Capturing the Punjabi imagination: drones and “the noble savage”

November 13, 2011

Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid may have captured something rather interesting in his short story published this month by  The Guardian.   And it is not as obvious as it looks.

In “Terminator: Attack of the Drone”, Hamid imagines life in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan under constant attack from U.S. drone bombings.  His narrator is one of two boys who go out one night to try to attack a drone.

 ”The machines are huntin’ tonight,” the narrator says.  “There ain’t many of us left. Humans I mean. Most people who could do already escaped. Or tried to escape anyways. I don’t know what happened to ‘em. But we couldn’t. Ma lost her leg to a landmine and can’t walk. Sometimes she gets outside the cabin with a stick. Mostly she stays in and crawls. The girls do the work. I’m the man now.

“Pa’s gone. The machines got him. I didn’t see it happen but my uncle came back for me. Took me to see Pa gettin’ buried in the ground. There wasn’t anythin’ of Pa I could see that let me know it was Pa. When the machines get you there ain’t much left. Just gristle mixed with rocks, covered in dust.”

It is powerful stuff, told in the language of a black American slave in the style of Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”.  It vividly captures the terror inspired by drones, and the helplessness of the people who live in the tribal areas. But is it true? And does it matter?

In a discussion on Twitter, literary critic Faiza S. Khan, who tweets @BhopalHouse, argued that the story should be judged as a work of fiction rather than taken as reportage. A fair point. But what if we turn this around and consider the story as reportage, not of the tribal areas and the drones, but of the way these are imagined in Pakistan’s Punjabi heartland? As a writer who spends part of his time in Lahore, capital of Punjab, Hamid can be considered representative of at least part of that Punjabi imagination.

We will return to the short story later, but first step back a bit and consider that the narrative gaining traction, at least in urban Punjab, is that the people of the tribal areas have been radicalised by American drone attacks.  Pakistan’s rising political star, Imran Khan,  attracted tens of thousands to a rally in Lahore last month with a version of this narrative. Stop the drones, and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban, can be engaged in peace talks to end a wave of bombings across Pakistan. 

The simplicity of this narrative is beguiling. At a stroke it taps into the anti-Americanism prevalent in Pakistan and also promises peace. Yet it is incredibly problematic. Bear with me – this is not a defence of drones per se.  The use of “machines” to fight a war is disturbing, as indeed is the use of snipers in their capacity for personalised targetting by an unseen hand.  Emotionally, I would be far more scared of drones and snipers than I would be of artillery and airstrikes,  even if I knew the latter two were more likely to kill me. And nor is it a defence of the way the United States has fought its war in Afghanistan - the risks of the Afghan war going wrong have been obvious from the start to anyone with a knowledge of history.  But those are different subjects. This is about how the drone campaign is perceived in mainland Pakistan, and perhaps particularly in Punjab.

The first problem with the narrative is that it slides over the fact that radicalisation in the tribal areas (and Pakistan as a whole) began long before the U.S. drone campaign.  Many ascribe it to Pakistani support for the United States in backing the jihad against the Soviet Union after the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979.  I might go further back, perhaps to the 1973 oil boom when a disproportionate number of Pashtun from the tribal areas went to seek work in the Gulf . The results were twofold – the migrant workers were exposed to the Wahhabi puritanical Saudi Arabian tradition of Islam, and the remittances they sent home upset the traditional balance of power in the local economy.  I could go back even further, to the origins of the Pakistani state in 1947 and its use of Islam as a unifying force to counter ethnic nationalism, including Pashtun nationalism.  In short – it is complicated. Stopping drones may or may not be a moral imperative, depending on your perspective. But let’s not be fooled into thinking that in itself, it will bring peace.

Secondly, the narrative on drone attacks takes at face value assertions that they cause high numbers of civilian casualties.  The Americans say they are precise; their critics say they are lying; the rest of us simply don’t, and can’t, know the truth.  With little independent reporting on the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), we can’t possibly verify whether the claims of civilian casualties are accurate. We don’t know for sure the numbers of the dead, let alone whether among those dead were Taliban foot soldiers who are also civilians.

What I have noticed however, is that at least some among the Pashtun intelligentsia say the drone strikes are precise, and that opposition to them increases the further away you get from the tribal areas.  Earlier this year, a senior Pakistani military officer was quoted as saying that ”a majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements”. Writer and academic Farhat Taj has taken this argument further by saying that people actually prefer drone strikes to living in fear of the Taliban and their foreign allies.

Now I don’t know the truth. I have been to the tribal areas only once, on a one-day army-supervised trip to Bajaur.  Incidentally, I was struck by how far the landscape differed from my own Kiplingesque imaginings of “the Frontier”. In Bajaur, I saw agricultural prosperity, neatly laid out fields,  and mountains which  in relative terms (ie compared to Siachen, the Karakoram and even the barren mountains of Scotland) seemed unexpectedly tame. I gather other parts of FATA are wilder, but that Bajaur trip was a lesson for me in how far my imagination (no doubt heavily influenced by colonial literature) was very different from reality. Many Pakistanis never get a chance to visit FATA at all – and so it remains in the Pakistani heartland as much of an imagined frontier as it was under the Raj.

So to get back to the drones, let’s for a moment take the prevalent view that Pakistan is fighting “America’s war” out of the discussion and consider what the people of FATA themselves think about drone attacks and peace talks with the Taliban.  As the people who suffer most at the hands of the Pakistani Taliban, their views - at least from a moral point of view – should predominate in any Pakistani discourse which set itself up as idealistic. What do they say?

This brings me to the most problematic part of the narrative, and loops back into Hamid’s short story. In the “stop the drones, win the peace argument”, the people of FATA are crucially assumed not to be able to speak for themselves. They are frozen in time in an  idealised village life, people who will revert to their ancient traditions as soon as the drones and the Afghan war ends, as though the last 60 years of history never happened. As though not not one of them had ever got on a plane, worked in the Gulf, or migrated to Karachi.

Look at how they are portrayed in Hamid’s story (though since I have not asked him, I will concede this may have been an intentional parody of the way the people of FATA are often viewed).

In his story, our characters have no ability to grasp the big world events that have brought the machines to their land.  They speak in the language of black American slaves. The narrator’s mother is compared to an animal, “snorin’ like an old brown bear after a dogfight”. Their primitiveness is underlined by the sexualisation of the weapon assembled by the two boys to attack the drone:  ”We put the he-piece in the she-piece”.

They are reduced to the cipher of  “the noble savage“.

It is true that the people of FATA do not tend to speak for themselves. But given the scale of bombings and assassinations, fear seems to be a more likely explanation than an inability to articulate their thoughts.

And it is also true that they are not even proper citizens. Rather they are subject to the Frontier Crimes Regulation – a draconian colonial-era law which makes them liable to collective punishment, and which is only slowly being reformed by the Pakistani government.  The eventual abolition of the FCR, the incorporation of FATA into Pakistan, and other reforms meant to decentralise and accommodate Pakistan’s different ethnic groups, would arguably be far more effective in the long run in allowing the country’s Punjabi heartland to make peace with the Pashtun in the tribal areas, more even than ending drone strikes.

You will find people who argue you can do both – abolish the FCR and end drone strikes. But how can you tell? How do you make peace with a particular group and work out what suits them best, unless they are represented politically?  (Holding peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban is not the same.)

Now reread Hamid’s piece and consider the gap between the characters imagined in his short story, and a people with full citizenship rights and political representation.  As Fazia S. Khan said, judge it as a work of fiction.  But as a window into the Punjabi imagination, it may also have  its uses as a political document.

