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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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Saving Pakistan from conspiracy theorists and hate mongers

Bilal Qureshi

The terrorist attack on Police Academy in Lahore must have been a wake up call for those who have been arguing that ‘war on terror’ is America’s war. On the contrary, it is a war that is being fought in Pakistan and for a majority of Pakistan, it is heart sinking to realize that men, driven to insanity by different reasons, are blowing themselves up, just to inflict pain on the country.

This unfortunate attack in Lahore could be, and it should be the beginning of a new resolve by the country to not let anyone, either domestic, or foreign to unnecessarily exert pressure on Pakistan. The country belongs to the people who live in Pakistan and it is up to the Pakistani public to decide their future, their alliances and allegiances going forward. Continue reading

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Will India Accept Zardari’s Olive Branch?

President Zardari’s Peace formula for india and Pakistan

The PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT under President Zardari started peace initiatives with India taking tentative steps to liberalise Trade and tourism with India. Zardari send delegations comprising of Civil society SAFMA,PIPFPD and HRCP members for back-channel diplomacy with India after 26/11 terrorist attacks.  Zardari’s live webcast (his firstever) with english speaking Internet users in India and coining terms like “we are all half Indian/half Pakistani” was very optimistic. Continue reading

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