Pakistan is serious —and means business

Published: April 17, 2012

The writer is a retired lieutenant-general and a former engineer-in-chief of the Pakistan Army

The recent private visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to India and his one-to-one meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has contributed in reducing tensions and created an opening for the leadership of the two countries to move forward. At the personal level, too, both the leaders are sincere and committed to give a fillip to the peace process. Prime Minister Singh’s statement that they are willing  “to find tactical, pragmatic solutions” to all issues that have bedevilled their relationship is a demonstration of this commitment. The question arises whether this time India and Pakistan will cash on this bonhomie to start a transformational process or simply let it wither away.

States are supposed to act rationally in their dealings with one another, which regrettably has not been the norm when it comes to India-Pakistan relations. Pakistani policymakers have always maintained that normalisation of relations with India should be conditional to progress on the resolution of the Kashmir issue. For the Indians, they would like to see Islamabad take concrete steps to prevent acts of terrorism by reining in militant groups. Clearly, these are critical issues for both governments and will remain so, but by normalising relations the chances for their resolution in the long term will be higher. It is also time to shed the legacy of the three wars and several major skirmishes and military stand-offs that the two countries have been involved in. If they do not do this, they will continue to remain hostage to radical elements. Fortunately, the step taken by Pakistan to grant most-favoured nation status to India and develop commercial and economic linkages on a fast track on the so-called India-China model will indeed develop interdependence, and is in the long-term interest of both neighbours. For India, opening up of the Pakistani border for trade provides a market of nearly 200 million people.

In Pakistan, the army is already overstretched fighting militancy in the tribal areas; the country’s economy is in deep trouble and the situation in Karachi, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan is volatile. Relations with the US face a major crisis and hence, with so many odds facing the country, it is only prudent to improve relations with India. While India keeps accusing Islamabad of not doing enough on terrorism, the reality is that containing insurgency and combating terrorism is crucial for Pakistan’s own integrity and preservation as a state.

The Indians may well argue that the rise of militancy in Pakistan is the result of its own policy of creating and using asymmetrical forces to countervail India. By seeing the problem through a narrow coloured prism, India overlooks the fact that there is still deep alienation in major parts of Kashmir and this gives rise to periodic uprisings against the state — which is then suppressed through the use of force. This in turn leads militant groups in Pakistan to support the insurgency across the border. In the past, these jihadi groups had the support of the security establishment but that policy has now changed. The jihadi elements have turned inwards and the Pakistani establishment realises the dangers inherent in supporting them.

The growing differential in power between India and Pakistan precludes any possibility that India will agree to any territorial readjustment in Kashmir. New Delhi also uses the secular card for rejecting any further partitioning of India. In the interim, the best Pakistan should expect is that the two sides could agree to soften borders between the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir. The resolution of Siachen and Sir Creek is relatively easy, provided India shows some flexibility and pragmatism. The hard line taken by the Indian army on Siachen is based on narrow institutional interests and not on any strategic considerations and needs a serious rethink. In fact, the recent tragedy of Siachen is a stark reminder for resolving the issue at the earliest. It will save lives, reduce defence expenditures and prevent ecological disaster.

The Pakistan Army’s heavy commitment in fighting insurgency within the country and the general poor state of economy has made the military leadership inclined towards supporting improved relations with India. India can contribute to mitigating militancy in Pakistan and the region by reducing and pulling back its forces from the border so that Pakistani forces could focus on the western border in their fight against the TTP.

Hopefully, these opportunities will not be lost.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.

 

Reader Comments (62)

  • BlackJack
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:15AM

    This is a fair article, but still muddles a couple of points: First, there is no comparison between settling the Kashmir dispute and eliminating jihadi infrastructure – one is a legacy issue that requires very slow and measured steps; the other is reining in criminal elements for whom rule of law, sanctity of a life and death of innocents holds no meaning – this cannot wait. Second, the Pak army may have realized the dangers posed by militant organizations, but still is not willing to take a stand against ALL of them – until this happens, there can be no true progress (of course, trade is a welcome step, but is ephemeral and hostage to another Mumbai). Third, flexibility and pragmatism cannot be the prerogative of India, it has to be demonstrated by both sides – authenticate the AGPL without further ado and avoid future accidents that no one (on either side) wants.

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  • gp65
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:21AM

    “The Pakistan Army’s heavy commitment in fighting insurgency within the country and the general poor state of economy has made the military leadership inclined towards supporting improved relations with India. India can contribute to mitigating militancy in Pakistan and the region by reducing and pulling back its forces from the border so that Pakistani forces could focus on the western border in their fight against the TTP.”

    So the Pakistani army has a problem. Why should India put Indians at risk by withdrawing soldiers from the LOC who are put there precisely to protect India from the jihadis pushed across the border by Pakistan? Pakistan very well knows that India has not interest in attacking India did not even cross the border during Kargill which was initiated by Pakistan..

    Also I am glad you agree that PAk establishment used to push jihadis into India as a matter of policy. You say that policy has now stopped. When we see the establishment supported DPC leading huge rallies in Rawalpindi calling for jihad against India, it is difficult to believe that there has been any serious change in direction in the Pak establishment.

