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

Well written Myra. As usual. And an important issue to address. Comments on this one should be interesting.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

Myra asks “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?”===In case you missed you have summed up the strategy of those who promote this propanda! This is not new though.

 

I’ll start. What stuns me the most about all these conspiracy theories is that those who propose them really think the world considers Pakistan THAT important. I find it surprising that they think the CIA has nothing better to do than obsess over destabilizing Pakistan (while the State department is funnelling billions in aid on the other side). And they can’t seem to elucidate to what end though…other than maybe that the US wants to grab the nukes. Right. So the way to secure nuclear weapons is to destabilize the country that is holding them?To believe these conspiracy theories, you’d have to accept that the world revolves around Pakistan. That’s quite a leap of faith on the part of Pakistanis. I wish they’d watch more CNN. The only time Pakistan is mentioned is when there’s a bombing or when there’s a story about where the terrorists were hiding. If Bin Laden was knocked off tomorrow, and American troops were back home, Pakistan would be just as unimportant as it was pre-9/11. There’d be no mention at all of Pakistan on CNN if there was no War on Terror on.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

@Myra: “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”Not just foreign journalists, Myra. Any Pakistani journalist, intellectual, writer etc. who discredits the India-US-Israel theory & blames the current wave of terrorism on fundamentalists or criticizes the military/intelligence agencies for nurturing terrorism, is also labeled as a ‘CIA, RAW & Mossad Agent’ & he/she is subjected to a barrage of death threats.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

“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?”Myra,A typical answer to that would be to strengthen secular education system that produces youth who can reason and inquire about the background & intentions of perpetrators of these conspiracy theories. Second thing would be economic well-being of the nation that can stuff some more common-sense into the minds of people.But somehow, these things don’t seem to work in case of Pakistan as effectively as one would desire. The jealousy & hatred(hell-bound vehicles, if I may use that term) comes in their way, I would say. What else could be the explanation for the fact the commander-in-chief of a country would promise grass-breads to its people in future and they would swallow that.Conspiracy theories thrive on irrational fears of the people. That fear alone is the matchstick, fuel, and fire behind it. Pakistani mindset seems like that of a kid who is afraid of the dark and bogeymen and as time goes by and kid matures, his fears go away without any external intervention. In time, when Pakistani people get more appreciation on global front, prosper and start realizing their true potential, these conspiracy theories would have nothing sustainable. Till then, world needs to be patient (and vigilant). I guess thats the only way out.

Posted by Seth | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan, as a nation, has received a tremendous shock due to the wave of terror that has swept their country over the last 2+ years. It is difficult for the Pakistani people to accept the fact that the people creating havoc in their country are indeed fellow Muslims & fellow Pakistanis and that the current situation is largely due to the misdoings of it’s own revered military establishment.The Pakistani society is going through the 5 stages of grief: 1)Denial, 2)Anger (Blame), 3)Bargaining, 4)Depression & 5)Acceptance. It’s not hard to see that the Pakistanis are currently stuck between stages 1 & 2. There’s a long way to go for acceptance.

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan’s problem with conspiracy come from three main issues:-A low level of education in its population.-A victim mentality created by Islam.-A belief that Pakistan is the center of the universe.It is ironic that these very things are the reason the insurgency is so strong in Pakistan, making Pakistan suddenly important to the world.Now that Pakistan is in civil war, with nuclear weapons within reach of militants, other nations do feel the need to interfere.Which is even more ironic, because this then confirms the beliefs of the population, even though those beliefs were irrational at the time of creation.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive
 

Myra,I do understand the intent of your discussion. The following point may be slightly off-topic but I do take an exception to your statement that “conspiracy theories are not new to South Asia”. I think it is improper to all the other nations to be painted with the same brush as Pakistan’s.I can’t speak for people in India who aren’t educated as the lack of education at least delays if not completely hampers enlightening of their thought process. Such people are usually also poor and are mostly concerned with the earning of their daily bread.The people who do go to school in India are taught to reason things out and accept the reality. The problem with Pakistan is that it is exactly the educated middle class that believes in conspiracy theories for the reason that the reality of the situation is incompatible with their perceptions that are inebriated with heavy indoctrination against India, Israel and the US (probably not in that order).I would encourage the readers to see the following video at CNN. It never ceases to amaze me that despite what’s happening in Pakistan on day to day basis, a Pakistani’s world-view (“leader of the muslim world”, “anti-India, anti-semitic”, “caliphate”) is static and sacrosanct. That being the case, the only way you can fit the reality into a static viewpoint is by the use of conspiracy theories.As you would see in the video, even the fashion models and university students who subscribe to these theories.http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/ video/world/2009/11/17/watson.pakistan.d enial.cnn

Posted by mayo | Report as abusive
 

The U.S, U.K and some other powers are partly responsible for this for a different reason than it normally proposed — its because for decades they have exaggerated Pakistan’s importance, nourished it with military and strategic support, and allowed it to punch well above its weight. If Pakistan was allowed to be its puny self, without the $ 50 billion or so support from outside, it would be a poor, middling country, trying to work its way up the economic ladder, with none of the delusions of grandeur it currently has. It is the west that has promoted this delusion and slept while Pakistani military generals pursued it with U.S $$$. U.S, U.S and others in effect bankrolled a terrorist country that nakedly uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy. Cut off the $$$ and Pakistan will be on its knees in no time begging for food, not guns or nukes.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive
 

