When Manmohan Singh comes to Islamabad

Published: April 15, 2012
The writer teaches physics and political science at LUMS. He holds a doctorate in physics from MIT

The writer teaches physics and political science at LUMS. He holds a doctorate in physics from MIT

The coincidence between President Asif Ali Zardari’s sprint to Delhi last week, and the $10 million head-money on Hafiz Saeed announced by the US could be purely accidental. But this action certainly refocused Indian attention on the alleged Mumbai attack planner, who heads the pantheon of jihadi ‘heroes’ that now freely parades across Pakistan. In such circumstances, holding the olive branch before PM Manmohan Singh surely required guts. The scepticism to Zardari in India was, of course, predictable.

It is easy to pooh-pooh the visit. Mr Zardari is not a popular president or a clean one, and the PPP is unlikely to survive the elections scheduled in a few months from now. Plus, he wields no power on issues that India considers critical: nuclear weapons, Kashmir, and Afghanistan. Most importantly, he can do nothing to rein in the anti-India jihadist network, a matter that belongs squarely to the army’s domain. Moving against Hafiz Saeed is not an option. Zardari cannot forget Memogate — which he somehow survived but Ambassador Husain Haqqani did not.

And yet, a weak and embattled government did something refreshingly good for the country. According India, the MFN status for trade and related commercial activity is sure to be a game-changer that could bring peace and prosperity to the region.Ignoring the angry howls of the Difah-e-Pakistan crowd, the government for once listened to the country’s majority — most Pakistanis do want trade with India even though they consider it a threat.

Still better news is that the Zardari-Singh joint communique says “practical, pragmatic” solutions will be sought for disputes. Showing his willingness to put Mumbai 2008 on the back-burner, Singh accepted Zardari’s invitation to Islamabad. This is exactly the way it should be; frequent high-level meetings are the best confidence-building measures.

But what should the two sides talk about? Surely, there are many issues but here are the top five on which progress is both necessary and, more importantly, possible.

First, let both countries agree to immediately vacate the killing ice fields of Siachen. This insane war at 22,000 feet has claimed hundreds of lives on both sides; 138 Pakistani soldiers and civilian contractors are still being searched for after a mountain of snow crashed on them last week. Maintaining control over a system of Himalayan glaciers has come at a dreadful cost to human lives and resources, and has also irreversibly polluted a pristinely pure environment. But to what end? There are no minerals in Siachen; not even a blade of grass can grow there. This is just a stupid battle between two monster-sized national egos.

Second, let them talk about water — seriously. But please have the Pakistani side well-prepared for solid technical discussions. This means having real experts with facts at their fingertips. They must know about spillway design, sediment control, DSLs, drawdowns, sluicing, etc. I have seen too many duffers represent our side at Pakistan-India meetings where water inevitably comes up. Their lack of knowledge becomes painfully apparent and the Indians start smirking.

In water matters geography has favoured India; every upper riparian state can control outflows and India could be potentially unfair to Pakistan. But, although there are frequent allegations to this effect, are they really correct? The Indus Waters Treaty, negotiated in 1960, has so far kept matters on an even keel; neutral experts have adjudicated complaints received from Pakistan. Water has therefore not been a strong reason for war until now. But this stability may be drawing to an end because both countries — Pakistan more so than India — are becoming water stressed. Rising populations would strain resources even if the other country did not exist. Therefore, sensible and well-informed high-level discussions are critical.

Third, do away with the absurd and provocative daily flag ceremonies at Wagah. Instead, let the leaders talk about how ordinary people can travel more easily across the border. This is a natural right, and a step towards real peace. If you travel to the other side and see that people there have greater likeliness to you than anywhere else in the world, the urge to go to war diminishes. Yet, for a Pakistani to get an Indian visa, or an Indian to get a Pakistani one, is presently an ordeal.

Fourth, Pakistan and India have technical issues regarding trade and transit rights that need discussion. Although Pakistan has finally granted MFN status to India, the real dividend will come if non-tariff barriers are removed and bank transfers are allowed. There are estimates that Pakistan-India trade could rise to an awesome $8 billion per year. To achieve this goal, the onus lies on India.

