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Pakistan's Army: Divided It Stands

Super-charged and locally bred religious militants in Pakistan have fiercely turned upon their former tutors. The military is now haemorrhaging from these unrelenting attacks. As violence grows, pessimism and despondency have permeated the intelligentsia, prompting a flight out of the country. Pakistan must realise that it is in deep peril because of its past policies. It needs to overcome its unrelenting hatred of India, leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by the Kashmiris, concentrate upon improving governance and deal politically with the Baluchistan situation. India, through its confrontational policies with Pakistan, shares some responsibility for the present tragic state of affairs. It is therefore incumbent upon India to help Pakistan overcome its difficulties or, at any rate, to refrain from adding to them; this is in India's self-interest.


Pakistan’s Army: Divided It Stands

Pervez Hoodbhoy

record. It is said that General Ashfaq Kayani was reluctant to take this step in spite of incontrovertible proof that Khan had militant connections because he feared the backlash. Four army majors are also currently being investi gated, but this could be just the tip of an iceberg .

Super-charged and locally bred religious militants in Pakistan have fiercely turned upon their former tutors. The military is now haemorrhaging from these unrelenting attacks. As violence grows, pessimism and despondency have permeated the intelligentsia, prompting a flight out of the country. Pakistan must realise that it is in deep peril because of its past policies. It needs to overcome its unrelenting hatred of India, leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by the Kashmiris, concentrate upon improving governance and deal politically with the Baluchistan situation. India, through its confrontational policies with Pakistan, shares some responsibility for the present tragic state of affairs. It is therefore incumbent upon India to help Pakistan overcome its difficulties or, at any rate, to refrain from adding to them; this is in India’s self-interest.

Pervez Hoodbhoy ( teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

akistan bleeds from a thousand cuts. If things had gone according to plan it is India that should have been hurting now, not Pakistan. The army’s 25-year-old low-cost, high-impact strategy of covert warfare should have liberated Kashmir and secured Afghanistan from Indian influence. Instead, a fierce blowback has led to a daily pileup of shaheeds, the casualties of a plan that has gone awry. The morale of a fine fighting force plummets still further when its soldiers are ordered to fight those coreligionists who claim to be fighting for Islam. The reported refusal of some military units to confront the Taliban during last year’s South Waziristan operation is said to have shoc ked senior officers and severely limited their battle options in North Waziristan.

Post bin Laden, things have worsened. Pakistan’s current crop of generals must simul taneously deal with the haughty American diktat to “do more”, Islamic militant groups fixated upon attacking both America and India, and a heavily Islamicised rank and file brimming with seditious thoughts. Some want to kill their superior officers; they achieved near success when General Pervez Musharraf was targeted twice by air force and army officers in 2003. A military court sentenced the mutineers to death, and a purge of officers and men associated with militants was ordered .

Although the army has been extremely reluctant to admit that radicalisation exists within its ranks, sometimes this fact simply cannot be swept under the rug. Last week, the army was forced to investigate Brigadier Ali Khan for his ties to militants of the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical organisation that seeks to establish a global caliphate and thinks its mission should begin from nuclear Pakistan. The highest ranking officer so far arrested, Ali Khan, comes from a family with three generations of military service and is said to have a strong professional

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Plummeting Esteem

The military’s internal difficulties come at a time when its public esteem is approaching a low that is approaching what it hit in 1971. Today it is the object of scorn and open profanities. No longer do people agree that those criticising the army actually play into the hands of the enemy. Watching protesters in Islamabad’s Aabpara market, which is just a short walk down from the main Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) headquarters, I saw them tear down a huge military-sponsored banner praising the army and ISI. The onlookers, conservative shopkeepers included, cheered lustily.

Criticism comes from diverse quarters. Pakistani nationalists are upset that their military has consumed the bulk of the nation’s resources. Nevertheless its radars and equipment proved woefully incapable of defending the country from American intruders. On the midnight of 2 May, as the army snored and United States-supplied Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighters and early warning aircraft stood idle on tarmacs, an elite squad of helicopter-borne American Navy SEALs had quietly slipped into Pakistan from Afghanistan a little past midnight. They snatched Osama bin Laden (OBL) from the army’s armpit near the Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul, pumped him full of bullets, and dispatched him to his watery grave hours later. It was only when the Americans had exited Pakistan’s airspace that air defences were scrambled.

