Strategic grandeur

Raza Rumi

As if Pakistan’s domestic woes were not troubling, the unravelling of the US strategy and its implications are eluding even the best of strategists. Mind you, Pakistan is a place every third person is a ‘strategy’ expert and the term ‘strategic’, thanks to the militarisation of the Pakistani mind, is an ever-popular reference. The ideological domination of Pakistan’s discourse is a palpable reality. This is why, across the political spectrum one finds a sense of victory over the failure of US strategy in Afghanistan. This failure is interpreted as the validation of Pakistan’s ‘genuine’ and ‘legitimate’ interest in Afghanistan.

What has worried me most in recent weeks is the capitulation of the liberal-secular chatterati to this pop-discourse of military war games. One is not surprised when former generals and the hawkish hordes of former Foreign Office mandarins express their jubilation. But when supposedly rational and progressive experts pontificate about how ‘we’ have made ‘them’ fail, it is simply shocking. This identification of Pakistani nationalism and patriotism with the invasion of Kabul through proxies is a strange phenomenon. If I am not being too cynical, national pride, even in the jingoistic confines of nation-state narratives, has several other dimensions which are simply ignored. Those who are celebrating the US/Nato withdrawal (full or partial) are prima facie ignorant of the grave consequences of a Taliban regime in southern Afghanistan.

Three questions are of import. First, whether the delinking of Afghani Taliban from Al-Qaeda will take place in actual terms or not. Second, where would the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan be within the cooperation matrix; and third, what will happen to the larger issue of extremism and sectarianism in Pakistan? Thus far, these three issues remain unaddressed. The Jekyll-Hyde nature of state engagement with the issue of militancy is not sustainable. Above all, Pakistan’s tottering democracy is going to be further strained if the tide of Talibanisation gets out of control. This is where we find the policy debate unimaginative and regurgitating the national security fables, removed from the long-term interests of Pakistan.

We need to reassess state priorities. Our economy is in doldrums due to the refusal of Pakistan’s elites to pay taxes and their perennial squandering of public resources. Our youth is directionless, trapped in outdated collapsing education systems that do not provide skills. And jobs are not keeping pace with the demand. Sectarianism is now embedded in the social fabric and extremism has acquired legitimacy under the dominant ideology of global political Islam.

In these circumstances, ruling Kabul to contain the enemy — India — is hardly something to celebrate. If anything, Pakistan’s economy will get a boost through regional economic cooperation. But these concerns are marginal to mainstream strategic thinking. In fact, strategy is now a reflection of an adhoc, short-term view of military might and dominance. Pakistan is under attack from within. Its geostrategic location, admittedly, makes it difficult to focus exclusively on domestic imperatives. How can the good Taliban in the neighbourhood be good for the country? We are in an intractable situation, victims of our history and geography. Most importantly, we are victims of our own delusions of grandeur. Any change will have to re-engineer the Pakistani mind and disarm it of martial narratives. A tall order, but without achieving this our downward slide will continue and is likely to accelerate once the Americans start pulling out and our strategic assets march on to reclaim the depth we had gained in the 1990s. Are we condemned to repeat history? Only time will tell.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2010.

81 Comments

Filed under Pakistan

81 responses to “Strategic grandeur

  1. libertarian

    @Raza Rumi: glad to see people like you who can still call BS in this fog of war. Saying I’m in violent agreement with the stated position is an understatement. Seems either that the situation in Pakistan is being grossly exaggerated or that many thinking Pakistanis don’t get – or don’t want to face – just how perilous the situation is.

  2. neel123

    Those big names in the media and diplomacy in Pakistan, close to the military establishment, do not seem to be as worried about the economic dimensions of Pakistan’s policies in the region, as they are excited about the prospects of a military victory in the AfPak war.

    It is a grand gamble in a game of poker, where the stakes are high. So, as of now, it will be a long trail of destruction and blood bath in the AfPak theater.

  3. Girish

    Good article. However, it does not address another important issue. It is taken as a given by even the most liberal of Pakistani commentators that Indian engagement with Afghanistan is somehow a threat to it. (For fairness, India has in many cases treated others involvement in what it considers its backyard as threat too, so this is not unique to Pakistan). But is this really true? What has India’s involvement in Afghanistan been in the last 9 years? It has
    a. built roads to connect areas that had no transportation systems
    b. built a power line to provide some kind of a modern power supply system in Kabul
    c. is building the Afghanistan parliament,
    d. has donated aircraft to revive Ariana Airlines,
    e. has given buses to help Afghanistan set up a rudimentary public transportation system,
    f. runs Afghanistan’s main children’s hospital
    g. has donated high energy biscuits to try and replicate India’s mid-day meal scheme for primary school children in Afghanistan

    There was immense US pressure on India to send soldiers to Afghanistan during the Bush administration, and India resisted it throughout. There are no plans for any military engagement in Afghanistan. And apart from Pakistani allegations, none of which have ever been accompanied by even the flimsiest of evidence, there is nothing to suggest that India is using Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan’s security. It is laughable to believe the allegations of the Zaid Hamids of the world that India would be supporting the Tehrik e Taliban. Many of these very elements have killed Indian worked, bombed India’s embassy and consulates and are as diametrically opposite from India’s position as can be.

    So what exactly does Pakistan fear? None of the activities of India in Afghanistan threaten it in any way. If anything, they will help stabilize Afghanistan. A stable Afghanistan, focused on development and in control of its borders can only be good for Pakistan. Maybe it is not good for the Pakistan army and its ability to continue being in the driver’s seat in Pakistan and wrangling goodies from the US. But that is an internal issue for Pakistan and Pakistanis to resolve.

  4. Hasnat Chohan

    Indians everywhere—even on this site. They are masters of hijacking everything including this site with their overwhelming numbers.

  5. libertarian

    @girish: So what exactly does Pakistan fear? None of the activities of India in Afghanistan threaten it in any way.

    Surely you jest. The decision not to send troops to Afghanistan was a lack of Indian spine – a bug disguised as a feature (a good decision I think – why waste Indian blood and treasure on that hopeless, benighted hell-hole corner of the world?). The road-building is not exactly a Mother Theresa effort either. Google Zaranj-Delaram highway and Chabahar port for more.

  6. Girish

    So what exactly is threatening to Pakistan about the Zaranj-Delaram highway and the Chahbahar port? I am all ears.

    And how does it matter why India does not want to military engage in Afghanistan? The fact is that it does not.

  7. libertarian

    @Hasnat Chohan: Indians everywhere—even on this site. They are masters of hijacking everything including this site with their overwhelming numbers.

    Ha ha. As someone said the thing that saved us during centuries of invasion was our birth-rate and our love for home-grown miseries like the caste-system.

