After Holbrooke, chances of political settlement in Afghanistan fall

December 15, 2010

holbrookeReading through some of the many thousands of words written about Richard Holbrooke,  for me two stories stood out in their ability to capture what will be lost with his death:

The first was in Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s obituary in the Washington Post:

“While beleaguered members of Mr. Holbrooke’s traveling party sought sleep on transcontinental flights, he usually would stay up late reading. On one trip to Pakistan, he padded to the forward of the cabin in his stocking feet to point out to a reporter a passage in Margaret Bourke-White’s memoirs of the time of India-Pakistan partition and independence. Bourke-White quoted Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah telling her that Pakistan would have no problems with the Americans, because ‘they will always need us more than we need them.’ Mr. Holbrooke laughed, saying, ‘Nothing ever changes.’”

The second was in this 2009 profile by George Packer in The New Yorker.

Talking about Washington’s approach to Pakistan, Holbrooke said, “The relationship with Pakistan is so fraught with a history of disappointment on both sides… We can’t align our interests exactly, because they live in a different space, and their history is defined by their relationship with India. . . . The one thing I believe we can do with Pakistan is to try to reach a strategically symmetrical view on the danger posed by Al Qaeda and its allies. That’s the proximate strategic goal.” 

Put together, those comments cover a huge sweep of history and geography which explain why the war in Afghanistan is proving to be so intractable. While the military, and much of the media, focus on Afghanistan – since that is where western troops are deployed - Pakistan is fighting its own battle with India born out of the bloody partition of the subcontinent in 1947.  

Holbrooke was one of the few U.S. officials to have the intellectual range to fully grasp how far the problems of the Afghan war stretched back into history and out into the wider region, from Kabul to Kashmir, from Islamabad to Delhi, from 2010 to 1947. And though he was not allowed to include Kashmir in his mandate because of Indian objections, he nonetheless travelled frequently to India to seek ways of easing tensions with Pakistan. Without such an easing in tensions, Pakistan was never going to turn fully against the Afghan Taliban, believing it might need them to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan.

It is not at all clear whether the United States can find someone to replace him with the kind of intellectual range, experience and determination to untangle that knot.  According to Julian Borger at The Guardian there is already some talk that the task could instead be handed over to a new U.N. peace envoy, whose  job it would be to sound out the Taliban and Afghanistan’s neighbours on a political settlement. (At first glance, that would seem to be a non-starter if you wanted to keep India in the loop. Though India tolerates behind-the-scenes diplomacy by the United States and Britain in its relations with Pakistan, it would be expected to reject any U.N. interference which threatened to internationalise the Kashmir dispute.)

As Holbrooke’s comments on finding “a strategically symmetric view” with Pakistan on al Qaeda suggested, he also appeared to be focusing on the art of the possible.  This was neither the ”grand bargain” floated during President Barack Obama’s election campaign of seeking peace in Afghanistan by resolving the Kashmir dispute; not the other extreme of ramping up military operations into Pakistan itself. He may even have been making progress — Pakistan has been signalling of late a willingness to push for a settlement in Afghanistan which would force al Qaeda out of the region

For the moment, the question of who replaces him may be academic.  Despite a rising number of people calling for a political settlement of the Afghan war (likely to require multi-layered talks, from negotiations with Afghan insurgents to broader regional dialogue) for the time being the focus of U.S. strategy is still very much on the military campaign in Afghanistan.  Holbrooke had been somewhat sidelined in recent months, in part because of that military focus. But as and when efforts to reach a political settlement began to take shape, he would have come into his own.  No one is talking of utopian peace deals here, but of least bad options.  Holbrooke’s death probably makes the chances of eventually reaching that political settlement less likely. 

 

 

       

 

 

 

Comments

@Myra
I like your writing style. Mr holbrooke was a student of Henry Kissinger( still actively advising Mr Obama on foreign politics) and is part of the Clintonian group, which is currently running the State Dept. He outsmarted the late serbian leader and got the dayton accord, and this is going to be his legacy. Mr Kissinger on the other hand fell out with Pakistan long time ago. Hence Holbroke comments in the Plane!!

There are no political settlements on the horizon to the benefit of the USA. The good news is that AQ outfit is now in their home base now, in arabian desert which gives them stregnth. Wikileak tells us that they are very active in Yemen and the US administration is aware of it. The USA withdrawl would occur when they have no more dollars to feed the Karzai corporation.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Myra,

I believe you are wrong. Not because Holbrooke wasn’t going going to be a big factor in any peace negotiations – indeed Holbrooke was a towering figure and would have been a key part of any deal.

The problem is that we have structural issues that preclude any negotiated agreement. The bare minimum “strategically symmetric view” that Holbrooke talks about regarding Al Qaeda and Pakistan is simply not there.

Sure, Pakistan has no interest to see Al Qaeda thrive in its backyard, but its dislike of Al Qaeda does not extend to efforts against the Haqqani group or the Punjabi elements that Pakistan’s Generals see as key elements of power projection. The structural issue here is that these same groups are the ones who are most closely intertwined with Al Qaeda and any efforts to push out or eliminate Al Qaeda from the region will require acting against the Haqqanis/Punjabi groups. THAT would be a bridge too far for Pakistan.

This is why you find Pakistani representatives tongue tied or deflect questions when asked how exactly they plan to push out Al Qaeda or how they plan to get the Haqqanis to disown Al Qaeda.

In other words, a negotiated settlement along the lines of what Ambassador Holbrooke visualized, is simply not possible.

What is almost inevitable is a US and NATO faceoff with Pakistan. If we are lucky, the “come to Jesus” moment will happen before the next 9/11.