Fifth: let them talk about exchanging academics, both teachers and students, between the two countries. Pakistan is starved of good teachers in almost every field, especially at the higher levels of education. The Higher Education Commission’s plan to bring in university teachers from overseas has flopped. A breakthrough is only possible if Indian teachers could be brought to Pakistan. Indians would find it easier to adapt to local ways and customs than others. Plus, they would have smaller salary expectations than most others. The huge pool of strong Indian candidates could be used to Pakistan’s advantage — we could pick the best teachers and researchers, and those most likely to make a positive impact on our system.

The above list has two deliberate omissions. The first is terrorism, which will displease the Indian side. But this matter lies beyond what any elected national leader in Pakistan can do; basically it is for the Pakistan Army to rethink its goals. In all likelihood, change will only come when the internal costs of maintaining strategic jihadist assets become too large. The present informal truce is unlikely to last forever, and jihadists could be attacking their handlers once again in the not-too-distant future.

The second omission is Kashmir, which displeases the Pakistani side. But, given the tortured history of Pakistan-India conflict on this conflict, it is difficult to imagine that progress is possible. Pragmatism therefore requires keeping the conflict on the backburner instead of demanding an instant solution. For now, it is more important that Pakistan and India become normal neighbours and deal with their disputes reasonably.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (78)

  • Babloo
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:19PM

    A good hearted , honest opinion.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:27PM

    Why we are not able to solved our problems if we are same peoples???
    are we dumb or ignnorent???
    why world oldest civilization is so unjust to each other.


  • Ashish
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:33PM

    Wonderfully put. Let the complex issues take a back seat for now. Someday they will also get resolved.Recommend

  • Whats in the name.
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:41PM

    I agree with the author’s views 100% in toto. The author has touched upon all the relevant issues and also untouched a few. This piece of reality could come only from a pragmatist/scientist and not from op edit writers or columnists with other professional qualifications.

  • American Desi
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:43PM

    I don’t think India and Pakistan are really serious about peace until they stop childish display of the absurd and provocative daily flag ceremonies at Wagah mentioned here. India tried to stop this few years back could not as the immature politicians did not stop unilaterally. What shame and insult to the people of sub continent this false patriotism is!


  • Falcon
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:43PM

    Good article. The visa issue has reached interesting proportions. I recently met an American born citizen in Pak embassy whose parents are from Pakistan and he works for subsidiary of an Indian company in New York. Despite his American passport and whole life spent in US, Indian embassy has denied him the request for visa to visit India for work purposes because they wanted him to renounce all ties with Pakistan and provide paperwork to substantiate this renunciation. I don’t know if people on the other side (applying for Pakistani visa) will have similar stories but one thing is clear that the visa issue needs good attention from both sides if any progress is expected on the peace front.


  • Paras Vikmani
    Apr 15, 2012 - 10:52PM

    Pakistan’s anti-Indian jihadi groups must be tackled to improve relations.


  • pankaj
    Apr 15, 2012 - 11:02PM

    No way..terrorism can’t be put on back burner… the perpetrators of mumbai attack are freely moving in Pakistan. can’t trust pakistan.. if they want to bridge trust deficit..hand them over.


  • adam
    Apr 15, 2012 - 11:14PM

    Manmohan Singh is unlikely to visit Pakistan this or next year unless there is a breakthrough with respect to the Mumbai attack trial. There is no need for him to unless there is something substantial he can get by doing so. Mumbai attack issue won’t be put on the back burner. You are underestimating the effect it had in India. It’s something most people will never forget unless there is actual closure with respect to the trial and the dismantling of the group responsible for it. India will continue to press this issue internationally and its only going to get more international attention as there will be more attacks in Afghanistan linked backed to Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan as we near 2014. There’ll of course be talks and progress on ministerial level on other things and niceties will continue to be exchanged unless there is some unfortunate event linked back to terrorist groups in Pakistan. If there are people in the Pakistani power set up both inside and outside the government who think that the issue will just automatically die down, they are sort of mistaken. Terrorism is no longer a regional issue, it has an international dimension (meaning West). The war on terror is still on at least till 2014 and likely to extend beyond. Terrorism is considered to be a major threat not only in India but in the West too and will continue to be considered so till the jihadi groups fade away.


