Pakistan are freed of a security related collective anxiety disorder they too will demand what others demand the world over; development, social justice and such bread and butter issues.

    It is doubtful that Nehru slept with a copy of Kautilya’s Arthashastra on his nightstand (as has been alleged by some on the anti India blogs) but I would highly recommend it to the current incumbent of the PMO.

    Regards.

  164. karunx

    @ gorki

    It is a chapter from OBL’s playbook; who did not expect the US economy to collapse only after he destroyed a couple of large buildings; for that to happen it took GWB to fall into a trap laid for him.
    All I am asking is for the Indian PM to act smarter than GWB and not let anyone lead him into a similar trap. In other words not be Bush; how hard can that be?
    ************************************************
    War is an excellent way to get out of recession and i think the current economic circumstances has more to do with financial crisis and loose monetary policy of over a decade than Iraq/Af-Pak.

    Trap thing sounds very funny.OBL is not that sharp.

  165. ashu

    Gorki ji,

    Very well developed argument and very patiently described.

    I also believe we have right leadership in place to execute on such a plan.
    MMS is capable of articulating such a magnanimous plan and painting a vision of a great economic future and he has the credibility that may make the country believe in it.
    PC also has the ability to not be complacent and drop the ball on strengthening our internal defences and letting terror vitiate the atmosphere. Sonia can offer the political air cover to both of them.
    Not sure about Anthony, though.

  166. B. Civilian

    gorki

    difficult to add anything to your fine formulation or amend it. strange why nations don’t do what is best for them and take the long view, or at least not lose sight of it.

    i don’t know when india ‘damaged’ or ‘threatened’ pakistani democracy, but i see what you mean about caution with the present fragile democracy in pakistan.

    what number, roughly, need to be recruited to the yahood-o-hanood lobby to have a perceivable effect? What if the yahood-o-hanood types turn around and blame a GoI acting upon your suggestion as merely meaning to deceive and being doubly devious?

    what is your definition of ‘a security related collective anxiety disorder’? when a nation cannot completely trust its own army to respect the constitution and the law of the land at all times?

    the good thing about doing the right thing is that it does not matter whether you have misunderstood the other, or they have misunderstood you. or indeed whether they reciprocate or not, or go according to your best hope or preparation for the worst.

    one thing is for sure, once a decision to do the right thing and take the long view has been taken, ignorance and misconceptions about the other can only reduce. until then lets just welcome the beginning of the journey.

  167. Gorki

    Thank you guys, Ashu, Arun, Karun for your comments.

    BC: I am happy to read that you wrote “I don’t know when India ‘damaged’ or ‘threatened’ Pakistani democracy” because doing so can never be in India’s interest. However I am afraid of the law of unintended consequences.

    A very passionately liberal, civic minded Pakistani friend of mine wrote to me the other day in a private mail that he empathized with the democracy minded Iraqi patriots who were forced by the US to fight unwanted battles; because he too wanted a democratic Pakistan but if God, forbid someone interfered in his country, he too would be duty bound to resist it first.

    Consider this in our context. If India is attacked by terrorists there will again be an intense pressure on the Indian PM to retaliate violently against Pakistan. While such an act may seem to be an act of self defense to the Indian public it will nevertheless be seen an act of aggression by all Pakistanis. It will thus distract honorable people like my friend from building a democracy at home and force them to join forces and rally behind the very same opportunist right-wingers whom India should be isolating.

    Thus I believe that while India can not help the democracy in Pakistan, if the above scenario comes to pass, India can certainly damage it or at least undermine it indirectly. Conversely a public statement by our PM that Indians must not demand retribution from ordinary Pakistanis or the civilian govt. who do not control the Jihadists in the first place anyway will expose the Jihadist as cold blooded murders that they are rather than nationalistic patriots fighting for Pakistan.

    I therefore believe that the PM of India should carefully explain all this to his countrymen before hand lest he is accused of inaction if and when a provocation arose.

    I dare say that Ashu’s trust in the current Indian leadership is not entirely misplaced given its restraint in the aftermath of 26/11. Furthermore I also believe that the Indian population instinctively understood that otherwise it would not have returned the congress party to power with an improved margin.

    Does someone still doubt that democracies can make wise choices?
    Indeed let me wish the Pakistani nation a fruitful journey down the road to democracy.

    Regards.

  168. vajra

    @Gorki

    While in principle and in spirit I subscribe wholly to your line of thinking, there are practical difficulties. Look at your passage for the clues to these:

    Consider this in our context. If India is attacked by terrorists there will again be an intense pressure on the Indian PM to retaliate violently against Pakistan. While such an act may seem to be an act of self defense to the Indian public it will nevertheless be seen an act of aggression by all Pakistanis. It will thus distract honorable people like my friend from building a democracy at home and force them to join forces and rally behind the very same opportunist right-wingers whom India should be isolating.

    Thus I believe that while India can not help the democracy in Pakistan, if the above scenario comes to pass, India can certainly damage it or at least undermine it indirectly. Conversely a public statement by our PM that Indians must not demand retribution from ordinary Pakistanis or the civilian govt. who do not control the Jihadists in the first place anyway will expose the Jihadist as cold blooded murders that they are rather than nationalistic patriots fighting for Pakistan.

    I therefore believe that the PM of India should carefully explain all this to his countrymen before hand lest he is accused of inaction if and when a provocation arose.

    Please consider the specific phrases that have been outlined in bold.

    I agree that the Indian PM must not demand retribution from the ordinary Pakistani citizen. That would be a cruel mockery, considering that they themselves are dying in the scores at the hands of allies of those who are killing Indians.

    I agree that the Indian PM must not demand retribution from the civilian government. It is true that they, both at the Centre and in the Punjab, do not control the jehadis in the first place. It could be wished that Qureishi’s amazing acrobatics (usually they happen in the city of Multan; is there something particularly toxic about that city’s hawa pani?) would cease, and he would take foreign affairs more seriously. It could be wished that the Interior Affairs Minister could be kicked swiftly where it would do him the most good, and persuaded not to point to Indian signatures even when the Taliban are screaming themselves hoarse claiming responsibility. It could be wished that the Rana Safiullahs could be dropped from the ministry at the Punjab and other fellow-travellers of the terrorist cartel shown the red card.