If not, it will get ugly for all parties.

Posted by SilverSw0rd | Report as abusive
 

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is a sub-branch of the main entity, which is still in Pakistan.

Posted by SilverSw0rd | Report as abusive
 

This whole thing will end with World War III. Just like Nazi/Aryan power was crushed by a bloody world war, Islamic fundamentalism and the militancy that emanates from it will face its moment of truth through yet another Armageddon. I saw photograph of that young man who blew himself up in Sweden. Such a handsome man, full of youth and promise got inspired by wrong ideology and warped logic, simply wasted his life away. I can bet there are thousands of others just like him ready to jump off the edge and take others with them. Any solution will only be a temporary stop gap until the next shock wave hits. Al Qaeda has become a cult that is spreading across the globe fast. It has begun to spread into Europe and the USA as well. It is only a matter of time before these countries are fatigued by incessant bombardment of suicide missions. They have disturbed an ant hill and ants are proliferating. It is not going to end without massive level of violence and destruction. Holbrooke is a lucky man. In his life time he saw a settlement in Yugoslavia that ended a bitter war. Now he is gone. Probably he knew that the only settlement that is about come is by complete destruction. He did not want to be sitting in the middle of it. A great statesman died and it is a great loss to the world of diplomacy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS

“This whole thing will end with World War III.”

***Come on KPSingh. This is not going to be so easy. This is going to be worse. The slow death over decades, due to past bad choices and yet-to-come even worse ones.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

May His soul rest in peace!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

RE Holbrooke’s death and Pakistanvs Afghanistan vs India
and Kashmir
His death is an obvious tragedy;but he was trying to solve a multivariable systems equation problem which has no practical solution except endless wars which will end with a nuclear war between India and Pakistan(enriched by by Iranian bombs)
EQ1 1.How does one deal with tribal nation states e.g Afghanistan with no infrastructure;propped up by an American government which has no end game e.g limitedto destructionut or containment of Al Quaeda-the Taleban are just tribal gangsters who cares of they overthrow the corrupt Karzai regime-What does the US lose strategically
EQ 2.Pakistan is a nuclear power run by Muslims and they wants control over Kashmir for religious and economic reasons
Eq3 Indian is an atomic power predominantly run by ethnic Hindus (with large minority of Muslims) who wants control over Kashmir for economic reasons wrapped in false nationalism
Strategy India and Pakistan are like tectonic plates on an inevitable collission;let them collide.It will save us trillions and the tidal wave will take care of Afghanistan

Posted by ngc121629 | Report as abusive
 

RIP. Richard Holbrook, his final words to his Pakistani surgeon before being sedated for surgery were ‘you’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.’ A peacemaker.

And it is true the conflict with India continues, here is an article that appeared on the PR website of Pakistan Army recently:

Army as an institution
http://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o= t-article&id=19

It says RAW agents are active in Sindh and Baluchistan, Indian focus is to discredit Pakistan Army, dismantle it, India’s objective of destroying Pakistan Army remains intact. Since Pakistan Army is a binding force of Pakistan, any attempt to destroy Pakistan Army means to destroy Pakistan. It calls for patriotism, unity and sectarian harmony. It sums up nicely and tells that the conflict with India very much continues.

India must come clean and declare it has no nefarious intentions. Otherwise there can be no peace.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

The ISPR has less credibility than the Iraqi information minister “Baghdad Bob”

Posted by SilverSw0rd | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “It says RAW agents are active in Sindh and Baluchistan, Indian focus is to discredit Pakistan Army, dismantle it, India’s objective of destroying Pakistan Army remains intact. Since Pakistan Army is a binding force of Pakistan, any attempt to destroy Pakistan Army means to destroy Pakistan. It calls for patriotism, unity and sectarian harmony. It sums up nicely and tells that the conflict with India very much continues.

India must come clean and declare it has no nefarious intentions. Otherwise there can be no peace.”

Like the evidence that emerged after the Mumbai attacks that exposed the source of the problem emanating from Pakistan, your ISI has to come up with concrete evidence that is supported by authentic sources to show RAW involvement in Balochistan.

Pakistan cannot accuse India of trying to split up Balochistan while it has worked to split up Khalistan and Kashmir from India.

You are giving too much credit to the RAW which does not compare anywhere with the CIA trained ISI. RAW has become like the KGB of the past – gathering intelligence for national interest. Unlike the ISI, today’s RAW cannot stage proxy wars, assassinations etc. During the 1970s and 1980s, RAW was more powerful. RAW did not help thwart the Mumbai attacks. Its budget has been restricted. Therefore the burden is on your military to prove that RAW is out to get Pakistan.

And like you have been proudly claiming, you are nuclear powered. Why should your country worry about India or its RAW? You don’t even need soldiers manning your Eastern borders. India is a bogeyman set up by your military to hold on to power, directly or otherwise.

You are entitled to salute your soldiers and the generals. But you can always do that without having an imagined enemy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

I find it difficult to believe that his tragic death will lead to a vacuum. It will be difficuklt to replace him, for sure. No one is indespensible and I am sure with his foresight, he himself has made sure that there will be continuity.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

“India must come clean and declare it has no nefarious intentions. Otherwise there can be no peace.”.

Just how many times do you want India to keep repeating this?

Does it have to give an affidavit signed by the President, Prime Minister and the whole cabinet and submit it to the Pakistani Supreme court and Chief of Army with copies to the heads of all Nations? Umair, you and the Pakistani Army will still not believe it.

