Pakistan, India and 1971

November 4, 2009

The 1971 war between Pakistan and India crops up so often in comments on this blog that I’d been thinking of creating a South Asian equivalent of Godwin’s law - that any discussion that goes on for long enough will eventually get back to what happened then. At the very least, it seemed like a good idea to set up a post into which all comments about 1971 could be channelled.

Khurram Hussain, a Pakistani writing in India’s Outlook magazine, has started the discussion by arguing that the way to understand Pakistan is not through the lens of partition in 1947, but through the war in 1971 which led to the division of the country and the creation of Bangladesh, then East Pakistan. Here are some excerpts, but do please read the full article:

“The Partition has a mesmerising quality that blinds the mind, a kind of notional heft that far outweighs its real significance to modern South Asian politics. The concerns of the state of Pakistan, the anxieties of its society, and the analytic frames of its intellectual and media elites have as their primary reference not 1947 but the traumatic vivisection of the country in 1971. Indians have naturally focused on their own vivisection, their own dismemberment; but for Pakistan, they have focused on the wrong date. This mix-up has important consequences,” he writes.

“First, Indians tend not to remember 1971 as a Pakistani civil war, but rather as India’s ‘good’ war. It is remembered as an intervention by India to prevent the genocide of Bengalis by Pakistanis. The fact that the Bengalis themselves were also Pakistanis has been effaced from the collective memory of Indian elites. This makes 1971 merely another Kargil, or Kashmir, Afghanistan or Mumbai—an instance of Pakistan meddling in other people’s affairs, and of the Pakistani military’s adventurism in the region.”

“Pakistani intellectual elites share with their Indian counterparts the normative horror of what the West Pakistani military did in the East. How can anyone in their right mind not deem such behaviour beyond the pale? But horror does not preclude abiding distaste for the Indian state’s wilful opportunism in breaking Pakistan apart. It is for this reason that while the intellectual classes in Pakistan, especially the English language press and prominent university scholars, have almost always condemned their state’s involvement in terrorist activity inside India proper, they have remained largely quiet concerning Kashmir. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Kashmir does not seem so different to them than East Pakistan.”

Whether you agree or not with his analysis, what he has done is try to explain why the historical narrative about the last four decades is very different in both countries.  As is evident from the many comments on earlier posts, there is a huge gap in perceptions about 1971 and its very different impact on India and Pakistan. So how do you narrow that gap?

(Photos: General Jagjit Singh Aurora looks at a photo of the signing of the surrender in a museum in Dhaka; war memorial in Drass to Indian soldiers who died in the Kargil war)

181 comments

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1971 should be repeated four times till we make FOUR parts of Pakistan. Pakistan as one entity is a danger to itself and to the rest of the world. Punajbis enjoy power, position, foreign mansions while Sindhis, Baluchis, Pakhtoons, Mohajirs go with food or shelter and get killed by Punjabi terrorists in terrorist attacks!

Baloch, Pashtun and Sindhi tribes must unite to end Punjabi hegemony and oppression
http://governmentofbalochistan.blogspot. com/2006/07/baloch-pashtun-and-sindhi-tr ibes-must.html

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive

It is understandable how Paks might be upset with their country getting dismembered. But there are two sides to the story, and the other side is completely ignored by Paksitanis. They fail to acknowlegdge what their Pak Army did over there…they genocided 2.5 million hindus and 500,000 muslims in a professionally organized mass slaughter, which was done systematically in an organized and deliberate fashion, with orders directly from the top.

We Indians feel wronged that so many Hindu and muslim non-conbatant, unarmed civilians were wasted in this fashion. We feel, as Indians you Pakistani’s have no right to cry wolf, for the gruesome evil you committed over there. On top of that you Pakistani’s don’t even acknowledge it, let alone feel repentant for this past blood that is all over Pak Army hands.

We feel it was justified that for the genocide, you got dismembered and had to surrender.

For Pakistan and India to meet eye to eye on things, BOTH sides must acknowledge what happened, especially Pakistan, what THEY DID, because they genocided first, then India dismembered them, that is the order of things.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Unless you already mentioned somewhere there was response by K.V. Bapa Rao
“Too Right, 1971 Should Tell Indians All They Need to Know About Pakistan”

http://blogs.outlookindia.com/default.as px?ddm=10&pid=2126&eid=20

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

This Pakistan India rivalry will come to an end with the ultimate destruction and dismanteling of present day India.

India like the USSR is not one but many nations, held together by a very delicate nationalist thread.

At any one time there are several insurgencies taking place in India from Kashmir to Assam where people want to be free from Indian control.

Pakistan and China need to facilitate this eventual collapse with as much finesse as possible so as to cause the minimum damage, all neighbours of India would heave a collective sigh of relief as India is the main instigator of trouble with all its neighbours, not a single Indian neighbour is on good terms with India, not a single one.

Posted by Tariq Shah | Report as abusive

Mr.Husain wrote- “But horror does not preclude abiding distaste for the Indian state’s wilful opportunism in breaking Pakistan apart”

=====

Actually I had read the full article in a different blog. Myra, your link is not working.

The author uses academic sounding terms, psychoanalyst language…that’s about it. Basically he is an apologist for pak militarism & terrorism and the article is attempted feeble justification for pakistani aggression on India and anti-India obsession.

Taking the wrong lessons….more accurately using any excuse that come the way to get themselves excited in anti-India fanaticism and frenzy. Mr.Hussain’s outlook article is just the same.

There are 3 critical points missing in the self-serving analysis of Mr.Hussain:
ONE-
Pakistan’s 1965 attack on Kashmir came BEFORE 1971. India realized in 1965 Pakistan is untrustworthy.

TWO-
Between 1947 and 1971, sessionist movements in North East India were provided logistical and financial support from East Pakistan (Bangladesh).

THREE-
India’s hands were forced in 1971 …it only took a ripe fruit offered on a plate. With the refugees flooding India, and with the genocide of unarmed civilians by Pakistan army, India had no other choice.

READ HERE HOW A BANGLADESHI DESCRIBES THE COLONIZATION OF EAST PAKISTAN BY WEST PAKISTAN starting with Jinnah.

http://www.virtualbangladesh.com/comment ary/jinnah.html

sample:
“Yet, Jinnah had preferred to promote and project the non-Bengali loyalists, rightists and collaborationists ….. It was by his deliberate anti-Bengali design that most of the celebrated and popular Muslim League leaders of Bengal were either banished or marginalized immediately before or after the creation of Pakistan”

Myra:

Khurram says
“This makes 1971 merely another Kargil, or Kashmir, Afghanistan or Mumbai—an instance of Pakistan meddling in other people’s affairs, and of the Pakistani military’s adventurism in the region.”

Never in his article he mentions 1965, a war thrust by pakistan on India. What would one make of that, Myra? Careful omission as always. 1965 is before 1971, if my math is right and pakistan tried to snatch Kashmir from India, an Indian state, in 1965 is itself enough reason to return the favor-not snatching but liberating Bengalis of E. Pakistan–without looking at 1947. The difference between Indians in 1971 is that India got it on platter and did not create the conditions and were not desperate to divide Pak into 2 pieces unlike Pakistan who throughout their existence have been meddling in India—before 1971 and after 1971. 1971 is a big excuse–that’s it. Even without that they were breathing down Indian neck–as I said 1965 war.

As Pakistani ex-Air chief Asghar Khan said:
“The fact is that in the last 60 years of our existence, India has not started hostilities against Pakistan unless provoked to do so, or until we created conditions, as we did in 1971 in East Pakistan, for India to interfere militarily….”

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/16-ardeshir-cowasjee-wise-words-f rom-an-old-warrior-hs-04

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Myra,

I agree that today’s Pakistan & the psyche of an average Pakistani is greatly influenced by the 1971 war. Since the 1971 war, Pakistan became a country driven by ‘vengeance’ thanks to Pakistan’s military establishment. Over the years, they distorted & omitted facts and spoon fed their population & children with a steady diet of falsehoods, hatred & vengeance for 1971.
They could have learned a lesson from Japan & Germany, 2 countries which suffered a lot more during WW2 but decided to accept their mistakes, look in the mirror & move in the direction of social & economic progress instead of vengeance & hatred BUT they didn’t, largely for their own selfish motives & to keep a stronghold on power. A society or nation based on & driven by vengeance & hatred can’t avert disaster for long & we see the results today.

“So how do you narrow that gap?”

I guess one of the ways to narrow the gap is by interactions between Indians & Pakistanis on forums such as this one. For instance, after months of banging heads with Umair, by other Indians & myself, the other day he finally took partial responsibility for the events of 1971.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Myra, you appeared to have swallowed wholesale Khurram Hussani’s silly thesis. Pakistan’s problems with India began much much before 1971. 1971 merely demolished the great myth Pakistani ‘intelligentsia’ had worked very hard to propagate (much before 1971, it must be noted) – that one ‘beef-eating Mussalman’ was equivalent to ten ‘vegetable-eating’ Hindus.

Pakistan’s problems lie in the basic mindset that created that nation, and that sustains it even today. Even the so-called ‘liberal’ Pakistani ‘intelligentsia’ is loathe to acknowledge that unpleasant fact. Unless that basic Pakistani mindset is changed, nothing else will change in that country.

1971 is just another red-herring – of the sort that Pakistanis come up with every now and then to prove to the world that they are ‘normal country’. A normal country does not become the den of the world’s terrorists, nor sees itself as the fortress of Islam, nor bring such destruction to its neighbors as Pakistan has done in Afghanistan.

Posted by Pratyush | Report as abusive

We Sikhs are looking toward Pakistan to help us to get our freedom from Hindus. We still remember the 5000 sikh who got killed by Hindus after Indra Ghandi murder. If 1971 was a genocide than this was also a genocide. And dont forget kashmiris , more thena 95000 have been killed , any help from china , pakistan or international community will be apprciated.

Posted by Khalistan | Report as abusive

Back to my previous post, do you Pakistani’s feel any regret for your Army Genociding so many humans?

A non answer, will explain why there is such a huge gap in perceptions. There is a fundamental difference in the value of human life value system.

One has a moral center, while the other has none and is abscent in compassion.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

You will remain in a day dream to break Pakistan further apart. Situation is not that bad as Indians see through Chankiya’s eye. You could wish as long as you enjoy American lap in Afghanistan. The day is not too far when US leave the region and you will have to be back home. I assure you there is going to be a decisive war between India and Pakistan. India will start it and I assure you Pakistan will stop it until Pak flag raises over Radio Dehli building.

Posted by Amir | Report as abusive

I Posted this comment there (comment # 141), posting it again here too:

Mr Hussain, Yours is a nice try of portraying Pakistan a post civil war society & hence its obvious reactions(Military adventurism) against much larger India but you probably missed to recognize so many events before and after that, like,
1> 1st Military Coup happened in 1958
2> 1965 WAR, operation Gibraltar, was perhaps the biggest misadventure.
3> 1970′s Talibanisation (Zia’s time) of Afghanistanis, Strategic depth concepts
4> Never ever concentrating on economy/welfare/civil society rather projecting as a rental state of big powers, 1948 itself
5> Kargil
6> U-turn on 9/11 & War on terror
7> Double games played by Musharraf

Actually, by the logic you are giving, any one can choose any date and put it at center to focus on & interpretate Pakistani psyche, Its true we understand Pakistanis like no one can, because we have seen how a population lost its history at 1947 for nothing and is a direction less society today, if you still don’t agree, read this, as Pakistan Prepares itself for China now :-)
http://www.nation.co…-President-Hu-Jinta o or Simply Google “look east policy”

Addition: THE PROBLEM WITH PAKISTAN IS COMPARISON WITH INDIA (which we Indians haaaaaaate) & its being a rental state since day 1 of any big power who exploit it as to disturb SE-Asia, which has eventually become a global nuisance & hence this hue & cry, had 9/11 never happened, Pakistan would be happily harvesting Talibans forever.

Posted by sam | Report as abusive

Myra,

It is selective memory that Pakistani’s have of the genocide they did, that inflames emotions and anger from Bengalis and Indians.

There still has not been justice paid for 3million genocided humans.

The Gov’t does not even acknowledge it.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

And yeah, to his(Khurram Hussain) Logic, India definately is a post post post CIVIL war society, after losing Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, Srilanka & on & on? SAME OLD RIDICULOUS & TWISTED PAKISTANI LOGICS.

Posted by sam | Report as abusive

Its unbelievable how the Pakistanis get a free pass each and every time…sure India did help carve up Pakistan into 2 parts, but how can someone intending to initiate a conversation about 1971 ignore the genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani Army. A quick search online would throw up a figure of 3 million which is staggering by any standards. (campare this figure to 800000 killed in the rawandan genocide)

Posted by Manish | Report as abusive

the real question is not 47 or 71. it is whether religion itself can be used as basis of founding a country. answer for most Indians is NO. once you start a country on this faulty belief then there is no way you can justify anything. In India Jinnah is a villain who caused partition which led to a million deaths. till Pakistanis ask for forgiveness there can be no peace ever.

Posted by SS | Report as abusive

The 1971 war represented several things:

1. It showed that Bangladesh didn’t want to be part of Pakistan, and that Pakistan was willing to commit atrocities to prevent independence.

2. It represented a humiliating defeat for Pakistan. In 14 days, even striking first, Pakistan was reeling. It lost its ships on the water. Its air force was grounded. Half their territory was lost. An entire army surrendered. Over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers became prisoners of war. And were it not for the involvement of the Veto powers, Pakistan would have lost everything.

3. It represented the point where Pakistan realised that it could never win a conventional war with India’s three times larger, more modernised, better supplied military. Leading to their development of nuclear weapons. Which they can now wave around to hide their feelings of military weakness.

Posted by Holy Cow | Report as abusive

not sure why there is a need to do psychoanalysis of simple situation of two countries in conflict over disputed territory. This has happened countless time in another space and time. 1971 is wrongly celebrated as “big” military victory in India. can’t blame them it helps nationalism. In reality it was surrender of a single Pakistani division trapped by sea and land on all sides and abandoned by Bengali staffed air force. Partition was inevitable given geographic situation and was unfortunate the way it happened.

Posted by ac | Report as abusive

Pakistan is cry baby always claims to victim but never acknowledging crime it commits. Mr. Khurram Hussain fails to mention the refuges created prior to 1971 war. More than 10 million Bangladeshi poured into India mostly children, women and old men. All young & middle aged persons were killed. They killed all intellectuals Bangladeshis. The killing was more than 500,000. Late senator Edward Kennedy came to India to see those refuges. It is tremendous effort to accommodate that much humanity in monsoon rain.
I remember Mrs. Indira Gandhi came to US. I just migrated to US. She opened the war as last resort as she was ignored by the SOB Kissinger and President Nixon.
Where is memory of Mr. Hussain? Never address Pakistan’s crime?

We still remember the 5000 sikh who got killed by Hindus after Indra Ghandi murder.
- Posted by Khalistan

Sorry for the massacre of 2000 innocent Indian Sikh civilians. It will continue to be a sad chapter in Indian history. I want to blame ISI for starting this Khalistan movement and supplying guns and terrorists to Punjab. But no excuses for loss of 2000 innocent Indian Sikh lives. Hope time will heal your wounds! Sorry for the failure of Govt to protect Sikhs! Hope this will never happen again!

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive

Some out-of-work poser from lollywood writes:

“We Sikhs are looking toward Pakistan to help us to get our freedom from Hindus. We still remember the 5000 sikh who got killed by Hindus after Indra Ghandi murder. If 1971 was a genocide than this was also a genocide. And dont forget kashmiris , more thena 95000 have been killed , any help from china , pakistan or international community will be apprciated.”

Since you cannot even spell Indira Gandhi correctly, your attempt to pose as an Indian Sikh is more lame than it appears in a quick read. At least run a “amreekan” spell checker on your posts. Or did nobody put an MS Office disk in your google-famous begging bowl?

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive

@SS religion is also used for partitioning of Palestine & for the establishment of Israel, you people are biggest ally of Israel aren’t you….

And you people talk about genocide in Bangladesh in 1971 what about the genocide that is currently going on in Kashmir… why have you people have turned a blind eye towards it. What is 700000 of your army doing in Kashmir.
And what about your support for the state of Israel don’t you think there is a genocide going on there too why don’t you people attack Israel, you don’t have even guts to criticize it…

Having said that I also do not support any genocide if even committed by Pak Army. If they did it, it was wrong….

The thing is rather than blaming each other we should do something constructive with ourselves. 1971 is gone its history we should look forward & live like peaceful neighbors.

The creation of Bangladesh in 1971 helped break the myth of Islamic unity. It basically showed that there are things way deeper than religion. Ethnicity and language have much deeper roots than religion. East Pakistan went its own way due to linguistic chauvinism.

Creating a nation in the name of religion should not be encouraged in today’s world. All this talk of preserving one’s religious integrity and freedom etc have been proven wrong as in the case of Pakistan. Asking for a state based on religion is like the Afrikaners asking for a separate nation for themselves because they believe in white supremacy. If they had said that they could not live under a majority black rule in South Africa, it would not be justified.

Most Arab countries are Muslim. Yet they are divided into separate countries and have their own problems. In India itself, most Muslims have learned to co-exist with others. I wouldn’t say Hindus as a monolithic entity. I read that there are Hindu religions rather than a Hindu religion. So when accusing the Hindus, people have no idea which Hindus they are accusing.

A secular, multi-cultural, plural democracy is the best option and India is one example. There are growing pains in a relatively new nation where adjustments have to be made. Sometimes they take violent turns. But as the country progresses, things will even out.

Pakistan has not learned from its mistakes. Its citizens are still assuming that India is weak and small. It is this macho attitude that has brought them to the brink. Someone said here that once the Americans leave Afghanistan, they will teach India a lesson. The problem is Americans are not leaving anytime soon and Pakistan may not be able to hold together for that long. So the odds are against Pakistan’s survival as a nation. Hope their military cleanses itself of all the evil elements and becomes a normal institution under a civilian government fast.

The separation of East Pakistan in 1971 is done and nothing can be done about it. But trying to avenge that will only make Pakistan tear itself apart further. There is no money in the coffers and terrorism is not going to disappear that easily from there. It is time Pakistanis realized that they should move on.

Half of the people killed in East Pakistan are not Bengalis but Muslim Biharis (who migrated from the Indian state of Bihar to East Pakistan) Killed by the terrorist organization Mukti Bahini created by India. The creation of MB and Chukti Bhaini afterwards is acknowledged by the former PM of India Mr. Disai. As a Bihari we can never forget or probably never able to forgive India for sufferings.

However it is Indian media and political leaders who always created war hysteria without realizing what they are doing. 5 Pakistan one is at the moment known as Bangladesh will never be good for India.

One strong a prosperous Pakistan is much better for the peace and security of South Asia. An unstable Pakistan will be a nightmare for India and regional peace. India should realize this and stop playing in the hands of a world power rather support Pakistan to stability.

Posted by raza | Report as abusive

Pakistanis (everyone of them) always believed India is one push away from breaking up. Most of the following myths propagated and fed to m(ass)es of Pakistan by STINKING RICH Columbia, LSE, Yale, Princeton, Harvard IVY league educated elite of Pakistan (They call themselves Pakistanis in anglo/american accents and living in UK/Europe/US):

1. Indian Hindu elite (they have particular hatred towards Brahmins)subjugate lower caste Hindus, Muslims and other minorities and kill them enmass everyday. It is matter of time these groups are going to revolt and break up the country.

What they are IGNORANT of has been the secret of free socities where affirmative action and land redistribution resulted in steady raise of lower caste Hindus to power, wealth and leadership. Northern India lags behind South in this matter. It is hard to name one Brahmin political leader in power in the South. Although changes are slow they are all around to see for yourself.

In complete contrast to USSR, India has been a free country. All the doomsday prognastications for India by the Pakistani elite have been proven wrong and baseless. We, Indians, are going to show the WORLD how you can speak 100 different languages, 1000 different castes, 100 different religions BUT still we can identify ourselves as citizens of ONE NATION.

I want Pakistani ELITE to just take a look at their own country and compare it to India. Yes, we have violent movements in some pockets, ultimately, we will sort them through political process, compromise and respect for each other. If we survived Khalistan terrorism, there is nothing in this country that can threaten out unity. Take a look, no matter what you might say about Manmohan singh, the leaders of the country never felt being a non-hindu or a sikh made Dr. Singh not qualified to be the prime minister of the largest democracy of the world.

Lastly, Pakistanis MUST get out the DENIAL about their own country on lifeline fed with foreign assistance. They are not just danger to themselves but they are a serious threat to the WORLD.

I would like to finish my comments with an analogy: Pakistan is like a woman who hates her husband (India). TO get back at her husband she goes around on one-night stands with anyone/everyone who will offer her luxury hairlooms (military equipment). She even sells her children/family to please her lovers (remember Musharaf selling Pakistani citizens to CIA for few $$$).All She needs to realize when she is one Death BED is to come back to her husband and promise to be a friend. Indians are ready to embrace them as soon as they give up their self-destructive behavior.

The excuse offered for their militray build up and nuclear build up is to protect their soveregnity. Pakistani brothers look at yourself, you have no SOVEREIGNITY, over your own country and your country is bombed everyday by foreign powers you call friends and your leaders sell their souls, citizens and you conintue to kill your own country men for being Shia/Ahmedians/Christians/Hindus. Take a hard look at yourself and get out of the DENIAL state. Good luck.

Posted by ejaz | Report as abusive

Pakistan – India conflict will never end. Can pakistan ever imagine India parting with Kashmir – After all the sacrifices made by Indians, sadly the answer is ‘NO’. We will need a Pakistani visionary to accept this fact (unfortunately there is likely to be none) so this conflict and hatred will never end

Posted by Sohail Pakistani | Report as abusive

Bangladesh to seek ICC role to try alleged Pakistan war criminals
http://topnews.in/bangladesh-seek-icc-ro le-try-alleged-pakistan-war-criminals-21 48782

Pakistan says Trial of War Criminals will Hamper Ties with Bangladesh
http://www.voanews.com/bangla/archive/20 09-06/2009-06-07-voa7.cfm?moddate=2009-0 6-07

Bangladesh remembers the horror of war crimes
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7470000.stm

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

The basic problem with Pakistan is that they , from the first day started comparing them with India. And The only thing that is keeping them united is the hatred towards India.

Today the whole of Pakistan is ,almost in a civil war situation but the parlament of Pakistan is following the old srategy of hatred and passing resolutions aganist India. Pakistan has become a laughing stock to the world by saying India is helping Taliban!.

IF Pakistan really wants to join the South Asia club iof development friendship and civilization(!!!) the will have to get rid of four mayths –
1- It is comparable to India. Today Pakistan is a failed state whereas India is world’s largest democracy.
2- It is a sovergien state in present condition.- Having a nation flag and national antham does not help.
3- It defeated soviet in war.- It is the gratest and funniest pak myth . If soviets wanted they could have destroyed Pakistan in Minutes!!
4- It will be helped by China in case of war with India. China will never come forward, in fact it has stated blaming Pak for its internal problems.