    But the bottom line is that the civilians are not in control of the jehadis, and I agree with you that in spite of every verbal provocation, these mighty blows of the mouth should not be mistaken for actual damage.

    This leaves us with a question which you need to address before going further: where do you seek retribution? Or is it your belief that we should seek no retribution at all? Suppose hypothetically that the Harmandir Sahib is blown up. This will never happen because the ISI has carefully kept a few glowing embers of Khalistan alive through the most difficult days for the Khalistanis. But I cite this just as I might have cited blowing up the Taj, machine-gunning Parliament in session, killing a hotel-full of people in Delhi, attacking Rashtrapati Bhavan, destroying the Kashi Viswanath temple, killing the students and teachers at the IIT Delhi or the AIIMS, or any similar act. I could name dozens of soft targets that are not even guarded today, leave alone protected against possible attack.

    If such an attack, or even a lesser one, occurs, what is it that you think a response should be? Not the civilians, certainly; not the civilian government, certainly; who, then?

    Would you exclude the representative civilian organisations of the terrorists, for instance, the Jamiat ud Dawa? Hafez Saeed? His known lieutenants?

    Would you ask the military? the General whose veto runs Pakistan? His colleagues, the Corps Commanders, whose support is necessary for him to fly high? the General who runs the ISI? His colleagues?

    Or is it your plan that there should be no retribution, merely production of more dossiers of evidence, provided by interrogation of live terrorists, or by the FBI, or by the CIA, which will then be described with an unconcealed sneer as ‘literature’?

    Please let us know if you would hold anyone to account, anyone at all, and what form this holding to account would take. As you will readily appreciate, being a cultural heir of the Indus Civilisation hero Ranjit Singh, hand-wringing and agonised expostulations do not precisely amount to holding to account.

  169. ashu

    Hi Vajra,

    Based on my interpretation of Gorki’s posts and also my independent understanding, here is how I see the situation:

    * Since we are resourced starved nation, which also happens to be at a point in history where we may be take off economically, the challenge becomes that of prioritization.
    * Do we prioritize a approach that fixes accountability and attempt to immediately penalize those that we hold accountable? This will offer instant gratification and may be politically popular. However this may entail conflict, which could derail us economically. ( Also may mean loss of a lot more lives)
    * Do we prioritize an approach where we focus on strengthening our internal security and our economy? This would mean not being able to bring to justice perpetrators of terror attacks that will keep happening. this may mean sacrificing on retribution. However this will give the country private and government leadership full bandwidth to focus on economic growth.
    * Which of these approaches will better meet the need of the middle classes who are aspiring to a better life and of the poor who just want to escape the clutches of utter poverty?

    I think that the second approach makes more appealing.

  170. vajra

    @Ashu

    A bit unlikely, dear Sir.

    It is unlikely that the terror high command will hold back from hurting India where it would hurt her the most.

    My personal background is software and IT services, and most of my working life until recently was in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. I can’t imagine anything existing there if the following happen:

    1. An attack on the Infosys campus; followed by others at unpredictable intervals;
    2. A cinema hall, chosen at random, or a mall, blown up;
    3. An attack on the airport, with or without an accompanying attack on aircraft within, or landing, or taking off;
    4. Repeat this cycle as necessary.

    For all three locations, one might substitute any number of Indian and overseas locations for Infosys. There are obvious substitutes; to name them would be the height of irresponsibility.

    It might not hurt the bricks-and-mortar industry quite as much; but a couple of massacres in a FICCI or CII meeting would shake confidence and destroy 000s of crores on the stock market.

    Is it your belief that terrorists will concentrate on killing women and children, and forget that we earn money from other sources, which are equally if not more vulnerable than women and children?

    The second approach certainly makes for more appealing; your syntax certainly is better than you might have hoped for.

  171. vajra

    I think I made a hash of the name of the minister quoted by Paracha. I believe that it should have been Rana Sanaullah, and not as written. Apologies.

  172. ashu

    Vajraji,

    Thanks for your well argued response!

    Maybe what you say will happen in terms of terror strikes. But we should also note that they have not happened so far in the last 15 months, post 26/11. I would assume that this not for non- availability of soft targets, but due to other reasons.

    Nowhere in my post have I advocated complacency in terms of security. We will have to strengthen our intelligence gathering and internal security. But, that is clearly a domestic issue. Corrupt, inept or untrained police officials have to be fixed here in India, and not elsewhere.

    Externally, the reality remains that we are in a dangerous neighborhood. Maybe be I am wrong, but I feel that we do not possess the brute force required to make this neighborhood safer. Hence we will have to explore other means. Therefore I was attracted to Gorki’s approach.

    Also I am interested in getting your opinion – What do you think damaged the American economy more – 9/11 attacks or the two Wars that followed to seek revenge/ justice. Has justice been delivered after all these years of fighting?

    Regards,

    Ashu

  173. Dear Vajra:

    Your questions are valid perhaps because my posts are not as clear as I want them to be. It is partly because I have to limit the size and partly because of my limitations as a writer that I can’t write as clearly as you or some of the others like Hayyer.

    To answer your questions, I think I tried to make it clear that even as India outlines its policy to the civilian population, it cannot remain passive or merely reactive. It has to be proactive; the time for this is now and the tools for this are an extremely focused and very intense use of soft power. I hope that right now the PMO and our foreign policy wonks are working very hard to do the following:

    1. Explain clearly to the West, the Chinese and to Russians, that while we seek peace, the Indian patience has its limits. That they should be convey it very, very clearly, using multiple channels, to all hostile elements and the ISI that there is a red line, not to be crossed, ever. That nukes or no nukes, the attack like the one on the Parliament in the past will be seen as an act of war by a hostile power and India will defend itself very vigorously.

    2. India should seek to lobby the West to impose sanctions on selective elements suspected of supporting the use of terror as a tactic just like they have against the Hezbollah and the Hamas.

    3. Further it should seek to extract a promise that in the event of a future attack, (which if confirmed independently by Western sources) linked to Jihadist elements in Pakistan, India will expect the West to join India in seeking a quick extradition of those elements responsible (at par with other terrorists like the Al Qaeda) or else face sanctions on any travel and freezing of hidden bank accounts etc, of selected individuals like the past and present ISI chiefs, key generals etc. The idea will be to tighten the noose on those who are responsible and where it will hurt.