    Yes, the Pak elected leadership is pushing trade and India is reciprocating in full measure. But please do not expect that India will give you on a platter what you could not snatch through 3 wars and a decade of jihad.

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  • Falcon
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:23AM

    Good article. Coming from a senior army officer, I would consider it a good omen. I specially liked the last piece of suggestion that India can help Pakistan by moving its forces away from the border so that Pakistan military can hopefully re-allocate its resources towards handling domestic threats.

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  • Arindom
    Apr 17, 2012 - 2:05AM

    “India overlooks the fact that there is still deep alienation in major parts of Kashmir and this gives rise to periodic uprisings against the state — which is then suppressed through the use of force.This in turn leads militant groups in Pakistan to support the insurgency across the border.”

    This is precisely what the problem is with the Pakistani thinking – total abdication of responsibility towards stopping or eliminating ‘militant groups in Pakistan’ which attack India. This is basic civilised behavior requirement which the world understands but Pakistan doesnot. Providing specious reasons to defend these ‘militant groups in Pakistan’ just doesnot fly, Sir!! On this very logic anyone can set up ‘militant groups’ in one’s country to support – (a) Palestinians, (b) Bahraini Shias (c) Pakistani Ahmadis (d) American Blacks (e) Egyptian Coptic Christians (f) Russian Chechens (g) Tibetans (h) Tamils in Sri Lanka (i) Karens in Burma (j) Pakistani Hazaras, (k) Iranian Sunnis (l) Canadian French (m) Irish Catholics, .. etc.. etc.. etc… etc…

    Sir, your logic is recipe for Global Mayhem!!!

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Apr 17, 2012 - 2:22AM

    In gambling, if you are very rich or strong, you keep on raising the bets until the other side quits. This is what India is doing to Pakistan now. Siachen or Kashmir problems are good for India as these are causing a downfall of Pakistan. It is now Pakistan’s turn to realize what it is doing to itself. I bet Indians are laughing at this childish behavior of Pakistan who, for the sake of a toy, is losing the whole house.

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  • Chotta Panda
    Apr 17, 2012 - 3:24AM

    Pakistan gifted away Aksai Chin to China and allowed expeditions in Siachen something that is equivalent to an occupation of India. Pakistan had a misadventure in Kargil and now India does not believe Pakistani army and there is no sign of politicians taking decisions in Pakistan.

    The retired Lt.Gen is twisting facts to his convenience and MFN is a right of India under WTO as it was given to Pakistan long ago and not a favour.

    Relations will never improve till armed forces in Pakistan run the country and nothing is going to happen till the guilty of Mumbai attack are punished or Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon are not handed over India.

    Right now, the Indian economy is 9 times bigger than Pakistan’s economy and, the direction we are going is also opposite. So, the difference is only going to get bigger as time goes by. So, India can afford to wear down Pakistan to India’s terms and conditions on all counts – Siachen, Sir Creek etc. etc. in a matter of another five more years. And, if in the mean time, Pakistan or its proxy LeT or JeM or IM or SIMI does something stupid in India the clock again goes back and, also Pakistan can face the music of the whole civilized world.

    If you don’t like the above scenario then sorry, tough luck.

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  • kaalchakra
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:00AM

    This article is good but totally redundant.

    Pakistan has ALWAYS been willing and ready to change, and has changed, after every crisis (to remind everyone, always started by India). It has ALWAYS been totally serious about the new start. Whether it was with Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf, Zardari or any other. Pakistan has never shied for totally forgettng the past, and making a fresh start. Everyrtime Pakistan has clearly explained that to everyone. But do Indians listen, or care? No, They always turn out to be precisely what they were earlier. Just a few more years gone down the drain.

    Will this time matters be any different with Indians. Absolutely not. Dog’s tail (kutte ki dum) tedhi ki tedhi hi rahegi no matter how many times of same old song of “change is pukka this time” is sung.

    It’s time to recognize kutte ki tedhi dum and go from there.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:00AM

    The Pakistan Army’s heavy commitment in fighting insurgency within the country and the general poor state of economy has made the military leadership inclined towards supporting improved relations with India. … ”

    … for the time being.Recommend

  • kaalchakra
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:02AM

    To help those who have not followed India carefully over the years, they ALWAYS recognize that they they did something wrong, but in the PAST, WHICH HAS NOW BEEN CHANGED.

    This is what tricks people into wasting many more years all over again, instead of confronting issues as they are.

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  • Apr 17, 2012 - 4:05AM

    Indian security analysts and politicians regularly blame Pakistan for the failure of past bilateral diplomatic efforts by citing what they believe is the adverse role of Pakistani military in framing Pakistan’s policy toward India. This rationale, however, does not explain why the diplomatic initiatives undertaken by Pakistani military leaders from General Zia to General Musharraf have not borne fruit.