  8. Girish

    BTW, it is hard to argue that Mother Teresa did not have a personal motive in whatever she did (saving the souls of others and herself). It is futile to argue that nations don’t act in their own interests. The question here is whether it does something that threatens somebody else. I don’t see any evidence of any such activities in Afghanistan by India in the last 9 years.

  9. libertarian

    @Girish: So what exactly is threatening to Pakistan about the Zaranj-Delaram highway and the Chahbahar port? I am all ears.

    Zaranj-Delaram == Land Bridge From Arabian Sea to Afghanistan that bypasses Pakistan. If the US kiss and make up with Iran supply lines to Afghanistan could run this route rather than tried and severely tested Karachi through Balochistan route.

    Chabahar could be to India what Gwadar is to China. Also another convenient lookout post for RAW spooks. Zaranj-Delaram links the heart of Afghanistan with Chabahar.

  10. Raj

    Girish writes: “Indian engagement with Afghanistan is somehow a threat to it. ”

    That’s because Pakistan is ONLY an ideology. It may have trappings of a traditional nation state, but Pakistan is ONLY an ideology.

    A traditional nation state’s primary goal is welfare of people living within its borders.

    Pakistan, the ideology’s focus has always been external to its borders. Jinnah may have given a few speeches post-1947 as if he is founding a traditional nation state, but only the ideology has grown.

    About Afghanistan, it is a false claim of paks that they do not want an unfriendly regime. They want only Afghanistan as a colony, to be at the mercy of Imperial Pakistan.

  11. Girish

    Please point me to how alternative supply routes for a landlocked country threatens Pakistan’s security in any way. Yes, it takes away Pakistani monopoly over supply routes and its ability to threaten Afghanistan and the ISAF with disruption of supplies. So it can be argued that it actually enhances Afghanistan’s security and stability. It would threaten Pakistan’s security only under the perverted logic that an Afghanistan that is not a client state of Pakistan, utterly dependent on it for even the most basic of needs is a security threat to it.

    And nothing about the road makes it easier for the supposed RAW spooks to do anything that they could not otherwise have done. The road is far away from Pakistan’s borders so this is a red herring as well.

    Chabahar is an Iranian port. And a civilian one at that. There has been no hint of any Indian military activities or future plans with respect to the port. It allows for supply to some parts of Afghanistan through shorter and cheaper transportation links. Why should that be a problem to anybody at all?

  12. amar

    The pakistani way of thinking and arguing here shows a fundamental inability to be honest about the miseries caused by Pakistan to itself and others. Pakistanis can never believe that any state can be less evil than the pakistani one. So if India does anything good in Afghanistan then the pakistanis must pull it into the dirt. “I won’t do anything good nor will I allow anyone else to do it or I will pull it into dirt” – is their lifestyle.

    Do the pakistanis notice that about themselves? I think some few – very few – do.

  13. Humanity

    An excellent analysis! People seem to be at a loss as the brilliant minds struggle to formulate a strategy to overcome the transgressions and follies of this nation.

    Any right minded person who genuinely cares for the welfare of this nation would be deeply concerned. It seems that in their delusion of being superior Muslims, Pakistan dug a deep hole for itself and is now standing unguided and helpless at the edge of an abyss.

    From humanity’s simple yet time tested point of view, nothing short of a miracle can deprogram the mindset to reverse its dead-end course towards self-destruction.

    Any God-fearing person can see the moral and temporal society-wide collapse that is already in progress. Those who truly believe in Allah(swt) should fall prostrate in repentance and should beseech His guidance, before He waylays the transgressors, the people whom He considers as having gone astray.

    As Pakistanis celebrate Eid-ul-Azha in remembrance of Prophet Ibrahim’s (as) obedience to Allah(swt), it is imperative to reflect on the blessings that Allah(swt) bestowed on Prohphet Ibrahim(as) as his reward. Prophet Ibrahim(sa) did not want his children to be unguided and thus he prayed for prophets among his progeny to guide them. Allah(swt) rewarded his obedience by answering his supplications. Prophet Ibrahim’s(sa) progeny was blessed with a succession of prophets over the centuries. Allah (swt) showered His mercy for the mankind in the person of the Holy Prohphet Mohammad(swt), through whom He completed His message of love and mercy for the universe.

    Allah(awt) taught people to seek His help through individual and collective prayers. It is clear that even God’s holy prophets prayed for Allah’s(swt) help and guidance. As the nation stand at the perilous juncture, it is incumbent upon the nation to pray for Allah’s(swt) guidance as taught in the oft-repeated seven beautiful versus of the Holy Book:

    “In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful;
    All praise belongs to Allah (alone), Lord of all the worlds;
    The Gracious, the Merciful;
    Master of the Day of Judgment;
    Thee alone do we worship, and Thee alone do we implore for help;
    Guide us in the straight path;
    The path of those on whom Thou bestowed Thy favors, those who have not incurred Thy displeasure, and those who have not gone astray.”

    Reflection on these versus, which form the opening chapter of the Holy Book, makes it clear that the path of intolerance and bigotry can never ever be the straight path, which leads towards Allah’s pleasure. Among Allah’s(swt) favors, is being given a genuine guide/leader who leads to the straight path and helps people to not go astray. This unguided nation lacks a genuine guide; one who leads to the path of love and mercy, following in the foot steps of the Holy Prophet (saw), the mercy for the entire universe.

    The delusional mindset can only be changed through cleansing the minds of bigotry and hatred and by seeking Allah’s hand for His guidance. Only then does Allah bestow His favors by showing the straight path through his guides. Leaders and guides are given to those who fear Allah(swt) and seek His guidance through humility. The arrogant who think they are self-sufficient and independent of divine help are left to wander and wither away in darkness.

    May Allah open the closed minds and help this nation to realize its destiny. Ameen.

  14. Kaalket

    Hasnat Chohan
    Before you object ,First remove the last name Chohan which is very much Indian and associated with Rajputs and Sikhs who prefered to die than convert under duress and sell their soul for cheap. Please do not insult Chohan blood by adding it with Arabic or Persian Name . Question to good people here, Why do Pakistani have Indian last names ? AFAIK, No Indian has ever made claim of begetting any Arab child who came to Sindh with Holy Fathers from Arabia.

  15. lal

    @girish
    don’t agree with the view that Indian involvement in Afghanistan is entirely benign.And i don’t think it have to be benign.
    Put another away,why should we pump all the money there…good will,business or some strategic calculation…or all three..
    We have had excellent relationship with Afghan through out the past 50 years except at d time of Taliban…so no wonder we should try to retrieve some lost ground.
    Pakistan’s objections,even if genuine cant really stop us.It is not us if,India stop interfering in Afghan and Pakistan will give us peace Kashmir.We have to follow our interests.