    4. In the meantime I really hope that Indians are studying really hard and honing its agencies at all sorts of techniques and counter measures against terror. It should invest heavily in having an agency like the CIA, Mossad etc. that can monitor terror cells and if once in a while terrorist are able to launch an attack, to have the skill and the tenacity to hunt and neutralize the perpetrators like the Israelis did to the killers of their athletes in Munich.

    If (a big if maybe) the Indian public is assured that its government can accomplish all of the above, I am certain that I it will not ask that we lash out blindly and kill more innocents just so that we feel good.

    Notice that all I am asking is that we become nimble enough to master the use of a scalpel instead of either a sledgehammer or nothing. Like I said before, the time to do all this is now; the key is preparation and then more preparation.

    Oh, about the Golden temple, it would be a huge blow to the Sikh psyche and a national humiliation but we will emerge stronger. Golden temple was first destroyed by the Afghan armies in the 18th century; the Sikhs rebuilt it then and there were NO MASS retributions. Then it was destroyed in 1984 (The Akal Takht to be precise) again there were NO MASS retributions.

    If it happens again, I hope we will not spill innocent blood in return; justice, sure, as I outlined above.

    It is also my hope that if it happens Indians from all walks of life, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, Biharis, Tamils, Kashmiris, all will rally to rebuild for the Sikhs and in the process forge a much stronger spirit of national integration that it will deal a decisive blow to anti India forces.

    Regards.

  174. karun

    @gorki

    food for thought.
    *************************************************

    It’s time to open the debate on covert operations

    by Vir Sanghvi

    Last month an 11-member hit team dispatched by Israel’s Mossad travelled to Dubai and assassinated Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, a Hamas military commander and number one on Israel’s list of most wanted terrorists.

    Al-Mabhouh was clearly an unsavoury character, one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, an abductor and murderer of Israeli soldiers and an organizer of terrorist attacks on civilians.

    Few tears were shed in Israel over his death but there has been a minor uproar in England over the use of cloned British passports by the Israeli hit team. Normally, the Israelis just fake passports. But on this occasion, they cloned the real passports of Britons who have settled in Israel. The Brits say this is unacceptable. Why couldn’t Mossad have just faked the passports as usual?

    What’s interesting is that very little of the outrage focuses on the assassination itself. By now, the West has accepted that Israelis will track down and assassinate terrorists no matter where in the world they hide. And, in the post 9/11 era, few people seem to mind. It is widely accepted that terrorists can rarely be brought to justice and convicted by courts of law. So, an assassination often seems like the most effective option.

    All this has lessons for India. There are broadly, four ways of fighting terrorism. The first is that you guard every likely target. This is nearly impossible to do and no matter how many men you deploy, terrorists will slip through the cracks. The second is that you use intelligence to discover terrorist plots and then foil them. This too, is hardly a fool-proof strategy.

    The third is that after terrorist attacks are committed you spare no effort in going after the perpetrators so that you deter would-be terrorists. The Israelis travelled the world in the aftermath of the Munich attacks in 1972 and killed every one of the terrorist masterminds.

    And the fourth is covert action: you take the battle into the enemy’s camp. You infiltrate terrorist organizations, you kill terrorists before they can strike, and you dabble in the internal affairs of your opponents, financing and arming those groups that are likely to create trouble for your enemies.

    Pakistan has always shown a willingness to use covert operations against India. Even if you take the line that the 26/11 terrorists did not have official sanction, nobody can deny that the Pakistanis have used assassination as an element of state policy. In Kashmir, for instance, important leaders have been bumped off by the Pakistanis when they refused to follow Islamabad’s line.

    Equally, Islamabad has traditionally funded groups that are inimical to Delhi. Till the creation of Bangladesh, East Pakistan was used to provide arms and support to the Mizos and the Nagas. Since then, Pakistan has funded Sikh separatists, local jihadis and of course Kashmiri militants.

    India’s record on covert operations has been lacklustre. We have preferred to fight terrorism either by relying on intelligence or by heightening security. When it comes to retribution, we prefer to go through legal channels rather than take direct action. We will wait for the Pakistanis to prosecute Hafiz Sayeed rather than eliminate him ourselves. And while we have funded Pakistani separatists in the past, this assistance has been feeble and more or less dried up after Inder Gujral made R&AW roll up its operations in Pakistan when he was PM.

    It is now increasingly clear that Pakistan either cannot (the view of the doves) act against powerful terrorist groups or will not (the view of the hawks) prevent terrorists from attacking Indian targets. A similar lack of strength or willingness is reflected in its failure to effectively prosecute the likes of Hafiz Sayeed.

    So what is India to do? Are we to rely on increased security and better intelligence? Or are we to step up our covert operations?

    Till recently, many Indians would have been appalled by the idea of covert operations. We reject the idea of moral equivalence with Pakistan and cannot see ourselves financing militants who engage in violence.

    I once asked Manmohan Singh why we rejected the covert option and his answer summed up the mood in government: because of the manner in which it would brutalize the Indian state and damage our moral psyche. Indians simply do not do such things.

    But I am now coming around to the view that it is time to reconsider. There are two kinds of covert operations. The first is the Pakistani style, whereby jihadis travel to India and kill women and children. The other is the approach increasingly favoured by the West (and pioneered by Israel) in the aftermath of 9/11.

    Western nations do not finance terrorism. But equally, they do not consider themselves restricted by the niceties of the law. America has infiltrated terror groups, encourages them to fight with each other, kidnaps and whisks away important terrorists (‘rendition’) and sub-contracts the job of executing terrorists to friendly secret services.

    There is a strong case for us in India to follow that example. Let’s take the instance of the three terrorists who were freed in Kandahar in exchange for the passengers on IC 814. They travelled to Pakistan where they were welcomed as heroes. Should we not have pursued them and taken them out? Would this not have served as a warning to other terrorists?

