Pakistan, India and the election manifestos

April 15, 2009

The world’s largest democracy chooses a new government in an election beginning on Thursday, and given the fires burning next door in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the men and women who will rule New Delhi over the next five years will doubtless exert influence over the course of events.

Indeed, with the pain and anger over  the Mumbai attacks of November still raw, the mood could hardly be tougher against Pakistan. Even shorn of the campaign rhetoric, the positions of both the ruling Congress and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party on Pakistan begin from common ground. No dialogue with Islamabad until it “dismantles the infrastructure of terrorism”, both parties say in their manifestos.

Full texts of the documents of the two main parties are here and here.

New Delhi’s continued refusal to resume dialogue or indeed to expand other links such as trade has caught Pakistan between a rock and a hard place, according to this piece in 2point6billion.com, a website tracking developments mainly in China and India. While Islamabad has repeatedly called for resumption of dialogue since the attacks, Delhi has refused to comply until it is assured that Pakistan will prosecute all those involved in the planning and operations.

Delhi maintains that it holds information garnered from satellite, cellular and other communications devices captured at the scene that lead to specific individuals that Pakistan has as yet failed to apprehend. Islamabad denies the charge and says it is doing everything in its power to cooperate.

The result is that the noose has tightened around Pakistan, exacerbating its already dire financial situation. Trade between Pakistan and India, which had been growing and was forecast to hit US$10 billion by 2010, has dwindled to close to zero over the past few months, with Pakistan feeling the brunt of this economic demise, says the website. Islamabad has already had to apply for a US$7.6 billion loan from the IMF in February and garnered an additional US$2.8 billion in military aid from the Obama administration just two weeks ago. 

But is there a possibility that once India’s elections are out of the way, there might be a slight softening of positions? A new government will be under less pressure to be seen to be acting tough. Looking at the manifestos again, you do detect slight differences in the tone.

Here’s the BJP on Pakistan, true to its roots a touch more aggressive :

“”There can be no ‘comprehensive dialogue’ for peace unless Pakistan a) dismantles the terrorist infrastructure on territory under its control; b) actively engages in prosecuting terror elements and organisations; c) puts a permanent, verifiable end to its practice of using cross-border terrorism as an instrument of state policy; d) stops using the territory of third countries to launch terror attacks on India; and, e) hands over to India individuals wanted for committing crimes on Indian soil.”

The Congress on the other hand says dealing with “”terrorism aided and abetted from across our borders does not require a muscular foreign policy as advocated by the BJP.”"

Here is their plan:

“”But the Mumbai attacks have cast a long shadow on the on-going dialogue and engagement process. It is now entirely up to Pakistan to break the impasse by taking credible action against those responsible for the carnage in Mumbai. If it does so and dismantles the terrorist networks that operate from its soil, a Congress-led government will not be found wanting in its response. ”

Has the Congress, still the frontrunner in the election, left the door to dialogue slightly open?

Comments

Sanjeev,

Even before Taliban, India faced Kahlistanis in 1980, Kashmiri Terrorists since 1990.All of these aided and abetted by our neighbor Pakistan. How will the threat of Taliban be any different? From a threat perspective Taliban is no worse than LeT or HM or JeM. And India is dealing with those already. Taliban is a existential threat to Pakistan because it is hitting her deep inside and Pakis are not able to control them: At least not any longer.

Islamabad and Delhi are geographically 750 KM apart but culturally and sociologically world apart. Pakistan is still not sincere in dealing with Taliban. This split aided by the a weak and corrupt Army (Sorry Umair but i have to state truth here) has resulted in chaos in Pakistan.But in india we are not ambivalent. Whole of India oppose Taliban and there in lies the difference.
In essence Taliban is no greater a threat to India as it is to rest of the world. Remember there is no “I” in “Af-Pak”

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

Sanjeev,

You are giving too much credit to the Taliban. One thing you should realize is that Taliban spreads through people. It cannot hold people who are not Muslims hostage. Taliban surely is a threat. But so is the whole of Pakistan as far as India is concerned. And India has lived with this threat all these years. And India has faced many threats which were much worse in the past. Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi were the worst threats faced by India. They held the power at the center and literally set up conditions that would have led to the break up of the country. Like Taliban, they too believed in using brute power versus democratic means. Democracy was an irritant to them. They had to face the voter every so many years. Kashmir, Khalistan, North East, LTTE, Nepal etc became hot points during their tenure. Democracy itself became doubtful. And like Taliban, they preferred a backward and poor nation based on socialistic, isolated ideals to keep power to themselves. They are gone and India has changed completely. Whatever problem it faces will be overcome by steady progress. Pakistan, Taliban etc will always be threats to any nation and they will be treated just like criminals. There is no country devoid of criminals. Wake up and smell some coffee for a change. You are making it sound as though Taliban is the most challenging thing in the world. I do not agree with it. Let them take over Pakistan and that country will fall apart and turn into a dry pit after that. And world powers are not going to sit and play cards. Every one is watching the events.

 

I just have one question. What the heck is the Pakistani army doing on the sidelines while the Taliban take over Pakistan? How does Taliban taking over Pakistan, suit their interests?

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Sanjeev, ……..60Km – 800 Km angle……..