    A more rational explanation for the policy failures has emerged in secret US embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks and published by The Hindu. After a meeting with India’s National Security Adviser and former Indian intelligence chief M.K. Narayanan in August 2009, American Ambassador Timothy Roemer concluded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was isolated within his own government in his “great belief” in talks and negotiations with Pakistan.

    Roemer said that although Narayanan’s hawkish stance on Pakistan was well known, his willingness to “distance himself from his boss (Manmohan Singh) in an initial courtesy call would suggest that PM Singh is more isolated than we thought within his own inner circle in his effort to “trust but verify” and pursue talks with Pakistan particularly in the wake of the hammering his government took from opposition for the July Sharm al-Sheikh statement with (Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza) Gilani.”

    http://www.riazhaq.com/2011/03/india-pakistan-cricket-diplomacy-at.html

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  • JJJackxon
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:21AM

    The author adopts a reasonable tone, to his credit, yet he remains trapped in the Pakistani establishment mantra that other countries need to do something for Pakistan to dismantle its terror infrastructure. It is quite amazing that a thousand different analyses and reasons are offered by Pakistanis to justify the use of terror as state policy. Second, open trade would be a positive, however, it should be noted by Pakistanis that India already granted the Most Favored Nation status to Pakistan some 15 years ago; only now, is Pakistan even considering the possibiloity of reciprocating, however reluctantly, and the Army may yet veto that. Lastly, all of Kashmir is Indian; per the 1948 UN Resolution, Pakistan is occupying parts of Kashmir illegally and is required to withdraw so a plesbicite can be held. However, Pakistan has never withdrawn and continues to press a delusional claim for all of Kashmir, has distored its school text books to justify its position and supported and trained terrorists to attack Kashmir. Despite this, India has for years been willing to accept the LOC as the international boundary but Pakistan has refused. India is already willing to be pragmatic and realistic. I am afraid, Pakistan is again at least 15 years behind and continues to seek parity with a neighbor with ten times its economy and 6 times its population. For now, India must wait and watch.

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  • Peace
    Apr 17, 2012 - 5:25AM

    I support any positive change in status quo. Live and let live~

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  • Raja
    Apr 17, 2012 - 6:06AM

    Yet another pak piece demanding India should put up with terrorism from Pakistan and not demand any action. Code words, cover ups filled up piece basically demanding pakistan should be allowed to use terrorism as a negotiating tool with India.

    The author himself admits the growing “power differential” between India and Pakistan.But then his baseline pak mindset of megalomania and the supremacist mindset is revealed when the author demands”flexibility” and”pragmatism” from India.:-)

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  • Meerza
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:45AM

    Terrorism is Global where the original perpetrators & sponsors need to keep the arms industry running, acquire control over worlds energy resources & pursue the neo-colonial agenda.Recommend

  • unbeliever
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:50AM

    just go thriugh this news.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/LeT-to-Valley-sarpanchs-Quit-job-or-face-music/articleshow/12696798.cms

    and you think pakistan is serious and hafiz saeed is a good human being?

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  • ramanan
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:54AM

    In my opinion, it is beneath my dignity to talk be in talking terms with somebody who is spreading hatred about me in their school text books.

    No talks, no visas unless you remove the bedrock on which the eco-system of terrorism sustains, it is your school text books.

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  • you can't be serious
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:25AM

    Your obsession with Kashmir led to loss of half your country. Next to go are Balochistan and Pakhtunistan. News from this very paper sugests that Shias, Hazaras, Ahmadis, and various other minorities are not safe in Pakistan. Now the murderous mayhem has reached the peaceful people of Gilgit and Baltistan. You know that being muslim is not enough to be a Pakistani. What makes you think that Kashmiris want to be part of this exploding state? You can not manage the territory you have now, what will you do with Kashmir if it were to be handed to you? Destroy the beautiful land as you have already done with what is called Pakistan? Kill Kashmiris because they are different?

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  • antony
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:01AM

    Isnt it a strategy of all muslim countries when they are weak and vulnerable ,they raise white flag and say please negotiate with us for your peace!! . Sorry it does not work that way .Did Shimla agreement in 1972 and losing east pakistan change the hearts of pakistanis for peace? .No way .1979 to 1989 jihad factories were developed and 1990 to 1999 sent to kashmir and 1999 attempted kargil capture and from 1999 to 2008 send terrorists culminating in mumbai attacks .. So how should Indians Trust for peace from pakistan!.

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  • joy
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:29AM

    the article is in keeping with the spirit of the times and as an Indian I welcome it…….but I have certain reservations,,,,,,,how long can the Pakistan army support such moves? Afterall it is a machine that has been developed and maintained to fight the “eternal enemy” on the eastern border…….

    secondly, my heart goes out to all those self-styled pundits of inernational relations on both sides of the border....they will be the first to lose out as their appearances on different TV channels will be reduced considerably.

    My suggestion would be to wait till the NATO forces leave Afghanistan and take decisions on Indo-Pak relations keeping the 2014 situations in mind.

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  • abhi
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:42AM

    I really do not understand why India is even interested in trade with pakistan?
    India will not gain anything out of it and its benefits will ultimately reach terror camps. I think it is happening under US pressure. it is better to leave the things as is.

