Pakistan:the unintended consequences of U.S. pressure

December 21, 2010

petraeus kayaniU.S. pressure on Pakistan has always led to deep resentment within the Pakistan Army, which has taken heavy casualties of its own fighting Pakistani Taliban militants on its side of the border with Afghanistan. But there are signs that this resentment is now spiralling in dangerously unpredictable ways.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency has denied  it was responsible for revealing the name of a senior Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official in Pakistan, forcing him to flee the country after threats to his life. But the suspicion lingers that the ISI, which falls under the control of the Pakistan Army, is flexing its muscles in response to U.S. pressure.

In an article for Time magazine, former CIA officer Robert Baer said that even if you accepted the ISI denial, “what can’t be dismissed is a lawsuit filed by a Pakistani tribesman in which he accuses the CIA of murdering his brother and his son in a drone attack. According to press reports, none of which have been confirmed by the CIA, it was the appearance of the station chief’s name in a filing in this suit, along with unspecified threats, that caused him to be pulled. Regardless, the suit itself could be an ominous sign that the Pakistanis may be coming to the end of their rope in the ‘war on terror’.”

His assumption was that the ISI, which until now is believed to have given tacit support to the U.S. drone strikes, had supported the case by the Pakistani tribesman.

Even more alarming are Pakistani press reports suggesting that fake WikiLeaks cables planted in the Pakistan media were deliberately designed by Pakistani intelligence to whip up public opinion against U.S. pressure to “do more”. (h/t Five Rupees).

“The fake story is not an isolated incident,” Azhar Abbas, the managing director of GEO News, wrote. “Political and security observers believe a concerted effort is once again being made to encourage and promote a typical extremist mindset. Some analysts-cum-anchors have re-emerged from quasi-oblivion. Many journalists and analysts are briefed and encouraged to take an aggressively anti-West, especially anti-US, stance. Experts, who ‘preach’ extremism in disguise, are encouraged to participate in talk shows.”

Maintaining the support of the Pakistani people has been essential in Pakistan’s own battle against the Pakistani Taliban - a widely circulated video of a girl being flogged in the Swat valley rallied public opinion behind the army when it launched a military operation there last year to drive out militants from the region.  The authenticity of that video is a subject of much debate in Pakistan. But be that as it may, if public opinion were to turn decisively against military operations, no amount of American pressure would be able to convince the Pakistan Army to launch a new ground assault to assert control of areas now held by militants, including North Waziristan.

“All true enough — until you stop to ponder how exactly ‘public opinion’ decides it is in favour of something or against it,” wrote Dawn columnist Cyril Almeida. “The fake WikiLeaks cables give the first public hint about how opinion is being shaped in this country right now.”

Such suspicions will never be confirmed, and Pakistani officials themselves say they have no control over a vibrant media which has exploded since the sector was freed up by former President Pervez Musharraf.   But given Pakistan’s own battle against domestic militants – not just on the border with Afghanistan but also in its heartland Punjab province - any shift in the media towards greater sympathy with violent Islamists would be playing with fire.

Lest anyone finds the Pakistani approach completely irrational, do remember that from Pakistan’s point of view, the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is also looking irrational. “Some people in the establishment are of the view since the Americans are losing the war in Afghanistan, they are trying to shift the blame on Pakistan in order to use it as a scapegoat,” Abbas wrote. He quoted a senior security official as saying that,  “It is quite obvious now that the US is fast losing its grip in Afghanistan. It is easy for them to sell the story back home that they are losing the war because of Pakistan.”

“The fundamental division in U.S. foreign policy is between use of force and use of diplomacy. Some foreign policy analysts believe that in the post-Holbrooke scenario, the balance may shift towards use of force rather than diplomacy. If the US President Obama decides to move in that direction, things may get out of control. ”

He said that Pakistan Army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, had written a 14-page letter to President Barack Obama, in which he “apparently tried hard to convey the ground realities of Pak-Afghan situation. Senior diplomats who have seen the letter say that the letter gives the U.S. president some new and better options to resolve the Afghan conflict, as compared to the ones provided by his own military commanders.”

Pakistan has been increasingly talking up the need for a political settlement in Afghanistan which would force al Qaeda to leave the region. A senior Pakistani security official said Washington needed to identify “end conditions” in Afghanistan, rather than sticking to its current preconditions for talks with insurgents that they renounce al Qaeda, give up violence and respect the Afghan constitution. He suggested instead a process in which violence was brought down, insurgents renounced al Qaeda, and a consensus then negotiated on a future Afghan constitution.