Dissatisfaction with the leadership is said to run throughout the army. Junior officers are confronting their superiors with impertinent questions. Stung by criti-

Stung by criticism all around, Kayani has been stumping the garrisons to raise morale. He was asked why the invaders were not challenged and destroyed. Also, who sheltered bin Laden if we are actually fighting Al Qaida , our declared enemy? The Express Tribune quotes an unnamed young military officer who


made a stinging comment before the army chief: “Sir, I am ashamed of what happened in Abbottabad”. Replied Kayani, “So am I”. He promptly went on to hold Zardari’s government responsible for allowing Pakistan to get such bad press.

The military’s woeful inability to defend its own personnel and assets has tarnished its image still further. The dramatic attack on the army’s general headquarters (GHQ) in 2009, going on to the destruction of three ISI regional headquarters by insiderinformed suicide bombers, revealed its helplessness. The military again drew the nation’s withering scorn weeks after the OBL killing when, on 22 May, flames devoured the Navy’s two $36 million aircraft, the anti-submarine P3C Orion. Only between six and 20 attackers were involved, but they had successfully battled hundreds of security forces at Karachi’s Mehran naval base for 18 hours and exposed the ineptness of the defenders.

Following the Mehran attack, the military authorities arrested from Lahore a former Special Services Group commando of the Pakistan Navy, Kamran Ahmed, and his younger brother, Zaman Ahmed. Attempting to disprove that this was a mutiny, a hurriedly convened official inquiry claimed that DNA tests “proved” the attackers at Mehran base were not Pakistanis. But if genes can reveal one’s nationa lity or the quality of one’s patriotism, then this must surely be a milestone in the history of genetics.

An Unwelcome Weakness

In its effort to breed the armies of god, the Pakistan Army has fallen victim to its own successes. Self-inflicted injuries generally get little sympathy. Still, it is difficult to be joyful at the prospect of the army’s division, disintegration, and downfall. Should this happen, Pakistan and its people will have to deal with the much deadlier forces. The unfathomable hell of Talibanisation lies beneath.

Why is the army getting weaker? The problem is not the lack of materiel – guns, bombs, men, and money. These have relatively easy fixes. Instead it is the military’s diminished moral power and authority, absence of charismatic leadership, and visibly evident accumulation of property and wealth. More than anything else, the army has sought to please both the Americans as well as their enemies. Recent revelations have brought this contradiction into stark relief.

Officially, the army condemns drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas, which became no-go areas shortly after 9/11 when there was a massive cross border influx of Mullah Omar’s Taliban. But ordinary Pakistanis have long suspected the sincerity of these routine condemnations. Drone bases are located at many places inside Pakistan, like the Shamsi air base in Baluchistan. The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are slow-moving targets, easily destroyed by supersonic fighter aircraft, or perhaps by ground-to-air missiles if supplied secretly to the Taliban. Their unhindered operation smelled of collusion and complicity. WikiLeak documents, recently obtained by Dawn newspaper, confirmed this.1

These secret cables, accidentally revealed, include internal American government documents showing that the drone strikes programme within Pakistan had more than just tacit acceptance of the country’s top military brass. In fact, as far back as January 2008, Pakistan’s military was requesting the US for greater drone back-up for its own military operations. In a meeting on 22 January 2008 with US CENTCOM Commander Admiral William J Fallon, Army Chief Kayani requested the Americans to provide “continuous Predator coverage of the conflict area” in South Waziristan where the army was conducting operations against militants. The request is detailed in a cable marked “secret”, sent by then US Ambassador Anne Patterson on 11 February 2008.

Around 3-4 March in a meeting with Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kayani was asked for his help “in approving a third Restricted Operating Zone for US aircraft over the FATA”. The request – detailed in a cable sent from the US embassy in Islamabad on 24 March – clearly indicates that two “corridors” for US drones had already been approved earlier. Instead of acclaiming that drones were an effective weapon against a commo n enemy, it instead chose safety by hiding its role and criticising the Americans instead.

Other confidential American diplomatic cables, also obtained by Dawn, revealed that collaboration with the US, strenuously denied by the army, was in fact true and that US special operations forces had been embedded with Pakistani troops for intelligence gathering by the summer of 2009. They were subsequently deployed for joint operations in Pakistani territory by September of that 2009. Ambassador Anne Patterson reported to the US State Department in May 2009 that “We have created Intelligence Fusion cells with embedded US Special Forces with both SSG and Frontier Corps (Bala Hisar, Peshawar) with the Rover equipment ready to deploy.”