    Similarly, we know who many of the 26/11 masterminds are and where they live. Should we wait for the Pakistanis to move against them – assuming that Pakistan is so inclined? Or should we just send a hit team? We know where Dawood Ibrahim, the man behind the Bombay blasts, lives. Should we mount a large-scale operation to eliminate him?

    Similarly, should we not consider doing to Pakistan what it does to us? There are many Sindhis, Mohajirs, and yes, Baluchis, who have no affection for the Punjabi elite which runs Pakistan. Should we not finance them so that they can more forcefully express their discontentment? The more trouble there is for Pakistan from within, the more distracted the government in Islamabad will be.

    Our answer to all these questions, so far, has been an unequivocal no. When Manmohan Singh agreed to include a reference to Baluchistan in the Sharm-el-Sheikh statement, we were appalled because the thought of any Indian involvement in Baluchistan was repugnant to us. We did not object on pragmatic grounds: why surrender the Baluchistan option when we can use it to create trouble for Pakistan?

    As the Poona attack demonstrates, the terrorism is not going to stop. Pakistan is going to step up its efforts to radicalize and arm Indian Muslim groups so that it can then argue that the terrorism is indigenous. Should we just sit back and wait for this to happen while placing our faith in the power of dialogue? Or should we re-think our approach to the battle against terror?

    I’m not sure what the answers to these questions are. But the time has come to open the debate on covert operations.

  175. Karun:

    We have to be very careful not only in what we want but how we want it to happen.

    I think MMS is right; security should not come at the expense of the brutalizing our society or by going down the slippery moral road. For example, while putting down the Khalistani insurgency was the right thing to do, how we went about doing it still remains a dark blot on our nation.

    When I wrote we should learn from CIA and Mossad etc. I meant the techniques of counterterrorism.
    For example the surveillance cameras confirmed that although the recent attacker in Washington D.C. had surprise on his side, still he was neutralized in less than 60 seconds and was shot multiple times by the guards. No security man lost his life. Compared to this we were completely unprepared and outgunned in Mumbai.

    The CIA and Mossad have a long track record of this kind of training and skills and should be studied and incorporated by our security forces. The ethics and morals of these agencies however are another matter; and I would not want my country to follow them in this regard.

    Regards.

  176. B. Civilian

    Gorki

    “forge a much stronger spirit of national integration that it will deal a decisive blow to anti India forces.”

    and didn’t someone claim on the other thread that zaid hamid was ‘an enemy implant’?😉 it’s strange that even the initiator of this very thread was as good as termed a ‘right-wing cynic’, on another thread, only a few weeks ago.

    there can be g2g or p2p contacts; even a dialogue. But the only g2p or p2g worth pursuing is within each individual country, as you have lately found acceptable. It is a matter of governments honouring and carrying out their mandate.

    It is for the GoI to decide which problem they want to solve. as is the choice of how they want to go about the solution. and how durable they want the solution to be.

    My struggle is for my people’s mandate to be sought and respected. Excuses are just excuses. They are no justification. So, the law of unintended consequences is hardly a concern of mine.

    we somewhat agree on the advantages of carrying on a p2p effort. on blogs like pth, there is another aspect of p2p. This aspect is not a direct part of p2p. It is in fact an intra-people rather than inter-people dialogue taking place on the blog, from time to time, which is there for the other people to study or ignore. So Indians here can follow the intra-pakistani dialogue, if they wish, and vice versa.

    But both the inter-people dialogue and the intra-people dialogue, even monologue, on an open forum are good for progress towards better understanding; even if the progress will be non-linear. There will be both misplaced attitudes and misunderstood intentions; A lot of misconceptions and mistakes. But through them all, it is hoped, will come something better.

  177. Sameet

    karun,

    Israel has assassinated many operatives from Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Black September, Hezbollah and PLO. Terrorist attacks have continued against Israel nonetheless. Bumping off Hafeez Saeed will do zilch for LeT targetting India again & again, so it doesn’t serve any purpose. Btw, there is debate in Israel whether the hit on Mabouh was worth the costs (read Haaretz, Jerusalem post, too lazy to provide you links). The only way these attacks will stop is by draining the swamp in Pakistan, and this can be done (hopefully) only by the supremacy of the civilans over the Khakis over there. Indians should concentrate on having that pot bellied pan chewing cop creating a nuisance around your neighbourhood to be more vigilant. Have to agree with Gorki on this one.

  178. hoss

    As we go along everyone including India and the people of Pakistan will have to take the issue of terrorism head on. The pollution has been created by a certain segment of the Pakistani society sponsored by an institution in Pakistan. Now everyone has to chip in to cleanse the Aegean stable so to speak. Gorki presented one approach, I tried to build on it and now we see an approach by Vir Sanghvi.
    We can certainly discuss the merits what he proposed but there is no doubt now that people are thinking of the alternate approaches. In the coming days, we might see many more approaches by different people. Some might be innovative others might not be. The conventional wisdom now developing imo, is that conventional methods to deal with the terrorism are just not enough.
    The US decided to deal with the terrorism by going after the countries it felt were the real sponsors of the terrorism. Though Iraq was not really involved with the terrorism but it had a huge symbolic value for both the Arab terrorists and the US government. The US approach over the last eight years has proven to be unsuccessful. Throwing resources on a military solution was perhaps not the right thing to do. Similarly the Indian initially suggested response of surgical strikes was not very well thought out. A military response by Indians would have encouraged the terrorist more.
    I am not really opposed to Vir Sangvi approach. It does impact Pakistan sovereignty more than the peaceful approach that Gorki and I are advocating but Pak terrorists groups have violated the India sovereignty so many times that now Indian incursions would have an air of legitimacy. The problem has been exacerbated by the Pak establishment’s undeniable association with these groups. Pak establishment’s culpability undermines its own sovereignty. The groups that India has been pointing fingers at are allowed to roam free, appear on TV and lead public processions against India. That to me shows that Pak establishment has lost any sense of proportion. This clearly is not a civilized behavior. Once you present yourself as uncivil, others have the right to be rude and uncivil to you too. You cannot claim any moral superiority after providing material help to the terrorist or the people suspected of terrorism.
    The Pak establishment has placed the people of Pakistan in really embarrassed position. They would love to support Pakistan but how could they support an establishment that has no qualms about losing its own people to the terrorism? Recent arrests have proven beyond any doubt that the Pak establishment was able to arrest the Taliban leaders for many years but never arrested them until the US pressure became unbearable. It is still not willing to arrest people that are involved in domestic terrorism. Many police officials and other have indicated that all domestic terrorist can be arrested, if allowed to do so. Obviously, there is some authority in Pakistan that has the ability to prevent law enforcement officials from arresting the domestic terrorists.
    I think we are entering a new phase in counter-terrorism. This phase does not require International forces with a dubious past like the US to take lead in responding to terrorism but countries like India, Japan, Turkey, Russia, and China to take a lead and develop local solutions instead of mounting International armadas to deal with the terrorism.