That suggestion is born not just out of a desire to limit Indian influence in Afghanistan — though that has long been a lynchpin of Pakistan’s strategy. It also  comes from a fear that the aggressive military U.S. approach will so radicalise the insurgents,  promoting younger fighters at the expense of the older (and Pakistan-influenced) leadership – that there will no longer be a peace settlement to be had. That would leave Pakistan with a dangerously unstable Afghanistan on its border once the Americans leave in 2014.

The argument has support from academics and experts on Afghanistan, who have appealed to Obama to back talks with the Taliban . That’s interesting since the distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan is such that it is rare to see such concordant views between those looking at the war mainly from the Afghan perspective and those of the Pakistan Army.  (for more on views by those Afghan experts, see Joshua Foust at Registan.net on A Call to Reason For Afghanistan, and Matt Waldman writing in the RUSI Journal. Also see Anatol Lieven’s  How the Afghan Counterinsurgency Threatens Pakistan.)

For now though, the military has been given its head on the grounds that more military pressure needs to be applied to force the Taliban into a settlement that the United States and its allies would find acceptable (ie one in which they might be co-opted into the political process but would not be treated as equal partners with the Afghan government and the United States and its allies in any negotiated settlement.) 

And as one western diplomat said to me it would be very hard politically for Obama to go against the advice of General David Petraeus, his commander on the ground.  If the war is going badly for the United States, the diplomat said, Obama could not back down; equally if it going well, he could not back out. 

And with that military campaign, are likely to come more and more unintended consequences in Pakistan. One has to hope that those setting strategy know what they are doing and have taken what they presumably see as a well-calculated risk. For as Holbrooke appeared to have understood, that there is no point in achieving success in Afghanistan (however that is defined) if Pakistan — a much bigger country, population 180 million, with nuclear weapons — is allowed to slip out of control.

(Reuters file photo of General Petraeus and General Kayani)

Comments

KPS
I love to read your day dreaming and I encourage you to do more of it.
We Pakistanis are selfish like anybody else and we like people with big bank accounts like Americans, Saudis, and Chinese. You can get on the list if you bring lots of cash to the table.
I’m sorry to inform you that OBL is dead and if AQ exists, their bank account is empty. No deal.
We do pamper our warriors to irritate you and Nukes fall in the same category. Since you are fixated on Paki nukes, would you write about how to steal them. It would be fun.
You like to talk about everybody else but your own county. I would like learn more about the upcoming great power or do you want to keep those things in the closet?

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

“We do pamper our warriors to irritate you”
Posted by Matrixx

You must be very proud of your “warriors” for killing & maiming thousands of innocent Indians over the years. After all, it requires a lot of guts to kill unarmed civilians. Are you eaqually proud of the “warriors” who have/are conducting similar acts of bravery in Pakistan? I just read that some of those “warriors” killed 40 innocent Pakistanis in Peshawar earlier today. In case you are not yet satisfied with their “bravery”, you should ask your establishment, to pamper them some more.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “I love to read your day dreaming and I encourage you to do more of it.”

I am glad ou can laugh at my serious talk. Because the day is not far when you will be crying. And we Indians will still feel for you people. We are all denizens of this great land of South Asia and share the same history and heritage. But unfortunately, you people have been divided by selfish people and kept blind folded by rogue cartels. Laugh as much as you want. But we feel sorry for you guys. You do not deserve a future that your country is heading into.

“We Pakistanis are selfish like anybody else and we like people with big bank accounts like Americans, Saudis, and Chinese. You can get on the list if you bring lots of cash to the table.”

Your country has been turned into a whore. Your above statement says it all. This is not something to be proud about. Your country has been f**ked one after another since the time of Arabs and now the Chinese are waiting in the queue. India is not interested in that. Thanks.

“I’m sorry to inform you that OBL is dead and if AQ exists, their bank account is empty. No deal.”

But he has taken many incarnation now in the form of Shahzad and many who are now blowing themselves up in Pakistan, Sweden and elsewhere.
Hope you get some more customers.

“We do pamper our warriors to irritate you and Nukes fall in the same category. Since you are fixated on Paki nukes, would you write about how to steal them. It would be fun.

There is no need to set fire to a house that is already on fire. We will simply let it burn down.

“You like to talk about everybody else but your own county. I would like learn more about the upcoming great power or do you want to keep those things in the closet?”