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  • A Peshawary
    Apr 17, 2012 - 12:28PM

    one fails to understand; whenever the political governments move forward on the Indian relations, the retired Generals turned defence experts, bring forth the Kashmir issue. Is there an logical reason behind or it is a mind set caught in their fixed and unchangeable paradigms like Two Nation Theory for aurthodox islamist and muslim league orientalis.

    When we shall grow a nation and live with age?
    A Peshawar

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  • wonderer
    Apr 17, 2012 - 12:45PM

    Why must “India show some flexibility and pragmatism” all the time? Why can Pakistan never show the same?

    Instead of advising India, Pakistan needs to look inwards; see why nothing that has been tried ever worked. Pakistan’s salvation lies in decent behavior.

    Stop fooling the whole world and learn to behave like a civilized and responsible nation. That is the simple remedy for all ills.

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  • Aristo
    Apr 17, 2012 - 12:51PM

    This is the dilemma, Pakistan has never been serious and never meant business and so it continues to do so, it just knows one thing that is “Jugaads”.

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  • Chacha
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:58PM

    @antony: I am in Indian and was directly affected by Mumbai attacks. However I must say to you that military victorys and defeats do not produce peace. History is full of that. Yes pakistan is the Jihadi factory of the world, but do not think Simla agreements will solve that. Like it or not we have to be senstive to thier concerns if we want peace with them.

    Not to say that they can sit back and demand and we have to Kowtow. Far from it. And Kargill’s and Mumbai’s will not go unpunished. But then that does not get peace. So do you want victory or do you want peace ?

    Dickens wrote – in war there are no winners or losers, only greater and lesser losers

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  • Hot potatoes!
    Apr 17, 2012 - 3:30PM

    Pakistans ‘muslim” card has reached its expiry date. The other Muslim brothers like saudi/Mid east now refuse to take any bait and give liberal aid to pakistan. The economy has thus started grinding down.
    Time pakistan realisded that peace and trade is in its own interest. reigning in militants is far more critical for pakistans existence than Indias.
    Kashmir cannot be solved outside the indian constitution. India has tried to find solutions based on that. Pakistan never had a right on J&K, but occupies part of the territory, and has gifted large tracts to China. So either pakistan keeps its obsession of kashmir, while sliding downhill, or it recogonises that the world has had enough of a poor country living on aid, and yet being the centre and home of terrorists.
    reigning in militants is the primary job of a country, and pakistan cant ask others to do it. If it does, then it cannot object to US drones.

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  • Khan
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:33PM

    @kaalchakra:

    after every crisis (to remind
    everyone, always started by India).

    Yes, Just like we think they started all the wars? I been thinking the same for a good part of my life .. but fortunately, I know the facts now .. Although, Kashmir issue is legit but that doesn’t mean using force, That doesn’t mean meddling in the affairs of other countries and certainly doesn’t mean solving issues by fighting and bringing destruction to a peaceful area.
    If Kashmiris want self rule its their own right and no one can take it away from them .. But why do we have to sacrifice our everything for one issue. Why can’t we leave it to them?
    Why not worry about millions of Pakistanis living below poverty line with no access to food, education, healthcare etc.

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  • Sam
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:50PM

    India must show flexibility. India blamed for everything. Pakistan must do nothing.

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  • FAYAZ ABRO
    Apr 17, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Need to re-visit the Kashmir dispute..
    No doubt that Talat shb defined a complete situation with full of support, but KASHMIR is a major bone of contention between both of countries, it is already witnessed that in previous term of General Musharaf Pakistan raised the argument about Siachen, and Indian government associated it with Kashmir, now the time requires some indigenous steps to resolve this issue with soft diplomacy and dialogue, meanwhile to retaliate the militants from both sides is mandatory rather than to support them from both inside and outside the borders. Hence, it is need of the hour to establish a viable mechanism of joint working plan.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 6:09PM

    The Express is giving prominence to Indian viewpoint!

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:10PM

    India should provide concrete evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai carnage so that the peace process could move forward.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:22PM

    @BlackJack
    You mention the Kashmir dispute as “a legacy issue that requires very slow and measured steps;” but have over sixty year not been enough for “slow and measured steps,” that have not produced any positive results? India has been reneging on agreements to which it did commit, including the Dixon Plan (1950), which was an answer to the Indian objection against holding its promised plebiscite before the withdrawal of Pakistan troops from Kashmir. The Plan proposed holding plebiscite with requiring withdrawal of troops by India and Pakistan and holding plebiscite on both sides of the ceasefire line and accession of districts Kashmir according to the results of the poll. Nehru first agreed since he had hoped to win over the Kashmiris but when he failed he reneged on his commitment. Other examples on Indian intransigence include India’s violation of the Indus Basin Treaty. I agree with you that trade is ephemeral but India should realize that Pakistan Army is doing its best against violent non-state actors but Mumbai massacre could possibly also be because of Indian home-grown terrorists. However, India has failed to provide solid evidence of the involvement of Pakistani elements and therefore no progress is possible for the resolution of such accusations. Even if Kashmir be put aside will India move forward for the normalization of relations? If so, India must provide concrete evidence of the involvement of Pakistani elements in the Mumbai carnage. If it cannot, it should hold NOT up the peace process.