Posted by swapan | Report as abusive

Just wanted to add to my last post. These terrorists have not spared even the Indian muslims either but thats probably because according to them they have had thier faiths diluted and its halal to kill them

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

As an American, I feel the world has a great stake in Pakistan and India attaining something greater than their current peaceful detente. Kashmir, IMO, is a rare knot in history for which my country cannot be blamed. (Am I right?) I feel Kerry-Lugar is a Marshall plan type initiative in behalf of closer American -Pakistani relationship. But I would like to know what else could be done in terms of American policy to help patch up & heal past Indo-Pakistan wounds.

Myra,

Pakistan has been thrusting war on India to usurp Kashmir since its inception. The wars of 1947, 1965, and 1999 are glowing evidences. Pakistan has tried everything – violence, vile propoganda, jihad and wars – but failed on all occassions. If the elite in Pakistan cannot get over the birth of Bangladesh, it’s just too bad. They should know better about the political fallout of Shaikh Mujibur Rehman, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Yahya Khan. Not to forget the atrocities of the Bengalis under Operation Searchlight famously remembered as, “The most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland”.

You asked, “So how do you narrow that gap?”. The answer is you do not because the chasm is too wide. For the future, trade could serve as a means of cooperation. These two nations are scarred forever and whenever the national interests diverge we may see sparks fly.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

Am in a bit of a hurry right now, just want to say it is an excellent idea, Myra. I think this post can become quite an eye opener for many of us. Will go through the whole article you mention before any comment.

The years from 1948 to 1965 were fairly quiet in terms of conflict in South Asia.
1948 was the Partition but there after the whole development is based on what happened in Pakistan Internally especially after the Army destroyed any meaningful development of democracy which is even a complete sham even today.
Survival,Control and Propping up India as edversary No1 was the main subject of brainwashing the population until 1965.
General Ayub changed that considerably by actually believing his own army’s propoganda that Pakistan was capable of taking on India after the Chinese intrusion.The brainwashers became brainwashed themselves and layer upon layer of false myths were laid upon the media and contolling beaurocracy as the truth.Ordinay Pakistanis will not believe otherwise anymore.
The whole world knows what is wrong with Pakistan yet ask any Pakistani with substance he will tell you it is India that is behind everything that has gone wrong.
The Pakistanis will agree that Musharraff as a dictator distroyed the stability further but would never agree that the Army was bad as well.
To them it was only Musharraf who was bad and the Army which supported him could never do any harm to the country.
With this kind of psyche no matter how much the world would try to support Pakistan the brain damage would never be cured until a complete break up of the state machinert takes place and that the Armed Forces stay in the barracks permanently.

India will start it and I assure you Pakistan will stop it until Pak flag raises over Radio Dehli building.
- Posted by Amir

Keep your crude thoughts to yourself and please contribute some tangible comments to this blog. For a FACT, India never started any war with Pakistan. Pakistan ALWAYS drew first blood. I would tell you to yake a good look at your own country, but then again why bother.

Several facts about 1971:
(1) Yahya Khan’s genocide of over 300,000 East Pakistanis is one of the worst genocides of the 20th Century.
(2) Over 3,000,000 East Pakistan refugees in India.
(3) Over 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered to India.
(4) Indian forces were NOT led by Hindu generals, but a Parsi, a Sikh and a Jew.
(5) Present day Pakistan still refuses to accept former East Pakistanis who supported them in 1971.
(6) Pakistan did not give Bangladesh recognition until 1974.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Vigilante,

You asked, “what else could be done in terms of American policy to help patch up & heal past Indo-Pakistan wounds”?

- Please keep the American noses out of that region. Any attempt by Viceroy Holbrooke to force a solution in Kashmir will not last a day. Let India and Pak resolve their differences.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

One can recall what atrocities were committed in 70′s. Times magazine termed it as worse than Nazism

Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Moslem military’s hatred. Even now, Moslem soldiers in East Pakistan will snatch away a man’s lungi (sarong) to see if he is circumcised, obligatory for Moslems; if he is not, it usually means death. Others are simply rounded up and shot. Commented one high U.S. official last week: “It is the most incredible, calculated thing since the days of the Nazis in Poland.”

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/articl e/0,9171,878408,00.html

Unfortunately, due to weak congress government and their NAM BS, the war crime perpetrators went unpunished. And people advocate peace with persons of such twisted mentality.

Posted by Rohit | Report as abusive

“India will start it and I assure you Pakistan will stop it until Pak flag raises over Radio Dehli building.”

I don’t know which part of that statement is funnier.

The idea that India would start a war, or the idea that Pakistan could win a war. In both cases, history has proven otherwise.

Every single war between India and Pakistan has involved the loss of land to India. And humiliating defeats both in the air and on the ground.

The only thing Pakistan could hope for in a war today, is that their nuclear weapons means they can reach a ceasefire before they lose even more land to Indian forces.

The concept that Pakistan could protect it’s own land from India, let alone take land from India, is just silly.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

Myra:
I have always argued 1971 to be the turning point in Indo-Pak relations. After a bloody start in 1947 and the Kashmir(48) and 1965 wars, 1971 changed the entire equation. Bhutto went to Shimla and signed a peace treaty, secured released of POWs and came back home but did not sit idle. Two of his sayings are remembered famously:
“I will see the hindu b*stards now”
“We will build the bomb even if we have to eat grass”
India had won in 1971, but lost in the long term.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistan_an d_weapons_of_mass_destruction
“Bhutto called a meeting of senior scientists and engineers on 20 January 1972, in Multan. It was here that Bhutto rallied Pakistan’s scientists to build the atomic bomb for national survival.”

Can you imagine?, Pakistan was forced to build nuclear bombs to ensure its mere survival. India is in a way still paying for the 1971 war and I think it will continue to pay for a long time to come.

One more thing i would like to mention, for us if the wounds of 1971 war were deep. The only proud moment after that came 27 years later in 1998 when Pakistan conducted nuclear tests. A nation’s pride was restored. I was born a full decade after the 1971 war, and know that Gen. Niyazi had signed a document in front of Gen. Arora in 1971. I also remember the words of Prime minister Nawaz Sharif on TV in 1998 “hum ne Hindustan ka hisab chuka diya hey” “We have settled the score with India”.

I will go back to what i stated in the begining, 1971 was a turning point and decisive moment. From 1971 onwards Pakistan built the momentum, starting acquisition of nuclear weapons from mid-70s onwards, getting into Soviet Afghan war 1979, it got emboldened further, 1980s Zia’s support to Indian Punjab Khlaistan, 1989 Kashmir uprising, 1996 Taliban support, 1998 nuclear tests, 1999 Kargil conflict, 2001-02 border stand-off which was more defensive in nature. The years between 1947-71 were surely eventful, but a lot more has happened between 1972-2009. That is where ISI got stronger, Pakistan was used as a base for training Mujahideen against Soviets. Even if Pakistan was getting F-16s that time, Pakistan used them for bolstering defence against India. In my view the animosity only got intense after 1971. For Pakistan it was as living in a dangerous neighbourhood where if your neighbour is a bandit and keeps guns you have to follow “Castle Law” a legal doctrine that designates one’s place of residence as a place in which one enjoys protection from illegal trespassing and violent attack. It then goes on to give a person the legal right to use deadly force to defend that place (his/her “castle”), and/or any other innocent persons legally inside it, from violent attack or an intrusion which may lead to violent attack.

Had India thought of forging good neighbourly relations with Pakistan, things would have been much different than present state. Pakistan is in transition, today media is free, civil society is more vocal. National priorities are clear, Pakistan does faces immense challenges at national level. India must be patient and know that clocks cannot be turned back. The past was not pleasent, we must look towards future. That is all i can say.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Anyone care to come up with a comment on how to narrow the gap in perceptions? Many of the comments above reinforce them.

To try to balance up the discussion, here are a few questions:

Do people agree that the division of Pakistan in 1971 created a deep insecurity about India which persists to this day? And if you agree that insecurity exists, how would you address it?

Also many comments suggest that the presence of refugees in India gave it a right to intervene in East Pakistan. But by the same argument, would you then say that the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan gives it the right to intervene in Afghanistan?

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Umair wrote:

“I will see the hindu b*stards now”
-Where is this great Bhutto leader now? He was on the business end of a hangman’s noose and his beloved daughter is also dead.

“We will build the bomb even if we have to eat grass”
-You are still eating grass or whatever conditions the USA attaches to you.

India had won in 1971, but lost in the long term.
-India has NOT lost in the long term. In the 1990s, India underwent economic reforms via Finance Minister M. Singh. Pakistan went to the IMF for the first time.

Almost 20 years later, Pakistan:
(1) went to the IMF for the second time.
(2) went around the world begging for money and aid under the guise of Friends of Democratic Pakistan.
(3) felt ambiguous about the Kerry-Lugar Bill of $1.5 billion a year for 5 years, but has accepted it with conditions.
(4) is being attacked in most regions by the terroists it created and/or nurtured. Why don’t you take your Castle Law and go and read it to the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

In the long term Pakistan is still on a losing streek.

Please DO NOT lecture India on good relations. I read your comments on M. Singh’s olive branch.

In 1971 it was YOU, Pakistan who were racist and extremely prejudicial to the Bengali people. This is a lesson you have NEVER learned and judging by Z. Bhutto’s comment, “I will see the hindu b*stards now”. Looks like he never learned either. He must have regretted saying that as the rope was placed around his neck.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Myra,

Do people agree that the division of Pakistan in 1971 created a deep insecurity about India which persists to this day? And if you agree that insecurity exists, how would you address it?

-It was these same insecurities that led Pakistan to pursue nuclear weapons, but they did this via theft of knowledge rather than purchasing them. It became obvious to India that Pakistan could not be trusted even after ‘releasing’ the 90,000 PoWs from the 1971 conflict on the conditions that BOTH countries pursue bilateral ties to resolve the Kashmir issues.

Also many comments suggest that the presence of refugees in India gave it a right to intervene in East Pakistan.
But by the same argument, would you then say that the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan gives it the right to intervene in Afghanistan?

-India had no choice to intervene after Pakistan decided to bomb air bases in the west of India. India was also not willing to send back 3,000,000 refugees to be systematically slaughtered by the Paksitani forces. In the case Afghanistan, the last Soviet troops left in 1989. WAR WAS OVER. That same year terrorists started to filter across the LoC into Jammu & Kashmir in India. If Pakistan wanted to intervene in Afghanistan then they should not have instigated and recognised a barbaric, medieval, pschotic regime like the Taliban. This same regime that hosted Al Qaeda and caused the Afghan refugees to stay in Pakistan. Pakistan’s intervention cannot be called benefitial to the Afghan people. Under the Taliban, people (men, women and children) were subjected to horrendous tortures and executions.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive

Myra:

Yes, the splitting of Pakistan by India in 1971 created a profound insecurity by Pakistanis which continues today.

Yes, Bengalis of the erstwhile East Pakistan had the right to rebel against West Pakistani brutality, but India’s military addition to the mix caused a cascade effect leading up to this present-day hyper-confrontation btween India and Pakistan.

And Pakistanis ask: If Bangladesh could be liberated because of human rights violations, denial of self-determination and the wish of the populace to be free, then why is Kashmir the glaring double standard on the Subcontinent not being given a similar chance? And it is a de jure case on the books of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and a dispute between two countries.

I personally would say the most burning issue is the that there should be a full reconcilition between Bangladesh and Pakistan after all these years.

Truth, healing and forgiveness are always the best course of action.

But I would also like to say that it’s high time for truth and reconciliation between India and Pakistan about 1971 and to let bygones be bygones.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

Pakistani military and civilian elite hanker after the golden days of yore when few Muslims of high caste and rank could lord over the vast majority of the subcontinent’s population. a state was reached when any Muslim from north India or from across the Khyber with some ranks could set up a kingdom in the Hindu heartlands. Hindus could be converted by force and Zizya could be imposed. it was question of choice and pleasure of the ruling class. due to hatred for all non Arabic and non Persian art and culture ancient India’s monuments and history was forgotten. Hindus survived by secluding themselves in shells and developed defensive mentality while Muslim elites recognized themselves as prowling leopards. Hindu leaders still remain submissive
when faced with Muslim threat and an average indian politician is like a semi literate baboon-very corrupt and venal and thinks world is fooled by their stupid antics. while Pakistan counts on the subversion of India from within by a large Muslim population who largely work and plan in unison to destroy India and reimpose Muslim rule. this is Pakistan’s strength not A or H bomb.

Posted by bghosh | Report as abusive

Anyone care to come up with a comment on how to narrow the gap in perceptions? Many of the comments above reinforce them.
– Posted by Myra MacDonald
====
Mistakenly I have typed Myra instead of Raj in my earlier post . SORRY.

Myra, Your intentions are good. But you are stuck at the interpretation Indians should give up something or admit to something or do some thing to calm down the pakistani aggression/ terrorism. We cannot blame you a westerner when we have Indians who talk like that.

The ideology of India is very simple, the identity of “Indian” should transcend religious, ethnic, language and caste barriers. India’s beautiful constituition strives for it, our people have failed it on several occassions, but it stands like a rock. A glorious success with some failures, we are working on them.

The only thing India has attempted since 1947 is to hold on to the territory it got and strive for economic dvelopment and building instituitions. Kashmir is not about a territorial dispute but an ideological one.

PAKISTAN has stood ONLY for militarism and aggression. First step in its suicidal path was its 1965 war on India. We can even forgive the 1947-48 Kashmir infiltration.

You seem to suggest Pakistn needs something more to feel secure. There has been a very simple and elegant option available to Pakistan since 1947. Focussing on education, economic development and welfare of the people that are CURRENTLY within its borders. Hatred and war mongering is more important than economy.

That’s what any other normal country would do. But “pakistan” cannot because it is an ideological state. It is the “fortress of Islam” as Umair would say and it is an inhertitor of glory of muslim empires in south asia. When “pakistan” ideology was conceived in early 20th century, no one even remotely imagined a bigger, economically and militarily stronger “Hindu” India.

Pakistan has been appeased more than enough to give parity with India to satisfy this ego derived from “pakistani” ideology. Alas, the inherent strength of India derived from its economy, geography, democracy and soft power and the collapse of pakistan on all fronts have made this appeasement policy non-sustainable.

Your comments seem to imly this appeasement policy should be further promoted. It is not sustainable by US, EU or even China.

Myra,

I believe Khurram Hussain’s article and your analysis are spot on. We Indians need to put ourselves in Pakistanis’ shoes for just a minute to understand why there is so much distrust of India on the other side. So far, our analysis has been firmly grounded in our own perspective.

By way of analogy, Indians have been traumatised for more than a generation by the 1962 Indo-China border war, even though (1) it now appears that the then foreign minister Krishna Menon’s overly aggressive “Forward Policy” was responsible for provoking the Chinese, (2) the Chinese withdrew to their pre-conflict positions after making their point and (3) India was not split in two as a result of that war!

1971 was Pakistan’s 1962, only many times worse, because they lost half their territory. Of course they were responsible for it (the genocide of Bengalis) in much the same way that Krishna Menon was responsible for India’s 1962 defeat, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Your question is very valid – what should be done now to move forward?

I know I will be excoriated by my fellow Indians for even suggesting this – but perhaps an official apology by India for the vivisection of Pakistan? It may be something as simple as that to end the hatred, distrust and paranoia that stand in the way of peace. Never mind who is actually right or wrong. We Indians should be big enough to look beyond petty accounting.

The prize is a South Asian Federation that is bigger and potentially greater than China.

Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

I have been reading these blogs for a while. I think I should give my opinions here regarding 1971.

Pakistanis got their nation after fighting non-Muslims in the sub-continent in 1947. Their historic perspective makes them associate themselves with the raiders of Hindustan, right from the days of Mahmood of Ghazni and Mohammed Bin Ghori who raided the land many times and the latter finally managed to set up an Islamic Sultanate in Delhi about 800 years ago. So they believe in non stop raids which widened the cracks amongst the native kingdoms of Hindustan eventually leading to their collapse. Now look at the events that unfolded since 1948 from this perspective.

After independence, India sent in its military into regions that had Hindu majority with Muslim rulers in places like Hyderabad and they were forcibly merged with the union. But it was done officially using the state’s military.

Pakistan followed the path of the raiders. Instead of sending in an official military to take over Kashmir which had a Muslim majority, but a Hindu king. The end result is the raiders did what their ancestors did – loot, plunder and rape. The rest, I do not have to mention.

In 1989, Pakistan had perfected this art of raiding with Mujahideen who were officially not military personnel, but had all the training military soldiers received. And the raids never stopped. They kept coming. The principle is the same – keep attacking and at some point the enemy will fall weakened by the wounds of persistent raids.

Unfortunately this principle is flawed. It is based on historic success in the past when men would ride in horses and fought with swords. And Hindustan was never a coherent, single entity like it is today. But the mindset is still based on the old primitive approach.
The raiders on horse backs sacked every kingdom on their path and were very successful until the Mongols arrived from Samarkhand and established the Mughal empire.

The problem that persists in this region is that of self esteem. Pakistan was created with a strong belief in Muslim superiority and its preservation. They seriously believed that Muslims can never lose to “Hindus.” The 1965 war was launched with this belief and the response was shocking to the Pakistani military. They have looked at Bengalis with the same perspective. They looked at them as weak, converted Hindus rather than Muslims in their own right. India was right in using the opportunity to cut East Pakistan off in 1971. Otherwise India would have been at the receiving end now. Just the left over half of Pakistan itself has remained belligerent and audacious.

Pakistani military has become very frustrated with its efforts being thwarted by the Indian system. On top of that India has progressed economically, getting much importance and appreciation from world economic powers.

The gap that Myra talks about can never close. It will only widen. Unfortunately, Pakistanis in general have become victims of their own attitude. With more failures on all fronts confronting them, they are desperately trying to get at least some major damage to India inflicted so that they can go down with that satisfaction. Vengeance and rage has burnt all the goodwill in their hearts towards India. Literally every citizen of their country raises the nuke threat when they run out of ideas.

All the peace talks will remain talks. I do not see any improvements until Pakistan rediscovers itself as a nation instead a military engaged in perpetual conflicts.

Mr.Ganesh Prasad:
Your comparison of 1962 Chinese invasion with 1971 war is not only an insult to common sense but a crude insult to the Bengali people.

Please don’t hide behind posturing as if you are an enlightened individual and we are petty.

And when you have problems co-existing as two countries where does the idea of south asian federation come? You need to try walking before wanting to fly. No one is interested.

And your suggestion India should apologize for 1971 is beyond absurd. Pakistani soldiers and its generals have gone scotch free for the genocide of 3 million Bengalis. How about an official apology from pak army admitting this as a first step? Also thousands of unarmed civilians have died in India last 20 years from Pakistani terrorism. How about pakistan admitting this let alone apologizing for it? How about prosecuting the pakistani terrorists who came to India to shoot and killed unarmed civilians in Mumbai? How about an apology for that as a first step towards reconciliation?
And how about handing over criminals and terrorists wanted by India living comfortably in pakistan.?

Ganesh,

You are very optimistic in suggesting that an apology from India for dismembering Pakistan no matter if their army and dictators are culpable in the persecution of Bengalis, will give way to a prosperous South Asia. Just imagine if you will, what will follow an apology. Pakistani political parties will claim it as their victory and they’ll continue playing victim card at the hands of a big neighboring country. Far from making Pakistanis feel secure it’ll reinforce their insecurity and their need to support anyone that helps dent India be it terrorists or media talk shows where India is portrayed in a negative fashion.

The only way to a prosperous South Asia is for Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists and start funding proper education (not ideological), take the American aid to eradicate poverty and exceed India in terms of real progress and human values. India faces more hurdles with enormous poverty and population than Pakistan. With American money they can give good quality of life to their people.

V.

Posted by V | Report as abusive

Anyone care to come up with a comment on how to narrow the gap in perceptions? Many of the comments above reinforce them.
- Posted by Myra MacDonald

There is nothing INdia can do to help Pakistan. Anything INdia does will be considered Hindu/Jew/American conspiracy in Pakistan and make things worse. First America should stabilize that country before anyone else can help.

There is nobody worthy talking to Pakistan. Politicians don’t have power or control over state and Army/ISI are not legitimate representatives of Pakistan. SO who do you talk to? First Pakistanis need to find legitimate representatives before anybody can talk to them!

But before all that, Pakistanis need to get rid of terrorists/ISI. ISI/terrorists have different agenda and they never want to see Pakistan successful or their power reduced.

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive

Ganesh: “I know I will be excoriated by my fellow Indians for even suggesting this – but perhaps an official apology by India for the vivisection of Pakistan? It may be something as simple as that to end the hatred, distrust and paranoia that stand in the way of peace. Never mind who is actually right or wrong. We Indians should be big enough to look beyond petty accounting.”

I see nothing wrong on being a warm hearted nation. This is a good suggestion. The government also should apologize to the Sikh community for the destruction of the Golden Temple and the massacre of innocent Sikhs in Delhi. A small gesture will heal big wounds.

My view is that Pakistan does not want an apology. It wants to avenge the dismemberment in 1971 and be on equal terms with India. They will never accept any apology. They want Kashmir to be removed from Indian map and would like to stamp it on our foreheads as an act of vengeance. They are different kind of people. They are not Japan.

I think all three sides in the 1971 conflict-Pakistanis, Indians and Bangladeshis- have some responsibility in aleviating the open sores which still exist.

Pakistanis, for their brutal crackdown on innocent Bengali citizens, the likes of which were not seen since the brutality unleashed by the Nazis in WW II.

Indians, for their military interference in that conflict and subsequent break-up of Pakistan (it was indeed a “1962″ for Pakistan, in Indian terms).

And Bangladeshis, who were innocents at the time of the conflict, but since that time, have fostered a hatred of all things Pakistani – even against those Pakistanis who were not even born in 1971.

Bangladesh is a reality. Pakistan is a reality. India is a reality.

Accept it and join in forgiveness.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

Excellent article Myra.

I agree wholeheartedly that their different frames of reference often result in Indians and Pakistanis talking past each other instead of to each other.

For Pakistanis, 1971 was a defining moment from which many of their current problems stem. To this day they have not addressed the issue of how to incorporate minorities, and to empower them. The resulting perception of India since 1971, of a non-benevolent opportunistic aggressor hungry to break Pakistan has driven their defence, security and foreign policies and national mindset. That has brought us to today. Even now when their country burns, they see India as their greatest threat.

Which brings us to the Indians. I find it ironic, that from whatever few altercations they’ve had with China, they consider China such a massive threat but then fail to empathize with the insecurities of Pakistan. It does not mean, of course, that Indians should tolerate terrorism or other breaches of security. But they should recognize Pakistani angst as legitimate and do what it takes to re-assure them that India is not out to repeat 1971 again.