“Despite all the anti-Americanism on show, lines for American visas in Pakistan, have never been longer”http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/conne ct/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakist an/11-wooing-the-middle-class–il–02

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

When the British Empire was ending, it was British policy to create states which will provide bridge-heads for future strategic objectives. From the British perspective, the creation of Pakistan fulfilled that objective. This interview between Jinnah and Margaret Bourke-White shows how Pakistan’s founder saw it as the lynch-pin in the Great Super Power Rivalry.http://iref.homestead.com/Messia h.htmlFlush with financial and military assistance from the West and then from China & S.Arabia, Pakistan has been able to punch way above its weight class. The key role played by the ISI in driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan further inflated this perception of grandeur. The failure of the current US military action in Afghanistan has led some Pakistanis to label the country as the “vanquisher of super-powers”!However this elevated position comes at a cost. When the entire country is available for rent, the people naturally feel that their destiny is controlled by foreigners. With the rise in militant Islam and Jehadis, the enemy of course are the evil Hindus/Jews/Christians and their proxies RAW/Mossad/CIA respectively who are out to destroy the only Islamic Nuclear Power (another feather).Pakistanis rarely if ever question what their true role or place in the world *SHOULD* be. Most of them are high on the opium that they are “vanquishers of super-powers” while forgetting that their’s is a bankrupt country, existing on the largesses of foreign tax-payers.

Posted by Victor | Report as abusive
 

I’d like to see what our Pakistani friends think about these conspiracy theories. Hopefully they’ll share their opinions with us. I’d like to know why the Pakistani people believe them so easily and what can be done to overcome these conspiracy theories.To be honest, right now, I find this overwhelming faith Pakistanis place in these theories a little scary. It’s eerily reminiscent of the way Germans bought in to all the stories that the Nazis put out about the Jews..which makes me wonder if all this myth making will lead to heightened hostilities in the region (with India) and increasing radicalization in Pakistan.

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

basis –>> “We have no power, so why take responsibility”

Posted by chandra | Report as abusive
 

This story has been planted in reuters by RAW-MOSSAD-CIA trio and Neo cons!!!!

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive
 

Conspiracy theories are not the monopoly of Pakistanis alone.There is no clear evidence of Bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11. He leads the Al Qaeda. But the US came on the theory that he was the one who led the attack. All the attackers were Arabs who were staged in Germany. But the US bombed Afghanistan. Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. But Taliban was driven out and now they are talking about making peace with them.They made conspiracy theories about WMDs in Iraq and invaded them. That no one will talk about. On what theory did George Bush decide to attack Iraq and how many people died in that attack?Indians accuse China of sustaining low intensity militancy in their North Eastern states. But that is not conspiracy theory.We suspect a lot of things. They do not have to become conspiracy theories.

 

Foreign journalists have not escaped, being accused of working variously for the CIA, Mossad, and India’s R&AW spy agency…Just like Daniel Pearl was accused of working for Moassad by a Pakistani newspaper after he went missing.If a Taliban member went up to a Pakistani and introduced himself as a Taliban member and stabbed the Pakistani. Then the Pakistani’s last thought would still be that CIA/RAW/Mossad killed him. This is the Pakistani mindset and its not going to change.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

From NY Times, 17/11/2009.Last month the Web site Pakistan Daily reported that a former chief of staff of Pakistan’s army had claimed in a television interview that Blackwater was involved in the assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.(WOW! and there was I believing the Pakistani police report that it was the deadly sunroof of the car that killed her)Pointing to an even broader conspiracy the same writer suggested,Pakistan is under the attack of various Talibans which include Indian Talibans, Israeli Talibans, Karzai Talibans… British Talibans and American Talibans which of course include Blackwater.These conspiracy theories are a complete joke. I mean, what is next? Is Blackwater (aka Xe) going to be blamed if Pakistan lose their next cricket match?

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

Cut off the $$$ and Pakistan will be on its knees in no time begging for food, not guns or nukes.- Posted by JimNo Jim, they will eat grass and that is not a conspiracy theory because Pakistan’s former PM, Z. Bhutto famously stated: “If India builds the Bomb, we will eat grass or leaves, even go hungry. But we will get one of our own.” He ended up on the end of a hangman’s noose.Though I do see your point.What is the use of having many weapons to defend your country when you cannot feed it?How useful is a nuclear missile under your bed when the guys attacking your home have AK-47s?