  16. Humanity

    20 Second Read Children Paulo Coelho

    In search of rain

    After four years of drought in the little village, the parish priest gathered everybody to make a pilgrimage to the mountain; there they would join in communal prayer to ask for rain.
    In the middle of the group the priest noticed a boy all wrapped up in warm clothes and covered by a raincoat.

    “Are you crazy?” he asked. “It hasn’t rained in this region for five years and you’ll die of the heat climbing the mountain!”
    “I’ve got a cold, father. If we are going to pray to God for rain, can you imagine the climb back down? The downpour is going to be so heavy that it’s better to be prepared.”

    And only after these words a loud roar was heard in the sky and the first drops began to fall. The faith of a boy was enough to work a miracle that thousands of men were praying for.

  17. Humanity

    20 Second Read Children Paulo Coelho

    What is treason?

    Walking down the street, the prophet asked: “aren’t we all children of the same Eternal Father?”
    The multitude agreed. And the prophet went on: “and if that is so, why do we betray our brother?”

    A boy who was watching asked his father: “what does betray mean?”
    “It means to trick your companion in order to gain a certain advantage.”
    “And why do we betray our companion?” insisted the boy.
    “Because in the past somebody began all that. Ever since then, nobody knows how to stop the wheel. We are always betraying or being betrayed.”
    “Then I won’t betray anyone,” said the boy.

    And so he did. He grew up and suffered a lot during his life, but kept his promise.
    His children suffered less and endured fewer hardships.
    His grandchildren did not suffer at all.

  18. Girish

    Lal,

    I have said nothing about it being benign or otherwise. Every country pursues its interests and India is doing nothing different in Afghanistan. There is also likely a strong Indian intelligence presence in Afghanistan, and it is completely understandable, since Afghanistan has been verifiably used in the past to adversely affect India’s security. What I am saying is that there is absolutely no evidence to date (and 9 years is a long time for such evidence to emerge) of any Indian activity in Afghanistan that impinges adversely on Pakistan’s security. Why then is it taken as a given? That is my question.

  19. Lal: thanks for getting the point
    Hasnat C: Indeed, this is a reality that we have to live with
    Raj and Amar: you guys are sounding like broken record – utter lack of nuance in your arguments – black and white positions straight out of the mainstream Indian media. This is an alternative space and not sify.com – please…

  20. Lal: thanks for getting the point
    Hasnat C: Indeed, this is a reality that we have to live with
    Raj and Amar: you guys sound like broken records – utter lack of nuance in your arguments – black and white positions straight out of the mainstream Indian media. This is an alternative space and not sify.com – please…

  21. androidguy

    Raza Rumi,

    While I understand your frustration and ennui, there was no need to castigate the “mainstream media” of my country. Mainstream media of India reflects most of India feels about Pakistan. And by the way, refer to cafe Pyala for what your country’s mainstream media is all about. You,, of all people, should know better!

  22. Tilsim

    @ Androidguy

    Yes and similarly much of Pakistan’s mainstream media reflects what most of Pakistan feel about India. It does n’t help a person who is looking for a nuanced perspective. I am curious, in your view are Raj, Kaalket and Amar representative of mainstream Indian opinion?

  23. androidguy

    Tilsim,

    I didn’t point a barb at the mainstream media of your country, while Raza Rumi did on mine. I am fine with your quest for a nuanced view, indeed, I came here to understand and to learn to formulate a nuanced view if I can. But do the vast majority of Indians disagree with what is said about Pakistan on India Today, Outlook, NDTV, Zee, CNN-IBN. Times of India? Hell no. When that girl asked that question to Obama, when the editors write the pieces that they write on Pakistan, its because we Indians simply have had enough of your violet, satanic ways. No, Raj, kaalket and Amar are not exactly representative of mainstream Indian opinion, with their crude views about Islam and Pakistan, but the general sentiment they espouse does exist in many of us, and frankly, I don’t see why not with all the things your Khaaki wallahs have done to us in the last 20 years.

  24. Raj

    @Rumi
    Does it occur to you we may feel the same way about what you write. You can disagree with what we say, why this desire to portray we are brain dead and repeat “mainstream media”.

    Unless you feel only people who have opionion different from mainstream Indian media should come here.!

  25. Raj

    @Rumi
    What type of nuanced views are there around in any India- pak discusssion. I don’t see any in any blog from any one!

    There are still a few (increasingly smaller number) from India who are still having pipe dream that India should do something to placate Pakistan.

    Your desire to advise your people to change course is understandable and should be appreciated. But Indians shouldn’t get any false optimism. that’s my point.

  26. Chote Miyan

    Pakistan’s strategy in Afghanistan can be summed up in:
    “Hum to dubenge sanam, tumko bhi le dubenge..”

  27. neel123

    @ Chote Miyan,
    You are right on dot. What is the point of dancing around this simple fact ?
    It is a grand gamble, a grand blackmail ………..the outcome of which lies in the womb of the future.

  28. Hasnat Chohan

    @Kaalket
    I am a very proud Chohan and it is my birthright to use this surname. It is also my birthright to be a citizen of whatever country I was born in and love it. Yes we Pakistanis have a lot in common with Indians but we also have a lot in common with Afghans, Iranians, Turks, and to some extent Arabs. They dont object to us having the same names as them then why do you? Are there any insecurities some Indians have about Pakistani last names?

  29. Bade Miyan

    @neel

    Thanks!

    @Kalket
    “First remove the last name Chohan which is very much Indian and associated with Rajputs and Sikhs”

    What kind of nonsense is that? There are scores of Muslim Rajputs who have a lot more claim to the Rajput titles than some idiots like you. I think you have forgotten that the Mughal emperors from Jahangir onwards had more Rajput blood than Turks or Afghan or whatever. There was no dearth of Rajput princes lining up to give their daughters and sisters in marriage to Muslim emperors.

  30. amar

    “Raj Kaalket Amar”

    Is that the name of some new movie being made in bollywood or lollywood?

    Truth hurts those who want to live in denialism. Muslims are hurting themsalves by denying their own crimes and by denying that their so-called holy book is defective and deficient. Hindus are hurting themselves by believing islam-muslims can be a nice-neighbourly ideology or fellow humans.

    Gandhi too had his denialism.

    To Chohan

    The name Chohan does not suit as a family name for quislings of arabic or turkish or islamic imperialisms in the indian subcontinent. Arabs don’t mind you having an arabic name because they know that by taking an arabic name you are fulfilling their wish of having their quislings and minions in the indian subcontinent. The arab part of your name is a sign of your actual status as a quisling (of arabic imperialism), whereas the rajput part contradicts it. If you are proud of the rajput part of your name then the question is: how many rajput deities and customs do you worship or follow? Does it fill you with pride that rajputs lost wars to the agents and quislings of arabic or turkish imperialisms and had to give their daughters and sisters to these alien rapists and looters in return for a lowly “protected” status under the invaders?