I don’t know what the way ahead is, but both countries will have to deal with the impact of 1971 to move forward. Pakistanis at some point will have to accept 1971 for what it was: a unique concotion of history that involved genocide, geopolitical opportunism, their own incompetent political and military leadership, etc., a perfect storm unlikely to repeat itself again. Indians will have to accept that Pakistani insecurities are grounded in reality not fantasy and that the way forward will require concessions, strong assurances and an acceptance of Pakistan’s voice in the region.

All that said, in this day and age, Pakistan is doing itself no favours by using terrorism as a state tool and refusing to sincerely engage in diplomacy (witness the post-Mumbai events). That simply makes Pakistan look inflexible and India mature.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

As a Bangladeshi,i am staggered by the unrelenting arrogance of Khurram hussain,Myra Macdonald,and so many of the other posters,particularly Ganesh.When exactly is the penny going to drop that 1971 foundationally and fundamentally concerns BANGLADESHIS?? And no other country?And that 1971 was merely the culmination of a Mukta Bahini freedom fight that certainly started with the 1969 anti ayub movements-sans India-,and perhaps go back as far as 1947,when Jinnah stated that Urdu must become the language of ALL pakistan-irrespective of a peoples wishes.As for Ganesh and his “accounting”-try “accounting”-just for starters- for the 173 civilians killed nearly one year ago exactly.I was there-unlike you.Perhaps India might offer an apology to pakistan for that too,just for kicks?And why not offer apologies to China too,for happily providing Aq khan with all the Nuclear fissile material he could carry?After all,the least India could have done is offer its terrority for easy access transportation?I am sure that will decrease the post 1971 animus. I am all for south asian unity,but equally intolerant of contrived,disingenuous politics masquerading as foreign policy peace talk.Pakistan was the only country to recognise the Taliban-that says it all.Until the saner and less racist elements of pakistan society take root and Pakistan ceases to be “an army with a country”,no amount of dialogue will ever reap reward.

Posted by adil | Report as abusive

Ganesh Prasad..

You are spot on and I have read these bloggs by your fellow country men all of them are anti Pakistan. It realy re-instates when I read them how much hatered is out there for the genral Pakistanis. As you said petty accounting surley we can learn from past and move and look forward to our future as after all we are people of the same land, culture, geograohy and why we cant move forward as one.

I MUST admit Pakistan has lot more to gain from freidly relations with India. However India has lot to gain too as it does not need so many troops in Kashmir and so many other issues…But will the common sense prevail!!

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive

the exhaustive discussion on 1971 bangla independence war is incomplete without active participation of Bangladeshis who were the victims of the times. The then Time article (Aug.1971)cited by Rohit throws light on the events that unfolded in 71.Likewise,the few other weblinks cited by others here should be read before posting any comments.

Which brings us to the Indians. but then fail to empathize with the insecurities of Pakistan.
- Posted by Keith

====

hmmm. I will give you a tip that may help you to understand this very difficult question you are pondering.

How much “empathy” does the US of A- global champion of freedom, land of the free- has when it comes to Indian angst?

All the champion of freedom the US of A has done for 62 years is to prop a violent, intolerant war mongering, religious exclusivisit country.

USA spills its blood and precious treasure in nation building and “bringing” democracy all across the world. There is one massive country in the “third world” that has strived to be a multi-rthnic, multi-religious country for 62 years. All the US of A has done for 62 years is supply dollars, military gadgets and war planes to prop up pak military to attack India. 4 wars and 25 years of pakistani terrorism directly sponsored by the USA and indirectly by China.

Helllo..Empathy here..can you hear me Mr.Keith?

Umair,

At least google stuff before you spew it on here. Here, let me overcome your laziness:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_doct rine

The Castle doctrine does not give you right to terrorize your neighbour or sneak onto his property at night and blow up the tool shed or hold his wife hostage. The castle doctrine entitles you to self-defence. That’s it.

Buying F-16s and getting nuclear weapons for self-defence is one thing. Using those weapons as cover to launch a terror campaign or support insurgencies in a neighbouring country is not self-defence. It’s blackmail, a practice that’s considered immoral, unethical and often illegal in most places.

To continue with your home analogy, what Pakistan is doing is akin to a man who while raping his neighbhour’s wife, holds a burning torch and threatens to burn down the neighbour’s house if that neighbour fights back. Does that man’s actions have anything to do with protecting his own home? Do you consider it okay to attack your neighbour’s wife and kids, if you have a quarrel with your neighbour?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Adil…

“Pakistan was the only country to recognise the Taliban-that says it all”

WRONG!! Saudi Arabai/United Arab Emirates were the two others and if they handed OBL over maybe few more even your own country would have recognised them.

Do you homework please, even more save your country from the Global warming or maybe ask indina to take few million o fbenglis in since they feel your pain. Also any comments on the treat of baharis still in those camps. I know our governemtn is useless but you are no better at treating those people are you? Shame on you!!

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive

To KP Singh:

I wholeheartedly agree with your point of view that “a small gesture will heal big wounds.”

But I do think that each of the parties to the various grievances discussed-Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, and in one of your points, Sikhs – will accept apologies if offered to them.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

“Pakistan is doing itself no favours by using terrorism as a state tool and refusing to sincerely engage in diplomacy (witness the post-Mumbai events). That simply makes Pakistan look inflexible and India mature.” I think you meant IMATURE!!

Ok, I have NEVER read where India has forwarded hand of friednship, instead at every stage, opportunity, idiots will jump to defame Pakistan and are trying and have tried tehir best to get the Pakistani state declared as Terrorist state. But their efforst have NOT paid off but good luck!! When other countries use also these terrorist outfits India used Tamils to enhance their intrest that is ok but only Pakistan is sigled out.

How indians feel their goverment. Army is SAINT and havnt done any wrong doings even tho they stood by while countless muslims. Sikhs were murdered by the Hindi fanatic mobs!! Countless rapes in kashmir, staged killing and still discovering the bosies of Kashmiris. So go to hell if you are even trying to tell us you and your army are saint!!

Just grow up, we have come stronger after every major setback and we will overcome this. Indian might lose the PERFECT opportunity to have a meanignful diallougue with Pakistan and they should by dialougue solve all issue expecialy the core issue of Kashmir.

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive

Myra:

I must say that you have hit upon a topic, 1971, which, if addressed by each of the three parties, has the potential to unlock the Gordian Knot of the continuing enstrangement on the Indian Subcontinent.

Your keen perception is beyond commendable.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

Ganesh,

Would that India had more positive minded citizens like you. What some cynics would call naive optimism, I call a sense of hope.

It is unfortunate that other Indians can’t recognize your attitude for what is: an honest effort to put the past to bed and to look to the future that can be.

Someday if Pakistan is truly willing to make peace with India and all they need is some apology for 1971 to move on, I see no reason why India would hold back. And certainly leaders like Manmohan Singh would probably be the first to make such an offer.

Do I think we are there yet? No. Might we get there someday? Maybe. If all it takes is a statement to close an awful chapter of South Asia’s history, I hope there are Indians like you at the helm who won’t begrudge an apology, to attain a lasting peace.

I sincerely hope, sir, that you hold on to that dream of South Asian unity and work towards wherever you are and wherever you go. It is, after all better to stew in hope than to revel in bitterness. And that applies equally to both Indians and Pakistanis.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Balochistan Situation Heating Up: AHRC

A situation akin to 1971 is brewing in Balochistan. Radical nationalists advocating a separate state of Balochistan are steadily gaining popularity at the expense of those who continue to look for a solution within the federal framework.

The reasons for this surge in separatism are quite apparent. The people of Balochistan have a long list of grievances, and next to none have been addressed over the last 60 years. Instead of negotiations and redressing the wrongs, successive Pakistani governments have resorted to brute force in the form of five military operations starting as early as 1948.

As the injustices, crimes, rapes and genocide of 1971 unfolded before our eyes, too many Pakistanis were silent. Today, as Balochistan treads down the same path, we are again silent. We are, as were then, beneficiaries of the economic exploitation. Sui gas is available in our homes but there is none in most of Balochistan. Revenues collected from goods and services originating in Balochistan are spent elsewhere.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO0911/S0 0109.htm

Posted by Irfan | Report as abusive

Members of the European Parliament Form “Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan” in the European Parliament

“There is great concern from these members that the future of Gilgit-Baltistan is being determined not by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan but by the Government of Pakistan under the Constitution of Pakistan, even though Gilgit-Baltistan is not mentioned in Pakistan’s constitution as part of its territory”

“It is believed that the future of Gilgit-Baltistan should be determined by their people. It is this group’s belief that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan should be allowed to fashion their future in a manner that their region does not become a territory for the spread of fundamentalist and extremist tendencies”

http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRele ase/idUS188352+05-Nov-2009+PRN20091105

Creutzmann said, “The future of Gilgit-Baltistan should be so determined by the people that the region does not replicate the polity of Pakistan which has unfortunately been marked by growing fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism.”

“It is our belief that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan should be allowed to fashion their future in a manner that their region does not become another territory for the spread of fundamentalist and extremist tendencies,” he said.

“It is a matter of great concern for us that the future of Gilgit-Baltistan is being determined not by the people but by the government of Pakistan under its constitution, even though Gilgit-Baltistan is not mentioned in Pakistan’s constitution as part of its territory,” Creutzmann said.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/sout h-asia/allow-peoples-will-in-gilgit-eu-m embers-tell-pakistan_100270503.html

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Repeat of 1971 in 2009, same mistake, another location

ISI Kidnaps, arrests Gilgit-Baltistan leaders before first ever polls!

Hundreds of separatist leaders in Gilgit-Baltistan, part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, have been arrested and sent off to Islamabad ahead of the Nov 12 assembly elections in the strategic border region, says a prominent leader of the region that has recently been given the powers of a federal province.

“Top leaders of the Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) have been detained by the Pakistan occupying regime,” Abdul Hamid Khan, the chairperson of the Balawaristan National Front (BNF), wrote to IANS in an email.

“The GBDA had fielded its candidates for the elections. However, in order to prevent them from campaigning, they have been detained and expelled to Islamabad,” Khan said.

“The detention of hundreds of GBDA leaders and workers exposed the fraud elections of Pakistan.”

Many separatists have rejected the Nov 12 elections as “illegal” and called for a boycott. Others, including the GBDA, decided to challenge the process by participating in “whatever democratic space was there”.

Islamabad, Khan said, had given “all the facilities and huge funds to pro-Pakistan parties”.

“The two million indigenous people are not allowed to raise their voices and they don’t have access to justice, education and huge natural resources,” he added.

According to him, “Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has also threatened student groups with dire consequences and warned that the nationalist candidates won’t be allowed in the elections”.

http://www.samaylive.com/news/pakistan-s woops-down-on-separatists-before-gilgitb altistan-polls/666092.html

Posted by Sammy | Report as abusive

I sincerely hope that more of you read the articles that Myra links instead of having a Pavlovian reaction on your keyboards.

Some of the comments here are truly ignorant, off-base and off-topic. Myra and the other writers here do they best to put up articles that can lead to thoughtful discourse. If all you are going to do is repeat your national propaganda, why bother posting here? There are much better nationally based forums for your ignorance.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

In a Radio Address to East Pakistanis before his departure from East Pakistan on March 28, 1948, Jinnah had harshly rebuked the critics of his language policy. He characterized the opponents of Urdu language as the “opponents” of Pakistan. He said that the supporters of Bengali as a state language are nothing but the “paid agents” of foreign countries. Aimed at castigating those who had the guts to demand Bengali to be one of the State languages of Pakistan, an imbecile Jinnah had labeled the champions of Bengali language as “communists,” “enemies of Pakistan,” “breakers of integrity of Pakistan,” “defeated and frustrated hate-mongers,” “champions of provincialism,” ” breakers of peace and tranquility,” “political assassins and political opportunists,” “traitors,” ” inhabitants of fools’ paradise,” and “self-serving, fifth columnists” etc. He commended the Chief Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin for using various forms of repressive and aggressive measures against the supporters of Bengali language. Jinnah had repeatedly reminded the proponents of Bangla language that the Central Government of Pakistan “is determined to take appropriate stern actions” against these evil forces.

http://www.virtualbangladesh.com/comment ary/jinnah.html

1971 started in 1947 please read the article

Hi fellow Indians,

I had suggested

“We Indians need to put ourselves in Pakistanis’ shoes for just a minute to understand why there is so much distrust of India on the other side.”

Reading the furious reaction to my mail, it’s quite obvious that no one has actually done this intellectual exercise. It’s just an intellectual exercise, will last only a minute and will cost India nothing. Go on, try it.

Think of 1962 ending with the 7 Northeast Indian states being made a separate country. How would we look back on that event, and what would we be willing to do to China to avenge that? Some “support” for Tibetan nationalism, perhaps?

Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

Myra:
“Anyone care to come up with a comment on how to narrow the gap in perceptions?”

-1. Create a truth and reconciliation commission, which should include prominent people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Retired generals, journalists, good politicians people who were in power during important events like 65, 71 wars. A person should head the truth and reconciliation commission just like we had Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. The aparthied in South Africa was equally horrific but that nation has healed now with the power of truth. Every one must come out with the truth, and there will be many good people on both sides who will make a big difference. This commission must probe every incident, even Kargil. Maybe Pakistan should apologize for Kargil as to why it happened. There must be no punishments handed out, the objective should be to speak the truth and listen truth.

2. An official apology from India will go a long way in healing the 1971 wound for Pakistan. Specially when a big section of Pakistan is mindful that we ourselves were partly responsible of messing up in 1971.

3. Create goodwill ambassadors for specific purpose, sportsmen, actors can play their role. Its all about reaching out to the other side. Cricket should carry on along with other cultural events.

4. Exchange of university students, etc.

A lot can happen, all we need is to create hope on both sides.

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

And KP Singh, you are right that India should also apologise to the Sikhs for the destruction of the Golden Temple and the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, as also for the 2002 anti-Muslim riots. They are a blot on our otherwise civilised nation. I don’t believe I’m being a “bleeding heart liberal” by saying this. It’s the right thing to do, and the very least thing to do.

Disclosure: I have personally believed that the terrorism of Bhindranwale using the temple as a sanctuary justified a military intervention but can also see that Sikhs would have been deeply wounded by an assault on the temple. We need to (genuinely) see the other point of view even when we hold a contrary opinion.

Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

Umair,

Finally some sensible talk instead of random press clippings from ISPR, wikipedia links about WMD or ramblings about how Pakistan can destroy India or the US with nukes (without ever considering the consequences). Hope to see some more level headed talk like this here on in.

Generally speaking, by today’s standards, India’s intervention would not be considered wrong at all. The UN’s Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine would have completely endorsed India’s intervention in 1971, had it been around then. However, I agree that it’s important to address the Pakistani angst caused by India’s intervention.

Your proposal is a good starting point in this regard. A truth and reconciliation commission might make sense for 1971. However, if there are no punishments to be meted out for what was literally the worst genocide other than the Holocaust in the 20th Century, then I would suggest at least the power to ‘name and shame’. Those Pakistani leaders and military personnel who raped, pillaged and murdered should be named and shamed internationally. Allowing Bangladesh to publish their names on a list is a good step. That’s a rather small penalty compared to what the Nazis got at the Nuremberg trials (Myra please make an exception to this application of Godwin’s law).

Keep in mind that 1971 is not just about India and Pakistan. It is also about Bangladesh and her people. If India has to apologize for its meddling in Pakistan’s civil war, then Pakistan should be ready to apologize and make amends for the atrocities its armed forces committed in East Pakistan. After all the Bengalis were the biggest victims of 1971, not Pakistan.

It might not hurt Pakistan to look at the humility with which Japan and Germany conduct themselves and how they study their history, mindful of the wrongs they committed. That has not stopped them from being proud, strong and independent nations. But it has prevented them from repeating those mistakes again (something that’s now happening in slow motion in Balochistan and the NWFP/FATA).

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Pakistan concealed truth on Delhi terror plot!
http://www.timesnow.tv/Did-Pakistan-conc eal-truth-on-Delhi-terror-plot/articlesh ow/4331423.cms

A senior journalist from Asia Times when talking with TIMES NOW Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on Thursday (November 5), hinted at Islamabad knowing in advance of the terror plot.

Syed Shahzad said an al-Qaeda operative was arrested by Pakistani officials in September in connection with the planned attack.

But, none of this appears to have been communicated by Islamabad to New Delhi.

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

the attack on the golden temple with tanks was unwarranted. they could have cut off all water and food supplies and waited them out

Posted by shawn | Report as abusive

Pakistan doesn’t want to give up terrorism!

Pak reacts angrily over India’s call to eliminate terrorists.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/ pakistan/Pak-reacts-angrily-over-India-s -call-to-eliminate-terrorists/Article1-4 73200.aspx

Posted by Nitra | Report as abusive

@We still remember the 5000 sikh who got killed by Hindus after Indra Ghandi murder. ….. any help from china , pakistan or international community will be apprciated.”
-Khalistan

“Since you cannot even spell Indira Gandhi correctly, your attempt to pose as an Indian Sikh is more lame than it appears in a quick read.”
- Posted by Seth

Seth: you are right. “Indra Ghandi” is typical typographical mistake by Pakistanis. You will find it a lot for Mahatma Gandhi too.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@All the doomsday prognastications for India by the Pakistani elite have been proven wrong and baseless.”
-Posted by ejaz

Actually at the time of independence Brits felt the same that India cannot be handled by Indians and Pakistan will grow into a stable society.

They were wrong and so are Pakistanis. I feel pity at those who expect this. Plural society gives many disadvantages which gives hopes to enemy nations that Indian can be divided but plural society has its own checks and balances.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

@Vigilante,

You asked, “what else could be done in terms of American policy to help patch up & heal past Indo-Pakistan wounds”?

- Please keep the American noses out of that region. Any attempt by Viceroy Holbrooke to force a solution in Kashmir will not last a day. Let India and Pak resolve their differences.
- Posted by Nikhil

Vigilante: Hillary actually said that US wants India-Pak relations to improve but that is between the two. And you know the status of Mr, Holbrooke. He came with good resume and was expected to drag Kashmir into Af-Pak but now is sidelined by many others, as the reports indicate. That may be beside the point but Mr. Holbrooke is quite unwelcome when he attempts frequent visits to India.

For all good reasons, any third party inclusion is a problem–whether US, Brits, Saudis, China or even Gaddafi. 62yrs after its birth Pakistan is grown up to handle its problems with India. Howlong and how much can US support Pakistan.

US in India-Pak equation and the reaction will not work. So do not even think about it. My guess is Pakistanis want you in.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Myra:

@Do people agree that the division of Pakistan in 1971 created a deep insecurity about India which persists to this day? And if you agree that insecurity exists, how would you address it?
-Myra

–Agreed on Pakistani insecurity part after ignoring Pakistan’s history of invading India in the past.

how would you address it?: India is insecure from China the same way. There are bigger problems acc to me but there are positives too. India supports Tibet but India is not training and sending in Tibetans to kill Hans like Pakistan does to take revenge against India. Dalai Lama is recognized by International community as peace-loving person and he is India’s guest and India restricts his mediation in anything other than spiritual. China supports many terrorist activities in India. But the trade relations between the two countries are rapidly developing at a level and the India-China trade size is huge and both have lot at stake that war becomes distant possibility. Chinese know the “Art of war” (their author) and Indians do not invade. Culture is close. Similarities exist. If India can do all this with China with 1962 history, Pakistan should do the same with 1971 history. China took away a chunk of land but then that was war that India lost—done. Indians better be alert for the next than brewing over 1962 and taking revenge.

LoC is not the only thing in Indian mind. Fewer Chinese than Indians think of 1962 and similarly less Indians worry about 1971 than Pakistanis. Revenge is not possible especially when it has been tried by Pakistan (Punjab, NE terrorism by Pakistan and then through Nepal and the wars which we all know) and is self-destructive. Society becomes mature on its own and cannot be spoon fed for how to behave. Indians born today will not cry over 1965 unless there is an opportunity. This is the first time on any blog in my life that I have discussed about these issues rest of time I have Tango on mind.
Japanese were brought down to their knees by US but they despite good warriors did not go on to dissipate their energy in trying to sneak and find ways around to build up again on that front and rather channelized their energy in electronics and cars. They are big today.
Chinese, Japanese and Indians are hardworking and smart, and have been investing their energy in many directions and they keep their portfolio diverse that keeps them afloat. Playing guitar on machinegun and soccer with bomb alone is not the way to go. Pakistanis are not less smart but the absence of basic good education kills all the genes. They have not focused on that. How many good institutes are there inside Pakistan. If not why not should be on literate people’s mind.

You stop paddling you fall. Pakistanis have done that and are stuck in 1971 that as I said earlier even compromises Kashmir issue resolution.
It is for them to decide when to start paddling. Apology for 1971 by India is not coming and all can be done is let us forget the past both have suffered and move on. Certain things do not happen but Umair is most welcome at my home in India or in US anytime, and we will show him our hospitality.

Point is move on. Indians and Pakistanis both.

@But by the same argument, would you then say that the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan gives it the right to intervene in Afghanistan?
- Posted by Myra MacDonald

-Actually the answer has already been given by Pakistan’s involvement in US/Pak/Isreal collaboration to throw Soviets out.

These Afghan refugees in Pakistan are the result of Pakistan’s involvement at that time–in 1979-89 and then 89-2001.

In contrast, India did not have a thing to do with the refugees from E. Pakistan–they were coming to escape death and rape by PA.
But what say you Myra?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Mr. Umair: “A lot can happen, all we need is to create hope on both sides.”

I really welcome positive ideas of this kind. I think reconciliation should start at the people’s level first. All of us, instead of getting emotional and start throwing insults at each other, we should read enough material and try to build the bridge between us over communication channels of this kind. People’s involvement in constructive activities will change the hearts of those who rule. We all have been living in the past and we need to look at the future so that our children do not engage in mutually assured destruction.

“India will start it and I assure you Pakistan will stop it until Pak flag raises over Radio Dehli building”
- Posted by Amir

Lol! Buddy, before coming to India to raise your flag over Radio Delhi building (whatever the heck that is), why don’t you go & try to raise your pakistani flag over any part of Baluchistan or NWFP/FATA? The Balochs & the Pashtuns will chop your head off for attempting to do so. You guys don’t even own more than half of your so-called country & yet you dream about raising your flag on another country’s territory? Hilarious.
Good luck & keep hallucinating cuz’ the only thing it can cost you is your sanity!

Posted by brewer | Report as abusive

Mr. Ganesh: “I know I will be excoriated by my fellow Indians for even suggesting this – but perhaps an official apology by India for the vivisection of Pakistan? ”

It is not as simple as that. You cut a country in half, wait for a few decades and then say sorry. The only way India can show its apology is by returning East Pakistan to us. We will also offer our apologies after cutting India into different nations. That way you will know how that apology feels. Pakistan has nothing to lose. But India has a lot to lose for what it did. This way it will not dare take such actions in the future.