53 comments

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Pashtuns did not want to be a part of Pakistan Ms Myra. When the Pakistan movement was launched, Pashtuns opposed that idea. Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan vehemently opposed that idea. When voting was held in the region that has the Pashtun population, Pakistan movement suffered an embarrassing defeat, much to the chagrin of the British. When Pakistan formed, its leaders realized that Pashtuns would not recognize the Punjabi dominated nation. There was the Durand line which divided the Pashtuns between Afghanistan and the nation of Pakistan. There was only one way to keep their attention away from this issue. Pakistan launched the Kashmir offensive by directing the Pashtun tribesmen. Ever since Pakistan has used some conflict or the other to keep the Pashtuns engaged outward. The war against the Soviets gave enough room to radicalize the Pashtuns and make them turn against the Russians. Once the Russians left, Taliban was created to keep the Pashtuns fighting the other ethnic groups in Afghanistan and gain control of the region. Then the grand plan was to launch an all out Jihad against India using the Pashtun dominated Taliban. Pakistan’s elite are really scared of the Pashtuns and their nationalism. Any room given for peace and stability in the region will mean Pashtuns will get time to sit and think about being suckered. And that specter haunts the Punjabi dominated Pakistani military establishment. They need continued conflicts turned outwards to keep their country protected against any Pashtun rebellion. The poorer and backward they are, the easier it is to control them. The more the external enemies are, the longer will be the chance for survival as a nation. This is the problem Pakistan has been facing since its birth. Pakistan, especially its military does not want peace in the region. The most dangerous thing for them is to face the Pashtuns. They have manipulated the Pashtuns by keeping their attention focused away towards external enemies and desperately tried to sustain such enmity. TTP is the first Pashtun faction that has begun to shake the foundations of Pakistan’s flimsy unity and stability. Pashtuns have seen the duplicity and double dealing of the Pakistani system and they are not going to trust them the way they did before. This is the reason why Pakistani military is seeking more conflicts. And the US war efforts have tied it down from launching more external offensives to save its country from internal enemies. By throwing fire at the neighbors, Pakistan has brought its own peril. Fire is a dangerous thing to play with. At some point it will burn one’s own hands. I do not know how they will get out of all this. It is good to see the countries in the region working towards peaceful coexistence. But Pashtun nationalism has not disappeared. It will erupt if peace prevails. That would be the next conflict Pakistan might have to face.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Why K P Singh is saying that,”The Pushtoons rejected Pakistan in the voting.” While the facts are,they accepted overwhelmingly and that was the reason NWFP was part of Pakistan and still is and will remain so with the ill of ALLAH.
The trouble,with these Bunderstans (indians)is that in the hate of Pakistan,they will try to mislead the world and will try to twist and change the history.But remember Pakistan is a fact and will remain in the world for ever,however,these bunderstanis try to hard to change the fact.
Before,blaming Pakistani Army,he should look at the record of the Bunderstani Army,who is terrorising innocent Kashmiris,by murdering childern,rape of Muslim Kashmiri women and puting in jail the leaders of Kashmiris.Further,stoping a so called democrat governmint,by forcing it not to have peace in Sceichen.
WHAT A SHAME FOR THE SO CALLED BIGGEST DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD.

Posted by bahadur227 | Report as abusive

KPSing001….Alas Ur system has to be updated….u r still using typewriter….We pashtuns are now upgraded to core duo processor…..its old story…

We have suffered so far and do not want any nationalistic issue….Afghans have their own fragmented problems……Please give us a pause from Durand issue or nationalistic provocation…..Please settle your own Kalistan issue….poverty and inequalities…that u face…every single day…

Millions of Pashtuns prefer to stay with Pakistan and we feel proud to be called Pakistani, instead of getting involve in war torn neighboring society or becoming landlock society…we don’t want to sacrifice our future generation in the name of nationalism…a century old phenomena…which has lesser relevance in modern times…..conflicting societies better fix their issues….and Please keep our Pakistani pashtuns away from such provocative statements..

Posted by SherKhan1 | Report as abusive

To K P Singh above….
Nice historical narrative but you cannot expect modern day Westerners to appreciate, unlike those of us, who have been there. My Father was caught in the Punjab when the vast conflagration and “people movement” erupted. A million in human lives, vast number of livestock, dead, amidst fields set on fire. My Father spoke both Urdu and Punjabi and escaped dressed as a camel driver in a camel cart..He knew Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, lion of the Northwest Frontier. I believe so did Jawaharlal Nehru…
Just an observation… Kayani/Pasha are playing nice in order to cater to the new CIA Chief Petreus, trying to make him believe that they are “adopting” some of his suggestions on “rapprochement”. The Former CIA chief Panetta was never fooled and implacably opposed. He never agreed with Petreus sentiment and refused to alert Rawalpindi to the Seal raid in Abbotabad… I tend to agree with Panetta that this latest “charm” offensive is just another diversionary tactic.

Posted by Bludde | Report as abusive

Please read PESHAWAR DECLARATION. Pukhtun response to Drone attack and Terrorism in Pukhtun built FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
http://criticalppp.com/archives/47109

Posted by S.Kamal | Report as abusive

To sharekhans and bahadurs,
Pull of your nationalistic rhetoric and rationally understand what KPSingh01 is trying to say.

It was a fact that Frontier people were not comfortable with the idea of Pakistan, initially, because they always felt that a united India with weak central Authority and a strong federal structure (with possible autonomy to Frontier provinces), was in their best interest. Is there no truth to it? Just like Muslim League argued for more autonomous political structure for Muslim dominated regions, so did the Frontier regions for the fear of Punjabi domination. They felt that if united India were to seperate into Two countries, the majority would hold a political structure, with strong central powers, down on their throats. This was genuine fear and more so because Muslim league never had the culture of political struggles but which Congress (and other Indian specific political parties) was fully embroiled for atleast four decades.
Majority of Congress leaders during that time came from middle class educated families but significant number of leaders of Muslim league were Zamindars (feudals), there was a genuine fear in khan Abdul Gaffar khan that given this feudal political structure, Pashtuns would always be at the mercy of the Punjabis. True to their credit Pakistani leaders for the last 64 years did not disappoint the pessimists.

bahadur227:”But remember Pakistan is a fact and will remain in the world for ever”.
We are happy it is. In fact we feel so happy that we actually believe that we narrowly missed the Feudalist takeover of the Indian subcontinent. Although Nehru’s and Sardar Patel’s political view differed during that day (Nehru’s left of centre views were in direct contrast with Patel’s right of centre views), both strongly believed in dumping the feudalistic political structure from the Indian subcontinent. Had we got a Unified India with weak central political structures, the feudals would have got away in the garb of autonomy (pakistani feudals would have joined arms with their Indian counterparts) and made India a perennial feudalist trap(which pakistan seems to be suffering now).
And why do some Pakistanis breatbeat and shout on the roof tops of what is a known fact that Pakistan is a fact.of course it is but isn’t then repeating such trivial facts over and over dilute the statement or more worse make the so called “fact” a less of a fact.
Well the Fact is Pakistan has become a state in 1947 and it is still in a state of 1947!! Have you set so low goals for the state of Pakistan that remaining as a simple geographical state entity does any good for your citizens.

sherkhan:”Please settle your own Kalistan issue….poverty and inequalities…that u face…every single day”.
Unless one is completely blind, Average netizen would find how Pakistan is losing the race with India in every department including poverty. If you could google Indian economic statistics with Pakistan, we are on the verge of doubling our GDP percapita with respect to Pakistan (of course there is long way to go), might that be the reason why Pakistan diplomats have suddenly started speaking so softly with Indians. Pakistan had a case to the world (and even for Kashmirirs) when Pakistani HDI (human development Indicators) were consistently better for decades with respect to India. Now they lost it too.
Now what went wrong and from whose side?
And what Khalistan.. are u joking.

sherkhan:”Millions of Pashtuns prefer to stay with Pakistan and we feel proud to be called Pakistani, instead of getting involve in war torn neighboring society or becoming landlock society”.
Isn’t that exactly the same case with Indian Kashmiris?
why would they fight for a state to become willing pawns of a supposedly weak state with even weaker political structures (Pakistan) and be part of an Land locked country.
The fact is you can only push them for so long. If you haven’t heard it, Kashmir (Indian part) now has the largest number of tourists after decades of militany and Kashmiris are welcoming the Tourists with open arms and started voting overwhelmingly in local body polls. Now there is a turf war between hawks and doves in India whether we should lift the military footprint completely or not. Whom do you think Kashmiris would choose? a Paksitan which offered its Minorities (pashtuns) as a bait to Americans or Indians who had given more political autonomy (Article 370) than Pakistanis chose to give to people of Baluchistan. oh… I haven’t even raised Balunchistan yet.
Punjabis were quite aware of the politically liberal nature of Pashtuns and so never really interfered and rather gave them free run in their regions (FATA) and no national laws usually applied to these regions. But for some reason as KPSingh01 said, they really did not believe in themselves that they have to push extreme version of Islam on the unsuspecting pushtoons so as to divert them from secular causes.