  31. Pingback: Strategic grandeur « Therearenosunglasses’s Weblog

  32. Humanity

    @amar

    “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” — The Buddha

  33. re: Raza Rumi

    First of all, this is just a momentary lapse of my self-imposed exile from PTH.

    The de-linking of the Afghan Taliban from Al Qaeda will take place, but on cultural issues. Al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban are subactors in the struggle for political control inside Afghanistan and Al Qaeda needs the Taliban for its own political reasons, but once the Taliban realize that they can politically exist without Al Qaeda; they will move away.

    Secondly; Pakistan cannot defeat its Taliban and will have to compromise with them in order to end the insurency and that means Pakistani Taliban will become another actor in the Pakistani politics. The reality is that the Pakistani Taliban cannot be wished away and will have to be accomodated. The only question is to what extent is the state of Pakistan willing to accomodate them and till that balance is reached, the mayhem inside Pakistan will continue unabated.

    The issues of terrorism and sectarianism will be further emboldened, because once the reality is understood that the state of Pakistan is weak and cannot defend its interests; political demands will be forced upon it. The question becomes, whether Pakistan is willing be engaged in a war with no end in sight and does it have the ability to fight such a war?

    Wars are political strenghts of will and their success and failure is determined by the ability to pay for them.

    Does Pakistan have the economic resilence to fight its wars and if not; then what is it prepared to cede in order to seek a peace and a peace on whose terms?

    The debate is not about religion; it is about political power and as long as the debate is seen is through a religious lens, it will remain opaque.

    ciao

  34. Parvez

    Feroz,
    Your is one of the best exposition of way out of current difficulty. The insurgency started when Mushy surrendered to Bush dictates. It would be nice if you could develop this theme further.

  35. Kaalket

    Bade Miyan
    Those Rajputs in alliance with Moghals were socially boycotted . The honor and respect of being Rajput rest on sacrifices made in struggle against the islamic invaders . By your statement , you insult the countless men who wore the Kesri Baana and countless women who committed Jauhar as ultimate sacrifice. A Musalman with Rajput ,Jutt or Kshatriya name is an axymoronic entity. Hasnat with wrong last name Chohan is portraying them weak minded who will convert under duress. Chohans are not known to be jump shipping Chuhas. He should read the history of Chauhans and figure out himself .

  36. Feroz Khan

    re: Parvez

    I can develop this theme further, but it will only interest a very small group of individuals, with backgrounds that will be too dissimilar to those of PTH readership.

    The insurgency did not start with Musharraf following Bush’s policies. To answer this question, one has to understand what is the reason and purpose behind an insurgency? The next question is why does an insurgency originates in the first place?

    Insurgencies are typically identified as asysmetrical warfare and then, the question is why fight an asystemetrical warfare instead of a conventional war?

    Here, the discussion moves into the realms of intentions and capabilities, which then pre-supposes that insurgencies, like war and other armed conflict which have political origins to them, are fought to address political grievences, whose issues are denied expression in the normal spectrum of a political-diplomatic discourse.

    As I said before; ignore the religious tints and hues of this war and what is left are the cold, self-interested, and rational complusions of political power.

    What reasons are motivating the state of Pakistan to resist the Taliban and what reasons are motivating those, who support the Taliban against the state of Pakistan?

    To answer this question, one has to understand the nature of political power and its intentions.

    To understand the nature of political intentions in Pakistan, one needs to identify that political rationale, which can explain the political imperatives of this war/insurgency.

    ciao

  37. androidguy

    @Feroz,

    I think you should indulge us with your posts. I, for one, is part of the small group of PTH readers interested in your exposition. I think what you say are quite insightful, as also well articlulated.

  38. Hasnat Chohan

    All the narrow minded people here can fret over why there are a lot of Rajput Muslims all they want. I am well aware of the history of India and the important role played by Rajputs but I’m also a free human being with a free will who refuses to be confined by any tradition or culture be it Rajputana or Islamic. You may see Muslims as subservient to the Arabs if you wish but it can be argued that whoever follows a religion (or any order for that matter) is subservient to some degree. At the very least, one has to follow the law so they’re restrained in what they can and cannot do. The point is that none of us is totally free so what difference does it make in what way I’m chained? Can anyone here say they’re enjoying total and unrestrained freedom? Perhaps Hindus of sub-continent are also minions of the Arya order established a long time ago. What existed before that and why should I not follow it?

  39. Salman Arshad

    @Raza Rumi:

    You have left China out of the picture and how much it influences everything we do.

    This time we are against India because of China.

    We are doing for China against India what we did for the US against the Soviets.

    Once you bring China in, all of your concerns about how the state’s engagement with militancy is sustainable, or how ruling Kabul and containing the “enemy” is something to celebrate, will be resolved.

    We have China’s full support in fuming anti-India sentiment in the country, which apparently doesn’t have any context or reason.

    I think this is one topic that PTH is still missing on.

    @ Feroz Khan:

    You rightly point out the political power struggle in the region.

    I would elaborate and include the neighboring regions in as well, and I think this is again the same story repeating itself.

    The state of Pakistan can once again BENEFIT from the insurgents, so no one in their “right” mind will want to dismantle them.

  40. Watty

    Eid Mubarak ঈদ মোবারক عیدمُبارک

    With best wishes for peace, joy and well being of all!!!

  41. gandhi

    HasMukh Chauhan,

    Indians are masters in hijacking sites but Papilandis are masters in hijacking airlines. About your name soon you will drop Chau to be a pure blooded Han to please your chini masters.

  42. @ Salman Arshad (November 19, 2010 at 5:02 am)

    The only feasible manner in which the state of Pakistan can benefit from the insurgents is if they both share common political goals.

    If the above statement is true, then there would be no need for an insurgency. An insurgency springs from a political disagreement; the politics of a conflict sustains the insurgency and the political conditionalities, which influence and guide an insurgency, will determine its scope and intensity.

    Critical policy decisions, such as supporting or not supporting an insurgency cannot, and should not, be decided on the basis of speculative values, which have no significance in reality and the use of historic examples, or to quote past precedents, are misleading. No two wars in history shared a similar political background, because each war/armed conflict has its own unique set of political conditions.

    In the case of China and Pakistan and the historic narrative, such an idea is a speculative assumption. China, given its own domestic political invaribles, would not be too favorably disposed towards the idea of an insurgency. The reason is that that states that support armed insurgencies, as tools of political persuasion, risk their own internal stability in the long term, because once an insurgency is unleashed; states will invaribly encounter grave difficulties in attempting to politically and military leash such insurgencies once political differnces emerge between the patron and the client.