  • ishtiaer hussain
    Apr 15, 2012 - 11:15PM

    Sensible and practical ideas put together by P. Hoodbhoy. It’s a great blessing that Pakistan still have great people like him after all these threats, target killings and terrorism. I will keep on having my faith in Pakistan so long as people like Dr. Hodbhoy remain in the country. It’s outrageous that our mainstream Urdu media give little coverage to people like Hoodbhoy.


  • prakash
    Apr 15, 2012 - 11:58PM

    Excellent ideas and completely do-able.
    The easiest and simplest is to do away with the hostile closing ceremony at Wagah- what a silly spectacle to watch. it should be replaced with a mini beating retreat band ceremony, a smaller version to which we have in Delhi after Republic Day ceremonies come to close, with a salute or preferably a handshake. Completely agree with the hon’ble prof. that the long term issues be kept on the back burner for some time and progress made vigorously on others especially economic and social ones which affect commoners on both sides.
    Best wishes


  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:11AM

    why not she/he dance on attari side……


  • Apr 16, 2012 - 12:18AM

    Keep him in your country! We dont need him in India anymore!


  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:23AM

    Correct title for the op-ed: If Manmohan Singh comes to Islamabad
    State of the Union address: “Moving against Hafiz Saeed is not an option”.
    Delusion: “Showing his willingness to put Mumbai 2008 on the back-burner, Singh accepted Zardari’s invitation to Islamabad”. He also accepted invitation from PM Gilani in Bhutan and Mohali but never went. Diplomatic niceties dictate to accept the invitation so that it can be used when the time is right. The reality is that Invitation to Pakistan is dime a dozen to show that we are not isolated.

    Problem of teachers from India to Pakistan is the syllabus of Pakistani school has flawed history and is pro religion. Pakistan need new books that are based on education and critical thinking so student can survive anywhere in the global village. Incidentally Indian School of Business of India on April 13, signed MOU with IBA of Karachi re executive education.


  • Zaheer Baloch
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:37AM

    Very good article. The options presented by the writer are workable and are based on far-sight.


  • Ali Wali
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:44AM

    When Sardar Sahib will come to Islamabad, he will go to his own village in Chakwal district, we will say welcome back, the good people of our district are proud of you Sir.Recommend

  • K B Kale
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:57AM

    Excellent article. Pakistanis must study, read & realize that every Army rule in Pakistan, Ayub Khan’s, Yahya Khan’s, Zia’s & Musharraf’s, have cost dearly to them & brought nothing but miseries to Pakistanis. Ayub cost 1965 war that he foolishly started, Yahya severed half of ‘original’ Pakistan, Zia brought terrorism in Pakistan by his ‘unholy’ friendship with fundamental extremists that led to terrorism and Musharraf ‘bought’ the “War on Terror” unnecessarily that is the cause of TTP’s terrorist activities in its territory!
    Pakistani people should rise against these silly & pompous generals who are expensive and “good-for-nothing” liabilities. Yet to win a single war in 60+ years of independence, they are just a group of nincompoops who only know how to show-off! Grossly corrupt, they should be shown the door! Some good ones should be ordered back to their barracks!!


  • Truth Teller
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:22AM

    As usual superb article! We love you PH.


  • Chhota Chetan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:34AM

    No kashmir? No terrorism? To phir maza kaise aye ga?


  • Ali Tanoli
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:38AM

    @K,B Kale,
    I think india now knows that he cant fight any more so he trying to become a clean hand but history is something diffrent Indra gandhi try a lot to get pakistan back but failed i think only
    inder kumar gujral some others who were good and then again if the kashmir option solved we gonna be same o same.


  • Arindom
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:58AM

    Very well put – but as the author himself puts it – the key strings are pulled by the Pakistani Army. Any initiative without the Army’s active support is at best on very shaky ground!!


  • madhu
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:20AM

    dear sir, this is an excellent article. But what is needed from the pakistani side is the full cooperation and blessings of your military chiefs. Is it not better to involve kayani saheb in the peace process. India should invite kayani and accord him a state welcome. We are sure that things will start becoming better between india and pakistan. Inshallah, hopefully-


  • saleem
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:28AM

    I have another suggestion, lets have indian/pakistani military officers have debates in each others military colleges/mess. Creat a a little openness.