Deeply Divided Divisions

Islam created Pakistan, but it now divides Pakistan. Fuelled by ideological passions, diverse social and religious Muslim formations have developed in different parts of the country. They often have divergent goals, and are often pathologically violent. Some target the American empire, and are hence attractive for Al Qaida type groups. Others have less ambitious goals. Several focus on “liberating” Kashmir. Still others, such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba, would like to eliminate Pakistani Shias. The Khatm-e-Nabuhat declares that it will physically exterminate the Qadianis, a sect that it considers heretical. Pakistan’s Christian, Hindu, and other religious minorities cower in fear. The rich among them have mostly fled the country.

Since the early 1980s crusade against Soviet Russia, Pakistan has morphed into a central hub attracting a multitude of Islamists from Europe to west and central Asia to Indonesia. But Jihadistan is now a hugely messy place, not the bastion of anticommunism and anti-atheism that it once was. Even those workers who helped to create it – like the famous Colonel Imam and Major Khalid Khwaja – ended up losing their lives.

Religion deeply divides the Pakistan military. Perhaps it might be more accurate to think of it as two militaries. The first is headed by General Kayani. It seeks to maintain the status quo and the army’s pre-eminence in making national decisions. The second is Allah’s army. This awaits a leader even as it launches attacks on Pakistani military installations, bases, top-level officers, soldiers, public places, mosques, and police stations. Soldiers

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have been encouraged to turn their guns on to their colleagues, troops have been tricked into ambushes, and high-level officers have been assassinated. Allah’s army hopes to launch its final blitzkrieg once the state of Pakistan has been sufficiently weakened by such attacks.

What separates Army-One and ISI-One from Army-Two and ISI-Two? This may not be immediately evident. Both were reared on the Two-Nation Theory, the belief of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, that Hindus and Muslims could never live together in peace. Both are thoroughly steeped in anti-Indianism since their early days in army cadet colleges at Petaro and Hasan Abdal. They also share a deep-rooted contempt for Pakistani civilians. This attitude has resulted in roughly half of Pakistan’s history being that of direct military rule.

Still, they are not the same. The One’ers are “soft Islamists” who are satisfied with a fuzzy belief that Islam provides solutions to everything, that occasional prayers and ritual fasting in Ramzan is sufficient, and that Sufis and Shias are bona fide Muslims rather than mushriks or apostates. They are not particularly interested in defending the Sunni states of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, or the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). But should a lucrative overseas posting come the way of an individual soldier or officer, well, that may be another matter. While having a dislike of US policies, they are not militantly anti-US.

Army-Two and ISI-Two, on the other hand, are soldier ideologues who have travelled further down the road of Islamism. Large numbers of them regularly travel to Raiwind, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat, a supposedly nonpolitical religious organisation which has a global proselytising mission and whose preachers are allowed open access into the army. The Two’ers are stricter in matters of religious rituals, they insist that officers and their wives be segregated at army functions. They keep an eye out for officers who secretly drink alcohol, and how often they pray. Their political philosophy is that Islam and the State should be inseparable. Inspired by Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, who preached that seventh century Arab Islam provides a complete blueprint for society and politics, they see capturing state power as a means towards creating the ideal society along the lines of the medieval Medina state. Many Two’ers are beardless, hence hard to detect. They are fundamentally anti-science but computer savvy. For them, modern technology is a tool of battle.

Like the proverbial ostrich, the One’ers fiercely defend the myth of army unity. They dismiss mutineers as isolated individuals. Mumtaz Qadri, the renegade bodyguard who murdered Punjab Governor Salman Taseer out of religious passion, is an inconvenient aberration to be dismissed from consideration. Today’s religious terrorism is trivialised as a passing threat notwithstanding the fact that it has claimed more Pakistani lives than lost in all wars with India. Instead, anger is reserve d for those who state the obvious truth that Pakistan is in a state of civil war.

