I had posted a short version of this post on my personal website which quite unexpectedly drew the attention of several Indian internet warriors on their cyber-raths. It is a message that needs to be shared here. I have therefore decided to expand this and say what needs to be said. I have always supported India-Pakistan dialogue and the peace process and the purpose of this post is not to demean India or Indians but to express the shock that many of us – peaceniks – have experienced in the recent days. I have been accused of being ‘soft’ on India and constantly under attack by jingoists in Pakistan. Therefore it pains us to see such displays of insularity, indifference and isolates us with the remarks: “see we told you so….”
Manmohan Singh whom I have always held in high regard, disappointed millions in South Asia with his distastefully ill-timed hard talk during his Independence day address. As if Pakistan’s current misery was a time to blow India’s power-trumpet.
In fact the blackout in Indian media about Pakistan’s dire floods’ situation is amazing. Major newsmagazines such as India Today and Outlook are silent and the national newspapers have not covered much except the same old hackneyed stuff on terror, terrorism and what a major threat Pakistan is to shining India. In times of Pakistan’s crisis, the least Mr Singh could have done was not to indulge in jingoism. But he had to appease the arsenal of a nation-state (similar to what we have to do here at such occasions). Continue reading
Courtesy The Friday Times: — The elusive quest for peace between India and Pakistan remains hostage to the military-industrial complex at both the global and regional levels. Such is the dynamic unleashed by two imagined “nations” that their existence as states is dependent on a perpetual state of confrontation. More so for Pakistan, given its deeply embedded paranoia, which has assumed a reality of its own. Sixty-two years ago, it was hardly envisioned that the two states would erect an iron-curtain and fight forever. From actual wars to propaganda campaigns the task seems complete now. The oft-repeated phrase ‘trust deficit’ is a natural culmination of this ugly process. Of late, another dimension has been added, i.e. information-deficit as India had marched towards a new phase of its economic development, it has stopped taking interest in transitional Pakistani society and kept the time-warped framework of understanding Pakistan. However, the situation cannot remain static. Policymakers are slow to catch up on both the sides.
Mumbai factor: Twenty months ago, the Mumbai attacks changed the atmosphere created by President Zardari’s unprecedented offers of peace, dialogue and cooperation. The day Zardari made his remarks in a conclave organised by the Hindustan Times in 2008, many observers saw a Mumbai coming. The jihadis of Pakistan and perhaps their counterparts in India were quick to stop this process. Ironic that PPP, a party fed on the Pakistani nationalist rhetoric, thirty years down the road had read the writing on the wall. Pakistan’s future and survival is dependent on a reduction of hostilities with India. More importantly, this also holds the key to correcting the endemic civil-military imbalance.
Zardari’s stride: Why would a national security state apparatus bloated by an Indian threat not react to Zardari’s statements: “I do not feel threatened by India and India should not feel threatened from us…today we have a parliament which is already pre-agreed upon a friendly relationship with India. In spite of our disputes, we have a great future together.” As if this was not enough, Zardari declared that Pakistan will not be the first country to use its nuclear weapons, thus undermining a carefully constructed Pakistani nuclear doctrine of first-use. Continue reading
In four years, standby to greet Prime Minister Narendra Modi
By Jawed Naqvi | Crosspost from Dawn, 29 Mar, 2010
A big race, probably the biggest that India is mandated to hold, was kicked off last week. It could usher Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi as prime minister in 2014 when elections are due, if not before. And since Modi has the unqualified support of major industrialists who know the art, shall we say, of financing parties, lobbying for MPs, and influencing key policies, there is little reason to doubt who the corporate media would be backing when push comes to shove.
Gandhi, with his limited experience of NGOs in Amethi and Rae Bareli might find himself as the back-up. He is untested. Modi, on the other hand, has shown his worth to those who run democracy in India.
High-level talks in February, billed by some as a failure, actually set the stage for progress.
WSJ Op-ed by Najam Sethi, 07 March 2010
On initial appearances, the first high-level bilateral talks between India and Pakistan since November 2008 weren’t a success. When the two foreign secretaries convened in New Delhi on Feb. 25, at times it was as if they were at different meetings. The Indians tried to focus on terrorism sponsored from within Pakistan, while the Pakistanis wanted a broader dialogue. In the end, there was no noteworthy result. But appearances in this case are deceiving. This meeting is likely to prove more successful than many expect.
That’s because interests on both sides are at last correctly aligned to give talks a shot at success. For India, it has been a matter of reaching several conclusions at the same time. First, New Delhi has failed to browbeat Islamabad into steps like cracking down on Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist group responsible for the Nov. 2008 Mumbai attacks. Indian saber rattling alone hasn’t done the trick, just as in 2002 when India’s armed forces tried but failed to intimidate Pakistan into halting the flow of jihadis into the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. Continue reading
Filed under India, Pakistan
Many Pakistanis are still not prepared to develop the patience required to see democracy through its early, evolutionary stages – especially difficult stages as a result of the violence done to it by military dictatorship after military dictatorship. They still look for and believe in personalities, not for a sustainable and equitable system. Many will tell you that the only cause for all of Pakistan’s woes is “humain aaj tak koi ddhang ka leader nahin mila (we never found a decent leader)”. The observation is correct. But the way we have gone about finding a decent leader has been completely wrong. Continue reading
By Sadiq Saleem
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s official visit to the United States should have been the major story in Pakistan’s media. But our right-wing anchors and columnists and “get-Zardari” editors are far more focused on the domestic power struggles to realize that the nightmare of Pakistan’s strategic encirclement may already be on the brink of becoming reality.
The less attention Pakistanis pay to fighting terrorism and figuring out a way of dealing with the world, the more likely it is that India — the country with which Pakistan has fought four wars in 62 years — will continue to gain ground. India already has better relations with the governments of Afghanistan and Iran, our western neighbours. The more we demonstrate hatred towards the United States, the more we contribute to making the India-US relationship into an anti-Pakistan alliance, which need not be. We could complain and get angry with the US, as the Jamaatis and the Ghairat lobby advocate, or we could analyse the rising Indian influence and figure out ways of combating it. Continue reading
Filed under India, Pakistan
It seems that the joint statement itself has become a subject of scandal. This is nothing but pettiness. Here is Daily Times’ report on it:
India-Pakistan diplomatic duel on joint statement
* Pakistani diplomat says document ‘balanced statement addressing real issues’
* Indian diplomat stresses meeting only talked about ‘limited’ dialogue process
* Contends India has nothing to do with Balochistan Continue reading