I do talk about my own country. But this is not the forum for it. This is about Pakistan and the influence of events unfolding there on my country. That is why we are here. We do not claim to be an upcoming power. We are an upcoming economy. We have no interest in becoming some super power to whom all others kneel and bow out of fear. We definitely would like to be looked up to for inspiration and leadership arising out of creative efforts. We are not there yet. But we are working on it. Unfortunately we are in the neighborhood of criminal minds. Therefore we have to be cautious at all times.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
Your unsolicited advice and sympathy is not wanted. What is wrong with whores. What are your moral qualms? Good whores are hard to come by and also very expensive. You need to work on your bank account.
What “neighborhood of criminal” you are talking about, I hear from you that we are the same people. Now I know why a million of you leave every year.
“Your country has been f**ked one after another..” Nothing could be worse that your treatment of people in Kashmir. How many days of curfew you imposed on them this Year. You should be the last person talking about good life.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

“What is wrong with whores. What are your moral qualms? Good whores are hard to come by and also very expensive. You need to work on your bank account.”
Posted by Matrixx

Really nice perspective. Jinnah would’ve been proud!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Thanks for the compliment even where you lean on Jinnah. I missed spending time at Gandhiji’s ashram.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: “Your unsolicited advice and sympathy is not wanted.”

This is a public forum. If you don’t like my sympathy, take a long hike.

“What is wrong with whores. What are your moral qualms? Good whores are hard to come by and also very expensive. You need to work on your bank account.”

The question is about good whores. Unfortunately Pakistan is 60 odd years old. And that is one reason why Chinese are coming forward to try. They like it cheap. Their policy is to cover the face and fire the base.

“What “neighborhood of criminal” you are talking about, I hear from you that we are the same people.”

We are the same people. But we do have criminals around. The whole world has some. And we have to be cautious about them. In our case, it is your rogue military cartel and its ISI who are not being liked by anyone now-a-days.

“Now I know why a million of you leave every year.”

And they want us everywhere. We are not sending Shahzads abroad. Our people get awards and recognition.

“Nothing could be worse that your treatment of people in Kashmir. How many days of curfew you imposed on them this Year.”

Yeah, Yeah! When you run out of ideas, bring the Kashmir issue. Your countrymen have no right to accuse others when your country’s history is written with the blood of Bengalis. We all condemn any atrocities done not only in Kashmir, but also everywhere, whether it is done by a military soldier or a trained militant. And I don’t run the Kashmir administration or their security. Go ask them.

“You should be the last person talking about good life.”

Stand behind me in the queue. You are trying to cut the line.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

KPS
You can say whatever you want and I, as I said earlier, like hearing your dreams.
As far as cheap whores, a few billion does not cut it any more. A picture is worth thousand words. You know the people on top of this page. Look who is trying to humor the head of rouge military cartel. Do I need to say more. Thanks for warning about Chinese whore mongers. I promise to be careful based on your experience.
I hope you guys are enjoying Australian hospitality. You do recall Uganda experience.
Regarding Kashmir, you disown the people controlling the place. I forgot you were standing in line. Welcome to good life.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

I understand you stand on the ISI somewhat. Yet I would like to give you the picture from my side now.

The ISI and the Pak Army are protecting Pakistan, that is their primary reason for existence and it is they who are protecting Pakistan from getting screwed by the multiple rogue organisations that have thrived there for far too long. Often with connivance. There is no doubt that if these rogue elements get the upper hand Pakistan will be pushed to the wall and yes India certainly does not want that and will also face some consequences. That is why people here keep repeating, over and over with no one really taking cognizance of it, that it is in Indias ineterest to have a safe and stable Pakistan. But to say that this is how the ISI or the PA is actually preventing India from being screwed is a a little far fetched

I would like to add too that by keeping things under control in Pakistan itself, the ISI and the PA are actually doing their job – some may say a very good job while others may think differently. Unfortunately, when engaged in hostile activity there will be casualties, every force in the world knows that and suffers that. So while we pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifices of our Armed Forces we also know what to expect. This in no way undermines their losses.

Again the links to Al Qaida which you bring out are tenuous. There is no one Al Qaeda outfit that creates mayhem and practices terror, it is a conglomerate of such organisations. At least thats how I see it. The LeT and the others may have links or accreditation to the AQ but it is of their own agenda that they are waging terror against India. Moreover, in this, they are being aided, abetted and even protected by the ISI and the entire Pakistani civil and military edifice – their strategic assets. You may remain in denial about that but as far as India and most of the international community is concerned, enough evidence exists and has been provided to Pakistan on this score and no one is in any doubt.

