Pakistan’s conspiracy theories

November 17, 2009

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then … anyone who tells you it is a duck must be hiding something. So goes the logic of conspiracy theories which are gaining increasing currency in Pakistan because of the wave of gun and bomb attacks in its towns and cities.

As reported in the New York Times, India, Israel and the United States are frequently blamed for the violence, as is the U.S. security company formerly known as Blackwater. 

The Pakistani Taliban, according to al Jazeera, appear to have capitalised on that by blaming Blackwater for two attacks that most shocked Pakistanis — one a suicide bombing on a market crowded with women and children in Peshawar which killed more than 100 people and the other an attack on the Islamic University in Islamabad.

“Surprisingly enough, this whole India-US-Israel theory has a lot of popular currency these days in Pakistan,” writes Asif Akhtar in a blog for Dawn newspaper. ”The myriad of television talk-shows on every news channel are heavily relying on this theory of a triangulated axis of evil out to destroy Islam and Pakistan with one nifty stone’s throw of insurgent terror.”

“If the present reasoning of global evils out to destroy Islam and Pakistan continues, then the only answer is the apocalyptic war which is talked about in fringe mythologies related to the arrival of the Antichrist. The last thing we want is for this to be a self-fulfilling prophecy!”

Foreign journalists have not escaped, being accused of working variously for the CIA, Mossad, and India’s R&AW spy agency, and of course, Blackwater, according to Marie-France Calle in her French-language blog for Le Figaro newspaper.

Conspiracy theories are not new to South Asia, and are usually driven by the assumption that some much more powerful nation must be pulling the strings behind the scenes. 

They gained momentum during the 1980s when intelligence agencies ran the covert war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The collapse of the Soviet Union shortly after its withdrawal from Afghanistan underpinned a view of all-powerful intelligence agencies who could redraw the world map – no matter that many historians argue that the collapse was due to many other factors which were quite independent of its Afghan defeat.

“In the world of the conspiracy, powerful actors are not merely mortals with influence but rather god-like beings who direct geopolitics like an opera, and that is just how the powerful often appear to be in this country,” writes Mustafa Qadri in Britain’s Guardian newspaper. “By marshalling conspiracy theories many people, not just in Pakistan, abdicate responsibility for confronting the ills their societies face. If you are playing cards with a cheat, is there any point in trying to get a better hand?”

There is a fine line between conspiracy theories and a healthy scepticism about what those in power are saying. And there is always room for sensible discussion both about the agendas of intelligence agencies, and about the role of private security firms like Blackwater.

But in a country trying to re-establish itself as a democracy, and where economic development is seen as one of the better ways of draining support for the Taliban, how do you develop a strong civil society if voters are constantly being told they have no hope of change since everything is being run by a Hidden Hand?

(Photos: Lahore and Peshawar after the market bombing)

Comments

Musaafir,Please read the text of the UNSC Resolution that you wish Pakistan and India to adhere to:http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/2029387 .htmlIt requires Pakistan to withdraw ALL Pakistani nationals from all territory of the former Kingdom of Kashmir. This includes Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas.This action by Pakistan would be needed before India can administer a plebiscite across all of Kashmir as per terms of UNSCR 47.Is Pakistan willing to facilitate a plebiscite by withdrawing from all of Kashmir?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