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  • wonderer
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:28PM

    @Khalid Mahmood:

    India should provide concrete evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai carnage so that the peace process could move forward.

    India, or anyone else for that matter, will NEVER be able to provide CONCRETE EVIDENCE.

    Therefore PEACE PROCESS will NEVER move forward.

    Many thanks for your sage advice.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:38PM

    Two corrections to previous post:
    Lines 6 to 9: The Plan proposed holding plebiscite WITHOUT requiring withdrawal of troops by India and Pakistan and holding plebiscite on both sides of the ceasefire line and accession of districts of Kashmir according to the results of the poll.
    Last line: If it cannot, it should NOT hold up the peace process.

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  • BlackJack
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:49PM

    @Khalid Mahmood:
    The reason that the Kashmir issue has not been settled (to the satisfaction of the Kashmiri people) is that Pakistan has been meddling in the state through its proxies as well as sending militants to destroy hard-won gains within a democratic framework. Sure, we have made lots of mistakes in Kashmir, but considering that 150 mn Indian muslims are safer in India than in Pakistan (when is the last time you heard of an Indian muslim migrating due to security issues – 20 Hindu families are landing in India from Pak every month), it is ridiculous to consider that 4 mn Kashmiri muslims stand threatened. We don’t even allow non-Kashmiris to settle in the state, thus safeguarding Kashmiri demographics – whereas your AJK has now becoming an ethnic Punjabi region. If the issue is not of Hindu vs Muslim, but of the entire state (aspirations of Kashmiri people, as it is popularly called), then there are many opinions (including the Pandits, the Hindus of Jammu, the Buddhists of Ladakh) and all of these are in favor of India. This is why progress can only be made in small steps.Recommend

  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:01PM

    @ Wonderer
    Then India should NOT hold up normalization of relations.

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  • Dr. A.K. Sinha
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:05PM

    There is a moderation in the author’s tone, unlike many of his peers who always talk about destruction and religious fanaticism. I am glad that there is a change setting in, obviously, because of Pakistan’s sad plight. Its economy is truly in bad shape, if you read reports by various neutral think tanks and academic institutions.
    The way forward is to curb terrorism that is destroying not only any goodwill for Pakistan anywhere in the world but also the country itself. Dr. Frankenstein created the monster and admired it as a “poor gentle soul” until the latter went on a rampage, killing the well-meant doctor’s relatives and, finally, threatened to kill the doctor. This analogy is striking in Pakistan’s case.
    India has a strong public opinion and no matter what the author says about “moving forward”, the Mumbai killings of innocent men, women and children will cast their long dark shadow on bilateral relations for a long time to come. Pakistan, if it is indeed “serious and means business”, as Mr. Talat Masod maintains, should take the initiative to show that it is sincerely and honestly cracking down on terrorism, and not hide behind its well-known denial and deception strategy which the world is getting tired of. India is a “gold mine” next door, as one Pakistani businessman told me at a trade fair, but he acknowledged that Pakistan has to make a move first to tap the treasure in the mine. Pakistan has caused a great deal of problems worldwide. It should also shut madrassahs, the cradle of fundamentalist extremism that is setting fire to the county and the region. You don’t need madrassah-educated violent extremists but constructive people such as doctors, scientists, teachers, nurses, engineers and the like who can convert Pakistan from a stone age country to a modern state and a proud member of the civilized international community. I hope, dear Pakistani brethren, that wise counsel will prevail in your house and that you will one day learn to coexist peacefully not only with India but also with other neighbours Recommend

  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:22PM

    @BlackJack
    Your assertion: “The reason that the Kashmir issue has not been settled (to the satisfaction of the Kashmiri people) is that Pakistan has been meddling in the state through its proxies as well as sending militants to destroy hard-won gains within a democratic framework,” even IF true does not apply to the period 1947 to 1965, which was a sufficient enough period to make progress on Kashmir.
    Your other statement: “it is ridiculous to consider that 4 mn Kashmiri muslims stand threatened,” is belied by the human rights record of the treatment of Kashmiris by India.
    Lastly, your contention, “If the issue is not of Hindu vs Muslim, but of the entire state (aspirations of Kashmiri people, as it is popularly called), then there are many opinions (including the Pandits, the Hindus of Jammu, the Buddhists of Ladakh) and all of these are in favor of India,” was answered by the Dixon Plan’s other alternative which: assigned Ladakh to India, the Northern Areas and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) to Pakistan, split Jammu between the two, and envisaged a plebiscite in the Kashmir Valley. Pakistan reluctantly agreed and Nehru in response tried to win over the Kashmiris but failing that reneged on his commitment to the Dixon Plan.