Thus a bland statement that it is the ISI and the PA which is coming to the rescue of India is what I meant when I said that you did sometimes ignore Indian sensitivities. It was in no way and is not a reflection on your personal interaction here.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx: ” You can say whatever you want and I, as I said earlier, like hearing your dreams.”

I have a fan finally. I just dreamt that Pakistan surrendered to the US.

“Look who is trying to humor the head of rouge military cartel. Do I need to say more.”

Kayani looks visibly hurt. So Petraeus is trying to cheer him for the photo. You know how it goes in the military in Pakistan. Kayani was still recovering from the previous bout when the picture was taken. I am sure he did not like it. But then that is the reality. A picture surely is worth more than a thousand words.

“Thanks for warning about Chinese whore mongers. I promise to be careful based on your experience.”

Yeah they tried to get at India. But then they find Pakistan to be willing and the price is appealing to them. Your military is the agent making money. And you guys are the real thing. Go for it. And you might as well enjoy it.

“I hope you guys are enjoying Australian hospitality. You do recall Uganda experience.”

We have other countries which welcome us. Australians are now getting worried about a loss of name and reputation for their country and a big source of income from tuition. No one wants to live in Uganda anyway. Those who were evicted have made it well in UK, USA and Canada. Every second motel in the US is owned by an Indian immigrant from Uganda.

“Regarding Kashmir, you disown the people controlling the place.”

I am not supporting our military’s action in Kashmir. They are there to protect the country and we do not like their excessive measures. As a citizen I have done my part of the condemnation. But I am not going to defend everything our countrymen do or did, unlike you guys. We do correct each other.

“I forgot you were standing in line. Welcome to good life.”

Oh Thank you.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The US invasion of Afghanistan and the threat to invade Pakistan if it didn’t aid the US in the Afghan invasion was always going to create more chaos in the region.

I really question the intelligence of those in charge of US foreign policy. I guess it just goes to show that any dummy can succeed in the USA.

Posted by Sinbad1 | Report as abusive
 

Petraeus commends Pakistan’s counterinsurgency

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/con tent/article/2010/12/26/AR2010122600362. html

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Sinbad1: “The US invasion of Afghanistan and the threat to invade Pakistan if it didn’t aid the US in the Afghan invasion was always going to create more chaos in the region.”

I wish it was as simple as that. In reality, the US made the mistake of “abandoning” the region when the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan. They focused on new things like the collapse of the Soviet empire, liberation of Kuwait, war in the Baltics and so on. They assumed that with the fall of the USSR, things will take care of themselves in Afghanistan.

Najibullah was still in power in Afghanistan and could have continued on. Unfortunately the Pak military had other plans – to install a regime that was on its side. So it allowed war lords like Gulbudin Hekmatyar to launch offensives. Instead of a peaceful settlement, the war lords reduced Afghanistan into a rubble.

Pak military could have allowed them to settle amongst themselves by brokering peace through Saudi Arabia, Turkey etc. Instead it began to work on its next ambition – to create an opportunity to cut India into a thousand pieces. That is the source of all ills one sees in the region today. If Pakistani military generals did not launch the next Jihad in Kashmir in 1989, none of what we see today would have happened. In order to support and sustain that proxy war, room was needed and that room was Afghanistan. Taliban was created to expand Pakistan’s indirect rule into that territory. And Al Qaeda was needed to fuel terrorist training. Pakistan envisioned itself as the next Islamic center of the world with power and nukes, expanding from the edge of North Africa to Central Asia. The only thing that backfired on Pakistan’s major plans is Al Qaeda had taken on global ambitions.

If Al Qaeda did not attack the US, by now Kashmir would have been liberated and India cut to pieces. The US would have turned a blind eye to all of it. By
attacking the US, and that in that dramatic fashion, Al Qaeda put Pak military and its ambitions in major jeopardy.

There were no plans on hands if the above scenario developed. Al Qaeda even surprised the Pak generals by becoming its own institution. Pak military believed that the Taliban will control Al Qaeda. Instead it turned out to be the other way around. Pak military was divided between staunch Taliban / Al Qaeda supporters and those who stuck to Pakistan specific goals. Musharraf belonged to the latter.

When the US returned to seek revenge, Musharraf quickly cleansed off all the
elements that were pushing for Al Qaeda/Taliban expansion. This helped deflect off US focus on Pakistan and helped divert its attention entirely towards Afghanistan. Iraq invasion by the Americans helped provide the needed breathing space.

Unfortunately the Americans shot themselves in Iraq and got stuck. Obama’s arrival changed everything. He and his team are made up of smart thinkers. They knew up front that the real source is not Afghanistan, but Pakistan. So everything in the strategy was shifted towards Pakistan.

Interestingly Pakistanis tend to forget history quickly and start creating new ones.

Hope you understand why things are the way they are now. It is your military that is the real villain.

“I really question the intelligence of those in charge of US foreign policy. I guess it just goes to show that any dummy can succeed in the USA.”

Americans are ignorant of the outside world. And their policies are built on that ignorance. Watch the world news on an American TV channel and you will understand what I mean. But Pakistan does figure in their news more nowadays for the wrong reasons. When that happens, their politicians end up working on issues that please their public.

Actually the current team in charge is fairly intelligent. The President has pretty good knowledge of world affairs as he has lived abroad himself during his formative years. And his decision to focus on Pakistan is the correct one. The ignorant bunch of leaders before him made the wrong decision and were manipulated by Musharraf into firing into shadows. Obama has turned the barrel in the right direction and it is beginning cause heating inside Pakistan. Your military has to face its time of justice sometime or the other.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “Petraeus commends Pakistan’s counterinsurgency”

Petraeus has no choice. He is stuck between a rock and a hard place. His boss will not give him everything he wants. And Pak military is slimy and slippery. He needs to negotiate his way through these troubled waters. He has a big reputation on his shoulders. He is the architect of recovery in Iraq. His strategy helped the US get out without losing much face.

But in Pakistan he is going to meet his match. If the US narrows its focus only towards groups it thinks as terrorists and ignores others who are equally lethal, this war will never end. And it is these “others” who outnumber the enemies of the US and they are becoming interlinked fast. At some point they all might rise together against the US and its allies. And they may completely ignore Pak military once they gain momentum. That is when the real war will happen. And Pak military might end up fighting them for its own survival. And these elements will cut inroads into Pak military and divide it up into opposing camps. Petraeus might still be posing for pictures and rubbing Kayani’s behind. Or Kayani might be writing his memoirs from London.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@”I hope you guys are enjoying Australian hospitality”
Posted by Matrixx

Isolated incidents of racism won’t change the fact that most developed countries, including Australia, are opening up their gates for Indians. They have been increasing visa quotas for Indians & want Indians to migrate to & visit their countries. As to how they feel about Pakistanis, you probably know that better than me.

@”Americans are ignorant of the outside world. And their policies are built on that ignorance. Watch the world news on an American TV channel and you will understand what I mean.” Posted by KPSingh01

What you say, is still true to a great extent but things have been steadily changing since 9/11 & Americans have been becoming more world-wary (more so in urban areas). We still have a long way to go but the transformation has begun.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Here is the summary of year 2010 for Pakistan:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/2010-Pakis tan-under-siege/H1-Article1-643191.aspx

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh01 Kashmir should really be part of Pakistan, most of the inhabitants are Muslim and would prefer to be part of Pakistan. I know India has a different perspective but I can’t see the value for India in the constant fighting over a crappy piece of land where the people hate India. It would be better to spend the resources on those who want to be part of India.

Racism in Australia has been mentioned a couple of times and I would like to say that Australia like most countries has its fair share of racists. However the majority of Australians are either emigrants or the descendants of emigrants and usually follow the Mark Twain philosophy of “judge the man not the tribe”
People of Indian descent have lived in Australia for a long time, many arriving in Australia before the notorious white Australia policy was enacted in 1901.
Most I believe would think of themselves as Australian.
Look up Woolgoolga

Posted by Sinbad1 | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh01 Kashmir should really be part of Pakistan, most of the inhabitants are Muslim and would prefer to be part of Pakistan. I know India has a different perspective but I can’t see the value for India in the constant fighting over a crappy piece of land where the people hate India. It would be better to spend the resources on those who want to be part of India.

Racism in Australia has been mentioned a couple of times and I would like to say that Australia like most countries has its fair share of racists. However the majority of Australians are either emigrants or the descendants of emigrants and usually follow the Mark Twain philosophy of “judge the man not the tribe”
People of Indian descent have lived in Australia for a long time, many arriving in Australia before the notorious white Australia policy was enacted in 1901.
Most I believe would think of themselves as Australian.
Look up Woolgoolga

Posted by Sinbad1 | Report as abusive
 

Sinbad1: “Kashmir should really be part of Pakistan, most of the inhabitants are Muslim and would prefer to be part of Pakistan. I know India has a different perspective but I can’t see the value for India in the constant fighting over a crappy piece of land where the people hate India. It would be better to spend the resources on those who want to be part of India.”

Sinbad,

Anything done devoid of violence in a mature and amicable way is the best thing. The fear that grips Indians is that if Kashmir is let go, it can set up a precedent for further disintegration. This is something a nation that has worked hard over 6 decades will not be willing to settle upon. If suddenly Balochistan is let go from Pakistan, see the impact it will have.

Another thing that is important is the timing of all events. Separation of Kashmir amidst the hostility arising from China and Pakistan will be extremely untimely. There are groups inside Pakistan, some of which reach deep into its military establishment, that would like to see the divide proceed further on in order to remove the existential threat paranoia that is tormenting them. If India disappears, Pakistan gets to be a big power in the region.

Kashmir is a center of a tug of war – India on one side and China/Pakistan on the other. It has nothing to do with Kashmiri people unfortunately. if Pakistan had not launched a Jihad in 1989, things will not be this bad. India did not have such a huge military presence there prior to 1989. Pakistan managed to draw Indian troops in massive numbers there, much like the way it had done with the Russians in Afghanistan. The plan was to get the military in and intensify the insurgency. It will invariably cause friction in the local population. At some point, the people will direct their anger at the establishment rather than at the insurgents. They are not accountable for anything. The US is beginning to face the same problem in Afghanistan. Now it is being termed as an invader.

Impatience from Pakistani military leaders has created an unnecessary deadlock. If they had settled with Simla accord, both countries could have spent precious money on growth and progress. They are spending a million dollars a day over Siachien glacier. Prior to 1989, Kashmiris were very much willing to live along with India. By introducing massive levels of insurgency, Pakistan has hit the main mode of survival there – the tourism industry, weaving industry etc.

There is one reason why India is still holding on to Kashmir probably to allow the tension to diffuse out. This tension has built up over two decades with constant propping up from the Pakistani side. India knows well that Kashmiri offensive by Pakistan is not for the love for Kashmiris, but an act of vengeance for many things. Now that Pakistan is fighting fire in its own backyard, India probably has decided to wait and allow things to diffuse in Kashmir over time. The military is still there because one never knows how things will change in this region. It is very expensive to take all the armed forces out and bring them back at an instant. That might be another thing Pakistan might try – cause fatigue and dejection in the ranks.

There are lot of factors to be considered before deciding on Kashmir. We’d love to have its people live in peace and prosper. Unfortunately timing is a critical factor in deciding on Kashmir. May be a decade from now, if everything settles down, Kashmir settlement that is agreeable to both Kashmiris and the rest of India can be looked at. I would not recommend changing anything there at this time. May be I will amend the armed forces protection act that gives them unlimited power. This is not only confined to Kashmir, but also in other border areas where there is intense insurgency.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Umair

“Rehmat:”At the end of the day, Al-qaida is not the primary concern for India. A-Q wants to attack the West and Pakistan for helping the West.”

-Really? are you sure about this? Let me tell you the Mumbai attackers were greatly influenced by AQ and that is why the targets like Chabbad house jews and western nationals were singled out and target. All other groups are greatly influenced by A-Q.”

***The operative word what I said is “primary”. So yes, I am REALLY sure about this. I am not saying Al-Qaida has philanthropist interests towards India!

Umair, all I am doing here is telling you ISI is saving Pakistan from terrorists and if in the process it is helping India, ISI would, unwillingly, do that. I may not be as much familiar with terrorism/counter-terrorism as you are, but I am not dodo at understanding the place of ISI, PA, RAW and proxy wars.

So let us try to understand the PRIMARY concern of each nation. Selective condemnation of terrorists by you and other Pakistanis is not less indicator where the things stand.

”that was in the past, today due to crackdown by ISI many factions of LeT have emerged and fierce splinter groups like the LeJ have attacked everywhere. But I do not expect you to understand a complicated situation. You simply are not able to understand exactly what is going on.”
***In my little knowledge LeJ/SSP are splintered from JeM–JeM is the one whose chief Azhar Mahmood was released by India in the famous air hijacking. Groups and splintering and changing names is common in terrorist groups. In this pile of terrorists, Pakistan does not consider all of them anti-Pakistan, so ISI does not have intention to target them, especially when some of them are hurting India. From Indian POV, no one is useful to India so anyone can be removed. That is not happening so far.

It is hard to slip into some one’s shoes. Just give it a try.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

I have a simple solution to all this. Why not gift XBoxes to all the war hungry Pak generals, ISI chiefs, militant leaders and have them fight a hitech virtual war against equally crazy American and NATO equivalents on the other side? They can bomb each other and kill each other as many times as they want. I am sure the Pentagon can create a virtual war simulator where they can change from club wielding Neanderthals to Avatar like scenarios. All these guys need therapy or they need means to channel their machismo in some way or the other.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The way forward into the new year of 2011 will not be without difficulty. The tasks of channelling all the difficulties such as religous differences, crime, poverty, overpopulation, rising food prices, global warming. Simultaeneously it is an opportunity to show courage and stamina in the face of constant hardship and quench the desire for brandishing guns bombs and military power. The ideals of the world economy like glbalisation, anticolonialization , world wide web bring people form different continents and places together. So in the midst of the iceberg of austerity measures and pay cuts be inspired and help in anyway or by any means as necessary to curb the looming catastrophe of annhilation and may you have a bright and sunny new year God willing.

Posted by chem232 | Report as abusive
 

One cannot ignore the photo showing two Generals, Gen. Patreous asking Gen Kyani to have mercy on him, the collegue who is suffering from a chronic illness, and wants to spend the rest of his time in the veteran hospital in Florida.

This was the status of most Roman senators during the last days of their empire. What a sad state of affairs for the super power in 2010?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

looks like, the psycho has been let lose by the german authorities, yet again. Can’t blame them, they need a break from loonies as well.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@ Indian mob
Now that you have exposed your great love for your neighbours, tell me how are you going to protect major cities of your great country in the 21st century? Neither the USA nor Pakistan military are going to let you keep the paradise country of Kashmir and its inhabitants by sheer military force.

You are witnessing ‘live’ how the asymetric war is fought, destabilising the entire terrain and insecurity for every one including the military, police and the infrastructure.
No weapons can provide protection for those who are injust and commit atrocities against innocent civilians. History is the guide, a Salladin has always come to unite the believers into one force and defeat the dark forces of the crusaders.

Let us pray together that in 2011 ‘vernunft’ is going to prevail, which we all need for peace. Enough with your mean and degraded language on this reputable German blog!

Rex Minior

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@@ Indian mob
Now that you have exposed your great love for your neighbours..”

***Speaking on behalf of “mob”?

“…tell me how are you going to protect major cities of your great country in the 21st century?”

***Protect from whom, Mr know-all? How about hiring Ninjas from Af-Pak; they are the super power at least in their own territory?

“History is the guide, a Salladin has always come to unite the believers into one force and defeat the dark forces of the crusaders.”
***12th century solutions are not applicable today. Your friends LeT et al use that to motivate youth for recruitment.

Wish you sanity in new year.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

“Enough with your mean and degraded language on this reputable German blog!” Posted by pakistan

Hey moron, care to explain, how is this a german blog? It’s a blog about Pakistan & on a website which is owned by a Canadian company (Thompson media owns Reuters, which was originally British). And even if it is, quit living under the delusion that you represent Germans. Maybe, the psycho mullah section of the german society but certainly not mainstream germans.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Mortal
You are sick in your mind and have a very thin layer of brain. Do Reuters and Myra a favour and consult a doctor in the new year,and take the second taliban sikh with you, he equally needs a full dose of cure!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Rex Moron

That does not explain your assertion that this is german blog. Is that the best response, your thick layer of brain came up with? As always, when facts are slapped on your face, you respond with unintelligible personal attacks. It’s been obvious for quite a while as to who needs help here. I would rather reason with a rock than with a mentally delinquint loser like you. Adios!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Rex: I realize that I was somewhat harsh on you, my apologies!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

quite amusing overheated cross firing.
but merely by innocent civilians.
who don’t kill one another when confronted.
mainly restrained by the innate humanity they are born with.

a hard fact: many talibans captured or killed in swat operation by army were found to be non circumcised.
and they were not pakistanis or jews or chinese or afghans….

Posted by docanonymous | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
  •