Afghan Journal

Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics

On the Afghanistan-Pakistan border : cutting off the nose to spite the face

July 13, 2011

Pakistan’s defence minister has threatened to move forces away from the Afghan border, where they are deployed to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban, if the United States cuts off aid to the cash-strapped country. Ahmed Mukhtar’s logic is that Pakistan is essentially fighting America’s war on the Afghan border, and if it is going to put the squeeze on its frontline partner, then it will respond by not doing America’s bidding.

But  apart from the issue of whether Pakistan can really stand up to the United States  is the question of whether Islamabad can afford to pull back from the Afghan border for its own sake. This is no longer the porous border where movement of insurgents is confined to members of the Afghan Taliban travelling across to launch attacks on foreign forces in their country. Over the past few weeks, the traffic has moved in the reverse direction, with militants crossing over from Afghanistan to attack Pakistani security posts, Pakistani officials say.  These are not armed men sneaking across in twos and threes , but large groups of up to 600 men armed with rocket launchers and  grenades flagrantly crossing the mountainous border to attack security forces and civilians in Pakistan. (It also stands Pakistan’s strategy of seeking strategic depth versus India on its head; now the rear itself has become a threat.)

It is not very clear who these raiders are  – which adds to the anxiety - but one obvious  guess is that they could be members of the Pakistan Taliban who have come under pressure in their mountain redoubts in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) from the military and may have found sanctuary just over the border in eastern Afghanistan.  The umbrella organisation is sworn to fighting the Pakistani state and is mainly behind the wave of suicide bombings in the country over the past three years, stepping up the momentum even more after Osama bin Laden’s killing, with an audacious attack on a naval base in the southern city of Karachi.

Indeed, the Pakistani military’s offensives have been focused on crushing the Tehrik-e-Taliban, and  it is inconceivable that they would thin out on the Afghan border which is where the threat is coming from, at the moment.

There is another, equally worrying challenge. What if the U.S.-led NATO forces were to cross  the border in “hot pursuit” of insurgents? It’s not entirely impossible : in May NATO helicopters , pursuing insurgents, were reported to have crossed into North Waziristan which followed another raid back in October in which two Pakistani soldiers were accidentally shot. Two years earlier, in September 2008, American commandos carried out a raid in Pakistan’s tribal areas and killed several people suspected of being insurgents. The attack led to outrage among Pakistan’s leaders — and warnings not to do it again.

With ties testing new lows each week, and America’s impatience with the militants growing, the chances of greater aggression on the border have only increased. For Pakistan to pull out from the troubled frontier at this point seems like a self-defeating goal, more than anything else.



Being a shill of your military establishment, it’s quite obvious that you will absolve your army & ISI of all their crimes & sins by pointing a finger at others or making some excuse or the other. So, I’m not at all surprised by your response. Anyways, my point was in response to your statement about “India spending money on science while it’s people lived in poverty”, so you can go easy on the rhetoric about the nefarious activities of CIA, Mossad, RAW, MI5 etc etc. It’s already been beaten to death by you, over the years.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Coming back to the recent disclosure about the ISI trying to influence foreign policy on capitol hill, this is another classic example of Pakistan shooting itself in the foot yet again. I’m sure, from now on, even the lawmakers who genuinely supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir in the past, will back away from it for fear of being labeled as an agent of Pakistan.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive


You simply miss the point. Are only veterans allowed freedom of expression?

Has anyone said you are not free to crticise? They have only rebutted your criticism.

What surprised me most is “IF Mr. Aatish would have the freedom of expression…”. Where is the question of ‘if’? Do you doubt it? Who is to decide whether he has it or not? You or me or the law?

Let’s apply the same yardstick to all.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive


After the article which appeared in Express Tribune (Pakistan) in response to Aatish Taseer’s, here is a tit-for-tat response by Shashi Tharoor in The Asian Age:

Delusional liberals ional-liberals-031

Just confirms one thing, Indians are proud Pakistan haters and will always attack the Pakistan Army, leaves me wondering why?

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive


I have already seen Tharoor’s article. I would suggest you read it without blinkers. Seems to me you only see things from the point of view of whether the writer loves or hates Pakistan – common sense and logic go out the window. “Just confirms one thing, Indians are proud Pakistan haters and will always attack the Pakistan Army, leaves me wondering why?”

Just making bland statements without backing them up like you have now being doing, is no argument. Will you please quote one line or sentence from Tharoor’s article that shows ‘proud’ hatred pf Pakistan or our first love, the greatest Army on earth. Its like your attack on Taseer, just anti him without quoting substance. How can one carry on such a discussion. I ask you about Freedom of Expression for Taseer – you quote Tharoor!

