Bajaur bombing highlights conflicting U.S.-Pakistan interests

December 29, 2010

damadola2Last week’s suicide bombing in Pakistan’s Bajaur region, which killed at least 40 people, had a grim predictability to  it.  The Pakistan Army cleared Pakistani Taliban militants out of their main strongholds in Bajaur, which borders Afghanistan’s Kunar province, after 20 months of intense fighting which ended earlier this year.  But as discussed in this post in October the insurgents’ ability to flee to Kunar — where the U.S. military presence has been thinned out — combined with a failure to provide Bajaur with good governance, suggested the security situation in the region was likely to be deteriorating. The bombing appeared to confirm those fears.

The implications go far beyond Bajaur. The Pakistan Army has resisted U.S. pressure to launch a military offensive against militant strongholds in North Waziristan until it has secured gains made elsewhere.  Pakistani daily The Express Tribune quoted army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas as reiterating that point after the Bajaur bombing and after fighting in the neighbouring Mohmand region. Until areas “cleared” by the military were consolidated, “it is impossible to rush into another campaign,” it quoted him as saying.

The Taliban in Bajaur also had historically close ties with militants who overran the Swat valley and caused worldwide alarm by pushing further into Pakistan’s heartland before they were ousted by the Pakistan Army in 2009.  Any further evidence of the Taliban regaining ground in Bajaur would therefore be a cause for concern that military gains in Swat — itself reeling from this summer’s devastating floods — could also be reversed.

In some aspects — though not all — Pakistan’s problems in tackling militants are a mirror image of those faced by the United States on the other side of the border.  Soldiers can drive militants out of their strongholds, but they can’t stop them melting into the local population or fleeing across the border. And they can’t hold and build on those military gains without civilian back-up to provide people with governance. 

When I visited Bajaur on an army-organised trip in April, the military commander in the main town of Khar — target of last week’s suicide bombing — made two points. First he said the Americans had to “do more” on their side of the border to stop militants fleeing into Afghanistan.  Second he drew a graph showing how security gains made from military operations do not even remain static without governance, but actually dwindle over time – probably rather similar to graphs drawn by U.S. commanders on the other side of the border.

You might think the answer would be to coordinate approaches in both Pakistan and Afghanistan — a much talked about idea that somehow never quite managed to get off the drawing boards in Washington and into the field. If anything military coordination appears to be getting worse. 

The United States, keen to concentrate its forces in areas where they can make a difference, and to protect population centres, has been pulling troops back from remote outposts in Kunar and elsewhere.  Within the context of Afghanistan, that may make sense.  But from Pakistan’s point of view, it leaves its  military exposed. Meanwhile, Pakistan has resisted pressure to launch an operation in North Waziristan, both because it needs to consolidate gains elsewhere, and because it fears a backlash of suicide bombings on its towns and cities. Within the context of Pakistan that may also make sense. But from the U.S. point of view, it leaves its own military exposed. 

And neither Pakistan nor the United States has been able to work out how to deliver governance, as both their militaries and the militants compete to win the support of the local people.  In Bajaur, people were already complaining about the lack of government support long before the bombing; renewed militant attacks will make it even harder to deliver basic services.

The whole thing is complicated by Pakistan’s own ambivalent approach to some militants, including the Afghan Taliban in the so-called Quetta shura and the Haqqani network. But the situation in Kunar-Bajaur shows that ambivalence is not the only problem, nor perhaps even the primary one. There has been no ambivalence in Islamabad or Rawalpindi towards the Pakistani Taliban. At least 150 Pakistani soldiers died and 637 were injured tackling militants in Bajaur.   Yet even there, they are struggling simply to contain them.

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Pakistan army is going in circles and confusing the hell out of the foreign forces. Swat and Bajaur area is inhabited by Pashtoons and not foreign elements, they could not be overpowered by the moghul king Aurangzeb, who finaly had to submit through intermediates. PA is putting on the show to prevent the USA intervention in the area, no more and no less and has already lost many of their soldiers in the process. Pakistan army should stop bleeding for there is no end to resistance and it would get worse, when all the tribes would come together and would have no other choice but to start a campaign against the non Pashto speaking people from their territory.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

The Romans had the same problem with the locals in what is now Britain. Once the invaders married local girls and the local reserves took over for the non native soldiers down came Hadrian’s’ Wall. The soviets had some success by moving the locals out and rewarding loyal subjects with property taken from the suspect parties. If the locals wedded with the Taliban for survival of financial reward the only real success scenario is to put them on reservations until their culture dies out and don’t give in to their whining. The week have always been forced to concede to the strong, the media is a very powerful tool if used adroitly to fight back. Just ask General Giap who lost most of his troops and the battle of Hue but won the war mostly thanks to the US media and lack of congressional will. If we had an active media today like we did at Custer’s last stand the Indians would still have their stuff but maybe they would be the ones feeling guilty, but I doubt it it’s a hippie moral thing they impose on us.