  • Singh
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:06AM

    I know few more cases like this which are very unfortunate.


  • Chrome
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:16AM

    Bring Indian teachers to Pakistan? How many teachers can you find who love teaching Pakistanis more than their lives? This must be the dumbest idea of all.


  • K B Kale
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:39AM

    @Ali Tanoli:
    Even if Pakistan approaaches India for reunification, India would politely regret! Who wants all the problems of Pakistan?
    We say “Live & Let Live”!
    But for that you have to rise against these silly & pompous generals who are expensive and “good-for-nothing” liabilities. Yet to win a single war in 60+ years of independence, they are just a group of nincompoops who only know how to show-off! Grossly corrupt, they should be shown the door! Some good ones should be ordered back to their barracks!!
    Can Pakistanis have the guts?


  • Suzy
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:49AM

    Why should India send its teachers to Pakistan? Indian education system itself has flaws and India needs as much manpower and womanpower in that field as possible itself.

    Please be realistic. India shouldn’t be expected to provide anything to Pakistan that disadvantages itself.


  • kaalchakra
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:15AM

    Good beginning but the removal of 12 Indian embassies along Afghanistan’s border with Balochistan cannot be delayed. If India wants to be friendly then should know that a friendly nation is not supposed to behave so badly harming a neighbor that only wants to live in peace with dignity.


  • Ahmed
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:23AM

    Hoodbhoy is a genius. He takes a rational scientific approach. But, our country was not created with rationality, but with Islamic religiosity and with some power grabbing motive. Otherwise, would any one partition a country where Sufis have lived peacefully with Hindus, Jains and Sikhs for centuries? unfortunately, rationality will likely not prevail.


  • Shehzad Shah
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:22AM

    On Kashmir, why not at least agree to make the problem smaller? India knows that its claim on Gilgit-Baltistan is a negotiation technicality and ditto applies to the Pakistan claim on Ladakh & Jammu. Do a tit-for-tat revocation, convert the LOC in these territories to an international border (which would include Siachen) and reduce the dispute to the Kashmir Valley.


  • Ras
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:31AM

    Very sound article here by PH but will anyone listen especially those who have much to lose
    if this hostility ever ended?


  • Peace
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:34AM

    @kaalchakra: Get your facts right.. India has only 4 embassy.. Don’t be Zaid Hamid on internet.


  • Apr 16, 2012 - 8:39AM

    You are one in a million in Pakistan. Literally. There are 180 odd more of you out there in Pakistan left. I hope all of those 180 odd have as much courage and a brilliant brain as you. You are the true decedents of the Vedic culture that existed in Pakistan for so many years, but is destroyed now.


  • Mirza
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:54AM

    Another great Op Ed by PH, thanks for that Sir. I agree with your point of view to keep it simple and not make it complicated. Let us start walking in baby steps before we run. The exchange of cultural delegations, business and academia, artists, and common people would open up the closed minds. Most Pakistanis who are against India have no idea about India. I was reluctant and fearful to go to India first time in my life in early 90’s when I had to go on a business trip. However, since then I love to go and visit there. I get the feeling that I belong here. Let the people meet and see what they are missing? Just today I met an older doctor in a mosque where we had Quran Khawani for an old lady who passed away. I felt he had very good Urdu accent and asked him how come he speaks so clean language? He was a Hindu from Luckhnow and he came for the Quran Khawani for his neighbor. He had left India in 1959 but India has never left him! It is funny but in India people used to tell me after talking to me in Urdu, that “your Hindi is very clean and good.


  • Maqbool
    Apr 16, 2012 - 8:55AM

    Guess why MM Singh is so reluctant to visit Pakistan? Whenever an Indian premier visits Pakistan, some act of terrorism happens in India.


  • vasan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 10:01AM

    Kallchakra : Enough of this nonsense. Would u care to list the Indian embassies in Afgan border first. And “harming a neighbour” is an art which Pakistan has mastered and India is only a victim along with Afganistan and to some extend Iran.