M. Anjum,I don’t think you quite understand what a conspiracy theory is. Hopefully, Wikipedia can help clarify that for you:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conspir acy_theoryBelieving the neighbouring state is going to collapse, is not a conspiracy theory unless they believe something weird like the Americans are doing it or the government is making the state collapse on its own, etc. It may be fantasy to believe Pakistan will collapse but its not a conspiracy theory.On the other hand, believing that every single bombing in Pakistan involves the work of some extremely odd alliance of RAW, the CIA and Mossad (never mind the fact that these agencies rarely work together in real life), without any evidence at all to back that up, is a conspiracy theory.That’s no different that believing the US government cause 9/11 or that the moon landing never happened. Those are conspiracy theories.Other than that, why the comparison to India? What does it matter to Pakistan, what they believe? Are you in competition to out-crazy them?What’s worrisome to the world (not just India) is that Pakistanis believe these conspiracy theories and are actually making decisions based on those beliefs, despite the lack of any concrete evidence that these beliefs are justified. And those actions are impacting the security of the international community.Nor is there any logic in these theories. If India and the US are behind the bombings, that should the government of Pakistan not work even harder to clamp down on the Taliban? Yet, they clearly haven’t been trying for a while (recent few months are an exception). So are they not tackling the Taliban because they believe that India and the US and Israel are funding them? If that’s true does that make any sense at all? Does it make sense not to contain a terrorist threat because the threat emanates from a group supposedly funded by your arch-rival?It is this lack of logic that stems from these paranoid conspiracy theories that’s most bothersome to the rest of us. It would be easy to ignore if the Pakistani government wasn’t so influenced by them. But when Ministers start hinting (without any evidence) that outsiders are orchestrating every problem in Pakistan (otherwise Pakistan would be heaven on Earth apparently), there is something seriously wrong.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Raj my friend,I didn’t expect you to be surprised as you already know all this, and yet you refuse to act on the solution that the Kashmiris want. However that does not surprise me one bit.Maybe the ‘easiest answer’ was not the right choice of words, maybe I should have said ‘right answer’. By easy I had meant that the referendum would be the least controversial and according to international mandate.You are full of accusations leveled against Pakistan while in the same breath you are dismissive of the UN Security Council resolution as ‘irrelevant’ and ‘outdated’? And yet expect Pakistan to sit in the bleachers as a spectator?I believe charity begins at home and you should get your own house in order before you point a finger at Pakistan for your problems in Kashmir.All the problems you mentioned would not have surfaced or occurred had India done the right thing at the right time back in 1948. There would not have been a 1965, 1968 or even 1971 and we would all have been better off and well on our way to becoming developed countries by now.There is still time to let the Kashmiris decide their own fate according to the UN resolutions or face the consequences. Indian army’s occupation through acts of intimidation including torture, murder and pilferage cannot go on forever. There will come a time when you will not be able to control the Kashmiris with the 400,000 Indian troops deployed there.

 

I wonder how you know for sure that in India conspiracy theories are local and not so in Pakistan.-Posted by Mohammad AnjumThat was his point. They are not prevalent at all because he, as an Indian had to read them on the net to learn about them. Obviously, where he lives people haven’t mentioned them, much less believed them.On the other hand, every second Pakistani who comes on here says that it’s all the fault of the USA, India, Israel, the West, CIA/RAW/Mossad (we’ve even had the KGB mentioned here), yada, yada, yada….Now if these beliefs are local in a part of Pakistan, can you tell us what part of Pakistan all these people are logging into Reuters Blogs from?Is there a part of Pakistan, where believe don’t believe these theories at all?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Since Kashmir keeps coming up, once and for all can we agree that the UN Resolutions cannot be implemented as written? This would require that the Pakistan Army first withdraws from all of the former kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit and Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, before a plebiscite can be held. We know that is extremely unlikely to happen.That does not mean that efforts cannot be made to honour the spirit of the UN Resolutions and there is room for a lot of discussion on how this should be done. But simply to say “apply the resolutions” is to kill discussion.As for what the people of Kashmir want, you would have to ask them. And then of course, you would have to be clear whether you mean all the people of Ladakh, Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir taken together (as was the case in the U.N. Resolutions) or taken separately. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can get us some guest bloggers from the Kashmir Valley.I’d also ask Indians on this post to consider that Pakistan has legitimate interests in Kashmir, not least but because the water which feeds its rivers comes from the Indian side (ie Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley). You rarely hear this discussed in India, but the subject is raised often by Pakistanis.So some kind of solution has to be found which everyone can live with, India, the people of the former kingdom of J&K, and Pakistan.If we are going to discuss Kashmir on the blog, then please let’s get past the sterile positions of saying on one side that the UN resolutions must be implemented, and on the other that Kashmir is not disputed.Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

And yet expect Pakistan to sit in the bleachers as a spectator?- Posted by Musaafir==How can any one ever expect paks to sit in the bleachers? ha. you the men of action. Look where you are.When you say “face the consequences” I assume you are trying to intimidate us. Keep trying. It looks like just like other paks here you like to think we are about the same.It takes a lot of hard work to build insituitions, economic and educational infrastructure and foundations of a functional state.Look at the “consequences” you are enjoying. Whatever you have in mind the “consequences” I assume terrorism. Our people are ready. Have been always ready.Your attempts at inflicting “consequences” on India has only made India stronger. Take the case of your Mumbai terror attack. The good outcome of this has been strngthening of communal harmony in India.Myra, the water issue has been discussed before on this blog. The beneficiaries of being upper riparians are the people living in Jammu Kashmir,not those in Mumbai and Delhi.