I think it is about time Pakistan realised that peace with India is also in its own interest. Pakistan needs peace more than India in fact if it is to prosper. Till Pakistan realises that simple fact there really is no chance of peace.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Umair

What do you think ISPR will say about India and RAW?

“India must come clean and declare it has no nefarious intentions. Otherwise there can be no peace.”
***This is the height of desperation. Now that ISPR said a word about India, do you think RAW should make a statement that ISPR is right. Is that how it works in your book?

I read the article you posted at ISPR and the very 1st line says “Pakistan was a land of pure, created by Jinnah, with the purpose of providing the Muslims of the subcontinent a land……” You know what? It makes me sick when I think of Jinnah, a smart lawyer with poor foresight backed by the judge and jury who could not see that half the Muslims will remain in India and the remaining will migrate bathed in blood. Forget about Muslims of the sub-continent Jinnah did not care a bit about them, if you look at his actions. Jinnah’s contradictory speeches have so much to offer that his statements have been used by people with diametrical opposite views. In my opinion, he was a secular, moderate who changed his views with time which in hindsight sound empty and got progressively un-Jinnah, hence the contradictory statements. Pakistan is the product of an angry Jinnah.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

@Umair
I do not want to be rude, but Pakistan military performance has so far not been satisfactory. They need to restructure it to become a national army and must never be used against its citizens. Their major crime is to become the extended arm of the USA. The latter being organised with conceit, has lost them also the credibility among friends and foes. It would seem from the cable network that a number of groups made of ordinary citizens across the Pashtoon territory are going after the uniformed people on streets, in police stations and military cantonments. Needless to say that these groups are not causing serious casualties but are restricting the operations of the military and the police. Indian military is not structuraly different, same colonial style, but so far they have avoided to suppress the majority hindu citizens. They have been merciless against minoprities, namely Sikh and muslim citizens as well as defended the country against Pakistan. This is good enough for the majority hindu population.

It is not a secret that pakistan has nuclear equiped rockets which can simultaneously reach several cities apart from each other. On the other hand Pakistan military no longer has the option to withdraw or surrender in their next battle with Indian military. Pakistan Govt. should therefore remove the emotional ourbursts or threatning noises even in private conversations and adopt a more realistic and rational approach. I do not believe that a nuclear war can be justified against another country under any circumstances. remember even the Ummah could mot help Pakistan in uch an event.

My proposal would be to break off diplomatic relations with India until the resolution of their disputes. Pakistan need leaders with a vision based on self reliance and to achieve peace in the region and not make it a free terrain where the Americans and the NATO can test their new weaponry. Mr holbrooke was the wrong person for the wrong job. He was a bluffer, backed by the USA power, but did not have the expertise to handle Pakistan with nuclear force.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

PS
Henry Kissinger is the expert on nuclear countries. Watch this guy, he has a class matching George W. There are those who accuse him for war crimes.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Silversword:
“The ISPR has less credibility than the Iraqi information minister “Baghdad Bob””

-Looking at the profile of Director General ISPR I would give him a lot more credibility. Pak Army is on par with any modern military of today.

KPSingh:
“You are entitled to salute your soldiers and the generals. But you can always do that without having an imagined enemy.”

-I don’t say our Generals are angels, when leaked US embassy cables say that the Army is billing the US $26 million for barbed wire, or COAS pleading the US that the impression that Pak Army is rented should be avoided. I also think where there is a need to correct things action should be taken. but I have no doubt in the good faith, good intention, patriotism and professionalism of the Army, it is simply unquestionable. This is one institution which can sacrifice everything for Pakistan.

Rehmat:
“It makes me sick when I think of Jinnah, a smart lawyer with poor foresight backed by the judge and jury who could not see that half the Muslims will remain in India and the remaining will migrate bathed in blood. ”

-These are some pretty emotional strong words, I belong to a family which was part of British India which later became Pakistan. In other words we did not migrate from India. Really not sure how Indians think of Jinnah, we will have to step back into history to look if Jinnah was good or bad. I think India Pakistan relationship is same is Pakistan-Bangladesh. Pakistan won independence from India (or British?) Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Dara:”Just how many times do you want India to keep repeating this? Does it have to give an affidavit signed by the President, Prime Minister and the whole cabinet and submit it to the Pakistani Supreme court and Chief of Army with copies to the heads of all Nations? Umair, you and the Pakistani Army will still not believe it. I think it is about time Pakistan realised that peace with India is also in its own interest. Pakistan needs peace more than India in fact if it is to prosper. Till Pakistan realises that simple fact there really is no chance of peace.”

-Indeed, peace is in everyones interest. Pakistan’s Military would also be mindful that an arms state and perpetual state of conflict with India is unsustainable since Pakistan would not be able to keep up due to economic pressures. However, there is certainly something bothering the Pakistan military. Just as after 1971 war, Pakistan participated in Soveit Afghan war, ISI began strong, Pakistan transformed itself into a country that become hostile to India within a decade with nuclear weapons, covert operations through ISI. Analysts say that in recent years there has been a shift in strategic thinking. For the first time ever the ISI has given its assessment that internal militant threat posed by militant groups has been greater than one posed by India. Gradually we must get there and India must do all it can to ensure it is not upto anything in Baluchistan or fomenting nationalism there. No more repeat of 1971, nor more back stabing.

Rex:
“Pakistan military no longer has the option to withdraw or surrender in their next battle with Indian military.”
Pakistan Govt. should therefore remove the emotional ourbursts or threatning noises even in private conversations and adopt a more realistic and rational approach. I do not believe that a nuclear war can be justified against another country under any circumstances.”