Posted by ROWnine | Report as abusive

It would be easier to better understand the operations if a map were also included.
Isn’t this the same region which Myra pronounced more peaceful than Kashmir a few months ago?

“The Pakistan Army cleared Pakistani Taliban militants out of their main strongholds in Bajaur, which borders Afghanistan’s Kunar province, after 20 months of intense fighting which ended earlier this year…………combined with a failure to provide Bajaur with good governance, suggested the security situation in the region was likely to be deteriorating.”

Surely almost 11 months later Pakistan should have been able to set up a some sort of sustainable administration and security apparatus in the area. After all its part of the country; not like the US in far away Afghanistan.

The US and the Pak Army are fighting their own battles oblivious of each others’ concerns. We seem to have two armies fighting in close proximity with very little coordination between them. Maybe the real reason for the Afghan fiasco lies there – a troubled between between two unwilling partners.

One can but feel sorry for the hundreds of lives lost to what has become a non-cause.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

“a troubled between between two unwilling partners.”
should read as
a troubled relationship between two unwilling partners.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

ROWnine says ” The weak have always been forced to concede to the strong”. The question is which of the parties are weaker;

.Pakistan army, which has lost several battles or wars against the Indian Army,
. The USA which has never in their history won a war against any country on their own. O’K there were some skirmishes with the American natives and Panama where the yanks were successful.
. NatO countries, most of whom were occupied by Germany in ww2.

or

. The Pashtoon Afghans , never in living memory were defeated by the foreign invaders, and have decidedly made the entire current contingent impotent.

The question now is , how pakistan Army and the foreign armada is going to disengage themselves without loss of face.

No one in the USA military likes to follow the example of tin pot Custer; General Macchrsytle has departed and so has most of the clwns in Washington( the Generals words, not mine) and now you have a chronically sick General trying to organise the face saving withdrawl from the occupied territory. it is the Pakistan army which is in a mess, trying to defend the country against its declared arched enemy India, and now being confined to the cantonments of the country and facing the anger of its own citizens within the borders, no different than the fate of Brits in that part of the country.

rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Rex Minor:

” it is the Pakistan army which is in a mess, trying to defend the country against its declared arched enemy India, and now being confined to the cantonments of the country and facing the anger of its own citizens within the borders”

-I agree with you, Pakistan Army needs to stop combat operations instead of starting more, it is the only way to rehabilitate the pushtoons and aviod their anger. While the US has not been very supportive, China on the other hand has been very actively praising Pakistan’s effort to stabilize the region. the civil war in Afghanistan has to end, it is more than 30 years old now, and history shows no corrupt puppet Kabul government without support from Afghan people can survive.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

@Umairpk
Pakistan needs a civlian leader with a vision and knowledge of the different communities living in the country. Unfortunately, the current party system has prevented the emergence of a strong leader whose loyalty is devoted for the Nation and not for his party alone. We have the same mess in the UK and Germany. The political leaders have lost their credibility among the people and we are experiencing the erosion of the democratic structure. The leaders of the parties once elected are making decisions above the heads of the people and do not reflect the wishes of the majority of the people. More than eighty percent Germans do not support their army presence in Afghanistan, but the Govt. under pressure from the USA are reluctantly extending their military mandate in Afghanistan.
In England we got rid of one joker Professor, who always talked about his father and now we have a school boy who is the prime minister, and has just managed to have a ride in the car to his office, whereas, previously he was a bike man!
What Pakistan needs is a system of govt. similar to that in Germany, more authority being given to provincial Govts. instead of a the Central Govt. Pakistan should also get rid of the provincial governors, they have no function in a democratic system. In addition, the country must provide full support to the languages spoken in provinces. Replace english, the lingua franca, perhaps with Urdu? The military throughout have been sincere but they are not trained to run the Govt. which needs to make a nation out of the different communities. Islam is a religion of peace for muslims and nonmuslims, and not meant to be misused for Nation building nor does the hate and permanent animosity towards India is going to create the unity among the people of Pakistan. For most people family takes the priority, the language, the culture and traditions follow, the country takes the last position. The laws of the country must be based on and reflect the Islam; ther State and the Govt. needs to be a secular one. Perhaps in the United States the country takes the first place in people’s lives. They have nothing else left, no culture, no religion, except in Sunday service, the people are a multi-culti society. Can you imagine people of Indian and Pakistan origin living together in harmony as American citizens?