 

Myra said:> As for what the people of Kashmir want, you would have to ask them. And then of course, you would have to be clear whether you mean all the people of Ladakh, Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir taken together (as was the case in the U.N. Resolutions) or taken separately.There is one other point to consider. Since 1947, there has also been a degree of ‘ethnic cleansing’ that has taken place in Kashmir, with the Hindu ‘Pundit’ community driven out of the state by militants/terrorists (India’s own case of Internally Displaced Persons). Any plebiscite must take into account their wishes, not an easy task when the community is now scattered around the globe.Kashmir may have been majority-Muslim at the time of partition, but not by the overwhelming percentage that it is today. Holding a plebiscite with the current demographics would be similar to the US holding an election in a marginally Blue state after first driving out all the Republicans. There is absolutely no chance of a fair verdict in such a case.This is why I think Pakistan’s insistence on ‘Kashmir first, peace afterwards’ is flawed. The omelette cannot be unscrambled now, and someone or the other is bound to be unhappy.It would be far better if the stakes were lowered instead, i.e., if the two countries agreed to put Kashmir on the backburner and concentrated on improving relations first. When relations are peaceful, it will be far easier to decide a question like Kashmir. I predict it will not even make front-page news at that stage.If an apple tree grows on a vaguely demarcated boundary between my house and my neighbour’s, then the nature of the solution regarding who eats the apples will be critically dependent on the relationship between my neighbour and myself. If we don’t trust each other, we will fight over every apple, and waste time and money trying to prevent the other person from getting a single apple advantage. On the other hand, if we’re good friends, it’s quite possible to imagine one of us telling the other, “Go ahead, help yourself, I can’t eat all of this by myself.”The pity is, India and Pakistan are both so much bigger than Kashmir, and the stakes in terms of economic progress are so much higher than the stakes in Kashmir. The two countries should get their priorities right. Peace, cooperation and trade first. The fruits of the apple tree can be divided (more amicably) later on. The people of Kashmir will themselves be happier with a situation where they’re spoilt for choice. Independence or alignment with either country should be a yawn-inducing decision. I would like to see a situation where Kashmiri businessmen can freely buy in Mumbai and sell in Karachi, students can study in Lahore, work in Kolkata, investors can buy shares on India’s National Stock Exchange and agricultural property in Sindh, etc., etc. Right now, the state is an economic wasteland with huge standing armies on either side and people kept artificially poor because of political tension. It’s obscene.Regards,Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh:”It would be far better if the stakes were lowered instead, i.e., if the two countries agreed to put Kashmir on the backburner and concentrated on improving relations first. When relations are peaceful, it will be far easier to decide a question like Kashmir. I predict it will not even make front-page news at that stage.”But what then of the people of Kashmir who are caught in the middle (including the Hindus you mention, some of whom would like to return before they are too old)?One thing you hear frequently from Kashmiris is that there is a new generation of young people who have turned their back on militancy and want to try to achieve their aims through peaceful political protest. Yet if they are unable to achieve these aims relatively quickly – and youth is not known for patience – the risk is of there being a “second intifada” which will be open to exploitation by those who have a vested interest in maintaining conflict.Also if I can extend your apple tree analogy a bit with a personal story, you said that once peace is achieved “it’s quite possible to imagine one of us telling the other, “Go ahead, help yourself, I can’t eat all of this by myself.”After my parents died, my sister and I argued about what should happen to our family house, which has the most wonderful plum and apple trees in the garden. We’ve now made peace, and both of us collect the fruit when we can. But while we argued, much of the fruit dropped and rotted on the grass. You can see the risk of something similar happening to the youth of Kashmir.Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