The Taliban taking on Islamabad will not happen- once Islamabad is attacked the army will cluster bomb northwest to cut off the supply lines and to eliminate Taliban leadership. No one will shed a tear for Taliban, the global players/UN/ media will look away conveniently. The FATA, NWFP and Balochis see the army as a Punjabi force, as a result they ruthlessly attacked the intrders in their own *home lands*. Thus, in the context of Pakistan any Civil war translates into just protecting Punjab and Sindh. Army will brutally oppress the Taliban driving them west towards AfPak. By and large Indian borders are infiltrated at the pleasure of Pak Army. Currently both LeT and JeM have free pass as they work in tandem with Army. Taliban will not choose to run towards eastern border for short of safe haven there. So long as Taliban postures as a challenge to Army, Indian border is protected from former by the latter. Agree- Sounds a paradox.

US wants India very much in the equation because naïve US believes AfPak can be salvaged across Durand line. India knows more than that, unless a buffer country is created between Pak and Afghan, the prospects of creating one big happy caliphate are too alluring for islamists to let peace prevail in the region. After pouring billions of tax dollars US will fold and leave. Iran, Afghan and India will have to collectively face Pak sponsored terrosrism.

 

Sanjeev Miglani
“A reader has raised an interesting point. If the Taliban are supposed to be 60 km from Islamabad, they are not then that far from Delhi. Some 750 kms…”

—Oh! It’s gonna be a fantastic cake walk for them, the Indian Armed forces would be busy watching IPL & all throughout the route they’ll be enthusiastically hailed by the Indians, A warm & great reception would await them in the Parliament. Interesting indeed!

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

@A reader has raised an interesting point. If the Taliban are supposed to be 60 km from Islamabad, they are not then that far from Delhi. Some 750 kms away perhaps at this point which isn’t a great deal of distance in that part of the world.
Doesn’t that reinforce the image of a whole region at threat, not just Afghanistan and Pakistan. Perhaps this is not just an AF-PAK war as the United States now believes,there is India too in that equation
- Posted by Sanjeev Miglani

–Sanjeev,
I think this Pakistani blogger is just passing his time—-commenting based on the assumption of pre-partition undivided India with the policies which currently apply in Pakistan. We are 60+yrs fast forward and there is a thing called international border, and that matters. They might be served with tea by Pakistan Army on the outskirts of Islamabad, but Indian security, whose mind is not cluttered by any religious bonds, will feed them with bullets to their hearts content.

Then how about LeT/JuD (Mudrike near Lahore) which is around ~60+km from Indian border and has a declared mission of LeT to rule India. Same issue exists there. We know they cannot crossover into this side any time they want. This is an inflitration issue which we are no stranger to.

India is not in AF-PAK equation.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Sanjeev
If we refresh our memories and go back ten years December 1998 when Indian Airlines flight was hijacked and the Indian FM flew in to Kandahar with three captives including Masood Azhar and Omar Shiekh, one can see evidently that such threats were always there for India.
The moderate to severe threat Taliban pose to India should not be played down, Lahore is under pressure after Sri Lankan team attack and Police academy siege. First city centre Lahore, next just barely few KM from Indian border. Whats next? Amritsar? Punjab, Rajhastan?

The Taliban have a huge market to look forward to, they would like to incite the Indian muslims and radicalize. Ahmed Rashid has pointed out this threat, John Walker Lindh from US was captured alongside with Taliban so do some Australians.

Also, I would like to point towards another pattern, In 1993 World Trade Centre was bombed, in 2001 a huge terrorist strike brought down the entire WTC.
In 2008 Mumbai was attacked, India needs to pull up the socks in coming years and prevent another big strike on its soil. It becomes all the more important that Kasab trial concludes and investigations in pakistan to succeed to apprehend the perpetrators so they never get bold enough to attack India.
Notions like, India has no support for Taliban; India has faced such threats; India has dealt with this thing(Kashmir, Northeast, Khalistan etc) before do not hold.

India needs not to panic, rather get themselves together, plan meticulously and thoroughly at the strategic level. Prepare itself rather play down the threat. Also keep in mind, even after all Paki bashing, today whatever is going on in Pakistan is the tussle between State(Security/lawenforcement/intelligen ce) and non-state actors(Jihadis/millitants/Taliban/miscre ants/foreign fighters). Indians might want to wish well Pakistani state to win, for it will ensure Taliban onslought to Delhi remains impossible.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

I want to share another important thing here.
The attacks in Lahore are by definition attack on the soul of Pakistan. One thing, Southern Punjab in Pakistan is very fertile ground for anti-Indian centiments. LeT, JuD and Hizbul Mujahideen etc based there. If Taliban attack Punjab province and Islamabad regularly and widen the influence in Urban Pakistan, it will spell disaster. Because in interior Punjab, one Jihadi lecture on Babri Mosque destruction, ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir’ can turn up tens of recruits. Taliban and ‘Pak-Punjabi extremists’ need to remain far apart, their union will be a threat to India.
I believe, while might Taliban have regional generic motives, the Punjab based millitants are specifically hostile to India.

Just yesterday, the Chief Minister in Punjab announced a major salary increase for Punjab Police to bolster them and boost their morale. Police and elite units are being equipped with much advanced weapons to defend Punjab so non-state actors dont get a stronghold.
This threat is regional in the sense it places importance on India-Pakistan joint cooperation.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Mullah Umair writes: “Indians might want to wish well Pakistani state to win, for it will ensure Taliban onslought to Delhi remains impossible.”

Taliban is the baby born from the womb of the ISI and breast fed by it until it grew to this size. Unless the ISI and the Pakistani army converts entirely and gets consumed by the Taliban, no one has to worry about it in India. Days of bandits like Ghazni, Gori etc are over. Taliban might be valiant in its territory – staggering peaks with alternating valleys, devoid of trees and life. So do not worry. We are pretty safe in India and we trust our security forces to take care of us. You guys deal with your Taliban.