Good luck, things might still work out in 2011 better than 2010. Mr Zardari should be persuaded to retire so that the civilian Govt can emerge with some credibility.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

HOPELESS is the word that comes to mind, looking at the situation at the ground.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

This has been a bad marriage from the very begining. The wife (Pakistan) was never faithful & slept around from the get go. As long as the husband looked the other way (Bush years), it was all good but when he started demanding sincereity (since Obama) the relationship has been quite pestilential. A lawsuit is filed against the ISI in Brooklyn & in retaliation, one is also filed against the CIA in Pakistan. I suspect, things are about to get worse as the drone campaign is expanded in North Waziristan & other parts of Pakistan. There are also rumblings about the human rights violation by the Pakistani army as mentioned in the link below. I wish, I could say that 2011 will be better than 2010 for Pakistan but unfortunately conventional wisdom says otherwise.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/30/world/ asia/30disappear.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=paki stan&st=cse

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

As an Indian, let me wish Pakistanis a much better 2011 in which wisdom prevails and old ways are given up. Wish your country peace and amity. You have the talent and potential and I pray to the Guru that your country will come out of the issues it is entangled in and will become a good neighbor to our country. Let the people get the peace that they deserve.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

A Happy New Year to all!

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

If Pakistan genuinely believes India as their enemy and they have played into the geopolitics of the area of no avail.
US and Europe are scared of the green crescent rearing its head through Afghanistan and central Asia into Europe. Even China have to live with that threat. It is to be seen whether dismembering Pakistan as a nation is an American option backed by Europe.
The ruling clique of Pakistan ought to see the writing on the wall. It takes courage to fight one’s own turncoats to save Pakistan rather than uphold the march of the green crescent into Europe.
Pakistan ought to know its onions 63 years after its creation as a nation.

Posted by kelappan | Report as abusive

Wish everyone a Happy and Safe New Year!

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

@Dara

“It would be easier to better understand the operations if a map were also included.”

***I totally agree. It may be hard to do justice to the map to show the details, but a more zoomed out version could be shown or the link to the map can be given.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

Saw this piece in the Time magazine:

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0  ,8599,2040295,00.html

Pakistani military efforts are on the edge. If the US pushes hard, it might weaken the Pak military’s already half hearted efforts in the region. Sorry Myra,
it is not going to look like Switzerland. And Kashmir may not look that scary either

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Couldnt agree more

Posted by CallPakistan | Report as abusive

Fighting Bajaur and Mohmand is not good news for PA and even worse news for NATO forces in Kabul because it indicates that they do not control Kunar province. It is reversal of safe heavens argument used to blame PA and force a showdown in N. Waziristan. The ball is in NATO court to come up with a way out. Directing PA sitting in Kabul just won’t do it.
It should also be noticed that increased drone attacks don’t seem to have much impact while it is taking its toll on public opinion.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

Matrixx: ” It should also be noticed that increased drone attacks don’t seem to have much impact while it is taking its toll on public opinion.”

The US is doing what Pak military did in Kashmir – hit the public and build frustration. At some point the public, being unable to tackle the real enemy, turns against the establishment. The establishment tries to control the rise by force and things get out of control. As it is PA is being hit from the rear end by TTP. This unit has been on the rise ever since Obama began to push hard on PA. Now more of it will happen. PA is getting a treatment of what it had done to others over the years. It was all well when others suffered. Now it is time for PA to face the same music.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

“It should also be noticed that increased drone attacks don’t seem to have much impact while it is taking its toll on public opinion”

Quoting an excerpt by the Times article (referenced by KP):

“In public, Pakistan despairs over its trampled sovereignty, and worries about a popular fallout with each report of civilian casualties. But in private, there is recognition that they (drone strikes) are having an effect: The drones are restricting the movements and actions of the militants.”

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

What intrest? which conflict?

Let the country have a functioning economy first, the government is running out of money to pay salaries and you expect strategic planning from pakistan?

http://www.pkr101.blogspot.com

Posted by Auroch | Report as abusive

Says Irfan Hussain in Dawn:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/01/analysing -pakistan%E2%80%99s-dna.html
“Analysing Pakistan’s DNA”

“Among the WikiLeaks to have emerged so far was a cable from the previous American ambassador to Islamabad in which she wrote that she expected it would take 10 to 15 years for Pakistan to defeat the Taliban. I fear she was being too optimistic. Until we have achieved a national consensus rejecting extremism, the jihadis will continue to receive moral and material support.”