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

Mohammad Arjum,”Conspiracy theories are not the monopoly of Pakistanis alone.”They made conspiracy theories about WMDs in Iraq and invaded them. That no one will talk about. On what theory did George Bush decide to attack Iraq and how many people died in that attack?”People do talk about Iraq, but probably not much on this blog since it is about Pakistan. But let’s assume for the purposes of argument that WMD in Iraq was a conspiracy theory (some people call it a lie, others an error). Would you not then argue that it should have been challenged vigorously by every single section of civil society?Also OBL did claim responsibility for 9/11.Victor,That Bourke-White profile of Jinnah is fascinating.But I’m not convinced by your conclusion:”When the British Empire was ending, it was British policy to create states which will provide bridge-heads for future strategic objectives.”Are you referring to the argument that the British deliberately created Pakistan to permanently weaken India, or to give itself a bridge-head? I’ve heard that argument many times – the converse argument in Pakistan is that Britain deliberately withheld Kashmir to permanently weaken Pakistan. I do think that argument springs from the same notion that big powers have far more control of events than they actually do. Britain at the time was bankrupt, had huge war debts to the United States and was under both American and domestic pressure to give up its empire. Rather than controlling events, it actually lost control in the run-up to partition since it was unable to prevent the violence which accompanied it.Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Myra, JimConspiracy theories are a classic defense mechanism (mental) to ward off the despondent state the nation sank in; the first signs of the conspiracy theories became apparent when the school civic and history books were doctored in early 70s during Zias regime. A few Dawn columnists of late have been working hard towards bringing reversal of mindset. Jims post highlights the growing realization in the region about the reckless funding given to Paks over the decades, direct result of which is creation of a military prowess. Now they (donors) created a monster and they cannot contain the radical forces taking birth from there. More than N. Korea and Iran, it is the Pak that is the most dangerous evil in Asia. The smaller neighbors, driven by the security need, will have to boost their militaries to be ready, by the time, Pak throws in its military might around. Clearly Iran, Afghan and central asian countries are the future victims of this imbalance.US will have to take the flak then.

 

If I conspired to have someone murdered, I would be as much to blame for that murder than the killer himself. Maybe more after all I am the one who ordered it, funded it, nurtured, trained it, encourged it and most of all knew all along about it.That is the reality with USA, the CIA knew all along where the Pak millatry was heading in reagrds to nurturing the Talibans, LET and so on. Now to leave Pakistan when it needs the support of so called civilised nations, the time has gone to point finger who created the monstor but how to eliminate but what we do see, hear “do more” ” not enough” is NOT good enough.To us Pakistanis USA is bigger culprit because it nurtured the millatry and always favoured General over Prime Minister. It could have stopped Zia, hanging Bhutto after all Bhutto was the democraticaly elected but they favoured Dictator as they all over the world. I can name countless countries which USA has full diplomatic ties but do not even say a word to promote democracy but do business with murderers, dictators.But yes as Pakistanis we have ask why do we allow our generalls and corrupt leaders to get away with so much. The simple answer is lack of education, awarness but yes the media is free and the people are being enlightened slowly. We have been in the USA camp for long time since the creation of this nation, for all who say USA gave billions in aid totally agree but that is nothing compare to what the losses for Pakistan amount to just to mention the over million afghans that migrated to Pakistan in 1980 with it brought the gun culture, drugs and so on. So yes few blank cheques might have been given compare that to what the USA spend in Afghanistan fighting the war is nothing…We need another Bhutto NOT Mr 100% a slave to his desires!

Posted by Majid | Report as abusive
 

Majid,It is not the job or responsibility of the US to make sure that there’s democracy in every country of the world. Democracy is certainly encouraged, appreciated & even rewarded but lack of it in a country won’t stop the US from doing business with those countries & safeguarding American interests.Pakistanis like yourself need to lose this victim hood mentality & do some much needed introspection. Pakistan became an independent & sovereign nation in 1947. Then, why did it become so dependent on America to the extent that it let America decide as to who rules the country?Why did Pakistan allow itself to be dictated terms by the US to the extent that the most common saying in Pakistan became “Pakistan is ruled by the 3 A’s: Allah, America & Army”?It’s easy & convenient for Pakistanis like yourself to say that America is responsible for the creation of the Mujahadeen & leaving them after it’s interests were served. The truth is that billions were paid to Pakistan after the victory over the Soviets & your establishment could have spent that money on the rehabilitation of the mujaheddin & bringing them into the mainstream but instead, your Generals pocketed that money & simply directed those mujahadeen towards Kashmir & to create havoc in India & strategic depth in Afghanistan. You guys never complained or blamed the US as long as those militants were killing Indian citizens or destabilizing Afghanistan but now that the monster created by your establishment is killing Pakistanis, you squarely blame the US. How convenient!Nobody is denying that America also sould’ve played it differently & Hilary Clinton has alluded to this on many occasions as well but a bulk of the blame for the current situation, lies with the misdoings, blunders & horrendous policies of your own military establishment. Own up to it!

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

@Myra,I think conspiracy theories and tall tales become the accepted reason for all a person’s and countries ills, when the person or people become psychologically enslaved with a constant slew of propaganda and become helpless/desperate/dismissive/ and therefore resort to blaming others or outside forces for all of their problems.In short, I think Pakistani’s are living an existence of fear, paranoia as the current culture there does not support ever seekingor speaking truth, but seeking easy answers and easy fingerpointing.It takes inner strength, courage and builds character to seek the truth and speak the truth and look at oneself.All of these are either abscent or short in supply in the Pakistani psyche.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive
 

@If I conspired to have someone murdered, I would be as much to blame for that murder than the killer himself. Maybe more after all I am the one who ordered it, funded it, nurtured, trained it, encourged it and most of all knew all along about it.”-MajidMajid: Thanks. On that note, put on trial Hafiz Saeed who is the head of JuD/LeT and ordered its terrrorist memebrs Kasab and his gangsters to attack Mumbai. Would you?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive
 