  179. rex minor

    Sorry, I was out of town and missed reading the prolonged debate. And I thought that there were some regulars on this forum, who, in view of their intellect, could become somewhat similar to the “Vienna Circle” and some one from your sub-continent could bring out ” Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus”. I admit that I was wrong, perhaps it was just an illusion or a day dream.
    Unfortunately the lack of experience and not being able to recognise the realities in this globalised world, have dragged the same personalities into almost praising the terrorists acts of CIA and the Mossad and the extensive use of energy in solving the Hindu Muslim conflict. What a shame that there are people who would return to the same tactics tried before by many in history hoping for a different outcome. Every one forgot the Greek who said that “War is bad in that it begets more evil than it kills”.

    Let us also not ignore that Israel, inspite of having their nuclear weaponry, is involved in the most heinous operations against the civilians, have thousands of palastinians in their jails and yet needs assurances from the US to guarantee its security. What a travesty of events. Does any one believe that God almighty would send another Moses to save the Israelities from the Pharoh?
    Both India and Pakistan are no angels in fighting the counter insurgencies and are very pro- active in clandestine operations in the internal affairs of each other. No one should underestimate the risks which both Countries are taking and are almost on the threshold of a nuclear conflict. The causual factor is neither Kashmir, nor the activities of their Intelligence net work, but to settle the centuries old conflict of two people.

    @B Civilian, Sir, I have not changed my mind or views about the ruthlessl mistreatment of their own citizens by the Pakistan Army and the Indian Army. None of them are national armies but were created after partition on the model of a colonial outfit, whose primary task was to suppress the domestic unrest among the civilian citizens. However, I cannot disregard the reality that most of the famililies, who have their loved ones in the military, have also got other family members participating in the civilian activities. I note that even the ex Brigadier contributor to this forum has a very large family of elites in the civilian community.
    This is dissimilar to what we have in Europe.

  180. Luq

    >The CIA and Mossad have a long track record of
    >…………..
    >The ethics and morals of these agencies however >are another matter; and I would not want my
    >country to follow them in this regard.

    Especially when our security forces are expected to deal with terrorists and murderers who have the highest regard for ethics and morals.

    Luq

  181. insight

    ylh:

    @“Sounds like the taliban movement”

    Yes it does. I recommend you read about Fakir of Ipi yourself and not rely on Hoss mian and Bacha Khan apologists.
    –ylh

    –First off, I am not getting into you and Hoss mian thing. it did attract me that you are stuck with Fakir and fail to notice anything else.

    —–I have read a lot about Bacha Khan but did not encounter the side that you are presenting. I have read your articles on NWFP. Quite a spin you are giving. You are linking Bacha Khan with Fakir of ipi, whom you call equivalent to Behtullah Mehsud ( I cannot comment on this, I must say), and hence with this stretch you label Bacha Khan/KK movement as ‘much like Taliban movement”. As if Fakir was Bacha Khan’s guru.

    I wonder why many other historians missed this “Taliban” side of Bacha Khan, which you identified. Why they tell that bacha khan was progressive and did exactly the opposite what Taliban today are doing.

    However, I can understand where you stand–a Pakistani and will call Bacha Khan the names without giving a damn to a not-so-small fact that non-violent KK from Muslims and that too Pathans cannot be dismissed by your analyses.

    I am not getting into the discussion of Pakthunwa.

  182. ylh

    The taliban side was a reference to Fakir of Ipi. I for one don’t think Bacha Khan was an extremist per se …just an opportunist like most politicians.

    Bacha Khan was a politician and a rather bad one. Since your knowledge of Bacha Khan seems to be limited internet. May I suggest you read the biography of Bacha Khan written by his close associate Juma Khan Sufi. I also recommend that you pick up Maulana Azad’s “India Wins Freedom” and see what he had to say about the Khan brothers.

    As for the “spin”… I have backed everything with primary sources. You are welcome to visit them as well.

  183. ylh

    “Non-violent kk”

    Yes kk were about as non-violent as Mahatma Gandhi- the real one not Hollywood Mahatma Gandhi.

    “A Pakistani”

    And I know where you stand ie an Indian and not a terribly well read one at that.

  184. ylh

    BC,

    I haven’t followed the context but Hoss was called right wing by some Indians and other Pakistanis when he:

    1. Declared that Shireen Mazari was right in calling Rosenberg a CIA agent.

    2. Accused WSJ of planting spies in Pakistan.

    3. Claimed India was behind the Taliban.

    The thing is that I think he was wrong then and he is wrong now.

    As G2P… If anyone was to take it seriously it ought to happen in both directions.

  185. Hayyer

    “As G2P… If anyone was to take it seriously it ought to happen in both directions.”

    Now that is a thought worth a whole article on how.

  186. ylh

    Or none at all.

    But to cut to the chase, all interests in Pakistan government should have direct access to Indian public including Pakistan Army and the ISI😉

  187. hoss

    I never said that India was behind the Taliban. I might have mentioned that India might have some assets in Taliban. That does not even remotely imply that India is or was behind Taliban. Every one knows that Pakistan army was and still is behind Taliban and there was no way it would have allowed India to be behind the Taliban at the same time. Only an utterly deranged person would believed that.

    I still stand behind my support to Shirin on the spy issue. What she wrote was plausible.

    Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true no matter how someone wants to cut it. I have a history and I have been consistent in my condemnation of the army and its links with the jihadi terrorists.

  188. vajra

    @Ashu

    Your four points, brief to the extent of being Laconic, in your rejoinder.

    1. “…they have not happened so far in the last 15 months, post 26/11.”