  • Concerned
    Apr 16, 2012 - 10:32AM

    A well balanced article by the author who understands the ground realities of both countries. Pakistan should stop harping about Kashmir issue since none of the two countries would part with an inch of its land and as such Indian held Kashmir is presently well governed and there is no iota of truth that there is any atrocity, supression or un-judicial killing in the state as claimed by many Pakistanis on this forum. However, India too has to forget about of any action by Pakistan against Hafeez Sayeed considered as an national asset and complete roll back of its terror mechanism which has been integerated to the state as a political compulsion and no Islamabad regime can survive acting against either of the two.


  • malik
    Apr 16, 2012 - 10:35AM

    MM Singh very much wants to visit Pakistan and sign some papers so that he can get Nobel Prize. But his party won’t allow him to monopolise this glory.

    If Pak can find a solution that will give super credit to Sonia Gandhi AND Manmohan Singh – for them to get Nobel prize – then, something fruitful might happen. Otherwise, they have to be content with some mumbled message about bhaichaara from MMS.


  • wonderer
    Apr 16, 2012 - 10:59AM

    I have one request for the writer.

    Dear Sir,

    You end your article with: “For now, it is more important that Pakistan and India become normal neighbours and deal with their disputes reasonably.”

    A sage advice indeed but only if the words “normal” and “reasonably” in the above sentence are understood clearly. The problem is that they are not understood clearly in Pakistan. Indians find it very difficult to swallow all kinds of terror, lies, cheating, insults and duplicitous conduct just because they should be large hearted and forgiving. If Pakistan cannot get Hafiz Saeed convicted, is it too difficult for it to stop him from spewing venom all the time from all platforms and thus vitiating public opinion?

    It would be appreciated if you can write two pieces sometime in the coming weeks to explain what kind of a neighbor Pakistan considers “normal” and what is considered “reasonable” by Pakistan.


  • CAT
    Apr 16, 2012 - 11:31AM

    We should learn from our great Chinese friends about their management of and benefits from the Taiwan issue.


  • Tony Singh
    Apr 16, 2012 - 11:39AM

    Whatever opinions one may have on other issues, the absurdity at wagah should absolutely be stopped ASAP. Period.


  • jagjit sidhoo
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:02PM

    @Shehzad Shah:Spot on, let us do the doable first.


  • Pradeep
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:19PM

    I have great respect for an academician and intellectual like Dr.Hoodbhoy and his views. Even if in principle India were to consider the proposals from him, I do not see any advantage of India doing so. You see, any negotiation including diplomatic ones are about give and take. Dr. Hoodbhoy does not mention what the takeaway for India is. Water – Assuages Pakistan, MFN/Trade – Pakistan is the asymmetric beneficiary, Teachers – Pakistan benefits (no point in sending from Indian perspective as we are short of teachers right now).

    The only item that is at least neutral in terms of payoffs is Siachen, viz something that seems possible.

    With an open mind, I request Pakistanis to point out the benefits for India from such actions as those mentioned in this article.


  • amoghavarsha.ii
    Apr 16, 2012 - 12:56PM

    when nobody can guarantee anything in Pakistan for India,

    terrorism – both park army and govt say it is non state actors
    trade – say far right objecting, army objecting etc.,

    What is the greatest benefit for India in having better relations with pakistan,
    Free flow of people does not check unnecessary elements coming in, because only one side is checking that too with lack of resources,…..

    no better to first strengthen internal security and procedures to handle pakistan non state actors than to jump to more cooperation.

    we have done fairly well since 1947,
    we can do only better further.


  • pankaj
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:17PM

    pakistan should need to understand the indian psyche .. mumbai attack was a direct assault on our identity… India is not a banana republic who can condone this incident…if you are serious about relationship bring them the perpetrators to justice.. otherwise Govt. won’t have the mandate to show any flexibility with pakistan… I believe this terrorists are more harmful to you than to us.. pick your card.


  • Ifran Khan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:41PM

    Been there seen it. We have been through this same cycle so many times: war – terrorism – peace talks. This will lead nowhere.


  • Tanvir
    Apr 16, 2012 - 1:49PM

    Agree on all points with Dr. Hoodbhoy except the one concerning the import of faculty. Myself being a PhD doctor from France and finding it very tough to have a job of professor-researcher in a University back home, I can say that we are already saturated with the number of academicians.