Myra,The conspiracy rumour mills work when the public(common man) does not have access to the Truth or not the clear picture of an event. Human mind is an amazing piece of work perfected from evolution of the fittest. We can link events to emotions and make out something which might not even be close to truth, becoz thatz what our minds wants us to believe.Coming to Pakistan, from my perspective people who can rationalise are a becoming a minority and their voices suppressed day by day. The conspiracy writers are gaining more weightage, as they fill the vaccum created by lack of truth with a bizzare explanation.Every nation has its own conspiracy churning unit, except incase of Pakistan, the ratio is much higher. Best way to root out these industries it to get people productive and the economic fruit need to reach until the common man.Praveen

Posted by Praveen | Report as abusive
 

I find it interesting that a lot of the conspiracy theories bear a resemblance to the state propaganda of countries like North Korea.Are they just getting their news from the wrong source?

Posted by Keith | Report as abusive
 

When a person goofs up he seldom blames himself and usually puts it down to back stabbing, envy, or being made a scapegoat. It is never his fault. Similarly, when there is upheaval, people will look for scapegoats. In many countries, ordinary people put the onus on governments. Equally effective is when governments pass the buck to a foreign hand. Its all done ingeniously and some have mastered the art. Even gone to the extent of rewriting history to suit themselves and their myths. Eventually though it is a matter of not being able to fool all the people all the time. Some day the bubble bursts, and the later that happens the greater the backlash.”..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?” MyraOne way, I guess, is to have a healthy and pro-active media, Unfortunately that too is generally muzzled or brow beaten. It happened in India during the emergency too, but there were a few people who didn’t bend or bow. Similarly, one gets the impression that there are a few people in the Pak media who are willing to stick their necks out. The existence of a relatively free media is a major positive.

Posted by Dara | Report as abusive
 

Peshawar court explosion kills 16 (BBC, 19/11/2009)I wonder what the conspiracy theory behind this bombing is going to be? However, this story was ‘buried’ in the BBC website, which shows how these incidents are becoming the norm in the news.Conspiracy theories only stop being heard once they are fully unfounded then people tend to act as if they had never been uttered. They are silenced by the truth. Only the die hard zealots refuse to believe he truth, even if its presented to their own eyes.

Posted by bulletfish | Report as abusive
 

Arguments, reasons, philosophy bla bla. White can be reasoned black and vice versa; only the broken-one should be emotional.Everything created has and ending, even the world itself, be it nations, countries, rulers, powers all are alike in fate with time.In History of Nations, the rise is destined to those who water their homeland with blood of martyrs in time of need; and Pakistan is no exception, world knows our struggle against India and Britain; prior and during 1947; we rose.USA, India or Israel are not divine planners that Pakistan cannot defeat or had not defeated earlier (Subcontinent had been, is, and will be a “Jewel of Pearl” for those hungry to scavenge on resources of other nations (for own material benefits) by planning conflicts-of-war for it at home while dreaming comfort in their own homes), but when same-weight war reaches their own territories, they gladly give the insolvents Right-to-Live.Harry Truman bombed Japan and since Americans have adopted the policy to atomize any insurgence-against-them anywhere in the whole world, only recent trend is that they just even don’t want any loud noises in the room, fearing someone strong enough to defeat their beloved Truman’s given policy by atomizing them; can’t they be more wiser (like Britain) and not try to be more intelligence; wiser always wins, intelligent not (Jinnah was wiser, he did not get what he wanted, yet he wisely accepted what he had. Pakistan may not have came into being had the other person more wiser or Jinnah more intelligent).Japan is a wise nation, they collected all blood and pour it in plant of their nation; we had become more emotional over time and recently senseless.Everything has an End and so will die emotions, they had already been used much, now don’t make me emotional dears.

Posted by Tahir | Report as abusive
 

I would like to draw attention to a different spectrum. The pakistan scoiety never created true artists. It is not media but true artist who can show mirror to the society. Off course, there were many good artist in Pakistan but they were never recognised in Pakistan but in India. Others had to bow under ‘cultural’ fears. Hence the society never progress. It happened in all earlier societies. But sooner the society accepted, democracy prevailed. Pakistan has to remove fundamentalist tag, first to create true artist. Noone else seek freedom than these people. Film, Music, plays, mehfils etc can create great harmony. This failure makes democracy fail/die in its infancy.You can not just wish for Bhutto or Jinnah to return. You need to create them with proper education. That will happen when you give them freedom

Posted by Vivek | Report as abusive
 

Vivek,In the interests of trying to create a positive tone to this discussion, perhaps you and others might mention those Pakistan artists who are admired in India?Myra

Posted by Myra MacDonald | Report as abusive
 

Heres a excellent analysis from the enlightened media in PAK. Khaled has started a couple of newspapers in Pak over the years. I’ve been reading him for years and found he had started writing less about Islamic fundamentalism in the last few years, which i suspect could be because of the ”Agencies”.http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=qTChUWg9fEE

Posted by uday kumar | Report as abusive
 

VIVEK—I want to ask to have you EVER been to Lahore? I dont think so if you had you will know how culturly vibrant the city is. I live in UK but whenever I have chance to back to Azad Kashmir, I would always go to Lahore as there is so much going on. Its a lively city, food, culture, dramas, music, sufi mehfil and so on. Believe me the Lahoris will NOT allow cowrds terrorist to rule over them.I think its time to built the trust and enhance mutual undertsanding betwen the two countries. Bitter relations between the two neighours only helps the bad guys. By improving relations and trust will squeeze the space for thsese terrorists. Once there is enough trust believe me no one will be able to harm this region from progressing to its full potenial also lifting the afghans out of poverty too. Not using the poor country to enhance individual intrests anway its a wishfull thinking!