“today whatever is going on in Pakistan is the tussle between State(Security/lawenforcement/intelligen ce) and non-state actors(Jihadis/millitants/Taliban/miscre ants/foreign fighters)”

The state (which is basically the military) creates the Taliban and now is fighting it. In Swat, the Taliban made the military bow to it. Zardari signed it into a law. But the monster wants more. So it will get more of Pakistan. And the US is getting tangled in this mess. So if your military and the ISI want to cleanse themselves of this cancer, this is the time. Go to the Americans and work with them. They are benevolent towards anyone they destroy. It is not too late.

First worry about containing the Taliban in your country. Then we will worry about it running India. If you are giving in by saying that Taliban poses a threat to India, it means that you have already given up about fighting it in Pakistan. We will teach you how to handle these dogs. So wait until they run you over. You created it. You keep it.

 

Mauryan
“Taliban might be valiant in its territory”

—Every dog is a tiger in it’s street.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Pundit Mauryan
Go bury your head in sand like a pigeon closes its eye when the cat jumps towards it, go enjoy life in Goa. Sandy beaches umbrella drinks. I only told you to remain vigilant.
Chill out, while Taliban are pushed back from Islamabad.

Taliban distance from Islamabad=60 KM
Islamabad distance from Delhi= 758 KM
Taliban total distance from Delhi= 60+758=818KM

Just keep adding one KM in 818 for every single KM Taliban retreat.
In case they advance, for every single KM keep subtracting 1 Km from 818.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “If Taliban attack Punjab province and Islamabad regularly and widen the influence in Urban Pakistan, it will spell disaster. Because in interior Punjab, one Jihadi lecture on Babri Mosque destruction, ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir’ can turn up tens of recruits. Taliban and ‘Pak-Punjabi extremists’ need to remain far apart, their union will be a threat to India.
I believe, while might Taliban have regional generic motives, the Punjab based millitants are specifically hostile to India. ”

Now he is talking! We are not afraid of any militants. We would, however, be cautious and alert. And we have been most of the time. Once in a while a slippage happens. But in all, we have handled your militants and more elsewhere for the past 62 years. We are like a huge whale which gets hurt by bites here and there. But the whale will move on.

What you must do, Umair, is to start a campaign that clears the myth about India. India is not Pakistan’s enemy. Indian Muslims, in general are beginning to do better than the Muslims in Pakistan – in terms of quality of life, freedom and security. Babri Masjid, Bamiyan Buddhas etc get demolished by lunatics once in a while. But life in general is better. If every educated Pakistani thought for himself and questioned his leaders, you can come out of your problems. But that is up to you. But do not worry about the Taliban taking on India. If they try to get at India, they will get fried on the Rajasthan sands. There are no caves and mountains there to protect them. And our Sikh regiments will slaughter them.

 

Umair/Sanjeev:

Umair: A brave man like you must wish that he does not live to see hypothesis such as “Taliban in India” “Taliban has support in Indian Muslims” to be tested. Based on your shedding the last drop of blood of 170million strong Pakistanis to protect the sovereignity of Pakistan? Gone with the wind?

@Lahore is under pressure after Sri Lankan team attack and Police academy siege. First city centre Lahore, next just barely few KM from Indian border. Whats next? Amritsar? Punjab, Rajhastan?”
—-Umair
—-Finally you agree with Indian bashers and experts and understand the gravity of the situation that Taliban might rule Pakistan, but why you are pro-Taliban then! Seems like you are ready to make peace deal-II in Lahore. What happened to that fire you had to fight for the country?
Does Paki Pakistani Army reserve that to kill inncent millions–Mulsims/Hindus–in E. Pakistan—but hesitates to kill Taliban. Wow–such a love. Pakistan has mother-child relation with Taliban.

-will Taliban walk or take direct bus to Attari or perhpas escorted by kayani in Army vehicle? garlanded by Indian Jawans to make peace deal!!! Indian Jawans are not under religious obligation to not kill Taliban because in contrast to ur theory of religion-first-nation-later, Indian (all including Muslims) theory is nation-first.

@The Taliban have a huge market to look forward to, they would like to incite the Indian muslims and radicalize
—-This means Taliban has already incited Pakistanis like you and has encashed the market. I have been thinking so far that Taliban is a clever set of militants which is hard to control. Pakistanis cannot incite Indian Muslims. Is Taliban better than you Pakistanis? Quit your “bro-bro whatever the nation” theory. keep that to Pakis. Indian Muslims are different—no bashing here. How many Indian Muslims you have known in your life, less than Indian bloggers if not zero.
Overall you are a proponent of hoisting “The Star and Crescent” flag over India/many other parts of the world like Saeed of LeT/JuD, OBL, Taliban, and Muslims from countries like you. This is the place where peaceful word stops existing. Still have not progressed.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Umair writes: “If Taliban attack Punjab province and Islamabad regularly and widen the influence in Urban Pakistan, it will spell disaster. Because in interior Punjab, one Jihadi lecture on Babri Mosque destruction, ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir’ can turn up tens of recruits. Taliban and ‘Pak-Punjabi extremists’ need to remain far apart, their union will be a threat to India.
–posted by Umair

—Here Pakistan gets the greatest strategic asset. Will peaceful Pak Army/ISI miss that–they will think who cares what happens in Pakistan, atleast it will spell disaster in India.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Taliban writes: “Taliban total distance from Delhi= 60+758=818KM”

Hey, he can add and subtract! That’s great improvement. Keep working. Taliban students learn mathematics by using heads of Pakistani soldiers. It will not be a subtraction for sure. Your math will only involve addition and multiplication.