    China is a rational state-actor and it will never risk its internal security by following a set of policy criteria, which lessens its diplomatic options instead of increasing them. Pakistan is considered to be an irrational state actor, because in pursuing its policies through armed insurgencies, it has lessened its options in international diplomacy rather than increasing them.

    No insurgency or insurgents can benefit Pakistan as long as the calibration of such an enterprise lacks political imperatives. The aim of an insurgency has to be political in nature and towards this end, military power is applied but such an use of military power/leverage, must have a political direction to it.

    The problem is that in the case of Pakistan, insurgencies have a military rationale to them, which is completely devoid of political considerations and they are guided by a military requirement, which exists in isolation of the political reasons.

    Therefore, such an insurgency, which lacks political control, direction and reason is highly dangerous and unpredictable. The element of unpredictibility stems from the fact that the military, in pursuit of military objectives, in supporting such an insurgency might actually lessen the diplomatic options available to the state by committing it to new and risky policy tangents.

    The Pakistani military, by acting and existing outside of a civilian political control, was able to create, implement and maintain policy options, without any sense of accountibility. This reality basically turned Karl von Clausewitz’ famous diction that war is a continuation of diplomacy by other means to mean, in the case of Pakistan, diplomacy is the continuation of war by other means.

    ciao

  43. nourdu

    @ Salman Arshad

    For your viewing pleasure.

    I hope you will learn something and get back your mental balance.

  44. amar

    to humanity

    By accusing me of anger etc. you are avoiding my arguments. Deal with the arguments forwarded by me. Since you don’t see my face you can’t know whether I am angry.

    to salman

    China is an ethnofascist and imperialist nation since 3000 years. Now they are in full power thanks to Nixon, Kissinger and Pakistan. An imperialist power needs mischief-makers at beck and call. Now Pakistan has transferred its mischief-making role into the service of the Chinese. Formerly it was the USA. Pakistan can become important only in that negative-destructive sense. This is like some boys in the school. They can become important in their class only by doing mischief. Pakistan is also the mischief-maker for the arabs, esp. saudis. That is now Pakistan’s main source of income also.

  45. Samachar

    Feroz Khan, you will find this in Asia Times Online, about Sheikh Essa (seventy-year-old Egyptian Abu “Amr” Abd al-Hakim Hassan)

    “After the US invasion of Afghanistan, Essa crossed the border to the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan. There, with the help of two prominent clerics, Sadiq Noor and Abdul Khaliq Haqqani, he turned the sympathies of the tribal areas, previously loyal to Pakistan, against the military.

    However, he did not limit himself to the tribal areas and found allies all over the country. Masood Janjua (detained by the security forces several years ago and still missing) was his first adherent and in a matter of a few years Essa had a huge following in Pakistan.

    The most prominent of these were the prayer leaders of the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad that became a pro-militant sanctuary. Essa’s literature and teachings convinced a sizeable number of Pakistani jihadis of the “heresy” of the Pakistani rulers and persuaded them to press ahead with a fully-fledged revolt.

    All high-profile attacks on the Pakistani security forces in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi were the handiwork of his adherents. To reduce the influence of his literature, the security forces established a special cell in a detention center where militants were treated to undo Essa’s “brainwashing”. ”

    —- If we accept the above as factual, then the religious dimension of the insurgency is clear.

  46. Tilsim

    @ Watty

    Eid mubarak to you and all too!

  47. Humanity

    @amar
    “to humanity
    By accusing me of anger etc. you are avoiding my arguments. Deal with the arguments forwarded by me. Since you don’t see my face you can’t know whether I am angry.”

    Life is too short and you are wasting it pursuing hatred and anger. There is no point in dealing with an angry, hateful person, not in his/her senses.

    Seriously, get a life!

  48. Humanity

    To amar and others deeply hurt souls:

    30 seconds children read by Paulao Coelho

    The man and his shadow

    Many years ago, there lived a man who was capable of loving and forgiving everyone he came across. Because of this, God sent an angel to talk to him.

    ‘God asked me to come and visit you and tell you that he wishes to reward you for your goodness,’ said the angel. ‘You may have any gift you wish for. Would you like the gift of healing?’

    ‘Certainly not,’ said the man. ‘I would prefer God to choose those who should be healed.’

    ‘And what about leading sinners back to the path of Truth?’

    ‘That’s a job for angels like you. I don’t want to be venerated by anyone or to serve as a permanent example.’

    ‘Look, I can’t go back to Heaven without having given you a miracle. If you don’t choose, I’ll have to choose one for you.’

    The man thought for a moment and then said:

    ‘All right, I would like good to be done through me, but without anyone noticing, not even me, in case I should commit the sin of vanity.’

    So the angel arranged for the man’s shadow to have the power of healing, but only when the sun was shining on the man’s face. In this way, wherever he went, the sick were healed, the earth grew fertile again, and sad people rediscovered happiness.

    The man traveled the Earth for many years, oblivious of the miracles he was working because when he was facing the sun, his shadow was always behind him. In this way, he was able to live and die unaware of his own holiness.

  49. @ Samachar (November 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm)

    I read Asia Times Online habitually, but like most journals of its sort, it lacks a theoretical perspective and is too caught up in the affairs of its own times. In political analysis, there is a difference between tactics and strategy; understanding tactics are commonly associated as the understanding of short to medium term gains and goals and events, while a strategy is considered as something, which answers the theoretical questions of a problem.

    As to religion and its role in the present crisis, it does not matter if the presence of religion is present, but what are the intentions of a religious dimension in the crisis. Taliban ruled Afghanistan for a good portion of time and in that time, instituted a religion as the bedrock of their policies and political power. The questions people need to be asking is not that religion and religious laws were imposed in Afghanistan, but who benefited from them?

    Religion allowed Taliban in Afghanistan political power, but there was no Islam under the Taliban in Afghanistan. The same reasoning is applicable towards Pakistan. In the case of the references, which you have provided to show a religious dimension; please consider the following the line of reasoning.

    Al-Qaeda is an ideology, which aspires to political power. Ideology by its very nature is an idea and therefore, of an intangible value, but political power is a tangible consideration. Political power cannot exist in a vacuum. If Al-Qaeda is going seek the advancement of its world view, it needs a territory from which to operate and propagate its message. In this sense, Al-Qaeda is using religion to mask its political objectives of gaining political power and using religion to legitimize its political ambitions and it want to destabilize the state of Pakistan and use it, as it name suggests, as the base of its operations.

    The question people should be debating is whether if Al-Qaeda comes to power in Pakistan, will there be Islam? Then ask; Islam according to whom and for whose benefit? Al-Qaeda and its various allied groups or for the people of Pakistan? If the answer is the for sake of Al-Qaeda’s political power, then Islam is being used only as a stepping stone to power, is not?