Adil,

being a bangladeshi your opinion on indias role in your independence struggle would help dispel the myths lurking in some minds.It was alleged that from the very beginning it was a brainchild of india,which is not true, although i dont say india opposed the very idea of separation.I do think and hope that india on its part had taken the heroic (or guilt) step, with full cognizance of inviting the permanent ire of Pakistan, just so to cut short the struggle, what otherwise would have looked like a vietnam, and spared the agony for all parties involved.Why India had intervened. Tell us.

Keith:

@Which brings us to the Indians. I find it ironic, that from whatever few altercations they’ve had with China, they consider China such a massive threat but then fail to empathize with the insecurities of Pakistan. It does not mean, of course, that Indians should tolerate terrorism or other breaches of security. But they should recognize Pakistani angst as legitimate and do what it takes to re-assure them that India is not out to repeat 1971 again.
-keith

Keith: I am surprised you do not see the differences. You are right on security threat that pakistanis see but there are differences.

1962 Indian-China war–discredit of loss goes to Nehru who was too good a person just like our Ganesh here. He died earlier than he should have because of that.
Indian blame him more than the Chines. Not true for Pakistan.

we blame chinese for backstabbing since they were friends until that time. India-Pak were not friends with India having 1965 Pak invasion history.

India is not creating trouble in China and is not stuck at the humiliation of defeat. Not true for Pakistan.

India who lost got up and dusted itself and continued good work in science and technology and then focused on economy—Chinese in 1978 and Indians in 1991 and India did not let 1962 come in way of trade relations and which perhaps is the biggest buffer of war with lot at stake. Indian did Pokhran after 1962 and Pakistanis set out for eating grass for building bomb and nothing else—there is difference–the positive steps by India vs negative only by Pak.

There are more Chinese in India than Pakistanis (work/business visas). Trade size is increasing and lot at stake for each other. But yes more Indians talk of 1962 than Chinese—same as more Pakistanis focus on 1971 than Indians. Indians are not stuck but Pakistanis are.

@ But they should recognize Pakistani angst as legitimate and do what it takes to re-assure them that India is not out to repeat 1971 again.”
-Look nice but MMS has given one when there was lot of tension about India may attack Pak after 26/11—he said we will not. But a blanket statement saying NO to war will be a lie not sincere, reason being Pakistani is threat to India each day. There are lot of political and diplomatic constraints to make such blanket statement plus despite you in the business you do not know the minds here. Indians have suffered everyday fear (terrorism; I personally for 15yrs in Punjab by Pak-supported terrorism and Ganesh’s apology suggestion sounds so child-like innocent to me) and Pakistanis have suffered once (1971). If there is need (terrorism by Pakistan) then there will be another 1971.

I hope you see the difference.
India would have been called stupid if they did not do 1971 —it was asking for separation sinec 1947 and India did due to moral, political, military and geographical reasons. Lastly, if we have faced 1962, how can we not understand 1971? Pakistanis can learn from us.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Alethia:

@Sikhs – will accept apologies if offered to them.
- Posted by Alethia

–Why don;t you check it before you state something? Congress apologized to Sikhs. Late –very late–but they did.

An excerpt for you:

“Home Ministry’s Action Taken Report (ATR) forced the government to concede an adjournment motion debate in the Lok Sabha. The doubts had begun to seem well-founded. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in Parliament that he had no hesitation in admitting that the anti-Sikh riots of 1984 were a shameful episode in the country’s history. He went on to apologise “not only to the Sikh community but the whole Indian nation” with the assertion that “what took place in 1984 was the negation of the concept of nationhood … enshrined in our Constitution”. He said: “On behalf of our government, on behalf of the entire people of this country, I bow my head in shame that such a thing took place.”

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Majid/Umair:

I have not understood what this “core issue of Kashmir” is?
My Pakistani friends Majid here and Umair somewhere else have mentioned this.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

A new low for ISI, Economic terrorism!

Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), the powerful Pakistani spy agency, of being behind the flood of fake rupees turning up in Indian tills. Pakistani officials have denied the accusations.

The aim of Pakistan’s alleged counterfeiters was twofold: “To destabilise our economy and finance terror activities.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo rld/asia/article6905378.ece

Posted by Noori | Report as abusive

Keith,

Please contain your over-vaulting sense of morality since it comes off as too presumptuous.

India has to do and must do nothing to address Pakistani ‘insecurities’ since the latter are little more than a product of religiously-heated Pakistani national mind. Here’s why your comparison with Indo-China situation does not work:

In 1947, in 1965, as in Kargil, it has been Pakistan that was the initiator of the conflict. The basic reason has always been the same – as you read in the comments of Pakistanis here – the belief that Pakistanis having ‘ruled over Hindus for thousand years’ will overpower India and fly the Pakistani flag again on Delhi.

Incredible, delusional, mind-bending, for most of us – but true for a Pakistani.

How on earth can any Indian, except most foolishly naive one, have any ‘sympathy’ or ‘understanding’ for a bunch of people who have consistently pursued the agenda of conflict and aggression because they want a piece of land (Kashmir) or because they driven to ‘avenge’ 1971 (pray, explain 1947 and 1965 then), or because they are blinded by religious zealotry? People who fund, finance, and train murderers to come to India and kill our peoples?

Perhaps it is your ‘Christian forgivenness’ at work, but we are not Christians (most of us, anyway), nor have any interest in becoming one. And nobody would accuse Pakistanis of being your type of “Christians.’

1971 is just a red-herring. It is sad that Pakistani ‘intelligentsia’ even its ‘moderates’ are peddling it, instead of forcing its people to face the reality.

Even in your rather childing comparison with Indo-China conflict, Indians have been doing their own introspection, seeing what role their own misperceptions might have played. The last things Indians can afford to do is to start terrorists and killers into China, start wars, and then expect China to be ‘understanding of Indian angst.’

P.S.: If you disagree with any of the historical facts here, please read up a little on the history of the area – not just what Pakistani ‘moderates’ write.

Posted by Pratyush | Report as abusive

“no one has actually done this intellectual exercise. It’s just an intellectual exercise” (Ganesh)

Again, the annoying presumptuousnes of the “goody-good” social free-rider.

Ganesh, why would China care for Indian delusions and ‘insecurities’ if Indians decided to massacre millions of ethnic Chinese living in India (had they been living in India in 1962), if Indians had been starting wars with China to grab disputed territory, if Indian took up violent terrorism inside China as a matter of state policy?

What kind of China would India face then?

Posted by Pratyush | Report as abusive

“but perhaps an official apology by India for the vivisection of Pakistan? It may be something as simple as that to end the hatred, distrust and paranoia that stand in the way of peace. Never mind who is actually right or wrong. We Indians should be big enough to look beyond petty accounting” – Posted by Ganesh Prasad

Mr. Prasad,

You can’t clap with one hand & I think that actions speak louder than words or apologies. Indian leaders have made conciliatory moves towards Pakistan on numerous occasions only to be burnt time and again. Vajpayee did it & he got Kargill, AI plane hijacking & an attack on parliament. Manmohan Singh also extended his hand & got numerous terror attacks all over Indian cities, including Mumbai last year. I don’t mind taking up your suggestion of apologizing to the Pakistanis if it brings peace but an effort also has to be made from the other side to create such an environment. Such an atmosphere won’t be created by inviting murderers like Hafiz Saeed for dinner parties by the Pak army or by letting terrorists like Azhar Mehmood build luxurious terror facilities in the backyard of the Pak army headquarters. The problem is that even if Pakistan’s civilian Govt is sincere towards mending fences with India, the Pakistani military establishment won’t allow them to do so because they need to project India as an enemy in order to keep their stronghold on power & stay in business. Let the Pakistani establishment for once, show some sincerity towards eliminating India-specific terrorism from it’s soil and apologies & reconciliation can follow, thereafter.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

I must confess I have not gone through comments here so I hope I’m not being repetitive. Would just like to discuss a few observations which I consider my initial reaction to the article by Khurram Hussain.

I found the article fairly balanced and sensitive to all points of view. What was comforting to read was the confirmation that there is genuine concern over improving relations and almost all wish it happens.

While it is understandable that Pakistanis use 1971 as a focal point when looking at India, I think it is necessary to understand that for Indians 1947 remains the base. It was India that was divided into two nations in 1947. (I think also that those who still do not accept the two nation theory are being unrealistic and living in a dream world.) Indians are only too aware of the fact it is always Pakistan which instigated conflict. In 1947, it sent in forces to capture Kashmir, they were then referred to as tribals out to free their Muslim brethren. (Not discussing the legalities or otherwise of that invasion here). It was only in May 1948 and after being given mounds of evidence, starting from Oct 1947, to the contrary that Pakistan finally admitted in the UN that they were regular forces. This kind of proxy war has not abated since then. Those tribals are the Jehadis, Taliban, Let, Jaish etc. of today. Again in 1965 ‘tribals’ were used to initiate the Sep. conflict. That may be water under the bridge, yet, I think, for India to consider post 1971 as the lens would be unrealistic. There are in fact two different prisms and perceptions.

I think the Indian position on 1971 also needs to be clarified a bit. India did not instigate the break up of Pakistan. The seeds of that lie in Bhutto’s refusal to accept that Mujib had the political mandate, and it was Bhutto who instigated or rather manipulated Yahya Khan to help him deny Mujib his lawful mandated share. The crux of the problem is there. It was the late March 71 horrific massacre ordered by yahya in the Eastern wing which really set the Bengalis aflame. India supported and aided them, as Pakistan was doing all these years by way of providing ‘moral and diplomatic support’ in Kashmir. It needs to be borne in mind that India was perfectly aware of the fact that by assisting Bangla Desh it was not going to be free of two neighbours. It was, however, also not going to miss out any opportunity to try and get a peaceful neighbour to the east rather than a perpetually hostile Pakistan.

Indians therefore understand that for Pakistan 1971 may be a turning point but for themselves it was a change for the better from what was happening since in 1947. India did not have any grand designs of taking over the country and in fact its troops were out of the country by March 1972, in about 3 months. No invading army would do that. To that extent, having achieved its aim, of establishing a peaceful neighbour (this could be debated at times) India really put 1971 behind it, like Kargil etc as Khurram points out.

I think this is already too long so will cut it short for now and return later. Myra, I still maintain that this post is a gem of an idea.

Perception is reality.The goal of ISI & Pakistani Generals is to establish Islamic caliphate. The key take over India & exploit their country for world ambitions.So it is naive to think reconcilation,truth commission or anything else makes sense.Their political idealogy prevents them to be nice to kafirs so Keeping away from these blood thirsty monsters is the only solution.Saw what happened in the US shooting today so wake up before it is too late.

Posted by Vijay | Report as abusive

Ganesh, Keith and Umair:

@Indian apology to Pakistan: Sounds nice not possible though. I am all for increased cooperation betGanesh, Keith and Umair:

@Indian apology to Pakistan: Things that sound nice may not be politically right. This is matter of a country. not individuals. The best in this direction has to be mutual. So here is I propose: Both India and Pakistan issue a joint statement on the mess if any they have created in each other’s country–directly, indirectly, by design or by accident, overt or covert. Then they move to the next step that is the key–put in black & white that either country will not create probelms for the other country by giving moral or material support to anyone. why? I understand Pakistanis are hurt but so have been Indians by overt and covert wars.

1962 and 1971 has lots of differences. China gobbled up Indian land. It is like India taking away E.pakistan rather than liberating it. Ganesh Indians are moral supporters of Tibetans not material and I hope you know that is not the case with Pakistan.

@Sikh Issue: Alethia/Ganesh, Sikh issue is irrelevent to this 1971 blog. why? Then we got to drag many other isues–Balochs etc. In anycase, Sikh riots were the horrible and inhuman. Manomohan Singh has offered apology to Sikhs in 2005 on India’s behalf. But the issue by Sikhs currently is not apology but bringing to justice those who committed the crime and I support that. It is late but better than never.

1962 and 1971 has lots of differences. China not only took away Indian land but gobbled it up too. It is like India taking away E.pakistan rather than liberating it. Ganesh Indians are moral supporters of Tibetans not material and I hope you know that is not the case with Pakistan. Indians remember 1962 but not to the extent that they stopped thinking else and blowing away Chinese.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

It’s encouraging to see so many opinions here spanning India-Pakistan-Bangladesh in favor of apology and reconciliation on all sides. It’s a stroke of genius that the author of this blog, Myra MacDonald, has presented this subject.

I am not in favor of mediation of any country outside of the region.

So why doesn’t a prominent Indian, prominent Pakistani and prominent Bangladeshi – as a united triumvirate- start a mass people’s movement in all three countries espousing such a program? (I do know that various forums exist today).

I have often dreamt of crowds of people, on either side of the India-Pakistan border, say in Punjab, rushing over eachother’s border and embracing one another in an atmosphere of forgiveness and love…

Am I too much of a dreamer?

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

MR. Anjum,

I excorciated your cowardly logic in one thread. Do you need us to do it again?

As an outsider purely looking at the facts, which country do you think is in greater danger of coming apart?

You want proof, just look at the money. You’d be hard pressed to find multi-nationals willing to invest in Pakistan. Yet, they can’t get to India fast enough. They are betting billions on India’s stability. And their silence on your nations says more than any official or analyst ever could.

I’ve worked with a multi-national who wanted to invest in Balochistan. And they were nervous as all hell. They might have done it once, but I can virtually guarantee they won’t want to invest anymore in Pakistan beyond what they have in now. What executive wants himself or his workers to roam around a country with armed guards, armoured vehicles and protective vests?

I’d withold your bravado lest you be proven wrong. Today Balochistan and NWFP are slowly going the way of Bangladesh and it’s not anybody’s fault but yours. Your inability to incorporate minorities and empower them is slowly but surely setting in motion another 1971. Except this time they won’t need outside intervention.

To paraphrase a line from the bible, “Take out the log in your own eye before you point out the spec in another’s.

Fix Pakistan before you worry about India’s demise.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

To blame 1971 for the present PAK psyche and to further justify this line of thinking by the likes of Keith and Myra, to me reflects the shallow knowledge of these 2 experts, in the case of myra i would say it exhibits possibile indoctrination by the PA. Having said that i believe myra has kept this topic current for 3 days to get a better understanding of the 2 nations.

1971 is the last major loss incurred by PAK in its war against India. BALOCHISTAN could be next followed by NWFP and then again it will be India to blame.

One expert on the PAK psyche is KHALID AHMED of dailytimes. He has been very thorough and scholarly in his analysis of the PAK psyche.

There has been mention here of furthering people-people relations, one major export of INDIA to the rest of the world is BOLLYWOOD movies. Can these 2 experts tell me why is it that Indian movies which are recieved with great liking all across the world from Japan – Morroco incl pak, but it is only in pak that the Bollywood movies are not allowed. The reason being the PA does not want the dilution of their Islamic indoctrination of their nation. Bollywood has the power to fuse the 2 nations back together.

End of the day PAK is made of 4 distinct regions, PUNJAB, SIND, BALOCHISTAN and NWFP. Bollywood of yesteryears was dominated by actors from Peshawar, the KAPOORS – Prithviraj, Raj, Shammi and Tirlok these guys alongwith Dillip Kumar were from Peshawar and had moved to Bollywood post 1947. The Sindhi’s of PAK identify themselves with the Sindhi community of India, the Balochi’s have limited or no commonality with Indians. The Punjabi’s that make-up the majority of the PA and also the fundamentalist organisation in pak have the deepest grievence against India, mainly the punjabi’s of India. Khushwant singhs ”A Train from Pakistan” is a good read to understand where the maximum pain of partition was borne. Pak today is dominated by the punjabi’s be it the army in Pindi or the Islamic organisations originating and centered in-around Multan – Bahwalpur. The dual bogey of Kashmir and 1971 has been raised time and again by the willy punjabi generals to keep the rest of the country from rediscovering their common past with the Indians.
The rampant spread of Islam thru madrassas, paid for by the Saudi elite at the behest of the PA is being done to avenge the wounds of 1947 which reoccured in 1971.
India has more in common with pakistan than any other islamic country. And this cultural, historical, linguistic etc etc commonality is a grave threat to Pakistan and also to Islam on the whole.
Taxila was the seat of learning during the buddhist era, no wonder Osama Bin Laden paid the Taliban more to erase the Bamian buddhas than what the Japanese were paying them to protect it, lest the people try to rediscover their peacefull past, which had originally come about after many years of bloodbath.

I’ve lived (1993-2000) and worked closely with Pakistanis in the middle-east, these guys were all technical professionals hence educated upto college in a English medium. They were a good sample of the nation. We got along well with them and they showed the same regional division and heirarcy that you read in the papers. With the Punjus being the most boisterous, the pathans seperate as they spoke pashtu and the urdu mohajirs seperate from the sindhis. I had one pathan mate from peshawar, told me a interesting thing, his maternal uncle lived in the same neighbourhood as the KAPPORS of bollywood, in a old HINDU TEMPLE.

The pak you refer to is dominated and represented by the punjabi’s, The day Altaf Hussain of MQM starts to live in pak you can be sure that the punju PA has reformed.

Uday

Posted by uday kumar | Report as abusive

@majid-in response to your post-

Whilst i dont particularly want to go down the keith/ganesh/umair track of posting off topic comments/invective,allow me to reply to your comments,particularly as you asked me,in your words, to”do your homework please”-

1- I wasnt wrong in my post about the Taleban at all.Try reading the Heading Majid.The topic of debate was India and Pakistan with regards to 1971.Given that the geographical arena of debate was South Asia,my post about the Taleban reflected that-no other South Asian Country recognised the Taleban.My comment wasnt about Global Politics-where did i ever post such?.Is academic context too difficult a concept for you to grasp?

2-Whilst nobody knows where OBL is(or even if he is alive),best guesses place him in afpak-NOT the Gulf-and for you to make that inference is a stretch at best,a complete diversionary tactic at worst.A crueller person than me might have used the word “lie”

3-What does 1971 have to do with Global warming?Furthermore,i had no idea Pakistan had developed an anti global warming immunity!!! Congratulations! Care to share as to how Islamabad developed this startingly brilliant scientific breakthrough?

4-Where or what is “indina”?If you meant INDIA,you will find,should you choose to do a bit of research, that West Bengal DID absorb Bangladeshis-estimates range from thousands to millions-take your pick.Either way,you are academically wrong(again).

5-What is a “bahari” and a “governemtn”?? If you are talking about BIHARIS,then yes,agreed,their plight is
tragic,and i sincerely wish my Bangladeshi government would do far more to alleviate that.However,where does the crux of the problem lie?Bangladesh?No-wrong again majid-it is Pakistan.Why has Pakistan repeatedly backtracked from previous international pledges to FULLY repatriate the Biharis?Here are some extracts from a Report written by the Center For International Development and Conflict Management in 2007-

“pakistan initially agreed to the repatriation,and some 163,000 Biharis were resettled in pakistan by 1981.Developments within pakistan have severely limited any further repatriation.As a result,successive pakistani Governmants have shown a great deal of reluctance to accept Biharis as citizens”

6-What the “shame on you” diatribe exactly?Are you this discourteous to everyone who disagrees with you?

Whilst Inadvertent,and completely accidental majid,you stumble upon a salient point.Whilst Khurram Hussain and Myra Macdonald fictitiously assume the 1971 conflict to be resolved,it is far from the case-certainly not for the Stranded pakistani Biharis still in Bangladesh.If “apologies” are to be offered to anyone vis a vis 1971,perhaps the biharis might be good place for ALL to start?

Posted by adil | Report as abusive

Iran Guards say Pakistan’s ISI released Jundallah leader

‘On September 26, Abdolmalek Rigi was arrested in one of the streets of Quetta but after one hour he was released following the intervention of the intelligence service of our neighbouring country,’ Salami said.

‘How is it possible that this guy can move freely (unless he is) under the protection of the intelligence services’ the Guards number two said, according to Fars.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/news/world/03-iran -guards-say-pakistan-released-jundallah- leader-report-ss-04

Posted by Sameer | Report as abusive

@Rajeev

I obviously did not mean some kind of unconditional apology from India. In the context of some kind of trilateral survey (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), studying the events of 1971, surely it’s possible for India to apologize for its interference in a civil war, in a context where Pakistan is apologizing for its actions in Bangladesh. And that context is important. At the end of the day whatever, Pakistanis or Indians make of 1971, it’s not about them. It’s about Bangladesh.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Dara,

An excellent post. Sound analysis.

Myra,

Dara’s post raises some good points and some good questions. Sure 1971 is important to Pakistanis. But it’s extremely rare to see honest discourse from Pakistanis on their role in the events that transpired. More specifically about Bhutto’s fumbling of Bengali political aspirations. Pakistanis focus solely on India’s entry into the conflict, which completely misses the point about 1971. As a consequence they don’t seem to have learned the lessons that they should have learnt. This in large part explains why they treat the Balochis, the Pashtuns and even the Kashmiris the way they do today. They are their own worst enemies in this regard. And I don’t know how to account for their refusal to deal with their demons.

Maybe there’s a 12 step program for countries somewhere that have committed genocide and lost a third of its landmass.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

I’m beginning to think I should study 1971 in far more detail since it has elicited so many interesting, and valid, comments. I know of an Indian academic here who has brought out a book on 1971 which I’ll try to get hold of, and welcome other suggestions.

What I can say from personal experience was that I was rather surprised on first going to Pakistan from India quite how many Pakistanis, including senior retired army officers, did in fact take responsibility for 1971.

That said, the sense of feeling threatened by India was genuine — at least among those I spoke to — in ways that would have been impossible to imagine from the Indian side of the border.

Some of that sense of threat also informs the view of Kashmir too, since India controls the source of the rivers that flow into Pakistan (the Indus Waters Treaty notwithstanding).

I rather liked Ganesh’s suggestion of everyone trying to see the impact of 1971 from a different point of view.

Or at the very least, to make sure all points of view get fairly expressed. Does anyone have an idea of a more structured way to do this?

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

Mr. Keith,

Do not assume the role of a judge here. This article is about true sentiments from all sides. Reconciliation can only come in after laying out all sentiments on the table. To Pakistanis like myself and many others, an apology for manipulating our internal crisis to dismember is not good enough. Vietname entered Kampuchea to end the Pol Pot genocide. But Vietnam left the nation after that. It did not dismember it or occupy it. Both India and Vietnam were on the same side of the cold war geo-politics of that time. If India had defeated the Pakistani military and then called for UN sponsored settlement where the proper war crime and genocide trials could be held and the perpetrated punished, it would have been a great gesture. India used Pakistan’s internal strife, whatever that might have been to carve out another nation that worked out in its strategic interests. As far refugee handling is considered, India helped the refugees from East Pakistan. And Pakistan has handled refugees from Afghanistan. In the case of Bangladesh, if war lords had continued bombing each other and detroyed East Pakistan, India might have moved its military in again and colonized it. It did not happen so they assume a moral high ground. In the case of Pakistan, Taliban was the only alternative it had to bring peace to Afghanistan. Just like the separation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh helped India in gaining some stretigic depth against Pakistan for any future conflicts, Pakistan gained a strategic depth against India by having a friendly Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

We need no apology from Indians. Return our territory that was cut off from us. A lot better understanding between the people has evolved over the years. East Pakistan is still our territory. Indians will understand our feelings when China walks in takes Arunachal Pradesh or cuts of North Eastern states. It is bound to happen sometime in the near future. Let me see how the Indian apologists feel.

You being an outsider can cheer whoever you feel like. You are playing the spectator role here telling people to shut up whenever you feel like. I belong to this region. My sentiments and those of others like me here is very real. Your countries must apologize to the rest of the world for meddling in the affairs of many countries and making a complete mess of everything.

I guess you are a Canadian, based on your writings. Tell your country to get out of NATO alliance. NATO is committing crimes against humanity. Your country housed a lot of Sri Lankan refugees with direct links to LTTE. It did not matter how many died at the hands of LTTE. But money was flowing from Canada and UK to sponsor those killers. I want your country to apologize for that. Since yours is a NATO ally, I want your country to apoligize for messing up Iraq and for the miserable lives Palestinians have been leading.

Just like you quoted Jesus, look in the mirror. Go fix your leaders before you come here and start preaching to us.

No apology would suffice until our territory is returned to us and then we will look at the apology. Whatever happens between us is internal to Pakistan. We will fix them ourselves so long as your countries and the big neighbor to our East do not keep destabilizing us. Kashmir rightfully belonged to us and Indians took two thirds of it. We want that returned to us as well. Then let us talk of friendly programs. You have no idea who betrayed Pakistanis feel.

Anjum:

Grow up and stop behaving like a kid who wants to always fight and win. funny you ask India to return Bangladesh that India has no control over.

Reunion is between how much love people of Pakistan and Bangladesh have for each other. India is not and should not prevent it–that’s the best I can say. It is absurd to force two to reunite just please you. Is it not clear to you that for anyone younger than 38yrs in Bangladesh, pakistan is history. Can India/pakistan be reunited? No. Just accept that Pakistan lost a part due to its own blunders and India only hastened the inevitable. Many Pakistanis try to think 1971 as political defeat, not military since E. and W. pakistan were far apart and India took advantage—whatever works for you, just accept 1971. Although I understand your pain, but the hangover is just too long.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Myra,

The issue of perceptions is an interesting one. And the differences may not be as stark as people make them out to be. I am sure you know all the players on the India/Pakistan lecture circuit. And I am sure you know all their talking points. Really, how far apart are they in substance? When you hear these men talk, you’d think peace could break out any time now…they’d just to have make sure there was no beef or pork at the barbecue after.

I’ve also had discussions with retired Pak generals who will privately say that resorting to terrorism was one of the worst decisions the Pakistani establishment ever made. They are usually deeply aggrieved as to how its setback the peace process and development of their country and more importantly the international image of Pakistan. Yet, when I’ve asked them why they don’t speak out and get their currently serving brothers in arms to change course, they start talking about how its difficult and institutional inertia, takes time, etc.

What’s interesting is their take on 1971. Many of these men served during that time period or immediately after. While I’d agree with you that there is a heightened threat perception on the Pakistani side, I don’t get the sense that these men are completely incapable of grasping the honest truth of what happened in 197. Nor do I get the sense that they think India is trying to repeat 1971. I chalk up much of their insecurity to the ‘small country syndrome’. Not a single one of these men, hosted in some very private quarters, numerous times, mentioned paranoid stuff like dozens of consulates in Afghanistan or Indian support to the TTP, etc. In fact, in one discussion, I brought it up (to see what they thought) and they laughed it off. They don’t think India is out ‘to get them’ and they assure us that their serving companions don’t believe so either (a fact that’s confirmed when we meet serving senior Pakistani personnel).

All this leads me to believe that much of the talk that comes out of the PakMil establishment is meant for public consumption. It drives public perceptions and paranoias. To what end, I can’t say. But it leaves me with the impression that there’s obviously a gap between those at the top and those at the bottom. Those at the top seem to think it’s all a game for fun. They poke India a few times and India returns in kind. While those at the bottom (rank and file of the military and regular society) seem to have bought into the narrative that if India could, it would seek to plant its flag on the Hindu Kush. I’d love to see more analysis on this gap. Is it real? Or are we outsiders misinterpreting the signals that these Pakistani officials (current and former) give us?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Am I too much of a dreamer?

- Posted by Alethia

By the tenor of debate here, it would almost seem a bridge too far.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

To Mohammed Anjum:

I may be a very much of a dreamer, but, if you don’t mind, on what planet are you living?

You cannot demand from India to “give back” the erstwhile East Pakistan. If ever there were to be a reconciliation between Bangladesh and Pakistan,you would need to propose that to the Bangladeshis. I’m all in favor of reconciliation, but it’s not in India’s domain now to do such a thing.

Please come into reality, is this a joke?

I understand the intensity of feelings about 1971 of Pakistanis, but your proposals are, least to say, unreasonable.

Is there something I am missing about your posts?

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

‘We will also offer our apologies after cutting India into different nations. That way you will know how that apology feels. Pakistan has nothing to lose. But India has a lot to lose for what it did. This way it will not dare take such actions in the future.’
‘Indians will understand our feelings when China walks in takes Arunachal Pradesh or cuts of North Eastern states. It is bound to happen sometime in the near future. Let me see how the Indian apologists feel.’
- Posted by Mohammed Anjum

Failed States Index:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failed_Stat es_Index

Have a look and you’ll see which country in the region is closer to falling apart and splitting up. And Foreign Policy magazine is hardly some biased rag.

As for China cutting off the North-East, that’s wishful thinking. The day they start a war with India is the day their country falls apart. You think the Tibetans, the Taiwanese and the Uighurs (those Muslims that no Muslims care about) will not use that opportunity? Besides which, I think the threat of nuclear war pretty much ensures this scenario won’t pan out. Unlike Pakistan, the Chinese have no itching desire to actually use their nuclear arsenal on somebody or having somebody’s elses bombs land on their cities. Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong will always matter more to them than all of India’s North-East (either as their own or as independent states).

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Mr Mohammed Anjum,

Unfortunately no one can undo history.We will have to bring from the graves people hailing 1000 years back what they did to turn this whole subcontinent into a paradize of hell.

Seeking kashmir on basis of religious majority will never be accepted by any indians,It was the leadership of Pakistan who allowed every power to meddle here.I am not sure what course history will take in the future but i do know it is not going to be pretty.

What limited time is left i would think should be productively used to alleviate ignorance of a mass of people through education & creating more opportunities, i am sure if people enervate their energies to that direction rather than spending it in passions of religions will make everyone safer for this world.

The lessons for 1971 was that rebellions in civil society cannot be arrested by unity of religion but by progressing well being through democratic growth where every citizen voice is counted. Hope like uday kumar has written that the punjabis paks learn & reform their country accordingly, your warning of NE state should be a eye opener to the Indian Government also, if we ignore them they will kiss us goodbye also.

Posted by Vijay | Report as abusive

I guess you are a Canadian, based on your writings. Tell your country to get out of NATO alliance. NATO is committing crimes against humanity. Your country housed a lot of Sri Lankan refugees with direct links to LTTE. It did not matter how many died at the hands of LTTE. But money was flowing from Canada and UK to sponsor those killers. I want your country to apologize for that. Since yours is a NATO ally, I want your country to apoligize for messing up Iraq and for the miserable lives Palestinians have been leading.
-Posted by Mohammed Anjum

It’s unfortunate that you don’t keep up with the news.

1) Canada refused to participate in the invasion of our Iraq because our intelligence services did not believe there were WMD there.

2) The Harper government banned the LTTE on their second day of taking office. And our police and intelligence services have been cracking down on them since (and they were tracking them and prosecuting them as much as allowed well before they were banned), just like they took on the Khalistan movements from India or various Islamist terrorists (increasingly from Pakistan). We don’t distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ terrorists.

3) What does NATO have to do with Palestine? Last I checked various European governments from NATO are quite pro-Palestinian (albeit not as much the Palestinians would like) and give them huge sums of aid. Should I suggest that Pakistan apologize for the atrocities committed by Abu Sayyaf against Phillipinos, or the taking of child hostages by Chechen rebels? This kind of talk borders on hysteria.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

You being an outsider can cheer whoever you feel like. You are playing the spectator role here telling people to shut up whenever you feel like. I belong to this region. My sentiments and those of others like me here is very real.

-Posted by Mohammed Anjum

It’s quite an arrogant statement since you don’t know me. I was born in the region and still have family there. That’s where my interest in this region, in these topics and in this forum comes from. Don’t automatically assume that you might be the only one with ties to the region. That’s quite arrogant and frankly bigoted.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Alethia,

I am personally at a loss to understand what land ( India,pakistan, bangladesh ) one wants to conquer. All of them are seeped so much in corruption,falsehood,hatredness & distorted religious prejudices that end of the day you are just going through the motions of the day.

I just hope all of a sudden all our countries produce someone like Obama who can convince about a change we can believe in & hope we can look upto.

Posted by Vijay | Report as abusive

Firstly, Wanted to add to my earlier thread on the many common facets of Indian and Pakistani people that weave them into a strong fabric, where the color is a temperory dye.

I live in U.K, just North of London in a town notorious for Extremist muslims. This town is predominantly Kashmiri Muslims from pakistan among the asians but has a sizeable number of Bangla and Indians, i frequent(once a week) a local Kashmiri restaurant here for the last 10yrs. Once during my initial visit, I was pleasantly surprised by the owners statement about nn beef in his preparation to my cautioning not to mix or serve beef in my order, He said ”that them Kashmiris hold the COW in reverance similar to Hindus as Gau mata – Mother cow- a term used to associate the cow with mothering the human civilisation and hence Kashmiris do not eat beef”.
FAO Keith and Myra, Most hindu communities/families mainly in South but also in North claim their ancestory directly to Monastries that were set up in Kashmir, it is locally called as GOTRA in India, You will see it mentioned in the matrimonail columns of Indian newspapers.

Secondly, many here have been making statements about returning Bangladesh, erstwhile E-Pak.
Here is this same town that i live in The bengalis are approximately 2:3 pakistanis but the 2 don’t interact much beyond the customary greetings. The Mosques, Groceries, Madrassas, Restaurants, Clothes Shop, Music shop, Confectioners you name it are seperate. And i would imagine it is the same worldwide.
Quoting Rudiyard Kipling ”East is ………..is west, Never shall the twain meet”, Bangladesh was destined, 1971 was the year……..carry on.

Posted by uday kumar | Report as abusive

Keith, have following answers to your points on which others may also want to comment:

“The issue of perceptions is an interesting one. And the differences may not be as stark as people make them out to be. I am sure you know all the players on the India/Pakistan lecture circuit. And I am sure you know all their talking points. Really, how far apart are they in substance? When you hear these men talk, you’d think peace could break out any time now”

I agree, right down to a frequently shared preference for whisky and soda. I rarely see any major differences when Indians and Pakistanis are together.

“I chalk up much of their insecurity to the ’small country syndrome’.

Not sure. Coming from Scotland I should be good at recognising “small country syndrome” and I don’t see it in Pakistan, which after all is a big country with 170 million people.

Most people I have spoken to recently have talked about pragmatism, esp in Gen. Kayani, but also in others. Their argument is that if you are in charge you have an obligation to pay great attention to whatever risks are out there, both large and small, and maybe as a result you have a different attitude.

“All this leads me to believe that much of the talk that comes out of the PakMil establishment is meant for public consumption. It drives public perceptions and paranoias. To what end, I can’t say.”

Does that not happen in India too? I’ve made this point before on this blog but there is really no comparison between what people talk about in an Indian village and what you get in the national English-language media. Look at the TV reaction to the Sharm el-Sheikh statement. Do any of us think that people who live in rural India really cared about the drafting of that statement?

Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive

‘…right down to a frequently shared preference for whisky and soda. I rarely see any major differences when Indians and Pakistanis are together.’

Haha. The stories I could tell. Some of these gents have far too much of a developed tolerance for fine Scotch to be ‘good’ muslims or hindus. But, perhaps that’s the problem. These men have the luxury of being retired which gives them the chance to take the long view. Many of them also get to live in the West and have much more freedom to speak their minds than back home. On occasion I do wonder, if we’re being sold a load of … by these gents while those in power at home may not be as agreeable. The whole affair has left me puzzled at times, quite frankly. The lecture circuit guys aren’t all that riled up or radical. Senior officials in Pakistan’s government or military aren’t all that far off either. But then you meet rank and file Pakistanis (some seen here) and Indians and some have views far out of proportion to their country’s own policies. It makes it hard to gauge what the average Pakistani thinks. Though I will say that outside Rawalpindi/Islamabad, you’d be hardpressed to get many peasants who are deeply obsessed with India.
——–

‘Coming from Scotland I should be good at recognising “small country syndrome” and I don’t see it in Pakistan, which after all is a big country with 170 million people.’

SCS might be relative. Canada is not really tiny by any real measure. Even our population is not that small compared to most countries in Europe, yet we have some pretty big chips on our shoulders, vis-a-vis the US. Thankfully for us, we worked out the really nasty bits before mechanized warfare and nuclear weapons became standard. I did have a boss that jokes that the only way to solve South Asia was to have a good war, get rid of 100-200 million people in a nuclear exchange and establish a giant radioactive buffer zone between India and what’s left of Pakistan. Who knows? Maybe he’s right.
——–

‘Most people I have spoken to recently have talked about pragmatism, esp in Gen. Kayani, but also in others. Their argument is that if you are in charge you have an obligation to pay great attention to whatever risks are out there, both large and small, and maybe as a result you have a different attitude.’

I would sincerely hope he’s different. Having an India focused COAS would be utterly disastrous right now.
To some extent I do sympathize with the Pak reformers. Institutions take time to turn around. Just look at how long it took for the US military to relearn the lessons of Vietnam when it comes to counter-insurgency. And there are still officers and generals in their ranks that think China is more of a threat than Bin Laden ever will be.
——–

I’ve made this point before on this blog but there is really no comparison between what people talk about in an Indian village and what you get in the national English-language media. Look at the TV reaction to the Sharm el-Sheikh statement. Do any of us think that people who live in rural India really cared about the drafting of that statement?

Nope they didn’t. This doesn’t seem to come through on the Pakistan side of the border though. I chalk this up to their democratic deficit. If Pakistan had a truly democratic system, bread and butter issues would quickly surpass any concern over sovereignty or territory. I’d even argue that Kashmir would fade into the background pretty quickly.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Mr. Anjum,

How do you feel about the Bengali Muslim and Hindu Genocide that happened before dismemberment in 1971?

Any Pakistani’s, please provide an answer.

Myra, you also need to take some charge on this question. You have never asked Pakistani’s their opinion on the genocide topic.

There are over 100 postings. Not ONE Pakistani even recognized the Genocide.

Pakistan keeps 1971 on the forefront, because they keep affirming 1971, by not admitting any fault of any kind.

Pakistani’s like Anjum follow alternate history books, that exist only in Pakistan.

They don’t even recognize that Prince Maharaja Hari Singh acceded ALL of Kashmiri lands to India in return for protection from Pathan looters, thugs and rapists who whose sole purpose was to put an Islamic Flag on Delhi. All the Kashmiri lands are ancestral Indian Hindu homelands and have been for thousands of years. All of Kashmir legally belongs to India, even Pakistan’s portion, we Indians want that back as well.

East Pakistan belongs to Bengali’s, the same way Kosovo gained independence, Pakistani are quite happy with Kosovar muslims gaining independence, but dont’ want Bengalis to have independence. Pot calling the kettle black.

Bengal/East Pakistan does not belong to the Punjabi’s. They are not the indigenous people of Bengal.

I also wonder Mr. Anjum, do you also support Independence of the Uighers? How about Independence of the Tibetans? Please commment, I wnat pick apart your standards and show others that they are double and always tilted towards muslim sympathy only, while Hindus, Buddhists and others can goto hell, you don’t care about them or even consider them human.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Here is this same town that i live in The bengalis are approximately 2:3 pakistanis but the 2 don’t interact much beyond the customary greetings. The Mosques, Groceries, Madrassas, Restaurants, Clothes Shop, Music shop, Confectioners you name it are seperate. And i would imagine it is the same worldwide.

- Posted by Keith

You should visit Toronto then. Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis get on quite well. Pakistanis will buy chaat from Bombay Bhel while Indians buy Biryani or kebabs from Lahore Tikka House. In fact, both India’s and Pakistan’s Independence Day are celebrated at the Harbourfront and Gerrard Street (our ‘Little India’ where all the South Asian stores are) merchants this year celebrated Eid and Diwali together. And it’s more than some superficial food trading. There is a strong preference to do business with other South Asians (not just their own kind). The communities support each other when issues of minority rights come up. And we are starting to see some inter-cultural dating and marriage.

And while we don’t have many Bengalis, you will see Indian and Pakistani shops welcoming them and even celebrating their festivals. Their shops and food stores are quickly gaining popularity as their numbers rise. And they don’t seem to have too many issues interacting with other South Asians.

Witness this for a few days and you’ll really start to question that ‘Two nation theory’. That’s why I remain hopeful. But then again, Canada tends to have that effect on people.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Myra, please don’t casually and dismissively moderate my comments out of posting.

I can appreciate that there are not many Pakistani bloggers, so to keep the blog moving, you will tend to further the Pakistani arguement and provide opinion on their behalf to some extent.

But sometimes, it feels as though you are giving Pakistani’s a free ride or handling them with kid gloves.

I specifically mean this with regards to the Bengali Genocide. You have not asked any of them or brought any of them to task on the 1971 attrocity.

If you want to start bringing in reconciliation and healing the wounds, the initial wrong doer must admit that he made a mistake and is wrong. No Paks here even recognize the genocide. Do you not feel that sort of leaves you in the middle to at least try nudging them to start the healing? I am sure you have your reasons, if you do, please enlighten. I lack the wisdom of it.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

[quote=''keith'']I did have a boss that jokes that the only way to solve South Asia was to have a good war, get rid of 100-200 million people in a nuclear exchange and establish a giant radioactive buffer zone between India and what’s left of Pakistan. Who knows? Maybe he’s right.
[/quote]

would say its a bit unprofessional and not PC to post this loose comment online, have heard it myself from my insular BRITISH collegues but then Their knowledge of history is very much limited to the RAJ,…………. Little wonder we have come to this with a rogue state like Pak.

Posted by uday kumar | Report as abusive

Mr. Mohammed Anjum,

I think you are suffering from some deep emotions. Cool it by not responding or reacting for some time.

If you want India to return East Pakistan, then India wants all regions that separated as Pakistan returned.
And the British want all their colonies returned. It is they founded these countries that exist today. Where do we draw the line?

We need to look forward and not backward. This whole article by Myra is about what we can do forward by looking at our different perceptions and coming up with a common thread. On one side is this Indian gentleman who is so warm hearted that he wants India to apologize for vivisecting Pakistan in 1971. At the other end is you who wants East Pakistan returned. We need to strike a balance somewhere.

Guys, Keith, and everyone else. Be kind to this individual. By bulldozing him down, you are only going to strengthen his weakness. If we did a poor job of it, there might be a thousand others like him reading these responses in silence and going the same way. If you cannot take his views, you can ignore them. There was one Wasody who annoyed everyone for sometime and then he went quiet.

Let us confine our discussions to those who make sense.

Myra,

This topic has certainly kicked off some interesting discussion, although it’s probably not very representative because most of the comments are from the same small group of people. While there are surely many lurkers, it would be good to elicit more active participation and get to hear a wider cross-section of views. It could well be that 1971 is the real emotional crux of the Indo-Pak relationship that has replaced Kashmir without anyone on the Indian side noticing. While Pakistan has always coveted Kashmir, the territory has perhaps acquired an extra emotional dimension post-1971, and is perhaps no longer as important in and as itself. I myself have been lurking on this site for a few months and posted here for the first time on this topic because I found Khurram Hussain’s article an epiphany, never having looked at 1971 through Pakistani eyes before.

On a personal note, I’m an Australian citizen of Indian origin. I’ve lived outside India for 15 years now, and I’m not surprised to find a divergence of views between myself and many Indians living in India. But I make no apologies for that. (Before anyone can claim that I have no more skin in the game, let me state that I do have close relatives in India and went through a tense period during the Mumbai seige in November 2008 when some of them were stranded in the CBD.)

Although no arrogance or presumption is intended (like some posters have accused me of), it’s certainly true that my views changed (evolved?) after I left India. I worked in the Middle East for some time, and I have met Pakistanis both there and in Australia. It shouldn’t be surprising to anyone to hear me report that I didn’t find them to be demons but people like myself.

It’s possible to go to the other extreme and claim that “we’re basically the same people”. I think that’s a rather Punjabi-centric viewpoint. There are Punjabis on either side of the border, and because they dominate the polity on both sides (much more on the Pakistani side, I believe), there’s the feeling that’s been erroneously created in many quarters that Indians and Pakistanis are the same people. I’m South Indian (Tamil), and I see big differences between (Indian) Tamils and (Indian) Punjabis, so there’s an extra degree of separation when I think of Pakistani Punjabis and a third degree of separation with Balochis or Pashtuns. But this is not to say that we can’t be friends with each other. I suspect part of the trouble in the India-Pakistani relationship is the false presumption of sameness, mainly on the Indian side. The Pakistanis know they’re different, and it could be because they want to feel that way for reasons of identity!

I was personally gratified to see Umair’s conciliatory post where he suggested a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I was thinking along the same lines myself. He even suggested that Pakistan could apologise for Kargil, and I would draw the attention of my fellow Indians to this gesture on his part. Most people are reasonable when their own feelings are validated, as the excellent book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” will attest. There are many people like Umair who are not apathetic but care deeply about their country, yet nurse feelings of being wronged. If these feelings are validated, their positions will become much less hardline. Of course, there will still be hardliners on both sides, but the centres of gravity may come closer together.

Keith’s suggestion that both countries could apologise to each other for perceived wrongs is probably better than a unilateral one. If the leaders of India and Pakistan stood on a stage at the Wagah border and alternately apologised to each other’s people for a list of perceived wrongs, it could clear the air a fair bit and let the countries move a step closer towards peaceful relations.

I suspect there’s a mood of triumphalism among some Indians at Pakistan’s current problems. Some are quite happy to let Pakistan implode or fragment. There’s also some opinion in favour of the Reagan approach (increase defence spending and bankrupt the other guy in an arms race). I don’t think those are good ideas in the long term. We still have a large tract of land and 170 million people to account for, whatever shape the state takes. India can handle a military attack or an invasion of suicide bombers and other terrorists, but I would argue that an invasion of 50 million refugees fleeing a collapsed Pakistani state would be a disaster for India. Indians should work to prevent that from happening. It’s not just rhetoric that Indians want a stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Pakistan. That is really the best outcome for all people in the region.