As a friendly suggestion, learn to wear the burqa now itself. It won’t be long before your Taliban brothers will checking how much of your ankle is exposed. There will be no music, no dance, no fun, no movies, no TV, no computers, no cricket, nothing but Mullah Nasruddin on his donkey. Jinnah’s dream will be realized to its completion. As Bhutto dreamed, all Talibanized Pakistanis can eat grass and lick their nukes.

 

rajeev
Dont miss the point here.
Do you know when Mumbai happened why did Pakistan kept denying its ‘non-state’ actors could have been involved? It gave the time for foreign mediation and things to calm down, followed by confession and promises to cooperate.
In the meantime, Pakistan did some offensive posturing as well.
Let me be very clear, an Indo-Pak war is something that no one in the world will ever like to see.
If there is terrorists strikes happen again in India on a large scale, Indian leadership will be in unbearable pressure to strike back. Against whom? Pakistan based training camps? Muzaffarabad or Muridke? not sure. But even in case of limited strike and retaliation things could get messy quickly.
I believe due to prevailing situation, Indo-Pak relations have grown more uncertain. If things went bad between these two countries, a dramatic conflict can break out suddenly. Pakistan establishment would never like to see such a scenario, because against a numerically larger India, Pakistan’s only counter is nuke detterent. Who would want to excercise that option? That would be desperate situation for Pakistan, now atleast the situation is disappointing but not desperate.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

@Umair writes: “If Taliban attack Punjab province and Islamabad regularly and widen the influence in Urban Pakistan, it will spell disaster. Because in interior Punjab, one Jihadi lecture on Babri Mosque destruction, ‘Indian atrocities in Kashmir’ can turn up tens of recruits. Taliban and ‘Pak-Punjabi extremists’ need to remain far apart, their union will be a threat to India.
–posted by Umair

This is why your “Professional and Brave” (lol) army is reluctant to fight them. You people want to use them as strategic assets to be used against India. Too Bad that they have turned towards their masters. tut tut

No one is downplaying the risk of Taliban. What everyone is saying is that Taliban will not bring anything new to the table that Pakistan has not brought already.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

@ Umair

Thanks for those words but talk is cheap!
If things between India and Pakistan deteriorate, it will be because you people didn’t do anything to tame your dogs.
Our Stand is clear. Dismantle and Destroy all terrorist and its infrastructure for talks to resume.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

Reasons of reluctance of Pakistan Army to fight Taliban:

1. Superior equipped US, British and Canadian mechanized Armies are fighting them since last 8 years and their Generals state they are ‘not winning in Afghanistan.’

2. British Commander in Afghanistan said Afghan war is ‘unwinnable’ best possibility is to contain insurgency, handover things to Afghans and go home.

3. Canadian Army says it will say good bye to Afghanistan and go home after their mission expires in 2011.

4. US Gen. Petraus says, we are ‘not winning’ in Afghanistan and that we will talk to ‘moderate Taliban’.

5. Pakistan Army commanders are wise and are not wasting time/resources and have drawn conclusions of the mistakes by US/NATO etc.

Pakistan talks to Taliban and is demonized.
US says it will talk to Taliban, and dead silence?

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Baitullah Mehsud writes: “I believe due to prevailing situation, Indo-Pak relations have grown more uncertain. If things went bad between these two countries, a dramatic conflict can break out suddenly. Pakistan establishment would never like to see such a scenario, because against a numerically larger India, Pakistan’s only counter is nuke detterent. Who would want to excercise that option? That would be desperate situation for Pakistan, now atleast the situation is disappointing but not desperate.”

Umair,

Go back to your ISI masters and ask them to give you something new to talk about. You keep going in circles – Our country is the most powerful / Our military is the best in the world / We have nukes / Our intelligence dept is the best in the world / we suck in counter-insurgency, but we are good at creating insurgency elsewhere / If you sneeze, we will push the nuclear button / Taliban is Pakistan’s internal matter / It is beautiful in Islamabad / Kashmir is the core issue / Our military is the strongest in the world / Our intelligence is the best and so on.. Press Ctrl-alt-del buttons together to break the loop.

We know all of Pakistan’s tricks. When the Americans came to take out the Taliban in 2001, you guys tried to trigger a nuclear war between us by attacking Kashmir’s assembly. When that did not work, you tried to attack our parliament. It was a desperate attempt. A lot of things would have been exposed to show the ugly face hiding behind the burqa. That was avoided.

Now Obama decided to focus on Pakistan before Afghanistan. He called it Af-Pak (in reality it is a*se f*ck). Immediately Mumbai attacks happened. India held its ground.

I am sure the entire Pakistani establishment is involved in the Mumbai attack, using “non-state actors” whatever that means. No one knows who is running your state in the first place.

If anyone in your Mullah regime raises the nuclear option, trust me, there are enough things in place to take care of them. So this nuclear rattling will not work. Try something else for a change. Do not think every one is stupid. Plans are being worked out all around you to cut down your ISI, decimate the Taliban and put your house in order – not by India, but by the American led coalition.

Keep writing on this forum until your Taliban brothers arrive. After that there will be no internet. So enjoy it while it lasts. There is not much time however. We will be discussing about what Umair would be doing.

 

NATO is limiting its operation only to Afghanistan while Taliban is regrouping in Pakistan.
Till now they were just plucking the leaves instead of cutting the roots.
Now slowly they are realizing this. And that is why they are asking Pak to tame its ISI and “Professional and brave”(lol) Army.