    I should have imagined that the German Bakery bombing was horrific enough for anyone. You are surely not arguing that the death toll needs to cross a certain minimum threshold to make an impact. Nor can you be arguing that this threshold will rise as we get used to more and more deaths.

    2. “We will have to strengthen our intelligence gathering and internal security. But, that is clearly a domestic issue. Corrupt, inept or untrained police officials have to be fixed here in India, and not elsewhere.”

    I beg to disagree.

    Certainly this is police work, and not military. However, this is emphatically not the work of the cop on the beat, on dear Pandu. It is a specialized and highly-skilled task, and has to be handled by specialized and highly-skilled staff.

    Secondly, intelligence gathering is much misunderstood.
    Intelligence is gathered in different bits, at different times, from different places and sources. It never ever comes with time stamps for the actions identified. It hardly ever has any information on the players. About the only thing available usually is the location, that too in general terms.

    All intelligence can do, and CCTV coverage is not intelligence, is to monitor the level of activity among terrorists, and gauge from that whether or not an attack is imminent.

    We have this already.

    What we do not have is re-deployment of resources in quick, very flexible teams capable of meeting a terrorist threat and extinguishing it working independently.

    Certainly corrupt, inefficient and untrained police officials have to be ‘fixed’, but I suggest that this is necessary by itself, and has little or nothing to do with terrorism.

    3. “…we do not possess the brute force required to make this neighborhood safer. Hence we will have to explore other means.”

    Again, I disagree.

    The amount of force needed to make the neighbourhood safer is marginally more than we deploy today. It just has to be re-structured and re-aligned. The cost is likely to be incremental at best. The amounts we already spend on the CRPF, the BSF, the ITBP, the SSB, the Assam Rifles, the Rashtriya Rifles, and on special forces, which I shall not name here, are astronomical. Only the commanders of these forces have to understand the new focus,

    If a new force has to be developed, which I think is a bad idea, it will not cost more, probably significantly lesser than the costs of these others today.

    4. “What do you think damaged the American economy more – 9/11 attacks or the two Wars that followed to seek revenge/ justice. Has justice been delivered after all these years of fighting?”

    The Ancient Greeks used to say, ”Everything in moderation.”

    The Iraq War damaged the American economy most, followed by the Afghan War of today, and the attacks themselves.

    The point is that the Iraq War was almost a one-man dictation of terms to the world. The point is that the first phase of this Afghan War was remarkably efficient. Without the Iraq War, there would have been a swift, just, retribution inflicted on the perpetrators, or rather, their trainers.

    The point also is, This is not about the economy.

    Finally, a point of protocol. Calling an East Indian -ji is a dignity which sits awkwardly on the dignified; it is as appropriate as addressing a Christian as -’mian’, or a Muslim as Pandit’. Vajra is my nom de plume, not my real name, and is in any case an abbreviation of Vajrayogini, which is a clue to my antecedents. Just Vajra will do fine, thanks very much. ☺

    @Gorki

    Oh no, not after all these weeks and months of your writing appearing in full public view, you aren’t getting away with this “Me poor farming lad from Hoshiarpur, Sir, not good Angrezi writing, speaking, little little knowing.” Let me however stick to the thoughtful points you have made, and defer my quarrel with you about this misplaced modesty.

    1. “…even as India outlines its policy to the civilian population, it cannot remain passive or merely reactive. It has to be proactive; the time for this is now and the tools for this are an extremely focused and very intense use of soft power.”

    It does not seem reasonable that soft power can be extended indefinitely. Even a piece of elastic rubber will snap eventually, unless it is a piece of reinforced elastic rubber. If we do not have the clear possibility of hard power replacing soft power, soft power will lose its persuasive quality.

    2. “…there is a red line…”

    And where is that? Never mind the GoI; I am reminded of a politically incorrect joke about the householder who lay quiet in his bed, while a burglar broke in, stole his jewellery, molested his wife – in the original, the verb used was a robust Anglo-Saxon one, not molested – and ate all the stored food. The householder stayed quiet all the while, as he explained to the police, because he wanted to see just how far the burglar would go!

    3. “…to impose sanctions on selective elements suspected of supporting the use of terror as a tactic just like they have against the Hezbollah and the Hamas.”

    I doubt that the wide-spread Pakistani support of these organizations will allow this to happen.

    4. “…the West to join India in seeking a quick extradition of those elements responsible…”

    I agree, knowing full well that the West is now suffering WOT fatigue. Countries have started losing people to bullets and bombs, and for these countries, the Afghan War is over.

    5. “…honing its agencies at all sorts of techniques and counter measures against terror.”

    I agree completely. The complex of IB and R&W is run so badly that one could sit and cry.

    6. “…we lash out blindly and kill more innocents just so that we feel good.”

    This was never suggested, so I deduce that you are making a point in your usual subtle manner. No, doing so would sicken people everywhere. What was thought of was precisely surgical strikes, not in the Israeli sense of precisely manoeuvred air attacks, but a combination of means which reach a precise individual or two.

    If you are pleading eloquently for this not to happen, consider me aligned tightly with this thought. And your next, at point 7.

    7. “…the use of a scalpel instead of either a sledgehammer or nothing. Like I said before, the time to do all this is now; the key is preparation and then more preparation…”

    True, very true. The point is that our lords and masters in Delhi need to see this as clearly as you have outlined it. Minus your first three points, that is.🙂

    “Oh, about the Golden Temple, it would be a huge blow to the Sikh psyche and a national humiliation but we will emerge stronger. Golden temple was first destroyed by the Afghan armies in the 18th century; the Sikhs rebuilt it then and there were NO MASS retributions. Then it was destroyed in 1984 (The Akal Takht to be precise) again there were NO MASS retributions.

    If it happens again, I hope we will not spill innocent blood in return; justice, sure, as I outlined above.

    It is also my hope that if it happens Indians from all walks of life, Hindus, Muslims and Christians, Biharis, Tamils, Kashmiris, all will rally to rebuild for the Sikhs and in the process forge a much stronger spirit of national integration that it will deal a decisive blow to anti India forces. “

    I regret the reference to the Harmandir Sahib. It was not a jab at you personally, but an expression of my own personal nightmares. As an agnostic, I do not frequent temples and such; this is one of only two exceptions, for reasons that I myself do not understand clearly. This, and Maduri Meenakshi, are the only temples where I have contemplated the wonders of the universe and pondered over the workings of the world in the last 20 years.