Oh and economy alone does not guarentee countries from the fear of secession, see china (of course I know that you are colour blind here) which still suffers from the fear fo Tibetan and Uighur threats of secession. Unless there is enough political freedoms, people would long for freedom even if the carved out entity is a land locked one.

Indians ad nauseam say to Pakistan that Indian poverty, our perceived misgovernance does not affect pakistan. No Terrrorist from India comes to karachi killing people and blows up because there is poverty in Pakistan. Nor any terrorist blow himself in Rawalpindi because there is perceived human rights abuses in Kashmir. We speak of Pakistan because your state of affaris affect us. Otherwise we don’t give a dime whether you people kill yourselves or fundementalists herded you into the middle ages. We speak and it is our right to speack because it is hurting us, dont hurt us and we would ignore Pakistan in your delightful journey.

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Get over it people. Pakistan is now a reality weather a painful one or not. Weather Pakhtun nationalism was for Pakistan or against it does not matter. What matters is that Pakistan is allowing bombing on its own population which is pathetic by any standards. If the military does not realize this is such a big mistake. Its fate might not be much different from Libya or Syria. Although they have the Nuclear weapons, it does not mean they can keep messing up the region and their own people. This must end and especially the Drone Strikes. War is never a solution. US should pack up its interests in the region and worry about its own and Europes economy.

Posted by BlackSpider | Report as abusive

If the pashtoons had followed the poltical views of congress man Ghafar khan, Pakistan could not have been created. Batcha khan and his clans were good Pashtoonsbut failed to convince the majority who went along with Mr Jinnah and thus a separate homeland for muslim indians was created. now this is history and people of the south east asia could learn a lotoflessns from it and work for peace. Pashtoons are today facing drones, which is no different from the areal bombardment of their homes by the brits with their slow flying machines during the colonial days.Ask those marines and seals and their families who becom victims of pashtoon vengence. The Russians and the Bris before them have faced themand the war goes on; one thing is sure itis the foreigners who suffer defeat at the end and it is the Pashtoons who come out as victorious.
China is the rising star and the world should watch admire and hail the coming super power and its foreign policy. This is important for the next generations to come. Not the slow moving unmanned drones, and slow moving trains as well as outmoded cars. A country needs more than smart phones and i pad to lead the world.

Reuters blog deserves to receive intelligent commentry, not simply a distorted history.

Rex minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Its been 60 years since independence, anyways it is up to them to reform themselves, they should simply know that no nation would be willing to take them in considering the nation they come from.

If they need assistance and modernization, then it is up to them to find it, asking China…. not a good idea. LONG LIVE PAKISTAN if you make it.

Posted by Smart123 | Report as abusive

No european country needs the USA either; Euro was created in anticipation to replace dollar as a reserve currency.The USA neo conservatives are planning to see through the end of the super power which now relies on the Russians transporter to take their astronauts to space? A sad end but this is what they earned with their BUSH-CHEYNEY, RICE AND POWEL policies still in force by the OBAMA/CLINTON clan? Pakistani citizens should learn to work hard, self reliance together with reforms in education and judicial institutions could adequately reward them; Just do it is the slogan for those who rely on themselves.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Rex:”Pakistani citizens should learn to work hard, self reliance together with reforms in education and judicial institutions could adequately reward them”.

I am sure they already are. And all the best for them. It is time south Asia embarks on real reforms that concern the people of this region. And I hope the military in Pakistan is paying heed to the changing currents in middle east. We really hope the peace offered by pakistani military authories is not a post dated cheque expected to expire in few months, when Pakistani economy comes on tracks.

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/art icle2636564.ece?homepage=true

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

I think if Imran Khan has a chance to get to power this time, he can swing Pakistan around and set it back on the road to recovery and prosperity. He seems to be the only hope for Pakistan. This is the best opportunity for him to grab the chance. He is a born leader and can lead Pakistan out of its current misery. My best wishes to him!

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@sensiblepatriot
I admire your patriotism for India and your research in the press for reports which coincide with your views; most other Indians follow the same routine, but this is not going to bring people closer towards each other. Most of the referenced rhetoric in the hindu.com is in reality no more than mama stories, hearsay stories and views of individual characters. Most of it is not worth the paper it is written on and serve no purpose but can cause further confusion, bewildermant and misreads of what the so called Generals said? Besides, Umairpk will provide us a different version of what the Generals meant? The only reference which makes sense to me is that the Indian leader is very sincere in seeking peace for the region. And what realy matters is what the people of the region think, aspire and want? My reading is that they do not seek peace, atleast for the present and the USA is no friend of India or Pakistan!! Would you genuinely trust for Pakistan leader Musharaf or his miitary clan which he has left behind? I would’nt! Would you pin any hope on the USA administration and its clintonian neo conservatives for bringing peace in any part of the world? I would definitely not!
India and Pakistan must resolve their disputes without coersion and simply based on justice(gerechtigkeit in German language) and act strategicaly in the long term interest of their people. Yes they can do it and are able to jump over their own shadows. They have common history and mostly a common culture. Experience has shown that Indian leaders in the past have not been sincere towards Pakistan and equaly Pakistan leaders have not proven to be reliable either. Any sttlement made against the interests of the people is not going to last long.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Looks like Reuters authors are on a vacation. I have not seen any article about the latest “memo gate” and the resignation of Haqqani. What is going on?

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Interesting article.

So apparently no one snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche. Pakistan needs to ask itself seriously..why are there American drones flying in my space? Who is their target(s) and why are these targets in my land to start with?

Oh and stop falling back on Islam to justify your lose/lose barbarism.

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive

Rex:”Most of the referenced rhetoric in the hindu.com is in reality no more than mama stories, hearsay stories and views of individual characters.”
Rex,
If you remember, I have even quoted some of the Authors in Dawn and who are not Paracha type liberals. I have quoted former generals of Pakistani Army who had similiar views as the Author in Hindu. I hope you won’t accuse me of cherry picking the Ideas which concur to me.
But then again, military Generals worldover and throughout history started off being extremely radical and conservative and only to become relatively liberal over the years in their prolonged reign.

We remember well how zia who started as a Islamist radical in his final years started to bring down his earlier rhetoric and try to build bridges with India (most strategic experts believe this is to hookwink India and hide the fact that he was building Nukes and planning proxy war in Kashmir). so was Musharraf who started with Kargil and later become more “friendly” with India. The same could be true to Kayani (may be because of desperation too) as he lost considerable moral authority in a country which traditionally had Army as the final arbiter of Nations discourse. If you have noticed this is true with Indian Hawks (like Advani) too. Some are more successful at transformation while others are not.

I do quote certain articles only to substantiate my view points not to score points over others or to flatter myself.

Rex:”Would you pin any hope on the USA administration and its clintonian neo conservatives for bringing peace in any part of the world? I would definitely not!”
I am not sure its clinton, I think its Ronald Reagon in 1980′s who embarked on the Neo liberal policies on the economic front and Neo conservative policies on the GeoPolitical issues of the world. Oh yes and he is the one who helped in radicalising the Afghan movement with Jihadis and wanted to see the end of USSR come what may. Give your take on it. was it clinton or Reagon? Rex ,I think its Reagon.

Rex:”Experience has shown that Indian leaders in the past have not been sincere towards Pakistan and equaly Pakistan leaders have not proven to be reliable either”.

It seems the movement when Pakistan is in good times it somehow shoots herself in the foot and why would any country want to come to a deal when it can see its adversary slipping away in Geopolitical competetion. India would see if Pakistan could slide further and reaches a new equilibrium, it could come to a deal. By the way I do not think its a good idea to hope your adversary to(and neighbour) fall further to make a deal. It wont last long but Pakistan’s propensity to jump from one crisis to another has only made the situation delicious for hawkish Indian strategic experts to hold down the policy of befriending pakistan a bit further into the future.
We Indians genuinely thought we might be close to a deal with Pakistan until suddently musharraf was hounded out of Pakistan. Badluck never runs out of luck in South Asia. :-(

Posted by sensiblepatriot | Report as abusive

Here is an interesting commentary I found in the Ecnomist

————————————–

Sanman

In 1839, the British Empire sought to expand the borders of its colony of British India, by launching a war of conquest against the neighboring Pashtuns. The Pashtuns, as a fiercely independent tribal warrior people, resisted ferociously, so that the British conquest of them was not successful. The British were only able to conquer part of the Pashtun territory, and even that remained in constant rebellion against them. Meanwhile, the remaining unconquered portion of Pashtun territory became the nucleus for the formation of Afghanistan. In 1893, the British imposed a ceasefire line on the Afghans called the Durand Line, which separated British-controlled territory from Afghan territory. The local people on the ground however never recognized this line, which merely existed on a map, and not on the ground.