I said:> The two countries should get their priorities right. Peace, cooperation and trade first. The fruits of the apple tree can be divided (more amicably) later on. The people of Kashmir will themselves be happier with a situation where they’re spoilt for choice.Myra said:> But what then of the people of Kashmir who are caught in the middle (including the Hindus you mention, some of whom would like to return before they are too old)?As you can see from the two quotes above, a lot depends on how the situation is framed. When India and Pakistan are at each other’s throats, the people of Kashmir are “caught in the middle”. When India and Pakistan have vigorous trade relations, the people of Kashmir are “spoilt for choice”. I’m sure we all prefer the latter situation. The question is, what steps do we take to get there?Nobody would say the people of Central Europe are “caught in the middle”. The EU has left them spoilt for choice. They can live, work and invest anywhere in Europe. I see the possibility of achieving a EU-like environment in South Asia. However, the apples and plums are rotting on the ground as we speak.Regards,Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Raj,I might have hit a raw nerve there when I said ‘consequences’. Maybe it was another bad choice of words from my side. Looking at it now maybe I should have used the term, ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’. My intention was not to intimidate you, or anyone else for that matter. I just wanted to make you realize that all actions have a reaction.Presence of so many troops to enforce the wishes of the Indian government in Kashmir will eventually have a massive negative reaction. This reaction will come from within Kashmiris and not as a result of any encouragement from the outside. Your army’s actions are making sure of that already. You can subdue people with force for a while but not forever.That is all I wanted to convey and you automatically assumed the worst. Please stop finding demons in every nook and cranny and try to face the reality that force and oppression against the general public will not work in Kashmir or any other part of the world for that matter.

 

Keith: “That was his point. They are not prevalent at all because he, as an Indian had to read them on the net to learn about them. Obviously, where he lives people haven’t mentioned them, much less believed them.”In India people still live in pocket mentality. There are different worlds inside the country. If you get into any of them, you would think that is what all of India is made of. I have been to places like West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab etc. In each entity the world spins around the center of these regions. People living in these regions are more focused on the issues confined to the region mostly and to a much smaller extent on overall national issues. Many people in the Northern part of the country consider the whole South to be one entity and treat it as such. So conspiracy theories and rumors in one part of the country do not spread across the whole nation uniformly. People in Punjab, Gujerat, Maharashtra which are close to Pakistan are a lot more sensitive issues in that country. People from other part of the country support their views, but are not so much agitated about Pakistan. Someone living in Bangalore or further South has local regional issues that far outweigh the priorities in another region. The nation has evolved that way. No Indian can claim anything general about the whole country. So I am not surprised that Rajeev has not heard much of the rumors that I mentioned. Ask the Indians on this forum how many states are there in the North Eastern part of the nation without referring to anything or list the issues, you will see some level of blinking. Conspiracy theories are made based on people’s own outlook and their exposure to them. This does not mean they are not prevalent.Kashmir probably stands as the issue that is known nationwide in urban centers. Other than that, one can write a book on the conspiracy theories that are floating around in India, Pakistan and elsewhere.I am not in support of Mr. Anjum here. I was just making a point.

 

Anyone has seen this video? It seems relevant to the topic here.http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect  /dawnnews/dawnnews-test/documentaries/a n-enemy-imaginedWe can see where conspiracy theories against external threat come from.

 

“I’d also ask Indians on this post to consider that Pakistan has legitimate interests in Kashmir, not least but because the water which feeds its rivers comes from the Indian side (ie Ladakh and the Kashmir Valley).”Must confess to be a little hazy about the implication of this statement. However, am replying to it as I understand it.The fact is that this is not a situation which exists only between India – Pakistan. Many countries have common rivers. The Brahmaputra, in our context, originates in China. In fact there is some controversy about that right now. While that gives us a legitimate interest as to what happens to its waters, it in no case makes out a case for claiming territorial rights. Besides there are international agreements and treaties on the issue and these can be contested, argued and discussed as is happening. How this justifies claim on territory or the future of Kashmir is not readily understood.I’m sorry but a power outage forces me to conclude this here and will continue on the other aspects of the Kashmir situation later.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Musaafir,Thanks for the cool-headed response and clarification.I don’t think Indians are too happy about their government having to maintain large numbers of troops in Kashmir either. But if you then ask why, the answer will be “Pakistan”. After Kargil, India has learnt the lesson that it cannot lower its guard for even a moment.(I personally believe that another Kargil is impossible in the current international climate. The last one not only brought Pakistan no territorial gains, it also exposed its international isolation and diplomatic rebukes even from friendly states. But rightly or wrongly, India has now learnt the lesson never to let down its guard, and hence the standing army.)Your response shows you to be thoughtful rather than hotheaded, and since you obviously approach the issue from the other side to Indians, your contribution would be valuable in this forum. What do you suggest the various parties should do to de-escalate? I don’t think there’s too much controversy over the target state – peace, self-determination in some suitable form, economic prosperity, etc. The vexing question relates to the immediate next steps to be taken by various parties.Diplomacy is too serious a business to be left to the diplomats ;-), so let’s kick some ideas around. If I may make a pun on your id ‘Musaafir’ (traveller), this is bound to be a long journey, but I’m sure with a problem-solving attitude on all sides, we’ll get to a good destination, all of us.Regards,Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