Posted by mAJID | Report as abusive
 

A comedic view of Pakistan’s conspiracy theories by Nadeem Pracha (Dawn):http://blog.dawn.com/2009/11/19/e xtra-extra/

Posted by Mortal | Report as abusive
 

There are a lot of conspiracy theories floating around in this world. Let us look at some of them here.1. India’s partition in 1947 by the British. A number of Indians still believe in the theory that the British did this deliberately to trigger a conflict and they knew that it would never subside. It looks very credible because that is how the British managed to conquer the whole sub-continent. And Indians and Pakistanis have proved this theory correct. The way the borders were drawn so arbitrarily prior to partition is one of the supporting arguments about this theory.2. India-China war in 1962. There are theories floating around that Chinese attacked India to divert attention from Mao’s failed experiment that resulted in the deaths of millions of Chinese. It was officially over by 1962.3. Military take over of Pakistan in 1958. Many believe that Ayub Khan was a CIA installed puppet. And CIA had done a similar thing in Iran and other places like Zaire, Philippines etc. One reason Pakistanis blame the US for is the hindrance to democracy from taking root by its covert support to dictators.4. Kashmir conflict in 1948 and the lack of resolution. Again this is looked at as a British plan to keep the fire burning in the sub-continent. In 1948, both countries had British Generals commanding the individual militaries. They surely could have found a resolution.5. Indira Gandhi as a KGB puppet. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden death in Tashkent in 1965 seems too incredible of a coincidence. He was no one’s puppet and might have taken India along a different direction had he continued.6. Tamil rebellion in SL. This has been looked at as a destabilization effort by India and the USSR to prevent the US in setting up a base in Triconamilee in SL. The US set up its base in Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean once the civil war erupted.7. Rajeev Gandhi’s assassination in 1992 as a CIA plot. This might sound too ridiculous. I am from the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. There are theories linking the Janata Govt politicians like Mr. Subramaniam Swami, working in collusion with CIA operatives to eliminate Rajeev Gandhi. This had several purposes according to the theorists – The Indira Gandhi clan was overtly pro-Soviet and anti-US. Cold war was over. No political party or politicians could gain command so long as they were around. And India needed to be goaded along free market economy and an American ally in the long run. LTTE was made as a scape goat and the drama was staged when Rajeev Gandhi came to the state on his final election campaign. The killers could have been caught alive when they were trapped. But no one was allowed to get close for more than 24 hours because “the antidote had to arrive from Delhi.” By the time they got there, everyone was dead. The rumors were that Rajeev assassination was a grand scheme involving many parties. After Rajeev’s death, India opened up the economy and has become an American ally.8. Zia Ul Haq’s death right after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is also looked at as a sabotage by the CIA.9. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan itself is looked at as a “bear trap” set up by the CIA. They knew the bait would be taken and using that they managed to bring the Soviet Union to its knees.So there are long term conspiracy theories floating around. And these come in to existence when people cannot understand the changes that are happening. Some of these changes simply do not make sense and people wonder how people can use nonsensical logic to make decisions that have deep impact on a nation’s history.

 

Myra said:> In the interests of trying to create a positive tone to this discussion, perhaps you and others might mention those Pakistan artists who are admired in India?In addition to the most obvious one (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), my personal favourites during my younger years were the brother and sister duo of Nazia & Zoheb Hassan, and also Hassan Jahangir (of Hawa Hawa fame). Looking back now, perhaps Hassan Jahangir’s music was a bit on the cheap side, but I cannot deny I enjoyed it then.I was also sad to learn that Nazia Hassan died of cancer in 2000 at the young age of 35. I still have their cassette “Young Tarang”.Ganesh

Posted by Ganesh Prasad | Report as abusive
 

I had asked two questions on this forum of our Pakistani friends, but have not received any reply. Let me ask once again:1. If military tensions between India and Pakistan are reduced, the Kashmir issue is resolved to the satisfaction of all parties, and closer economic, social and cultural ties are established, are there any residual fears that Pakistanis would still have with respect to India? For example, it has been mentioned elsewhere that Indian cultural influence could “swamp” Pakistan.2. What do the people of Kashmir want? Would they prefer to be an independent nation (comprising the parts currently held by India and Pakistan), or would they prefer to be part of Pakistan? (And for the sake of completeness, would they like to be part of India?)Unless we have a frank discussion about these and other questions, we cannot move forward. The discussions so far resemble two people covering their ears and shouting at the tops of their voices.Regards,Ganesh

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“I was also sad to learn that Nazia Hassan died of cancer in 2000 at the young age of 35. I still have their cassette “Young Tarang””- Posted by Ganesh PrasadWow, I had no idea that she passed away so young. One of my earliest childhood memories as a li’l kid (probably 3 or 4 yrs old) growing up in Bombay, listening to some of Nazia Hassan’s songs which she sang for Indian movies in the 80s. I’m deeply saddened to learn about her untimely death. RIP!