-Agreed, and in 2008 Pakistan showed restraint, and willingness to work for joint investigation even when India talked of surgical strikes. I think with the passage of time both countries should move to more peaceful means to settle the disputes. In this age of modern warfare, all wars are total wars bringing total destruction leaving with no option but to peaceful talks to settle disputes. If Pakistan breaks off diplomatic relations with India, rapproachment is not possible. Just as in Cold war, US and USSR kept in touch and worked together to reduce tnesions and avoid any catastrophe. In absence of DGMO- (Director General Military Operations) hotline, or flag meetings etc there is greater chance of misunderstaning between two countries. For example both countries have limit for aircraft coming close to each other airspace and to inform in advance for missile tests etc. Pakistan can try the Turkish approach to Israel, diplomatic and security ties with India and if things get worse, break off and limit the relations.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Rehmat:’You know what? It makes me sick when I think of Jinnah, a smart lawyer with poor foresight backed by the judge and jury who could not see that half the Muslims will remain in India and the remaining will migrate bathed in blood. Forget about Muslims of the sub-continent Jinnah did not care a bit about them, if you look at his actions. Jinnah’s contradictory speeches have so much to offer that his statements have been used by people with diametrical opposite views. In my opinion, he was a secular, moderate who changed his views with time which in hindsight sound empty and got progressively un-Jinnah, hence the contradictory statements. Pakistan is the product of an angry Jinnah.”

-Rehmat, you are an Indian Muslim, ok. Have you read the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Jinnah-Partition-I ndependence-Jaswant-Singh/dp/0195479270/ ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=129243684 8&sr=1-1

I quote a reader review:
“Mohammed Ali Jinnah is painted as the villain of India’s partition in 1947, the man who stabbed the Indians in the back and walked away with a fifth of the ancient country’s landmass. He’s reviled as the traitor who created Pakistan, which has ever since been a festering wound in India’s nationhood. But Jaswant Singh, an aristocratic former Indian foreign minister, shows there were several players more culpable – the British, the Congress Party leaders such as M.K. Gandhi, and Muslim leaders carrying the traits of today’s Islamic terrorists. Look at it this way: when Kashmir (which is 90% Muslim) finds it impossible to secede from India, how could Muslims who comprised only 24% of undivided India have demanded Pakistan? The demand for Pakistan was made by elements that Gandhi encouraged and Jinnah initially abhorred. The responsibility for India’s vivisection lies with the Congress and British, not with Jinnah.”

Right wing BJP Jaswant Singh defending Jinnah?

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

@Umairpk
Well said. Let us hope that the so called domestic militants do not become the achiles heal for Pakistan. Pakistan military suffered defeats because of Pakistan domestic problems. I can understand your feelings for the military if your family has a military background.

The war scenario between USSR and the USA is adifferent story and can not be compared to India and Pakistan drama though the latter is more dangerous.

Pakistan needs to be straightforward and honest in its dealings with India, the great neighbour. I know that Indians are also master of conceit and trickery but they have always been consistent. The military leaders of your country are not a good match for the seasoned Indian politicians! But this is another story.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “I have no doubt in the good faith, good intention, patriotism and professionalism of the Army, it is simply unquestionable. This is one institution which can sacrifice everything for Pakistan”

I understand your sentiments and loyalties to your military which seems to define your very nation.

India has no means to prove that it is not involved in fomenting secession in Balochistan other than to say that it is not behind any of it. The burden is on the ISI to provide valid evidence which shows captured operatives or ammunition and other material evidence that originate from India.

These things can be fabricated too and intelligence agencies of the caliber of the ISI or CIA can create such evidences at will. Pakileaks that have surfaced recently have lowered the credibility of the ISI even further. When this is the case, ISI can claim whatever it wants and no one knows if they are true or not. It is entirely up to an individual like to swear your faith in such organizations. But it is not going to change the ground reality.

You cannot expect a whole nation to come around to follow your edict. India definitely is not going to do that. If Pakistan does not want normal relations with India, it does not matter to India. We do not need Pakistan. You people got a country of your own. And 6 decades have passed. We accept the current status and we have no further interest in Pakistan other than stopping its efforts to be an irritant to our existence and progress. Before you say it, Kashmir settlement is not going to bring that peace. It might make things worse for us.

ISI can claim whatever imagined illusions it wants, but it is not going to make any dent on India. If Pakistan sincerely wants to normalize relations with India, then the mindset and attitude have to change in Pakistani power circles first. From the Indian stand point we do see a deliberate effort to create and sustain further division between the two countries. I do not have to detail all of it, but every time when peace efforts were being made, elements from inside your ISI, military or non-state actor wings unleashed some form of an attack to derail everything. So the burden is on Pakistan to prove itself as a reliable and trustworthy nation for any long term relationship with India.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

You are desperately hanging on to one book by an Indian right wing politician. The underlying reason why he wrote a controversial book was not because he was an admirer of Jinnah. He tried to come out of a political stagnation. No one cares for him. Many people worldwide get into controversial things to stay in the lime light. We have one Arundhati Roy who is an expert in this regard. Hopefully she will make Nobel prize worthless one day.

Coming to Jinnah – For you he is the father of your nation. For us, he was yet another politician like Jaswant Singh. There are lot of “leaders” like this in the sub-continent. They all have this incredible urge to be founders of something or heads of state. They have not gone away. We have plenty of them in India. Some have taken up ethnic or religious causes to round up support for their goals. The Shiv Sena in Mumbai is headed by a man who is no different from Jinnah or any such “leader”. Violence works to their advantage. Many politicians at the state level in India will put Robert Mugabe or Desmond Mobutu to shame. Some live like emperors with absolute power in their states. They have no clout outside their states. But inside, it is their territory. Then there are union leaders, Maoists, Imams etc who have their own power circles. On a given day, any of them can bring things to a stand still. They use this to gain favors.