It personally fills me with a wistful sense of what might be whenever I read stories of China’s rise. The world should have been talking about South Asia in this way, with China being mentioned as a second-rung player. Our inability to see beyond our petty quarrels to what we could achieve together has kept us at a level below China. This is such a big opportunity cost that we are paying.

Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

Sorry for the typo in my last post – I typed ‘siege’ as ‘seige’.

Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

@Mr. Singh,

Mr. Singh, nobody can help Pakistan. Pakistani’s willfully choose to remain angry and do not want to question anything that has been told to them. They also do not want to introspect or admit fault that their Army has committed attrocities and has done so in Pakistan proper.

I would like to sum it up by saying that Pakistani’s are not ready for peace, real peace with integrity and honesty. They need to greatly suffer to become wise and gain some introspect. It appears Pakistani’s have not suffered enough to come to some realizations on their own. Their ego and psyche is too damaged from propaganda, half-truths and lies, mixed with religiousity, a falsely placed sense of nationalism, as well as an alternate set of history books.

I propose we build a huge stone wall down the LOC, like the Israeli’s did and one day, maybe the Pakistani’s will be ready for peace, introspect, accept the true history of 1971 and the stain and stench of genocide.

Until Pakistan comes to terms with its past and looks deep into the mirror, into the demon’s eyes, they will never know that they are one the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the law on many topics.

As I said earlier, things must get much worse, sometimes that is what it takes for one to realize how wrong they have been.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Mr. Singh,

As an Indian, I cannot move forward on 1971, as long as Pakistan has amnesia of the 3 million genocide, the systematic murder of 2,5 million hindus, Indians need closure on that, and an official apology by the Pak Army may speak volumes on jumpstarting a peace and reconciliation. But as you have seen, the murderers are still unrepentant and defiant, how can we move forward with acknowledging the attrocity brought on the poor bengalis, muslims and hindus alike there?

It appears that the status quo will remain.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

That said, the sense of feeling threatened by India was genuine — at least among those I spoke to — in ways that would have been impossible to imagine from the Indian side of the border.

Posted by Myra
==

Myra, I agree with GW on your soft corner for the paks and your treatment of their aggression with kid gloves.
This approach of the Westerners in hyphenating India with Pakistan, desperately trying to appease the megalomaniacal demands of paks way beyond their size& economy have been the source of instability in the region. This has become non-sustainable since India and Pakistan have continued to diverge in different directions.

Do you really think and expect us to believe “insecure” paks launched Kargil war? Insecure paks run terrorist terrorist camps on their soil to attack Indian parliament and hijack plane, and laugh at us when we tell them to stop it?

And the comments of Pak bloggers who post here sound insecure to you?

Claiming to be insecure is to justify maintaining the army’s usurpation of power and to justify aggression and terrorism.

UMAIR has suggested new commissions to explore the wars. This is bizarre. The recommendations of previous commissions were never fulfilled by pakistan government.

The entire Hamdur Rahman commission report on 1971 war is here:

http://www.bangla2000.com/Bangladesh/Ind ependence-War/Report-Hamoodur-Rahman/def ault.shtm

Myra,Keith & Muhammad Anjum
I want to make a few points here, firstly Keith you talk about no one willing to invest in Pakistan. Can you imagine the losses Pakistan incurred due to being the frontline state against terrorism? Pakistan has facilitated for 8 years the logistical supply from Arabian sea to Afghan border for NATO and coalition forces and Indians call us a rented state. After 9-11 the corps commanders conference took place in Rawalpindi and then Army chief and President was advised by some commanders not to assist the west because they will betray us. My dear friend Keith; from the great white north, I regretfully state that you HAVE betrayed us again. We incurred billions of dollars worth of losses and lost FDI(foreign Direct Investment) today you blame us for your own failures in Afghanistan. What an irony? it really is agonizing. And let me tell you one thing, while Iraq and Afghanistan were easy game, hiring and using Blackwater mercaneries on ground in Pakistan is out of question. Pakistan is way more resilient and resist such moves. (*Just mentioned blackwater bcoz i read one of your opinion)And one more thing its not even about money, no one can repay for the loss of our brave officers and men who sacrificed their lives to protect Pakistan. May Allah accept their sacrifice and grant them paradise. I suggest you must get to know Eric Margolis that guy makes a lot of sense when he talks about Pakistan and Afghanistan and the current situation here.
Myra, you are right, there is no “small country syndrome” with Pakistanis. We consider ourselves to be the fort of Islam. We Pakistanis feel a great responsibility towards the entire Muslim Ummah. Now i dont mean to wage an armed war on behalf of any oppressed muslims. We Pakistanis must stand up and let the world know what Islam truly stands for. Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia etc are important Muslim states and we seek a leadership role. Its not about superiority complex either, the point is not to state that muslims are superior and others are inferior.
Muhammad Anjum:
We have come a long way, we Pakistanis as a nation have a great potential. Yes we messed up sometimes. But remember how our forefathers fought for creation of Pakistan? Wasn’t that less than a miracle? What did we have when we started as a nation, Quad-e-Azam used to go around and recieve refugees coming in from India on barefoot. The state had nothing to offer. No Air Force, no strong Army no assets. But we kept going and we suffered a great loss in 1971 but we still kept going. We are strong, we are a nuclear power and we are poised to become a leader in Muslim world. Look at Turkey, they have resolved disputes with neighbours and now have an independent foreign policy. Lets set a vision for Pakistan like that. What is done is done. India has done great harm to us, but still we are on equal footing. We too are a nuclear power. But that not something to be proud of. We as muslims have faith, real power lies with the Creator, Allah. Atom bombs are nothing. Lets live our lives on individual level as Muslims, as a nation Allah will save us from destruction. Lets pray for peace in our country, InshAllah Allah will guide those who have gone astray to the right path. Our Army is conducting “Operation Rah-e-Rast” the right path. Lets keep our duty to Allah and you will see how we will be united and strong. We have faced many challenges but Pakistanis as a nation come together when ever the challenge is huge. I see some bitterness in you, brother dont be worried. We will show bitterness if we are loosing. But I assure you we are not going to loose because our country has always sacrificed for the causes of Muslim Ummah. Lets look forward, lets not beg the Indians for an apology or piece of land. Lets go to that level that Indians come begging to us for friendship. We have a future, we must have a vision for Pakistan. Those who played games with other nations are today trapped in quagmires. Their own soldiers are committing suicides. Our brave soldiers fight with less equipment, our policemen are guarding roads and manning checkpoints even barehanded but still their faces are contend and satisfied. What do we have? nothing but hope and faith in Allah. that doesnt mean we sit idle and do nothing. Lets advance and excel in education, science and technology. Lets not pay attention to what others say about Pakistan. Failed state indexes might tell a different story about Pakistan. But Pakistan’s destiny is not going to be what others want. With the help of Allah, we will shape the destiny of our nation. InshAllah

Pakistan Zindabad!

Posted by Umair | Report as abusive

Umair,

You have obviously misunderstood several of my posts.

On the company that wanted to invest…It is not us who tell them whether to invest or not. We can merely advise them on the threat situation in Pakistan. And leave the decision on where to place their billions up to them. For the areas that they wanted to invest in, I could not reasonably tell them that they might not suffer loss of life or property. That does not mean we are not rooting for these companies to invest in Pakistan. Our government has gone out of its way to try and get Canadian companies to invest in Pakistan since it considers this approach better than aid. Consider for example the multi-billion dollar investment by Barrick Gold in Baluchistan. So it’s disappointing to hear you talk this way. Don’t mistake frank and honest discussion as some sort of hostile intention.

It’s not just the security situation, however. These companies will ask us questions like, “How much do they invest in education, social services and health care?” , “What’s the state of literacy?”, “How cohesive is the country?”, “Is it safe?”, “What the relationship like between the main ethnic groups and minorities?”

Now you can say that indices like the Failed State Index don’t matter. But I assure you that if I am a CEO about to invest billions and risk hundreds or thousands of personnel, I want to be damn sure that my risks are minimized. That’s reality. That’s where indices like those created by Foreign Policy do matter. And so do the answers that guys like me give to the questions above. And I do my best to encourage them to invest, but I am obligated to give them an unvarnished account of the situation they are likely to face.

So don’t blame us. At the end of the day, it’s not the West that invested in madrassas instead of proper schools. The Afghan war was 2 decades ago. Why haven’t you improved your education since then? It’s not the West that has compelled you to spend obscene amount of funds on the military (when you already have a nuclear deterrent to ward off India). And it’s not the West that’s creating ethnic tension in places we want to invest (like Balochistan with Barrick). That’s all you. Was it the West who killed Balochi leaders? Is it the West who takes natural gas from Balochistan (Sui) and leaves Balochis jobless, hungry, cold and in the dark? That’s all Pakistan. If anything our government has been hoping that investment will improve the lot of Balochis. Sad, eh? There’s Canadians half a world away who care more about the plight of Balochis than your government ever will.

Next on the issue of Blackwater. You misread my comment. It was in comparison to the use of drones. It’s obvious that using Blackwater or uniformed special ops or paramilitaries to go after Taliban leaders or Al-Qaeda would have caused a lot less civilian casualties. The only reason drones are being used is because:

1) Pakistan won’t allow foreign forces in but does not seem capable of willing to act on actionable intelligence.
2) As mentioned in the article, the US public objects to the use of targeted assassinations by contractors or the CIA but somehow thinks drone strikes okay.

I am always of the opinion that you don’t win wars by killing civilians. Far better to send some guys in black pyjamas to go snuff out a few terrorist leaders than drone a house with him and his four wives, dozen kids, half dozen relatives.

Keep in mind that there is no way these drone strikes are going on without Pakistani knowledge and/or permission. When it’s so easy for Pakistan to shoot down a drone (you could pull it off with little more than some AKs if you were knowledgeable enough), the only conclusion to be made is that the Pakistani military agrees with the strikes and probably considers the civilian collateral as acceptable (or within limits). After all, they get to blame the Americans and say they can’t do anything about it (lies). This is why I have suggested that Blackwater/Xe is a good option. Far better for Baitullah to have been killed in the middle of the night than for 300+ people to have been killed in the numerous attempts made on his life? Please elaborate and tell me what you find wrong about that logic.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Ganesh,

Absolutely well spoken. And sadly you have the perspective of the diaspora. If the diaspora were running the show the relationship problems would have been solved in no time and South Asia would be the next EU. Unfortunately, it’s the people in the thick of it, with the most emotional investment in the matter who have the say and its hard for them at times to take the long view.

The diasporic view is an interesting one. And I find it incredibly curious. Maybe something for you to look at Myra?

On the one hand, a confident Indian diaspora has moved in lock step with their kin in the homeland. I don’t find the gap between the attitudes of the diaspora and the homeland all that great. To be sure, as witnessed by the lashing taken by Ganesh here, there is some difference. But even here if you see the substance of the matter, they are not far apart.

On the other hand, there often seems to be, from my perspective anyway, a gulf of opinion between diasporic Pakistanis and the kin at home. More than a few are like Londonistani. They have an absolute disdain for the attitudes of Pakistanis at home, they are saddened by what’s happening in Pakistan, and they are often embarrassed by Pakistan and the Pakistani diasporas reputation. The latter of course hasn’t been helped by its links to terrorism from the homeland.

This difference presents both a unique opportunity and challenge to peace. It’s quite clear that the diasporas have figured out how to live together or at least accommodate each other. Granted, figuring out how far away the Halal butcher should be from the temple doesn’t quite compare to figuring out what to with Kashmir, but at least there’s evidence that these two peoples can indeed co-operate and co-exist. The challenge comes for the Pakistani diaspora, in my mind. While the Indian diaspora can undoubtedly drag their brethen kicking and screaming to a negotiating table, I wonder if the Pakistani diaspora could ever do the same given the vast difference that exists between them and the homeland.

Perhaps, you should ask the Pakistani diaspora how they view 1971? Now that would be an interesting exercise.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Usually, I refrain from adding to the shrill (and often hysteric debate) on this blog. But as someone who lost half his family in the 1971 Genocide and the War of Liberation, I find the denial of a lot of Pakistani commentators here reprehensible. Anywhere between 300000 to 3 million defenceless civilians were killed in 9 months and there is not a word of regret, forget apology for such barbaric behaviour.

The current neurosis of Pakistan can indeed be understood through the prism of 1971. For 1971 clearly illustrates, the inability of Pakistani elites to face up to their sins and their perennial tendency to pass the buck to others (Indian invasion, American betrayal….).

If the war criminals of 1971 had been convicted and tried through open tribunals, Pakistani civil society might have been able to cast away the parasitic and barbaric elite that has ruined the country in these years.

Instead, the use of Jamaat, Al-Badr and other Islamists (for war crimes in 1971) became the template for future strategic maneuvers including repression of democracy, killing of communists, export of terrorism and turning their own state into a playground for Saudis, Americans and the Chinese

Posted by bongatticus | Report as abusive

Myra, you are right, there is no “small country syndrome” with Pakistanis…

-Posted by Umair.

You obviously misunderstood what I meant by the term.

Myra,

I dunno if you got it, but as a Scot, I am sure you understand it quite a bit. Here in Canada, it’s the love-hate relationship we have with the Yanks. And it’s same with the Kiwis and the Aussies.

Do you not see strong hints of that in Pakistani thinking behind all the hostilities?

I see it. Just like Canada and US. The US matters a lot to us and we fret about them all the time, because they are such a huge neighbour (an even bigger disparity than India-Pakistan). They have ten times our population after all. But the relationship isn’t completely reciprocal. The American media pay little to no attention about Canada. Whatever war or geopolitical problem of the day they face is far more important than Canada.

India and Pakistan have the same dynamic. For Pakistan, India is the source of all their angst. And they seem to project that emotion, thinking that Indians likewise spend all day obsessing about them. The Indians did. But they’ve moved on. Cricket scores are probably more important to an Indian than any development in Pakistan.

Like Canada, Pakistan is stuck with a huge neighbour that drives their policies but doesn’t really seem all that interested in them. I am sure at some level, it must drive the Pakistani elite nuts, that the Indians are more interested in signing deals with the US than ‘resolving’ Kashmir. And I don’t doubt that they might even consider it insulting that Pakistan isn’t even really considered a threat anymore in India, more like an annoyance.

This is what I meant by ‘small country syndrome’. It is the disparity in emotional investment and intensity that arises from an asymmetric relationship.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Umair bhai,

Your words brought the hidden tears from my eyes! May Allah bless you! You are right brother. We will work towards our progress. We are the only Muslim country that achieved nuclear status. Let us solve our issues one by one and prove all these clowns wrong. They betrayed us; they dismembered us; they destroyed our region. Yet we are still here. We will stand behind our brave warriors and fight the enemy’s of Pakistan. Enemies of Pakistan automatically become enemies of Islam. Our nation was created for Islam. Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages. Our culture gave so much to the world. We will take the Islamic world to those glory days. Long live Pakistan! I am very proud of you brother for taking on all the Indians and their cronies single handedly. May Allah bestow his blessings on you.

An honest question here:

Wasn’t the attaining of nuclear status supposed to make things even between India and Pakistan? So why the chip on the shoulder?

This is something I am curious to understand. How is 1971 relevant today, when Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent ensures that it will not be dismembered (by India at least)?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages.
- Posted by Mohammad Anjum

Actually, you guys are bringing down the average…. You should ask a Turk what they would think of that statement.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

The current neurosis of Pakistan can indeed be understood through the prism of 1971. For 1971 clearly illustrates, the inability of Pakistani elites to face up to their sins and their perennial tendency to pass the buck to others (Indian invasion, American betrayal….).

- Posted by bongatticus

While I wholeheartedly agree with you, I would ask how relevant is this today for India and Pakistan to move forward?

Let’s face it. Though it’s a nice sentiment and one I remain hopeful for a true reconciliation in South Asia, it’s highly unlikely that Pakistan will ever apologize for their Army’s genocidal actions in East Pakistan. Heck, they have a tough time now, admitting in public that their policy of employing terrorism has backfired. Privately, of course, many Pakistani officers will tell you that. But none would dare speak out in public.

It’s even more unlikely that they’ll apologize as long as they continue to see 1971 as an India-Pakistan issue and not as a civil war instigated in no small measure by the unwillingness of the Prime Minister who lost an election to yield power and the genocidal actions of the national army of the day.

Unfortunately, in the real world, sometimes peace has to be made, even with those who murder. In this case, dwelling on 1971, will not improve the lot of anyone in the region, in any real sense. Least of all for Pakistanis. 1971 has ruined them (economically, socially and politically).

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

Myra,
Pardon my butting into your exchange with Keith. I agree what the english language media discusses and what rural India talks about is often at great variance. How that has an effect on this discussion unfortunately escapes me.

It also due to the fact that with such poor infrastructure in the villages and hamlets there is no way that any of those people have even heard of Sharm el-Sheikh, Afghanistan, Balochistan, or Kashmir.? That’s why they have no opinion on them. Besides most of them are unfortunately so economically deprived that even if they were aware, all this would be way down there in the list of priorities.

This is true of any other country where such disparities and limitations existed.

Quote Ganesh Prasad, It’s possible to go to the other extreme and claim that “we’re basically the same people”. I think that’s a rather Punjabi-centric viewpoint. There are Punjabis on either side of the border, and because they dominate the polity on both sides (much more on the Pakistani side, I believe), there’s the feeling that’s been erroneously created in many quarters that Indians and Pakistanis are the same people. I’m South Indian (Tamil), and I see big differences between (Indian) Tamils and (Indian) Punjabis, so there’s an extra degree of separation when I think of Pakistani Punjabis and a third degree of separation with Balochis or Pashtuns. But this is not to say that we can’t be friends with each other. I suspect part of the trouble in the India-Pakistani relationship is the false presumption of sameness, mainly on the Indian side. The Pakistanis know they’re different, and it could be because they want to feel that way for reasons of identity!

This post of your tells me a lot about yourself, i am a Tamilian, albeit born and brought up in Punjabi-Sindhi community in Mumbai. I don’t know where you grew up and what is your knowledge of Punjabi- Muslims and Punjabi-Sikhs. Undoubtedly there is a vast diff between Tamilians and Punjabis in India but the discussion here is about Pakistan and hence the regions bordering Pak would be more in focus as would Tamilnadu whilst discussing Srilanka.
Islam as a religion has a Militarial outlook hence in the past Islamic adversaries of Indian kings were difficult to negotiate with as they believed in resolving all issues thru the battle-field. To confront this ideology the Hindu community in the north created the Sikh religion where one son from every household had to embrace the religion which was based primarily on a Militarial ethos.

Quote=keith Absolutely well spoken. And sadly you have the perspective of the diaspora. If the diaspora were running the show the relationship problems would have been solved in no time and South Asia would be the next EU. Unfortunately, it’s the people in the thick of it, with the most emotional investment in the matter who have the say and its hard for them at times to take the long view.
The diasporic view is an interesting one. And I find it incredibly curious. Maybe something for you to look at Myra?
Thanks for bringing the diaspora into focus, this segment of the Indian and Pakistani society are very good sample of how the 2 communities differ in their outlook whilst maintaining a huge common cultural background. Anywhere in the Anglo-saxon world or in the Middle-east you will find that people of Indian origin, mainly Hindus but also muslims, are far more prosperous, literate, liberal, artistic etc however the same cannot be said of Pakistanis. They are invariably one of the poorest performing students in the immigrant community whilst making up the largest numbers under criminal prosecution anywhere in the countries i mention. So much so that Saudia (a major donor of PA) and Kuwait have banned Pakistani immigrants at various times in the last 3 decades for indulging in criminal activities. The retired generals from Pak living in the west are trying hard to be more pragmatic and liberal so that they are accepted by the Politically Correct intelligentsia of the host country and not associated with the negative image of their less literate brethren there.
Whenever i meet Pakistanis here in west or middle-east they have only one statement to make, if only India and Pak could get together we would take the might of the world, but the same bloke would turn around and shove a £5/- note into the charity box of LeT or JuD and consider Dawood Ibrahim as a national Leader of Pakistan. This duplicity gives away the underlying identity complex of most Pakistanis, and this is what i am trying to say is the fear of the PA and the Islamist. The difficulty in being unable to trace a past or identity different from the Indians, is increasingly causing these 2 major or only players of the current events in Pak, to lean more towards their barbaric medivial arab lineage, however slim this is the evidence of this lineage.

Posted by uday kumar | Report as abusive

The psychology of the diaspora is different. They are a minority in a new country. They know that they have ventured far away from their homeland. Their focus is on establishing themselves, be accepted by their host community as contributors to the growth and betterment. And differences that are vastly realized at home tend to diminish in the new environment. One can see this when going from high school to a university far from home. Kids who seldom interacted in high school, have a different relationship when they attend the same university. Everyone from the high school did not make it there. Only a few did and they develop a bond as a result. The understanding and overall courtesy shown by members of the diaspora from different parts of the same nation or neighboring nations arises due to this psychology. Here they feel a lot smaller compared to an alien majority with whom they face similar issues. This is also another reason why colonialists stayed loyal to their home country when they ventured into new lands and faced mostly a hostile native population. Staying united was a way to survival. Petty differences have to be forgotten for the betterment of the small number of people who have the same challenges. As the community settles down and grows big, the old differences slowly begin to creep in. And happenings at home cause more sensitivity in the members of the diaspora. For example, Khalistani supporters are now mostly confined to those who have settled in Canada, US and UK. Those who live in India have moved on.

Interestingly, members of the diaspora who witness advantages of certain values in their new environment have become major movers of their home nations. Gandhi and Nehru became staunch supporters of secularism and democracy due to their time in UK. Western education really changed their mindset and Nehru took India along Western ideals. The plan for a separate home land for Pakistan was hatched in London. Those who lived in the sub-continent really did not want partition. They were used to living as neighbors with others.

So the outlook of the diaspora works both ways. In some cases, it can help diffuse a problem and in some cases amplify a problem.

The Indians and Pakistanis who clash like worst enemies in this blog and elsewhere, may not be as militant in person. Many may not be posting seriously either. Some are college kids who have fun watching others react. One really cannot draw much conclusions based on what people write on the internet. Those who chest thump here may not be as bold or courageous when they face a real situation.

This focus on 1971 is nothing but more wishful thinking by Pakistanis to avoid addressing the nature of their society. Let’s not forget that it was the father of the Pakistani nation Md. Jinnah who ordered the Pushtun Taliban to march into Kashmir AFTER the Kashmir government had signed a standstill agreement with the Pakistan government. Kashmir could well have been an independent nation, but for this aggression. Thus, support for terrorism as instruments of the official state predate 1971 and can be traced to almost to the time that Pakistan was created. Pakistani intellectual elites were complicit in this aggression then, and it is no wonder they’re supportive of it now.