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With all these conspiracy theories, which, obviously are inspired by non Islamic teachings, practiced by the propagators of conspiracy theories, I have this theory of Islamic Politics, inspired by Islamic way of life… Sure shot way to glory to power via Koran, Sharia and Haddith… I don’t know why Myra doesn’t post it… I hope she doesn’t start to laugh hysterically and delete it under fear of Sharia Law that prohibits laughing too much… Anyways, in any Islamic nation, Koran is sure shot way to glory… One needs a fanatic mulla like Bhaitulla Mehsood… There is no dearth of educated or uneducated idiots whose brain can be whitewashed to make them exploding human bombs… A collection of such persons is sure shot way to power and glory… If someone gets dissatisfied by the Islamic Government then Mulla needs to do same thing… More macabre interpretation of Koran, Sharia, Haddith and some fanatics and wow! New Islamic Government!

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Myra:My 2 cents on the Urdu poets admired in India (these are not contemporary, nevertheless in modern context).1. Iqbal was an Urdu poet and one of the founding fathers of pakistan.His poetry is popular and his one poem is perhaps the widely known among Indians of all ages, even today and is sung in schools and by Army band. he wrote this before the idea of pakistan emerged, he died in India before partition and his poem stays with Indians until today.”Sare jahan se achcha hindostan hamara /hum bulbule hai is ki, ye gulsita hamara //parbat uoh sabse uncha, humsaya asmaa ka /uoh santari hamara, uoh pasban hamara //godi me khelti hai is kee hajaro nadiya/gulshan hai jinke dam se, rask-e-janan hamara //majhab nahee sikhata apas me bair rakhna /hindee hai hum, watan hai hindostan hamara’ // (Our Hindustan is the finest country on the face of the earth/ we are her nightingales, she is our rose garden// our mountain towers above all, a neighbour of the sky/she is our sentinel, the defender of us/ a thousand rivers play in her lap,/ the gardens draw sustenance from them, she is our pride our dear land / religion does not teach us to breed enmity among us/ we are ‘Hindee’ and Hindustan is ours).”Each and everyline is gem. Beauty is its simplicity–no tough vocabuary so kids also sing.2. Josh Maleehabadi an Urdu poet was in India until 1958 and has part of his family in Pakistan. Nehru was very close to Josh. But under pressure of his family/friends, he left for Pakistan in 1958 against Nehru’s suggestion. He himself wanted to stay back in India and jumped to Nehru’s suggestion of staying for sometime in Pakistan while the rest of the time in India and India will pay for him. But he had to go under pressure and he regreted his going to Pakistan. He was jailed under dictatorship.His one revolutionary poem and I think Pakistanis can derived some inspiration from it by squeezing some time out of con theories.”kaam hai mera taghayyur, naam hai mera shabaabmera na’ara: inqilaab-o-inqilaab-o-inqilaabMy task is change, my name is youth!My slogan: revolution and revolution and revolution!3. Faiz Ahmed Faiz, a progressive and revolutionary poet went to pakistan in 1947. He was implicated in the Rawalpindi conspiracy case of 1951 and languished in jail for four years.Faiz couplet: “‘Gulon mei rang bhare baad-e-naubahar chalei/ Chale bhi aao ke gulshan ka karobar chale.’ (Let the breeze of the return of the spring blow on by putting colour into flowers/ please do come along let the business of the garden continue)/These guys are gems and well known by those Indians who are in Urdu poetry. I happen to have some.

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Myra:In theory, take away either Islam factor or India, Pakistan will be free of conspiracy.Indian conspiracy are quite local in nature since I have not heard much of what Shastri mentioned. Not so in Pakistan. The theme is related to Muslims in general (9/11 by Mossad/CIA) but in Pakistan this is taken to its extreme.

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Majid said:> I want to ask to have you EVER been to Lahore? I dont think so if you had you will know how culturly vibrant the city is. [...] Its a lively city, food, culture, dramas, music, sufi mehfil and so on.Sounds great. I would love to visit not only Lahore but also Islamabad and Karachi. I’ve heard a great deal of positive things about each city. Unfortunately, now is not a good time :-( . Hopefully, peace will be restored soon.> Believe me the Lahoris will NOT allow cowrds terrorist to rule over them.That’s good to hear. They have our full moral support.> I think its time to built the trust and enhance mutual undertsanding betwen the two countries. Bitter relations between the two neighours only helps the bad guys.Hear, hear! It’s music to my ears to hear a Pakistani say this.> Once there is enough trust believe me no one will be able to harm this region from progressing to its full potenial also lifting the afghans out of poverty too.My thoughts exactly. Think of South Asia with the living standards of Scandinavia. That’s the potential. Conversely, it also means we have so much further to go. But we should be able to make a start at least…Ganesh

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Ganesh,”2. What do the people of Kashmir want? Would they prefer to be an independent nation (comprising the parts currently held by India and Pakistan), or would they prefer to be part of Pakistan? (And for the sake of completeness, would they like to be part of India?)”I am an Indian, not residing in Kashmir, so I guess the second question too is not addressed to me.However, I do find your question interesting and coincidentally the exact same question had been put to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads the moderate faction of the Huriyyat Conference, on a BBC talk show about a year or two ago. I think at the time he was not heading the Hurriyat, his answer surprised me, because it was totally non-committal.He said that he would first like to discuss it with his counterparts in Pakistani held Kashmir and then they would take a joint decision on the future. This surprised me because I thought that they had a definite goal in mind about their future.