In 1947, when the colony of British India achieved independence and was simultaneously partitioned into Pakistan and India, the Pakistanis wanted the conquered Pashtun territory to go to them, since the Pashtuns were Muslims. Given that the Pashtuns never recognized British authority over them to begin with, the Pakistanis had tenuous relations with the Pashtuns and were consumed by fears of Pashtun secession.

When Pakistan applied to join the UN in 1947, there was only one country which voted against it. No, it wasn’t India – it was Pashtun-ruled Afghanistan which voted against Pakistan’s admission, on the grounds that Pakistan was in illegal occupation of Pashtun lands stolen by the British. Their vote was cast on September 30, 1947 and is a fact.

In 1948, in the nearby state of Kashmir, its Hindu princely ruler and Muslim political leader joined hands in deciding to make Kashmir an independent country rather than joining either Pakistan or India. Pakistan’s leadership were immediately terrified of this precedent, fearing that the Pashtuns would soon follow suit and also declare their own ethnically independent state. In order to pre-empt that and prevent it from happening, Pakistan’s founder and leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah quickly decided to raise the cry of “Hindu treachery against the Muslims” and despatched hordes of armed Pashtun tribesmen to attack Kashmir. This was his way of distracting the Pashtuns from their own ethnic nationalism by diverting them into war against Kashmir “to save Islam”. These are the same Pashtun tribesman whose descendants are today’s Taliban. Fleeing the unprovoked invasion of their homeland, Kashmir’s Hindu prince and Muslim political leader went to India, pledging to merge with it if India would help repel the invasion. India agreed, and sent its army to repel the Pashtun invasion. Pakistan then sent its army to clash with Indian forces, and the result was Indo-Pakistani conflict, which has lasted for decades.

Pakistan’s fear of Pashtun nationalism and separatism, which it fears can break up Pakistan, is thus the root of the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir and also the root of Pak conflict with Afghanistan, not any alleged Indian takeover of Kabul. This is all due to the legacy of 1839, which happened long before Pakistan was even created.

When a communist revolution happened in Kabul in the late 70s, Pakistan’s fear of potential spillover effects on Pashtun nationalism caused Pakistan to embark on fomenting a guerrilla war against Kabul that led to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Aligned with with the USA, Pakistan then proceeded to arm the Pashtuns while indoctrinating them with Islamic fanaticism. The USA was not allowed any ground role, and was told it could only supply arms and funds to Pakistan, which would take care of the rest. Pakistan then simultaneously embarked on destabilization of India by fomenting insurgency there.

After the Soviets withdrew, Pakistan again feared that the well-armed Pashtuns would turn on it and pursue secession. So Pakistan then created the Taliban as a new umbrella movement for the fractious factional guerrilla groups under an ultra-fundamentalist ideology. Bin Laden’s AlQaeda then became cosy with Taliban, and the result was 9-11.

When the 9-11 attacks occurred, the cornered Pakistanis then did a 180 and promised to help the US defeat the Taliban and bring the terrorists to justice. Meanwhile they were racking their brains hoping to come up with a way to undermine the War on Terror from within. Now that they have succeeded in doing that, and in bleeding US/NATO forces, they hope to jump horses by kicking the US out and aligning with China.

Because of Pakistan’s attempts to illegitimately hang onto Pashtun land, it has brought itself into conflicts with so many countries – first against its neighbors and then against more distant larger powers. This is the reason why Pakistan is an irredentist state and can never be an ally against Islamic extremism, because Pakistan depends on this very Islamism as a national glue to hold itself together, and keep nationalistic ethnic groups like the Pashtuns from breaking Pakistan apart.

At the same time, Pakistanis don’t dare own upto the Pashtun national question at any level, nor its effect on their national policies, because any attempt to do so would open up the legitimacy of their claim to Pashtun land.

Sovereignty is a 2-way street, entailing not just rights but obligations. Pakistan only wishes to assert rights owing to it from sovereignty, and wishes to completely duck the issue of any sovereign obligations to apprehend terrorists on what it claims as its own territory. This is because the fundamental reality is that the Pashtun territory is not really theirs, is not really under their control, and the Pashtuns don’t really recognize Pakistani central authority over them.

Pakistan uses Islamic fundamentalism to submerge traditional Pashtun ethnic identity in a desperate attempt to suppress Pashtun ethnic nationalism, and to stave off the disintegration of Pakistan. The Pashtuns are a numerically large enough ethnic group possessing the strength of arms to be able to secede from Pakistan at any moment, should they decide upon it.

The answer is to let the separatists have their way and achieve their independent ethnic states, breaking up Pakistan. It’s better to allow Pakistan to naturally break up into 3 or 4 benign ethnic states, than for it to keep promoting Islamic fundamentalist extremism in a doomed attempt to hold itself together. Pakistan is a failing state, and it’s better to let it fail and fall apart. This will help to end all conflict in the region and the trans-national terrorist problem. An independent ethnic Pashtun state will be dominated by Pashtun ethnic identity instead of fundamentalist Islam, and thus AlQaeda will no longer be able to find sanctuary there. Conventional ethnic identity is far more natural and benign than trans-nationalist Islamism with its inherent collectivist political bent. Supporting the re-emergence of 4 natural ethnic states – Pashtunistan, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab – would be far better than continuing to support a dangerous and dysfunctional failed state like Pakistan which continues to spew toxic Islamist extremist ideology in a doomed attempt to hold itself together.

Following the failure of the Vietnam War, many Americans later recognized that war was really a war of ethnic reunification by the Vietnamese people. It wasn’t a case of one foreign country attempting to conquer another foreign country – indeed, the north and south Vietnamese were not strangers or aliens to one another – they were 2 halves of a common whole. The question was whether they would reunify under communist socialism or under free democracy, but because a blinkered American leadership refused to recognize the Vietnamese grassroots affinity for one another and their desire to reunify, it pretty much ensured that Vietnamese reunification would take place under communist socialism.

Likewise, the Pashtun people live on both sides of an artificial Durand Line (Afghan-Pak “border”) which they themselves have never accepted or recognized. It’s a question of whether they will politically reunify under close-minded theocratic Islamism or under a more secular and tolerant society. Because today’s blinkered American leadership is again blindly defending another artificial line on a map, and refusing to recognize the oneness of the people living on both sides of that artificial line, America is again shutting itself out of the reunification process, guaranteeing that Pashtun reunification will occur under fanatical fundamentalist Islamism as prescribed by Pakistan (much as Hanoi’s Soviet backers prescribed reunification under communist socialism.) It’s only later on, much after America’s defeat, that some Americans will realize too late that they should have seen that the Pashtuns on both sides of the artificial line were actually one people. Pakistan knows it all too well, because they’ve been living with the guilt and fear of it ever since Pakistan’s creation – but that’s why they’re hell-bent on herding the Pashtuns down the path of Islamist fanaticism, using Islamist glue to keep the Pashtuns as a whole hugged to Pakistan’s bosom.

If only the preachers at the Economist could shed their blinkers and really understand what’s going on, then they might have a chance to shape events more effectively, and to their favor. Pakistan is rapidly building up its nuclear arsenal, as it moves to surpass Britain to become the world’s 5th-largest nuclear state.The Pakistanis are racing to build up as much hard-power as possible to back up the soft-power they feel Islamist hate-ideology gives them.