Posted by Amit Joshi | Report as abusive

@Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages.
- Posted by Mohammad Anjum

Actually, you guys are bringing down the average…. You should ask a Turk what they would think of that statement.
- Posted by Keith

Keith/Anjum/Umair: Incidentally a Turkish girl from Ankara is sitting next to me as I am typing. I showed her these posts around this Islam fort/leader -stuff. After reading she said something in Turkish–cannot understand but not pleasant sounding—followed by her translation to OMG and her head is between her head—kind of what the hell is that. But then she is a liberal Muslim who drinks wine but eat Halal and observes Ramazan fasts.

I am not sure if she will be allowed to enter the “fort of Islam” Pakistan.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Fine, be a proud Pakistani, a proud muslim, Ummah all the way…horray hooray hooray! that is your right.

Do one thing, always tell the truth, the same truth to both muslims and non-muslims. Do not lie and always fess your mistakes and do not indulge in fairy tales, it will not save your country and do not blame others for your state sponsoring of terrorism for 21 years, while the war with the Soviets was only 8 years long, that excuse or blaming India is washing thin and nobody believes those blame stories any more.

Take responsibility for your actions and do not misconstrue terrorism as freedom fighting, those acts are illegal and there will be price to pay for terrorism.

Lastly, let’s all recognize the brave Pak Army fighters who die fighting Pakistan’s own home grown war, to clean up their own back yard. Also, let’s give memory to the 13 slain soldiers in the U.S. military base.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Keith: “Actually, you guys are bringing down the average…. You should ask a Turk what they would think of that statement.”

Leave the Muslim affairs to Muslims. Try not to divide us by provoking other Muslims. Islamic Caliphs have come from different parts of the world. Initially it was in Saudi Arabia. Then it was in Baghdad. There was even one in Cardoba, Spain. Turks were the last ones to don the Caliph title. And Pakistan is in now way less qualified to lead other Muslims.

Myra:

Some useful links about 1971.
1. EDITORIAL: Talking about ‘Fall of Dhaka’
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp  ?page=story_18-12-2003_pg3_1

Quote: “We routinely discuss the tragedy of the separation of East Pakistan in December 1971, but it is only this year that some of us have told the truth about what happened. Appearing on private TV channels, Mr Mehmood Ali held the martial law of 1958 responsible for what later transpired.”

“General (Retd) Farman Ali accepted as true the Bengali accusation that most of the foreign exchange earned in East Pakistan was spent in West Pakistan. Raja Tridev Roy stated that West Pakistan ignored the linguistic nature of Bengali nationalism in East Pakistan and tried to impose Urdu there.”

“This is not what our textbooks say. Our ‘official version’ is that the Indians invaded East Pakistan and separated it in collaboration with the Hindus living there. Our ‘political version’ is that Z A Bhutto was responsible because of his ‘udhar tum idhar ham’ (you rule there and we rule here) slogan. It isn’t that the truth has not been told at all about what really happened or what led to the break-up of Pakistan. Fifteen years ago, civil servant Hassan Zaheer laid out all the causes of the break-up in his definitive book on the separation of East Pakistan. HIS STORY BEGINS IN 1947 AND BY THE TIME HE COMES TO 1970 THE READER IS ALREADY CONVINCED THAT THE CAUSES OF THE BREAK-UP WERE PLANTED FIRMLY IN THE PROCESS OF ‘NATION-BUILDING’ STARTED BY THE LEADERS OF THE WEST PAKISTAN AFTER PARTITION. However, a latest version, an even more significant one, has come to light with the publication of historian KK Aziz’s book ‘World Powers and 1971 Break-up of Pakistan’.”

2. This is useful site about Genocide of Bangladesh. Lots of links, videos- Also mentions that “ Pakistani Media and Lawyers have expressed “sorry” to Bangladeshis for the 1971 Genocide for which their armed forces are responsible.”
http://www.genocidebangladesh.org/?page_ id=53

3. The Rediff Interview/Lt Gen A A Khan Niazi
http://www.rediff.com/news/2004/feb/02in ter1.htm

4. The Lt General K S Brar Chats
http://www.rediff.com/chat/brarcht2.htm

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages.
- Posted by Mohammad Anjum

Does the Muslim world care for your misery? How much aid/charity have you got from the rich Muslim countries? Why do you have to run to US for aid/arms each time?

Where are you best friends China/Saudi when you are running to US/IMF for aid? Does it take that long to find out who are your real friends and who are opportunistic friends?

Posted by Pooja | Report as abusive

Umair, Anjum,
Don’t you think it is a bit of pain for Pakistan to go on begging trips with Bangladesh on it’s back?

They are better off kept out of this begging cycle! Seems like Bangladeshis are better managing their country than Pakistanis. I have not heard of B’desh going to IMF or begging elsewhere in recent memory!

Posted by Nooori | Report as abusive

“Enemies of Pakistan automatically become enemies of Islam. Our nation was created for Islam. Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages” – Posted by Mohammad Anjum

This is nothing but pure & simple hypocrisy & bigotry. You guys talk about being the guardians of Islam & saviors of the muslim ummah of world, while atrocities & injustices on muslims are being committed in your own country (Balochs, Pashtuns, Mohajirs, Shias, Ahmadias etc). You shed crocodile tears over the plight of your muslim ‘brothers’ in Kahmir & Palestine but conveniently fail to even mention the poor Uighurs, who are being systematically being eliminated by your ‘all-weather’ Chinese friends.
You cry foul over civilian casualties in Pakistan but refuse to be repentant over the shameful genocide of millions of Bengali civilians by your army or the murder of thousands of Indian civilians by your ‘non-state actors’ because most of the people killed were non-muslims.
Unless & until you guys start valuing all humans as the same, regardless of religion or race, I’m sorry to say but your country will only move backward & not forward. You keep saying that Pakistan is the leader of the muslim world but there are many progressive muslims all over the world & even pakistanis, who feel that Pakistan is giving a bad rep to the muslim world, so please don’t flatter yourself.

Posted by brewer | Report as abusive

So much for Islamic Ummah.

No muslim country cares damn about Pakistan. It is the Americans, Japanese, Germans and those willing to dole out cash, that are helping Pakistan.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Mr Hussain’s article is truly excellent, both brilliantly written and very coherent. Unfortunately I think he got the cause of the subcontinental rift wrong. I do not believe that 1971 or even 1947 can explain the dichotomy of the world views on each side of the border. The real reason is something far more deeply buried with its roots in the middle ages – racism. There is no easy way to put this but Pakistanis have always believed themselves as superior to generically ‘Hindu’ Indians (though they have their own institutionalized racism). They choose to see themselves as descendants of the Mughals who ruled the sub continent before the Brits came and thus feel disappointed they did not somehow inherit all of it when the Brits left. They have not had the opportunity Indian muslims have had of living with Hindus day in and out and seeing they are just like them.

Generations of ruling the ‘weak’ Hindus makes a majority of them still believe that a Pakistani is inherently better than a always Hindu ‘Indian’. They cant square this world view with reality. India has enormous problems, but it has done well enough to give most (but not all) average Indians hope in a better future. Not only has Pakistan failed to do that, it has also come off second best whenever it fought supposedly ‘weak and cowardly’ Hindus which does not square well with the ‘Military Race’ that was espoused by its founding fathers. Unless Pakistanis drop this inner belief that they are better than us Indians, they will remain stuck in the past.

I am an Indian muslim and while I say that there are problems for me and my fellow muslims in India, my children are far better off and have far better opportunities in India as opposed to if my Grandparents had moved to Pakistan in 1971. This is why Pakistan has failed.

Posted by Zahid Hussain | Report as abusive

“One really cannot draw much conclusions based on what people write on the internet. Those who chest thump here may not be as bold or courageous when they face a real situation.” KP Singh

Right on the button KP. Moral of the story, lets not take ourselves too seriously here. With due respect to the authors on this blog, this site gives us the opportunity to express ourselves – nothing more nothing less. Once in a great while someone may write something profound and maybe once in an even greater while something positive may actually come of it.

Personally I come here because I find some subjects interesting and I can share my views.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

with no 2nd thoughts i agree wholeheartedly with mr.zahid.

Posted by villayat | Report as abusive

Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages.
- Posted by Mohammad Anjum

How come the chinese who don’t worship any god continue to have the 2nd largest economy in the world or bagging the first place in the medals tally of the beijing olympic games.Our continent with so many powerful gods still is boiling,there is 500million people hoping to improve their lives & a crude joke is played by our neighbours that a god will come to save us or we need to kill people in his name.

It is like a proverb in Africa “first we had the lands,then the white man came with the bible after some years the white man had the lands we had the bible”. So it is this idealogy to exploit & weaken society through gods which has made pakistan,india,bangladesh the poorest countries in the freeworld.God is the best ponzi scheme for a few people to exploit this world.

Posted by Vijay | Report as abusive

This blog about 1971 has elicited so many repsonses that, what comes accross loud and clear to me, is that there are many, many moderate voices from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh willing to take the steps for reconciliation to relieve the trauma of 1971. No doubt there are immoderate voices, but the positivity, honesty and courage to face a new beginning displayed here is quite palpable…

So I will wish my friends from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh this prayer, exclaimed by an winning Asian athlete, who was a paraplegic and could not walk, and was asked by a reporter, how she won that gymnastic award for highbar against such daunting odds. She answered:

“Throw your heart over the bar and your body will follow”.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

Zahid Hussain:

@I do not believe that 1971 or even 1947 can explain the dichotomy of the world views on each side of the border. The real reason is something far more deeply buried with its roots in the middle ages – racism. There is no easy way to put this but Pakistanis have always believed themselves as superior to generically ‘Hindu’ Indians (though they have their own institutionalized racism).”

–Perhaps this is THE BEST explanation and that makes many alternative explanations superficial.

@it (Pakistan) has also come off second best whenever it fought supposedly ‘weak and cowardly’ Hindus which does not square well with the ‘Military Race’ that was espoused by its founding fathers.”

–Denial to swallow the defeat in 1971 is a strong evidence in favor of this. I have not seen any other country in the history that has lost more after the defeat than by the defeat (by negative and self-destructive foreign policy). Time and again Pakistani media has mentioned that Pakistan split was inevitabile; India just hastened it. Pakistani media has sad sorry for B’desh genocide, not PA. Pakistan (PA and leaders) and Pakistanis closed their eyes on the real reasons for the loss and wasted 38yrs.

@Unless Pakistanis drop this inner belief that they are better than us Indians, they will remain stuck in the past.”
–You are right. This job can be done only by Pakistan. Apology etc talk will not repair this basic mentality; rather will give a false sense of some sort of victory. Of course this is not to say that reconcillation efforts should stop.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Gandhi and Nehru became staunch supporters of secularism and democracy due to their time in UK
Singh

Not so fast mate.
Ever heard of Siddhartha Gautama (AKA Buddha) who was born a hindu in Nepal? Spreading his new religion during 6- 500BC, he died in his late 80s in India without any hindu persecution. Later, Jains (500-400BC) sikhs (14-1500AD), and other faiths not only originated but flourished there. Parsees (Zoroastrians) and Baha’i sought asylum during the times muslims were genociding the Iranians. Do not forget the christians who had landed in Kerala even before they ever went to Europe or Africa and lived there happily. Your comment, though I agree is good natured, shows your shallow knowledge of history of religious tolerance in the subcontinent. It is a different matter that some intolerance and violence erupts periodically, especially in recent times. Well I should say that’s a regional symptom of a global disease, I predict a disaster that is waiting to unfold in Europe in this century. sorry to distract………a brief history……

Zahid Hussain you write:

“I am an Indian muslim and while I say that there are problems for me and my fellow muslims in India, my children are far better off and have far better opportunities in India as opposed to if my Grandparents had moved to Pakistan in 1971. This is why Pakistan has failed.”

Everything depends upon whether the ship is sinking or cruising. India itself was on the brink many times. When Indira Gandhi ruled, India really began to shake and tear. The Indira Gandhi dynasty until the times of Rajeev Gandhi pushed India towards and unstable and dangerous state. Khalistan, Tamil Eelam, Kashmir, North East, Socialism, corruption etc had begun to erode public confidence in the nation staying together as one unit. It all seems like a dream today. Only when India freed itself from the clutches of the Indira Gandhi family clan did things turn around. 1991 was a very decisive year in India’s destiny. India has been strengthened by two factors – Nehru’s devotion towards building the necessary foundations and infrastructure in the 1950s. Without Nehru, India might have gone the way of Pakistan. The second one is the economic liberalization in 1991. Honestly speaking India was ready for market economy in 1970. Nehru had brought India to a high degree of self reliance on many fronts. His focus on nation building began to bear fruit. Had India embraced market economy at that time, it might have reached the height China has reached. Unfortunately India had to go through the dark period under Indira Gandhi who believed in keeping power at any cost, even if it meant destroying the country’s democratic foundations.

A lot of factors could have taken India either way. We are fortunate in the sense that we made the right choice in 1991, where India surely was in the brink of complete chaos and collapse. We had no money in the coffers at that time.

Pakistan should see the history of India and make the right choice. Its obsession with military power and gaining favors by intimidation and violence has led the country to its current state. It is still not too late. They are at the brink now. But they can come out of it, if they can make the right choice. Nations form on various grounds – religion, ethnicity, language etc. But forming them alone is not enough. What the national leaders do is very important. In the case of Pakistan, they lacked someone like Nehru to guide them through initially. Their geographic importance of being close to the cold war battle ground was another disadvantage to them. The CIA encouraged its military generals to take over power and work towards their interest in the cold war geo-politics.

Pakistanis should understand that they have been pawns in a global game. And they never became aware of it due to their focus being kept pointed towards India. Now is the time to undo all that and start from ground zero. And they should trust Indian people and reach out to them. People to people level interaction will help Pakistan survive and become stable as a nation. Trust will automatically develop. Patience is required. There will always be differences between neighboring nations. But they do not need to erupt into wars. We have gained nothing through wars. They have only made things worse between the people. People should use forums of this kind to build bridges and not walls.

“I am an Indian muslim and while I say that there are problems for me and my fellow muslims in India, my children are far better off and have far better opportunities in India as opposed to if my Grandparents had moved to Pakistan in 1971. This is why Pakistan has failed.
- Posted by Zahid Hussain”

–>Mr. Hussain, your words of affirmation are comforting. Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, HIndus and Sikhs and other are ALL a part of India, unfortunately, it is not true the other way around with Pakistan.

Please impart some wisdom on Pakistan Muslims. I have worked with both Indian and Pakistan muslims. Let me unequivocally tell you with 1000% certainty, that there IS a world of difference between them.

Indian muslims talk and act like any other Indian, friendly, outgoing, they smile, they are courteous and participate and integrate well with westerners, the opposite is true with Pakistanis, that I have worked with, most of them.

Mr. Anjum, in particular is suffering from “Islamo-Pako-Neurosis”, somewhat like a Religious-Military drone that keeps saying the same thing, regardless of new information, but purposely ignores it.

It is unfortunate that even after suffering so much in Pakistan, some people willfully mentally regress much further, rather than step back, learn, become softer and wiser. It all comes down to choices to the individual, and the mental psyche of Pakistani’s is proped up with propaganda and hatred supplied against India, to scapegoat and blame every problem that Pakistan has.

Religious superiority, bigotry and racism have no place in the world, but have a home in Pakistan.

The muslim in India and Pakistan are centuries apart in almost everyway.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Anjums & Umairs,

Since you have written your hearts out in your grand royal visions of Pakistan’s glorious future where Indian clowns will come begging for the friendship, kindly also answer this question for me:

Once your visions materialize, will I be able to send my kids to a movie theatre or restaurants without worrying that some Pakistani terrorists would not cause havoc while fighting for the independance of some Mohalla Hajratganj in some b-class Indian city (Kashmir you would have already liberated, going by your vision)?

I think I know the answer. Even if we Indians (Hindus & others) someday leave earth and completely settle on moon or some other planet (leaving pakistani flag flying on radio Delhi to satiate the folly of some other poster), we’d still be teaching our kids to be watchful against Jihadis coming with their titanium swords trying to make all kaafirs believe that there is no god but God. And why not, thats how Islamic invaders came to Indian region (your favorite Ghulam Kashmir too) in the first place so that few centuries later Umairs and Anjums would claim on Reuters blogs that that land belongs to them and thump their chests for single-handedly taking on clowns who, by the way, were the original inhabitants of the land.

You talk of good old islamic rule in India and seem to take a great pride in being the descendents of those Ghauris, Gajnavis, and Mughals who comitted unspeakable acts of loot and violence before settling in greater India. Its only natural for present Muslims of these regions to believe that they represent the great Islamic blood who defeated veggie-eating kaafirs and thus are always superior to the original inhabitants of this region.

Now another question if you would answer please:

Do you really believe that Babar (or previous Islamic invaders) would have brought their wives and children while going on a barbaric loot mission to the country which was called Bird of Gold? There is a very high probability that you flag-bearers, who are going to lead Islam and re-establish its royal glory in the world, are carrying blood of some Hindu/Indian clown’s great-great grandmother who was in all likelihood raped by great militant warriors of your great Islam, her existing family murdered or forcefully converted into Islam. It may sound like a molten lead in your ears, but most of muslims of these regions have ancestors who were war-babies.

If you would listen to your conscience carefully – before 15th century, all muslims in the Indian region were most likely Hindus (in fact, its an umbrella word for Eternal Religion/Sanatana Dharma that refers to general faith practices of inhabitants of those days Sindhu region) who were a relatively peacful community and were divided into very small regions and kingdoms. So no matter how loud you cry Islamic Unmah, great responsibility of whatever; THE FACT IS THAT you have Hindu DNA (since those people were the original inhabitants of regions for 1000s of years) and you belong to that line of Hindus that accepted someone else’s way of worshipping God to save their wives and children and themselves. Ask any Hindu and he would approve their act as it really did not matter for them or their God.

However, what is really unfortunate, is, that in the safety of following their Rulers’ religion, those converted Muslims embraced the lie so completely that they passed false knowledge to their kids and their kids did the same and so on…and now such Muslim would never believe that their ancestors were once Hindu and had no problem with the religion before somebody killed their family members only to force them to change religion. Or you still believe that these invaders brought Maulvis and Mullahs who will give religions sermons in the villages and people embrace Islam after seeing the shortcomings of their pagan religions.

The result is ill-educated people like you whose elders were so brainwashed by their elders that they never provided a healthy truth-promoting environment to the beautiful minds of you Umairs and Anjums. Those of you who are born after 1971, only see the history as taught to you by your politically-motivated surroundings. But the problem is not that you ill-conceive the history of past 50 years, its the ill-conceived history of 500 years that has made one brother thirsty for the blood of another.

Pakistan as a nation and Pakistanis (or every human being for that matter) have tremendous potential to progress and prosper, but unless you develop respect for others and nurture genuine belief in equanimity of human beings, your progress and glory will always be short-lived.

Once my American friend poked me asking my stand on Pakistan and I told him that I sincerely wish peace, prosperity to the people and great democracy to the country. Not only because they are my neighbors but because they are my blood-relatives too, they just don’t seem to realize that yet.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive

“Our nation was created for Islam. Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages”

With all due respect, I think that the Muslim ‘ummah’ is one of the biggest myths in Pakistan & elsewhere. The reality is that the Muslim world has always been deeply divided along ideological, racial, socio-economic & geo-political lines. The profound hatred & animosity between Shias & Sunnis is known to all. Amongst Sunnis itself, the divisions are quite intense. The Arabs are considered the real, pure-blood muslims while the muslims in asia & europe are considered second & third rated and the non-arab African muslims are relegated to the very bottom. All this talk about the muslim ummah sounds hollow when in reality, a Pakistani muslim man living in Saudi Arabia or the Emirates can’t even dream about marrying an Arab girl. He could be decapitated for just thinking something like that.
So instead of trying to lead the muslim world, Pakistanis should concentrate on just cleaning up the mess in their own country & getting back on the right track. They should learn from past mistakes & never breed any form of terrorism against anyone, again. I like the fact the Umair has started to lay less emphasis on Pakistan’s nukes & more on the overall socio-economic progress of Pakistan. That’s the way to go!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

An excerpt from an Asia Times article relating to the events of 1971:

“The relationship between the two Pakistans (East & West) became progressively more neo-colonial, with the protest against the West’s domination growing shriller by the day in the East. The tension reached a flashpoint when in 1970, the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman swept the national elections, winning 167 of the 169 seats allotted for East Pakistan, giving it a majority in the 313-seat National Assembly and the right to form government at the center. Neither West Pakistani political leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto nor General Yahya Khan would accept this Bengali ascendancy in national politics, and the convention of the newly elected National Assembly was postponed indefinitely. The Awami League, now convinced that there could never be any political cohabitation between the East and the West, called for “full regional autonomy” and Mujibar Rahman announced that he was taking over the East’s administration.

The military now decided enough was enough. At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya declared: “Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.” Accordingly, on the night of March 25, 1971, the Pakistan army launched “Operation Searchlight” to “crush” Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down. Death squads roamed the streets of Dacca, killing some 7,000 people in a single night. “Within a week, half the population of Dacca had fled. All over East Pakistan, people were taking flight, and it was estimated that in April, some 30 million people were wandering helplessly across East Pakistan to escape the grasp of the military,” writes Robert Payne in Massacre. Mujibur Rahman was arrested and the Awami League – which should have been ruling Pakistan – banned.

Then began the rapes. In Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape, Susan Brownmiller likens it to the Japanese rapes in Nanjing and German rapes in Russia during World War II. “… 200,000, 300,000 or possibly 400,000 women (three sets of statistics have been variously quoted) were raped.” Reporter Aubrey Menen describes an incident targeting a just-married couple: “Two [Pakistani soldiers] went into the room that had been built for the bridal couple. The others stayed behind with the family, one of them covering them with his gun. They heard a barked order, and the bridegroom’s voice protesting. Then there was silence until the bride screamed. Then there was silence again, except for some muffled cries that soon subsided. In a few minutes one of the soldiers came out, his uniform in disarray. He grinned to his companions. Another soldier took his place in the room. And so on, until all the six had raped the belle of the village. Then they left. The father found his daughter lying on the string cot unconscious and bleeding. Her husband was crouched on the floor, kneeling over his vomit.” (Quoted in Brownmiller’s Against Our Will.)”

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Zahid,

As a member of the Parsi community, almost reduced to a tribe status in numbers now, I both second and applaud your sentiments. This country also gave us refuge centuries ago. I think both India and those who adopted it have mutually benefited from its multi-ethnicity.