 

My list of popular Pak artistes are :-Abida Parveen – SingerShazia Mansoor – SingerLate Nusrat FAK – SingerUmar sharif – Stage actor (his plays ”Bakra Kisto pe” were a rage in Mumbai)Many other pop singers presently singing in Bollywood.Many of these above artistes are under threat from the Taliban, especially Abida Parveen as she is a Sufi singer from the Barelvi sect. Almost 3 quaters of the Barelvi leadership has been assasinated by the TTP.

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To answer Ganesh’s two questions:1. If, in a perfect world all these things come to pass and there is no tension between the two neighbors and both treat each other with respect and as equals, I believe both countries have so much potential to progress that they can rival and/or exceed in development. Both have fare bigger problems to take care of than to spend billions of dollars on ‘defensive military hardware’.As for the idea that Indian cultural influence could swamp Pakistan? I don’t believe that is entirely possible. The Indian culture that all foreigners are familiar with is gleaned from Indian songs and Bollywood movies, which are seen by most everyone in Pakistan. They are even showing them in cinemas now. However it must be understood that typical Indian culture as depicted in Indian movies does not even reflect the real Indian culture and hence has little or no chance of ‘swamping’ the Pakistani cultural scene which has gone on a tangent to the one in Indian movies. Indian movies and songs have a place in Pakistani culture yes, they are taken as pure entertainment, nothing less, and nothing more.2. No one can answer this second question on behalf the Kashmiris. The easiest answer is for both sides to adhere to the UN Security Council Resolution 47 (passed in 1948) which recommended to the Government of India to establish Plebiscite Administration to hold fair and impartial referendum in Kashmir as soon as possible. The referendum would ask the very same question you have asked. All India has to do is hold that referendum and you will have your answer. India has been refusing to hold that referendum for over 60 years now.

 

Mr. Rajeev you write: “Indian conspiracy are quite local in nature since I have not heard much of what Shastri mentioned. Not so in Pakistan. The theme is related to Muslims in general (9/11 by Mossad/CIA) but in Pakistan this is taken to its extreme.”I wonder how you know for sure that in India conspiracy theories are local and not so in Pakistan. Have you been there? If you are drawing your conclusions based on what you read here and on other internet sites, then you too are a victim of conspiracy theory. Some of your Indian brothers are claiming Pakistan’s disintegration and chaos. Based on the suicide bombs and our military operation, they are predicting some great doomsday for Pakistan. And that too sounds like a conspiracy theory. Life is still going on in many parts of Pakistan. But in the media it appears as though everyone is running for their lives.

 

@Anjum,To tell you the truth Mr. Anjum, nobody in the world likes Pakistan in its current state, the way your Punjabi Mafia army has conducted itself with regards to terror, proxy wars, Afghanistan, East Pakistan genocide, killing of Balochis, subjugation of non-sunni and non-muslim minorities, bleeding money away from average Pakistani’s, lackluster fight against Taliban and continued support of Haqqani and Bahadur Taliban who are killing NATO soldiers, next door.To be quite honest, we want to see nothing short of an all-out revolution in Pakistan, where the Army takes a back seat, reforms itself, the civilian government strengthens, you guys shut down madrassas, training camps and proxy army wars and the civilians quit indulging in conspiracy stories to explain away all your troubles. We also want the citizens to turn quasi-vigilante on the Taliban and ALL militantism, as your army is unwilling, lacks the courage, will, honesty or resources to do it wholeheartedly.You cannot deny that Pakistan will be incapable of maintaining its integrity and cohesion in its current course. If Pakistan or its citizens are going to continue to do nothing, the world powers will step in eventually, do rectify Pakistan for Pakistani’s and you may not like what will be done to Pakistan for Pakistani’s.We Indians want Pakistan to be productive, safe, honest, have integrity and divorce itself from hatred, blame and ant-India sentiment and embrace much higher ideals outside of a religious context. We know you are capable of this, if you choose to be different, choose to have heart and courage. As I said, this is all a choice, you people need to decide what kind of Pakistan you want.We have an idea of the kind of Pakistan, that we want Pakistan to be, and it is a complete opposite of what it has become.It is time for an awakening in Pakistan. Is there enough courage to become secular like, perhaps Turkey?

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@Anjum,The day that westerners come to stay in hotels in Karachi, Lahore, or Islamabad for vacations and to enjoy the good food, that is your litmus test that Pakistan is fixed.I can tell you as an Indian of Lahori descent, 10 generations of my Hindu family were from Gawalmundi area. My grandfather and great grand father were both highly regarded physicians there, educated in Lahore/Punjabi Medical School. Unfortunately, partition tore them away from their home. I look forward to the day, I can go there and enjoy some Kebabs, some Chai with my Pakistani blood ancestors.But right, now I can tell you, no Indian feels safe to ever go there. Please do not be dismissive and keep saying that its business as usual. Until your neighbour feels safe to do tourism in Pakistan, Pakistan is still in the hole and needs major fixing, in almost every manner.I don’t see any of you Pakistani’s protesting en-masse against the Taliban, those who butcher, behead and kill women and children. Is it that you fear the Taliban, do you agree with their ideology to destroy Pakistan, or do they own your allegiance because you are gripped with terror and dare not speak out.At the end of the day, this war will be between average Pakistani’s, their choice to have freedom or live under oppression and the dark ages. The Army will always play it any way that keeps them in power as they will always have money, food and influence, they damn care about you, or Pakistan’s image, except their own image.This is not Jinnah’s Pakistan, it is Taliban’s Pakistan.

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The easiest answer is for both sides to adhere to the UN Security Council Resolution 47- Posted by Musaafir==It is not at all surprising to us that this comes to you as the easiest answer. How refreshingly new!Events of partition were messed up. Pakistan ideologues never kept their side of the bargain.At the time Jinnah claimed India and Pakistan will be friends like US and Canada. While Indian leaders strongly supported Indian muslims to stay in India, Pakistani ideologues gave lip service and ensured the cleansing the Hindus and Sikhs out of Pakistan.Immediately afterwards Pakistan signed up for all types of military alliances and ganged up with China. Do the Chinese share the same culture, language, food, music, and religion of the Paks?Demographics of Kashmir have been altered since then. Sectarian resettlement of POK, ethnic cleansing of Pandits from Kashmir valley, the nature of evolution of “Pakistan” have all made UN resolutions irrelevant, and impractical.One amusing and curious aspect of Kashmir not frequently discussed is what happened in 1965 stealth invasion of Kashmir by Pakistan army. To their utter surprise local population did not support the Pakistan army and helped Indian army capture the infiltrators.Why is this relevant? While it is very popular to depict kashmiris as victims. The reality is Kashmiris bargained tough with India to get special status and only USED Pakistan to agitate against India.The reality is pakistan’s wars and terrorism have reinforced India’s commitment to kashmir in the direction opposite to what Pakistan wanted.

 

Mr. Mohammad Anjum:@I wonder how you know for sure that in India conspiracy theories are local and not so in Pakistan. Have you been there?”–I have not been to Pakistan. About India: Long time ago my fellow Indian commenter on Reuters was saying that at one time it seemed India was going to fall apart. I said people in my area did not feel so and were unaware if such theories existed. OTOH, there are some theories that understandably are local like during the times of wars. I recall that a stranger in a small town in Punjab, where I was living at that time, was seen as foreign spy and gave the impression as if there is a fleet of spies in border towns. These theories lasted much longer than the war itself, but died their natural death. Now I can assume a guy in South India has no clue about all this. Same way I have less knowledge about LTTE/Tamilnadu. In India the large size and a variety of languages play a big role in keeping it local. of course there are theories where whole India will be part of.But Pakistan is small, dangers real or perceived are large, language is common and that spreads the theories like wild-fire. This is just my opinion.@ If you are drawing your conclusions based on what you read here and on other internet sites, then you too are a victim of conspiracy theory.”-I will be victim if I go along with them, But I don’t. That makes me an analyst of the theories, not a victim.Any way, let us talk about you an me: who did 9/11 (CIA/Mossad???), 26/11 (CIA/RAW/Mossad???). I say it is a genuine terrorism by terrorists not by these agencies. 9/11 by CIA/Mossad is most popular conspiracy theories in Muslim world and cuts across geographical barriers and sects in Islam.@Some of your Indian brothers are claiming Pakistan’s disintegration and chaos. Based on the suicide bombs and our military operation, they are predicting some great doomsday for Pakistan. And that too sounds like a conspiracy theory. Life is still going on in many parts of Pakistan. But in the media it appears as though everyone is running for their lives.”–Personally, I cannot and have never made a forecas about Pakistan but I see people doing that—all over the globe by the media (including Pakistanis media). Terrorism and Nuke seems like matchbox and gasoline to them. There is some basis here though if you look at Pakistan about a year ago and now. The rapid success of terrorists has strengthened that feeling. If you extrapolate it seems like they are right that terrorists will run over the country. But what lies in future can be turned around by Pakistan.Life is going on and life always goes on terrorist–hit areas. That is natural. It is survival mechanism. People become used to and I am no stranger to all this. I was talking to a young Pakistani guy few days ago who just came from Pakistan in US. He studied in Karachi and Peshawar before coming her and was telling that once he was in a small village in NWFP and with hills around and heard ‘bang” and came out of home and asked his friends “what happened?” They said ” do not worry, everything is fine; it was just a Rocket launcher to celebrate the wedding. If you know when guns are around that happens. In India I have seen young guys with pistols shooting in the air to celebrate, but a rocket launcher? I burst out laughing at the scale—-it is not a pistol but a rocket laucher. No one will blink an eye as he said but tell this to an american and it will be hard to explain. So yes sure, I agree that life goes on.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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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