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  • BlackJack
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:35PM

    @Khalid Mahmood:
    We made significant progress before 1965 – as you would have noticed when Pakistan pushed insurgents into the state to stoke discontent among the local population before its armed entry – this failed miserably. Most of the mistakes in Kashmir were made after 1980 and can be fixed; the fixing takes time because of Pak’s violent involvement as alluded to earlier. The Indian human rights record has improved significantly in the last 6 – 7 years, while even yesterday’s paper (ToI) shows a threat from LeT to kill village leaders who stand for election – pls note that these are all Kashmiris with no connection to Delhi. The Dixon plan has been dressed up and called the Chenab formula now – except without a plebiscite. My suggestion is that we wait another ten years, and then hold a plebiscite with a choice between India and Pakistan.Recommend

  • BlackJack
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:58PM

    @ET
    There is too much unnecessary editing going on – to the extent that the entire message is being distorted. At the same time frivolous and pointless messages seem to get through all right. Would be great if you could enlighten us on the logic applied.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:00PM

    @BlackJack
    Your contention: “We made significant progress before 1965,” is belied by no resolution of the Kashmir conflict for as long a period as eighteen years.
    Thanks for implicitly admitting that the Indian human rights record was quite poor before 6-7 years as you mention that it “has improved significantly in the last 6 – 7 years…”
    As for your suggestion: “that we wait another ten years, and then hold a plebiscite with a choice between India and Pakistan,” please note that the present Government is only mentioning Kashmir as a formality for now and sincerely wants to improve relations with India. However, the latter is holding the peace process hostage to Pakistan’s bring the Mumbai perpetrators to justice __ without yet providing concrete evidence for those who are responsible for the Mumbai massacre. I hope saner voices will prevail.

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  • sam
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:45PM

    Domestic compulsions and fast changing geo-political situation in south and south-east Asia vis-à-vis relation between China and the United States have prompted Pakistani establishment to lower its guard (in short term) on the recent steps taken by Pakistan’s civilian dispensation especially liberalizing trade regime with India. This could be a prudent move among many by the Pakistani establishment to left United States with no option in South Asia but to follow Pakistan’s line in Afghanistan post-2014. It’s a win-win game for each and every stake holder. Zardari-Gilani team, who is muddled with all sorts of controversies, wishes to display their peace loving face to its constituency and also wants to push Pakistani establishment to the wall. Manmohan Singh govt too has such aspirations. Has Pakistani establishment relinquished its resolve to bleed India by giving it thousand cuts? Or it is revising its philosophy of pan-Islamisation of entire Indian-subcontinent? I was hearing Lt.Gen (Rtd) Talat Masood in a discussion programme on Dawn News TV a couple of year ago. He was very categorical in declaring that entire military hardware of Pakistan is gunned towards India. I love to be a pessimist and for me, this fair of thaw between India and Pakistan is a cool breeze before a storm.

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  • Sinclair
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:11PM

    @Khalid Masood

    You are portraying Pakistan as imminently ready for a peaceful resolution and India holding it hostage on the Mumbai terror case. There is no such thing. Secondly, Kashmir will not go anywhere. No matter what. That much is clear in every Indians mind. Now coming to the concrete evidence, whatever we had we shared. I dont think you have seen it. I havent. If you are ready to take your governments word that it is not concrete, I am ready to take my govt’s word that it is. So where do we go for justice?

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  • Dr V. C. Bhutani
    Apr 17, 2012 - 10:19PM

    Lt-Gen (retd) Talat Masood has written in sober tones a good paper which can make it possible for the two countries to move towards accommodation on various questions. At the outset, we need to recognize that no Indian prime minister can sign away Kashmir to Pakistan and still remain in office. Indian political arithmetic will ensure that such a prime minister is shown the door by parliament. At this moment neither country has leadership that can proceed to any radical steps on the Kashmir question. Mr Zardari and Dr Manmohan Singh are very different kinds of persons but they do not pull so much weight in their countries that they could actually advance matters towards reconciliation.
    Pakistan needs to abandon its attachment to terror as an instrument of its policy. We in India see that Pakistan was in no position to try military conclusions with India – even after both countries became nuclear weapon powers. In any case, nuclear weapons can only serve as deterrents but not as weapons of war. Any country that proceeds to use its nuclear weapons shall write itself down an irresponsible and a rogue state: the rest of the world shall take a very serious view of any such proceeding or preparation for it. In military terms the disparity between the two countries is too glaring to permit resort to war for any purpose. The history of previous wars shows that wars do not lead to results with which the two countries could live with any hope of peace between them.
    No great change or wholesale re-drawing of the map is possible between the two. It only remains for the two countries to play within the parameters which have been rather well defined by now and well understood. Efforts to make changes by war or terror or any other means shall only cause disturbance and suffering to the people of the two countries without leading to lasting peace between them. Progress will be possible when the two evince a realization that no great change can be looked forward to on either side of the boundary, with or without the participation of any outsiders – whoever they may be.
    V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, 17 Apr 2012, 2248 IST

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  • Raven
    Apr 18, 2012 - 12:02AM

    India has more to loose than gain by giving a breathing space to Pakistan. A stable, powerful Pakistan will never be in India’s interest. India has all the reasons to continue status quo- continue talks, less talks, more talks, trade etc- but trust me India will never settle Kashmir, Siachen etc. All those who think otherwise just try to put yourself in India’s shoes and think hard realpolitiks. We Indians now have the complete grasp of what it takes to keep the menace of Pakistan away- we will continue to fight low intensity annoying great game in Afghanistan. In next 10 years there will be no comparision between Pakistan and India in terms of economy or military. The only thing that can derail this plan is a pre mature war with Pakistan. So it is very important for India to keep some communications open with Pakistan, no need to talk jingoist with Pakistan and let the nature take its course. Everyone else who think we will follow any different strategy is foolish.