When India was just an infant nation, there were many such leaders as well who wanted to form their own countries. In the southern peninsula, there was a Dravidian movement that wanted to form a nation for Dravidians. They courted Jinnah prior to India’s independence for his help in carving a nation for themselves. I have read about them from authors like MJ Akbar. They observed a day of mourning on the day India got its independence.

If India had splintered away at that time, these leaders would have turned their respective countries into absolute autocracies, ruled by their dynastic successors, waging wars against neighbors and keeping people under abject poverty and absolute control. In other words, we could have had many North Koreas around.

There are new “leaders” of this kind emerging all the time. What has stemmed their rise to absolute power is the maturation of Indian democracy. Slowly, over 6 decades, India has strengthened its bond across the nation. And Pakistan has helped a lot in this regard by being an enemy of India. Many of these leaders now realize that they can still be in control while being a part of the democratic process. They get to gain more this way than have their own militaries and wars.

Jinnah was no different from these leaders. When things did not go in his favor, Jinnah and his supporters launched the direct action which resulted in the deaths of millions of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities, displacement of people, separation of families and a lot of agony and pain. The leaders I have mentioned above are capable of unleashing the same thing on the general population and getting what they want. They do not think of the long term effects of their passionate desires. Pakistan and India have existed side by side with the fire of that hatred during partition only growing with time. There was no need for any of this.

Pakistan has not achieved anything great by having a separate nation for Muslims. Its people have learned to blame others for all their ills, while the country that was created for Muslims, has become a country for an elite military cartel. Religion is now used as a weapon to defend the power hold.

Whatever happened, happened. There is no use going back on the damages done. At least we can look at how to co-exist in the future without relying on past memories. Whatever the future of Pakistan might be, it is entirely on the hands of its leaders and people. Having seen enough selfish leaders, to us, Jinnah does not stand out as any great leader who sacrificed anything for people.

He might have been shrewd, intelligent etc. But he was a selfish, self serving politician who manipulated the emotions and events to his advantage. He got his life time ambition fulfilled and died a happy man as a head of state. But his legacy has not made things any better for the Muslims in the nation he created or for the people of South Asia. Only hatred is lingering. Such was his legacy.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Jinnah and related discussions are irrelevant to this topic, but it is not surprising that Pakistani posters tend to muddle the issue by saying “India, Kashmeeer, RAAAW etc.”

Posted by SilverSw0rd | Report as abusive
 

Umair

Yes Dear, they are strong words and I mean them.

Thanks for the link! YES, I have read the book.

I was responding to the article you posted. My last sentence tells my views about Jinnah. He was a nice guy, a secular and moderate. “WAS”! He could have stayed that way. There are always issues. Was he expecting Utopia once Brits left? I am not painting others as innocent at all. It was Jinnnah who walked away with Pakistan so he will take the major blame.

Jaswant Singh is giving his views which he is welcome to. So did Advani about Jinnah.

Only 24% Muslims were to there in undivided India? That’s a huge if you know the rate at which we reproduce. Sorry to be blunt but that is the truth.

I do not expect you to understand what I am saying as you mentioned your family did not move. There are some basic facts that Pakistanis, who were present on the other side of the border and did not have to migrate, have wrong. We will discuss that later in relevant entry.

Enough of it.

____________________________________

Back to the topic, I do not think Holbrooke’s absence will make a huge difference. His views might be brilliant but no one was going to listen to him.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “I have no doubt in the good faith, good intention, patriotism and professionalism of the Army, it is simply unquestionable. This is one institution which can sacrifice everything for Pakistan”

I would really like to know, what do you think about the generals of the Pakistani army who have ruled Pakistan at some point, specifically Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq & Musharraf? Do you think they have been good for Pakistan?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

KP Singh said:

> Many politicians at the state level in India will put Robert Mugabe or Desmond Mobutu to shame.

That would be Mobutu Sese Seko. Desmond Tutu is a South African priest and the polar opposite of Mobutu.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh,

Thanks for the correction. Somehow I mixed up Desmond Tutu and Mobutu.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

rehmat: “I do not think Holbrooke’s absence will make a huge difference. His views might be brilliant but no one was going to listen to him.”

Holbrooke had a tough time with Lute in Obama cabinet. He was there mainly because of Hillary Clinton. He might have become the secretary of state if Hillary had become President.

I think Hobrooke was there to manage the negotiations if and when they were meant to happen. There could have been many scenarios – a splintered Af-Pak, splintered Afghanistan, surrender of Al Qaeda, peace settlement with the Taliban etc. He is known to be a tough negotiator. Initially he was brought in to broker a much broader deal – that of settling Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan as a part of the mission. That goal was cut off immediately seeing the Indian sentiments which the American strategists are beginning to value. Kashmir issue was dropped from the agenda, much to Pakistan’s dislike, and Pakistan was clubbed with Afghanistan as being part of the problem. Holbrooke maintained a delicate balance when questioned about Kashmir. He knew that it was too difficult to achieve such a settlement where India had nothing to gain or lose. It was clear that India was not part of the Af-Pak problem. With limited time, the Obama strategists decided to focus on the core issue first. Holbrooke was right in the middle of all these just to be ready for any settlements that would emerge at any time.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

I agree in general with what you have said this time. Peace has to be a two way need and both need to do their bit.

