A letter for Pakistan’s Kayani from an Indian officer

April 19, 2009

A retired Indian Army officer has written an open letter to Pakistan Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani that Pakistan’s The News carried this week and which is now popping up on blogs.

Colonel Harish Puri says it is incredible that the Pakistan Army allowed something as reprehensible as the public flogging of a teenage girl in the Swat  Valley without lifting a finger, even though it coudn’t have happened very far from an army checkpoint.

For a force that is as professional as the Pakistan Army and which has fought valiantly in all three wars with India,  and acquitted itself well in  U.N. peacekeeping missions worldwide, such an “abject surrender is unthinkable,” he writes.

The Pakistan Army’s inability to jam militant radio broadcasts in the region that have helped spread their power around is equally incomprehensible, Puri, who is from the army’s Signals unit, says. (The United States has just begun a broad effort in Pakistan and Afghanistan to prevent the Taliban from making these broadcasts, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.)

Puri urges Kayani to act, not just for the sake of Pakistan but the entire region. “It doesn’t matter if it is “my war” or “your war” – it is a war that has to be won.”

An Indian Army oficer writing to the Pakistan Army chief is rare and the fact that the letter is published in a Pakistani newspaper even more extraordinary.

Or perhaps these are unprecedented times. McClatchy newspapers ran a story this week quoting U.S. experts as saying Pakistan was a “disaster in the making on the scale of the Iranian revolution.”  Counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen has been quoted as saying Pakistan could collapse within months.

The sense of foreboding has risen with the international cricket authorities taking away the hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup from Pakistan, citing an uncertain security situation.

The tournament is still two years away, but it didn’t stop the International Cricket Council from making an early call on the security situation in the country. The tournament will be played in co-host nations –  India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.

[Army chief Kayani with troops and supporters of a radical cleric in Islamabad]

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