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  • Raven
    Apr 18, 2012 - 12:11AM

    We do not want to rule anyone, but yes we want India to be the sole regional heavyweight- we like our scientist, our industry to completely dominate the south asian region (jncluding Pakistan).
    To be honest, Pakistan- and by that I mean Pakistani Punjabis are the only big resistance block- I do not know why- they were once Hindus and got converted by choice or force- but in any case, we are not their to re convert them, they be happy with what they have but what we have to make sure is that India and Indians stay the big brother in our neighbourhood. Many folks here including some of my Indian brothers will denounce this as jingoist racist. I disagree, what India wants is to be the choudhary of this area- we do not want your land, but we want a complete domination of sceince, industry, technology and culture. There is absolutely nothing that can stop India from achieving that- most important thing is to slowly and steadily marginalize Pakistani Punjabi influence and power- esp big landlords etc- trust me India is focused like a hawk on that.

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  • wonderer
    Apr 18, 2012 - 7:21AM

    @Khalid Mahmood:

    Then India should NOT hold up normalization of relations.

    India is not holding up anything. At the same time india has to be extra careful with Pakistan because it cannot be trusted, and its dubious reputation worldwide. (Remember Vajpayee and Kargil?)

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:45AM

    @ wonderer
    I don’t think playing a blame game; including labeling Pakistan as having a dubious reputation is going to help resolve many important and critical issues between India and Pakistan. Pakistan can also question India’s reputation for meeting its commitments with regard to India promises on Kashmir and with reference to India’s violation of the Indus Basin Treaty. So let us stop the blame game and get down to serious business. Pakistan is keen as seen by the Zardari visit. Let India reciprocate.

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  • Apr 18, 2012 - 12:43PM

    agreed,
    @Khalid Mahmood:

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  • Apr 18, 2012 - 3:39PM

    Historically, Pakistan continued Confidence Building Measures (CBM’S) on its part as mentioned by Professor Khalid Mahmood. From Dixon formula to the present offer of unilateral withdrawal from Siachen by Nawaz sharif, all the steps taken and offers provided to India for the resolution of Kashmir, and normalization of relations, resulted in strengthening Indian position on Kashmir, both militarily and politically. Indian position on the whole Kashmir region, is basically based on power and hydro power politics, so thinking and believing that any Pakistani initiative without any alternative strategy can be beneficial for Pakistan, is just what India wants to see and force upon Pakistan. Therefore, one should must be careful from Pakistan before offering such “Piece of cake” unilaterally to the India.@Khalid Mahmood:

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  • Dixon Himself
    Apr 18, 2012 - 4:07PM

    khalid Mahmood

    Nixon did not agree to or reneged on the plan. You can learn all about the plan and why it failed in this article by A. G. Noorani

    http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1921/stories/20021025002508200.htm

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 18, 2012 - 8:23PM

    @ Dixon Himself
    US President Richard Nixon was American President from 1969-to 1974 much before Nixon India had reneged on the Dixon Plan. A. G. Noorani does not cover the Dixon Plan fully. So, see: Alastair Lamb, Birth of Tragedy (1947) and Alastair Lamb, Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy, 1846-1990. Much more reading is required to fully understand the Dixon Plan, its history and consequence and the whole Kashmir dispute has to be seen comprehensively for which a bibliography is suggested as follows: http://books.google.com.pk/books?id=GQTABKAGaVgC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=christina+lamb+Kashmir&source=bl&ots=AtDGVFdzF7&sig=7hQtfddHrg40bVRwYbd1sTaP8tc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YtmOT76qI6Sn4gSG5cGEDw&ved=0CFsQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=christina%20lamb%20Kashmir&f=false

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  • Khaksar
    Apr 18, 2012 - 8:32PM

    I wonder why all the so called open discussion preclude one fact: The fact that even the so called liberal or civilian community ignoring the state support of terror till that strategy actually backfired. All through the 90s, the Indian argument were deaf to everyone…almost everyone in the Pakistani (even american) intelligentsia. It seems people accept it only once it affects their self interest.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:36PM

    @Khaksar
    India itself is involved in state support for terror. It has supported Tehreek Taliban Pakistan and Baluch rebels against Pakistan. During East Pakistan/Bangladesh crisis it supported state terror through Mukti Bahini. Just like India does not have concrete evidence for the Mumbai carnage, likewise Pakistan also lacks concrete evidence of the support of terror in Pakistan by India. Since India knows how to better conceal its operations and since it is far ahead of propaganda proficiency it has been able to focus attention mainly on presupposed involvement of Pakistan in the Mumbai carnage. I congratulate India on winning the hoopla war.