There has been a gradual effort in US administration to weaken the Pakistani army and nudge Pakistan towards Democratic leaders. But just after the Kerry Lugar bill (which was a major blow to the Pakistani army powers), the conspiracy theories exploded all over Pakistan. All these conspiracy theories were usefull in uniting the Pakistani public together to show their Anti-American feeling to the world and thus resulting in withdrawl of the stern conditions in the KL Bill. It was good chess playing by the Pakistani army but they forgot one thing. What will happen to the Pakistani public who are amusingly called the most dis-illusioned bunch by everyone in this world.Conspiracy theories are just spin circulated by the leaders to keep the gullible public in their hold.

Posted by Sunil | Report as abusive
 

Mr. Raj,I might have hit a raw nerve there when I said ‘consequences’.– Posted by Musaafir==Nice try! But another round of new spin.It is funny you are lecturing Indians about oppression wouldn’t work. May be it is not funny but appropriate because paks found out oppression didn’t work in Bangladesh and now it is not working in Balochistan and Waziristan.You are out of touch with reality. Thanks for your kindness and concerns about India.Indian government has experience in handling separatist movements. All of them have died out, before reconciliation the violent elements have to be defeated.That’s why the army is there. Indian army didn’t go in to slaughter unarmed civilians as Paskistan army did in Bangladesh. But to defeat and eliminate those who were slaughtering kashmiris (mostly muslims) who were opposed to them and slaughtered the minorities. General throwing of bombs at unarmed civilians in buses, trains, market places, slaughtering of sleeping villagers were all part of the “freedom struggle” that had to be stopped.Kashmiris will “join the mainstream’ as we like to say. We’ll work on it. Reconciliation with Kashmiris is very much feasible in the multi-ethnic, diverse democracy of India and it will happen.Kuldip Nayar, a harsh critic of Indian govt had written a piece on his recent trip to Kashmir.http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/conn ect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspa per/editorial/kashmir-without-a-soul-309 “It was an interesting talk which I heard when I was sitting with the Hurriyat leaders. A young Pakistani American told them that what had surprised him after the span of three years since his last visit was that Kashmir was “being assimilated by India quickly”. They were embarrassed but did not want to reply to him in my presence.”

 

Regarding Kashmir, if India can hold on its position throughout cold war when Pakistan was America’s pet ‘freind’ and also during the horrendous times when Taliban ruled Afganistan and also during the time when Pakistani terrorists were killing innocent people in Kashmir everyday, then what makes Pakistan think that it can even get India to even talk about Kashmir, if it does not want to.Kashmir issue is just another distraction by Pakistani leaders and generals to take the mind away from the Pakistani public from the pathetic condition Pakistan is in. Its a good issue because the Pakistan leaders know that the Indians will never give up and they dont have to think of new things to distract Pakistanis.To all my Pakistani freinds I ask this. If you call Mr Zardari Mr 10% (because he pockets 10% of everything) than how can you assume that your generals are clean. Have you ever thought that maybe its the Pakistani Army which is the most corrupt body in Pakistan and hence have kept Pakistan in this condition. Are they saviours or exploiters.