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

We must blame the colonial British empire for all the ills in the region we see today. They set up mines in South Asia and the Middle East before they closed down their empire and these mines are the hot spots today ready to bring the world to the brink of Armageddon. They had done it at the time when they did not foresee the demise of their empire. Pakistan was one land mine. Israel was the other. Both were founded on religion to protect the interests of the Jews in the middle of Muslim Arabs and Muslims in the middle of non-Muslims. Both states survive based on war psychosis, ready to pounce on real and imagined enemies. I am reading a book titled, “The shadow of the great game,” by Narendra Singh Sarila. It describes the real reason behind the creation of these two states. The main reason was not religion – it was geo-strategy that was meant to keep the colonial empire provide barriers to the Russian expansion.

Now both the Russian and British empires have disappeared, leaving behind these two land mines which can explode any time. Tension has been mounting with nuclear weapons mixed into the chaos.

We are all tail spinning towards a major global war that will be based on religion, resources and geo-politics. I do not know who will be left to pick on the rubble.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@KP
“We must blame the colonial British empire for all the ills in the region we see today”

Or rather praise them for their smartness and blame ourselves for our religious foolishness. Follow the God’s commandements and kill each other.haa. While fools like Israel, Middle East, Pakistan, India, etc are busy fighting to corner the love of God; its the Brits that still get to consume best of produce from all of us and that too on their OWN terms. Was that not what we called slavery before 1947? Religion is THE GREATEST TOOL to Divide and Rule. When will we learn from history??

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

777xxx777: “rather praise them for their smartness and blame ourselves for our religious foolishness. Follow the God’s commandements and kill each other.”

Actually people in the sub-continent were not divided as believed. Most had settled down and had become adjusted to each other over centuries. There were conversions going on without any hue and cry raised. Just like India today, many communities had learned co-exist most of the time. Religion was never the issue on many conflicts that arose in the sub-continent. Jinnah failed miserably in his campaign in the North West Frontier Province and Punjab where the majority population was Muslim. They could not buy Jinnah’s argument that Muslims will be dominated by the Hindu majority. In their regions, they were a majority and their writ had more weight. They were happy with that. Ironically in areas where Muslims were in a minority felt the fear he raised. But they all stayed in India and things have changed very little in their localities.

If you read Churchill’s writings on India, your blood will boil. He spent some time in the NWFP fighting the Afghans and decided that the entire sub-continent was one homogeneous bunch of savages. He had a major influence on the outcome in 1947. Jinnah had given up on his pursuit and moved to London in 1936. He practiced law there for a couple of years. What had happened was that the Congress legislative members resigned en masse to protest British recruitment of Indians in their military campaign. This was a big tactical blunder on their part. NWFP had Congress party winning the elections. If they had stayed in power, they would have had more power to resist British introduced laws. Their absence helped Jinnah come in and capitalize on the power vacuum. He was begging the British to be masters of the sub-continent with a dominion status given. He did not support outright independence.

It is all politics and geo-politics. Millions died due to this unfortunate British machination. There are always opportunists ready to sell their mothers for their benefit. The only reason the British propped up Jinnah’s personal ambition was that the Congress led India will not support the British against Russian expansion and there was a fear that it might end up strengthening the Russians. Hence they needed a space where such a tilt could be countered. Pakistan was that space. They leaned mostly on the Western part of Pakistan. Though East Pakistan formed, the British did not care much about the Bengali Muslims. Like their vision, East Pakistan went on its own and Pakistan became a mercenary state for the Western powers against the USSR.

I will not admire dividing people and turning them against each other. Look at the potential for nuclear confrontation in both South Asia and the Middle East. Even now the British support the vision of their imperialist fore fathers. Read the Guardian to feel it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

KPS
You guys make me laugh. Just look at current line up regarding Afghanistan. India is with Anglo project and is willing to divide that country. If there is peace and stability in Afghanistan then Pakistan would benifit and that is a no no for you. You would fight Taliban to last NATO cowboy. We also know that dividing Pakistan into five countries is also your project, constantly selling it to your masters.
Now you don’t have any problem riding Anglo chariot?

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

@KP
“It is all politics and geo-politics. Millions died due to this unfortunate British machination. There are always opportunists ready to sell their mothers for their benefit”

So WHAT?? Problem is not in them selling their mothers but with masses who blindly buy the ‘sold’ mothers because they are sold with tags of holiness. People of the region are fools and were fools since the fall of Gupta empire. But now we can sense people in India coming back to senses and realizing coexistence as the only way to exist. Lesser number of riot incidents since Gujrat are an indication. It is the people man, people, that have to change. For how long will we keep blaming Brits, leaders, politicians for garbages (religion being the heaviest part of it) in our own heads. You lecture our Pakistani friends to remove garbages from their heads then why don’t you accept that this religious garbage is in heads of Indian holy cows as well. Power of Jinnah and Indira were not force but backing of masses. Problem is not politics of vote BUT that what kind of politics gets the vote.

As for Churchill’s opinion of India, it is no secret that he was an extreme racist and that was reflected in each of his actions. But I agree with one particular statement of his: “This country (India/Pakistan) will be ruled by hooligans.” It has been true till date. Lets hope future is better.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@Myra

your articles are very pointing, innovative and stimulate many readers to put in their bit of knowledge and opinions. However, you also have some regular indian participants who are constantly make use of abusive language against the masses of Pakistan citizens and the Reuters Blog system of profiling has not black listed these individuals as yet. They are using the language which is most probably not considered abusive in their culturte and education institutions. Their use of vocabulary such as “selling mothers”, whores etc. are not regarded decent words even in “free speach” cultures!! Could you please take some of your valuable time and try to curb these provacations. More than once they have been told abut their sick mind, but they do not pay any heed!
Many thanks for your moderating your articles1

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Divide and rule is not a patent of the Brits or anglo saxons. Admittedly, the colonialists all over the world have deployed this methiodolgy more often than others to prolong their occupation. What we have seen in history in the region and todate reflects the caste system used by the non believers creating division among the humans based on their birth and designation of professions. For example, Sikhs are regarded as desciples, students or in arabic language talibans, who belong to a cult which preaches high values of humanity, acceptance of the ultimate power God, but equally they continue to show their unabated loyalty to their Gurus, who have coached and prepared them to live and die in violence. Hindus are died hard believers of their ancestors way of life adhering faithfully to the way of life and traditions and teachings of their holy leaders, each of whom tried to lay down the basic codes pf life, and despite the appearance of scriptures from the Ibrahimic religions of one God and specific commandments, those who refused to be enlightened have todate tried to live their way of life in old tradititions and cults. Mulims of the sub-continent, most of whom are the converts from other Godless religions to one God belief have as of this date not managed to reconcile their way of life with Islam. They all call themselves muslims, without recognising that Islam is a way of life and unless they attain and conform to the standard of a muslim, they shopuld regard themselves as much non believerers as non muslims. Today they are going through the same process of recognition, which the European christians have experienced, the conflict of Catholics and the protestants, massacring each other and within the family any one who was not on their side.
Too much is being made of these occurances because of globalisation and supposedly a universal standard of human rights which are not accepted or implemented in many parts of the world. The economic interdependence of countries and struggle for one’s standard of livinng dependence on the other, and massive migration of people all over the world are the key pointers. This is the evolution process and the course of history, and no one from outside the country is in a position to influence it. No one in Pakistan is in a position to dictate the way of life for the Pashtoons in the entire Pashtoon region, let alone Bajaur and Swat! Let us remember the BACHA SAQQA who ruled Afghanistan for some days and even introduced the leather currency reflecting his profession, Mr Obama rule of the Super Power is comparable to that of Bacha Saqqa, and he is going to prove that more harm has come to the American nation in his time than that during Johnson and Bush reign?

Rex Minor

PS No snotty comments please, I am prepared to concede if my analysis is faulty, unlike Myra, I am not an expert of the region and am prepared to correct my knowledge if the Sikhs, hindus and muslims of the region detect any grave mistakes. I have no intention to belittle their supposed beliefs and history.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Rex
“Hindus are died hard believers of their ancestors way of life adhering faithfully to the way of life and traditions and teachings of their holy leaders, each of whom tried to lay down the basic codes pf life, and despite the appearance of scriptures from the Ibrahimic religions of one God and specific commandments, those who refused to be enlightened have todate tried to live their way of life in old tradititions and cults”

I would say read your above statement again. And I say this very politely that the language that you have written very clearly tries to say that Ibrahamic religions are greater than any other. When Pashtoons do not accept anyone as “Mr Above me” then why are you trying to lower other religions and their followers? At least that’s what your statement reflects. And these kind of statements are what lead to trouble. Religion is something people keep close to their hearts and when some try to compare religions as saying one is good and one is not so good then there is definite trouble and we have witnessed this being exploited more than once in the region. So I would ask you to either say all religions are equally good or call all religions as equally bad BUT not like “mine (Islam) is good and yours (non-Ibrahamic) is bad”. And did we not tell you calling people of other faiths as ‘non-believers’ is very rude.

“PS No snotty comments please”

You have been at the forefront of calling me by all kinds of fancy names. Take your own advice please.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

Matrixx: “You guys make me laugh. Just look at current line up regarding Afghanistan. India is with Anglo project and is willing to divide that country. If there is peace and stability in Afghanistan then Pakistan would benifit and that is a no no for you. You would fight Taliban to last NATO cowboy. We also know that dividing Pakistan into five countries is also your project, constantly selling it to your masters. Now you don’t have any problem riding Anglo chariot?”

Creation of Pakistan has led to all these problems over the past 6 decades. The British knew that independent India would stand on the opposing side. Nehru tried to stay neutral initially since he knew that the British would try to splinter India up if he took sides with the USSR. Based on what I have read so far, it is very clear to me that Pakistan was not created for protecting anyone’s religion. It was created for protecting the interests of the colonial power. Jinnah became its agent and instrument. There were much bigger politicians in the Muslim community than Jinnah, who did not like his ideas and proposals. Jinnah simply ignored all of them and went with the British to enhance his political power.

Once geo-political game starts and a country gets drawn into it, there is no choice left but to play it. India has been engaged in this game because of what the colonialists had set up. Kashmir is another land mine set up cleverly. India was the target of the colonialists and not Pakistan or Afghanistan. This was because if India tilted towards the Russians, it was a huge block against the colonial power’s interests. Little did they know that they would disappear and be replaced by the Americans. By then things had gained momentum and the Americans had to play the role of the British. Pakistan, which was created for British interests, now switched into the American camp.

India has had to fight off Pakistan and the push given by the Western power block for close to four decades. Now equations have changed. India has focused on economic growth and did not sell itself as a mercenary to the West. The West is dealing with India on business terms, giving it the respect of an emerging economic power. We are not going to be on anyone’s side. We will deal with countries based on our interests and not theirs.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

777xxx777: “Problem is not in them selling their mothers but with masses who blindly buy the ’sold’ mothers because they are sold with tags of holiness.”

Masses do not wield power. It is always the powerful few who do. And they direct the masses in the directions that they want. Jinnah drove the poor Muslim masses. The idea of Pakistan was supported predominantly by the Muslim rich and elite. The poor masses bore the brunt of their violent plans. The same goes for the masses in the non-Muslim community. They are not fools. They’d like to live in peace and move on with their daily struggles with life. Blame the leaders if you want.

“People of the region are fools and were fools since the fall of Gupta empire.”

This statement intrigues me. But that is another topic for discussion. People have been kept backward for generations in the sub-continent because that way it is easy to control them.

“But now we can sense people in India coming back to senses and realizing coexistence as the only way to exist. Lesser number of riot incidents since Gujrat are an indication. It is the people man, people, that have to change.”

That’s a good development. Hope it continues. It is all because of economic development.

“For how long will we keep blaming Brits, leaders, politicians for garbages (religion being the heaviest part of it) in our own heads.”

You have to know why things ended up the way they did. You cannot blame the masses and wait for them to change their minds. Manipulators are always around. Hitler could mesmerize a highly educated and advanced German population at will. It has nothing to do with development or progress. It has a lot to do with emotions. You do not want to be manipulated at the individual level. And that is where things start.

” You lecture our Pakistani friends to remove garbages from their heads then why don’t you accept that this religious garbage is in heads of Indian holy cows as well.”

You are generalizing. I do not worship the cow. Nor do most of the masses in India. That exhibits your level of ignorance already. People fight when they are attacked violently. Period. It has nothing to do with their religion or whatever. And violence has been the weapons used by manipulative leaders. I lecture Pakistanis a lot because they keep using religion as the reason for their existence and survival. I am not convinced by that logic. I see political manipulation behind everything.

“Power of Jinnah and Indira were not force but backing of masses. Problem is not politics of vote BUT that what kind of politics gets the vote.”

People lack alternatives. When that is the case, manipulators exploit the situation. And they capitalize on keeping them backward in their thinking. It does not matter if a society is technologically advanced or not. In the aftermath of 9/11, I saw first hand the attitude of Americans towards Muslims and anyone who resembled them. Emotions play a big part and that follows no rationality. And it is emotions that have been exploited by manipulators.

You are accusing the masses to be made up of fools, without realizing that you count as one of them.

I am trying to understand why Nehru tried the non-alignment movement. I think, based on what I read and understand, he knew the game being played by the British colonial power. Because of his actions, the expectations of the British did not bear fruit in the case of India, while it did in the case of Pakistan. If indians and Pakistanis get this and get together, the entire problem festering in the region will disappear. We can still be good neighbors as separate nations. But we need to come out of the geo-political manipulation, Pakistan especially.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@KP
“Masses do not wield power”

Let us agree to disagree. The power of few lies in movement of masses. And masses become emotional fools and play right into hands of evils.

“You are generalizing. I do not worship the cow. Nor do most of the masses in India. That exhibits your level of ignorance already”

Ohhh man KP think faster than you type. Holy Cows was a taunt used for all those who think too much in terms of religion and get emotional for religious provocations.

“People fight when they are attacked violently. Period. It has nothing to do with their religion or whatever.”

And when that violence is given colours of religion then you as a sikh should know, more than anyone else, what happens. Period.

“You are accusing the masses to be made up of fools, without realizing that you count as one of them”

When did I deny that?? I am trying to come out of foolishness by accepting that there is something wrong. Until and unless one accepts mistakes, one cannot improve.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@777
Let us agree that you have not understood my latin. I am not trying to praise or degrade any of the religions and philosophies!! Having said that, what I did try to put forward was my thesis that for the first time certain prophets appeared and brought the humanity a clear commandments from God almighty and these are reflected in scriptures. Most if not all saw and accepted the enligtenment and stop worship of man made statues from one corner of the world to another. These people have ever since struggled rightly or wrongly, with persuation or violence brought the message of God to others in the world. Today’s Budhists, Shintus and Hindus and God knows how many others remained unaffected by the new religions, and remained as of this date Hindus and others. This does not bother any one in the world, nor do the communists bother any one. Now tell me if this narrative is correct. Then why do you insist on joining the club of believers? what is the sanskrit name/word for those who worship hindu Gods?

I shall be the last one to state that one is better or worst than other, I would also accept that it does not matter what sort of faith one has, what matters is the level of humanity one has and admittedly many non muslims including hindus, atheists and communists show more humanity than those who received written scriptures in one form or other. But when I note your disrespect for women mothers of people and not men fathers, then tell me where did you learn this disrespect for women? I can go on and relate to you more unpleasant stories of hinduism.

if you do not understand certain things, why are you not in a position to move on and leave it for many who are in this blog, why are constantly bickering about things which do not fit in to your server. Lett your Hindu religion leader declare that hindud are the ‘Believer’ of one God( I know the sikhs do.), then you would be treated as a believer. Your constant use of questioning any thing you do not understand brings you in line with non believers, who would like to believe in something which is proven to them. Many from the muslim community inluding some Indian muslims take the similar line and place themself outside the realms of a believer, as for as jews are concerned there are many examples and eventualy they declare that they are atheists. The latest ones I know of are two brothers from the UK, one the labour party leader and the other his brother and the former UK foreign minister.

Remember this is a blog about Pakistan now or never, and if you do not have any respect for the muslim conmunity, then say your piece and leave, do not seek confrontation and question things that you do not understand. I do not understand many things about Indians myselves. For me Indian people are a complete mystery regardless of their faiths, hindu, muslim or sikhs, and remains so. This does not disturb me,

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

777xxx777,

In general, I am trying to understand history the way it has developed. I do read a variety of books to expand the analysis. From the information, I make my own observations. It is not enough if I simply parrot someone else’ analysis. I need to draw my observations and conclusions. I am not trying to project someone else’ views. I try to come up with my own. Sometimes it does not reflect the view of my community or even my own countrymen. That’s the way I’d like to leave it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@777
Sorry, I forgot to mention that the Pashtoons stance has less to do with their religion, but more to their traditions and cultures. most of this they inherited from their ancestors who were non muslims, including hindus, sikhs, rajputs, white huns and certain jewish tribes. None of their traditions are from what is stated in the scriptures. They still practice the live burial of a person in a wall that they like and admire and the one who decides to leave them. No different than the Buddhas of Bamyan?

From Islam they are blessed to pray to one God, the almighty, life after death and not to indulge in lies, something obviously not taught to them by their non believer ancestors.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

For those who are wasting their time even in 2011 on irrelevant discussion—RELIGION—the topic is “Bajaur bombing highlights conflicting U.S.-Pakistan interests”—NOT RELIGION or the supremacy of one over the other.

Is it difficult for one to practice “Mind your own religion and leave other religion aside”?

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

@”Sikhs continue to show their unabated loyalty to their Gurus, who have coached and prepared them to live and die in violence.” Posted by pakistan

Can you tell me, which of the sikh gurus preached violence? You need to check your facts before making ignorant remarks about other religions. As per the only sikh scripture (Guru granth sahib, the teachings of all 10 gurus), violence, as a means should be used absolutely as a LAST resort & ONLY in self defense.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@”From Islam they are blessed to pray to one God, the almighty, life after death and not to indulge in lies”
Posted by pakistan

If that’s the case, can you please explain why have countless muslims lost their lives (& continue to do so) in the Shia-Sunni conflict? Why do sunnis consider Abu Bakr as the caliph while the shias follow Ali? Shouldn’t they all be following just ONE god?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@”Is it difficult for one to practice “Mind your own religion and leave other religion aside”?”
Posted by rehmat

I agree, this is really a pointless & moronic discussion. Bottomlime is that no religion is perfect & there are plenty of skeletons in everyone’s closet. It’s better the keep the closets shut rather than let the skeletons fight each other.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

“Taliban chop thief’s hand in Orakzai”
http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/04/taliban-c hop-thief%E2%80%99s-hand-in-orakzai.html

Quick justice by Taliban continues

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

@KP
Cool man. Basically we both agree that religion and politics is a bad bad mixture. Difference in our opinion is that in your opinion the responsibility of not mixing is on state heads while I say people have to mature. Lets hope our hopes come true in 2011.

@Rehmat
Sorry man, I did not mean to degrade anyone but just that Rex’s latin is so very disregardful. But yes I should have ignored.
Quick justice–sometimes I think is this what humanity has descended to??

@Mortal
“Bottomlime is that no religion is perfect & there are plenty of skeletons in everyone’s closet.”

I guess that’s what I have been saying that people use their own heads before blindly following the scriptures/books/teachings considering that there is no guarantee that our ancestors carried the information correctly to us. Pakistan’s mess should be an example for rest.

US is paying the price for creating this mess in first place. As we say in India, those who dig pits for others fall into those pits themselves. US deserved this battering. But trouble is that being a world leader it has got almost everyone sucked into it.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@Rex
I agree with all that you say. You are THE Mr Know-All. Fine with you now?? Be happy and live joyfully!!

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@Mortal
Your post with questions;
The last paragraph answers your question stated in the first paragraph. It does not matter what the reason or the circumstance are, preaching violence is not godly.
Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@Mortal
Your second question about Abu Bakr or Ali; they were not Gods but humans. Perhaps you should ask sunnis and Shia communities why have they choosen different paths to follow? People who are responsible for violence are barbarians and this is human folly too. This is not the blog for religious discussions. But I can tell you using your words that people who kill others for any reasons are simply following the Sikh Gurus philosophies of Last Resort, your words not mine.
There is no fixed criterion for the last resort, the Americans, the Pashtoons, the palastinians, the kashmiris, the Iraqis and mny more are all exercising their right of self defence and Last Resort! Does the last resort makes sense or a justifiable logic, I leave it to indiduals like you! You guys are always using brain and asking questions like a child. What we need is the solutions for peace. if you have some, then say it. I follow Immanuel Kannt and take a leave for my brain and meditate without use of brain and just believe in the divine power and try to see the light and am then able to separate evil from the good. Any one try this and I am sure enlightenment would come his way!

The USA is the main culprit and the rest of the world is following this code.
I personaly would be always on the victim’s side!!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@777
i am not the kniow all, see my note to Mortal! God bless you, ask fewer questions and meditate to see solutions. We are all in the same boat and are affected by actions of others.
Let us be kind to those who are still living in 16th century for one or other reason. Try to remember the greek whio said war does not solve anything, but destroys more!
A good year to you!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

[...] //'); //]]> For some time, Pakistan has been complaining that it is unfairly criticised for failing to fight al Qaeda-linked insurgents on its side of the border when U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan are also struggling to make headway. This has been particularly the case in Bajaur, where Pakistan said its own military operation against militants were undermined by a decision to pull Western troops back from neighbouring Kunar in Afghanistan. The row over who is to blame for not doing enough to prevent militants moving back and forth across the border between Bajaur and Kunar has been both a reflection of the distrust in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,  and a persistent source of strain. [...]