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  • Lala Gee
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:39PM

    Let there be war.

    After going through all the comments posted by Indian readers, who are supposed to be among the educated Indian elite, it is very apparent that, at the moment, they are at the height of their arrogance, malevolence, and severely suffering from self-pitty. In this condition no word of sanity, reasoning and logic can prevail. The only solution seem to be a final and conclusive war.

    Many commentators take that Pakistan’s economy is going down, while theirs going up, and imply that their sinister operations in FATA and Baluchistan will wear it down further, and it is only a matter of time when Pakistan will eventually kowtow to their terms. But these ignorant, self-righteous Indians do not understand that nations can not be defeated and bowed down merely by the lack of riches and arms compared to the adversary. Had had this been the case, Afghans could never have defeated USSR, and are still prevailing after 10 years of war with Coalition of 44 countries lead by USA.. Alas they could learn from this example, but the state they are in will never let them.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 18, 2012 - 9:59PM

    @Sinclair
    Let India go to the ICJ for arbitration for justice or will it prefer the UN? Obviously it is afraid to share its “concrete evidence” publicly!!!

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  • wonderer
    Apr 18, 2012 - 10:19PM

    @Khalid Mahmood:

    Let India reciprocate.

    What Indian response will satisfy Pakistan?

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  • Lala Gee
    Apr 19, 2012 - 12:43AM

    @Dr. A.K. Sinha:

    “I hope, dear Pakistani brethren, that wise counsel will prevail in your house and that you will one day learn to coexist peacefully not only with India but also with other neighbours.”

    I really really appreciate your well wishes for Pakistani people and want to reciprocate the same for our Indian brethren. But there are only a few small problems that needs to be addressed before we can talk about peaceful coexistence. First, stop being patronizing. Talk on equal terms as two sovereign nations do. Second, immediately stop all of your state sponsored terror operations in FATA, Baluchistan, and elsewhere in Pakistan, and we will ensure the same on our part. Third, solve the Kashmir dispute on fast track instead of lingering on for another 64 years and hoping that the issue will go away with time or by weakening Pakistan. In fact, this could be done in 6 months time even without involving Pakistan. Just ask UN to administer a plebiscite in IOK and whatever the Kashmiris decide should be acceptable to both of us. We do not have any problem doing the same, if you wish.

    Prove yourself a good neighbor by doing the above 3 things (1 and 2 can be done in no time), and I assure you will find us as good neighbor as one could wish for.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 19, 2012 - 7:08AM

    @wonderer
    India can reciprocate by first start talking and sincerely negotiating at all appropriate levels for resolving all outstanding disputes. Second, should not take Pakistan’s present humanitarian disaster in Siachen and the call for its demilitarization as a weakness but take this opportunity to sincerely moving towards that end. If Siachen is mutually demilitarized expeditiously, it would lead to creating some trust between the two countries which will be very helpful in moving forward for resolving all outstanding issues.

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  • Apr 19, 2012 - 9:57AM

    @Lala Gee: Lala jee suggested what can be the best means to move forward, I support his proposals for peace initiative.

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  • Lala Gee
    Apr 19, 2012 - 10:14AM

    @Raven:

    “India has more to loose than gain by giving a breathing space to Pakistan. A stable, powerful Pakistan will never be in India’s interest. India has all the reasons to continue status quo- continue talks, less talks, more talks, trade etc- but trust me India will never settle Kashmir, Siachen etc….. we will continue to fight low intensity annoying great game in Afghanistan. In next 10 years there will be no comparision between Pakistan and India in terms of economy or military. The only thing that can derail this plan is a pre mature war with Pakistan. So it is very important for India to keep some communications open with Pakistan, no need to talk jingoist with Pakistan and let the nature take its course. Everyone else who think we will follow any different strategy is foolish.”

    Nothing new, we already know that. Thanks for your time.

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  • wonderer
    Apr 19, 2012 - 1:33PM

    @Khalid Mahmood:

    I do not know why but my reply to you, which was positive and detailed, has not been allowed by the moderator.

    In short, anything is possible if you can win the hearts of Indian public by reducing the trust deficit. Manmohan is giving you a big chance. Grab it. Can you sell “friendship-with-India” to your own people? Think about it.

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  • Khalid Mahmood
    Apr 19, 2012 - 5:53PM

    @ wonderer
    If you study the history of confidence building measures that Pakistan has taken and India’s response you would learn that Pakistan has done much more than its share to meet India more than half the way. The latest is the uninvited Zardari visit. India would not come across a more friendly pro-India government than the present one and a very friendly Pakistan’s main opposition party PML-N which has called for a unilateral withdrawal from Siachen. Even the Army wants to demilitarize Siachen. Let India grab this golden opportunity and offer some concrete concession so that the peace process can move forward. History like this happens rarely, so don’t let it pass. And, please do not ask me any further questions as t is now time for the two governments to move forward.

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