    Consider this an apology for an unintended blow.

    @Sameet

    We effectively return to B. Civilian’s core wisdom, which I find really to be the heart of the matter. These dialogues, G2P or P2P, really belong within each country, not across national boundaries.

    To the extent that forums like PTH allow us P2P across borders, it is a boon and a blessing. We should leave it at that and not imagine that statecraft can be conducted in this way, through this medium. It is just a rare privilege to be allowed to talk to each other, or even to sit in on conversations within the other side, as guests and visitors, and should be enjoyed in that way. Nothing more. What more should we expect?

    Indeed, we should concentrate on concentrating the attention of Fatso on the corner, not on bumping off Fatso in Muridke; they have surely built up their chain of command to the Nth number. So let them drain their swamp; reading PTH should have given us the clear picture that they’ve ‘got it’ and more by now, and no patronizing homilies by Indians are really needed (I am referring to drive-by shooters and not to Gorki, who performed a public service on both sides by opening this debate).

    @Hayyer

    A lunatic thought: if only the two peoples could elect a delegate to each other’s parliaments.

  189. Majumdar

    Gorki sb,

    I think MMS is right; security should not come at the expense of the brutalizing our society.

    We may able to use the retribution route without doing the above. The reason being very fortunately that we have a large militant army drawn entirely out of Pakistani citizenry and funded and trained by elements of the Pak state, some of which can now be used by Indian agencies against anti-India forces operating from Pakistan (PA and LET etc) provided the right rapport is achieved between Indian agencies and some of these forces (Baloch, TTP, LEJ etc) by various means incl monetary incentives.

    I dont think even Kuldeep Nayyar sb wud shed any tear if some suicide bomber trained by TTP was to take out Hafeez Saeed for a retainer paid by RAW.

    Regards

  190. ylh

    Is Hoss Gujju?

    One day in a school in London , a teacher said to a class of 5-year-olds,

    I’ll give 10 pounds to the child who can tell me who was the most famous man who ever lived.”

    An Irish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St. Patrick.”
    The teacher said, “Sorry Paddy, that’s not correct.”

    Then a Scottish boy put his hand up and said, “It was St. Andrew.”
    The teacher replied, “I’m sorry, Hamish, that’s not right either.”

    Then a Jewish boy put his hand up and said “David”.

    The Buddhist boy said “Gautama Buddha” and the Muslim boy said “Mohammed”..
    They all were not successful.

    Finally, a Gujarati boy raised his hand and said, “It was Jesus Christ.”

    The teacher said, “That’s absolutely right, Jignesh, come up here and I’ll give you the 10 pounds that I promised.”

    As the teacher was giving Jignesh his money, she said, “You know
    Jignesh, since you’re a Hindu Gujarati; I was very surprised you said Jesus Christ.”

    Jignesh replied, “You see in my heart I know it was Lord Krishna, but Bijness is Bijness !!!

  191. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Gujju banias are the best of the desi lot. Our beloved Qaid (pbuh) was one.

    Regards

  192. ylh

    But just imagine if Jinnah and Gandhi were not Gujjubanias…

  193. vajra

    @YLH

    ROTFL.

    Class. I shall now propagate this one gleefully to my (few) Gujju pals.

    @Majumdar

    Taking a leaf from the book of some other eminent Gujju, not J, not G:

    Majumdar. Only Majumdar.

    Only you could have come out and said the unsayable.

    Of course, you know that this qualifies as a self-fulfilling prophecy from the Pakistani point of view.

    If this is remotely a flavour of what you are up to on Chowk, it must be a very lively place.

  194. Majumdar

    Yasser Pai,

    Gandhi wud have remained Gandhi even if he had not born in a Gujju bania household. But it is highly debatable if Jinnah wud have been what his admirers admire him for had he not been born in a Gujju bania Ismaili household (i.e if he had been born a Muslim, that is).

    Regards

  195. ylh

    Well if your reference is his industrious Ismaili Khoja business community then I agree with you.

    J-man not only would not be respected by you and I but perhaps would not have been the tenacious negotiator and shrewd operator that managed to bring the diverse and disunited multitudes behind him.

  196. Ganpat Ram

    What I find appalling and ridiculous in all this is the totally unnecessary, whining inferiority complex displayed by Muslims.

    Contrary to the current myth, Muslims in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have a great deal to be proud, happy and encouraged about.

    It is a very widespread fashion in the West and India to keep saying Pakistan has been a brutal failure, while India is a huge success. The fact is, visitors to Pakistan from India are always surprised how much MORE prosperous Pakistan is. As William Dalrymple haspointed out, there is far less sheer poverty in Pakistan, the electricity supply is much more reliable, the infrastructure is very much superior to India’s, people generally seem healthy and well-fed compared to the weedy-looking Indians, and the houses of the Pakistani middle class are bigger and more modern.

    Even Bangladesh has done better than India in terms of healthcare and reducing infant mortality.

    So why does Pakistan have to keep apologising or feel worried about the Partition? Muslims are DEFINITELY living better as a result of the Partition.

    This is the blunt FACT Indians and even many Pakistanis will not admit.

    The truth is, Partition was good for Hindus AND Muslims.

    Now all of us have our separate, reasonably successful countries, and should work to develop them, going our separate ways and not interfering with each other.

    Pakistan and Bangladesh should simply be another two foreign countries, for India, and vice-versa.

    Stop the obsessing.

    As for Muslim liberals, let them depend on no-one but themselves. Be confident and strong.

  197. Majumdar

    Ganpat Ramji,

    Well-written.

    The fact is, visitors to Pakistan from India are always surprised how much MORE prosperous Pakistan is. Even Bangladesh has done better than India in terms of healthcare and reducing infant mortality.

    There is more than an element of truth to this. Prof Riaz Haq has written lots of stuff on this on chowk.com. Pls come to chowk and you can read his i-logs on the subject.

    the weedy-looking Indians

    Ha, ha, sounds funny and racist, but is actually true.