The world needs to compel the Pakistanis to let the Pashtuns go, and allow them to have their own independent national existence, along with the Baluchis and Sindhis. Humoring Pakistan and allowing it to continue using Islamist hatred to rally the people towards unity to counter slow disintegration is not the way to achieve stability in the region, or security for the world.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

@sensiblepatriot
Your narrative is very interesting and I have no qualms with most of what you state: Where does this get the citizens of India and Pakistan to? Nowhere!Are Indians more secured today than they were in 1947? Are Pakistanis more secured and well off than they were in 1947? I leave it to the Indian and Pakistani bloggers to express their opinions. I think differently and believe like the old Greek that war is not the solution to settle political conflicts.We are living in 21st century and no sensible political leader should think of gaining territorial gains! People in my view are entitled for freedom and should be allowed to live in peace without any coersion, force or discrimination. Military Generals are not groomed and trained to perform in politics or in civil or judicial posts. To expect therefore that military people should be allowed to occupy a civilian post is a very naive approach and mostly occurs in under- developed countries. There have been exceptions ofcourse in world historyand some Generals did perform well in non military capacity but times have now changed.Look at C Powel, the elite USA General who went before the world and explained a very wellmade up story to obtain support for Bush war in Iraq! He made a fool of himself and by his act let down the entire afro-american community in the USA. He puts the blame later on CIA for providing faulty input. He sits on his haunches now and even claims to give advice to his half african brother, a democrat, on Afghanistan: He is not even ashamed of himself for his participation in the murder of hundreds of thousands innocent Iraqis? Gen Zia had no scruples and was no more than a peasant who ended up in military, punishing petty thiefs with lashes in a sport stadium acting as if he was a great Islamist. Or General Musharaf, who took the role of a double agent most probably from some hollywood film and whose duplicity has now become the hallmark for ISI who despite collaborating with the CIA and USA military against Pashtoon and non-Pashtoon Pakistani citizens are no longer considered trustworthy by the clintonian administration of Mr Obama.
No sir, it is a mistake to expect a great deal from the military people who day out day in, year after year are drilled to follow orders of their superiors. They are three forth robots by the time they are in the middle age: They are suitable only for security jobs, certainly not politics or public service.
Now tell us what does Indian Govt or Indian people, in your opinion, want from Pakistan, both in short term or long term? And what should Pakistan Govt.or Pakistani people expect from India in return? Not to ignore that Pakistan military, as we learn now has not performed well in its relations with the USA! They lost 35000 casualties, senior military officers in addition to suffering civilian casualties.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

@KPS
Your long rant for ethnic politics is a page out of British way of colonialism. If you really believe in it then old Punjab and Bengal should be restored, Northeast India and Kashmir should be countries. I would leave South India to your imagination. Be a leader and let those people go.
Pushtuns have more rights in Pakistan than they do in Afghanistan. If your heart bleeds for Pushtuns we can send you couple of million refugees to take care. Put your money where your mouth is. Pakistan is not all that concerned about Durand line, it is a soft border and that is the way we like it. Please do respond at your earliest.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

Matrixx: “If your heart bleeds for Pushtuns we can send you couple of million refugees to take care”

Myra has written here that, “other reforms meant to decentralise and accommodate Pakistan’s different ethnic groups, would arguably be far more effective in the long run in allowing the country’s Punjabi heartland to make peace with the Pashtun in the tribal areas, more even than ending drone strikes.”

My point stems from that statement. Any decentralization would make Pakistan even more vulnerable to further division. That is one reason why a perpetual common enemy, a common external threat, an unending dispute to solve have been the needed glue to keep Pakistan alive and united. India has its ethnic and linguistic groups as well. But India has not used a common enemy and perpetual external threat to divert the attention of the various groups and keep them united. Instead, nation building and progress have been the focus and that has made the various groups go after prosperity and secure feelings. India has not needed conflicts to keep its unity alive. That is not the case with Pakistan. In that scenario, if the enemy disappears, the glue begins to melt away. That was my point.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

KPS You really did not answer my questions. I have noted your support for Ralph Peters scheme. It may be your wish, so wait for it to happen like a vulture.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive

Matrixx: “It may be your wish, so wait for it to happen like a vulture”

I am sure you have a similar wish for nations that you consider as a threat as well. That is not the point. Pakistan is at the cross roads now. If the right decisions are taken and the right things happen, then I am all for a healthy nation of Pakistan as our neighbor. That is really my wish. But no one knows how the warped minds inside your military/intelligence/non-state actor departments will do in the future. Unfortunately Pakistan’s future depends on these elements since they hold the guns. If that were to be the path Pakistan will be pushed into, whether its people like like it or not, then I am all for weakening these elements as much as possible. Balkanization is definitely one of those options. I am sure you guys have a similar plan for your neighbors as well. Everything depends on how things are going to turn out.

I have even recommended strengthening trade relations, increasing mutual dependency etc to thwart the efforts of the warped minds in Pakistan. I have looked forward to Imran Khan as a potential savior of Pakistan so that he can drill some sense into the heads of Pakistani public and its warped elements. If these things sprout and take root, then there is a bright future for the region. If this does not materialize because of the geo-political forces acting in the region, then it may not be my wish. Pakistan might splinter up on its own. The only thing that would make me happy is peace in the region. Whatever can bring peace, I am for it.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

It has been 3 years since pa4i terrorist ramapage in Mumbai. I assume Nishan-e-Pakistan Myra is continuing her cyber jihad/pro-pakistan rantings.

It looks like this blog has been even less active than last time when I checked a couple of months ago.

The latest NATO attack killing 24 Pa4i jihadis is welcome news
:-) In other words, pa4is are being given their own bitter medicine.

Very funny is the NATO claim that Pakis p

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

About the origin of radicalisation in Pashtun areas, it is true Frontier Gandhi KA Khan stood for tolerance, humanism, and universal brotherhood. He was the enemey of Western Imperialist Forces.

The guy who spewed hatred, venom , and promoted religious hatred Jinnah was the stooge of West, and the Pashtuns were annexed into “Pa4istan”. Through rigged elections, arm twisting, arresting Pashtun leaders and so on. This discussion has nothing to with “denying” or “questioning” the “reality” called “Pa4istan”. LOL:-)

Just plain simple historical facts. Have been discussed ad nauseum here. On a final note any pa4i talking about democracy, freedom etc is ABOLUTELY hilarious to the power infinity.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

This should not surprise any rational observer? Pakistan military under the command of Indian born leader, namely mr Musharaf entered into a marriage contract with USA against the interests of its own people The man was a pathological con man and I guess this was never reflected in his military records nor could have been ascertained initialy by the CIA and other intelligence agencies He played the game of the double agent and in many instances even sacrifising innocent actors which were handed over to the dumb administration of the USA. Once the Bush “dead or alive” slogan was put to rest Pakistan military was asked to turn on its own citizens, the radicals ie the potentential terrorists, with long range artillery pieces, causing the death of Pashtoons tribesmen, who in return followed their own traditions and took vengence against the military and civilian personnel, thereby destabilising the entire country.

Kyani and Zardari clan followed the same policy and allowed Pakistan airfields and other facilities to the CIA incumbents to operate drone attacks on civilian targets in the tribal territory to cow down the Pashtuns. Pakistan military was supposed to soften the targets before drone attacks. A mistaken strategy, Pashtuns are familiar with slow flying machines from the British days As a consequence of USA/PA military actions I guess the the so called talibans expanded their reach in most parts of Afghanistan, with most probably the approval of Mr Karzai, which resulted in increased casualties of the foreign force in Afghanistan. The USA assumed that that Pakistan military is acting as informer for the talibans?

Now Pakistan military has the soup and the people of Pakistan are likely to rise against their own military thereby destabilising the country further.

Let this be a lesson for those who decide to sleep with a wolf! Pakistanis must ask themselves that how come not a single latin country situated in the neigbourhood of the great USA has any friends?

Rex Minor

PS we have not seen the last of USA and Pakistan love hate relationsfriend

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

KPSingh01: You seems so concerned about Pakistan, while there are so many issue and separetist movements in India that need your first and foremost attention and you must help those poor suppressed people in India. Not much on Indian TV channals about the miseries of people. How about the electric power shortages and load shedding and blackouts. What about corruption. What about poor people living on the streets and even in pipes. Some times we see those bleak documentaries on BBC TV and other international channals and wonder why Indian channals do not show real India, are they just deceiving your own people. I won’t mention Kashmir or what the half million strong Indian army doing in Kashmir or why the human rights observers are not allow to enter Kashmir. What is the defination of occupying force. Why this Army is in cities of Kashmir.
Nothing personal but I would like you ask what is Khalistan and why so many Sikhs living in western countries support and donate for Khalistan movement. Would you like to probe history and respond what was Sikh community doing in 1930′s & 40′s, did they had any great leader or were they divided by Hindus to towing Hindu lines as you are doing now. Sikh religon or style of life have nothing in common with Hindu religon.
Pakistan media is wide open and totally free and it is showing every thing and I am sure this will help us to beat all odds, you need not to worry.

