Double talk, double standards

The Indian delegation kept insisting on discussing Mumbai attacks. I wonder how they define what is happening in Kashmir.

Zainab Imam July 22, 2010

Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna’s recent visit to Pakistan concluded without much … okay, any … tangible progress.

The Indian delegation kept insisting on discussing terrorism, that is, the Mumbai attacks. I wonder how they define what is happening in Indian Kashmir. In Mumbai, 166 people died over the course of three days. In Indian Kashmir, thousands of people have died over the course of many, many years (there are several tallies of the death toll since there is limited access to the region). Those dead in both cases did not deserve to be killed. Are the killings in Indian Kashmir, then, any less atrocious than the ones in Mumbai?

Terrorism cannot be seen in isolation. Where the Indians insist on talking about the terror attacks on Mumbai, they should take the prolonged terrorism in Indian Kashmir just as seriously. Mumbai is India’s financial capital, hence it is understandable that there must be immense pressure on the government to address the issue. In fact, the pressure is palpable – India has not carried out an execution since 2004 and Ajmal Kasab may be the first case in six years. Further, many Indians, including the families of some of the victims, have long called for Kasab’s execution and the clamour grew stronger after his conviction.

However, even after the Indian Army claimed responsibility for deaths during protests in Srinagar, including that of a 17-year-old boy who was killed during a demonstration, there seems to be no call for justice in India. Pakistanis have been quiet too … the only ones who have raised a voice are religio-political parties who have invoked the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to stop the massacre of Muslims.

The solutions to deadlocks on both issues – Mumbai and Kashmir – will only be found when leaders on both sides are honest about them and consider them of equal importance. Lasting peace will only be established when people are valued for being humans rather than Muslims or Hindus, rich or poor and when “heavens on earth” are given the same importance as “financial capitals”.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2010.

Zainab Imam A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam ( and blogs at
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Harsh | 13 years ago | Reply What locus standii Pakistan has on Kashmir when it gifts away part of 'Azaad' Kashmir to China? Peace will rein in Kashmir the moment Pakistan stops backing those separatists.
Cronous | 13 years ago | Reply "The Indian delegation kept insisting on discussing terrorism, that is, the Mumbai attacks. I wonder how they define what is happening in Indian Kashmir." .. Interesting that you compare a terrorist attack whose sole intention was to kill as many people as possible to a state's attempt to maintain its sovereignty. I guess a nation asserting its control over its territory (even if bloody) is now terrorism? India's response is merely to a bloody insurgency (ostensibly supported by Pakistan) and violent demonstrators and that is why the international community understands India's posistion. .. It is funny that Pakistan yells, kicks, and screams about the violence in Kashmir, all the while it does the same and possibly worse in Balochistan. Those in glass houses should not throw stones.
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