All your statements are history now. US has changed its strategy. It is putting conditions to its Aid. She is valueing your actions and not words and is cutting ISI to size.

Pakistan is demonized for talking to Taliban because Taliban is destabilizing your country. Your professional and brave (lol) Army is not able to tame them, Your Army is surrendering to them and making peace deals. Results we all have seen in that poor girls flogging. Figuratively that was Pakistan lying down there getting flogged by Taliban.

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

Jinnah writes: “1. Superior equipped US, British and Canadian mechanized Armies are fighting them since last 8 years and their Generals state they are ‘not winning in Afghanistan.’”

Not yet. They know why. They have been ignorant and trusted Pakistan, not knowing that your country is made up of double faced people. But that has been changed. That is why your Qureshi is begging the Americans to “trust” Pakistan.

“2. British Commander in Afghanistan said Afghan war is ‘unwinnable’ best possibility is to contain insurgency, handover things to Afghans and go home.”

They caught 11 terrorists who got into UK using student visa. So they are not going home anytime soon. If they are going home, so will the terrorists with them.

“3. Canadian Army says it will say good bye to Afghanistan and go home after their mission expires in 2011.”

No one cares what Canada does.

“4. US Gen. Petraus says, we are ‘not winning’ in Afghanistan and that we will talk to ‘moderate Taliban’.”

Moderate Taliban has a name – ISI. So they are talking.

“5. Pakistan Army commanders are wise and are not wasting time/resources and have drawn conclusions of the mistakes by US/NATO etc.”

Yes. They surrendered in Swat. Now they are preparing special red carpet in Azad Kashmir to welcome the Taliban into Islamabad.

“Pakistan talks to Taliban and is demonized.”

Which one is demonized here? Pakistan or Taliban?

“US says it will talk to Taliban, and dead silence?”

Have you heard of calm before the storm? Westerners go silent when they are working on something seriously. They do not thump their chests before they do what they do.

 

Mauryan
Your big mistake would counting on the ‘American led coalition’ which is in tatters.
Every C-130 arriving at Dover Air Force base, every Canadian soldier draped in their flag that touches down Toronto and people line up pay respect to their casket. The opposition to and voices for ending the war are rising.
Obama is hopping mad from Turkey to NATO HQ Brussells to Germany to beg for troops for Afghanistan. No one is interested.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

“Have you heard of calm before the storm? Westerners go silent when they are working on something seriously.”

Have you heard of Category 5 hurricane? it picks up cars and throw them to the next county.
Westerners are working on something very serious. They are bailing out banks, filing bankruptcy for auto companies, fixing up wall street and straightening the economy. Caught up in a hurricane, I wonder what kind of storm big or small they can generate for Pakistan.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “Your big mistake would counting on the ‘American led coalition’ which is in tatters.
Every C-130 arriving at Dover Air Force base, every Canadian soldier draped in their flag that touches down Toronto and people line up pay respect to their casket. The opposition to and voices for ending the war are rising.
Obama is hopping mad from Turkey to NATO HQ Brussells to Germany to beg for troops for Afghanistan. No one is interested.”

When a war comes, that takes precedence over everything else. America can have all kind of problems. Yet they are big enough to run a war at the same time. They can take out FATA if they get impatient. They are being kind enough to consider the innocent civilians. Western nations try hard to approach things in a civilized way (except for the neocons under George Bush). So they give as much time and chance as possible, even to terrorist regimes like Pakistan, North Korea etc so that blood need not be shed. But at some point they will have to lift the gun and aim its barrel. It is entirely left to the Af-Pak region on how it has to respond.

 

Dont prach the civilized behavior of western nations, it has wrecked havock in the world. Abu Ghairb prison abuses in Iraq, the camp X Ray and notorious ‘Frequent Flyer’ program of inmates in Guantanamo Bay are shining examples of ‘civilized western behaviors’ humans sink down to levels lower than wild beasts.
America ran two parallel wars simultaneously for last 8 years. Give them some rest, those poor guys have had enough of it. Their tax payers are lynching their leaders.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

@Mauryan
Your big mistake would counting on the ‘American led coalition’ which is in tatters.
- Posted by Umair

–Of all those 5 pillars of ‘American led coalition’, the 5th one is Pakistan’s role. Is it Pak’s war too or not yet? Does it want to fight its own way and what that is.

If the war is lost, the reason will be Pakistan–right or wrong, reasonable to think so–this area is pak’s area and they known ins and outs.

What startegy can you suggest which can work efficiently. To me Pakistan’s way is to quit military action, US/NATO leave from here and use US/IMF money without “oversight” for loans to Good Taliban so that they can set up shops and allow them in national mainstream. Will they listen to you. Is Good/bad Taliban sorting ridiculous amd impossible to achieve. Was not Taliban ruling in Afghanistan when Pak/Saudis/Taliban were happy and OBL the guest of honor. Will it be back to old days–that time Pakistan had lot of control in the Afghanistan but Afghans were suffering—would you allow taliban-like controlled govt for Pak. if not how can you wish for Afghanistan? This whole confusion is due to Pak’s well known policies towards militants-mix of STRATEGIC ASSETS/RELIGION. So everything comes to same point that solves nothing. Anti-US stand by Pakistan public can be understood from public POV who faces counterattack by US. But inaction and old tools by Pak are no way to go, even from Pakistan POV. Pak-Tal relationship tells the who story.