Posted by Facetruth | Report as abusive

@Facetruth
“Sikh religon or style of life have nothing in common with Hindu religon”

What kind of infinite liars are Pakistanis?? I would let KP go into details of this but I would just say that I was born a hindu and did my schooling in a sikh school, read whole of sikh history and parts of Guru Granth Sahib as well…there is not a bigger lie than saying sikhs have nothing in common with hindus. In fact a**hole Pakis should know that sikhism takes best from almost all religions including Islam as well. Politics is what has destroyed all communities and lies is what we still continue to believe in. Those who support Khalistan movement are the same blood as yours who believe in lies and spread lies as much as they can.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

Facetruth:

“Nothing personal but I would like you ask what is Khalistan and why so many Sikhs living in western countries support and donate for Khalistan movement.”

Ask them. I am not for Khalistan. I am not for dividing regions in the name of religion or language. Pakistan is a clear example of what would happen if people are divided in the name of religion. You live under fear of others in perpetuity and keep making foolish and wrong moves to strengthen that fear. Pakistan is where it is because of this self created paranoia. Khalistan would have led to the same condition. Once divided, reality sets in and people need to run governments and a land locked country is at the mercy of neighbors for resources. And it is ideal opportunity for tyrants and military dictators to use as an excuse to keep fighting the neighbors and keeping all power to themselves. I definitely do not want any such future for my community. A progressing multi-cultural nation will make life good for everyone in the long run.

“Would you like to probe history and respond what was Sikh community doing in 1930?s & 40?s, did they had any great leader or were they divided by Hindus to towing Hindu lines as you are doing now.”

Would you like to read real history for your own sake, considering your nickname being “Facetruth”? Our religion itself was created to bring harmony between Muslims and non-Muslims. Our gurus were executed by Muslim emperors. Our community has braved persecutions throughout history. It has become a case of choosing the lesser of the evils. And I am glad we chose to stay with Hindustan instead of Jinnah’s dream land. We were driven out of our homelands by your brethren. Do not even go there. If you ask me to dig into history, there are more fingers pointing at your religious community than anyone else.

“Sikh religon or style of life have nothing in common with Hindu religon.”

Yeah we know the Taliban logo.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

KPSingh01:
Isreal is a jewish state and a bright example of religion based state.
Indian secular state watched as Hindus killed thousands of muslims in Gujrat and todate the responsibles of that massacure are roaming free. We are happy that we do not need to fear Hindu mobs. Look at the BJP and other parties militant wings and their preparations.
In any society keep serving the majority and it’s OK the moment some of you (only few) talked about Khalistan, the Sacred Golden temple was over run by army, is it what you call religious harmony and independence. It’s oneway Hindu street.

Land locked Khalistan! there was no such considerations in 1940′s even then UN charter guarantees right of passage. There were fights in Mugal era and both sides had good and bad times each side took revenge those were power games and these were being fought every where. British also had bucketful blood of all and it’s over.

Pakistan is much more successful than you think, we started in 1947 without any industry without any infrastructure without any money and not many technical experts. We built Pakistan from practically nothing to present level, now we have modern infrastructure, we have motorways network, we have industry, we have mobile phone density highest in this region and cars and motorcycles, We have water irrigation system, No body goes hungry, Even penniless can get free food at selected places.
Our media is open and it shows every news whether embarassing or not and this is helping us to improve.
Finally I just made an observatory remark. There are no logos in religon, it’s personal and only you decide in your heart what is good for you.
You care for your side of fence and we care our side of fence. Reuters may start “India Now or Never” debate focusing on separatist movements and you may write pages.

Posted by Facetruth | Report as abusive

007XXX:
Cultures and way of Lifes are a fact, no body can lie about them, it will be self defeating to think that Sikh religion is same as Hindu religion. You may live together in harmony and tolerance as a society but religions are surely different, you have your place of worship and sikhs have their own. Schooling at a Sikh school does not make you a Sikh and it does’t make me a Christian if I schooled at Christian school and studied Bible too.

Posted by Facetruth | Report as abusive

@Facetruth
“it will be self defeating to think that Sikh religion is same as Hindu religion”

What kind of foolish statement is that?? I only said that it is a lie to tell that Sikh religion and style of life have NOTHING in common with hindus. Does it mean that Sikhs have EVERYTHING in common with Hindus?? Did I say that two religions are SAME?? Do you know the difference between SAME and SIMILAR?? And does the religious teachings define the religion or the practices define the religion?? All religions preach not to lie so all are SIMILAR but not SAME. Do you have any command or schooling in English language?? What I said was that Sikhs do have a few common traits with hindus. And places of worship does not define culture and life style. Hindus and sikhs regularly visit each other’s places of worship for that fact. Anyway you have shown your lack of knowledge of Sikh and Hindu religions more than enough and also your lack of logic, reasoning and command over English language.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

@Facetruth
“it will be self defeating to think that Sikh religion is same as Hindu religion”

What kind of foolish statement is that?? I only said that it is a lie to tell that Sikh religion and style of life have NOTHING in common with hindus. Does it mean that Sikhs have EVERYTHING in common with Hindus?? Did I say that two religions are SAME?? Do you know the difference between SAME and SIMILAR?? And does the religious teachings define the religion or the practices define the religion?? All religions preach not to lie, so all are SIMILAR but not SAME. Do you have any command or schooling in English language?? What I said was that Sikhs do have a few common traits with hindus. And places of worship does not define culture and life style. Hindus and sikhs regularly visit each other’s places of worship for that fact.

“Schooling at a Sikh school does not make you a Sikh”
Did I say I am Sikh?? If I am not Sikh and therefore cannot have any knowledge of Sikh religion then same goes for you and therefore you should have kept your mouth shut in the first place.

Anyway you have shown your lack of knowledge of Sikh and Hindu religions more than enough and also your lack of logic, reasoning and command over English language. Somehow it seems most of the Pakis don’t need any logic for discussion, all they want is to insult India in any manner even if it extremely illogical.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

Facetruth: “Pakistan is much more successful than you think,”

We see plenty of evidence of how “successful” Pakistan is. It is not for good reasons. If you still do not know what I am talking about, you need to find a shrink.

“we started in 1947 without any industry without any infrastructure without any money and not many technical experts.”

You still do not have any. Name one company from Pakistan of international repute that trades in a well recognized stock exchange like NASDAQ.

“We built Pakistan from practically nothing to present level,”

Which is mostly not much. Your country is living on dole. Pakistan ain’t Japan or Germany that was decimated and leveled at around the same time as when your country started.

“now we have modern infrastructure,”

Do you have 100% electricity, 24/7? Do you have abundant water supplies for all your citizens? What is your life expectancy? Which planet are you living on? Pakistan today ranks with some of the worst countries in the world. No one wants to invest in business in Pakistan. Pakistan failed to invest in educational infrastructure. In fact, there is enough material in the media to show that Pakistan has gone from bad to worse despite getting so much of free foreign aid. Most money has come from labor working in the Middle East. This is no infrastructure my friend.

“we have motorways network,”

Where bandits are quite famous. Motorways mean nothing if you cannot build industrial infrastructure to go with it.

“we have industry,”

Like what? Pakistan imports wheat, on credit, despite having one of the most fertile valleys in the world.

“we have mobile phone density highest in this region”

That does not mean anything. Having mobile phones is not a sign of real progress.

“and cars and motorcycles,”

Every country has cars and motorcycles. That is no sign of progress. Most are owned by a small minority.

“We have water irrigation system, No body goes hungry, Even penniless can get free food at selected places.”

Vainglorious boast is of no use. Provide statistics from a reputed international organization about Pakistan. Your irrigation system is mostly made up of rivers that flood everything uncontrollably. Landlords protect their lands by diverting flood waters towards others’ lands. It was all in the news, just in case you woke up from your sleep recently.

“Our media is open and it shows every news whether embarassing or not and this is helping us to improve.”

Pakistan has one of the highest murder rates of professional reporters in the world. In case you did not notice, you must start reading some decent newspapers.

Your country is the greatest for you. I understand. But do not fill it up with lies.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

I just learned pa3is have banned BBC in pa3istan :-)

Electricity, Internet, Automobile, Aeroplane were all invented by the white man. It is time pakis ban all of these and stop using them and start riding camels :-)

Funny pa3is!