A few words though about your views on India’s role in Baluchistan. Please recollect India has denied it again and again – to no avail. India has even committed to discussing Pakistan’s fears over Baluchistan – nothing done on that front. More importantly, India is still waiting for the dossier Rehman Mallik promised to send a year ago to India. What happened? We were also told by Qureshi, I think, that proof had been given to the US which the US denied! Musharraf recently came out with another outlandish statement of how he had provided a dossier or proof or something like that to the international community, but he didnt give it to India!! Reminds me of the old saying – if you repeat a lie often enough you start believing it yourself.

Incidentally, I have views on Jinnah and Nehru which may be of interest to you. Will wait for an opportune post.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

@Umair
Be fair, the greatest achievement of Mr Jinnah was to create a separate home for the Indian muslims, where, majority muslim states were able to live independently and without being molested or coerced by the non muslim majority central Govt. The students of history would view his performance and achievements in the time he lived.

Remember India as such was never a united country, per say, in its history. This was the land of maharajas and sultans who lived in luxury in individual pockets and jurisdictions at the expense of hard working farmers and peasants.

No one should blame him for what happened in the sub-continent after partition and what is happening to date.
One people, one country and one leader was the slogan in germany before ww2 and this enabled them to become the most powerful country of the world. And then one tactical mistake and they lost the war. Can you imagine their performance after the ww2, the most discipline people in the world becoming once again the power house of Europe and sercond to none in productivity and indusrtial performance, one people, one country and one leader. Where are the Institutions and universities where people can complete their studies devoid of colonial structures?

Rex Minor

PS pakistan foreign minister hobbies include reading and watching TV? I would dismiss the guy and remove the foreign mionister position.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Cave Mullah: “the greatest achievement of Mr Jinnah was to create a separate home for the Indian muslims, where, majority muslim states were able to live independently and without being molested or coerced by the non muslim majority central Govt.”

It is all right if Jinnah is great to a group of people. Hitler, Bin Laden etc also have their admirers and believers. I will leave it at that. However, the only point I disagree with is about Indian Muslims separated so that they could live unmolested by majority central govt.

That makes no sense. India has a Muslim population that is almost equal in number to that in Pakistan and India. There is no such thing as a majority population in India. This is because there are majorities based on different categories – caste (majority of low caste Hindus), language (majority are Hindi speakers), class (majority are poor), literacy (majority are illiterate), profession (majority are farmers and peasants), religion (Hindu is a fuzzy term. From some definitions, any religion native to India is Hindu. Buddhism, my religion etc are Indian religions. The term Hindu is equivalent to Indian).

Muslims in India are also divided along the same lines as above. When that is the case, there is no homogeneous group called Muslims in India. For that matter, it is the case in Pakistan as well. Having gotten a wonder nation called Pakistan, Bengali Muslims could not live under the majority Punjabi Muslims. Now Pashtoons will start pushing for their own nation. Balochis want nothing to do with Pakistan. So even unity under the Islamic banner is a political tool that Jinnah used. If he was a hard core Mullah like you, I can at least understand his principles and goals. He was a pork eating, chain smoking, alcohol consuming, westernized politician. The only thing Muslim about him is his name. Beyond that, he was more Western than Westerners themselves.

It makes no sense to us that a man like Jinnah, described above, can champion the cause for Muslims in India. This is like Pakistanis crying for Kashmiri freedom and rights after having slaughtered Bengali Muslims.

Most Muslims in India are doing all right at whatever level they are at. No one is molesting them. Most top film actors in India come from the Muslim community. People flock to see their movies without thinking about religion at every step.

Enough said.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Rex Moron,

Earlier, you were an authority on Pashtuns, then Germans, then Pakistanis & now on Indian muslims? Stop deluding yourself because the ONLY catagory of people you represent, are the bigoted ignoramuses who beleive that they know everything, when they actually know nothing. We, Indians are what we are & we neither have an inferiority complex & nor a superiority complex. The world knows & appreciates what we are & we certainly don’t need a stamp of approval from idiots like you. Your repeated swipes at the Indian education system speaks volumes of your ignorance because that’s the system which is producing most number of doctors, engineers, analysts & scientists in the world, today.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

KPSingh

Thanks for your post. Point is Af-PAk is a different ball game not than the one Holbrooke got fame for.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

““the greatest achievement of Mr Jinnah was to create a separate home for the Indian muslims, where, majority muslim states were able to live independently and without being molested or coerced by the non muslim majority central Govt.”
***Add “so that they slit each others throats.”

Their hangover of looking for differences among communities is not over yet. This guy has no effing idea that that those who do not learn to co-exist stop existing.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

“those who do not learn to co-exist stop existing”
Posted by rehmat

well said!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Umair: Awaiting your response to my question regarding ex-Pak generals. C’mon buddy, put that high speed DSL of yours, to work.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

interesting peice regarding distorted history being taught to Pakistani children:

http://www.dawn.com/2010/12/16/in-depth- what-students-are-being-taught-about-the -separation-of-east-pakistan.html

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal:
Gen. Ayub- was a good guy. His speech during 1965 war united the entire country and Pakistan fought the war to a draw. Though he imposed the first martial law in the country but I don’t blame him, the circumstances were beyond his control, he did what was necessary to do.
Gen. Yahya, a drunkard, idiot who lost East Pakistan. A shiite. I don’t have much words of him.
Gen. Zia- A military strong man, a martial law administrtor. Again his positive side was fast track development of Pakistan’s nuclear capability and unfaltering support to Mujahideen and covert warfare against the Soviet Union. One of his officers Brig. Yousaf of ISI was the first military officer after world war 2 whose troops undertook armed attacks inside the territory of Soviet Union. Very shrewd and clever, you couldnt take the courtesy and smile of this guy and could be easily fooled by it.
Gen. Musharraf- when he came to visit us in College as the COAS before taking over I didnt find him charming. Just an average guy, but clever. He never compromised on handing over AQ Khan to anyone outside, switch gears on war on terror etc. All in all a cleverer guy among all, he planned his retirement in advance. Though messed up in later years, but still I give him some credit.
One thing common among all of them, they did whatever good they could do for Pakistan. But i think that is history now, with little over two years time first time in the history of Pakistan a transition will happen when during next general elections the power transfer will take place. Pakistan has seen a lot of experimentation by the generals, while Zia was Islamic minded, Musharraf was a secular opposite.

