Tag Archives: Mumbai

Redefining national interest

Raza Rumi

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

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No alternative to peace with India

Raza Rumi

Once again, the fragile peace process between India and Pakistan has commenced. It is too early to say whether it will lead to an amicable settlement of seemingly intractable issues. What is clear is that the peoples of the two countries want peace, security and progress. The elites, which agreed on the messy Partition and raised nation-states and huge militaries, have surely flourished at the expense of people. A causal look at India’s poverty and Pakistan’s social indicators proves this point.

As a confidence building measure, a group of Pakistani journalists visited Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore to meet their counterparts, think tanks and selected top-level officials. This was a timely and fruitful visit and reminded us that there is a formidable peace constituency in India. After the Indian home minister it is the turn of the Indian foreign minister to visit Islamabad from today for a three-day tour. Regardless of the outcome, sensible neighbours must continue to talk.

Evidently, the Mumbai terror attacks were the greatest stumbling block in resuming dialogue. Discussions at Sharm el Sheikh were a major breakthrough. Dr Manmohan Singh overcame tough public opinion after the joint declaration. This year’s dialogue at the Saarc Summit in Bhutan catalysed the peace process. After the 18th amendment to the Pakistani Constitution, the Indian side has noted the power shift within Pakistan as it strives to reclaim the democratic path.

Pakistani media persons, including me, could not help notice the centrality of the Mumbai attacks factor, which continues to inform public opinion in India. A majority of Indians hold Pakistan fully responsible for the event. The caveat here is that they often forget that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism. But there is growing awareness in India about the internal challenges within Pakistan. This is why the Indian leadership has delinked dialogue from terrorism. Continue reading

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Fatal obsession

Raza Rumi

It is a matter of public record that the founder of Pakistan had stated that Indo-Pakistan relationship will resemble that of the USA and Canada. Even before the Partition, Jinnah in a 1946 press conference stated, “the two states (Pakistan and India)… will be friends and will go to each other’s rescue in case of danger and will be able to say ‘hands off’ to other nations. We shall then have a Munroe doctrine more solid than America…” This vision along with other pronouncements by Jinnah is buried in the debris of Pakistan’s national security paranoia. The spectre of India and its ‘hegemonic designs’ to use an oft-quoted phrase remain central to Pakistan’s security paradigm.

The unwavering view on India is what explains the context for the discussion paper entitled, The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship between Pakistan’s ISI and Afghan Insurgents -authored by Matt Waldman from the prestigious platform of the London School of Economics. Pakistan’s real power-centre, its security and intelligence apparatus are a self-sustaining reality. Other than the financing, of which plenty comes from the Western Capitals, there is a solid national opinion behind the xenophobic worldview carefully cultivated by a decades’ long well coordinated state policy. The centre of this argument is the ‘Indian threat’ and any conception of Pakistan’s security is linked to the evil designs of the powerful ‘enemy’ across the border. Continue reading

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Filed under India, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, south asia, violence, war, Zardari

What We Have Done to Democracy

Arundhati Roy’s New Book Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers Looks at What We Have Done to Democracy

Written by Al Huebner     Cross-Post from Toward Freedom 

The essays in this new book by the brilliant Indian writer Arundhati Roy cover topics that range from the attack on the Indian Parliament to the Armenian genocide, and the terrorist attack on Mumbai to George Bush’s “triumphant” visit to India and Pakistan. But what runs through all of these essays is a critical look at democracy, as practiced in those countries that claim to be democracies. Continue reading

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Marking 26/11… A Letter To Our Neighbors

Dear Indian friend,

I am sorry for the tardiness in marking 26/11.   It was not deliberate but as we fight daily battles with terrorism, it is not easy to tell what date it is.  Don’t consider this letter a sign of weakness because I am a member of proud nation which will one day prove its potential and take its rightful place in the comity of nations as a progressive and modern country at peace within and without.   Continue reading

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Pakistan, India and U.S. Begin Sharing Intelligence

By JAY SOLOMON and SIOBHAN GORMAN

WASHINGTON — Pakistan and India have begun sharing intelligence on Islamic extremists, with the prodding of the U.S., in an arrangement that represents unprecedented cooperation between the two nuclear-armed South Asian nations. 

Washington hopes the cooperation will get a lift from last week’s Indian elections, in which the incumbent Congress Party won by a wide margin over a Hindu nationalist party traditionally more hostile to Pakistan.

 An India-Pakistan Alliance?

With the Congress party’s recent win in India’s elections, intelligence reporter Reporter Siobhan Gorman explains why the time may be right for longtime rivals Pakistan and India to forge an alliance that allows for greater intelligence sharing with the U.S. Continue reading

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RAHUL GANDHI IS NOT A PETER PAN ANY MORE

Frank Huzur has sent this exclusive piece for Pak Tea House from New Delhi.

I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg. These words of legendary Scottish Novelist James Matthews Barrie were ringing in the ear of Indian pollsters and Pundits with resonant frequency by the early afternoon of 16 May. The verdict over 15th Lok Sabha elections was trickling in thick and fast. Citadel after citadel, bastion after bastion of fanciful imagination was dying instant death in the shooting Mercury. Many myths were raveling fast, and one of the greatest myth was unraveling of The Rahul Gandhi factor. The factor fast spread into a phenomenon over the next 48 hours as the Congress Party, the grand old party of India, clenched its fist over its most impressive tally in the past two-and-half-decade. Rahul Gandhi, apparently, had propelled the fledgling Congress party and its pre-poll allies to striking distance of magic figure of 272. The Congress was grinning like Cheshire cat with 206 seats in the lower house of Indian Parliament, quite a feat by any conceivable standards.

Rahul GandhiRahul Gandhi was no better than Peter Pan with baby teeth to army of political astrologers in the rival camp of principal opposition party, the BJP and its constituent of NDA.

The wily fox of the Hindu nationalist party took potshots at Rahul Gandhi’s political wisdom many a times in course of over 45 days electioneering saying he was merely an exaggerated stereotype of a boastful and careless boy like the original character of Barrie of the Neverland. He can only fly, not land on his own, was the constant refrain in ivory towers of Opposition. When leading trend halted a little over 200 in the seat tally, shock, horror, cynicism and disbelief was written all over the face of vanquished, a large army of losers in the battle for hearts and minds of over 700 million Indian voters. Rahul Gandhi, 38 years old Continue reading

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