    Islam is supposed to be an egalitrian religion, but how many of its proponents have practiced its egalitrian nature in both deed and practice, when in power? It makes no sense to suggest what Islam stands for, when the light of its experience suggests something completely different in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    There will never be any Islam in Pakistan in the true sense of the word, because the nature and the character of the people of Pakistan, by experience or by habit, dislikes the idea of equality before the law and prefers exceptions to the law. Can Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or any group preaching a “true Islam”, meet this standard? Will such groups be willing to be judged by the very same laws they enforce on others and if not; then it is not religion they are after but something else.

    I agree, with you that if we accept the story of Asia Times Online, there is a religious element to the present national politics in Pakistan. We need to understand, why there is a religious element to the present crisis in Pakistan and not just simply accept it.

    ciao

  50. amar

    to humanity

    Are you also in this business of telling construed stories in the name of angels and god(s) and his “messengers”etc.? Can you get a certificate from god that your story is true and is approved by him for publication (copyright problems!) and general consumption?

    It is a good story. Is it also true?

  51. Tilsim

    A swallow is wont to soar and catch a glimpse of the horizon.

    A toad is wont to croak, croak….and croak.

    Evolution.. a fascinating thing.

  52. amar

    The toads are croaking the praise of Jinnah, Pakistan and the arabic religion.

    But the swallow will not swallow this propaganda flying around it. It soars over and away. But it does not fail to warn the croakers of the futility of their eulogical “songs”. What more can the swallow do?

  53. no-communal

    @amar

    Pakistanis are not as embarrassed of Sardar Khan because he is not always around. Why don’t the two of you meet up and actually fight it out whose religion is better.

  54. Feroz:
    Welcome back – great to see you here. You have made some excellent points and to a great extent I concur with you. Having said that let me also add to the debate that Pakistani Taliban are no longer a monolithic entity – they comprise multiple groups mostly of sectarian nature whose agenda is not compatible with a plural Pakistan as envisaged in the 1973 Constitution.

    I am all for reintegration and political accommodation but how does one do it in our case?

    Thanks for all the comments here – this has been an interesting debate save the acerbic remarks from Amar and a few others who continue with their rants leading to no debate.

  55. amar

    Is Sardar Khan an indian?
    I have no traditional religion.
    I only encourage honesty. Is that a religion?

    I want Pakistan to be richer than India so that don’t cast their eyes upon us.

    Paradox:
    If Pakistan fails it is dangerous for hindus in the short run.
    If Pakistan succeeds then it is dangerous for the hindus in the long run.
    So what should I wish for the land of pure anti-hinduism?
    Is god a sadist and cynic that he puts us into such a dilemma?

  56. Humanity

    @no-communal wrote on November 19, 2010 at 11:02 pm
    “@amar
    Pakistanis are not as embarrassed of Sardar Khan because he is not always around. Why don’t the two of you meet up and actually fight it out whose religion is better.”

    NC – There are certainly a few brilliant minds who surf PTH, you being one of them. A duel between amar and sardar khan is the best idea thus far to settle the age old quarrels, misgivings, and claims of superiority .. :):)

  57. Kaalket

    It is easy to figure out weather Sardar Khan is an indian or Pakistani. Pakistani police and Army has pucca test to judge this fact. This testing method and its clean aftermath was very successful in Bangladesh and now routinly applied in NWFP.

  58. Hasnat Chohan

    @gandhi
    Yes I might drop the Chau and keep the Han if it is beneficial to me. Would it be the first time a person’s last name changed? What were Rajputs called before they became Rajput? Changing identities, religions, and last names are a reality of life–get over it.

  59. Watty

    @Feroz

    Your posts are interesting. A few points:

    1. On China: The present communist regime did start as an insurgency back in the years of Mao. China’s ambivalence towards ongoing insurgencies and insecurity all along its southern flank is of great concern. China’s relationship with AFPAK in the era when the Talibs ruled the roost in Kabul with backing of China’s all weather client Pakistan, offers an excellent case study. China’s role in south Asia has not and does not promote the long term interests of the common citizens of the subcontinent.

    2. On growing insurgency in Pakistan: All indications are that the genie carefully groomed by Pakistan Army has definitely escaped its strict confines and has found common cause and a fertile ground among the growing discontent and anger of the vast multitudes. When a human being has lost almost everything he holds on firmly to his last refuge in faith – where extreme Islam has grown its deep roots. The extreme view is on the rise not in decline.

    3. Dangers of extreme Islam shrouded in orthodoxy is expanding at an alarming rate across the subcontinent – violently in Pakistan and less violently in India. Even in a far away remote village in southern India one finds age-old moderate Islam slowly yielding to strict orthodoxy with ominous allegiances owed in distant Iran or Arabia. It is not just Pakistan’s problem. India finds a lot to worry about in Pakistan’s problems.

  60. Samachar

    Feroz Khan,

    My point was simply that if Sheikh Essa persuaded the jihadis that the Pakistani military was guilty of “heresy” (rather than that the Pakistani military stood in their way of achieving political power) the religious element is front and center. What religion it is or is not is secondary. Also the purpose for obtaining political power is for a religious cause, not to amass wealth or reward followers or to do good for people.

    Why jihadis exist in such power as not to be able to be locked up in jails is also very clear – they were cultivated for other purposes; but have slipped the leash.

    Sheikh Essa’s followers were de-brainwashed (as per the article) rather than locked away as criminals, because the state has need of (loyal) jihadis.

    Of course, the article may be non-factual.

  61. @ Samachar (November 20, 2010 at 8:40 am)

    The religion maybe a fig leaf, but the purpose for obtaining political power is always for secular reasons. Religion is an argument; a platform; a rallying cry and a theme of identification and consensus.

    As asked before, if religion is the cause of obtaining political power, why religious leaders do not practice what they preach once they gain political power? Political power and its pursuits are secular ends and when religious leaders use religion to seek political power, religion ceases to be a religion and it becomes another political argument.

    ciao

  62. @ Raza Rumi

    Agreed; Taliban are not a monolith and to consider them as one, would be a grave mistake.

    Political reintegration and political accommodation under the present circumtances is not possible. To achieve this, first of all it would be necessary to define the political demands of the Taliban and their cohorts, who are fighting the state of Pakistan. Secondly, the state of Pakistan would have to weigh those demands and decide if it can “afford” them politically.

    In asking this question, you have nailed the issue of why there is an insurgency. Had the demands been acceptable, to both parties, there would be an agreement and there would not have been an insurgency. The fact is; the insurgency implies that presumed demands are unacceptable to the both sides.

    Political intergration into Pakistan might be unacceptable to the Taliban, who might be asking (and fighting) for a political autonomy.

    The state of Pakistan might be fighting, because alternative would be to cede the tribal areas to the Taliban and the loss of the tribal areas is not acceptable to Pakistan.