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive

@Facetruth

Remember that most of the sikhs on this blogs are simple zombies,very clever but burnt out due to the massacre of their community by Indira Gandhi. I bet that every one of them has lost one or more of his relations at the hands of the congress Govt It is also not a secret that Indira Gandhi set in sikh olice and the military to confront sikh civilians in the holy schrine. It is also an irony that Sikhs believe in the divine power whereas Hindus do not! Hinduism is not a religion but a sect. which allows now atheists and agnostics besides others among them.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

netizen:
How about Cows roaming on Indian streets, Pakistanis love the meat and milk and perhaps we can ride them. Please send all of them Cows, you have.

BBC is not banned, it’s been boycotted by some cable operators groups belonging to ruling party. I am watching BBC on my TV now!

Posted by Facetruth | Report as abusive

KPSigh01:
I asked you not to worry about Pakistan but it seems you are duty bound or paid for it, anyway no problem let’s start:
You too do not have electricity 100% 24/7, your power failure are as good as ours. Now you are importing coal for dirty coal fired power plants. I hope you do not live near a coal fired power plant.
Does your Media truly report every thing! I have seen Media people being kicked for showing Anna Hazaray views on Kashmir which off-course he withdrew to save his skin.
BBC showed unreported killed bodies floating in Ganga river, they also reported how many are killed in festivals, non reported as if they never existed.

We actually export wheat and rice !!
Motorways network full of vehicles the trade !!
Mobile phone usage reflect you can afford it !!
NASDAQ listed companies are to attract investment, they are public listed so you buy shares in them, can you send US Dollars out of India to buy a share even one share? We can send any amount of US Dollars any where free of any Govt. restriction !!! We can have US Dollar accounts, can you ?
Reuter’s todays article on India describe how the rich 1% in India is becoming hyper rich at the cost of general public and middle class and rampant corruption, please make sure to read it.

Posted by Facetruth | Report as abusive

@Facetruth
“We can send any amount of US Dollars any where free of any Govt. restriction !!! We can have US Dollar accounts, can you ?”

Ohhh so the fuedal lords in Pakistan are officially and legally allowed to siphon off the money outside the country. And you are proud of it…dangerous thinking.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

007XXX:
It’s called free economy, just like western world, any body can do it, No feudal lord, any body can! Students and their parents save money in dollars to pay fee to American Universities.

Posted by Facetruth | Report as abusive

@Facetruth
“It’s called free economy, just like western world”

And just like western world it is most beneficial for thugs.

Alright as KP said we want to stop the lies being repeated on this forum so here we go:
“can you send US Dollars out of India to buy a share even one share”
Yes we can. http://www.labnol.org/india/markets/buyi ng-american-shares-now-as-easy-as-invest ing-in-indian-equity/1479/

“We can have US Dollar accounts, can you ?”
Yes we can.

By the way who told you these LIES?

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive

By the way who told you these LIES?
Posted by 007XXX

Zaid Hamid

Posted by punjabiyaar | Report as abusive

Beautiful! So, an article about the scary fact that Pakistan, and India too are NUCLEAR powers degrades in a shouting match.
And not one comment touches the point!!
Is this not the best evidence the whole world can’t but be scared of your regional-religious never-ending tit for tat eye for eye self imposed conflict?. Is not India vs Pakistan, but Afghans, Punjabi, Pashtun, Kashmir… you guys are not Feudal. You are TRIBAL, and can’t but resemble the gangs in america that stupidly shoot at each other and kill themselves…
Oh, wait. If it were not because some of you have decided to export your violent ways to the streets of London, or make transportation resources into mass killing weapons I will second what the police have done with the gangs, leave you all one until you kill each other out and decimate yourselves.
You hate each other way too much. Poor Ghandi would be turning in his grave but he thankfully does not have one.

Just keep your nukes pointed at each other, do not sell them to people that want to use it on others who have NEVER heard nor care much about what you have created for yourselves: a dustbowl of hatred and violence. Blame your own politicians and leaders, not a world that can’t fix you even if you allowed it to.

Oh, if you THINK China is out to help you, just wait…

Smart phones and iPads do not make a nation, sure does not, or having dollars. Smart peaceful loving people do!

Posted by OutsidrObservr | Report as abusive

FaceThruth,

I understand your pride towards your nation and I see nothing wrong with it. I do not care if you claim Pakistan to have sent men to the moon. I know the reality and I will go with that. It just makes me laugh when I see all this chest thumping about things that do not reflect the reality in Pakistan. No one here will deny anything if you pointed at India’s weaknesses. We know we have all kinds of issues. But honestly speaking, we have taken the efforts to get to a better life over the years. For a huge nation with extremely diverse population, it will be a very slow progress. One cannot take snap shots in time and claim that to be representative of the place. One has to include the change that is taking place. And changes in India are taking place for good. The reality today is that Pakistan is on the brink. We definitely do not want to see your people get shredded by the conflicts in your country and Afghanistan. About twenty or so years ago, India was on the brink for sure. If India had to fall apart, that was the perfect time. And India managed to survive out of it. I am sure Pakistan can do the same. But the factors against survival are getting slimmer by the day. Presence of a super power that is getting slowly into direct conflict with your nation makes things worse. In addition, radical Islam, trigger happy militants etc are still surviving to their full potential. These are conditions that will not let moderate and civil organizations to survive and thrive. Anyway, it is your country now. You can feel proud about it as much as you want. But I have my individual opinion and reservations about it. It does not stem from any hatred. It is purely from data that reflect the reality today.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

This is depressing.
Squabbles over the crimes of religious minorities will get neither India or Pakistan anywhere. Admit it, both Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs have killed each other. It doesn’t matter how many have been killed by who, the killing of even one person is just as much of a sin. What matters is that India and Pakistan will still be neighbors for the rest of the forseeable future. Instead of fighting with each other, India and Pakistan should try to understand what each side wants.

why does Pakistan have such a militarized alliance with the US? Because it’s worried about an Indian attack.

Why had India militarized the border so heavily with it’s “half a million strong” military? Because it’s worried about a Pakistani attack from the north.

so: what’s common between those two situations?
THE FEAR OF AN IMPENDING ATTACK.

how do we solve it? by demilitarizing and resorting to diplomacy.

I am an Indian (NRI), but I feel equally disgusted and ashamed at how both groups are behaving on this thread.

think of it this way, What is the difference between Indian people and Pakistani people?

only religion. In fact, Indians and Pakistanis share the same ancient blood from our Aryan ancestors.

So, let’s let leave this fighting behind, and work for the common interest of Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and everyone else.

Posted by Berkut118 | Report as abusive

Berkut118: “Instead of fighting with each other, India and Pakistan should try to understand what each side wants.”

India wants this –
(1) No cross border terrorism,
(2) No intrusion into Kashmir using proxy elements and fomenting chaos
(3) Hand over Dawood Ibrahim, Maulana Azhar, Omar Sheikh
(4) Help complete the investigation of Mumbai attack planners and hand them over
(5) Accept Simla agreement
(6) Withdraw from Siachien
(7) Do not interfere in our relations with Afghanistan
(8) Do business with us and expand bilateral trade
(9) Be a good neighbor

Pakistan’s demands:
(1) Kashmir is ours. Hand it over unconditionally.
(2) You cut East Pakistan off. Therefore we are justified in cutting you off.
(3) Withdraw all troops from your Western border
(4) Close all your embassies and Get out of Afghanistan
(5) Jihad is our fundamental right and as Muslims we will not give up our Madrasas and training of Mujahideen.
(6) We cannot do anything about Mumbai attacks as it was done by non-state actors
(7) Dawood Ibrahim is not in Pakistan. Provide proof that he is there.
(8) Stop expanding your military budget and purchases. It makes us spend beyond our means to keep up.
(9) Withdraw from Siachien
(10) Hand over the culprits responsible for Samjautha express explosion
(11) Close down RSS, BJP and Sangh Parivar
(12) We will think of business etc only after our pre-conditions above have been met.

Check-mate!

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

Berkut118: “why does Pakistan have such a militarized alliance with the US? Because it’s worried about an Indian attack.”

Nope. They are a nuclear power now. They have more nukes than India or even Britain. If India makes any military moves, they openly declare that they will launch nukes into all parts of India. So how does it matter for them about India’s military presence? It is an excuse. They need an enemy (not the people, but their military, which has its own mind) at all times. And an enemy who can be defined along religious lines is the best enemy one can sustain at all costs. If things go quiet, launch an attack, wait for retaliation and use the retaliation to sustain the enmity. Talking like a philosopher sounds nice. But the reality is something that we cannot afford to ignore.

