On U.S.-Taliban talks, look at 2014 and work back

February 19, 2011

arghandab3According to Steve Coll in the New Yorker, the United States has begun its first direct talks with the Taliban to see whether it is possible to reach a political settlement to the Afghan war.  He writes that after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks on New York and Washington the United States rejected direct talks with Taliban leaders, on the grounds that they were as much to blame for terrorism as Al Qaeda. However, last year, he says, a small number of officials in the Obama administration—among them the late Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan—argued that it was time to try talking to the Taliban again.

“Holbrooke’s final diplomatic achievement, it turns out, was to see this advice accepted. The Obama Administration has entered into direct, secret talks with senior Afghan Taliban leaders, several people briefed about the talks told me last week. The discussions are continuing; they are of an exploratory nature and do not yet amount to a peace negotiation.”

I had heard the same thing some time ago — from an official source who follows Afghanistan closely – that the Americans and the Taliban were holding face-to-face talks for the first time.  He said the talks were not yet ”at a decision-making level” but involved Taliban representatives who would report back to the leadership.  There has been no official confirmation.

And given that the idea of holding talks with the Taliban has been on the diplomatic agenda for a year, you would probably expect to see the various parties involved in the conflict sounding each other out – though diplomats say that in the first half of last year it was hard to get negotiations moving without the direct involvement of the Americans.  By the second half of 2010 the Americans had given greater endorsement to talks, leading — according to the source I spoke to — to direct talks beginning towards the end of the year.  

In a speech to the Asia Society on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was “launching a diplomatic surge to move this conflict toward a political outcome that shatters the alliance between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, ends the insurgency, and helps to produce not only a more stable Afghanistan but a more stable region.”

“As military pressure escalates, more insurgents may begin looking for alternatives to violence. And not just low-level fighters. Both we and the Afghans believe that the security and governance gains produced by the military and civilian surges have created an opportunity to get serious about a responsible reconciliation process, led by Afghans and supported by intense regional diplomacy and strong U.S.-backing.”

“Now, I know that reconciling with an adversary that can be as brutal as the Taliban sounds distasteful, even unimaginable. And diplomacy would be easy if we only had to talk to our friends. But that is not how one makes peace. President Reagan understood that when he sat down with the Soviets. And Richard Holbrooke made this his life’s work. He negotiated face-to-face with (former Serbian president) Milosevic and ended a war.”

Pakistan has been pushing hard for talks on a political settlement in Afghanistan which would force al Qaeda to leave the region. A senior Pakistani security  official said in December that Washington needed to identify “end conditions” in Afghanistan, rather than setting preconditions for talks that insurgents 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.

Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani also gave a detailed letter to President Barack Obama late last year on how Pakistan viewed Afghanistan. According to one western official who had seen the letter,  the ideas put forward had not been rejected, but were being studied carefully.

So it’s interesting to see that both Britain and the United States are now talking about outcomes for talks with insurgents, rather than preconditions.

According to Clinton, ” Over the past two years, we have laid out our unambiguous red lines for reconciliation with the insurgents: They must renounce violence; they must abandon their alliance with al-Qaeda; and they must abide by the constitution of Afghanistan. Those are necessary outcomes of any negotiation.”

A senior British Foreign Office official, talking last month, made the same point. She said requirements the insurgents renounce al Qaeda, give up violence and respect the Afghan constitution applied to a settlement rather than to the opening of talks. “These are not preconditions for talks,” she said.

And many Afghan experts have long argued that the Taliban could be separated from al Qaeda through a political settlement — most recently in this report by Kandahar-based researchers Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn.

However, whatever happens with talks, this will be a very slow process with a great deal of room to go wrong. The Taliban itself has publicly rejected talks, and as van Linschoten and Kuehn noted in their report, the ramped-up U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan may be fragmenting the insurgency and creating a new generation of younger, more radicalised leaders less open to a peace deal

For now, both the United States and Britain argue that the military strategy is succeeding in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table — a calculation that, if wrong, could mean that by the time substantial negotiations get under way, the leadership no longer has the authority to deliver.

And as I noted here, the aim of the current “talks about talks” is not to strike a peace deal overnight, but rather to lay the groundwork so as to reach a final phase by 2014 when the United States and its allies say they will withdraw their troops.

The United States and the Taliban never understood each other when the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.  In his New Yorker article, Coll quotes a story about how Taliban leader Mullah Omar made a cold call to the State Department in 1998. “The United States had just lobbed cruise missiles at Al Qaeda camps in his nation. Omar got a mid-level diplomat on the line and spoke calmly. He suggested that Congress force President Bill Clinton to resign. He said that American military strikes ‘would be counter-productive’, and would ‘spark more, not less, terrorist attacks’, according to a declassified record of the call. ‘Omar emphasized that this was his best advice,’ the record adds.  That was the first and last time that Omar spoke to an American government official, as far as is known.”

The Taliban, by many accounts, vastly misjudged the likely U.S. reaction after the Sept. 11 attacks, when they refused to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for trial without clear evidence of his involvement.

So both sides need time just to learn how to talk to each other, not so much because of language differences, but because of cultural differences (though that process may have started in one of the many parallel tracks of Afghan diplomacy with former Taliban ambassador to Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef visiting London this month.

And the substantial issues for talks lie ahead.

How will the Taliban be expected to break with al Qaeda? And where would al Qaeda remnants go once, or if, they are — to use Clinton’s words “on the run”?  With uprisings and protests across the Middle East and North Africa, few would want to introduce another element of instability right now if al Qaeda members filtered back into Egypt, where they have their ideological roots, Yemen, where it has a strong presence via Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), or North Africa, home to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

How far would former Taliban leaders be included in the political process in Afghanistan?  I hear mixed reports on what could be an acceptable compromise. One official said that the Taliban should not be compared to a national liberation movement – opinion polls, though unreliable in a war zone, tend to suggest they do not enjoy widespread support in Afghanistan.  So a power-sharing deal would offer them far greater legitimacy than they deserve — or so the argument goes. The  counter-argument, which I have heard from another offiicial, is that the Taliban do not believe that it is up to the Americans and their allies to dictate how Afghanistan should be run.

Then you have the issue of whether the Taliban would be expected to owe allegiance to the existing constitution — which few seem to like much, in part because it is so over-centralised, but are also unwilling to ditch without a better alternative.

A major cause of suspicion — not just in Afghanistan but among other regional players including Iran and Russia – is that the United States might seek permanent military bases in the country even after it pulls out most of its troops in 2014. Clinton, echoing comments made by Obama in 2009, said that, ” we do not seek any permanent American military bases in their country or a presence that would be a threat to any of Afghanistan’s neighbors.”  However,  the increasing size of American bases in Afghanistan give pause for thought.

We also do not know what would happen to the current government in the event of a political settlement – though it’s worth noting that President Hamid Karzai’s term ends in 2014. If you wanted a political settlement which allowed the former Taliban leadership into government in some form, that could be the time to do it – if, and that is a huge if, conditions are right at the time.

And we do not know how the Pashtun Taliban might be reconciled with the non-Pashtun members of the former Northern Alliance, which fought the Islamist movement when it was in power in Kabul.

So in the short-term don’t expect a breakthrough. Look for progress on smaller confidence-building issues – including the release of prisoners, and taking Taliban names off the UN blacklist - to see whether the talks about talks are making any progress.  And as is the case in any peace process worldwide, expect spoilers at every stage from anyone who might stand to gain more out of war than peace.


Mr.Shahid, on any given day these days can you skip reading a Pakistani newspaper without any violence and killings out of hatred to fellow Muslims(Not Aasia bibi and Ahmedis)??
Just little introspection.Why,what went wrong and where?

Posted by rague | Report as abusive

“I called him Pakophile which triggered the disgusting and wretched paedophile attack.”

What triggered my retaliation was your constant & flagarant swiping at KP & me, to get a haircut. As for my feelings about Islam & other religions, my record is out there for all to see. Since I don’t change my ID every quarter, anyone can check.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

These people can’t help themselves. In their heart is deep hatred. I have long experience with them in person. This is what they are.
I have asked some of them to briefly explain what are core essentials of Hindu religion so that I know what is sacred for them. I never got any answer but on the other hand they think they are scholars of Islam.
If you learn what a Brahman is then you know Hinduism.
I feel sorry for KP Singh because he suffers from Stockholm syndrome.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

Mortal1 said:

> What triggered my retaliation was your constant & flagarant swiping at KP & me, to get a haircut.

It’s worth noting that while you immediately apologised for hurting other people’s religious sentiments, no such apology has been forthcoming from the other side.

Shahidkhan123, telling a Sikh to get a haircut is offensive to his religious sentiments too (and that is exactly what you intended, no doubt). Respect has to be mutual, my friend, and you have no business to pretend to be the only one offended.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Matrixx said:

> I feel sorry for KP Singh because he suffers from Stockholm syndrome.

Your pathetic attempt to drive a wedge between Sikhs and Hindus will not work. It must be very frustrating for you. And what syndrome would you call it if a Baluchi is a patriotic Pakistani? Worse has been done to the Baluchis.

> In their heart is deep hatred. I have long experience with them in person.

50 bucks says that’s a lie. You haven’t ventured out of your ghetto, much less interacted with someone different. Stop reading rupeenews.

> If you learn what a Brahman is then you know Hinduism.

I see. Any similar shortcuts to learning about other religions?

I hope you realise you sound like an idiot.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Shahidkhan123 said one thing that needs to be acknowledged:

> As for your justice for gujrat… it was served in the form of re-election. Your people have spoken. In Pakistan it is a terrorist hurting civilians. In your country it is your lifelong neighbor that guts you with kitchen knife.

There is some truth in this. Intolerance has increased in parts of India and minorities are more insecure than earlier. I should make it clear that many other people are determined not to let this trend continue. So many civil liberties folk, NGOs and lawyers have worked hard to try and gather evidence about the killings and bring the murderers to justice. It’s a long and hard process beset with many obstacles, and for a while, it looks like the bad guys are on top. But that should not be taken to mean that everyone in the country has become more intolerant. There are much more committed liberal voices too. It would be good to acknowledge this side of India.

Keep in mind that every extremist attack strengthens the extremists on the other side. The moderates get progressively weakened. A very good development was the prompt response of Indian Muslims condemning the Mumbai 2008 attack and refusing to let the terrorists be buried in their graveyards. It brought the communities in India closer together. The acceptance of the Ayodhya verdict by both communities also hopefully shows increasing maturity.

So you are right to point out the vein of bigotry in Hindu society, but don’t try and blow it beyond proportion. Part of it has grown in response to the acts of terrorism sponsored by your beloved army and ISI.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Just noticed that of the 4 pages full of comments here, the topic of this blog was last discussed somewhere mid-way on the first page!!

After that there has been a free for all. The house rules say “will publish everything that advances the story directly or with relevant tangential information”.

“relevant tangential information” – very very impressive phraseology – but like us South Asians, Reuters too is happy to merely jaw – jaw.

Guys cool off :)

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

All the people talking here of Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam…do anyone of you have really read any holy books of other side’s faith or are you just pouring filth out of your stomachs??

Pakistani people, today your minorities minister is killed because he wanted to modify the blasphemy law in Pakistan so as to reduce sentence of criminal from death sentence to something less harsh. But your fanatic mullahs wanted something else. Do you guys really support such a society with zero tolerance? I don’t know about Muslims’ psyche but Pakistanis’ psyche seems to be “Islam is best and f*** the rest” without realising that Pakistan is at the forefront of defaming Islam and hence a nation of 170 million is collectively criminal under blasphemy law of Pakistan itself.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

@”Your pathetic attempt to drive a wedge between Sikhs and Hindus will not work. It must be very frustrating for you.” Posted by prasadgc

Creating wedges between Indians, has been Pakistan’s agenda for quite sometime & it reflects in the comments of many Pakistanis here. They respect sikhs only as long as sikhs hate hindus & India and if they don’t, those sikhs become “broken & nationless people”. Same goes for Indian muslims, as well. You are welcomed with open arms, as long as you are a Dawood Ibrahim but if you are a APJ Abdul Kalam, you are an infedel who sold out to the dirty brahmins. But these pathetic tactics have not & will not work & it’s quite evident that this failure frustrates them no end.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Troll # 3: “No brother, it isn’t stockholm syndrome, it’s downs syndrome”

While you brothers are figuring out syndromes for people outside your asylum window, did you hear the news that your brothers have shot dead a Christian politician? When are you guys planning to celebrate? I understand why that crook Jinnah called your asylum “land of the pure.” Pure refers to entirely pure, hard core, fanatic Islamic zealots. The rest are going to be cleansed. Imagine Jinnah today. He would have been whipped for eating pork. He would have been hung for not following “Islamic values.”

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Shahidkhan: “During the floods while water swept away babies from the arms of their mothers, as thousands of Pakistanis took their last breath, this MF KP singh was salivating at the imminent destruction of our homeland”

Do not twist facts. You can go back and read the posts during the floods and all of us offered our sympathies and helped wherever we could. As far the imminent destruction of your cave land, I have been saying that even before the floods. And I have said that after the floods as well. The floods came and went. But self destruction process has not ceased in your wonder nation. When Yugoslavia went down the drain, no one was salivating about it. It developed the potential for a splinter and burnt itself out of existence. The same with the USSR. Now Pakistan has developed the same potential. I gain or lose nothing if you guys set fire to your own beards. But as someone interested in world events, I will always point at the truth of what is happening. Burn as much as you want. You can’t change the tide of events.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Psychotic delusional retard, shahidkhan123:

You obviously have trouble interpreting simple english so let me try simplifying it for you. When I said that it’s “Pakistan’s agenda” to create a wedge amongst Indians, I was referring to the Pakistani military establishment.

“Don’t you think that if our purpose in life was to drive a wedge between Indians, it would be on an India-related forum/blog?”

The sad reality is that with illiteracy rate amongst Pakistanis at an all time high (& projected to go higher), there aren’t enough english educated Pakistanis to visit Pakistan related blogs, let alone India related. And no, 1 individual changing identities & posing as 6, does not count as 6.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

OK, now’s the cue for the Indians to go, “No, we don’t really hate Pakistan, our anger is only directed at your military’s sponsorship of terror against us, we want Pakistan to be prosperous”, etc., etc., and the Pakistanis to respond (to each other) with, “Don’t believe them, brother. I know them very well (I’ve read rupeenews).”

(tu rooTi raho, main manaata rahoon…)

Guess what? We’ve seen this routine before, and we’re not buying it.

The mindset is very clear. Among the hundreds of posts from you, not one has said anything even slightly positive about India or Indians. There is no attempt to understand or to meet the other person halfway. Every overture is rejected. Even donations to Oxfam for flood relief are dismissed as being for Western consumption. (Well, I’m sure as hell not donating to Jamaat Ud-Dawa!)

That’s fine. We’ll continue to comment here on a Pakistan-related blog, because for all the wrong reasons, you’re our most important neighbours. And you can keep spewing bile. I’ll view it as entertainment.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Shahidkhan: “Excerpts from intellects in just the last two posts.

I rest my case.”

And I agree with all of them.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

“I rest my case.”

Ya, you better rest it cuz you don’t have one, in the first place!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

fortunately, there are some smart & level headed Pakistani intellectuals, who realize the reality:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufPoTugzu 2c


Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Apologies accepted.

I have interacted with hundreds of Sikhs, Hindus, and other religions in India in real life to have any illusions. Real life is what matters to me.

We all make mistakes in rage. Who has not done that on this forum or in real life. A sincere apology means a lot. I am not looking for who started the fight. We should just quit this religion/culture attack.

As 777 said, we are not qualified to speak on all religions. I have done myself that here, but within my limits of being open to correction.

There is an interesting article crying for comments:

http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/2011/0 2/19/on-u-s-taliban-talks-look-at-2014-a nd-work-back/?cp=all#comments

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive

“I could neither befriend nor forgive such an egregious offence from….” Posted by shahidkhan123

Save your friendship & forgiveness for someone who gives a rats ass about a pathetic loser like you!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

@Rehmat: thanks

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Shahidkhan: “Let me know when the great Indian union arrests and punishes someone for the 1984 anti-sikh riots. Is Jagish Tytler getting a decent pension from GOI? His career really took off after the efficient pogrom in Delhi.”

No let us go back even more. How about the persecution of our Gurus and people by Aurangzeb and his predecessors? Let us start there. What compensation can we be given? How about our people being slaughtered and driven out of what became Pakistan? We lost a lot because Jinnah wanted to be a head of state somehow. Anti Sikh riot is a blot in the history of independent India. Should we take up rocket launchers, machine guns and engage suicide squads? Do two wrongs do a right? This eye for an eye, tooth for tooth policy will not work in today’s world. I definitely want the perpetrators of crimes against humanity punished. How many generals have you guys courtmartialed and hung for the genocide in East Pakistan? We need to progress more and more in all fronts so that gory incidents of the past are not repeated. That is the only solution. Violence leads to bitter memories and those memories are always exploited by future tyrants to divide people on a perpetual basis.

Look at this forum and see the diversity of Indians here – Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Southern Indians and many others engage you people here. We have vast differences between us. Yet we have become united for the sake of progress and prosperity. We know that in the future, if we kept up pace with progress, all these differences will become insignificant and we will not be dwelling on petty issues. History should be known in order to progress, not to make a livelihood out of it by destroying future.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

And now that the lost case has been rested, the copy-paste spamming begins (just as I had predicted).

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

it looks like you think you are being funny and winning arguments.

You are just a fanatic. in reality, you don’t realize what you are doing. you are a great negative publicity for Pakistan…..you are showing every one why your country is going down the toilet.

keep it up. slummies?

as a country you make a living by begging! you talk about slums.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

BTW any of Pakistanis ever given a thought that how easy it is for India to make Pakistan implode without firing a single bullet or nuke or whatever. If India just announces a super hike in defence budget, just ANNOUNCES; the pakistanis will ACTUALLY start spending more into nukes and military and the economic disaster will spell doom for all Pakistan. Remember what Ronald Reagan did to USSR. Do you think Indian think tank does not know this?? Why has India not done it yet?? Do you still think Indians want Pakistan to implode given that such easy options exist to do so?? Think hard with a positive minds and without hatred.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive

“Let me know when the great Indian union arrests and punishes someone for the 1984 anti-sikh riots. Is Jagish Tytler getting a decent pension from GOI? His career really took off after the efficient pogrom in Delhi.”

There are many things that Indians can be proud of but there are some shameful things as well. Obviously this falls in the latter catagory. The victims of 1984 & Gujarat riots are awaiting justice, while the perpetrators of those attacks have been rewarded for their crimes. I’m looking forward to the day when power & money can no longer manipulate justice, in India (hopefully it will come in our lifetime).

“keep it up. slummies?”

Most of the people living in slums are hard-working folks who do hard labor to make ends meet. The reason why they are in slums is because they are not fortunate enough to be born with the means & resources, which most of us have been blessed with. They are a zillion times better than the terrorists, who live in mansions, guarded by the ISI. BTW, someone needs to inform the Pakistanis that the biggest slum in asia, happens to be in Karachi, Pakistan.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Mortal1 said:

> There are many things that Indians can be proud of but there are some shameful things as well. Obviously this falls in the latter catagory. The victims of 1984 & Gujarat riots are awaiting justice, while the perpetrators of those attacks have been rewarded for their crimes. I’m looking forward to the day when power & money can no longer manipulate justice, in India (hopefully it will come in our lifetime).

Ditto that. One day there will be nemesis for these people. Their names are well-known to all, and will not be forgotten. They will not evade justice forever.

There is a school of thought (Gurcharan Das et al) that says when India becomes more than 50% middle-class, the level of accountability will increase (because the middle-class does not corrupt like the rich, nor is it susceptible to corruption like the poor). This is projected to happen by 2020 for the region west of the “Kanpur-Chennai line” and by 2040 for the remaining parts. So we may have to wait till 2020, but if these people are still around then, they will stand trial for these horrific crimes. It is my earnest wish, and the wish of millions of other Indians as well.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

And before any Pakistani can point it out, the irony has not been lost on me that many Muslims have now been formally convicted for the attack on Hindu pilgrims at Godhra in 2002, an event which set off the infamous Gujarat riots, but obviously no one has been convicted yet for the riots themselves, and there is understandable cynicism that it will ever happen. But watch this space. There is a public conscience in India as well, and every crime will have to be pursued until it is punished. It is just a matter of time.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Shahidkhan123: “The fact that your father papa singh and his father grandpa singh all said the same thing to then baby singh (kp) is humorous. i understand this is your position but why the redundancy?”

Pappa Singh, Grandpa Singh, baby Singh and all other Singhs are for a progressive, secular society. We are seeing the benefits of it. Twenty odd years ago, things looked very different. India had not been exposed to the goodies of economic liberalization, free enterprise, competition, free media etc. Over the two decades, things have begun to set in and gain momentum that shows in the results. And people have begun to realize that one united nation with multiple groups is a great boon. All we have to do is take the progress to the next level and all petty issues will not arise. People are beginning to see what they get to lose if they isolate themselves, run agitations, fight with everyone and drain everything. Life is busy and people want to live well. This kind of progress will slowly eliminate all social issues like caste prejudice, economic disparity, gender discrimination, illiteracy, backwardness etc. There is a clear demonstration to us Indians on how our recent choices will take us to a better future. No one is going to give that pursuit.

In the case of Pakistan, the people may be as enterprising and full of potential as others. But people have lost their importance. All that is left is a military with no specific goal excepting to cling to power, a feudal system where rich landlords have one foot in London and another in Pakistan, Blinding fundamentalism, kidnappings, murder, minority cleansing, floods, economy in utter shambles, Mullahs, Madrasas, terrorist organizations masquerading as charity organizations, war on the Western border, suicide attacks and what not. Coming out this is going to be very difficult. On top of that, your country is tilting against the USA which has been a major benefactor to your economic survival and international stature. Just building nukes all the way to the end of the sky will lead to the nuke tower collapsing and falling on your own heads. Without any realization of any of these issues, you and your “brothers” are busy trying to nit pick on India in retaliation.

Pointing these issues to you is important because one cannot help being cautious when his neighbor’s house is beginning to burn. And we are telling you to stop the party and start putting that fire down. Instead you are pointing at the stove in our kitchen and saying there is fire in our house too. You should realize how stupid you have become.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@Ganesh: “So we may have to wait till 2020″

2020 is not that bad at all (I had a longer time frame in mind). I hope we can all see those criminals get the retribution, they deserve and avoid future injustices.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

Retarded jihadi pig, (shahidkhan123 a.k.a mirza usman a.k.a tupak shakir a.k.a shiqaib bhutto a.k.a ???)

I realize that it must be really tough for you to cope with the reality of being a Pakistani in today’s world. Especially for a rabid India hater like you, it must be very frustrating to see India progress, while your failed, rogue & terrorist state is being systematically flushed down the toilet. My sympathies!

I note that since you are not able to copy-paste your nonsensical spam anymore, you are having trouble putting together sentences & are hence, resorting to your same old dim-witted jokes & personal attacks. tsk tsk, Some more sympathies!

Blown any planes or buildings, lately?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

“i understand this is your position but why the redundancy?”

Because despite understanding our position we do not see any reduction in your hatred filled attitude towards India and its citizens.

Posted by 777xxx777 | Report as abusive


He’s pushing your buttons. Try not to get provoked.

(My day job involves dealing with difficult people and negotiating to get things done, so I’ve developed a lot more patience. Plus I’ve also learnt to see things from the other person’s point of view, so I wouldn’t kid myself that I’m always right in an argument. That also helps me be patient when someone says something I disagree with.)

Shahidkhan123 said:

>>> Tell me something. The ‘goody goodies’ are so much in abundance in the paradise that is India that you, bigot and ganesh choose to NOT live there?

Fair question. When I left India in 1995, it was for a materially better life. I also had a couple of brushes with corruption (especially with airport customs when arriving from overseas) that convinced me to stay overseas.

Since then, things have been materially improving in India as well. My parents had just got a phone (land line) in 1995, and their washing machine was also just a couple of years old. Today, the plethora of gadgets and appliances available is unbelievable. Even “poor people” have mobiles, for example.

Today, I’d say what makes me continue to stay overseas are three things:

1. A more relaxed lifestyle. Australia believes in “work/life balance”, which means a strictly 9-5 job with no phone calls after hours or on weekends. I know that in India, your time is not your own, and the office feels free to intrude on your personal space at any time.

2. More respect for human beings as human beings. Contrary to the reports of racist attacks on Indians in Australia, people are actually treated with a great deal of dignity here. I realise this when I visit India and say “thank you” to the waiter or doorman, and people look at me strangely and call me an NRI.

3. More respect for individual freedom and independent thought. I can speak my mind at work or in public. I can challenge my boss’s ideas in an open meeting without repercussions. I will in fact be complimented for my contributions. I have written letters to MPs and even the Prime Minister objecting to policies, and I have received prompt and detailed letters in reply. I don’t have to fear any threat for speaking my mind even on controversial topics. India is still not there in these respects. It’s largely free, but not like in the West. There is also still a tendency for people to make other people’s business their business, such as when Richard Gere kissed Shilpa Shetty and it caused so much offense to some people. I think they need to grow up.

This is not to say that India has not progressed socially. I know that people are more aware of their rights, downtrodden people are more empowered, the Right-to-Information Act has improved transparency and reduced corruption, and so many other things.

So KP is right that India has progressed a lot, not just materially but also in many social aspects, but I’m also happy where I am. No contradiction, really.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive


I’m cool (actually feel sorry for the guy now). Another misperception amongst Pakistanis, seems to be that a large proportion of Indians have migrated. In reality, less than 2% of Indians live abroad, compared to 2.5% of Japanese, 3% of Chinese & 4% of Pakistanis. Over the last decade, as India has progressed, emigration has slowed down considerably & even reverse migration has been taking place. I know that many of my acquaintainces in India, have passed on the opportunity to move to western countries, in the last 5-10 yrs.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

> Our boorish, unpredictible machismo and magnetic charm can be understandably irresistible: Sania Mirza, Zeenat Aman, Reena Roy, Sushmita Sen…. you know the list.

Sometimes it doesn’t work that well: http://bit.ly/dUQvd0

Got to love the Internet :-).

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Shahidkhan123 said:

> Why is it that ALL the posters here that have repeatedly praised India as an utopian paradise don’t actually LIVE there! This dichotomy was not lost on Ganesh

I did explain why the dichotomy is not a contradiction. And nobody claimed India was a utopian paradise, merely that it has made enormous progress, economically and socially compared to just 20 years ago. Mundane but still remarkable, with the subtext being that Pakistan could also aspire to that sort of future rather than a nuclear-tipped one.

Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive

Mortal1, what you have mentioned is the truth but the problem is that these people “can’t handle the truth” lol.

Posted by black_hawk | Report as abusive

“Mortal1, what you have mentioned is the truth but the problem is that these people “can’t handle the truth” lol.” Posted by black_hawk

If you are reffering to, what I think you are, then NO, I was wrong to have said what I did & regret it. I allowed one unruely character to make me lose my composure & in the process, I offended the followers of a perfectly fine religion (many of whom are good & decent people). I condemn my own words & strongly discourage anyone from repeating them.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive

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