Big question is: what is pakistan’s alternative war strategy against all kinds of unwanted elememnts? Does Pakistan wants to keep this lucrative terrorism industry going.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@rajeev
Dont miss the point here.
Do you know when Mumbai happened why did Pakistan kept denying its ‘non-state’ actors could have been involved? It gave the time for foreign mediation and things to calm down, followed by confession and promises to cooperate.
-posted by Umair

–Umair, thanX.
that’s hardly the point that emerges from your that message. It was not about India-Pak war at all. It was all about admiring Taliban like you admire Pakistani Army–nothing short of of that by any means.

-Good that you are talking straight and fianlly educating us about the existance of “anti-India Pakistani extremists” prospering in the flat land of Punjab-with knowledge of ISI (no brainer) who attacked Mumbai-meaning indirectly Pakistan has attacked India. Let us stick to somepoint that these terrorists with knowledge of pakistan or direct help (no brainer) attacked Mumbai-meaning indirectly Pakistan has attacked India. These don;t suit respectable nations, if Pakistan considers itself so. Umair, you guys are slipppery to handle—Let that not be taken as a complement! You and I know these games don’t run too long.

One thing: Say what you mean if you expect the others to do so. It is not about people here or there, it boils down to state policies anywhere. if Indian RAW decides that enough is enough, let us start a pro-active counter-insurgency in Baluchistan etc…., that does not make me a bad guy.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “America ran two parallel wars simultaneously for last 8 years. Give them some rest, those poor guys have had enough of it. Their tax payers are lynching their leaders.”

America will not leave the region with no results. Vietnam haunts them even now. Now that they are in the region, they will make sure they get what they want. Pakistan will probably try these options.

1. Hand over Bin Laden on a platter. The Americans might quit declaring that they came and got what they wanted and quote their national priorities. They may reward Pakistan handsomely and hope that Pakistan will become an exemplary Islamic democracy.

2. Somehow wait it out, hoping that the Taliban will stay in the Swat valley and the Americans will keep waiting. Once in a while, to delay things, an attack could be staged inside India and rattle all plans for the Americans. At some point, the Americans will be forced to leave and everything can come back to normal.

3. Play faithful to the Americans, disband the jihadi elements inside the ISI, restructure and get back on the path of normalcy. This is highly unlikely, considering the monsters that have come into existence over the years.

Americans might grumble. But Obama is a serious man. He likes to finish any job he starts. In the case of Afghanistan, he has realized that he has to start from scratch again. I think the American coalition is waiting to see what kind of government takes office in India after the elections. If they want to include India into the equation, they might want to see what is ahead. No one can say how all things will go. All I can discuss are possible courses of action. There are different players with different agenda – US wants Bin Laden. ISI wants pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan. Pakistan wants US out of the region. Taliban wants to rule Pakistan. India wants Jihadis out of Kashmir. Afghanistan wants Americans to stay long enough to help them get back on their feet. Too many players and no one is seeing eye to eye. At this point, India has the least to lose. So I prefer India to stay out of this mess and focus on its future. Whatever happens, will happen. Let us hope for the best.

 

Rajeev, just remember extremists are very few. Compared to those thousands of people in all four provinces who braved and fought on the streets for 2 years for the cause of an independent judiciary in Pakistan.
We are not slippery, we were dealing with Americans since late 1950s, 1960 onwards.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “We are not slippery, we were dealing with Americans since late 1950s, 1960 onwards.”

I don’t think one can say that Pakistani establishment has been slipper all the way from the start. All the slipperiness started after the Americans left the region in 1989. Until September 2001, the US did not care what Pakistan did with the money and weapons it received from the West. Even until January 20th 2009, the US did not care what Pakistan was doing. Only after that they have realized that they have been duped for a long time. ISI, the notoriously rogue organization has been cleverly managing a double face policy with the Americans – stashing up everything for an asymmetric war with India. Pakistan has been slippery – not allowing anything to settle inside Afghanistan, allowing the Taliban to recover and regroup, preserving most of the foreign jihadists and bilking dollars out of Americans. So in 8 years, no progress was made. And America was run by an idiot during those 8 years who could not tell the spelling difference between Iran and Iraq. But the screws are going to be tightened and I see symptoms of that already. Obama talks the talk and walks the walk. I expect something concrete from him this time. I am hoping that he will nail the militancy infrastructure and establish peace in the region. That is why the Americans have started telling Pakistan that India is not their enemy. Their enemy is within and has been ruling for all these years, allowing things to fall apart in the region. That is going to change. It will be good if Pakistanis welcome that change instead of becoming resistant to it.

 

Umair :

“Pakistan talks to Taliban and is demonized.”

“US says it will talk to Taliban, and dead silence?”

Umair, Taliban are not in US, they are in Pak, if americans hand over Afghanistan to Talibs, they will not lose anything, if Pak handover itself to Taliban there will be a disaster in Pak.

How could you support that talks ?

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

@Rajeev, just remember extremists are very few. Compared to those thousands of people in all four provinces who braved and fought on the streets for 2 years for the cause of an independent judiciary in Pakistan.
We are not slippery, we were dealing with Americans since late 1950s, 1960 onwards.
- Posted by Umair

Umair: I am not stranger to living in an environment full of terrorists. I have seen the unmentionables. I know what it is and the subtelties and I do not suggest spit fire on Lahore or Karachi or any other place.
BUT the issues are much bigger–terrorism. Struggle for judiciary is Pakistan’s internal problem.