An outstanding investigative journalist, Saleem Shahzad, who revealed the existence of Al Qaida groupings within the Pakistan Navy after the Mehran base attack in the first part of an Asia Times article series, provides a tragic example. The part-two of his series was never published because it had promised to reveal similar cells in the army and air force. Shahzad was tortured and kicked to death after being abducted from one of the most secure parts of Islamabad. His mobile phone records are said to be untraceable, and tapes of closed circuit cameras around the abduction area went mysteriously missing. If true, then his murder could not be the work of hunted organisations like the Pakistani Taliban or Al Qaida . But was it ISI-One or ISI-Two? Or some still more deeply hidden military agency? The truth may never be known.

A Confused Identity

The tensions within Pakistani society and military fundamentally owe to an underlying confusion about national purpose and identity. Six decades after Partition, key questions stand unresolved. Are we Arabs or south Asians? Is there a Pakistani culture? Should the country be run by Islamic law? Can Hindus, Christians, and Ahmadis be proper Pakistanis? In a bid to definitively resolve these existential questions, for decades Pakistani school children have learned a linguistically flawed (but catchy) rhetorical question. The question is chanted together with its answer: “Pakistan ka matlab kya? La illaha illala!” (What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no god but Allah!).

Hypnotised by mullah and military, prodded into adopting a pseudo Arab identity, and excited into wild passions, Pakistan’s youth have become progressively less thoughtful and less educated about the world. A recent survey of 2,000 young Pakistanis in the 18-27 age group found that three-quarters identify themselves first as Muslims and only secondly as Pakistanis. Just 14% chose to define themselves as citizens of Pakistan first. If military personnel could be asked whether they considered themselves as soldiers of Islam or of Pakistan, one suspects that their answer would be roughly similar. This is why such a dangerous question cannot (and should not!) be asked today.

Why has Islamic radicalism become such a powerful force generally, as well as in the Pakistan military? In part it owes to anger generated by western military invasions of Muslim societies: Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan. Greed for natural resources has imposed US hegemony in much of the Arab world and stunted their natural growth. But anger at oil-hungry imperialism cannot be the whole story. Surveys show that the US is disliked more in Muslim countries than in Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan – all countries that have been attacked by America. A private survey carried out by a European embassy based in Islamabad found that only 4% of Pakistanis polled speak well of America, 96% against. The US now has the dubious distinction of being Pakistan’s enemy numero uno, having displaced India from its leading position. The left and centre share this antipathy with the right.

Drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas are also cited as a reason. But there is abundant evidence that UAVs have been precise killing instruments. The recent killing of Ilyas Kashmiri (June 2011) is only one recent example. Although the collateral death of innocents is terrible, their numbers are insignificant compared to the carnage in Vietnam’s cities which were carpetbombed by B-52s in the 1970s. Nevertheless, the anger in Pakistan leads to anger far greater than ever existed in Vietnam.

The meteoric rise of hard-line Islam in Pakistan has many reasons. But perhaps

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the most relevant one lies in wounded pride, together with contempt for “upstarts” who claim to be at the vanguard of civilisation today. Faced by manifest decline from a peak of greatness nine to 12 centuries ago, and afflicted by cultural dislocation in the age of globalisation, many Muslim societies have succumbed to religious resurgence. Pakistan too has turned inwards. Diminished self-esteem comes from having little presence in today’ s world affairs whether in science or in culture and the arts. Faced with manifest decline, Islamic hardliners dream of a new global caliphate which they imagine will make Muslims recapture their former glories.

Most hardliners are of Wahabi, Salafi, and Deobandi persuasion. Wahabism,which originated in the 18th century in Arabia, started as a reaction to Shi’ism and Sufism. In its early years, it succeeded in destroying all shrines, together with priceless historical monuments and relics from the early days of Islam. This is why Mecca today bears little resemblance to what it was a century ago; its history has been expunged by bulldozing ancient graveyards and historical objects.

The Salafis – who seek the “purification” of Islam by returning to the pure form practised in the time of Prophet Muhammad and his companions – are just as prone to violent extremism. Among the most extreme manifestation of Salafism is Takfirwal-Hijra. In 1996 the group is said to have plotted to assassinate OBL for being too lax a Muslim. Pakistan i Deobandis have a harder line than India n Deobandis. They do not condemn suicid e bombings, are strongly pro-Taliban, and are heavily armed. Muslims of the Deobandi-Salafi-Wahabi persuasion fiercel y decry the syncretism of popular Islam, claiming that it arises from ignorance of Qura’nic teachings.