Posted by sunil | Report as abusive
 

“But what then of the people of Kashmir who are caught in the middle (including the Hindus you mention, some of whom would like to return before they are too old)?”Myra,Personally I had very little time for Musharraf, but I did agree wholeheartedly with one suggestion of his. Which was that we should first concentrate on things which can be easily solved and progress gradually. Eventually the larger issues would not be so intractable. In effect, that amounts to perhaps putting a final comprehensive settlement on the back burner, it will then be possible to see genuine hope of a meaningful outcome. Having broken our heads, literally and figuratively, on this issue for over 60 years, I think perhaps there is sense in a piecemeal and gradual solution.I agree, youth is impatient, but then it is not just this generation, youth has always been impatient. Personally I think it is the total lack of any progress whatsoever and mere time worn rephrased rhetoric being thrown up at them, which is the real problem. Once they see some sign of definite progress they will be more accepting. They may be relatively impatient, they are also far smarter.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Musafir,Pakistanis seem to view Indian Kashmir through the eyes of the Pakistani military establishment & their ‘facts’ on Kashmir are based on the propaganda churned by that establishment. In the mind of an average Pakistani, atrocities are being committed on innocent Kashmiris by Indian troops on a daily basis as hundreds (or even thousands) get raped & murdered everyday. Although, I don’t deny that such deplorable & heinous incidents do occur in isolation, the real numbers are no where near what the Pakistani establishment would have you believe.You object to the large presence of the Indian army in Kashmir but you forget that the reason for their presence are the repeated attempts by Pakistan to invade Indian Kashmir. Do I need to remind you about ‘Operation Gibralter’ conducted by the Pakistani army in 1965, to invade Kashmir & ‘Operation Badr’ in 1999 (which led to Kargil war), when Pakistani army infiltrated Kashmir disguised as ‘Kashmiri freedom fighters’? In light of these repeated misadventures by Pakistan, what do you expect the Indian Govt to do? Just surrender & watch the Pak army take over Kashmir?Even Indians aren’t happy about the fact that kashmiris have to live under the presence of the Indian army but Pakistan also deserves a huge chunk of the blame for it. The valley was peaceful till the late 80s until pakistan decided to dispatch proxy armies (idle after the Afghan war) into Kashmir & bleed India with a thousands cuts. I know you are sympathetic towards the kashmiri muslims but I’d like to know, do you have any compassion for the tens of thousands of kashmiri hindus & sikhs who were butchered or displaced by Pakistani terrorists?

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Shastri:@In India people still live in pocket mentality.”-you are vindicating me that theories stay local. But why turn negative by using such words.@Many people in the Northern part of the country consider the whole South to be one entity and treat it as such.”-what’s the need of saying this? Some kind of anti-North stuff! I can give you several examples but I do not see this article needs this. Theories exist, but stay local and the neutral and befitting words are language diversity, large size of India and we do not have a religion to drum beat the lyrics of theories so they do not reach crescendo unless such theories are attractive and all can relate to and there are those.As you would have noticed I am from Punjab, half my family is from somewhere in Maharashtra, stayed in South for 3 yrs, been all over India except NE, Srinagar. There are people like me all over (yes South too) and still they do not know what you said. because stuff is local.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Myra,“If we are going to discuss Kashmir on the blog, then please let’s get past the sterile positions of saying on one side that the UN resolutions must be implemented, and on the other that Kashmir is not disputed.”I think you are doing an injustice to many if not all Indians here when you say that they think there is no dispute. If that were really true, there would be hardly any traffic on this blog. What Indians are saying is that they disagree with Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir. In fact that is what both sides are debating here –their respective stands. Unfortunately it doesn’t go beyond that, because there is no easy solution. We are none of us policy makers.I think the primary reason this problem is so difficult to resolve centers around the very basis of partition. While one side considered religion as the basis of nationhood the other maintained exactly the opposite. Pakistan’s case is primarily emotional based on Islamic bonding, India’s is based on the fact that all religions live in relative harmony, with a few occasional blemishes and also on the legalities of the Kashmir issue. Unfortunately it often seems as if there is no meeting ground between the two approaches.As I mentioned earlier, the approach has to change. Instead of aiming for a comprehensive solution, it may be worthwhile to move with the easier to handle, lesser irritants first as advocated by Musharaff. The Indian Prime Minister took this further when he said that though borders could not be redrawn, they could be made irrelevant. I find both these have merit and carry the seeds that could lead to possible a solution, peaceful and acceptable to all.Look at the optimism that was generated by the mere starting of a bus across the LOC. That momentum unfortunately could not be maintained, the reasons are only too well known and are not under discussion here. I hope it gets back on the rails in the near future. Naive and unoriginal as it may seem, I think this is a way forward.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Dara. It’s tougher than it looks. If the borders become irrelevant so will the Kashmir dispute. If an Indian Kashmiri can feely travel all over Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and the rest of Pakistan, yet still benefit from Indian stability and economic might, how much incentive is there to pursue a union with Pakistan? There is a certain segment in Pakistan that understands this. That’s why if push comes to shove they won’t tolerate open borders or anything else that leads to peace. Unfortunately for them, the risks to Pakistan in such a gane plan are huge, as recent events have shown…

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Keith,As I was making my comment it did strike me that there would be opposition, but I looked at it coming from the hard line separatists of the Hurriyat, like Geelani, who would probably make calls for a boycott of the proposals etc. which the people of the state would ignore as usual. I did not think beyond that.One thing which intrigues me is that Pakistan’s stand is delightfully vague. It started off claiming Kashmir as its own, subsequently it was amended to azaadi and ascertaining the wishes of the people of Kashmir. As far as I know, no elections have ever been held in the Northern Areas. Moreover, I also remember reading somewhere that the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which wanted to contest recent elections in POK, was disqualified. It refused to give an undertaking accepting accession to Pakistan. Strange way of ascertaining the wishes of the people of Kashmir.Seems like two different yardsticks to me and that is why I find your views interesting and plausible.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Rajeev,Sorry for writing irksome words. What I said was not directed entirely at you. It was more generic. I have seen many Indians who claim things based only on what they have seen and heard. And they’d make sweeping statements that what is mentioned does not exist. I have seen Indians argue with each other in front of their American colleagues in grad school when an innocent question would be put by the American. It would be something like, “Are all Indians vegetarians?” I have seen people try to impress the “goray log” with sweeping statements in their responses. Some would say all Indians are vegetarians. Some would say all Indians are IIT grads. This is mostly out of pride or ignorance or both. My response came from that experience. But I have always admired your mature words on this forum.

 

Myra:Is the whole discussion about Indian Kashmir or are we talking about whole Kashmir? There is a strong need of information about Pakistan Kashmir for a meaningful discussion.I do not know the best way to get a response from you to why Reuters is silent about Azad Kashmir. Many commnets have asked this question but I have not seen a response.If Pakistan Kashmir is peaceful, then it must be easy for journalists to go there and get information.Recently, Kashmiris from POK living in UK officially condemned Pakistan’s 1947 invasion of Kashmir. They blamed Pakistan for the current mess.http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/ videos/news/Kashmiri-groups-condemn-Paki stans-1947-invasion/videoshow/5153636.cm sMyra, any word on POK?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

moving away from Kashmir and to the conspiracy theories floating in Pak, here is a link from PDF ( i got it from reuters blog)http://forum.pakistanidefence.com/i ndex.php?showtopic=85988The post is about arrest of dawood gilani a pakistani (muslim?) by FBI and how developments are pointing out to his involvement in Mumbai carnage.Check the original link in the post and the one given in the blog and compare just the highlighted sections.How the poster has tried to paint Jew-out-to-destory-pakistan theme by selectively dropping/adding sentences from the original post…And they talk of disinformation by West!

Posted by chirkut | Report as abusive
 

Shastri:@Rajeev,Sorry for writing irksome words. What I said was not directed entirely at you. It was more generic. I have seen many Indians who claim things based only on what they have seen and heard.”-That is so graceful on your part to say so. All I can say from personal experience is that North-South gap is fast decreasing. I still do not lose an opportunity to make fun of my Hyderabadi friends as Madrassi and they return in kind. On serious note, I was struck by the number of people in India who think that all Punjabis are Sikhs.@Some would say all Indians are vegetarians. Some would say all Indians are IIT grads. This is mostly out of pride or ignorance or both. My response came from that experience.”–Perhaps they will settle down with time.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

I admire people like Shastri still present in India and Pakistan both, who can think and not try to canoe in river-emotions of Kashmir.

(One cannot make obey and win heart of someone simultaneously, either one could be achieved, but wealth and success only follow where love goes).

But Love between Indo Pak died forever when both slaughtered forefathers of each other in 1947 without giving a thought to children watching these murders; When these children (along with their ideas) will die, reconciliation process will begin (logically).

But it can NEVER happen as Pakistan’s creation is on Ideology (two nation theory), and unless it cease to exist (taking along with it The country Pakistan) India will never be pleased, and should not (I will not if I Be India) and vice versa.

TO BE CONTINUED

Posted by TahirHussain | Report as abusive
 

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