Is Pakistan’s war against militants India’s too?

October 10, 2008

Time was when every time militants set off a bomb in Pakistan, India’s strategic establishment would turn around and say “we told you so”. This is what happens when you play with fire … jihad is a double-edged sword, they would say, pointing to Pakistan’s support for militants operating in Kashmir and elsewhere.k2.jpg

Not any more. When India’s opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party — which has consistently advocated a tougher policy toward Pakistan — tells the government to be watchful of the fallout of the security and economic situation in Pakistan, then you know the ground is starting to shift.    

“Pakistan is on the verge of an economic and political collapse,” party leader and former foreign minister Jaswant Singh said in remarks that  seem to have escaped much public attention. “It is time we understood the influence and be prepared to face it.”

Former Indian High Commissioner to Britain Kuldip Nayar, who is from the opposite end of the political spectrum, made a similar point shortly after the bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott hotel. 

“If ever Pakistan goes under, India’s first line of defence would collapse. The Taliban would have secured the launching pad to attack India’s values of democracy and liberalism which do not fit into their scheme of things,” he wrote in the Gulf News. 

“Terrorism is the means, Talibalistan is the end. New Delhi and Islamabad should jointly fight against the menace,” Nayar, who has long campaigned for peace with Pakistan, said.

On Thursday, a suicide attacker struck again in a high-security part of Islamabad, this time on the police headquarters itself, underscoring the militants’ ability to strike at will anywhere across the nation.

“The grim truth is that Pakistan is becoming something alarmingly close to a failed state,” wrote Sumit Ganguly, director of research at  the Center on American and Global Security at Indiana University, in a piece for the Washington Post.  Pakistan, he said, faces an “existential crisis on its streets and in its courts, barracks and parliament”.

The world, led by the United States, must work to put the country back together again, he said. “If not, we will face a terrifying prospect: Pakistan’s collapse (slow or otherwise) into a full-blown failed state, armed with nuclear weapons, riven by ethnic tensions, infused with resentment and zealotry, with roving bands of Taliban sympathizers and bin Ladenists in its midst. ”

KashmirSo is New Delhi ready to play ball? Given that India looms large over the Pakistani mind and its security/foreign policy has been predicated to meet the threat from its larger neighbour, one obvious way for Pakistan to be more at ease with itself would be to reduce tensions with New Delhi.  

 The Pakistan Policy Group, comprising independent, bipartisan American experts on U.S.-Pakistan relations, said in a report that while America couldn’t really impose normalcy between India and Pakistan,  “it can continually point out  both countries’ interests would be served – now more than ever – by building better relations because both face existential terrorist threats.”

This weekend Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launches a rail link in Kashmir, which fueled much of the hostility between the two nations all these years and remains the main stumbling block to better ties.

Is this an opportunity for Singh to announce concessions? Pakistan’s Dawn, citing unspecified news reports, said that Singh was expected to announce important peace measures with Pakistan during the trip to Kashmir.


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Exactly 8 years back Robert Kaplan wrote a masterly piece about state of Pakistan in Atlantic Online , (The Lawless Frontier , September 2000) cited collapse of state institutions and forces are determined to redraw the borders . One expert said “Pakistan is now a state on the verge of collapse. …. the State of Pakistan is being overwhelmed by forces of history and geography. A state with less than a tenth the resources of India, Pakistan is forced to fight insurgencies on its frontiers perhaps ten times as great as in Kashmir. It is only a matter of time before the institutions of the state totally breakdown”.
Punjab is scared of borderland provinces who are hostile to Punjabi regime.

GEOSTRATEGIC REALITY : “…historic pattern previously alluded to. Whenever there was a weak state in the Punjab region, it has fallen before invaders from the northwest. This was the case when it was invaded by Darius, Muhammad of Ghazni, Timur, Babar and Nadir Shah. On the other hand, whenever the Punjab was part of a powerful state, it has turned back the invader. This is what happened when the Greeks, the Huns and Afghans in the time of Ranjit Singh tried to invade the planes”


“Saving Punjab is as much India’s responsibility as it is Pakistan’s. India cannot let these invading forces cross the Indus and turn West Punjab into a wasteland. The only way for Punjab to survive is to let the frontier be frontier and rejoin India? its natural home. But is the Punjabi ruling elite capable of such vision? As one Pakistani (Punjabi) journalist told Kaplan, “We have never defined ourselves in our own right ? only in relation to India. That is our tragedy.” This attitude represents a historic truth: Punjab is India or it is happy hunting ground for the frontier tribes. If the Punjabis do not cure themselves of their hatred, it may soon lead to an even greater tragedy? of Afghanistan consuming Pakistan itself. Punjabis should see for themselves that Pakistan is a fantasy that died the day Bangladesh broke away. They should also recognize that the Punjabis never asked for Pakistan; the people who planted that poison seed remained in India. And the same people ? of the Deoband School of Lucknow ? planted also the poison seed that grew to be Taliban.”