Pakistan has bulk-imported Arab Islam after the 1980s, particularly that which is directed against syncretism. In June 2010, the widely venerated shrine of Data Darbar in Lahore was targeted by two suicide bombers who killed around 50 worshippers. Today, every single major shrine in Pakistan has either been attacked or is under threat. Many hundred worshippers, both at shrines and the “wrong” mosques, have been killed. There are no records of those injured and maimed for life.

The export of hardline Arab Islam to Pakistan has been paid for by rich Arabs and their governments. A US official in a cable sent to the State Department, which came to light after Wikileaks, stated that

financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.

This cable, sent in November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then principal officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non- governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur. Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith schools of thought.

Still Digging Away

When you fall into a hole, stop digging. This principle is as crucial for matters of human society as the second law of thermodynamics is for physics. But, at least for now, Army-One and ISI-One remain sceptical.

A score of Islamic militant outfits are still based in Muridke, Bahawalpur, Mansehra and elsewhere. They are tacitly allowed, or perhaps actively encouraged, to take on an idol-worshipping Hindu army at times and places of their own choosing. Hafiz Saeed continues to make fiery speeches in Lahore while Fazlur Rahman Khalil, who heads the banned Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, lives comfortably in Islamabad with four large decibel loudspeakers around his house.

The Pakistani establishment is generally comfortable with hunting with the American hounds and running with the Islamist hares. But this leads to frustration not just with their Islamist allies, but also with their American ones. Leon Panetta, chief of the Central Intelligence Agency, left Islamabad fuming after an apparently fruitless meeting with Generals Kayani and Pasha. According to US media reports, Panetta shared with the military leadership some video and satellite imagery of militants hastily leaving two IED factories in Waziristan. It wanted Pakistan to take action against the two sites. But Panetta alleged at the meeting that the information was leaked within 24 hours of sharing and by the time the raiding teams reached those places, the militants had melted away. Apparently ISI-Two was at work.

Opportunities to change direction have been squandered by the One’ers. The bin Laden operation could have been used to clean up the military. That the world’s most wanted man had been hidden by the Two’ers is likely. If true, his discovery next to the Pakistan Military Academy provided evidence of complicity with terrorists and was a golden opportunity to fully investigate and crack down on jihadists within the military in Abbottabad and elsewhere.

But instead of taking this bold decision, Kayani opted to do what the military has done best: raise anti-US sentiment for having violated Pakistan’s sovereignty, and browbeat the civilian government. The humble subservience of Pakistan’s civilians to their military masters was there for all to see. As the story broke on Pakistani news channels, the elected government quaked. It was too weak, corrupt and inept to take initiatives. Thus, there was no official Pakistani reaction for hours after President Barack Obama had announced the success of the US mission.

A stunned silence was finally broken when the Foreign Office declared that “Osama bin Laden’s death illustrates the resolve of the international community including Pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism”. Hours later, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani described the killing as a “great victory”. Thereupon, Pakistan’s high commissioner to the UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, rushed to claim credit: “Pakistan’s government was cooperating with American intelligence throughout and they had been monitoring [bin Laden’s] activities with the Americans, and they kept track of him from Afghanistan, Waziristan to Afghanistan and again to North Waziristan.”

This welcoming stance was reversed almost instantly. A stern look from the military, which had finally decided to condemn the raid, took barely a few hours in coming. Praising the killing of the world’s

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most wanted terrorist was now out of the question. In its moment of shame, the government furiously twisted and turned. Official spokespeople babbled on, becoming increasingly senseless and contradictory. Without referring to the statement he had made that very morning of 3 May, High Commissioner Hasan abruptly reversed his public position, now saying: “Nobody knew that Osama bin Laden was there – no security agency, no Pakistani authorities knew about it. Had we known it, we would have done it ourselves.”

Confused and tongue-tied for 36 hours, Pakistan’s president and prime minister awaited pointers from the army, following them dutifully after they were received. But simple obedience did not satisfy their masters. Kayani announced his unhappiness with the government: “Incomplete information and lack of technical details have resulted in speculations and misreporting. Public dismay and despondency has also been aggravated due to an insufficient formal response.” The threat was thinly veiled: the government must proactively defend the army and intelligence agencies, else be warned.