“Why had India militarized the border so heavily with it’s “half a million strong” military? Because it’s worried about a Pakistani attack from the north.”

We have been attacked in 1948, 1965, 1971 and in 1999 at Kargil. We faced an unprecedented insurgency in Kashmir from 1990 to 2007. Kashmir became a battle ground. Troops have to be present in a war zone. One has to be prepared to counter any moves made by a state run by a war mongering culture. We cannot afford to lower our guard. We do not chest thump about nuking others out of existence. We could. But we probably won’t have the heart to even retaliate. So we rely on conventional methods as much as possible.

“so: what’s common between those two situations?
THE FEAR OF AN IMPENDING ATTACK.”

Yeah. Let us be a big brother and disband our military. We can sit and pray in the evenings instead. Be real Mr. Nice guy! If you happen to be near a crime ridden neighborhood, you need to protect yourself and set up the necessary security arrangements. You have no idea how warped the elements inside Pakistan are. Unfortunately in that country, those warped elements happen to have all the power. I would never even wink my eye once when I know that these elements are hell bent on taking on us. You must go and see some of their videos on youtube. You will be shocked. And there are way too many of them that have been brainwashing their people over generations. Talking is easy. Try talking your way out from a mugger next time.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

OutsidrObserver: “Beautiful! So, an article about the scary fact that Pakistan, and India too are NUCLEAR powers degrades in a shouting match. And not one comment touches the point!!”

Here comes a British citizen, tired of seeing the shouting match between Indians and Pakistanis, no matter what the topic is. That must tell something. The shouting continues on over and over again. I am sure you have never read much of history and about the screw up your forefathers have inflicted on this world. Most conflicts that are going on in the world today were triggered by your people when they ruled the world. We are paying the price for their selfish acts. Therefore you cannot come in here and ask us to shut up. You are no longer the master.

“Is this not the best evidence the whole world can’t but be scared of your regional-religious never-ending tit for tat eye for eye self imposed conflict?.”

It was never like this in the past. This whole thing was a creation of the imperial British. Indian denizens, irrespective of their religions, had learned to live side by side. Do you know anything about Radcliffe? Do you know that the very idea of Pakistan was hatched in London? Do you know that the man who became the leader of the Pakistan movement could hardly fit the description of a Muslim? He was a pork eating, alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking and extremely Anglicized lackey of the British. Pakistan was created in a hurry to prevent the Indian subcontinent from becoming anti-British and eliminate all the possibilities of countering the Russian Imperialists from expanding to the Arabian sea. Violence was needed to accelerate the divide. Pakistan’s military was pampered by the UK and other Western countries in order to strengthen their hold on this country. Now you are sitting comfortably somewhere in UK and telling us to calm down? What an irony? Do you know that no long ago the British and the French fought tooth and nail over centuries? Have you heard of Napoleon and his defeat by Lord Nelson? They spread that war to their colonies as well. What was mostly a Western European war between Germany and others there, was turned into a world war with people from the colonies dying for their white masters. Let us not even go there. The mess we see in our region today is a direct consequence of what your blind and bigoted ancestors have done to us and the rest of the world.

“Is not India vs Pakistan, but Afghans, Punjabi, Pashtun, Kashmir… you guys are not Feudal. You are TRIBAL, and can’t but resemble the gangs in america that stupidly shoot at each other and kill themselves…”

And you guys are cold, ruthless and devoid of any compassion for others. Worldwide, civil wars and calamity persist because of leaching of the world by your colonial ancestors. Go read world history and you will realize how much of blood your history is built on.

“Oh, wait. If it were not because some of you have decided to export your violent ways to the streets of London, or make transportation resources into mass killing weapons I will second what the police have done with the gangs, leave you all one until you kill each other out and decimate yourselves.”

It is not going to be easy for you brother. Your forefathers created Pakistan for their geo-political reasons, pampered it, gave its citizens preference and privileges. Now those citizens call London their second home. Mosques have proliferated there and they are calling for Jihad against the British. They are marrying white girls, converting them to Islam and are multiplying rapidly in UK. Guys who went to London School of Economics turned into Jihadists overnight and are haunting everyone around. Welcome to the real world. If you have to blame anyone, blame your blind ancestors, especially Churchill. Your forefathers sowed the seeds of the global turmoil in South Asia and unfortunately you guys are going to reap it. We have been battling these guys since our independence. Your successive governments turned a blind eye to our woes and encouraged this Satanic country to become stronger by the day. Islamic radicalism was propped up and fueled by the locals and the Western powers. When they made the Islamic bomb, most clandestine material went from your country. The US prevented anyone from stopping it. Now the menace has grown like a monster. And your armies are facing them. Good Lord! You will have to clean up the mess your leaders have created. You are not going to get away with it.

“You hate each other way too much.”

Yeah, thanks to your imperialistic ancestors. We were not like that before your sailors stepped on to our shores. I don’t think you realize this. They hate you guys more than they hate us. It has come to that now. They are not going to leave you at this point.

“Poor Ghandi would be turning in his grave but he thankfully does not have one.”

Kindly do not drag Gandhi into any of this. He does not deserve to be insulted by someone who has no idea what Gandhi fought against.

“Just keep your nukes pointed at each other, do not sell them to people that want to use it on others who have NEVER heard nor care much about what you have created for yourselves: a dustbowl of hatred and violence.”

Our nukes are pointed at each other. But I heard that your folks are spending sleepless nights worrying about dirty bombs sneaking up from under their beds. You will pay for what your governments have done to the other parts of the world. It is funny to see someone from a country that was famous for prejudice and discrimination (don’t you guys call most of us “Pakis”?) telling about hatred and violence.

“Blame your own politicians and leaders, not a world that can’t fix you even if you allowed it to.”

Before that let us start with your leaders and politicians. They are the ones who have messed this world up. We will come to our leaders and politicians after that.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

In the history Pakhtuns have played a major role in this area and one day Pakhtuns will rise again.

Posted by jabeen | Report as abusive

thus you have the revenge of 24 Pak army soldiers being killed, by Afghan , and that is all it was!

Posted by GulamnotGoolom | Report as abusive

@outside observer
Well said, you almost stole my thoughts. More americans have lost their lives under the watch of Mr Obama than before.
At present China is on a buying spree in Europe to bercome an economic powerhouse before spreading his muscles in the military arena. Pakistan now holds the right cards.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Spot on article Myra. Personally, I have noticed this exact tendency to romanaticize (if you will) the conflict in the FATA, by both official and non-official Pakistanis.

Most of them have never been to the FATA. And while every one of them claims to know a Pashtun (often in their employ), most have never truly had an in-depth conversation with a FATA resident in any recent memory. Yet, they claim to be the authoritative voice for the Pashtun people.

Sure the Pashtuns are getting a raw deal in this current conflict. But the question to ask them is whether they prefer America’s drones to the Pakistan Army’s fairly heavy hand?

And the broader question to ask Pakistanis in the first place is why America (and the West) is in their region to begin with? Pakistanis will blame everybody, including the neighbour’s dog before they accept an ounce of responsibility for the current state of affairs in their country.

The Jews went through the Holocaust and I could swear they complain less than Pakistanis who have apparently been wronged by all and sundry.

And this should be recognized as the core issue. It may be cultural. Or it may just be some kind of national myopia. I don’t know. But they don’t accept responsibility. And they have a tendency to misallocate blame. China gets praise when it scarely delivers any aid, and scarcely provides any real strategic assistance. The US is basically keeping Pakistan from re-entering the stone age and is blamed for everything from a plugged toilet to radicalized Pathans. The “noble savage” world view is just an extension of the Pakistani national psyche. Pakistanis can’t be victims of US aggression if the Pashtuns aren’t victims of US aggression. And the Pashtuns can’t be victims of US agression unless they are simple, innocent folk who aren’t in any way, shape or form involved with the conflict in the region. It’s not like Pashtuns have been sheltering fighters killing NATO soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan or anything. Nope. Obama simply rolled over one morning and decided the Pashtun body count wasn’t high enough. Yeah. That’s what happened. (If I say that convincingly enough do I get Pakistani citizenship?)

Posted by True.North. | Report as abusive

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