I guess your reply, if there is one, will now quote someone else, to prove that they hate Pakistan? Is that the purpose of this post or our discussion? That Indians hate Pakistanis while Pakistanis love Indians? Well I think that is a stupid topic for children to be discussing.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

All I know is that now liberals at both ends of the border will be sucked into another war of words, just like twitter is already flooded by responses to Shashi Tharoor’s article. I am just wondering who will respond to his article from Pakistan now?
Just accept the fact Dara, your liberals, politicians, writers etc have nothing good to say about Pakistan? correct me if I am wrong.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

For goodness sake what are we discussing here?

“your liberals, politicians, writers etc have nothing good to say about Pakistan? correct me if I am wrong.”

OK so who or what are Arundhati Roy, Kuldip Nayyar, Dlileep Padgaonkar and I can carry on as many as you want, 15, 20, 25 how many???

Criticism and hate are not, repeat not, the same thing. You find that so hard to understand that it beats me.

All you want is for people to say Pakistanis are the best, most virtuous, trustworthy, powerful, kind hearted and the best possible neighbours in the world. Well, Umair, I think NOT. Just as Indians are not either.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Well, if someone can wilfully ignore the most powerful argument in Tharoor’s piece, i.e., “there is not and cannot be an ‘Indian threat’ to Pakistan, simply because there is absolutely nothing Pakistan possesses that India wants,” then he is deliberately being dishonest and there is no point in having a conversation with him.

And Tharoor even proves the point, saying “If proof had to be adduced for this no doubt unflattering assessment, it lies in India’s decision at Tashkent in 1966 to give “back” to Pakistan every square inch of territory captured by our brave soldiers in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, including the strategic Haji Pir Pass, all of which is land we claim to be ours. If we do not even insist on retaining what we see as our own territory, held by Pakistan since 1948 but captured fair and square in battle, why on earth would we want anything else from Pakistan?”

Resounding silence on this most telling argument, and a whine about how Indians hate the Pakistani military.

We constantly make the mistake of trying to reason with such people. There is only one language they understand, that of overwhelming power. Fortunately, the world is learning to speak that language to Pakistan, and there are signs that the message is being understood…

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive


I read Shashi Taroor’s article that you quoted. One line caught my attention:

” Pakistani liberal is, after all, a Pakistani before he is a liberal.”

That says it all. He also says, paraphrasing his words, why India would want to conquer Pakistan for anything at all. India wants nothing from Pakistan. Most of what Sashi says reflects my views. There are two types of people – those who are not aware of the reality and as a result react based on their limited perception; and those who know everything and yet deny it. I see most Pakistani intellectuals like yourself belonging to the latter category. Of course the former type prevails all over the world and get manipulated by the latter type. You know the truth. Your pride and contempt blinds your eyes from accepting it, much like Mr. Salman Taseer.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

The lobbygate scandal has effectively neutered known anti-India Congressman Dan Burton:

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy :-). Association with Pakistan is now the kiss of death in the US political sphere, it would seem.

My reading of the tea leaves says that the Kashmir cause isn’t going to find many international sympathisers from now on. It’s now being seen as “the other side’s cause”, which effectively dooms it. Well, you can’t wage a jihad against the West and then lobby the same West for support. That’s just chutzpah (Ironic that a Jewish term describes this behaviour best!). Westerners are not stupid over the long term. They may be naive and slow, but they eventually learn after a few dozen bomb attacks, kidnappings and executions. The Kashmiris are now associated with terrorists, thanks to the Pakistan connection. Not the best return on the ISI’s PR dollar.

The Indian attitude is also hardening. We’re tired of being put on the defensive by perpetual whingers who will be satisfied by nothing. The boot is now on the other foot. Kashmiris can forget about “self-determination” (that’s what your recent vote was, dummy) and work harder at proving that they deserve Indian citizenship. A lot of money has been poured into that state at the expense of other states, and they could begin to show some gratitude for a change. The international mood would also not be against India settling Kashmir with people from other parts and effectively taming it. Hey, it worked for Tibet, and we all admire the Chinese model of development, don’t we?

The Pakistanis are under a nutcracker, and you can see reasonable statements being squeezed out ( That’s the way to go.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

This is what Umair’s line of thinking, boils down to: Anyone who criticizes the Pakistani military establishment in any way, shape or form, HATES Pakistan & all Pakistanis!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Ganesh: “Kashmiris can forget about “self-determination””

India will be shooting itself in the foot by giving any concessions in this volatile region. Things are vastly different now than what it was in 1948. Conditions of those years do not apply now. These people are not going to stop with getting what they want. Look at their nation for Muslims – Pakistan was created for Muslims and they have not stopped with that. They have brought the whole South Asia to the brink. They have not stopped waging conflicts. They know well that there is no real enemy around them. Yet they use the excuse of India as the bully to arm themselves beyond what they can bear or afford and have gone from bad to worse. Now they want Kashmir because they are Muslims.

Interestingly Muslims find it hard to live and share the world with non-Muslims in general, especially when the latter is a majority. They fume and fret about their rights, stage violent protests, try to intimidate and induce fear in order to keep their “rights” going. If they are the majority, then others do not count. This is the general trend I am observing. So if they get Kashmir because they are “oppressed” and “suppressed” by a Hindu army, they are not going to stop with that. They will first clean the slate by intimidating and driving off non-Muslims or force them to convert and then look outside for more conflicts. They have nothing constructive to do other than wage wars and conflicts. We already have a Pakistan that was created for them to take care of their interests and it is clear to everyone what they have done with it. The last thing I want to see is to create another Pakistan right next to it. My suggestion is that those who seek “self determination” seek migration to the Islamic paradise called Pakistan and stay there. Kashmir is too strategic an area for us to let go at this time. We are trying to deal with China at the same time. Giving up Kashmir now will bring Karakoram highway branching off too close to New Delhi. Sorry, we just cannot afford it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Recent actions by the US administration (cutting off aid & arrest of Pakistani agents), suggest that American retribution against Pakistan has started. This could get ugly if the Pakistanis don’t get their act together soon.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Recent actions by the US administration (cutting off aid & arrest of Pakistani agents), suggest that American retribution against Pakistan has started. This could get ugly if the Pakistanis don’t get their act together soon.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Recent events (cutting off aid & arrest of Pakistani agents), suggest that US retribution against Pakistan has started. This could get ugly, if the Pakistanis don’t get their act together soon.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Proves my point said above “Interestingly Muslims find it hard to live and share the world with non-Muslims in general, especially when the latter is a majority. They fume and fret about their rights, stage violent protests, try to intimidate and induce fear in order to keep their “rights” going. If they are the majority, then others do not count. This is the general trend I am observing.”: europe/23oslo.html?_r=1&hp

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive


I wonder, when you try to preach me difference between criticism and hate, that in response to Aatish Taseer’s article why did Shahsi Tharoor chose to attack Pakistan’s liberals. I know through twitter, the reaction in Pakistan. So Shashi Tharoor chose to criticize when he could have expressed hope of better things. Seriously I have completely lost faith that Pakistan and India could ever transform into friendly neighbours putting behing more than half century of hostility and war behind. I think some mild form of limited hostility is the best way forward for both countries as long as two faced snakes are among us who will not miss any opportunity to spew venom against the other side.
Good luck!

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

“Interestingly Muslims find it hard to live and share the world with non-Muslims in general, especially when the latter is a majority. They fume and fret about their rights, stage violent protests, try to intimidate and induce fear in order to keep their “rights” going. If they are the majority, then others do not count. This is the general trend I am observing.”: europe/23oslo.html?_r=1&hp”

-KPSingh, so much for your despicable anti-muslim thoughts and then you go on to paste a link to the Oslo bombings and trying to involve muslims.
FYI, the Norwegian national arrested in Utoya shooting is member of a far-right group and the bombing and shooting are linked, this is according to the Norway Police.
Thoughts and prayers go out to people of Norway, Islamabad has suffered before what Oslo is going through today. It is times like these when a nation’s resolve is tested.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

@Umair: Take it easy buddy, it ain’t KP’s fault. A jihadi group had claimed responsibility for the Oslo bombings, which they later retracted. We’ll find the truth, soon enough.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

BTW, NY times keeps changing the content of the same article, as the story develops. The same link which KP had posted, earlier said that a jihadi group had claimed responsibility.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

“The lobbygate scandal has effectively neutered known anti-India Congressman Dan Burton.It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy” Posted by prasadgc

He’s up for re-election, next year & I doubt he’ll win (if he chooses to run). The Pakistanis have unwittingly provided a lot of ammo to the challengers in his constituency.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Umairpk: “so much for your despicable anti-muslim thoughts and then you go on to paste a link to the Oslo bombings and trying to involve muslims”

I am not anti-anyone. In general co-existing with Muslims is like trying to share the same seat in a crowded train. They fight and take all the seats. The others will have to settle for the floor or the roof. And it is that frustration that is building everywhere. Europe has started with burqa ban. Violence doesn’t pay. And the wrong people get punished most of the time.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Umairpk said:

> Islamabad has suffered before what Oslo is going through today.

Slight difference. Norway doesn’t run terrorist training camps to attack a neighbouring country, so what they’re suffering is entirely undeserved. I should stop before I say something about the Pakistani military, or I’ll be accused of spewing hate and venom!

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Mortal: “BTW, NY times keeps changing the content of the same article, as the story develops. The same link which KP had posted, earlier said that a jihadi group had claimed responsibility.”

My apologies. The initial posting did link an Islamic terrorist group. Later on it seems to be from a right wing group. This world is going crazy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Umair don’t take yourself so seriously. Everyone writes what they want to, not what you want to hear. That you are free to do for yourself. If you could look at the silver lining sometimes and not just worry and fret about your Army and go ballistic when anyone says anything contrary to your rosy picture of it, then maybe you will realise that unless problems are first put on the table they cannot be solved. And I am not preaching just pointing out to you how I see your recent comments.

I have really said what I wanted on this subject and concede that I will not be able to convince you. Some day you may come out of your denial and listen to what the world has to say as to why Pakistan is in trouble these days and who is predominantly responsible – whether the politician, intellectuals, fundamentalists or the Pak Army or Indian liberals and writers and bloggers.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

The Geo-politics are never written in stone and they are extremely fluid in nature that nothing is ever guaranteed. ype=n&nid=838

In this article,Daniel Twining former member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator John McCain,a doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University believes more and more that “political legitimacy will be the primary currency of international politics in the 21st century”.

Also,the US National Intelligence Council has called India the decisive “swing state” in the international system. India’s posture is thus central to the long-term position of the US and other democracies.
As the US relative decline is inevitable, United states will ensure that the vacuum must be filled by emerging democracies and India plays a pivotal role here.

If there were no India, An authoritarian state like china without any hindrance had become a uni pole in Asia and would have held suzerainty over entire Asian landmass. Whoever controls Asia Completely is bound to become the pre-eminent super Power in perpetuity. United States and Rest of the Democracies will make every attempt to avoid such a scenario. Unless one is completely blinded by hatred, one can see that only India with bigger demographics that china has such potential regarding Asian dynamics to play a balancing role and India must play the role of swing state to carefully nurture its position while being close to West (Europe and US), it must maintain equal,cordial and strong relations (trade and diplomatic relations) with Moscow to avoid Chinese-Russian bonhomie.

More importantly, most US lawmakers believe Intra-Asian trade is going to overtake trade between south-north (or west-east) and a very likely scenario of Indo-Chinese trade larger than between any two nations by 2050. In such a scenario Chinese have their own limitations in patronizing Pakistan. when the profits in trade with India could be used to Arm against India why offend India and lose the money there by losing the opportunity to Arm against India!!

India is also likely to continue to play the role of main arbiter of the third world(Africa primarily) and Emerging world(Brazil,mexico etc). With a clear and emerging battleground of ideas, Its a test for Pakistan’s foreign policy.
With Arab uprising and democratic momentum in rest of the world, more and more states which are plural in nature (Arab world is one of most pluralistic regions) with large minority populations will look at India to know and learn how to manage their highly plural,multicultural societies with tolerance and democracy.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Interestingly, after reading the above posts, I have come to a conclusion that both sides i.e umaripk and we are arguing on completely different structures on what we consider as institutions.
While we are arguing that Pakistan Army is overstepping its turf given by constitution in a democratic polity and has become the real arbiter of the nation of Pakistan and in its belligerence towards US and rest of the world.

Pakistanis like umair seems to see this in completely different perspective, Since India is the enemy (which for him is an universal constant, more on this below) any institution that takes on India even at the cost of exhausting more than quarter of his country’s precious resources is still a legitimate bet.

While India suffers with semi-feudalistic politicians who create their own fiefdoms, people in general are pluralistic,moderate and tolerant an attribute pakistani masses are fast losing and Yes that is our worry.

In fact it is OK to be historial foes in every sense of the word because such adversarial relationship exists between many countries (UK and France) but that relationship always existed on secular structures based on differing cultural ideas. Pakistan by entwining religion as culture (Jinnah’s belief that Hindus and Muslims form different culture) has made it impossible for any reconciliation since at the end, only the entire conversion of India into Muslims would only probably satisfy them and bring down this anti-India venom generated by the policy circles in Pakistani security establishment, hence India as enemy has become universal constant for them (for justification of their large share in country’s assets and its existence, Interestingly when Army says Pakistan’s existential threat as India they are referring as Pakistan Army’s existential threat as India equating Pakistan with Pakistan army, their existential threat borne out of fear that any reconciliation will end their dominance ).

The violence soaked partition events have been used by the security establishment to invent a historical narrative between two religious groups and whatever we Indians might think, the average Pakistani (even liberals like salman taseer) are unlikely to see the partition into a Islamic state and a secular one. They will continue to see it as creation of a Hindu State and an Islamic state. And every little religious incident is utilized to paint India as a Hindu state repressing Muslims and making them second class citizens. while we admittedly are no perfect secular state, every religious incident is taken as a fodder in Pakistan for the propoganda as the vindication of their state’s existence and their justification of suppressing the religious minorities.

Umairpk unfortunately fails to realize the idea of democratic institutions, it is true RAW,CIA and MOSSAD have been bribing american lawmakers into making their voice heard in more strong terms, but they have not been recruiting jihadis, running training camps and perpetrating bombs and terror attacks across the world.

Had any Pakistani diplomat bribed any US lawmaker into making concessions for pakistani interests, he would have escaped with diplomatic immunity and Intellgence agencies would themselves have escaped by quid pro quo actions by other party. (US excuses RAW agents in return for India excusing CIA agents in India) but when ISI overstepped its constitutional prerogatives and conducted terror training camps it has effectively become a terrorist organization it shot itself in the foot. This is something umairpk will be unable to understand due to his limited respect for democratic principles and democratic institutions with defined legislative space.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Sensiblepatriot said:

> only the entire conversion of India into Muslims would [...] probably satisfy them

You really think so? Just a fortnight ago, a PPP politician (Zulfiqar Mirza) made comments against Urdu-speaking people (i.e., the mohajjirs from India), which ignited a furore. Surely 1.2 billion mohajjirs would be a much bigger threat!

Once religious differences are removed, ethnic differences come to the fore. That’s the tragedy of Pakistan and the ultimate rebuttal to the Two-Nation Theory. Pakistan is itself at least five ethnic nations, since the Hindu religious nation was split off through partition. I have come to believe these are people who cannot live with themselves, let alone other people.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

prasadgc:”You really think so?”

of course No! :-) , It was commentary on pakistan policy neurosis through fatalistic humor, but they will surely be “half-satisfied”, from dhimmis or non-believers we will at least then become half-muslim just like Pakistanis are for Arabs.
This Pakistan polity’s neurosis affects so deep that they are in denial and afflicts their mental state so much that they refuse to address the most urgent problems facing the country. ant-in-the-room.html
The state borne out of various mental aspects(hatred-insecurity-inferiority complex-delusions-victimization-lack of leaders-lack of success symbols) will be unable to identify the difference between “a state” and “a state institution” which we can see from umair, he does not realize that one can be proud of one’s country but one has to differentiate between say a corrupt Indian government and India. I am sure a North Korean suffers from same mentality but at least a Pakistani has the opportunity to work through Internet and get awakened unlike a north-Korean.

Similarly a Pakistani citizen should differentiate between Pakistani Security establishment with Pakistan as a nation. Only then they will know where to go from here.

Admittedly, I was the one who believed Kashmir problem was entirely the creation of Pakistan, but having read various sources I realized Indian governments culpability in Kashmir problem acquiring such huge dimensions (rigged elections in 1989) and the Indian Army’s lackluster and thoroughly unprofessional behavior in the initial years of insurgency so much so that it became a pawn and played itself into a trap that was set by Pakistan’s ISI.

I remember the case of SriLanka which was seen nothing but a repressive state by the west. Not surprsingly just as the Kashmiri diaspora succeeded in creating an image of repressive India, the overseas Srilankan Tamils (and admittedly Indian Tamils) were able to create such image for SriLanka (unfortunately the only image for them). It too was isolated and its nation afflicted with same third world maladies I described above. But a single successful symbol of world cup win has changed image of SriLanka (its team consists of buddhists,hindus,christians and is a microcosm of lankan society) and created a world of difference to their confidence and attitude that Srilanka is the only country in south Asia which has developed country indicators be it literacy, healthcare or percapita incomes.
Although I do not concur with the Srilankan Army’s brutal repression of Tamils in LTTE dominant areas during the final days of the assault to Liquidation the group, I am seeing a more accomodative and bruised country coming to terms with other ethnic groups.
Pakistan needs such success symbols other than the sick and obsessed Army.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive


I named most of the Indian crowd on this blog as the ‘mob’!
An australian named them haenas. They are called in my world Rattan-fänger, they are looking for any dirt in the media against the muslims or Pakistanis, they are quick to paste the label on this blog. May I recall that it was the Norweigen newspaper which reprinted the caricature of the prophet after it was printed in the Danish paper. These characters are rat-catcher who induce racial hatred in the press without realising that they are putting the radical rightists on the wrong path. The Govt. ofcourse ignores these groups who are antimigration, and allows migrants into the country to do the menial jobs which the natives do not loke to perform. This is the time for the humanity to take a pause and protest for the senseless murder of teenagers and show compassion for the families of those who perished for no cause or purpose. Let us recall that it was the Norwegen committee which nominated the son of the kenyan for a nobel prize, who is until now invoved in two wars against muslims and is making use of drones in Afghanistan and Pakistab as well as Yemen.
The casualties include innocent children and women.

Rex Minor

PS sorry for the intervention.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

kpsingh01:”Interestingly Muslims find it hard to live and share the world with non-Muslims in general, especially when the latter is a majority. They fume and fret about their rights, stage violent protests, try to intimidate and induce fear in order to keep their “rights” going. If they are the majority, then others do not count. This is the general trend I am observing.”

Unfortunately I dont agree with you on this KP, the Indonesia and Turkey are prime examples which are strongly secular in their conduct. The southern African muslim nations too do not display such attitudes.

With the risk of being labelled an anti-american, the truth is America in order to counter the growing socialist threat from USSR during cold war years had steadfastly supported various Islamic movements so much that almost now every Islamist government in Iran, Pakistan, Egypt were once allies of America and foes of USSR. America in its obsession to see USSR defeated made every attempt to topple Secular and popular regimes be in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan just because they were guilty of admiring Soviet policies and US went on to support Saudi regime even though its hardcore Islamist in nature. The current state of Muslim states is such that (with the exceptions i mentioned above) secular and moderate Muslims have either been marginalized, ran away, hunted,jailed, executed ,tortured or made toothless that almost no secular Muslim groups exist in large part of the Muslim world. h-Fundamentalist-American/dp/0805081372

The book says it all, we can read the review and can get a gist of it.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

sensiblepatriot: “the Indonesia and Turkey are prime examples which are strongly secular in their conduct. The southern African muslim nations too do not display such attitudes.”

I do not want to stretch this into a religious war here. Indonesia, Turkey etc are Muslim majority countries with small percentage of non-Muslims. Ethnically the people of each country is not very diverse. In Malaysia, they had the Bhumiputra problem. So long as minorities adjust and not mess with the majority, all is well in these countries. For example, the code of conduct is laid out by Islamic/Arab tradition. A non-Muslim simply cannot do something that can go against the Islamic code. So long as that happens, things are fine and secularism prevails. Aceh province in Indonesia is notorious for militant and conservative Islam. In the other parts of Indonesia, though they are Muslims, they mostly follow the pre-Islamic Buddhist system. Naipaul has written a book,”Among the believers” where he covers the pesantran system in Indonesia, built on top of the Buddhist infrastructure. He also goes to Iran, Malaysia and Pakistan. The bottom line is this – code of conduct, especially when it comes to women, is rigid. If anyone violates that, they will have to run for their lives. For example, a Muslim woman marrying a non-Muslim man and living in those “secular” nations. If you are a minority in those countries, you are, for all practical purposes, living like a Muslim and do not ask for trouble. That’s all right for them. My point is that if they are in a similar situation, they protest, stage campaigns and keep their rights protected through intimidation. And they live in this fear induced mindset in countries where they are a minority. The general message is “don’t mess with us and our methods and we won’t mess with you.” But in non-Muslim majority countries, they demand their rights and will fight to the hilt. In India, the Shao Bano case is a classic example. The same with “oppression” in Kashmir. But if they slaughter non-Muslims and lower grade Muslims like Bengalis, they get medals. Nothing satisfies them. Even after getting a country of their own, they have spent all the energy fighting India. In Europe and other places, friction is building. It did not so far because those who went there were liberal people and were not orthodox Muslims. Now there is migration from Northern Africa, Middle East etc, which is changing the demography in Europe which is facing an aging population and declining growth. They are violent people too. Unlike us, they will not appease their minorities. Either they blend in or will face their skin heads. Look at how a couple of Bubbas from Australia fought with us recently for not confirming to their codes of conduct. They have not come across the population we are familiar with. Not yet. Then there will be many sharing my view. I am not a Hindu. But my view is similar to the Hindus regarding Muslims in the sub-continent and elsewhere. This is an emotional topic. Therefore let me end it here.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

As a curious student of history. I was able to frame certain opinions about cultural transformation of various religions during different times of history and I see their respective cultural traits shaped by political, Geographical and reformist movements rather than just through literal interpretations of the book.

For a neutral and rational observer of religious texts one wonders why a more broader and tolerant Asiatic faiths whose books talk of good conduct of every Human, penance or books whose Gods pervade bigger spaces of univese are now belittled before abrahamic faiths whose purpose of God initially seems to show the blessed one some piece of promised land.

The reasons are both Geographic and historical.
One idea that cropped out of the understanding of abrahamic civilization is that Arahamic tribes who were persecuted time and again by egyptians, romans and other pagan religions of the time continually for hundreds of years had made psychological belief of “their God” stronger. The initial abrahamic tribes came closer to extinction many times due to persecution from the then pagan empires and from hard climates but by quirk or fate they survived, the fact they survived has only invigorated their belief even more in “their God”. Since every survival is documented, every act of survival added mythic proportions to their psyche.

While religions evoled out of existing cultures in India,China and Roman states. This was a unique case where culture and cultural ideas evolved over Religious books.
Although Indic,chinese and Roman religions fought about ideas on culture and religion they never gave it a theological tinge to the Ideas but left them to the succeeeding generations.

Abrahamic religions in retrospect claimed on God’s will on what survived or what succeeded. Just as pakistan disowned its 1000 year culture with India and left with nothing but religion. Abrahamic faith once it left Egypt was devoid of culture and its only source of inspiration were survival through ages which it found in its books.

In nature only the species which are mean,closed groups and ultra sensitive for survival succeed.Something called the survival of the fittest. Its not surprising that nominally religious and disparate pagan religions were overwhelmed in the process by the people of the book.

The second reason is Geographical, the religions which were born in desert sands of Egypt and middle east have always been thorougly stricter in religious codes of conduct than highly natural resource blessed Indian, Chinese or Roman Empires. The existence of large natural resources for survival discounted the need for all supreme God and in their idea humans can too become Gods (Roman Gods). The chinese too were flooded with adequate resources that their religion doesn’t even have a God (only heaven). Thats the reason we pray Mountains, Forests, Water which are more important than unseen God.

The western civilization could reform itself through Renaissance movements only by completely disowning their theological Abrahamic past (French Revolution) since it became difficult to create a more tolerant,rational and progressive culture through literal reading of Holy texts. But the cultural trait cannot go away simply by disowning a book, that cultural trait shaped by hundreds of years of experience.

The abrahamic faiths were neverthless reformist to the existing religins of the day, more accomodating, less ritualistic, more liberal (than compared to tribalised and materialistic display of religions which existed in that period). These faiths were like today’s liberal fundementalists in those days!!! The abrahamic faith were although relatively rationalistic to other religions during that period, abrahamic faiths were nevertheless brutal in their treatmess and less tolerant to other faiths in those times.

Islamic civilzation too with various groups mingled into its religion over the centuries and had become mystic and tolerant by late 1800′s that one may be surprised to see present middle east with what it was in early 20th century.

Just like pagan cultures have their own fault lines of squabbling, ritualism, back stabbing,self destruction and failing to show a united front to common enemy. The abrahamic cultures faultline lies in steadfast and unrelenting beliefs (we seen in the case of Australians) that brought enough misery through Fascism, communism ,Eugenics (Racism) and unhindered capitalism.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Its not just a border issue, it is security for the whole world that is at stake.
News article mentions:
“But apart from the issue of whether Pakistan can really stand up to the United States is the question of whether Islamabad can afford to pull back from the Afghan border for its own sake.”
Pakistan has never conceded to the terrorists, it can take back the border anytime. I believe they are quite capable to fight even with limited resources. This then becomes difficult for the armed forces to plan sector prioritization. Indirectly Pakistan is fighting for world peace, what is the world doing?

Posted by kritik1 | Report as abusive

Even after trillions of accusations, ISI remains cool.

Posted by kritik1 | Report as abusive

“Even after trillions of accusations, ISI remains cool.”

Have you seen criminals ever admitting to their crimes? Once the mind is criminalized, there is no going back. Individual criminals can at least be put behind bars permanently or put away (like OBL). Establishments run by criminal minds? That’s another story. Wars are needed to end their reign. Criminals invite cops on their own. They cannot remain quiet. So the ISI will meet its match soon.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

“Pakistan has never conceded to the terrorists”

Al Capone never conceded to gangsters either. Because he was running them. Only fools will make mafia dons as their allies to catch petty criminals. And it is clear for all to see.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Kritik1 said:

> Pakistan is fighting for world peace

Bet you wrote that with a straight face. Reminds me of the Vietnam-era statement: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.” In Pakistan, horror and farce are coming together in similar fashion. Some way to fight for peace!

The ISI have not given up their deadly agenda. They have not learnt that trying to light a fire burns down one’s own house. They’re just changing their incendiary chemicals and hoping for a different outcome the next time. Will the idiots never learn?

Their strategy now is to use only Indian citizens (i.e., disaffected Indian Muslim youth) to attack India. No more embarrassment of having Pakistani citizens like Ajmal Qasab captured. Plausible deniability is the name of the game. The Indian Mujahideen is now being trained in Baluchistan ( (So the Pakistanis are right – some mischief is happening in Baluchistan all right, but not it’s not of the RAW variety.)

Meanwhile, Pakistan has already lost the real war with India: . India can surely weather a few bombs a year. It’s a perverse indicator of continued progress, because it shows that someone is burning with jealousy.

When the Pakistanis realise that the only way forward is to sign a reciprocal agreement with India, with each country giving up claims to territory on the other side of the LoC, that’s when they’ll turn the corner. Till then, their downslide will continue. The US is turning the screws, the Chinese continue to provide their worthless blah-blah verbal support, power cuts and prices increase, and the country goes further into the morass. It’s a pity in a way, but Indians can afford to wait and watch. The longer we wait, the worse it gets for Pakistan. At what point will they finally break and admit defeat?

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Even after trillions of accusations, ISI remains cool.

Posted by kritik1

That was a very funny comment.

ISI is a terrorist organization, that has masqueraded using the trappings of a country. There is no country, but only the terrorists organization called ISI.

“ISI remaining cool” means “Pakistan” burning, splintering into pieces…

Karachi’s burning will spread and engulf…the “cool” ISI, PA terrorists are going to get caught soon in the hellfire from internal anarchy.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

Ganesh: “Pakistan has already lost the real war with India”

First thing is for Pakistanis to stop comparing themselves with India. This stems from their superiority complex that has driven them to match with India at the expense of their own welfare. And others need to stop calling India and Pakistan as rivals. May be in a cricket match, one can have rivalry. India is a huge nation that compares with China and for rivalry that is the country that must be looked at. I do not see Pakistanis calling themselves as rivals of China, when that country started out poor sixty odd years ago as well. Pakistan cannot match India in everything. India’s sheer size makes its average come out low. But when that average goes up, it carries a lot of momentum with it. Small countries have to try matching themselves with small countries similar to themselves. I wonder why Pakistanis are not looking at Iran to their West or Egypt or Turkey to do their numbers.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Ganesh:”Pakistan has already lost the real war with India”.

They don’t believe this Ganesh and that is because their sources are somewhere. They read somethings like these and believe they are much much better being in pakistan. ong-Can-You-Compare-India-and-Pakistan

The posts are written by a moron called Riaz Haq who himself does not reside in Pakistan to see what is happening. He regularly quotes outdated India’s and pakistani figures to make them look good. He even doesn’t know the simple truth that while in India Poverty is over reported it is under reported in Pakistan by honour and Ghairat brigade. These days you won’t see these figures because world bank has started taking pakistan’s figures lightly and not even nationalistic pakistanis want to argue on the poverty statistics with India. His selective application of Statistics is legendary in blog circles.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Umair “so much fuss for $23500 from Kashmir American Council, while trillions of $$ of black money from corrupt Indian politicians lies in Swiss Banks.”

- Care to show me evidence that there’s trillions (really??) lying in Swiss Banks. In any event, I am sure you are just being obtuse and understand the difference between corruption on a personal level by an individual politician and an attempt by a foreign intelligence agency to subvert the policies of the United States by influencing the democratic process.

Umair, “Also the American Israeli Public Affairs committee APAIC and the huge Indian lobby in Washington go about their business as usual.”

AIPAC and that huge Indian lobby (which is rather disorganized actually) are comprised of American citizens using donations from American citizens to influence American politicians. KAC was an ISID front. There’s quite a difference. Imagine finding out that the CIA was funding the PPP to influence Pakistan’s policies on China.

Umair: “Though I agree the KAC should have registered itself, but since even the US ambassador in Islamabad keeps links with all political parties in Pakistan. ”

There’s a massive difference between a diplomat engaging influential figures in their host country and an individual covertly attempting to subvert national policy by influencing politicians with foreign money. When a Pakistani is talking to the US ambassador, he/she knows who he/she is talking and what their agenda is. When somebody was talking to the KAC, they assumed they were talking to American citizens with a legitimate concern for Kashmir, not the front organization of a foreign government.

Umair: “What is all the fuss about?”

The fuss is about laws being broken. And lest you claim favoritism, the US authorities have also pursued agents who have acted similarly for other governments (Israel, China, etc.).

Umair: “What is understandable though is that since already even when a mouse farts in India and is blamed on ISI.”

That’s rich. Coming from a guy who not too long ago would have suggested that the Pakistani Taliban were funded by India.

Unfortunately for you, the Indians often have evidence which can usually be corroborated by evidence from the West’s own intelligence sources.

Umair: It is clear how liberal journalists like Kuldi Nayar, Arundathi Roy are being labeled as ISI agents and traitors just because they exercise their right of freedom of expression.

Ironically, you have suggested that the younger Tasreer was a bastard and a traitor to his roots. And even more ironically, for all the criticism of these journalists, they aren’t ending up dead, like some recent journalists in Pakistan that we know of.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

What I find hilarious is that Dan Burton is carrying the Pakistan and Kashmir banners. Their case is truly sunk if all hopes rest on him.

This is the guy who tore a strip off Clinton for his infidelity while fathering a bastard during an affair with another woman. He then went on to marry his wife’s nurse after she passed away. He was also the only member of the US Congress to vote against a bill banning free plane trips and gifts from lobbyists. And he once suggested that the US should place gunboats off the coast of …. landlocked Bolivia and strafe the drug fields there.

If that’s the guy carrying the Pakistani banner, then clearly the ISI is also incompetent at bribing US politicians.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive

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