You need to tackle terrorism, Not just US. All this time US was your friend by choice. You are a war ally by choice. playing victim and throwing on US the whole thing will not help.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Sikhs pay Rs 20 million in Jizia to Pak Taliban

Islamabad, April 16: Members of Pakistan’s minority Sikh community living in the restive Aurakzai tribal region have paid Rs 20 million as “tax” to the Taliban after militants forcibly occupied some of their homes and kidnapped a Sikh leader.The Taliban had demanded Rs 50 million as ‘Jizia’ – a tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule – but the militants finally settled for Rs 20 million. After the amount was paid yesterday, the militants vacated the homes they had taken over and released Sikh leader Saiwang Singh, officials in the tribal region near the northwestern city of Peshawar were quoted as saying by the Daily Times newspaper. The officials said the Taliban had announced that the Sikhs were now free to live anywhere in Aurzakzai Agency. The militants also announced they would protect the community, saying that no one would harm them after they had paid Jizia. Sikhs who had left the area would now return to their homes and resume their business, the officials said.The militants had occupied at least 10 homes of Sikhs in Qasimkhel village on Tuesday. About 35 Sikh families have been living in Qasimkhel for many years. The Taliban demand for Jizia was resolved at a jirga or council held yesterday through the efforts of local tribal elders. The militants had said the Sikhs should pay Jizia in accordance with Shariah or Islamic law.

 

Who are the Taliban we are talking of widening their influence in the region?
Sanjeev, I would say the problem is regional now including India. And not just confined to so-called “Af-Pak”.
We need to educate ourselves before we state anyhting else to demonstrate out lack of understanding of the world around us.
Taliban were born out of the clandestine war between CIA and KGB during Soviet occupation of that country. The Taliban today are the same coalition of Mujahideen that defeated the Soviet Army through covert support from CIA. President Jimmy Carter speech is worth listening, Date: 4 JAN 1980;
President Jimmy Carter – Speech on Afghanistan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2Y4t0-_9 MY

Jimmy Carter started a modest funding program to arm ‘Mujahudeen’ later on President Ronald Reagen and CIA Director George Casey tripled the annual budget of Mujahideen. Pakistan Army and ISI was used to wage the war while Americans stood by and they had no problems with it.

Now watch this, all 4 part documentary;

Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and CIA Intervention Part1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D20KhOHj BA&feature=related

How were the US and Soviet Union engaged in war, under their noses armed ‘Mujahideen’ resistence fighters were recieving billions of dollar and weapons. Mujahideen trapped heavy Soviet infantry and tanks in warfare in the mountains and valleys and Soviets suffered heavy losses, Stinger missiles were deployed downing Soviet aircraft and helicopters. Afghanistan became a bleeding wound for Moscow and they wanted to just get the hell out of their in a hurry. They left Afhanistan, leaving behind a weak puppet communist regime and fighting raged on for another three years 1989-1992/3. The bulk of ammunition were taken up by the Mujahideen fighters, these same people are the Taliban.

What started by the speech of Jimmy Carter on July 4, 1980 was the begining of the defeat of one super power (Soviet withdraw defeat from Afgh) and deadly attacks on another super power(WTC attacks 911).

Now blaming ISI and Pakistan Army for anything is like the pot calling the kettle black. What did Pakistan do? Why is everything gone wrong in the world blamed on Pakistan?
The Taliban of today were the recipients of multibillion dollar White house budgets and CIA ammunition. Today the entire region is threatened. Pakistan is not responsible for the Taliban problem, there is larger responsibility on the world.
If Soviet couldnt defeat Mujahideen, Pakistan Army is in no mood of getting into a bleeding wound.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

The only solution to these Taliban animals is to finish them off. There can never be any “negotiation” with them, as Umair suggests making them legitimate citizens. As they bring death to non-muslims or non-believers, there has to be a sense of human justice, justice with a sledgehammer vengeance. Drone every one of them.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Taliban has come up with a clever strategy to spread across Punjab. I had never thought of this. But this strategy will work. This is what Naxalites, Maoists and Communists did in India – go after the rich. If there is poverty and injustice in a feudal system, take out the rich. This is the easiest and guaranteed way to power.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/17/world/ asia/17pstan.html?_r=1&hp

So Taliban has a strategy of taking over Punjab. Once that is done, they own the ISI, military and all of Pakistan. Then it will be easy to take over Afghanistan and even Kashmir. The only problem they are going to face is American resistance. If they had done this five years earlier, they would have been formidable. If Taliban takes over Pakistan, US will wage a war against Pakistan. It is going to be an interesting stage in history. It will be interesting to see how things go from here.

 

@Sikhs pay Rs 20 million in Jizia to Pak Taliban
-posted by azaddp

–Where else in the world is “Jizia” practiced?–does someone knows about it?

If “Jizia”, as I understand is allowed in Islam as a protection money for non-Muslims.

In India, Hafta in Bombay (Maal in Delhi??) and other places is also the protection which mafia/goons collect—not for the same reason though—and is a criminal act.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Mauryan
It looks interesting to you, for us its just normal routine, we have seen all this all through these years. The stage was set long before, you need to get to the history, how did all this started.
US will wage no war against Pakistan, there is no chance of Taliban ‘taking over’ Pakistan. And what American resistance you are talking about? the one they are putting up from last 8 years?