“The choice for the Punjabis of Pakistan is clear. Forces of history and geography are against them. They can return to their natural home in India as the proud citizens of a great power or continue their sordid existence as a client state that can be hired by a patron whenever a dirty job needs to be done. But even this is precarious and short-lived existence. For all its bombast, Pakistan ? its Punjabi core at least ? is today little more than a buffer state between India and the violent frontier. Once they become part of India, they will have a great power to defend them against the hordes. One hopes they recognize the inexorability of the logic: it is India or oblivion, there is no middle ground.”

“For India the option is clear. Pakistan as it exists today is facing a meltdown. Changes of government and leaders will not turn back the elemental forces now in play. And negotiations and treaties with a melting state are meaningless. As India becomes a great power, the Pakistani Punjab and the land east of the Indus River will inexorably be drawn into India. And the Indus River will again be its natural boundary. There will be many challenges, but the goal is clear: to minimize the damage and destruction during this historic reunion, which I now feel is inevitable. In summary, India can no longer afford the luxury of being a soft state, continuing to avoid hard decisions and actions. A soft state at this critical juncture in history may also face a meltdown like Pakistan.

Posted by IntelliBriefs | Report as abusive

Pak now the world’s top suicide bomb death capital: CSM
Fri, Oct 10 01:05 PM

New York, Oct.10 (ANI): Pakistan has overtaken Iraq and Afghanistan in suicide-bomb deaths this year, its intelligence agency reports.

Suicide bomb attacks have spiked in Pakistan, from two in 2002 to a record 56 in 2007, according to the Institute for Conflict Management, based in New Delhi. As of August of this year, the country had seen 25 suicide-bomb attacks, ICM reports.

In a grim indicator of the rise in attacks, according to Pakistan’s intelligence agency, this year Pakistan has overtaken Iraq in suicide-bomb deaths.

It counted 28 suicide bombings in Pakistan that killed more than 471 people in the first eight months of this year. By comparison Iraq saw 42 such attacks and 463 deaths; Afghanistan, 36 incidents and 436 casualties.

According to the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), Thursday’s suicide bomb attack at the headquarters of the Anti-terrorism Squad of the Islamabad police force, has added to the rise in bomb attacks in Pakistan.

The CSM quotes Hassan Askari Rizvi, former professor of Pakistan Studies at Columbia University, as saying: “The message [from Thursday’s attack] couldn’t have been clearer. The militants want to show that they have the capacity to hit Pakistani institutions – even those ones trusted with the responsibility of protecting the rest.”

According to the CSM, Pakistan needs more than political will to deal with these attacks.

“Pakistan will need to improve its counterterrorism abilities. Most of the time there is no claim of responsibility, and investigations don’t uncover much. Unless we have concrete information on where this is coming from and why, it will be a hard fight to fight,” it quotes Khalid Rahman of the Institute of Policy Studies in Islamabad, as saying. (ANI)

Posted by IntelliBriefs | Report as abusive

Lets not forget, People of pakistan support Bin laden and adore Taliban..Indian support at this stage to pakistani govt, will be viewed at a different angle by pakistani majority will simply increase the divide..just like hatred for US among pakistanis..
Time may come for India to poke in..when the fight between pakistanis and taliban and allies has grown to peak and maximum lives lost..only after that will pakistanis, be it punjabis or others in pakistan realise they have nothing left but to go along with India.

Posted by Om | Report as abusive

Again, it should be obvious to everyone that the ‘easing tensions’ bit is true until Pakistan can get more funds from US and get back to its old ways of sending terrorists into India (hell, they are still doing it).

You call a Talibanised Pakistan a ‘fall of defence’ for India? Well, depends on who is looking at the big picture with whose eyes. From mine, it is a blessing. Talibanised Pakistan gives an open excuse for US and even India to goto war and finish the job once and for all. Hell, it’s not like we aren’t getting Paki’s donation of their brave terrorists every few days anyway. Might as well goto war and destroy the enemy.

Besides, who says that the recent attacks inside Pakistan are the act of terrorists only? Any proof? (no, terrorists claiming them doesn’t matter.. who is filling their pockets does).

Either way, I say let Pakistan destabalise and let the war games begin. They are proud of their stolen.. err.. rented nukes from Chinese, the thing they can’t risk using or it will be just instant annihilation for them in the end.

Posted by Nikhil Sharma | Report as abusive

Nikhil Sharma
Wow, i liked your comments. Sure let India destablize as well, why only Pakistan. Tell you one thing, Pakistan is still in pretty good shape and taking care of itself. Its not so easy to destabilize this country. As for nukes, rented or owned they remain with Pakistan. If you want to point a nuke towards pakistan then remember you could also be nuked. Shut your rhetoric and open your eyes. In any future conflict India stands to loose big. Better dont pick a fight with Pakistan. Last but not the least F*ck You.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive