How much time does Pakistan have?

May 20, 2009

Ahmed Rashid’s article on Pakistan in the New York Review of Books makes for an alarming read.  Excerpts do not do justice to it,  as you have to read the whole thing to understand why he thinks Pakistan really is on the brink, but here are a few:

“American officials are in a concealed state of panic, as I observed during a recent visit to Washington at the time when 17,000 additional troops were being dispatched to Afghanistan. The Obama administration unveiled its new Afghan strategy on March 27, only to discover that Pakistan is the much larger security challenge, while US options there are far more limited.”

“The last two years have bought some hope in the growth of the middle class, an articulate and increasingly influential civil society made up partly of urban professionals and publicly involved women. Most Pakistanis are not Islamic extremists and believe in moderate and spiritual forms of Islam, including Sufism. However, Pakistan is now reaching a tipping point. There is a chronic failure of leadership, whether by civilian politicians or the army. President Zardari’s decision to invade Swat in early May came only after pressure was applied by the Obama administration and the army and the government had been left with no other palatable options. But with the Taliban opening new fronts, it will soon become impossible for the army to respond to the multiple threats it faces on so many geographically distant battlefields. The Taliban’s campaigns to assassinate politicians and administrators have demoralized the government.”

“The Obama administration can provide money and weapons but it cannot recreate the state’s will to resist the Taliban and pursue more effective policies. Pakistan desperately needs international aid, but its leaders must first define a strategy that demonstrates to its own people and other nations that it is willing to stand up to the Taliban and show the country a way forward.”

There has been much alarmist talk this year about Pakistan, notably with U.S. adviser David Kilcullen saying in March that the Pakistani state could collapse within six months, followed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying in April that Pakistan posed a “mortal threat” to the world. Most of that talk has been dismissed as exaggerated, including by Juan Cole in his blog Informed Comment and other analysts. The country has a strong civil society, which only in March took to the streets to demand an independent judiciary and the reinstatement of the Chief Justice. It has a powerful military, and whatever its critics say about its policies, the Pakistan Army is intensely patriotic and is hardly likely to hand over control of the country to Islamist militants who do not even believe in the existence of the nation state. 

Yet looking at the flood of refugees in Pakistan — above one million and still rising, according to the UNHCR — you do have to wonder how much time Pakistan has to right itself.  President Asif Ali Zardari says the current offensive in the Swat valley is just the start of an operation that will take the army  deep into the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.  How many more internal refugees can the country cope with, especially given that it traces its current instability to the three million refugees who flooded in from Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in 1979?

Part of the problem is that some of the solutions for Pakistan lie in the long term.  To the west, an end to the fighting in Afghanistan would stop instability washing over into Pakistan. But no one expects a political settlement in Afghanistan any time soon. To the east, peace with India would boost the economy by encouraging trade and give the Pakistan Army an opportunity to readjust its mindset away from seeing India as an existential threat. But India remains wary of Pakistan after last November’s attack on Mumbai and any moves made by the newly re-elected government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reduce tension are likely to be slow and tentative.

If Pakistan is indeed, as Rashid writes, reaching a tipping point, it does not have the time to wait for long-term solutions.

(Photos: Refugees caught up in a dust storm/Faisal Mahmood)

Comments

Correction:

@Lets wait for that much anticipated spectacular terrorist strike on India and see if you b*stards have the balls to attack Pakistan.”
-posted by Umair

Wow! How peaceful. As much as I want to whip your ass, I will not wish for innocnets to die. Pakistan being called Rogue state is due to your leaders, nothing to do with a Pakistani on the street. On the otherhand, what you are saying is killings of inncent Indians. Beauty of such statements is that they don’t cause physical damage as intended but shows the character of a person. Is that the Islam code that you brag about that teaches you to say this?

Is there a teenager here who can handle this huffing and puffing of Umair.

- Posted by rajeev

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

@Scenario: All religious leaders issue a combined statement that terrorism is against all religious values.

Scenario: Muslims apologize to Sikhs for the killing of Guru Arjun Dev ji by the Mughals.

Scenario: Hindus apologize to Muslims for the destruction of the Babri mosque and offer to rebuild it.

Scenario: Muslims apologise to Hindus for the destruction for the Lord Ram Temple in Ayodia and offer to rebuild it.

Scenario: Everybody apologizes and forgives the other for past actions. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists, Christians etc. Even though present-day people of a given religion are completely innocent of any wrongdoing, it will be appreciated that they apologize for the actions of their ancestors and ask forgiveness.

This is how religious leaders can help to bring a full reconciliation between India and Pakistan.
- Posted by Alethia

Alethia: This log book of Mughal atrocities against Hindus and other non-Muslims is huge.
Also:
Scenario: Muslims apologize to Sikhs for the killing of Guru Arjun Dev ji by the Mughals. PLUS GURU TEG BAHADUR BY AURANGZEB PLUS GURU GOBIND SINGH’S KIDS…..

HoW many Hindus Were killed in the Whole time. Alethia more killings than in holocaust have happned.

But that’s not going to solve a thing. When 2 minds really understand eachother—the Words “sorry” Will appear small.
Overall this gets into the realm Where India despised Mughal rule since non-Muslims suffered a lot under Mughal rule and Pakistanis are proud of that rule and do not see that there have been big time invasion-associated atrocities and Taliban style beheadings–really. Much of the Pakistani bloggers are perhaps converted.

Alethia here is small issue: I have asked many Pakistani bloggers to make a statement that LeT/JeM are terrorist organizations since all knoW LeT have killed innocent Indians like in Mumbai. I have seen pin drop silence from Pakistanis. That person specfically being UMAIR and you might have read his other statements— he is Waiting for anoher Mumbai attack in India. Let us see if you can mediate getting this out of these normal Pakistanis.
Humanity comes before religion.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

hi umair;

where do you reside, in pakistan….?

Posted by rony | Report as abusive
 

Mortal:
“I don’t know what your establishment feeds you about Haqqani but here in the US, he’s looked upon as a clown with a begging bowl. Numerous comedy shows & late night shows make fun of your ambassador & other leaders quite frequently. Sorry to break your bubble!”

You are an idiot Mortal, here is how NY Times praised Ambassador Haqqani,

Adroit Envoy States Case for Pakistan
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/09/world/ asia/09envoy.html

Ambassador Haqqani is very respected and known in US government circle. He is a relentless defender of Pakistan’s reputation. The above article says it all.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev & Mauryan:

There is a vast well of appreciation, forgiveness and goodwill of Pakistanis toward India. Yes, there are some voices which are anti-India, no doubt, as one can see in this column. That’s life.

Yes, Punjabis tend to be proud and dynamic people-on both sides of the border.

But you minimize the power of asking forgiveness and saying you’re sorry for past or present wrongs. I personally know a bunch of Pakistanis who who want a reconciliation with India. They also grieved during the Mumbai massacre. Their voices are drowned out by a few fanatics. I also know a bunch of Indians who want reconciliation with Pakistan. I know you are not that way, but also their voices have been drowned out by a few fanatics.

The proposal was to INCLUDE not REPLACE religious reconciliation, along with the political. I think it hasn’t been tried before-to bring a meeting of ALL religious groups together from both countries.

Don’t be so sceptical. Give it a try, guys?

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive
 

It’s time for me to bow out of this discussion.

As friends to both Indians and Pakistanis (I know, I do tend to favor Pakistan a little more), there is before you a proposal to truly forgive and forget – and start anew. The power of forgiveness is a potent one and the light it can produce is blinding – beyond your best dreams…

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive
 

Punjabiyaar:
“I wonder why some Pakis on this forum can even think of praising army and ISI for whatever they had done. They had been parasitic,corrupt and greedy, adding insult to injury they lost wars too.’

Punjabiyar, I have lost a friend today in Swat this morning, his convoy was attacked and he embraced martyrdom. His funeral was offered in Peshawar, his body will be brought back to Rawalpindi in his home. Capt Umar Zeb Shaheed was a classmate of mine, we applied together for PMA 111 Long course in 2003 when he was commissioned in Pakistan Army. The Army is giving ultimate sacrifice, Umar’s father is a retired Colonel, his brother is a captain and fighting in Swat. We will always honour our heroes, it is our pledge to them: they laid down their lives for Pakistan, we will always defend Pakistan’s honour.
Now you must know why some Pakistanis on this blog praise Army and ISI.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Myra,
I don’t think Pakistan is a failed state or is going to fail anytime soon.
Its in the midst of a civil war and once the Pakistan army and ISI is fully convinced about the urgency required for handling terrorism, then it will be a swift end for Taliban though, it will survive in caves as small groups being a minor irritant now and then.
Its not a question of how much time it has but when will it finally become aware?
Also, when you say peace with India will boost economy and allow the Pak army to readjust its mindset away from India..
Its like a chicken and egg story.. who came first?
Will peace ever come without the Pak army changing its mindset?
Yes India stands to gain if there is actual peace with Pakistan. But then with statements like the Pakistanis are waiting for another Mumbai like strike so that Pak army can teach a lesson to Indian army will never allow us to talk sense with Pakistanis.

Alethia,
1. India doesn’t want to be the dominant country in the region. It just wants to live in peace and develop itself. Though due to its size, it will look like the dominant country.
2. Will you ask the muslims in Pakistan to apologize for unnecessarily diving the country too? Please read the history of creation Pakistan to understand that it was not only religious divide which led to creation of Pakistan. Also read about personalities like Frontier Gandhi. Even Jinnah’s daughter stayed back in India.
3. Peace can not be achieved untill both the parties want it. When you find people like Umair waiting for a Mumbai style attack in India with glee, how can you expect us to talk peace with them?

Umair,
Is wishing for innocent deaths the Pak (pure) way of going to heaven? You really make your country proud.
Are all Pakistanis as well intentioned towards India as you are?
Have you ever thought when Pakistan is living on billions of aid why is the government spending money on something like nuclear bomb? You should be asking your government why can’t it use the aid to set up factories wherein unemployed people who eventually take up guns to earn some money can get employment.

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive
 

Aman
With all the talk of peace, as Myra pointed out regarding Indian Army’s cold start war doctrine of starting offensive operations against Pakistan. Here is an overview:

India now plans and is ready to act offensively against Pakistan for any perceived acts of strategic de-stabilization of India, proxy war and terrorism
* India has in declaratory terms enunciated it will undertake offensive operations against Pakistan, short of the nuclear threshold.
* India could initiate offensive operations either as pre-emptive strikes or initiate offensive operations straight away without giving Pakistan, the time to bring diplomatic leverages in play.
* Indian Army’s combat potential will be fully harnessed for offensive operations at the outset by eliminating the differentiation between “defensive formations” and “offensive formations”.
* Implicit in this Doctrine is that the Indian Army will no longer concentrate on capturing and holding Pakistani territory as leverage for post-war negotiations but the new operational will aim at destroying the combat potential of the Pakistan Army and its war-fighting capacity
* The above is to be achieved by fast moving armored and mechanized operations supported by preponderant artillery fire power and even more preponderant combat fire-power of the Indian Air Force.
———————————————————-

Do you know now why Pakistan regards India as a threat greater than Taliban. Even as of now, only 6000 soldiers have been redeployed from Indian border to the offensive against terrorists. The bulk of Pakistan is still positioned against India.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

The COLD START WAR DOCTRINE has been built around the use of preponderant fine-power of the Army’s own artillery guns and massive use of Indian Air Force combat fire-power for speedy operations and quick military decisive results.

As on today the Indian Army stands deprived critically of both the instruments of firepower essential for the success of the new War Doctrine. Surely, national security imperatives should not be sacrificed at the alter of bureaucratism and the political leadership should be bold in removing such hurdles when it comes to upholding the imperatives of national security.
http://www.defence.pk/forums/india-defen ce/6779-india-s-cold-start-war-doctrine- revisited.html

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
Read the lines you have copy pasted:
“India now plans and is ready to act offensively against Pakistan for any perceived acts of strategic de-stabilization of India, proxy war and terrorism”
This was the overview you wrote.. right?
Now please tell me if Pakistan keeps on sending terrorists and indulges in adventures like Kargil, what is Indian army supposed to do? Sit idle and look back? As the statement above shows don’t indilge in terrorism, show us that you are taking action against terrorist camps and you are serious about dismantling the terrorist camps you people have setup, then you don’t have to fear anything then neither from India nor from Taliban

Also, don’t go by the fodder that war mongering journalists feed you with. Cold Start is a purely defensive strategy with the capability to launch counter-strikes with lightning speed. In other words army will be ready so that it doesn’t get nasty surprises like Kargil and even if such surprises happen it can respond quickly to them.
This development came after India’s experience of moving its troops to the border during 2001-02 stand-off with Pakistan.
Using this methodology, the Indian army can quickly launch counter-strikes (offensive) against the enemy using its defensive troops deployed at the border. This also means moving its offensive troops (which haven’t been used in any if the battles yet, since it takes weeks to move the army with all its heavy machines) nearer to the borders. This effectively has meant that the difference between defensive troops (deployed at the border) and offensive troops held back at the barracks is reduced with the defensive troops having its own set of heavy weaponry.
And yes, this was developed only keeping in mind the Pakistan army’s adventurist attitude at the border during Kargil. Moreover, this is effective only when India’s political class has the will to take on Pakistan. It gives the army the advantage to mount counter strikes before international pressure forces them to pull back as had happened in the past.

So again its a chicken and egg story… Stop the terrorist camps and you don’t have to fear about anything. You can not expect the army to be pulled back when hordes of militant try to infiltrate the border everyday. And your army indulges in tactics like Kargil.

Anyways, you didn’t answer my questions.

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive
 

Aman:
no, the first line you quoted is not written by me, it is part of other points below.

You want me to answer your questions:

Is wishing for innocent deaths the Pak (pure) way of going to heaven? You really make your country proud.

-your question has ambiguity, its not clear what are you trying to say. No one in Pakistan wishes for innocent deaths. When Mumbai happened, we condemned it. Islamabad was also bombed, we have seen terror, I have lived and worked abroad and had friends from Mumbai. we dont wish to others what we have experienced ourselves.

Are all Pakistanis as well intentioned towards India as you are?
-hmmm, all Pakistanis will always stand up for Pakistan. Today one of my friend embraced martyrdom while fighting in Swat against terrorists. We appeared together in the PMA 111 Long course for commission in the army. My friend will be laid to rest on Friday Morning 10:00am in Rawalpindi. We have no ill intentions against anyone, only if someone has ill intentions towards us we will stand upto them.
Have you ever thought when Pakistan is living on billions of aid why is the government spending money on something like nuclear bomb?
- ovrstatement, Pakistan surely had seen very sound economic growth from 2002-2007 during the five year period. When political turmoil started after which Musharraf had to resign, Pakistan’s economic situation declined. But i have no doubt if we work honestly we will be economically stable. To the question of why Pakistan is adding nuclear weapons is that the world is voicing doubts about Pakistan’s future and survival as a united country. Pakistan is giving a message to the world that anyone who tries to dismember Pakistan will face nuclear retaliation. This is a vieled threat that will deter any nefarious designs against pakistan. If you agree or disagree I am not sure, but Pakistan’s nuclear capability is a big deterent against such threats.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair:
“We will always honour our heroes, it is our pledge to them: they laid down their lives for Pakistan, we will always defend Pakistan’s honour.”

What about Innocent civilians, who are getting killed everyday by shelling and gunship helicopters. Do you honor them as well ??

What about the refugees ?

Firstly your army let Taliban cut loose because army thinks Taliban are a strategic asset against India and Afghanistan. Now army is killing them (or pretending) and your leaders are asking for donations.

If your army had not supported them earlier, All swatis would be living in their homes peacefully by now.

Do you pakis have a mind of your own or you just buy any crap which your army sells to you.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Punjabiyaar
The Army chief has ordered the Army to ensure there is no collateral damage and civilian casualties, even if it means sacrificing their own lives and putting themselves at risk. Army Medical Corps teams have opened up medical units in refugee capms, Parlliament members are donating one month salary fo rthem. Everywhere in Pakistan people are donating everything from food items, tents and water coolers for the refugees.
Pakistan has a vibrant media and its not that Army is feeding us any propaganda. There are more than two dozen independent TV channels in Pakistan and people of Pakistan can create their opinions.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
Well its nice to hear that you don’t wish us mumbai style attacks though your previous posts didn’t convey that feeling.
Anyways,
I am not talking about past when I question the expenditure on nuclear weapons.
Do you really believe that having nuclear weapons is a detterent? Assume that Taliban is trying to dismember Pakistan.. what good will it serve to you?
Will you bomb yourself?

Also, now since you don’t wish us terrorist strikes then will you say that terrorist organisations like LeT and JuD should not be given any kind of support by anyone? And since they are operating from Pakistan’s soil (even if as non-state actors) then will Pakistan take concrete action against them the way Pak army is fighting against the Pakistan Taliban? You know, just one word of peace from your side will end all wars atleast here on this blog. Except may be for Kashmir.

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
Your country’s honor is going through trials in Mumbai for killing 170 innocent, women, children. Another 9 are in mortuary, waiting for acceptance from your honorable country. Is this how much Pakistan ISI, politicians love you?

Rather than accepting these 10 Pakistanis, Pakistani media is propagating conspiracy theories from ISI and walked away from it’s responsibilities.

Do you work for ISI’s Blogging division?

Posted by Mani | Report as abusive
 

Aman
Its not that simple situation, you have to tink it from a Pakistani point of view. we lost East Pakistan, we suffered a lot. The Let JuD give us the strategic leverage over a much bigger India. An Indo-Pak war is still a possibility because there are unresolved disputes like Kashmir between the two countries. Its not a question of supporting terrorist groups. But there are some groups that fight India in Kashmir and some groups that are agianst Pakistan itself.
And I told you already that today i am in a shock since i lost a friend in Swat. Our Army is moving against terrorists. But the important thing is does India also want normal relations. We cannot clap with one hand, If Pakistan has to stop supporting anti-Indian terrorist groups, than India has to resolve the Kashmir dispute its as simple as that.
My point is India and Pakistan are not in good terms with each other. Until relations improve significantly, its all talk and no action. We cannot do much.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

“If we don’t come back…tell them we have sacrificed our today for their tomorrow…”

Honoring the martyrs of Operation Rah-e-Haq(straight path)

Major Abid Majeed Shaheed
Capt. Bilal Shaheed
Capt. Umar Zeb Shaheed
and many others martyrs and wounded.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

As someone who has lost close comrades in Afghanistan I would respectfully suggest to you that the way to honour your friend is to make sure the mission is accomplished.

No more peace deals this time around. If you value your friends sacrfice I expect that you will be at the barricades at the first mention of a peace agreement. I expect you to be on here screaming ‘bloody murder’ if the PA offers a peace deal again. Your friend could well be alive today had the Army done the job right the last time around. Instead your generals chose the path of cowards and good men have paid the ultimate price for that cowardice. You cannot appease a tumor or a crocodile into submission. I should hope that you and your fellow citizens understand this and finish this fight once and for all so that fewer good men will pay the ultimate price in the future.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Military nut writes: “My point is India and Pakistan are not in good terms with each other. Until relations improve significantly, its all talk and no action. We cannot do much.”

We are not standing at your gate begging for peace initiative from your side, if that’s impression you have got. The reason why India is not in good terms with your country is proved by the attitude that emanates from you and your establishment. Change that first and we will see if it is worth negotiating any peace with your country. We have handled your LeT and JuD well so far and we will do what is necessary if they do not get curbed by your establishment. Interestingly, Kashmir insurgency has gone quiet when your army is fighting the Taliban. That tells us something. My perspective is that, Pakistanis’ attitude is not going to change towards India. Any peace is only a temporary hold for recharging and going back to the old ways. There is no trust from our side. So it is better if your beloved military is engaged constantly chasing its own tail rather than mess up your country or others in the neighborhood. This Taliban war will not be over. They may disappear for a short while and reappear like weeds in other parts of the country. Al Qaeda is alreay seething with vengeance against your establishment for going to bed with the Americans. And they feel just the same way you guys feel about Bangladesh defeat. And they are not a government and have no accountability. So you are facing a much deadlier enemy than we do. This 170 million population is mostly sheep. It only takes a few hounds to drive them around. And the hounds are breeding and multiplying fast. Until recently your establishment bred them and turned them loose against others. Now they are trapped and have started biting your own flesh. So that’s where things are headed. No matter how much you list your military’s inventory, the reality is too obvious for everyone to see. You guys have messed up things too much.

 

Keith
Its not that the generals chose th epath of cowardice, the military operation is not an easy option. There is a humanitarian crisis now, the Army chief did state that pause in military operation was meant to give reconciliatory forces a chance, not to give militants a concession.
But my question to you guys (US and NATO) is, why do you expect the PA to do something you guys were not able to achieve for last 8 years in Afghanistan? What the heck are you guys doing in Afghanistan? that war has spilled into Pakistan. This needless war is killing many good people, why did matters got to this stage? This war must end, we must bring our soldiers back as soon as possible.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Keith
I see you are pro-war, but I am anti-war. No matter how long we fight we will not be able to finish the fight. we have to win hearts and minds, insurgencies are difficult and expensive, with meagre resources its even more difficult to sustain a long insurgency for Pakistan. Most casualties in Pakistan Army in this war are due to convoy ambush and IEDs. Why should we risk that? at some point there has to be a ceasefire and peae agreement.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair, you again carefully dodged my question, if Pakistani army had not supported Taliban and leaders had not made agreements with them, This operation was not necessary, Do you agree ??

We have seen your army and police attacking Geo News, do you still believe media is independent ?

You may be helping refugees TODAY, but army is the reason for their displacement.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Punjabiyaar
For all your questions, there is one answer. Hillary Clinton’s confession yesterday that the current situation in Pakistan is the result of incoherent US policy towards that country for the past 30 years.
And again when the Army was reluctant to conduct a largescale military operation, the accusation was it is abdicating to the Taliban, now the accusation is that Army has displaced millions of people making them refugees.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Mullah with short memory writes: “my question to you guys (US and NATO) is, why do you expect the PA to do something you guys were not able to achieve for last 8 years in Afghanistan?”

In 2001, if the idiots in charge of the US did the right thing, none of this would have happened. What should they have done? – Acknowledge what the current administration has admitted – Afghanistan and the Taliban were mere symptoms of an underlying cause. And that cause for Pakistan’s military-intelligence-insurgent network that was breeding the pack wolves for a long time since 1979 for one and only one purpose. Had they called the operation as Af-Pak then itself instead of now, both Afghanistan and Pakistan could have been settled by now. Instead, Rumsfeld and the other neocons decided to allow Pakistan to take back the Taliban into its territory, rock them in their cradles and wait for the Americans to install a puppet regime in Afghanistan and leave. They knew that Pakistan can send its proxies to take back Afghanistan after that. That plan failed. And the result of that failure is your country’s current state. So stop acting innocent. You display a lot of information about your military. I am sure you know the truth and are unwilling to accept it. But that doesn’t matter. Your rear end is on fire.

“What the heck are you guys doing in Afghanistan?”

Their financial capital got attacked in 2001 by terrorists who had taken over Afghanistan and were covertly and overtly supported by Pakistan. All financial transactions for that operation went through your dear country. The mistake the US made was it bombed Afghanistan. It should have bombed Pakistan back to stone ages first and trapped the Taliban from all directions and bombed the living daylights out of them in Afghanistan. Now that would have been the best Af-Pak strategy and they missed it. So wait for sometime. You guys are asking for it with your belligerent attitude.

“that war has spilled into Pakistan.”

No. This war started in Pakistan. Your dear Zia Ul Haq and his ISI laid a bear trap for Russian commies to walk into Afghanistan to eliminate Pakistan’s pariah status, and turn that into an all out American support, weapons, rapid Islamic radicalization and of course global blind sight to the Islamic bomb. The Americans did their part and left. Pakistan created the Taliban, took over Afghanistan and bred global terrorism there. Do you want to be reminded of the air lift where several Pakistani military personnel were taken out of Afghanistan as a part of the deal Mushy made? Do not pretend to be innocent. You guys are crooks and stop pretending. It is too obvious to everyone but you.

“This needless war is killing many good people, why did matters got to this stage? This war must end, we must bring our soldiers back as soon as possible.”

That is your undoing. So go fix it. Don’t blame others.

 
 

@The COLD START WAR DOCTRINE has been built around the use of preponderant fine-power of the Army’s own artillery guns and massive use of Indian Air Force combat fire-power for speedy operations and quick military decisive results.
-by Umair

–Read Keith’s post on previous blog ‘After Indian election, relationship with Pakistan back in focus”. He is in this business and tells what it is all about. Do not get hyper by the words like “lightening”.

–I am sorry to hear about your friend!
You continue to amaze me by your selectivity for not calling certain people as terrorist even though they kill certain innocents in a certain country.

You say LeT has strategic value against India and then also say all of Pakistani grieved for Mumbai victims etc…. Umair, those victims were the result of your strategic tool LeT. Imagine Karachi instead of Mumbai and keep the same terrorists and imagine your are having a dinner at Taj or Oberoi or buying train ticket at CST. Would you continue with your rant. Come out of it. This places you in the category of a terrorist sympathizer. Explain me why not? and if others in Pakistan think that way, why not I extrapolate to other pakistanis. Umair, if you are not in Army, do not behave like one, behave like an ordinary Pakistani. Else you are doing a great disservice to your fellow countrymen who I believe do not think that way. But you for me you are a terrorist sympathizer–plain and simple. You cannot support LeT as a tool and grieve over Mumbai attack.

Give me a moral justification for your stand and hypocrisy.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Roles under UN Flag
In addition to its main roles of repelling external aggressions and grappling with inter­nal security issues, natural calamities, and nation-building projects, the Pakistan Army from 1960 onwards also played a heroic role as part of UN forces in peacekeeping, peace­making and peace-enforcing, providing per­sonnel to several different missions.
http://www.pakistanarmy.gov.pk/AWPReview  /TextContent.aspx?pId=18&rnd=157#the-19 71-war

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Umair:
“Hillary Clinton’s confession yesterday that the current situation in Pakistan is the result of incoherent US policy towards that country for the past 30 years.”

Its good to hear that your country is run by US policy for last 30 years. You cheerfully keep accepting donations from US for 30 years to blame them at end.

Again its your weak Army or Leadership, why do you let your country run by US or anybody else.

“Army was reluctant to conduct a largescale military operation, the accusation was it is abdicating to the Taliban, now the accusation is that Army has displaced millions of people making them refugees.”

Pak army was opposing large scale operation because it see Taliban as a tool against India and Afghanistan. Now Pakistan is trying to eliminate them and facing refugee problems. One can easily understand that Pakistan Army wants to keep its animosity with its neighbors even if it has to harm its own people in result. I can see how much love and affection your army has for you.

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

I am very sorry to hear that your friend was killed.

Will follow up other comments tomorrow.

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Umair and other Pakistanis,
Hillary Clinton made the mistake of saying something without clarifying. The Indian and Pakistani press have even further distorted it by using small pieces of what she actually said, just like the war-hawks have done here in the US. (Go ahead, check my facts.)

She admitted, and rightfully so, that US policy has CONTRIBUTED to Paks mess. And I really don’t think you know what it implies. It means just what Obama said earlier, “No more blank checks”. We will PERSONALLY oversee the use of aid money. We will PERSONALLY make sure that you don’t continue to let citizens suffer while preparing for a war with India that will probably never happen. We will PERSONALLY make sure that our policy is “coherent”. In other words, we will control the flow of cash in Pakistan. Why? Because every previous attempt to help you has backfired, largely due to corruption and greed of Pakistanis. You will not help yourselves. Now Pakistan has finally decided to defend itself from, well…itself. Can the nationalist pride that the Pak army speaks of, actually hold Pak together? We shall see.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive
 

Myra/Rajeev
Thank you for the heartfelt condolence, and your compassion. My friend will be missed, i hope and pray for others deployed in Swat. Pakistan is going through many difficulties but we will remain resilient.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

@Well its nice to hear that you don’t wish us mumbai style attacks though your previous posts didn’t convey that feeling.
-by Aman

Aman, do not be so quick and get comforted by these words. Ask for a statement on LeT and you’ll know. That’s the litmus test, assuming a blogger is not lying.

This is called wriggling out of a tight corner.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Keith
I see you are pro-war, but I am anti-war. No matter how long we fight we will not be able to finish the fight. we have to win hearts and minds, insurgencies are difficult and expensive, with meagre resources its even more difficult to sustain a long insurgency for Pakistan. Most casualties in Pakistan Army in this war are due to convoy ambush and IEDs. Why should we risk that? at some point there has to be a ceasefire and peae agreement.
- Posted by Umair

Keith
Its not that the generals chose th epath of cowardice, the military operation is not an easy option. There is a humanitarian crisis now, the Army chief did state that pause in military operation was meant to give reconciliatory forces a chance, not to give militants a concession.
But my question to you guys (US and NATO) is, why do you expect the PA to do something you guys were not able to achieve for last 8 years in Afghanistan? What the heck are you guys doing in Afghanistan? that war has spilled into Pakistan. This needless war is killing many good people, why did matters got to this stage? This war must end, we must bring our soldiers back as soon as possible.
- Posted by Umair

It’s not that I am pro or anti-war, it’s just that I am for what needs to be done…particularly if it saves lives down the road. Would the Pak Army have taken all these casualties today if they had not signed a peace agreement (promptly abrogated by the militants) which allowed them to re-arm, recruit, re-train and rest? Would the humanitarian crisis have been as large if the Swati terrorists had been tackled earlier? It is moral cowardice on the part of government and military leaders to let the problem fester till now, plain and simple. And if they repeat the mistake again, we’ll have many more dead Pakistani soldiers and civilians on our hands. I hope it does not come to that. My honest and sincere sympathies to you for losing your friend. I attended a ramp ceremony here in Canada for a close friend who died just a few weeks ago. Just two weeks before her death I was having lunch with her and just like that she was gone. An extremely capable officer (one of the youngest majors I know) and one of the nicest people I ever knew, my knees buckled when I heard of her death. So don’t think that I take such news lightly. However, I know that her sacrifice will be for naught if this scourge of Islamist terror is not defeated once and for all. That’s why I support our troops in Afghanistan. And that’s why they go out the door to face death each and every day. They do this today so that we will not face this scourge tomorrow.

I agree that insurgencies are hard to fight. And being Canadian I assure you that I am more than aware of the dangers of IEDs, having lost too many good comrades to them. But that does not mean you stop. The mark of a good soldier is what he does after the first round comes his way. The best ones I know are the ones who push forward not shirk away from danger. And the Pak Army is more than well equipped to deal with this. As yet, they do not face the type of IEDs we’ve had in Kandahar, so why not deploy more APCs from the border to protect troops in the NWFP? Why not re-equip the troops with more PPE (personal protective equipment)? We hear stories from defence attaches about Frontier Corpsmen who don’t have proper winter jackets, forget about flak vests, proper weapons, etc. What kind of madness is this when an Army does not equip its own troops who are in the fight with the bare basics but keeps thousands of others well stocked and well fed in a non-combat zone? Can you imagine if a western government did that what would happen? There would be 24 hour news coverage of that and congressional/parliamentary inquiries. If you want to know why casualties are so high, this is a good point to start at.

I agree that at some point you will need a settlement. But let’s be clear. You know as well as I do, that means a settlement with the tribal leaders (500 of whom have been killed off while the PA watches on), not with Fazlullah, Mehsud, etc. If your government starts cutting deals with these crooks and letting these criminals speak for the Pashtun public what hope is there Pakistan? If that’s going to be the case, then why not let the LeT speak for Punjabis?

When it comes to Afghanistan….you know as well as I do why NATO isn’t doing as well as we should. No insurgency has ever been won without destroying the insurgents sanctuaries. Right now they are not on our side of the Durand line. I know this. Every general I have briefed know this. Every US and Brit official I have met knows this. Hence the Obama Af/Pak strategy. If the PA isn’t willing to put in an honest day’s work against these insurgents then the US will do it because we are sick of losing our soldiers to guys who run back across the line.

I agree that the war must end. But it cannot end without some serious effort by Pakistanis. Today, the future of the whole region is in Pakistan’s hands. It can help the west pacify Afghanistan or continue to sit on its hand and run the Indian bogey up the flag pole to avoid making hard choices. In the end, that choice in itself will have dire consequences for Pakistan. It is good to see that Pakistan is taking action now. Hopefully your leadership is mature enough to continue making the right decisions without a lecture every few weeks from a US official.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

One more point (and I raise this for the wider audience too). Why is it that the deaths of officers is given so much coverage in Pakistan but the deaths of sepoys is treated largely as a news byline? This is not a situation I could imagine over here in Canada where every private’s death is treated the same as every major’s death.

To some extent India is guilty of this as well…though that’s changing now that India has 24 hr news services and such. Changing this attitude alone would bring about a sea change in Pakistani defence policy. When every soldier is valued then generals and politicians will truly appreciate the decisions they make to sacrifice their lives. There would have been no Kargil if Musharraf truly valued the lives of the soldiers he was sending to the slaughter.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith
Just forgot to say Thank you to you too for the condolences,also i have same centiments for your friends killed in Afghanistan.
will talk later.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Believe me, Pakistan still has time. Countries in our world have over-come disasters of highest magnitude. Pakistan is not dealing with Hitler’s army, they are just a few thousand Talibans.
Issue with Pakistan is no body knows who is in authority. Once Pakistani population decides this, problems will start sorting out.

Posted by Virendra | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,
I had asked Umair about LeT and JuD and I was not making any judgements on his well wishes. We were just exchanging nicities.

Here is what he relplied about LeT and JuD

“Aman
Its not that simple situation, you have to tink it from a Pakistani point of view. we lost East Pakistan, we suffered a lot. The Let JuD give us the strategic leverage over a much bigger India. An Indo-Pak war is still a possibility because there are unresolved disputes like Kashmir between the two countries. Its not a question of supporting terrorist groups. But there are some groups that fight India in Kashmir and some groups that are agianst Pakistan itself.
And I told you already that today i am in a shock since i lost a friend in Swat. Our Army is moving against terrorists. But the important thing is does India also want normal relations. We cannot clap with one hand, If Pakistan has to stop supporting anti-Indian terrorist groups, than India has to resolve the Kashmir dispute its as simple as that.
My point is India and Pakistan are not in good terms with each other. Until relations improve significantly, its all talk and no action. We cannot do much.”

Umair,
So you are proud to be supporting terrorist organisations like LeT and JuD because they give you strategic depth against India. In other words, you are holding a gun on India’s head (literally and figuratively) and asking it solve Kashmir issue. And why should India alone solve the issue? As you said you can not clap with one hand, don’t you think Pakistan should stop behaving like a gangster. (I am not using words like rogue state, though if you are using terrorism for strategic depth then you are a rogue state).

You can see the difference between Indians and Pakistanis here itself on the blog.

All Indians start with a peaceful attitude towards Pakistan, asking it to condemn terrorist activities but then Pakistanis become like gangsters, solve Kashmir or you will have many more Mumbai attacks.

Think about it Umair, will you cow down to such tactics? You asked me about cold start, I gave you the answer, its a defensive setup to stop and quickly rectify Kargil style adventures by Pak army. Do you think LeT and JuD are strategic formations?

What strategic depth does LeT and JuD give you? Killing civilians for no reason at all except for the fact that they are Indians?

Umair, do you have humanity in you or is it reserved for a few friends alone?

All those who support such inhuman approach and this includes people like Alethia who are self professedly partial towards Pakistan should contemplate and ask themselves why are they sympathetic towards pakistan?

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive
 

Keith
You have made some important points, here are my thoughts.
I agree Pakistan holds the key to peace in the region, but the strategy should be coherent, the coalition or allies should keep in mind the sensitivities. No doubt there might be sanctuaries along Pakistan side of durand line. But they did sprung up due to the military presence in Afghanistan and all these terrorists pushed into Pakistan. Shortly, Afghanistan’s instability has spilled into and destabilizing Pakistan. NATO/US cannot simply dodge the failure in Afghanistan by putting blame on Pakistan of not being able to eliminate the terrorist sanctuaries across the western border. Even basic equipment like Night vision gogles are not provided to Pakistan. The drone attacks are a cheap tactical policy to increase body counts, Pakistan has argued for months that these fuel anti-Americanism and further alienate the local population and provide a recruiting tool for insurgents. When you say Pakistan hold the key to the region’s future, than you have to make sure to work together with Pakistan, not against it and undermine it.

On the question of IEDs and Pakistan not properly honoring the soldiers and only highlighting the death of Officers. Let me tell you how my friend lost his life yesterday, one of the soldiers in his unit went to the forward position. He was killed by sniper fire, as a result, the Commanding officer of their Unit, my friend and other soldiers/officers, a whole rescue and evacuation party went to take out and retrieve the body of the fallen soldier. It was there when a remote controlled device activated and blew off the front side of the vehicle resulting in his death. Every single soldier is highly valued in Pakistan Army.

The US officials are very fond of lectures i guess? no one has the right to interfere in Pakistan’s internal matters. We dont need lectures on how democracy works, how to choose among friends and enemies or how to fight wars and make peace. Although i fully support our troops and their mission, but I am of the view that this war has to end, we need to contain it not expand this war.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Another thing Keith, the Canadian defence minister Peter MacKay was in Pakistan couple of days back.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/05/2 1/mackay-pakistan-nuclear.html
” in an interview this week, MacKay said Canada was prepared to end its 11-year arms embargo on the sale of military technology to Pakistan — a statement that angered India, which said the high-tech weapons would in all likelihood be turned on them.

The comments also shocked the Foreign Affairs Department, which took the unusual step of publicly contradicting MacKay, who once was foreign minister.

“Canada’s policy regarding military exports to Pakistan remains unchanged,” said Catherine Loubier, director of communications for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

The bottom line: “There are no plans to lift restrictions on the arms sales ban with Pakistan.”

-So this is the bias towards Pakistan, you want us to fight and loose our soldiers while you impose arms embargoes on Pakistan. Why? because it angers India? So how about asking India to send in a few thousand soldiers to the combat zone in Afghanistan and do some fighting? Afterall, why should Pakistan risk everything?

This bias towards Pakistan should end, Pakistan has the right to military technology, weapons and training. These double standards should end, why should India have a problem every time Pakistan buys a fighter jet from US, a submarine from Europe or a tank from China? India has huge military and Pakistan has the right to consolidate its defence.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

Aman and Rajeev
Lets leave the question of terrorist organizations like JuD and LeT for a while. Let me ask you a question, what do you guys think about Kashmir? Is part of India or Pakistan? secondly do you believe the Indian army atrocities in Kashmir? and the 80,000 people killed in Kashmir why did they die? Simply tell me, is Kashmir a dispute between India and Pakistan? We can discuss the anti-Indian terrorist groups later.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive
 

If Pakistanis were smart they would forget KAshmir and concentrate on sorting out the mess inside their own country for atleast the next 10 years.

nut they aren’t its kind of like coveting your neighbour’s lawn when your house is on fire.

Posted by Shantanu Chatterjee | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
Though I firmly believe that its highly unethical to support terrorism.
But for the sake of discussion, I’ll leave it aside for the moment. We believe Kashmir is a part of India. For you its a part of Pakistan. So it is a contentious issue and I don’t deny that.
Now I don’t know who feeds you with the nonsense of 80000 deaths but I won’t deny that there have been numerous killings. Who killed whom again is matter of contention as I believe that just like Taliban killing people in Pakistan, it has been LeT and JuD killing people in India.
Moreover, till the late 80′s Kashmir was very peaceful and it is only after Pakistan’s army and ISI started implanting terrorists that situation has rapidly gone down-hill. So the blood of innocents killed and people displaced because of this insurgency is on your soul rather than on India’s.
Also, if you read newspapers then seperatist leader Sajjad Gani Lone lost in the elections and has still decided to stay in the “mainstream politics” rather than go back to his separatists ways.
Indian army in Kashmir, just like Pakistani army in SWAT is trying to reduce the collateral damage. I will ask you one thing, do you think SWAT, Balochistan and other Pashtun dominated areas of Pakistan are not a part of your country? Just because they belong to a different community/tribe doesn’t mean that you will discriminate against them.
You keep ranting about attrocities on muslims in India, why do you think they refused to let the authorities bury your brothers bodies in India after Mumbai attacks? They said, “Bharat ki Pak zameen mein in Darindo ke liye koi jagah nahi hai”. As far as i understand, its absolute blasphemy in Islam not to be allowed to be buried after death.
We have had Muslims at the top of everything, right from defence, research to parliament and executives.
Even the current vice-president is a muslim. You talk about BJP a lot, even that party has muslims at important positions.
India is a truly democratic society. I am sure you have a blast on bollywood movies. And when you see Indian cricket team, havent you seen muslims giving their hearts out playing for their mother country? Why do you think its like that?
Its because India is a land of oppurtunities, you just have to grab it. Yes there are some stereo types everywhere and India too has its share of fringe elements but that doesnt make India conniving. We are a tolerant society while you are an Islamic state, the definition is enough to show you the difference.

And as I have said, yes Kashmir is a dispute between India and Pakistan and needs to be discussed but as I have stated earlier, holding a gun on somebody’s head is no way of negotiating.

Now you tell me, you haven’t answered any of my questions,
All the options that we have militarily are all defensive in nature. Including the cold start startegy which is nothing but troop mobilization activity in time of need.
Is having LeT and JuD a part of your defensive startegy? Or is Mumbai style attacks defensive in nature?
Or is it that you consider Kargil misadventure a defensive strategy? Or the attack on Indian parliament defensive posturing on Pakistan’s part?
You keep saying that India is a regional bully… Well its hard to see how India is a bully when all the terrorists work for you. Is it morally right on your part to support LeT and JuD and then shed crocodile tears when Mumbai attacks happen?
You keep saying Kashmir is a problem, can you suggest a solution which might be acceptable to all the parties?

Posted by Aman | Report as abusive
 

If Pakistan wastes its resources in keeping the Kashmir fire alive, its decline will become even more rapid. Pakistan’s Kashmir obsession is emotional rather than rational. One thing most Pakistanis do not think about is their partiality. In East Pakistan, their military slaughtered their compatriots. Zia Ul Haq led the unit in Syria that slaughtered Palestinians before he was promoted as Pakistan’s general (Source: “The Duel” by Tariq Ali). Most deaths in Kashmir have come as a result of insurgents and the cross fire between clueless Indian military and the insurgents. This proxy war was successfully used by CIA and the ISI in Afghanistan to frustrate the Russians leading to their demise. The same methodology has been used in Kashmir right after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. In 1989, the Soviets left. In 1989, Kashmir problem erupted and has been going on even now. The plan was to frustrate the Indian security forces which would in turn force them to resort to brutal methods and help alienate the locals further. And Pakistan’s strategy has almost succeeded. But, 9/11 happened and everything changed. After Obama took over, the US openly began to spell out the truth about Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir. Pakistan under further emotional strain, messed up its chances by allowing Mumbai attacks to happen and then showing reluctance to co-operate with India while the world watched everything. So Kashmiris are now realizing that going with Pakistan is the worst mistake that they could ever make, considering how conditions in Pakistan now are. And they are looking at India and realize that without Pakistan sponsored insurgency, Kashmir is indeed quite peaceful. The Indian troops are not resorting to brute means when peace prevails. They are leaning towards independence. Considering what they have undergone, I am not surprised at their feelings. However, India will not agree to that. So it is useless to include Kashmir in India-Pakistan discussions. Pakistan has shot itself in the foot by resorting to violent means which has backfired on itself. Kashmiris have learned a valuable lesson and they may use Pakistan’s covert support for their purposes, but will never like to merge with that country.

 

“Making fools”

Witness says Swat operation not what it seems

Seems like real people, real soldiers are dying so that politicians and army can play the drama to extort US and UN.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/80 61788.stm

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Umair babbles:

Why? because it angers India? So how about asking India to send in a few thousand soldiers to the combat zone in Afghanistan and do some fighting? Afterall, why should Pakistan risk everything?

This bias towards Pakistan should end, Pakistan has the right to military technology, weapons and training. These double standards should end, why should India have a problem every time Pakistan buys a fighter jet from US, a submarine from Europe or a tank from China? India has huge military and Pakistan has the right to consolidate its defence.

Response:

You idiotic fool, did you ever thing, if you selfish punjabi fools quit sending jihadi’s and left Kashmir alone, that each side of Kashmir would be happy being left alone? Did you ever stop to think that India has a right to defend its borders, if you guys keep sending your mindslave Jihadi’s to cause unrest in kashmir? Did you ever stop to think that the 700,000 army in Kashmir, may not exist there, if you guys had not aggressed India in the first place?

You Stupid Fauji’s rattle the lion’s cage and then cry when the lion bears its teeth, how laughable. Your Kashmiri’s now know that any offensive in Pakistan against JuD and LeT will cause a mass exodus into India. That’s right, Pakistani’s will flow into India for safety, not into Pakistani! Who is truly the devious, lying conniving party here?

Pakistan can only deserve its rightful place among sovereign nations, once its army:

1)declares India is not its enemy
2)apologizes to Bangladesh for 1971 genocide of 3 million humans
3)declares all madrasa educated radical islamic militants as criminals and enemy of the state of Pakistan
4)destroys ALL proxy armies.

OH, by the way, you can keep your nukes.

Any further Pakistani misadventures like Kargil, and India has the right to invade and take all of Kashmir the next time.

Posted by Global Watcher | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan exporting Islamist insurgency to Russian republic of Dagestan

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/806279 3.stm

Posted by David | Report as abusive
 

Umair writes: “So how about asking India to send in a few thousand soldiers to the combat zone in Afghanistan and do some fighting? Afterall, why should Pakistan risk everything?”

You guys cannot even stand India doing constructive projects inside Afghanistan. Your ISI blew up an Indian embassy there. Now you are recommending our soldiers? Sure. How about we send them into Azad Kashmir first? We need to clean out jihadi training camps there. This way we can help Pakistan tackle terrorism of which they have become the worst victim. We can also send in our air force over FATA and Swat. Pakistan has taken too much risk already by foolishly taking on a nuclear power by means of proxy wars. So what India did was to hold that insurgency at arm’s length and in due course, the same insurgents have begun to bite Pakistan’s rear end. And it is the mess that Pakistan created and it is the mess they are not going to get out of that easily. Now you have a million guests from Swat whom you have to feed for your foolish policies of breeding the Taliban and Al Qaeda for strategic depth against India. You guys do everything and then pretend as though you are thumb suckling babies. Only it is too obvious to everyone else other than your countrymen.

 

Umair,

Pakistan is not ‘key’ to regional peace. It’s global migrane.

You feel glad when US(Clinton) accepts its faults of the past. Does your Army and ISI have guts to do the same? Were you Pakis not complicit in using terrorism as state policy?

When i read about death of your friend that died in SWAT I was feeling bad but then i saw your dilly dalliance on LeT and JuD and the next image that came to my mind was the bodies of Major Unnikrishnan and Mr Omble. If you feel LeT and JuD are assets than i guess your Army deserve to die fighting your own creations.

Your Army is such a burden on your nation that when your leaders are begging for help on IDPs your Army is accelerating its N weapons production. Are you going to solve your IDP problem with N bomb?

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

And the drama continues….
Shameless PA
“From the air, there was little evidence of the fierce fighting and air strikes that the military claims have already killed more than 1,000 militants as well as some 60 soldiers.”
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/prov inces/07-troops-encircle-swat-cut-off-ta liban-escape-routes-ha-05

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 
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