    Muslims are DEFINITELY living better as a result of the Partition.

    Partially true. Pak Muslims are definitely better off, IMs are definitely worse off. About BD Muslims, I am not too sure although possibly they are better off.

    Regards

  198. B. Civilian

    YLH

    hoss has just reconfirmed his stance on shirin mazari. on india and taliban, his argument was that it was useful and clever to claim that india was behind the taliban. he was rightly criticised, in my view, by indians (possibly with one exception) and some pakistanis here. though it was the indians criticising him who, it seemed, saw him as a ‘right-wing cynic’. the one or two pakistanis disagreeing with him, on the other hand, saw him mostly as a left-wing cynic, it would seem, or as just a cynic on that occasion.

  199. vajra

    @B. Civilian

    What makes one very careful when reading his views is his apparent cynicism then, and his wide-eyed idealism now.

    Which is the real Hoss?

    Even if he says something that appeals to the Indian jingo in some of us, I would advise caution in supporting his views. It may be a set-up. We need to watch and wait and listen and see.

  200. B. Civilian

    Vajra

    “Which is the real Hoss?”

    i’m happy to engage with his ideas, suggestions and arguments only, one at a time, without the need to ever try and put them all together to make some kind of complete picture which, in any case, may or may not be an entire person.

  201. ylh

    ow is Shireen Mazari’s abuse against WSJ useful to that cause?

    I am sorry but I don’t buy hoss’ nonsense. All his efforts are agenda driven…what that agenda is not very clear.

  202. B. Civilian

    i gave the example of different takes on hoss over the course of two or three different threads in support of my view expressed above. and my main point was that if we cannot paint even a person with too broad a brush, we certainly cannot do that to a whole nation.

  203. B. Civilian

    “all interests in Pakistan government should have direct access to Indian public including Pakistan Army and the ISI”

    there could be a PA channel and an ISI channel for indian tv viewers. but in fairness, and out of mercy, the PA and ISI should be allowed to insist that the IA and RAW must have their tv channels in pakistan too. oh, and each govt can have its respective official channel in the other country as well. at the very least, it would be an improvement on the great indian laughter challenge.

  204. ylh

    But according to Indians, RAW and IA are completely subservient and under direct control of the civilian IG. It therefore does not make sense for them to be given TV channels… unless ofcourse it can be demonstrated that IA and RAW are players in the IG.

  205. B. Civilian

    the IA and RAW can and will be tasked by the GoI, of course, to do the channels. if GoI thinks it important, the IA and RAW can also be instructed to elaborate the point about total subservience. but the real challenge would be none of that, of course.

  206. Ganpat Ram

    MAJUMDAR

    Thanks for the appreciation, but I definitely disagree with you about Indian Muslims and Partition.

    Even THEY gained hugely from Partition.

    India became much less tense and much more manageable once two-thirds of its Muslim population left with Partition. Indian freedom and democracy became practicable. Indian Muslims enjoy freedom in most of India. They can ridicule Hinduism as much as they please, openly.

    Indian Muslims’ economic backwardness is no fault of the Hindus. It is because in India Muslims cling to Sharia and cut themselves off from modern education.

    So we are all winners with Jinnah !!!!

    Let us put an end to the morbid Muslim sense of grievance that thwey are the losers of Partition and live each in his own way: Pakistan and Bangladesh as proud parts of the Islamic world, India a proud Hindu nation. All of us respecting minorities.

    OK?

  207. B. Civilian

    Gorki

    “he too wanted a democratic Pakistan but if God, forbid someone interfered in his country, he too would be duty bound to resist it first. ”

    it reminded me of faiz ahmed faiz offering his services free of charge to the the ayub regime at the time of the ’65 war. the offer was accepted. on the other end of the spectrum, as it were, maududi, who had always been opposed to ‘jihad’ or war in kashmir, was approached by ayub for his support during the war, and maudoodi obliged.

    in the end, the war became ayub’s undoing. faiz left the govt position as soon as the war ended. the only two who gained were the hypocritical democrat bhutto and the anti-democratic maudoodi.

    it’s just an observation triggered by your mention of the email your friend wrote you. that’s all.

  208. vajra

    @ylh

    ylh
    March 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    But according to Indians, RAW and IA are completely subservient and under direct control of the civilian IG. It therefore does not make sense for them to be given TV channels… unless ofcourse it can be demonstrated that IA and RAW are players in the IG.

    I object strenuously to dragging poor IG into all this. I happen to know first hand that all he wishes for is a quiet and peaceful existence. You have no business destroying his peace of mind and his calm and contemplative existence.

    OTOH, if you meant GoI, the Government of India – oh, that’s different, then!

  209. Ganpat Ram

    What a fanatical Islamist Faiz was, under his pose as a liberal !

  210. Insight

    ylh:

    @The taliban side was a reference to Fakir of Ipi. I for one don’t think Bacha Khan was an extremist per se …just an opportunist like most politicians.”
    @Bacha Khan was a politician and a rather bad one.”
    ==Agreed. We are on same page.

    @Since your knowledge of Bacha Khan seems to be limited internet.”
    –You are right about my knowledge but I am on the same page as with you.

    Gandhi and Frontier Gandhi are politicians. I know people associating MKGandhi with Genocide. So I am not surprised when you say “Yes kk were about as non-violent as Mahatma Gandhi- the real one not Hollywood Mahatma Gandhi.” I know how far off you want to go from Bollywood, but I am not making a Hitler out of Gandhi. Many—a wide spectrum of people—do that for different reasons. I do not believe in Gandhi the GOD picture. There is lot more to it—rather interesting details, but I admire him, despite him having all those “non-hollywood” details.

    Thanks for recommending me the books. Will read one day.

    Cheers!

  211. Insight

    ylh:

    Correction:

    “I DO NOT know how far off you want to go from Bollywood, but I am not making a Hitler out of Gandhi.”

  212. Ganpat Ram

    INSIGHT:

    Do make a Hitler out of gandhi. Don’t be so hesitant.

  213. insight

    Ganpat Ram:

    Hey Ram!

    I can shoot a one liner crap and call Gandhi a Hitler. It is just a small hindrance that I do not have a reason.