As someone mentioned earlier, of course we have problems rearing their ugly heads from time to time. Yet we resolve them, to a major extent, gather ourselves up and move forward, therein lies the real strength of this country.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive

“So no matter how loud you cry Islamic Unmah, great responsibility of whatever; THE FACT IS THAT you have Hindu DNA (since those people were the original inhabitants of regions for 1000s of years) and you belong to that line of Hindus that accepted someone else’s way of worshipping God to save their wives and children and themselves” – Posted by Seth

This is another fact, which has been conveniently missing from Pakistani history books, forever. Pakistanis have had an identity crisis since the birth of their country & in an effort to be anything but Indian, Pakistanis have been falsely taught that they are the descendants of arabs, persians, turks, moguls etc. but in reality more than 80% of Pakistanis (except the Balochs & Pashtuns) have Indian roots & their ancestors were most probably Hindu at some point or the other.
Most Pakistanis don’t know (& don’t wanna know) that the man they call Qaid-e-Azam & ‘Father of Pakistan’, Mohammad Ali Jinnah had Hindu blood. His grandfather, Poonja Gokuldas Meghji, was a Hindu Rajput from Paneli village in Gondal state in Kathiawar. His ancestors converted to Islam sometime in the early 1800s.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

recent history relevant to discussion on 1971. West Paks brutalities on East Pak hindus

http://www.zeenews.com/news575513.html
Nov 9, Dhaka: The Bangladesh cabinet on Monday approved a proposed law to return Hindu property which were confiscated during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, when the country was eastern wing of Pakistan, ending a major violation of the rights of minorities in the country…………………………… …………………………………
During the Pakistan period, the law was called as Enemy Property Act. The then Pakistani regime enacted the law to confiscate the property of the Hindu families who fled the country when the India-Pakistan war broke out in 1965 while the post independent Bangladesh government renamed it as the Vested Property Act 1974.

@Mortal,

Thanks for those excerpts on 1971. Unfortunately, you will never see Mohammed Anjum or Umair crying for the poor unarmed civilians that their army raped, genocided and systematically eliminated en masse. In stead they weep for their Pak Army who was defeated by India and they weep for the political fallout of the genocide, but they tie no human value to those they brutally ravaged. Such animals must face the music before the world takes Pakistan out of the dog house.

“Allah has bestowed a great responsibility on our shoulders to lead the Muslim world from its dark ages.
- Posted by Mohammad Anjum”

–>I do now know, but I don’t think Allah would have condoned those rapes and killing of unarmed innocents. Shame on Pakistan. Shame of blood, rape and lies.

Time for Pakistan to face its demons, head on and come to terms with its past and admit fault and take responsiblity. We won’t forget, neither forgive, as long as Pakistani’s and their army are unrepentant.

This is what the world expects India to make peace with? Rapists and criminals who ravage unarmed civilian populations and proliferate terrorism?

The line is drawn here.

We will accept repentance from any Pakistani here. Do the right thing and let it be known what Pakistan did in 1971 was wrong.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

GW:
Yes, the Pakistani army did commit terrible atrocities in 1971 against innocent Bengali people. No doubt about that. There are still some people alive who should answer for those crimes.

But, that was 38 years ago…

In your piece, you are condemning all Pakistanis living today by saying, “This is what the world expects India to make peace with? Rapists and criminals who ravage unarmed civilian populations and proliferate terrorism?”

How prejudiced and unfair! Innocent Pakistani civilians are dying right now, as we speak, due to the terrorism of some crazed individuals, and you are calling all of them these names. Come’on, GW, get off it!

Get on with cooperation with the good people of Pakistan (and there are many) and stop your pretenses about thinking of reasons why you cannot make peace with them.

And while we’re on the subject, yes, the rest of the world would very much like to see India and Pakistan put the past behind them and create some peace between them.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

“As a member of the Parsi community, almost reduced to a tribe status in numbers now, I both second and applaud your sentiments. This country also gave us refuge centuries ago. I think both India and those who adopted it have mutually benefited from its multi-ethnicity”
- Posted by Dara

The great Parsi community is a perfect testament to India’s pluralism & multi-ethnic diversity. Although small in numbers, the community has produced some of India’s greatest industrialists (Tata, Godrej & Wadia) & some of the greatest Indians in Pherozshah Mehta, Dadabhai Naoroji, Dr. Homi Bhabha & Sam Manekshaw.
As someone who was born in & partially grew up in Bombay, I have always appreciated & admired the Parsi community, their way of living & their outlook towards life, in general.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

Alethia:

@stop your pretenses about thinking of reasons why you cannot make peace with them.”
-Oh! you think people like GW are looking for reasons to hate Pakistanis? Brilliant. You think he is “@prejudiced and unfair!” you can call it “angry”.

It is unfair for you saying “But, that was 38 years ago…” That is insult to 1-3 miilion dead suffering from crimes.

I have seen such guys like GW express anger, sympathy, love and compassion for Pakistanis, the normal human emotions, at different times. There are some here on Reuters Who just have one constant expressions of hate for India to a pathological state of silently supporting terrorists (there was OBL supporting Pakistani here who wants US/NATO forces on the stretchers and another one who ranted “Long live LeT and death to India” slogan), and the only terrorists they condemn are those which are anti-Pak. The difference is their views are constant and will not change although they know that crimes such as 1-3million deaths in 1971 including that of a baby girl had a bayoment through her body are those for which an expression of regret is in order here by those emotional Pakistanis whom you try to console for the deafeat.

I have not seen pakistan but has visited enough through our grandparents/relatives stories when they were in now called Pakistan before 47. Gw and I are those cases.

I tell you what is “prejuidice and unfair”. Acknowledging Umair’s effort at the blog, both of us exchanged some good posts over me telling him that my grandparents are from a place in Pakistan Punjab and him telling me that he visited that place. This little example of nice people to people contact broke off over me condemning all terrorism anywhere-be that India or Pakistan and him supporting terrorism in India either subtly or silently–but very clearly. Since then Indians including myself ask him his stand on LeT/Hafiz saeed etc and he is silent. Just a case study for your ears. Umair can correct me. Pakistanis are good people but when it comes down to clear “no ifs and buts” condemnation of terrorism, many of them fall short– for often ridiculous reasons such as citing Palestine or Kashmir or 1971 or Oil.

Alethia, there is a problem. Too bad you do not see that.

@1971: Separately and sticking to the blog, Bangladesh independence and the inability of pakistan as whole to deal with it is hurting Kashmiris since Kashmir is nothing but an Indian butt to be spanked by Pakistanis and resolving Kashmir means quitting this sadism.

I hope and appreciate if the moderator lets this one go.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Ms. Alethia:

-How prejudiced and unfair! Innocent Pakistani civilians are dying right now, as we speak, due to the terrorism of some crazed individuals, and you are calling all of them these names.

I do appreciate your care and concern for innocent people dying at the hands of terrorists in Pakistan. However, I see it rather one sided for reasons I cannot discern. I have never seen you condemn the deaths of innocents in India at the hands of Pakistan sponsored terrorists. You might have, but it was never displayed this openly in this forum. Your writings here seem to show a more tilted sympathy for Pakistanis only, while you preach peace etc. Please realize that India has been a bigger victim of terrorism and many a lives have been lost due to terrorism. Feelings of compassion have to come from the heart and if they appear one sided, then such feelings would invoke the opposite effect. I have not seen you condemn anything that is beyond Pakistan.
Anyway, your message is good. But it appears skewed. Please do not be selective in your sympathies. If you find many Indians venting their feelings here, it is because they feel for their countrymen who have been victimized as well. And there is no question that Pakistan has been ahead on this. Yes we must all live for a peaceful world. But asking only Indians to wave the flag of peace sounds a little unfair.

Alethia,

You are right that it’s unfair to paint Pakistani who weren’t living in 1971 with the same brush. However, what should be done when Pakistan has made no amends and you have Pakistanis like Anjum here who seem to think the bigger tragedy was the split of their country not the Bengali genocide? Pakistan should make some effort to atone for its sins as a nation. After all, when the massacres happened, those who were killed were Pakistani citizens. They were not Bangladeshis then. Were this to happen today in Balochistan, would you suggest 20-30 years down the road that people forget about it and put it in the past? Just like Germans today (few of whom were alive during the ’30s and ’40s) make a conscious national effort to remember the Holocaust, perhaps Pakistanis should consider a national program of remeberance for the Bengali genocide.

The other challenge I see, is that Pakistanis have not learned from 1971. Then, West Pakistanis refused to yield power. Today, Punjabis refuse to share political power in all but the most superficial ways with any other ethnic group. Can you imagine a Pashtun or Balochi President or Prime Minister? Then, East Pakistanis were sending all their wealth West, while they remained economically restrained. Today, Balochis suffer without food, heat or electricity while Punjabis enjoy the benefits of cheap Sui gas. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If Pakistanis, don’t learn the correct lessons of 1971 (that it was their own policies, not India, which broke their nation in two), history is bound to repeat itself.

The failure of Pakistanis to learn the lessons of 1971, arise from attitudes such as yours that say, “Why should I care? I wasn’t there.” That attitude is setting Pakistan on a course where more unhappy minorities will seek to follow the example of the Bengalis and head for the exit. If not for anyone’s sake but your own, your generation of Pakistanis need to look at 1971 honestly and accept its lessons without reservation.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive

“Get on with cooperation with the good people of Pakistan (and there are many) and stop your pretenses about thinking of reasons why you cannot make peace with them. the rest of the world would very much like to see India and Pakistan put the past behind them and create some peace between them” – Posted by Alethia

Although, I appreciate your well-intentioned thoughts of promoting peace between India & Pakistan, I must say that your comments are generally, heavily biased towards Pakistan. Some of the problems that Indians like GW, myself & others have with Pakistanis are: their inability to introspect, accept their mistakes & show remorse, treat all humans on equal footing & condemn all forms of terrorism.

You talk about forgetting the past & moving forward but if one moves forward without acknowledging past mistakes & repenting for them then you’re bound to repeat those mistakes & probably make even bigger blunders & this is exactly what has happened with the Pakistani establishment.
For instance, whenever this topic of 1971 is discussed, Pakistanis come out & talk about ‘avenging the defeat of 1971′ & ‘raising their flag in India’ etc but when the discussion moves towards the genocide & the atrocities committed by their army, there’s absolute pin-drop silence from Pakistanis. How many Pakistanis have you seen on this blog come out & acknowledge or show remorse for the heinous & inhuman acts of their army in 1971? How many Pakistanis have you seen come out & unequivocally condemn all kinds of terrorism (not just the one directed against them)?

Unless Pakistanis are ready to look in the mirror, acknowledge their mistakes & genuinely repent for them, this cycle of making bigger mistakes & blunders won’t stop and peace will remain nothing but a pipe-dream.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive

@Alethia,

At the end of the day….Apologies and admission of mistake heal wounds. Pakistan does not want to heal wounds that it has caused on others.

I urge you to pursuade any Pak bloggers here to fess and apologize on behalf of their fathers and grandfathers in the Army who perpetrated this gruesome systematic murder.

That is when the wounds will heal. When one wound heals, another will heal. The biggest benefactor to admission of genocide is Pakistani itself, people will feel that a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders.

If Pakistan were truly sorry, there should be a Holocaust Museum setup in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, complete with pictures, gruesome details and photos so that people will never forget history and repeat it.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Rajeev and Shastri:

Yes, I certainly do have sympathy for all the victims of 26/11 in Mumbai and have expressed those sentiments previously. I condemn all terrorism or atrocities committed by any country anywhere. And I do not minimize the atrocities done 38 years ago in Bangladesh by the Pakistani army.

But, there was, 38 years ago, a trauma on Pakistanis too. Nobody involved in that conflict went without a deep hurt. I can imagine myself, as an average citizen, loosing 1/2 of my own country (USA) and feeling humiliated, terrible and depressed. I have felt the pain of Pakistanis, felt the pain of Bangladeshis, and felt the pain of Indians (especially over 26/11). Am I hurting your feelings by sympathizing also with common Pakistani citizens’ pain? I do not mean to do any hurt.

Rajeev and Shastri, your posts have been pretty objective and I have appreciated them. It was the post of another commenter to which I was responding. And it is well noticed how you guys (or gals?) have meshed well with, e.g., Umair and others.

We are not machines. We are human. Yes,I have sometimes taken the side from the Pakistani perspective.
That’s the way the world is, someone is on your side sometimes and someone else is not…

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

Alethia

yes Indians, hindus included, feel very sad indeed at the brutal killings going on in our neighbours soil. Thats unconditional.

To all the esteemed bloggers, whether Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, American, Scot, or otherwise:

Yes, for healing to take place between people, you must rake up the mud and be truthful. You must face reality.

The events of 1971 were so traumatic to all sides of the conflict, but most difficult for the people of Bangladesh.

I look forward to the day, first and foremost, when the people of Bangladesh and the people of Pakistan will sit together, tell the truth about what happened, say the correct apologies, settle any claims, proceed with any justice they find necessary and then – forgive.

India was a party to the conflict. Therefore, it has a duty and a right to interract on these bases with the other two parties.

May all the lovely people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh be forever blessed with peace, prosperity and happiness.

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

@Alethia.

you said:

“But, there was, 38 years ago, a trauma on Pakistanis too. Nobody involved in that conflict went without a deep hurt. I can imagine myself, as an average citizen, loosing 1/2 of my own country (USA) and feeling humiliated, terrible and depressed. I have felt the pain of Pakistanis, felt the pain of Bangladeshis, and felt the pain of Indians (especially over 26/11). Am I hurting your feelings by sympathizing also with common Pakistani citizens’ pain? I do not mean to do any hurt.”

–>Well, excuse me, I forgot to realize hurt feelings…not to mention the genocide, which hurts a lot more.

Humiliation…they brought it upon themselves.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

@Alethia,

BTW, I feel horrible for the innocents suffering from militants there. But will you realize for a moment that most Pak citizens are still dismissive about the militants and rather embrace crazy conspiracy stories to explain away every ill that they cannot contain or control?

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

@Alethia,

Your words are the right things to say. Although no Paks here are still dismissive about terrorism and the horrors of 1971 hopefully average people will there one day be willing to look at their true history and make amends with it. It does not still appear that any time soon that they are willing to even try.

The issue that I have with your stand is that you seem to be letting Pakistan off, with kid gloves and make glorious motherhood statements like “we should just all get along”…I agree in principle…BUT…time and again the Pakistani establishment has show dishonesty. They, the Paks started all 4 wars upon India, while India defended itself each time and repelled all of them.

Fundamentally, India and Pakistan after 60 years, despite the numerous similarities on many levels, there remain core fundamental differences in the psyche and mentality of both parties.

Pakistan mistreats its ethnicities like the Pashtuns, the Balochi’s, Hindus and Christians, I won’t go into the details and other fronts, but you blindly advocate forgiveness and moving on, without addressing core fundamental issues. The biggest one is that Pakistan, as a whole, does not value HUMAN life the way that the Indian psyche does.

What is your stand on Pakistani proxy terrorism against India, should we just give Pakistan a free ride and let them do as they please?

You talk co-operation…India and Pak were talking peace, but on the other hand, LeT was planning carnage on unarmed Civilians in Mumbai, with what many think is support of ISI. What are we to do with such a neighbour, invite them into our house and enjoy some Chai and Dosa together and have our house put on fire, after they enjoy the hospitality?

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

Alethia,

I’ve been reading the responses from Indians to your well-meaning comments, and I think I can explain the Indian indignation at what you may believe to be fairness on your part.

There is a parallel to this discussion in the Non-Aligned Movement that started in 1955 and lasted till the end of the Cold War. This was a group of countries that tried to stay neutral between the superpowers. The US (at least initially) was offended that there could be people who would see a moral equivalence between Communism and Democracy, because it was clear to them that their position was morally superior. But for the NAM members, it was a matter of survival and Realpolitik in the face of two hostile superpowers.

In much the same way, Indians cannot understand the even-handedness with which Westerners try to approach the India-Pakistan issue. To Indians, it’s very clear who has the moral high ground. Between a “responsible democracy” and a “state sponsor of terror”, there’s really no comparison.

My cynical take on this is that this neutrality is an outcome of Realpolitik and India can only sway opinion its way through Realpolitik. If the Indo-Pak impasse continues for another decade, the economic gap between the two countries will widen to the extent that third parties will see it in their interests to align with India. The neutrality of the West will end (is already ending, in fact) when India’s displeasure has real economic consequences for them. Until that time, people will not take sides.

True, Pakistan will continue to have its nukes, but unless it turns its economy around in the meantime, it may find itself in the same position as Libya, i.e., of having to abjure the use of nuclear weapons, allowing international inspections, etc., in exchange for economic relief. There is a limit to how long people will be prepared to eat grass.

My fervent hope is that some hothead in a position of power in Pakistan doesn’t decide that it’s better for the subcontinent to go out in a blaze of glory than for Pakistan to take the path of peaceful coexistence and accept the subordinate position to India that it may imply at that stage.

It would be good for Pakistanis to understand that with only 10% of India’s population, it is no shame to rank below India as an Asian power. They should rather compare themselves to a region within India such as South India or the Northeastern states. That would be a far fairer comparison and it would be quite achievable for Pakistan to match or exceed the economic performance of an Indian region.

Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

Zahid,

If the string ‘CHAFAC’ means anything to you, we need to get back in touch :-). Use my old name (the one with initials, dots and surname) and suffix with gmail.com to get my email address.

Regards,
Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive

Dear Ganesh, GW, Rajeev,Shastri,Avatar, Mortal, Keith, others, and our esteemed author, Myra:

Looks like we have covered at least all the bases here in our common concern for the well being of all the people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The exchange is always enlightening for me.

I’ve been asked many times to reassure you that I am against terrorism, especially emanating from Pakistan. Of course I am against that kind of terrorism as I am against all terrorism.

I support innocent Pakistani people from being blamed for that as I support innocent Indian people for being blamed for any untoward incidents happening in their country.

Pakistan is part of the mosaic of the lovely and unique cultures that exist in the Indian Subcontinent. You and they should be together, not as one country, but in tandem with one another. That is my fervent hope.

I would like to remind ourselves that with due respect to the author of this article, and with grave remembrance of all who suffered and perished in the events of 1971, we should remember them, pray for them, and wish them peace of mind, reconciliation and justice, and above all, forgiveness.

Thinking it’s time to end my participation here until Myra’s next article…

Posted by Alethia | Report as abusive

@Alethia
Again not sure why my last post is not being posted.

Alethia writes- “Of course I am against that kind of terrorism as I am against all terrorism”

She uses the same code language used by pak sponsors of terrorism to justify their actions!!. Are you implying India is indulging in some type of terrorism? why don’t you clarify?

Alethia writes- “I support innocent Pakistani people from being blamed for that”

“Innocent” paks have looked the other way, and smugly paying donations to terrorist organizations such as LeT!

@Ganesh
The problem with your suggestion of pakistan should play second fiddle to India is it wouldn’t work …because it undermines the very foundation of “Pakistan ideology”. A secular, more powerful India does not fit with that ideology.

Pakistan was supposed to be the stronger, glorious inheritor of muslim empires. The ideology of founding fathers of India was to move beyond old history, and build a new modern identity. We have been mostly successful.

I want to make some points:

1. If one has to pick the single most important issue of 1971. It will not be that Bangladesh and Pakistan reunite, it will not be that India apologize for 1971, it will not even be actually Pakistan apologize to Bangladesh (38 yrs late apology will help but is not a real aplology much like justice delayed is justice denied).

The most important issue will be that Pakistanis realize that the ill treatment of E. Pakistan by W Pakistan since independence was the problem which precipitated when the result of the first genuine elections in Pakistan were rejected and the transfer of political power to E. Pakistan was not allowed. Pakistan generals know it —the problem is the public drum beating and that allows them to not aplogize). Pak media apologized some time ago and public learn from that.

2. Many times I see 26/11 as a reference of terrorism in India. I want to EMPHASISIZE here that Terrorism in India has 25yrs old history. Many unfamiliar with the region asociate terrorism in India to 26/11 Mumbai attack–it just got international theater just because of the nature of it and the foreign nationals.

3. Indians have a lot at stake in Pakistan—the biggest one is India’s own stability. Needless to say, it works if the relation is reciprocal and Pakistan(is) need to realize this.

4. @Ganesh: Alethia has her own views and her voice and opinion is not a typical Western. So saying what she says through the the western prizm is misleading, unless I missed something.

5. @Alethia, I have no problem with you being pro-Pak. I am for discussing the points you make. Talking about hurt feelings of W.Pakistan is not helping them in the real world. “Hurt” is a hindrance to Kashmir resolution, another issue that you are worried about. “Bleeding by thousand cuts” is Pakistan’s way to get over the “hurt feelings” and terrorism in India is not about Kashmiris.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

71 was bound to happen sooner or later, partly due to incompetent politics and partly due to the ill-feeling of Bengalis towards people from the Western parts of the subcontinent; prior to the British, under 500 years for FOREIGN muslim rule under which east bengalis were always treated with disdain due to their being `dirty`and ùncivilized`; they saw Pakistan as a continuation of that even thouugh they voted in favour of that state

in general, bengali mindset is not suited to living in an Islamic Republic…I just wanted to say let bygones be bygones…we should focus on our current problems, the biggest of which is the Indian govt

discrimination against low castes, sikhs, muslims, occupation of MUSLIM Kashmir, disputes with all its neighbours including Nepal…to the Indians need I say more…

Posted by Quadir | Report as abusive

Quadir:

@71 was bound to happen sooner or later, partly due to incompetent politics and partly due to the ill-feeling of Bengalis towards people from the Western parts of the subcontinent; prior to the British, under 500 years for FOREIGN muslim rule under which east bengalis were always treated with disdain due to their being `dirty`and ùncivilized`; they saw Pakistan as a continuation of that even thouugh they voted in favour of that state
Posted by Quadir

—-I appreciate you recognizing the problem of 1971 and actually coming forward to say it on the blog.

@in general, bengali mindset is not suited to living in an Islamic Republic…I just wanted to say let bygones be bygones…we should focus on our current problems, the biggest of which is the Indian govt”
——That will not be the case if the concept of co-existence is understood and put into action. Muslims in the region because of their original faith and regional/language flavor are different–be that India or Pakistan. So saying “bengali mindset is not suited to living in an Islamic Republic” is not understanding the problem and throws into trash your original confession of discrimination by W. Pakistan. The real problem is that the Islamic Republic does not have room to all the Muslims, just some. We are not even talking about bigger problem of other religious minorities and Ahmediyas. Islamic Republic of Pakistan has not been able to justify the white color in the flag—your above statement is an evidence in that direction. This also kills 2 nation theory concept if only certain Muslims are suited for Muslim nation.
Also, you are wrong that India is Pak’s biggest problem. What I hear from Pakistan’s own media is that Pakistan itself is its own problem.

@discrimination against low castes, sikhs, muslims, occupation of MUSLIM Kashmir, disputes with all its neighbours including Nepal…to the Indians need I say more…
–I do not know why this has any relevance here to the core issue of 1971 India-Pak. We do not say that anyone is not suited for India. I will chose to discuss the details for good reasons.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

correction to my post to Quadir:
“I will chose NOT to discuss the details for good reasons.”

Moderator: I will appreciate you uploading my 2 posts on the blog.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

[...] Bhola cyclone. I have not had time to check this beyond Wikipedia, and it is probably contested like everything else about the 1971 war. But it reads: “India became one of the first nations to offer aid to Pakistan, despite the [...]