If you into reading read:
Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within
Author: Shuja Nawaz -Brother of former COAS Gen. Asif Nawaz

http://www.amazon.com/Crossed-Swords-Pak istan-Within-Paperbacks/dp/0195476972/re f=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1292555215& sr=8-1

Since Pakistan’s inception, the country had to rely again and again on the Army repeatedly.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

How many settlements one needs in that part of the world to be decided by foreigners? Why should the Indian bloggers be interested to pour in their venom and grievences against Pakistani Govt. and its people, when the article is concerned with the so called political settlement to facilitate the withdrawl of the American invaders from the Hindukush mountains. The only people who have throughout history struggled to maintain their freedom and independence from the foreign invaders are the Pashtoons, who have lived for centuries in the triangular shaped land sorrounded by bare and barren mountains covering an area of roughly 250,000 sq. miles . Starting from Dir in the north, this triangle runs along the Indus(not the NY hudson river) takes a western turn south of Dera Ismail Khan, and embraces within its fold Loralai,Quetta, Pishin, chaman and Qandhar and extends upto Herat. This land includes the major portion of today’s Pakhtoonkhwa, a part of Quetta Division of Baluchistan and more than three fourth of Afghanistan. In this triangular shaped , hilly country divided between Afghanistan and Pakistan lives the world’s largest group of tribesmen numbering over 60 million variously called Afghans, Pashtoons, pakhtoons or Pathans.
They have defeated many and routed many, the last one in memory were the Brits and the Soviet Union. Today there are americans, the most unpopular Nation in the world, accompanied by its rag tag allies(most of them defeated in ww2)all trying to suppress and oppress the Pashtoon Nation by force or coersion. The Imperialist USA which has througout its history used conceit and belied to conquer and colonise other Nations, says Mr Chavez, the Venezuelan President, has set up its residence as an uninvited guest near the capital of Afghanistan.

The ultimate goal of the invader is to set up a military presence against China? Their former military base in Peshawar, Pakistan is no longer available to them.

Indian bloggers should know that there never was a united India ever in their history. India has always had a mixture of colourful but restless people of dozens of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, hard working farmers and blood thirsty land lords, maharajas and sultans all of them more loyal to their faiths and traditions. Even the Moghul Kings and the Brits had to control the masses with the help of maharajas and sultans, who were used to the life style which was somewhat similar to Lords and Barons of Europe.
indian people as such have never asked to be independen as a whole people. How can any one make a nation out of them? What is the ingredient to be one people, one nation? Hate of others, Pakistan and China, or the economic needs are very weak for Nation building.
Decolonisation process started after the ww2 and the independence was only possible by the religion divide, a separate land for muslims and the other piece for non muslims. Sikhs decided to stay with hindu majority and left their ancestoral and holy places in Pakistan. The subcontinent was engulfed with violence, looting and killings after the partition and not during the colonial period. Sikhs were given the violent treatment after the independence making them homeless and asylum seekers in most parts of the world. Most of the Kashmiri muslim population came to Britain as refugees and were made homeless after the independence. As of today thousands and thousands of them have been killed and neither Pakistan, nor the UNO are in a position to free these people from the military occupation of their land.
Bengalis of the former East Pakistan, the intellectual asset of Pakistan, left the union and became a separate land.
A democracy kept by the despecable caste system and with the use of military force? Human rights are not understood, love for the next one is not in their teachings or upbringing.
Yours is a pathetic story. No one in Europe understands your ambitions or your foreign policies. no one here differentiates between Indians and Pakistanis. They all speak english language and are reluctant to integrate with the western cultures. There are solutions for becoming a civilised and great Nation, but the calibre of leadership is missing in the subcontinent.

The afghan story is of more interest and has more geostrategic outcome. I salute the Afghans or Pashtoons whatever, one prefers to call them. They have kept theit traditions, have robbed the Americans of their wealth and yet been able to defend their independence.

India and Pakistan can take a lesson from their simple and straightforward independence urge, namely love for the family and the tribe.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Dara

On Baluchistan, the dissident leaders like Brahamdagh Bugti is in exile in Kabul and gets weapons from RAW, and what is the need of an Indian consulate in Southern Afghanistan? Under diplomatic cover it seems something else is going on. When intelligence agencies carry out covert operations they usually do not leave a trail behind. I am sure Pakistan will provide the proofs at the right time. On Jinnah and Nehru please post soon. Thanks

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “the dissident leaders like Brahamdagh Bugti is in exile in Kabul and gets weapons from RAW, and what is the need of an Indian consulate in Southern Afghanistan? Under diplomatic cover it seems something else is going on. When intelligence agencies carry out covert operations they usually do not leave a trail behind. I am sure Pakistan will provide the proofs at the right time. ”

If your country is made up of defenseless peaceful people who valued human rights, freedom, non-violence etc, you can surely complain if your neighboring country is trying to sabotage peaceful existence, you have every right to complain and the world will support you.