    Therefore, as I have been saying; this insurgency is about political power. I will add more to this, when time permits.

    ciao

  63. Prasad

    Raza //In these circumstances, ruling Kabul to contain the enemy — India — is hardly something to celebrate//

    Well you will not be able to contain your enemy ‘India’ whether you rule Afghanistan or not. And Secondly Afghans will never salute you since they dont salute their own in the first place. Being fiercely independent each one of them is also a problem of its own…..

    Avoid India in your discussions since we havent reached the stature of China to forcefully needle on every international issue and further, we are happy with our own issues, be it corruption, medals in Asiad et al….As regards Afghanistan, we shall continue to meddle in our own benign way (unlike your terror influenced ways ) since we cannot afford another mullahist neighbour who will propogate Zionist nonsense needlessly

    Why dont you concentrate on your own issues and avoid us to needlessly revert with clarifications??????

    and who is this Maj Iqbal / Maj Mallick in your defence systems who was so powerful as to plan an attack on Mumbai??? appreciate if you could guide towards this coward

  64. Prasad

    Salman Arshad//We have China’s full support in fuming anti-India sentiment in the country, which apparently doesn’t have any context or reason//

    Well Said. We shall handle Chinese in our own way going forward. They cannot F*** around with us since we are economically well tangled….we are no japanese that they blatantly blackmail us…..this was proved with recent visa issued to a Jammu Singer who will be in Asiad without a ‘Stapled Visa’….well whether Chinese consider only valley as a crisis is another matter altogether…at this instance, we shall work with chinese and see how we could manage these obelisks….India may not be Liliputs…they are not minnows either…..I am sure Chinese realise realise this.

  65. Amar, while other people may arrive at similar conclusions as yours, it is quite unclear what you hope to accomplish with your posts. Telling a religious person his religion is crap is hardly ever productive.

    You have said what you think. A smart person would leave those posts for others to read and take what they can out of them. But spending hours and days repeating the same thing isn’t a good use of the limited time we all have in our lives. Wish you the best!

  66. Also to all the other Indians here: Don’t you think Indians are drowning out the Pakistanis on this site? I started coming here to understand the Pakistani perspective – not just of the editors of the site but also the rest of the English-speaking Pakistani elite who comment here. However, when 18 out of 20 comments on average are from Indians, the usefulness of this website not just for observers like us, but particularly to Pakistanis is highly reduced, imHo of course.

    I’d rather that Indians withhold their opinions, at the most posting one comment per blogpost, so that the Pakistani voices can emerge.

    Cheers!

  67. Pankaj

    Pakistani strategic thinkers are India’s best friends.

    Their policies of wasting money on “strategic projects ” have only WEAKENED Pakistan.

    Any country which wants to win against its powerful enemy makes itself strong economically .

    Pakistan has nukes but your economy being in such a fantastic shape that every country looks ONLY at your begging bowl

    The taliban being obedient servants of Pakistani Army should not explode bombs inside Pakistan

    They taliban are so ungrateful after all that Pakistan has done for them

    Now Pakistan is known for BEING
    1. begging bowl
    2. terrorist state

  68. Straight-Talk

    Frankly speaking I don’t know, where the fear of India will lead Pakistan in future. It is simple case of obsession. Obsession with India to to compete her, to surpass her, to defeat her, to malign her, and that too when it knows very well that India have more than 4th in area and more than 6th time in Population. It is definitely not a competition but only case of obsession.

    I don’t think India would have devoted its whole energy against Pakistan otherwise it would have failed to produce miracle of economic growth which world is witness today. I expect and hope that the better sense prevailed in Pakistan too and they devote much time to betterment of their citizen, betterment of their economic mess for which they’re criticized by their own people, instead of in the ever anticipation of what India will do the next.

    This is case of psychological war where one don’t sure the real motives of its enemy. India thinks that Pakistan is against its territorial integrity by challenging the status of Kashmir while Pakistan on one hand has an eye on Kashmir and on second hand it is fearing its own territorial integrity which she blames conveniently on India’s activity in Baluchistan.

    The result is status quo. Which I think is more dangerous than a simple and conventional war. At least after war we know that there will be peace but in this case we don’t know how much we’ve to wait to see the estranged brothers meet again.

  69. Hola

    ” and that too when it knows very well that India have more than 4th in area and more than 6th time in Population..”

    S.T,

    This is irrelevent to a Pak patriot who vehemently believes that 1 Pak Momeen= 10 Hindu Kuffar.

  70. @ Raza Rumi, Part II

    Picking up the theme once more, the comment that the Taliban are not monolithic should provoke a serious introspection of sorts. This, immediately, should prop the question that if the Taliban are not monolithic, then what is the salient implication of this statement?

    Religion, and the cause of religion, is supposedely the unifying theme, which the Taliban use against the state of Pakistan. Religion is supposed to unify the Taliban and their patrons, Al-Qaeda, into an alliance of mutual interests. If the Taliban are not monolithic despite the motif of religion as a unifying theme/idea, then what does it say about their devotion to the cause of religion?

    This creates, and should create, more than a reasonable doubt, in a rational mind devoid of religious blinkers the idea that the politics of the Taliban and their like-minded allies take precedence over religious matters.

    This principle of logic can also be applied to the various sectarian groups, which exist in Pakistan. The very reality of these groups existing, fractured, and self-dividing themselves strongly suggests that religion is the not raison d’ etre of these groups.

    If religion were to be the main concern of these groups, including Taliban’s, then religion and these groups adherence to it, would have disallowed for this apprent “disunity” in the ranks of the faithful.

    However, this is not the case. The very non-monolithic aspect and orientation of these religious groups show that the politics of a secular nature, and secular politics are always motivated by considerations of power, take importance over religion in their policy decisions.

    This cleft needs to be pryed open and this reality needs to be exposed, if the debate on the issue in the public forums of Pakistan is to understand this disparity between the intentions and actual conduct of these groups. Logic, and common sense, like a thin end of the wedge needs to be inserted into this mass of lies and hypocrisy and these differences, which exist within these so-called religious groups, need to be enlarged.

    The act of “enlargement” is to create space for a political, intellectual maneuvering and once that space is created, it will allow the secular opinion in Pakistan to take away the thrust of the arguments away from religion and place them firmly in a non-religious context.

    The idea is not to debate the isssues on “their term” and justify their interpretations, but make them defend their point of views. Religious ideas, when engaged in an intellectual discourse with secular ideas, do not have to be proven wrong as much as they need to shown as filled with contradictions and more importantly, contradictions which cannot explain or answer the reality of the experience.