Thus prodded, a full eight days after the incident Prime Minister Gillani broke his silence. He absolved the ISI and army of “either complicity or incompetence”. Before an incredulous world, he claimed in a statement that both suggestions were “absurd”. Attempting to spread the blame, he declared in Paris, before his meeting with President Sarkozy, “This is an intelligence failure of the whole world, not Pakistan alone”. Tragically, once again an elected government had failed the people of Pakistan. Democracy alone is not the solution to a country’s problems.

A New Mindset Needed

It was a breath of fresh air when, following the murder of Saleem Shahzad, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif demanded that the army change its mindset. But what exactly did he mean? That the military should submit to the politicians and elected government? Not interfere in elections? Protect its nukes and other assets better? While welcome, this does not go far enough.

A bigger change is needed. Pakistan needs to stop seeing everything through the ever-expanding prism of war and competition with India. Super-charged, locally bred religious militants have fiercely turned upon their former tutors. Today it is the Pakistan military – and the country that it runs with an iron hand – which is haemorrhaging from unrelenting militant attacks. As violence grows, pessimism and despondency have permeated the intelligentsia, prompting a flight out of the country of Pakistan’s best doctors, engineers, scientists, and other professionals.

To prosper, Pakistan needs to overcome its unrelenting hatred of India, leave Kashmir as a problem to be solved by Kashmiris, concentrate upon improving governance and internal issues, deal politically with the Baluchistan situation rather than simply murder dissidents, and realise that it is in deep peril because of its past policies.

The military’s role must be limited to defending the people of Pakistan against internal and external aggression, and to ensuring that their constitutional and civil rights are protected.It is time for the military establishment to stop shelling out juicy pieces of real estate for alleged heroic feats, and dispense with its huge business and commercial interests.

India, through its confrontational policies with Pakistan, shares some responsibility for the present tragic state of affairs and has driven Pakistan into a corner. It is therefore incumbent upon India to help Pakistan overcome its difficulties or, at any rate, to refrain from adding to them. This is in India’s self-interest – imagine the consequences if central authority in Pakistan disappears or is sharply weakened. Splintered into a hundred jihadist lashkars, each with its own agenda and tactics, Pakistan’s territory would become India’s eternal nightmare. When Mumbai-IIoccurs

  • as it surely would in such circumstances
  • India’s options in dealing with nuclear Pakistan would be severely limited. Operation Cold Start is a non-starter, a figment of the imagination of Indian generals that they could avoid nuclear war by limiting the depth and intensity of their initial strikes.
  • India should derive no satisfaction from Pakistan’s predicament. Militant groups see ordinary Muslims as munafiqs (hypocrites) – and therefore free to be blown up in bazaars and mosques. In their calculus of hate, hurting Hindu India would buy even more tickets for heaven than hurting Muslim Pakistan. They dream of ripping apart both societies, or starting a war – preferably nuclear – between Pakistan and India.

    To create a future working alliance with Pakistan, and in deference to basic democratic principles, India must therefore be seen as genuinely working towards some kind of resolution of the Kashmir issue. A halfway effort is better than none. Over the past two decades India has been morally isolated from Kashmiri Muslims and continues to incur the very considerable costs of an occupying power in the Valley. Indian soldiers continue to needlessly die – and to oppress and kill Kashmiri innocents .

    It is time for India to fuzz the LOC, make it highly permeable to non-jihadis, and demilitarise it up to some mutually negotiated depth on both sides. Also, India must entertain Pakistan’s complaints over the use of the water originating in Kashmir’s mountains, which is surely a joint resource. Without peace in Kashmir the forces of cross-border jihad, and its hatefilled holy warriors, will continue to receive unnecessary succour. A helpful symbolic step for Pakistan’s nervous government would be for India to give ground on the Siachen and Sir Creek disputes.

    India also needs to allay Pakistan’s fears on Baluchistan. Although Pakistan’s current iniquitous federal structure is the cause of the problem – a fact which it is now finally addressing through the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment – nevertheless it is possible that India is aiding some insurgent groups. Statements have been made in India that Baluchistan provides New Delhi with a handle to exert pressure on Pakistan. This is unacceptable, if true.

    It has long been true that a little goodwill and friendship would go a long way in laying the basis for rapprochement between India and Pakistan. But improving relations between the two countries is not an optional extra – it has become a matter of survival, particularly for us in Pakistan.


    1 Army Chief Wanted More Drone Support, Hasan Zaidi, Dawn, 20 May 2011.

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