ISI is not a Buddhist monastery. India’s most wanted criminal Dawood Ibrahim is living in Karachi under ISI protection. His daughter is married to Javed Miandad’s son (or the other way around). When that is the case why should you whine about Bughti hiding in Afghanistan?

ISI masterminding several incursions into India, including the latest Mumbai attacks are open secrets. Then why are you complaining about RAW? Should Pakistan be the only one sabotaging others? If you throw stones at others’ windows, expect to get some back on yours.

The masterminds of Mumbai attacks are freely roaming around in Pakistan. India has about four consulates in Afghanistan. I am sure they have intelligence gathering going on in those consulates. No consulate in this world is free of this activity. All diplomats engage in clandestine operations.

India’s presence in terms of a small staff inside four consulates should not give you so much sleepless nights. India, the country itself is right next your country. What is next? Will you demand that India move a thousand miles more to the East?

Your country is not made up of angels. Therefore you lose the legitimacy to cry wolf when your country’s masters are made up of wolf clans themselves.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Cave Mullah: “They all speak english language and are reluctant to integrate with the western cultures”

Look who is talking!

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

All Indian posters are urgently needed to defend Bharti values as practiced in Kashmir.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec  /16/wikileaks-cables-indian-torture-kas hmir

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

@Matrixx
Thank you! It simply means that the torture expert western country has also been playing its role as a referee in the torture game. Perhaps harsh treatments are not recognised as tortures in underdeveloped countries. What did they expect, a luxry style gitmo in Kashmir.

Rex Minor

PS My advice to Indian sympathisers on this blog. Take a break for at least four weeks while this info, right or wrong, blöws away. No one can prove this allegation unless he has been in India?

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Matrixx
Most of it must be true and shameful as well. Thanks for sharing the link.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive
 

Torture by Indian police and military is not confined to Kashmir alone. Guardian has managed to selectively project Kashmir. All across South Asia, the Middle East, China, Russia, and in pretty much every country other than some self proclaimed Western nations on human rights, torture as a part of investigation is the norm. It is unfortunate. But that is the reality. Some of these ‘liberal’ Western nations like UK are accused of out sourcing torture to other countries where it is accepted.

Police brutality has to be universally condemned. But then there are Ajmal Kasabs who need special treatment.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

I am really not surprised reading this report. My only worthwhile comment on this is that this is happening not just in Kashmir, the police in India are notorious for their crude techniques and have become a law unto themselves because no political leadership has cared to keep them in check. Of course this also serves their own political purpose.

If Indian democracy fails eventually, not that it is any way even close to failing, even thought there are some here desperately praying and hoping it does, it would be because of the fact that the political leadership has allowed every democratic institution to be subverted for cheap short term gains. The police is the best example of that.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

After Guardian, here is another one from Financial Times

Gandhi warns of Hindu threat in India

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c49d253e-09bd- 11e0-8b29-00144feabdc0.html#axzz18OBrzjf 7


Please respect FT.com’s ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email ftsales.support@ft.com to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c49d253e-09bd- 11e0-8b29-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz18ODtuYL B

Mr Gandhi’s comments, made in response to a question from the US ambassador on the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, referred to religious tension created by more extreme BJP leaders, according to the cable released by WikiLeaks and published on Friday by Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

Mr Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the LeT among Indian Muslims, the ambassador wrote, according to the cable.

“However, [Mr] Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community,” Mr Roemer wrote.”

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Really interesting responses.
“Torture by Indian police and military is not confined to Kashmir alone.”
“All across South Asia, the Middle East, China, Russia, and in pretty much every country other than some self proclaimed Western nations on human rights, torture as a part of investigation is the norm.”
So what it means is that it normal and systematic all over India. Now India being proud democracy, the people love to be tortured otherwise such practices would not persist. It also implies that torture is part of the value set.
The real question is why the population has not rebelled in a massive insurgency? My thinking is that most people don’t get three square meals and don’t have that youthful energy to react. The state does not allow guns for personal protection. If there is strong economic growth, people are not going to take it any more and the state would shrink to Dilli as it has happened in past.
Holy cow..

Pakistan is down the curve by ten or fifteen years.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

@Umair

thanks for responding to my query re: Pak generals. Do you attribute any of the blame for the current condition of Pakistan to Zia and/or Musharraf?

Re: Rahul Gandhi’s comment, It’s a political stunt. So, I wouldn’t read too much into it. BJP & the right wing parties are his political opponents, so it’s no surprise that he’s slamming them in order to deflect the focus from his party, which is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Re: Guardian article

Injustice should be strongly condemned, no matter where they happen, India, Pakistan or elsewhere. For most part, Indians do (& should) accept & condemn the reality that atrocities have been commited in Kashmir BUT Pakistanis should also not shy away from the sins commited by their army in the past & present. Finger pointing & making excuses helps nobody & certainly not the victims of these horrendous crimes.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

The japanese were supposedly best in torturing their prisoners, causing extreme injuries to body and soul but not allowing them to die. The USA has supposedly broken the Japanese ww2 record now and the techniques are detailed in army manuals. We should try to obtain this manual which also provides the name of the location where specific operations are carried out, keeping it strictly in accordance with the laws of the country. It is not a secret that the USA is outsourcing many torture operations in friendly european, middle east and far eastern countries. I guess and it is a guess only that Indian police and the like are using outdated crude torture techniques and therefore most of their prisoners do not survive the procedure. Should’nt UNO be asked to control this mass practice to ensure that all prisoners get a uniform and fair torture treatment at the hands of their captors?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

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