    If the Taliban and their allies and other sectarian groups are claiming religon as their cause, the need of the hour is not to debate the interpretation of a religion with them, but to simply ask that if religion is what they are fighting for; why are there so many groups fighting in the name of religion and why cannot there be one group fighting in the name and cause of religion? What is preventing them from unifying under the banner of religion?

    Why cannot they unite? The coup d’ grace must always ask if they cannot unite under a religious banner, then what is preventing them from unifying? Politics?

    This aggressive, rational, critical style of questioning must be conducted with the intention of forcing them into a silence; an admission of having plyed a flawed agrument. These religious groups will never admit that their real cause is political and not religious, but their refusal to admit this and their silence on the issue, will echo loudly.

    Let the people “hear” their silence on the issue, because the caveat is not to defeat their arguments as much as to show they have no agruments to justify that which they claim.

    The only proviso on this issue is, and for the tenor of this debate to change, the very impression, role, value, and importance of religion in the lives of the people, themselves, will have to undergo a change. Pakistani society is too accepting of anything said in the name of religion and this comes from our indoctrination, from the onset, to obey and respect and not to question religion or any act, deed, intention, argument, justification, or reason given under its rubric.

    We must remember that reason is not always rational and rationalism is not always a reason.

    The power of religion, and that of the groups which use religion, over us, comes from our obedience to their commandments and this needs to change. Before some outwardly secular but closet cleric on PTH jumps the gun into a sea of assumptions, this idea of a change is not so about the rejection of a religion as it about understanding the religion itself through acts of questioning it.

    If we wish to lessen the role of these groups, we need to be cynical and critical of them and not accept everything they say on a prima facie level.

    Can we do this? Do we have the intellectual courage to displace religion from its pedestal, where we placed it in the first place, and put it on a level playing field?

    No; we cannot do this until we learn not to automatically, unthinkingly and unwittingly super-impose religion on to everything and see everything through a religious perseptive.

    If we cannot do this, then religion and groups, which use religion will always have power over us, because we will do what they ask, of us, since we are too afraid to speak up in face of religion and question it, when it claims makes no sense to us.

    To paraphrase an old line from an old play by an old playwright; the problem is not with the religion but with ourselves that we accept everything it says without thinking.

    Rumi sahib, that is why you should not debate Islam or its interpretations with them, but only ask them questions, which they themselves refuse to answer.

    ciao

  71. Samachar

    Feroz Khan,

    In fewer words – are you saying that once a Taliban group says that it is acting in the name of religion, it tends (in Pakistan) to mute criticism of that group?

    Secondly, are you saying that if the various Taliban groups really believed they were acting in accord with religion, they would be unified instead of in many groups?

    I can understand the first; but not the second. Hardline religious types tend not to compromise, and tend to divide themselves based on their varying answers of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    Thirdly, asking the Taliban groups – “oh, is this indeed religion?” – this is something that should be done, agreed.

  72. Samachar (November 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm)

    To your first question; Yes.

    Second question; Yes. With all due respect, you cannot understand the statement, because you still see it through a religious lens, as your comments about dancing angels prove it.🙂

    ciao

  73. Samachar

    Feroz Khan,

    If the answer to your second question stands, then Islam is not a religion – at least, not after the death of the Prophet, because that unity has never been there.

  74. Dear Arjun: thanks for bringing some sanity and making an astute assessment on how some of your compatriots are posting silly, repetitive stuff. I was extremely happy to hear you cite the basic manners in a debate/discussion. But Amar does not get it. And, now we have another cyber-rath wala – Pankaj with a Mission. I am amazed at how PTH attracts the oddest of Indians while there are many belligerent anti-Indian blogs.

    Feroz: Great comments once again. I will return with more thoughts later. Let me just make two points: first, power struggle and its essentially secular nature notwithstanding, the role of religious ideology is also important and cannot be discounted. The problem is that elements of Pakistani state also sympathise with the political Islam agenda especially in the context of West vs Islam binary. This is what makes the conflict more complicated and perhaps intractable.

  75. Samachar (November 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm) Part II

    There is popular refrain on PTH and else where that there is no complusion in Islam and Islam never forces one to to do anything against their will.

    If these groups are forcing people to follow their ways, what does it say about these groups? Where is the Islam in their actions? Why has no one made the connection and pointed this out?

    If these groups by their actions, have violated Islam and its teachings, why are the people afraid to point out the wrong? Why are the people not stating this fact and are basically appeasing non-Islamic practices by their silence?

    Are we to understand that the good, pious and true Muslims of Pakistan are willing to condemn their souls in the next world because they are too afraid to die in the present world by speaking out against these practices?

    Islam says that men are not to wear gold and yet, every mullah and his worth will have a gold watch on his hand. Why has no one asked the mullahs to explain this disparity? lol

    ciao

  76. Samachar

    One dot means nothing. Two dots mean a straight line. Three dots mean a patten. Four dots, and you have a shape!

    ciao

  77. Samachar (November 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm)

    Islam is a religion. My point does not negate this view but only states that secular concerns in politics will always overshadow religion and it is because of this, that the various sectarian and religious groups cannot join forces together as one.

    ciao

  78. amar

    Feroz writes:

    “There is popular refrain on PTH and else where that there is no complusion in Islam and Islam never forces one to to do anything against their will.”

    Islam is the religion with the maximum number of compulsions, manipulations, intimidations and the maximum amount of hypocrisy in denying (or refusing to accept) their existence in islam. The word “islam” itself means submission under a tribalist totalitarian arabic monogod-concept. Some compulsions in islam are subtle and hence even more effective and pain-causing. Even some non-muslims get carried away by muslim propaganda that there is no compulsion in and around islam.

  79. amar

    to arjum and raza

    PTH is not a world-moving website. It is not even pakistan-moving. Let us be realistic. Consequently your comments on me are also unrealistic. Everyone writes here in the whiff of the passing moment and theme. No one is writing here to produce a book that will be read by millions for many many years to come. We want to escape the dictatorships of religions and their primtive gods (god-concepts) and leaders.

  80. Pankaj

    Respected Raza Sir

    Your reference : your post at 1:59 AM November 22

    Thanks a lot for calling me a a man with a mission and a cyber rath wala.

    I would like to emphatically state here that unlike my other fellow Indians I have never uttered a word against Islam simply because I have , here in India, Muslim friends and acquaintances who are all well educated and liberal .

    So I know that Islam is NOT what it is practised in Pakistan

    Hence I have repeatedly given the examples of Malaysia and Turkey

    My statements have all been against the pakistan Army ‘s Talibanisation of pakistan.

    And how Pak Army’s relentless hatred against India continues to be the only thorn in the way of better relations with India.

    To achieve its goals Pak Army has used ONLY religion and converted most of the people into fundamentalist s and Hindu haters .

    A moderate Pakistan DOES NOT SUIT Pak Army.
    It is as simple as that