Afghanistan will always be a bleeding wound for foreign invaders, be it Soviets or Americans.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/cricketNew s/idUKLH15334620090417

Pakistan kicked off from World cup hosting

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

“There can never be any “negotiation” with them, as Umair suggests making them legitimate citizens”

These same people today who are called Taliban recieved billions of dollars and weapons from CIA when they were part of a ‘colaition of Mujahideen’ who defeated the Soviets and drove them out of Afghanistan. They were friends of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Yesterdays ‘Mujahideen’ are todays ‘Taliban’, let the CIA and USA pay the price of their mistakes. The Soviets were defeated, they left leaving behind a puppt weak communist regime in Afghanistan and due to the US making no appropriate policy changes. This is the mistake US made; not making policy change at the right time.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

http://uk.reuters.com/article/cricketNew s/idUKLH15334620090417

Pakistan kicked off from World cup hosting and Umair thought only we were bashing Pakistan for what it had done in terms of terrorism.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Pakistani players are very talented, though we wont be able to host the world cup, we are capable of owning it and we did it in 1992 and will do it again.

Morgan said it was not the intention of the ICC to isolate Pakistan or its team from the sport.

“We are determined that Pakistan should not be isolated, it is a very important member of the International Cricket Council, possessing several of the world’s greatest cricketers.”

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Taliban 50km away from Islamabad.
“The Taliban are fast gaining on Pakistan’s federal capital Islamabad. Reports on Tuesday said the Islamic militia is now marching towards Haripur, a district 50 km from Islamabad and the lone remaining buffer territory.
With Swat and the North West Frontier Province firmly in their grip, the Taliban has already overrun Buner district before their advance to Haripur. Besides the Taliban are gaining in newer areas.”

—I think since the Taliban would soon be our neighbours, let’s start calling them ‘freedom fighters’ … What say you???

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Taliban advance another 10 KM towards Islamabad, distance left to reach Delhi= 808KM.
Rather than freedom fighters, I would call them friends of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, Obama is reaping what earlier presidents have sown.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

The Soviet Army fought for ten years and got humiliated and defeated by the freedom fighters/Taliban, recognizing it as a bleeding wound the Soviets ended the war.
The Pakistan Army doesnt want to sustain any bleeding wounds and has adopted a perfect policy of appeasement and punishment, keep things under control at call costs. For the GHQ in Rawalpindi, the task is simple. Pull out the old case studies and study the files, just avoid the mistakes the Soviets made and all is well. Everything else shall take care of itself.
Let them come, we’ll bring them in the mainstream. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

The US Army is fighting with the Taliban from last 8 years and have reached the same conclusion; unlike Iraq, Aghanistan’s rural insurgency is a devil’s game. The US will soon begin to reach out to ‘moderate Taliban’. This further strengthens Pakistan’s position. Pakistan started negotiating with Taliban from last couple of years and it has brought positive results.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

“Obama is reaping what earlier presidents have sown.”

—Talibani Rice – to cook – Pakistani Khichdi – for Indian’s to relish.

Posted by anup | Report as abusive
 

Umair said to Global watcher:

“There can never be any “negotiation” with them, as Umair suggests making them legitimate citizens”

These same people today who are called Taliban recieved billions of dollars and weapons from CIA when they were part of a ‘colaition of Mujahideen’ who defeated the Soviets and drove them out of Afghanistan. They were friends of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Yesterdays ‘Mujahideen’ are todays ‘Taliban’, let the CIA and USA pay the price of their mistakes. The Soviets were defeated, they left leaving behind a puppt weak communist regime in Afghanistan and due to the US making no appropriate policy changes. This is the mistake US made; not making policy change at the right time.

Response:

Umair, these same Taliban were also helped and harnessed by the ISI, and Pak Army as well, you fail to keep mentioning that to shift the blame. At that time, they were fighting an occupation by the Soviets and perhaps at that time, the struggle was noble, now these same guys, bored, with no work and an idle mind are now becoming the occupiers of Pakistan, there is a huge difference, feel free to recognize that.

Just you watch Umair, mark these words and remember them, when the Taliban come to power in Pakistan, the first thing they are going to do is round up all the educated people and behead them or execute them. This is is how Islam was spread through Europe, especially ancient Syria and Lebanon, the educated people were publically executed in the stadiums.

Umair, you may not ever look at your soccer stadium the same way again. Your Jihadi proxy army Taliban strategic assets are going to start systematically murdering Pakistani’s as being unIslamic. Please do yourself a favor and be willing to reverse your position on legitimizing the Taliban.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Umair says that the Taliban need to be negotiated with, Umair, Pakistan’s sense of negotiation means surrendering. Pakistani army are used to surrendering, you guys did it in 1971 and now you did it in 2009 in SWAT.

Pakistan can keep surrendering to Taliban. But Pakistan will never negotiate in good faith and keep its end of the bargain with India. You know why? It is better to surrender to extremely violent muslim group, than do something so little as negotiate in honesty with the UnIslamic Indians. Expansion of the Taliban is expansion of Islam to the Pakistani establishment, that is why they do not care to fight the Taliban or whether it takes over Pakistan. To Pakistani’s there is no extremist or moderate muslim, you see, to them there is no difference, because they are all one “UMMAH”. This is why the Americans will soon realize that Pakistan is going to befuddle, drag their feet, extort more money and soon betray them on the War on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. All that money will not be used to kill the Taliban, but used to prepare future wars and more proxy wars against India.

If the Pak establishment does not change its ways, it may lead to its disintegration, just like Germany. Take that one to heart Umair, Paki’s cannot fight like the Germans did, and Germany still separated into east and west.

Mark my words again, the Russians, U.S. all have an old score to settle with Pakistan and China is all about China they don’t give single damn about you Paki’s. Again all this is preventable if Pakistan quits helping the extremists.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •