Taliban talks – a necessary but not sufficient condition for peace

May 20, 2011

We have known for months that the United States has begun direct talks with representatives of the Taliban. And as I wrote in this story, the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid on May 2 should make it easier for the Taliban to break with al Qaeda, a fundamental requirement for including them in any eventual political settlement in Afghanistan. But lest anyone should think these talks, combined with bin Laden’s death, would somehow produce an early end to the Afghan war,  it is important to remember that engaging with the Taliban is only a necessary but far from sufficient condition for a political settlement.

As Thomas Ruttig  writes at the Afghanistan Analysts Network,  any deal between the Taliban and Afghan President Hamid Karzai that was simply meant to open the exit door for foreign troops would not serve the interests of Afghans.  ”… they need an end of the bloodshed that will also physically reopen spaces for economic and political activities, a debate about where their country is going. A deal which does not address the main causes of the conflict (namely the monopoly over power of resources concentrated in the hands of a small elite, then possibly with some additional Taleban players) will not bring peace.

 ”Therefore, the ‘political process’ … needs to involve a representative cross-section of Afghan society, including former anti-Taleban mujahedin, the ethnic minorities … and what usually is called civil society … They need to hammer out a much broader political compromise that will guarantee, finally, the political stabilisation of Afghanistan where everyone has to concede something but finally everyone gains.”

The Taliban led by Mullah Mohammed Omar, described by Washington as the Quetta shura Taliban (QST), are not comparable to a national liberation movement with whom a peace deal can be struck and the war ended. Even among the Pashtun community, their support is patchy; and they are regarded with deep suspicion by other groups, Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras, with bad memories of Taliban rule from 1996 – 2001. Already there are signs that some of the Taliban’s most bitter opponents are mobilising to scupper any peace talks - among them Amrullah Saleh, former head of Afghanistan’s intelligence agency.

The insurgency itself is also fragmented – even within the so-called Quetta shura Taliban, no one is sure how far Mullah Omar can deliver some of the younger fighters into a peace settlement.  Then there are other major groups including the Haqqani network and the Hizb-e-Islami-Gulbuddin (HiG) led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. So far, according to official sources from several countries, the United States is talking only with representatives of the Quetta shura Taliban.  (The Taliban themselves deny being involved in talks, while Washington has made no official comment.)

Yet the Haqqani network in particular is one of the most active insurgent groups in Afghanistan and blamed among other things for involvement in a suicide attack which killed CIA agents in eastern Afghanistan in 2009.  It is based on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas, along with the remnants of al Qaeda, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and various other militants from groups with their roots in Pakistan’s Punjab province. What happens to them in the event of a political settlement in Afghanistan which draws in the Quetta shura Taliban?

This is where it gets even more complicated.  The professed objective of the United States and its allies has always been to bring stability to both Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Yet as Shuja Nawaz writes here,  the Pakistani Taliban have declared war on the Pakistani state,  claiming responsibility for a string of bombings inside Pakistan.

“If the battle against these terrorists does not improve, Pakistan faces a grim future, especially after the United States begins to exit from Afghanistan and funding for the fight for Pakistan declines, either as a result of general cutbacks or because of differences with Pakistan over the Pakistani lack of vigor in battling Al Qaeda,” he writes.

“Even if Afghanistan settles down, Pakistan faces a long war for which it is not fully prepared. The result may be continuing instability inside Pakistan and creeping radicalization may become a reality in society at large and perhaps even infect the military over time. In nuclear-armed Pakistan, this may pose a regional and global threat to peace and stability.”

Caught between U.S. pressure to “do more” to fight militants and a need to protect its own citizens at home (the Pakistan Army, rightly or wrongly, sees these two compulsions as competing and sometimes contradictory), Pakistan has dithered between wanting to use the Haqqani network to bring the Pakistani Taliban to heel and promising to fight it.

It is a chaotic situation which is showing no signs of improvement, and which is very unlikely to be made any simpler by bin Laden’s death. (Many of the groups fighting in both Afghanistan and Pakistan are driven by compulsions which exist independently of al Qaeda, whose roots have always been in the Middle East.)

Ultimately any political settlement in Afghanistan, or for that matter any new policies on either counter-terrorism or counter-insurgency, would have to take account of what is a vicious mix of Islamist militancy, political grievances and ethnic rivalries across the region. That is not to say that talking to the Taliban is a bad idea. But it would an illusion to think that these talks, combined with bin Laden’s death, will pave the way for an early exit for the United States.

For more on the complexities of a political settlement in Afghanistan, do read this detailed lecture by Britain’s former foreign secretary David Miliband, this article by Giandomenico Picco published by the OxfordResearchGroup and The Century Foundation report (pdf) written by a group of international experts led by Lakhdar Brahimi and Thomas Pickering.

(Photo: refugees fleeing fighting in Pakistan’s tribal areas caught in a dust storm.)

Comments

Pakistan, in the last ten years have paid a huge price and suffered thousands of casualties among civilians and soldiers in this war. A loss of investment, tourism, decline in economy, billions of dollars lost, no sports events, no offshore investment, means the country has suffered a decline. Apart from that, huge parts of tribal areas have been hit by insurgency, it would take a long time for the Pakistan Army to rehabilitate those areas. Foreign intervention in Afghanistan for 30 years have brought terrible consequences for Pakistan as well. First during Soviet occupation it was refugees, and armed fighters influx. No after US invasion, it is the insurgency that has hit bordering areas of Pakistan.
Pakistan needs to clearly define its national interest, carry out its strategy and demand outsiders stop interference in Afghanistan. Just leave them to themselves and everything will get fixed. The west cannot impose their ideas on an conservative agrarian Afghan society, it has already backfired. Let the Afghan govern themselves. Pakistan will take care of itself and has the means to do so. As much this was a pointless and stupid war, there is still much more need to end it sensibly.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Umairpk: “Pakistan needs to clearly define its national interest, carry out its strategy and demand outsiders stop interference in Afghanistan.”

First thing, Pakistan needs to stop interfering in Afghanistan. ISI tried to gain control over that country by creating and supporting the Taleban. Pakistan can take care of its national interest. But Afghanistan must be allowed to settle its issues in its own way, violently sometimes. The outsiders that you are demanding here includes Pakistan as well. The US has not been succeeding in settling Afghanistan because Pakistan has been preventing it by protecting the Taliban assets. Pakistan has to give up its pursuit of using Afghanistan for a strategic depth against its perceived enemies first.

“Just leave them to themselves and everything will get fixed.”

Good point. But do look at yourself as well.

“The west cannot impose their ideas on an conservative agrarian Afghan society, it has already backfired.”

And the same goes for Pakistan. It has tried to interfere and control the forces inside Afghanistan and it has backfired. Has Pakistan learned a lesson from it?

“Let the Afghan govern themselves. Pakistan will take care of itself and has the means to do so.”

Correct. Americans are not here for fun. They were dragged into this trap. And 20 billion dollars of their tax payer’s money has been bilked out of them for Pakistan’s interests.

“As much this was a pointless and stupid war, there is still much more need to end it sensibly.”

It all depends on what the ISI and Pak military have in their minds. If they are not corrected, nothing will ever settle down in this region, which means, the Americans will extend their stay or keep coming back to haunt your country.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan, in the last ten years have paid a huge price and suffered thousands of casualties among civilians and soldiers in this war. A loss of investment, tourism, decline in economy, billions of dollars lost, no sports events, no offshore investment, means the country has suffered a decline. -Umair

You act as though this would not have happened if there was no war next door. Who the hades would want to invest in or want to visit a terrorist infested rat-hole? Even if Afghanistan hadn’t happened, Pakistan would be exactly where it is today.

Pakistan needs to clearly define its national interest, carry out its strategy and demand outsiders stop interference in Afghanistan. – Umair

A good start would be Pakistanis understanding the concept of “national interest” and not conflating the interests of one power centre (ie. the Army) with the interests of the state and the society.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

The US has figured out a way to achieve its goals without relying on Pakistan. I am sure they are staking out the other “assets” inside Pakistan and will strike them as an opportune time presents itself. The only thing that prevents them from going forward right away is their reliance on Pakistan for ground based logistical support. Everything has to be done within a certain time since scenario keeps shifting. The US may not want to negotiate with the hard core Taliban. If they can knock some of their leaders out, they can weaken the ISI’s leverage. Then there will be no Taliban as a group that can be negotiated with. It will be just Pashtuns. The US might be pushing the course in that direction. But time is a critical factor. Without settling with Pashtuns (and not the Taliban) and removing Pakistan’s grip on the situation, Afghanistan will never stabilize.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Umair
I agree with your woes! Pakistan needs more talented leaders versus the one it has.No country wants a mlitary chief who lobbies and does things what the retired American Generals tell him to do! Or civilian leaders who were indicted and sepnt years in a prison in the company of criminals! Pakistan institutions must be reformed and Pakistan still has all the cards intact in its hands. No double game, national security not national interests.

In Germany we say selbe schuld ( own fault or mistakes). The Indian born Mr Musharaf let Americans in, without having any knowledge of the American culture or even his own country men’s culture who are living in today’s Pakhtoonkhawa or those who live in the rugged mountain terrain on both sides of the so called Durand line. As of this day Durand line is not a recognised border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Pashtoons have controlled and defended Afghanistan for centuries as well acted as bulwark for the new country Pakistan against its archenemy India. More and more Pashtoons were being integrated over years into the main frame of Pakistan in all avenues of the state. In order to protect their own tribes and the border of Pakistan they got involved with the Russians and later with non Pashtoon Afghans, so called Northern Alliance made up of tajik and uzbek tribes. Hence came the so called students of religious school or talibans in play.

We all know the rest. History is very likely to take its own course. Americans have been defeated and routed as many before them, by the Pashtoons and preparations are being made to leave. Pashtoons or Talibans do not negotiate with foreigners, and Americans in the meantime have managed to involve Pakistan and then NATO and these are all futile attempts. It is very difficult for the Americans to surrender, they did not do it Vietnam.

Pakistan mlitary equaly has a limited time to get themselves out of the quagmire and stop suppressing its own citizens, lest the young colonels of the military start arebellion against the Generals. Bottom line is that India remains the only enemy Pakistan faces and this is well noticed on this blog.

Rex Minor

PS sorry if I have said something I should’nt have said. Have a nice day.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Myra
Sorry, the talibans talk about American surrender! American PR campaign has now reached the reuters blog. Too bad the son of the muslim President should come out with truth. American voters under no circumstancs are going to have him elected the second time Israeli lobby in the USA is stronger than ever. Not only Pakistan, this administration is making a spin to support the Arabs instead of their tyrant rulers now that Mr Mubarak and co have left the stage. A spring evolution, more arab blood is going to flow in the street before the Arabs gain their dignity, enough ith Gadafi and the like who were being quoted by the Europeans as muslim examples.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

I hope the USA, UK, EU and rest of the world acquire the wisdom of the Kuwaitis ;-)

http://tribune.com.pk/story/173758/kuwai t-bans-visa-issuance-to-pakistan-and-fou r-other-countries/

KUWAIT: Kuwait banned nationals from five countries including Pakistan from entering the Gulf coutry, according to immigration sources quoted by Kuwaiti media.

The ban was attributed to the “difficult security conditions in the five countries” and to “the remarkably increasing tendency of nationals from the five countries to apply for visas to bring in relatives who faced or could face arrest by the local authorities to Kuwait,” said the reports.

The sources said the authorities insisted that no exception in the visa application will be welcomed

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

“Kuwait banned nationals from five countries including Pakistan from entering the Gulf coutry, according to immigration sources quoted by Kuwaiti media.”

This only hurts the ordinary people who go abroad to eke out a livelihood. This is a sad turn of events. Almost 99% of the people are ordinary and moderate ones everywhere. It is this 1% that ruins everything and the 99% gets punished. Pakistan’s economic misery will only hurt these people who need to go abroad to earn money for their families. If they get denied such opportunities, the 1% gets to gain more members. Countries should think of the long term consequences.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

“It is this 1% that ruins everything and the 99% gets punished”.

This is a serious myth held by Indians and the global community. Every single day there are articles in Pakistani English media itself, pointing out bulk of the population is full of anti-India, annti-USA bigotry and hatred.

And those pakis settled abroad are robust supporters of jihadi terrorism. This is the reality.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

I am posting this here because Sanjeev Miglani has blacked me out of his blogs for whatever reason. None of what I post appear in his blogs or get removed. I am not writing pro-Pakistani views.

It would have been appropriate in his blog on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

I have added a link here that talks about China’s proxy nuclear proliferation methods. The real villain is China and it is creating the next bipolar world. Only this time, it will be deadlier than what the world saw with the USSR.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jamyang-no rbu/who-created-pakistans-nuc_b_864124.h tml

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The militant attack on Pakistan’s naval base in Karachi does not bode well. They will be crushed by a powerful military. But they would have caused considerable damage by that time. I am sure those militants went in with the aim of damaging everything, knowing very well that they would have to fight to their death. The longer they hold off, the more the damage. This could be a dry run to launch more such offensives. I guess they have figured out the Pak military is at its weakest moment, after having been shamed and embarrassed by the American strike to kill OBL. It might also have given them the courage to do the same on their own. Based on how Pak military responds, equations will be readjusted. This seems like the beginning of a civil war inside Pakistan between radicals and others. I am sure there are elements inside their military and intelligence units that have facilitated this attack. The aim would be to paint Kayani and co as the lackeys of the US and eliminate them by various means so that Zia’s ghosts take over the most powerful organization in Pakistan. Ominous clouds are looming over the whole of South Asia, not just Pakistan.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

First the guy quotes ny times then washington post and now Hpost as if they are the gospels. snjeev maglani probably knows about the radical Indian, who looks like a tibetan chinese gurkha and is probably on CIA payroll with the task to drag China into wrangles of India and Pakistan. He probably reckons that chinese were also involved in nuclear programs of the west, soviet union and Israel. The genius Indian scientists, one a friend and fellow countryman of AQKhan, were the only one who received their knowledge from the elite German scientists! Sooner or later the news paper vendor would come to senses that in addition to the indian crowd, this blog is visited by others as well who have no interest in India and Pakistan rivalry. Indian position is well known, what we are interested to hear is the average pakistan citizens views!!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan military is not the weakest nor is the Indian military, but for every aggression committed there is likely going to be the consequences. Like Mr Obama recently said that occupation and suppression is not going to provide security for Israel….., nor will it for the USA, India or Pakistan!!

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

It gets more interesting now:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Mullah-Oma r-has-disappeared-Afghanistan/H1-Article 1-701009.aspx

One eyed Jack has disappeared. Either he is dead or the ISI has decided to move its precious asset to another safe location – probably in its head quarters compound. That way they won’t have to act surprised next time. I do prefer the first one though.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@KPSingh,
You are very much spot on the civil war type of situation in Pakistan.

The attack on Karachi naval base could not have happened without insider information and logistical support. The possibility of PA itself launching it also cannot be excluded.

The Pakistan army generals are divided into 2 camps:
Kayani& Pasha camp is for focused jihad on India and Afghanistan whereas the other camp is for all out global jihad against international community. The later groups is frustrated with the former.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

The deep terror network which established itself in the country sends a chill down the spine of anybody who believes in free world.
http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/22/2008-extr emist-recruitment-on-the-rise-in-south-p unjab-madrassahs.html

Read the Fourth point more specifically,”The maulana will offer to educate these children at his madrassa and to find them employment in the service of Islam. The concept of “”martyrdom”” is often discussed and the family is promised that if their sons are “”martyred”” both the sons and the family will attain “”salvation”” and the family will obtain God’s favor in this life,
as well. An immediate cash payment is finally made to the
parents to compensate the family for its “”sacrifice”” to Islam.
Local sources claim that the current average rate is
approximately Rps. 500,000 (approximately USD 6500) per son. A small number of Ahl-e-Hadith clerics in Dera Ghazi Khan district are reportedly recruiting daughters as well”

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

netizen: “The Pakistan army generals are divided into 2 camps:
Kayani& Pasha camp is for focused jihad on India and Afghanistan whereas the other camp is for all out global jihad against international community. The later groups is frustrated with the former.”

If the US was not sitting on top of the mole hole called Afghanistan, Pakistan would have had only one group of generals – those who had always wanted to be the Mohammads of Ghor that led to the domination of the sub-continent. With Americans in the vicinity, Pakistan’s top commanders have had to project two faces at the same time – one of the fire fighter and another of the arsonist for domestic consumption. Just like the US approached this war by underestimating Pakistan, now Pakistan in turn has underestimated the Americans as perfectly gullible. Two things went wrong that have resulted in today’s situation in Pakistan:

1. Al Qaeda hijacked Pakistan’s regional objectives of dominating South Asia. Pakistan was carefully working towards creating a strategic depth inside Afghanistan, set up militant training camps there and had a steady supply of Jihadis for the Kashmir proxy war. Al Qaeda was allowed in to supplement the effort by sharing the training and picking up their methods at the same time. Unfortunately Al Qaeda had its own global objectives that did not give much importance to Pakistan’s Kashmir agenda and beyond. Al Qaeda swept away the Taliban bride and hit New York in 2001. Just like they were caught napping in Abbotabad, Musharraf was caught by the surprise of the events that happened and the immediate repercussions that he faced. He saw the huge American tidal wave approach in Pakistan’s direction because of what Al Qaeda had done and had to find ways to deflect it off in time. Otherwise Pakistan’s regional ambitions would have been pulverized right then. By aligning with the US, Musharraf managed to buy time. American gullibility was exploited to the hilt. Pakistan decided to relaunch its efforts at a latter time when the gullible Americans would be misdirected, loose steam and head home. It would take about ten years. Time was aplenty. The sudden shift towards Iraq also helped Pakistan breath easy. Therefore Al Qaeda, which usurped Pakistan’s regional ambitions was now hunted along with the Americans. Pakistan only gained from this. All blames would go to the Americans and Pakistan can show Osama Bin Laden who the boss was. They did not want to eliminate the top cadres of Al Qaeda. They just had to be put on a lower seat and made to rely on Pakistan for future goals. And the revised goal would be to gain dominance in the region first by subjugating Afghanistan first and the decimating India. With a broader base, Al Qaeda could then launch its global missions, while Pakistan will funnel all money dumped into fight Al Qaeda.

2. Obama’s arrival. It was easy to fool Bush who was already an idiot. Obama is sharp, intelligent and can make good decisions. He knew right off that the real source of everything is Pakistan and not Afghanistan. He closed down the Iraq mission quickly and focused on Afghanistan. He could read Pakistan’s overall regional ambitions. And he did not agree with it. Such an ambition always had the potential for Al Qaeda to rise again. So he has cranked up the heat and Pakistan is experiencing the resulting blow back. Kashmir Jihad has been put off to contain the flames at home. OBL has been killed. Mullah Omar has disappeared. One duck after the other is falling.

Now Pakistan is facing its own monsters. Obama has said in the recent interview that Pakistan has to give up its India obsession. He is going to push them into changing their ways. Otherwise, Pakistan will burn more. He also sees China entering the scene. He will not allow for that. If China wants Pakistan on its side, it is not going to get it as a single nation. Mines will be planted so that it explodes on Chinese’ faces. In the recent naval siege, Chinese workers were held hostage. More is coming.

Pakistan can try hard to reset itself or it is going to go up in flames.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Here is more on the “victim” nation:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/23/pakistani -militant-group-isi-coordinated-headley. html

Reaping what was sown can be painful, as is evident from what is happening in Victimstan.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Here is a Kashmiri perspective on Pakistan army and ISI:

http://www.international.to/index.php?op tion=com_content&view=article&id=1037:is i-is-the-best-secret-agency-is-it&catid= 36:news&Itemid=74

ISI is the best secret agency, is it?.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 08:14 Dr Shabir Choudhry

Pakistan army is also presented as one of the best professional army in the world. Professionalism of any army is tested by its ability to defend national borders and defeat enemy. History proves that despite much acclaimed professionalism and bravery of the Pakistan army they have not won any war, if anything, they lost East Pakistan and resulted in the biggest surrender in the world history.

Therefore, performance of the ISI should not be judged by its ability and actions committed against citizens of Pakistan, whether they were kidnapped from outside the prisons after being released by courts or abducted from their homes. Also its performance should not be judged by number of people they arrested and then ‘sold’ to the CIA for dollars.

Furthermore, performance of the ISI should not be measured by its complicity in invasion of the Pakistani capitals; rigging elections, defaming politicians and bringing down democratically elected governments.

On the night of 22 May terrorist inflicted the biggest blow to prestige and power of the Pakistan army in Karachi where only six people managed to enter PNS Mehran, killed 12 navy and rangers personnel, destroyed billions worth of property, including planes, helicopters, fought them for 16 hours and still two of them managed to escape. And tragedy is no one is held responsible for this failure; and while other government top officials and army officials are tight lipped about this tragic incident, some officials like Home Minister, Rehman Malik are hailing it as a big success of those fighting terrorism.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

It is easy to play reckless for someone like Taliban which does not care about ruling a nation or running into the caves in a flash. This is interpreted as bravery. Ask them to comeout in open and play. They will learn the pressure to find solutions by combination of diplomacy and war, not hide for years togther or openly hosting terorists in the name of culture or bulwark a neighbor or play hosts to a hijackers. One thing they sure are doing is SCREWING AFGHANISTAN–left and right.

Posted by rehmat | Report as abusive
 

Whenever Pakistan is on a bind, I see less articles from Myra and other pro-Pakistani writers. Serious case is going on in Chicago and I have not seen one word from these esteemed authors. Here is one for them to chew:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ar ticle2045184.ece?homepage=true

That ISI officers were directly involved in the Mumbai attacks has been confirmed. Let us see how much more they can go on denying everything.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

If you noticed, pak media reports on terrorist attacks in the last few days including todays Peshawar attack are reported with the ending “‘since OBL raid”. Amazing.

Terrorist attacks were going on before OBL killing and after OBL killing.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

I wish that the American Govt. for once would come out and admit defeat and not hide behind the bunker mentality. No country can win any war with special forces and night raids into civilian houses. By the time Americans leave I suspect that the resistance is going to spread across in the whole of south Asia. War is terror, not the resistance against the war.

Only ill informed and fools( clowns was the word General Macchrystal used for Obama administration) would take on operations in a 250,000 sq miles territory where 40-50 million most ferocious and the largest group of tribes in the world are settled and in history have never been defeated by any foreign forece.Call them talibans if one will, they are only the special forces who gradualy expand theoperation theatre and more and more tribes come together. Unlike Navy seals and Marines, they do not leave any trace behind let alone a chopper and full equipment. Unmaned drones is a good technique but far how long?

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp  ?page=2011%5C05%5C25%5Cstory_25-5-2011_ pg3_3

WASHINGTON DIARY: The self-centred beggar —Dr Manzur Ejaz

Probably it is a matter of taste that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wanted to hear the same translated lecture from Chinese leaders that Senator John Kerry had given in Islamabad. Maybe it was easier in Beijing because Chinese lectures were (hopefully) directly translated into Urdu or Seraiki. President Asif Ali Zardari may have been given a similar dose in Moscow though the details of his achievements have yet to come out. Both had rushed to the Chinese and Russian capitals to prove their utility to the military brass after the embarrassing US operation in Abbottabad.
The plan to rush to Beijing was as sane as not knowing that Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad near a military academy for the last five years. Probably, there is no method in Pakistan’s madness of decision-making processes. Idealising Pakistan’s strategic worth in global politics, Pakistan’s ruling elite is bereft of common sense. They thought once they announce to the Chinese and Russians that they are getting a legal divorce from the US, Beijing and Moscow would jump all around and shower Yuan and Roubles upon them. :-)

No one paused for a moment to think that both China and Russia, victims of jihadi terrorism, agree with the US on the point that terrorist networks must be rooted out of Pakistan. But we have become like street-beggars who develop a habit of asking every passerby for money.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

A remarkable and thought provoking article from Rehmat explains in simple terms, about the changing chinese attitudes towards India due to the burgeoning of trade relations.
http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/24/sky-wars- pakistan-india-and-china.html
It clearly mentions pakistan’s illogical amrs race with India, where he simply points out that can’t pakistan invest more in her development needs and then use the profits of its growth towards military modernisation? Rather, Pakistan, in order to match india in short term, keeps throwing good money to the defence needs drying out finances for growth and hitting a nail in its own coffin of political unity.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

If I am a patriotic Pakistani (strange to even think that :-) .. but neverthless) I would first invest more of my valuable resources into Education ( Along with very few countries, Pakistan is suffering education emergency as its illiteracy is growing!), Healthcare (first time in independent history of south asia, India’s numbers started to look better to pakistan) and Employment and Anti-povety programmes(Pakistan government has postponed the poverty statistics in order to avoid the dishonour of standing behind India, again first time in independent South Asia) and create a more sustainable growth rate of atleast around 6 percent (to create enough jobs for pakistan’s exploding population, incidentally pakistan’s population growth rate is highest in South Asia) and then use the generated profit from this growth to military expenditure. But in some ways, knowing pakistan’s psychology historically where they frittered half of their country and pushing remaining half into jihadist dungeon, I wonder whether Pakistani authorities have enough gumption to think rationally.
The growth rate Gap is too large for any patriotic (not delusional) pakistani comfort. In this decade itself, with the average growth of India around 8.2% is far larger than 4% of pakistan that it wiped out the growth lag of 20 years in one swoop.
MoreOver this is the decade (first decade of 21century) when India actually overtaken pakistan in percapita terms. The 50′s to 70′s growth had a 2.5% margin between these two nations but India looks good to wipe out more Indicators in which India was worse historically.
Something for the Patriotic pakistani’s to think about and delusional ones can take a walk.

“The country’s population has jumped to 184 million in 2010, 119 million in 1990, of which 73 million Pakistanis have fallen below poverty line, SBP said. The poverty level during 2010 rises by 4 percent to 40 percent, from 36.1 percent in 2009″.

http://www.agricorner.com/sunday-october -31-2010-e-mail-this-article-to-a-friend -printer-friendly-version-share-this-sto ry-del-icio-us-digg-reddit-furl-fark-tai lrank-ma-gnolia-newsvine-simpy-spurl-pov erty-and-hunger/

India’s performace though slightly better is still shameful compared to world’s standards. Pakistani’s who jeered about India’s Poverty (so much for India’s slums) can now relax and can start working on their figures.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

SBP: State Bank of Pakistan
My point is, this is exactly the wrong time to invest Resources on nuclear warheads and then perhaps an Indian says this, Some delusional pakistani’s think in a reverse way believing “see Indians are scared :-) “.

In 1971, when west pakistan resorted to Genocide in the east, there was almost no International media attention on pakistan (if any, it was positive), now Can Pakistani deep state resort to such adventures with restive populations crying for developmental needs? with full attention of world media (believe me, even chinese are embarrassed after OBL was caught in pak’s bosom)?

I somehow believe an Endgame is coming..no not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan, where the Pakistan establishment and its military must choose political-social-economic integrity of pakistan over military-mullah-feudal dominance and this decade could be a defining one in this regard.
M.J.Akbar renowned columnist said that there is a danger that pakistan may become a classical jelly state neither failing nor stabilising, but I donot approve that.
With growing trade relations between countries, there is a limit to zero sum games between states (China-India) in this regard and Chinese will be compelled (the Americans did that to pakistani’s chagrin) to rebalance their attitudes towards Indians and Pakistani’s may find itself in isolation. India would in few years would become the 2nd ot 3rd biggest importer of saudi’s oil resources and they know that it will be a bad idea to rub indians on the wrong side. (Saudi’s incidentally are fighting their oil dominance in the world, owing to competeting natural resouces (shale gas, renewable energy)).
For Pakistan the clock is ticking……….

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

I would point something to Pakistani’s on this forum who are well fed on strategic significance of Nuclear Assets.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/25/curse-of- the-bomb.html
In this piece, the wonderful lady writes that
“However, in the era of terrorism, where every living thing is a target and the propagation of fear is a means to control, a markedly different equation of nuclear power is in operation. Under its deductions, weak states with nuclear weapons attract rather than deter non-state enemies. Ideologically motivated non-state actors see weak countries as easily penetrable targets which can provide access to nuclear capabilities that would make the absence of territorial control largely irrelevant.

While the weapon caches of countries like the US are impenetrable to such groups, those of weak countries are perceived as achievable. In simple terms, there is a school of thought that Al Qaeda and similar groups will not stop targeting Pakistan as long as it possesses the nuclear bomb. In fact, maintaining the power to destroy might well mean the slow but sure destruction of the country itself.
Non-state terror groups are not alone in bestowing unwanted attention on Pakistan. Superpowers, both existing and emergent, have their own interests in the bomb, and fears that Pakistan may not be able to keep its assets secure could well increase their efforts to meddle with and muddy existing configurations.”

How True it is! This is the reason, terririst groups with international agendas would never let pakistan survive in peace, this is because they believe with weaker institutions that exist in pakistan, it is easy for them to get hold of these Assets. They would never let the societies become stronger. The superpowers too in their high concern would not stop meddling in pakistan’s affairs. This is the reason pak must build strong institutions, route out terrorism and then Indians wont give a damn about Pakistan’s Bomb.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

Millions and millions of slaves work in hard labour without any salary and are just given enough food to live. the capitalist has bought the entire village and no one knows when the would be free. Indian labour minister denies to CNN that the people are slaves in the real sense, and calls them bonded labour. he also claimed that the responsibility of this practice lies with the provincial Govt. and not the central Govt. and he is trying to have this practice stopped. Is this a different India that the media talks about, not the one which has the caste system in place, suppresses kashmiri citizens winth violent force and claims to have nuclear weapons.

Calm down and repent is call of the times for Indians. You are in no better shape to lecture Pakistanis.

rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

PS
Mr Obama would not allow the Indian chief to enter the white house, far slave owners are no longer entitled to enter the current white house.

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@sensiblepatriot

I miss the days when I got such reports on my desk (though no US No Foreign…since I’m not American)….

In any event, we’ve been studying the rise of extremists in South Punjab, as far back as 2007-2008. The Brits were probably looking at it, even before then. Understandable, given the large numbers of Pakistani-origin migrants in their country.

We’ve even tried talking to the Pakistanis about it. They would just tell us that there’s nothing to worry about. When western analysts bring up the point that a huge chunk of the PA’s recruitment comes from south Punjab, they again deny there’s a problem at all. We know otherwise.

Personally, I think this threat has the potential to eclipse the Pashtun Taliban threat. And I don’t know if the Army will be capable of tackling such a threat, like it did in Swat, Dir, etc. An insurgency in Southern Punjab could break the Army. It’s one thing for Punjabi Jawans to fight Pashtuns. It’s quite another prospect for them to battle their own relatives.

But the head-in-the-sand approach continues. I can only hope that since I’ve changed job that those reports have gotten positive. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

A lot of this information is old hat in the intelligence world.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

Rex,
I am not disapproving anything that you say about India that its not doing good job regarding slave labour. In fact, I would be happy to provide more aspects where India is doing worse than most other nations,if it could give glee on your face, I will provide you some facts.

1. India has the most poor in the world. As India is second largest country and even if it does an iota worse than china, it will still have world’s largest poor. Happy. I think you understand the statistics. Neverthless, we need to depend on chinese statistics and no independent sources available.

2.India is worst affected in malnutrition and eight of its poorest states are on par or worse than poorest african states. Happy.

3 Indian health system is deplorable and is bottom of the developing countries. Even srilanka has better statistics. Happy.

4.Majority of the population some 650 million on 55% of the population use open places for defecation. Again on par with many african countries.Happy.
If a pakistani is satisfied and extremely jubiliant to find these statistics, I can give him more. But that is not the point is it?
Any sane individual would show sympathy with people or anger for Indian governemnents non-performance in these sectors, but not average pakistani. We seemed to find visible glee on their part. This is a strange behavior since pakistan itself suffers these ills (sometimes worse than India). Pakistan suffers added ills of feudal repression,insecurity (in the form of terrorism) and extreme poverty along with the above mentioned ills.

However it seems average well fed upwardly mobile middle class pakistani is least concerned about it. Indians are extremely ashamed on some of these parameters of Human development Index and consistently tried and improved their numbers like Education, Percapita and poverty statistics.Few corporates may compare it to china but no average Indian does it so during this time of history.

Moreover some statistics like lifespan and gender gap are better for pakistan, India had overtaken Pakistan in child mortality and female mortality and gender equality indices which india was historically lower to pakistan.

My point is, The list of Factors which you see India in bad light are declining and declining fast. Incidentally India has overtaking many of the Indices in which Pakistan was ahead for decades. If you still show contempt that India is worse than China or perhaps norway, it will be so in the foreseeable future. But for a pakistani who is not a delusionist and a true patriot he will realize where his country really finds itself in. This is can known from innumerable articles of dawn or the links we provided in this forum.

No Indian shows these to chide pakistan or just for his contempt for the nation. It is only our anger at the educated paksitanis for their attitude who seems to live in comfort of Indian backwardness rather than their fear of thier country’s state failure.

To sum it all, It was extremely genuine for pakistanis in 60′s,70′s or even 80′s to chid India at its performance but it is no longer so. During those decades pakistan looked respectable and Indians looked fools for sloganeering about democracy and free world.
Now the tables have turned and as every Indicator for India improves over pakistan, Pakistanis will look like even more delusional and disconnected.
Honestly even though we are a little better than you, we are still shameful to find ourselves at bottom of the Index and as remorse then repent then realization and …. then…. change comes in the attitude.
World is waiting for Pakistan establishment for their moment of remorse. Again … The clock is ticking.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

Rex,
I am not disapproving anything that you say about India that its not doing good job regarding slave labour. In fact, I would be happy to provide more aspects where India is doing worse than most other nations,if it could give glee on your face, I will provide you some facts.

1. India has the most poor in the world. As India is second largest country and even if it does an iota worse than china, it will still have world’s largest poor. Happy. I think you understand the statistics. Neverthless, we need to depend on chinese statistics and no independent sources available.

2.India is worst affected in malnutrition and eight of its poorest states are on par or worse than poorest african states. Happy.

3 Indian health system is deplorable and is bottom of the developing countries. Even srilanka has better statistics. Happy.

4.Majority of the population some 650 million on 55% of the population use open places for defecation. Again on par with many african countries.Happy.
If a pakistani is satisfied and extremely jubiliant to find these statistics, I can give him more. But that is not the point is it?
Any sane individual would show sympathy with people or anger for Indian governemnents non-performance in these sectors, but not average pakistani. We seemed to find visible glee on their part. This is a strange behavior since pakistan itself suffers these ills (sometimes worse than India). Pakistan suffers added ills of feudal repression,insecurity (in the form of terrorism) and extreme poverty along with the above mentioned ills.

However it seems average well fed upwardly mobile middle class pakistani is least concerned about it. Indians are extremely ashamed on some of these parameters of Human development Index and consistently tried and improved their numbers like Education, Percapita and poverty statistics.Few corporates may compare it to china but no average Indian does it so during this time of history.

Moreover some statistics like lifespan and gender gap are better for pakistan, India had overtaken Pakistan in child mortality and female mortality and gender equality indices which india was historically lower to pakistan.

My point is, The list of Factors which you see India in bad light are declining and declining fast. Incidentally India has overtaking many of the Indices in which Pakistan was ahead for decades. If you still show contempt that India is worse than China or perhaps norway, it will be so in the foreseeable future. But for a pakistani who is not a delusionist and a true patriot he will realize where his country really finds itself in. This is can known from innumerable articles of dawn or the links we provided in this forum.

No Indian shows these to chide pakistan or just for his contempt for the nation. It is only our anger at the educated paksitanis for their attitude who seems to live in comfort of Indian backwardness rather than their fear of thier country’s state failure.

To sum it all, It was extremely genuine for pakistanis in 60′s,70′s or even 80′s to chid India at its performance but it is no longer so. During those decades pakistan looked respectable and Indians looked fools for sloganeering about democracy and free world.
Now the tables have turned and as every Indicator for India improves over pakistan, Pakistanis will look like even more delusional and disconnected.
Honestly even though we are a little better than you, we are still shameful to find ourselves at bottom of the Index and as remorse then repent then realization and …. then…. change comes in the attitude.
World is waiting for Pakistan establishment for their moment of remorse. Again … The clock is ticking.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive
 

@SensibleP
Let me announce again that I am not a Pakistani.Somehow I got Pakistan tag with my input and after few attempts to change, I gave up. I now feel comfortable with the name since it is now the target for Indians and the Americans bashing! To be honest I have not got the least interest to feel happy about the misery of Indians, their shortcomings or for that matter of any other country in the world. My sympathies are with the under dog, the victim and not the aggressor, or the arrogant would be aggressor.
In my opinion India has made great progress and there is no reason why in its own time it would not become one of the major economic motor for the world. May critic on any country is usualy related to the short comings of the human side of the world. What the Indian Govt. did against the sikh community and their suppression of kashmiri muslims as well as lack of support for Tamil community in Siri Lanka, in my view did not reflect the shining side of the Indian image in Europe. I am also against Pakistan cavalier campaign of terror in the Pashtoon tribal territory, thereby causing the displacement of millions of citizens within the country.

With regard to you guys, is it fair to use Pakistan blog for expressing out of proportion grievences against Pakistan which are not related to the article. If you want to use uncle Sam strategy relating terror to every thing which is occuring in the world,then I am afraid in my opinion you are simply violating the Reuters standards. I know that Myra is a very talented author and very generous to allow these diversions, but there must be some sort of self control. Sorry I do not need from you info on India short coming or stories which are published in news papers. Live and let live.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@ Rex

I saw your above pious self portrait and I couldn’t help but laugh. In case you need reminder who you are:

You are German. You are bigoted against Americans in general and African Americans in particular.

Anyway, below are examples of your not-racist-at-all musings to me on African Americans as politicians and your sympathy for the “underdog” Iranian government. Yeah, you seem like a really balanced person.

>>. Eventualy the US Congress will have no choice but to impeach the President for the power he granted himself for ordering to kill and hide evidence, without a trial. Th USA congress is slow but not impotent to safguard the inegrity of the Nation by a kenyan immigrant’s son.
…You cannot be against muslims, since the father of your President was a muslim… I have nothing against Iranians whose Govt straightforwardly do not want to have diplomatic relations with the USA. What have you against Iranians? Three afro american came up the ladder in recent times, all of them have proven to be zeroes and let the afro american community down who waited so long for parity with the whites. Collin powel who lied before the world body, Condi Rice who proved to be a disaster in diplomacy and ofcourse the incumbent President who is not more than an imposter and is trying t prove that what george w did, he could do it more professionaly.

Posted by BajaArizona | Report as abusive
 

BajaArizona,

Don’t bother with that individual. Debating him is an exercise in frustration. He avoids direct answers, relies solely on his biases, claims expert authority on just about any and every topic and subject. I’ve dealt with some of the world’s foremost experts on the region (like Stephen Cohen, Christine Fair and Lt. Gen Talat Masood for example) and have never heard them claim as much authority as this fellow. He is flat out racist. Not only does he dislike African Americans (what other basis can there be for him sharing the opinion of many a teabagger), but he has also put forward a 21st century equivalent of the Martial Races Theory, professing that the Pashtuns are superior to all the other ethnic groups around them and that they will over-run Pakistan and India. He has also suggested that Pakistan is not a “nation” and lacks a “national” army.

I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Despite his efforts to pass him self off as some brilliant intellectual who’s above the fray, it’s clear to me, that despite his claims, that Rex Minor has some ties to Pakistan and more specifically to Pashtuns. I will suggest that he’s either a first or second generation Pashtun immigrant living in Germany, with a strong affinity for his fellow Pashtuns at home. Being removed from the motherland, however, and being imbued with all kinds of biases (anti-Western, anti-USA, anti-African American, anti-European, anti-Indian, etc.) he has a rather romantic notion of the life and abilities of the Pashtuns in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

So I strongly suggest that you avoid wasting your time with him. I think I read about 1 in every 10 of his posts. He’s no better than most trolls you find on any other website, on any other topic. I have a more profound respect for other contributors on here, even if I disagree with them.

Posted by kEiThZ | Report as abusive
 

@Myra
You are one of the brilliant writers of the region and very generous too in allowing unimpeded access for comments. Unfortunately, too many riff-raffs are being attracted to this blog and instead of commenting on the article, they are putting out derogatery comments about others. Could you therefore possibly style your articles in a way which does not invite disparaging commentry about the countries, or at least intercede with those who break Reuters Blog stated rules. The automatic system to block individual input does not seem to work.Thank you.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

@Myra
Can you please block the Islamifascist, jihadi parasite? Thanks.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

David wright,

I appreciate your controls and automatic filtering process and point allocations. However, this does not seem to be effective for ” NETIZEN”. This blogger does not want to be ignored. Please recheck. Thanks.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

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