  • zalim singh
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:23PM

    @ hoodbhoy sir

    nice article. As a India I appreciate your views as a rational ones. India and Pakistan should work together and prosper. But I am not sure how we can break the “Ice”. The stubborn ice of Siachin is a stark reminder. Both countries have equally suffered here. Time to say “Time-out”.

    All said and done, Zardari looks like the best available person who can deal with india rationally. Not sure about IK. His track record on India is good- which may be bad in forth coming elections. Then everything will be square one when IK gets elected. Very unsure about him- he will come with lots of Islamic/military baggage.


  • Indian
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:42PM


    That American also happens to be a Pakistani Citizen, he happens to be dual-citizenship holder. So I do not know why he is complaining …


  • Tanvir
    Apr 16, 2012 - 2:58PM

    The author suggested to put two very sensitive issues on the back burner untill smaller steps have been taken: Kashmir & Mumbai. But seeing the comments from most of the Indians on the page that oppose putting the Mumbai on the back burner, I think the Indians don’t actually want to resolve the problems with Pakistan. Although, in my view Kashmir and Mumbai can not be equated: Kashmir the represents the usurpation of the basic rights of a populations of millions on which India does not want to listen. Whereas, Mumbai represents a one-off act of violence about which it is still not ascertained whether non-state actors from Pakistan were actually involved. Pakistani judicial team is constantly visiting India, in order to ascertain by itself the veracity of the claims of Ajmal Kasab. However, each time Indian authorities refuse the meeting of Pakistan team with the accused on one pretext or the other.


  • mrk
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:42PM

    It’s good to see Prof Hoodbhoy lay out the same plan agreed upon between Musharraf and India leading up to 2007. I believe even the individual points are the same.


  • Kashmirian
    Apr 16, 2012 - 3:52PM

    India´s disintegration is the only solution for the peace and stability in south asia.


  • Anurag Singh (@anuragiiith)
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:14PM

    It is same language but we call it Hindi and You call it urdu. :)


  • Anurag Singh (@anuragiiith)
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:21PM

    Just tell me what Indian will gain from any resolution with Pak. We can only negotiate when both side will gain and loose something.


  • Khan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 4:42PM

    Brother, if Pak could CURB this menace, then there won’t be at least thousand suicide attacks inside its territory. Your comment clearly represents a typical Indian Psyche of leading both parties to a dead-end.


  • Apr 16, 2012 - 5:00PM

    Where is the quid pro quo? How does India benefit from what Hoodbhoy has suggested?

    Kashmir is out of international agenda, while Mumbai attack is internationally the hot thing. Pakistan has nothing to give to any one including its own citizen.

    A lame-duck government cannot negotiate anything with a mature government of the world’s largest democracy. Indian Prime minister was polite in agreeing to meet the Pakistani president on his private visit. Any optimism out of it is just wishful thinking and waste of time.

    However, I do not imply that the two nations should be enemies. But Pakistan has to dress up well before getting into any serious business with India.


  • wonderer
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:46PM


    It is NOT “typical Indian Psyche” that leads both parties to “dead-end”. It is Pakistan’s INABILITY to “CURB this menace”.

    The problem arises because Pakistan wants India to FORGET the “menace” that Pakistan is incapable of curbing. Please say hand-on-heart if you would be able to FORGET Mumbai attack if you were an Indian?Recommend

  • Abbas, ZA
    Apr 16, 2012 - 5:48PM

    @Mirza: you need to know that India is NOT urdu or hindi. Thats how much you know India.


  • Mirza
    Apr 16, 2012 - 6:18PM

    @Abbas, ZA:
    I have never claimed to be an expert on India. It is such a huge country that it would be silly to say that on my part from a distance. My observations have been based upon my stay in a few areas of India. Without ignoring the other cultures, I have first visited where my parents were born and that is mostly northern India. I do have a right to start somewhere? Once I have enough time off from work and money I would love to see not just India but many other countries.


  • Rationalist
    Apr 16, 2012 - 6:41PM

    A very thought provoking article by Dr. Hoodbhoy. As for water disputes with India, a lot of misinformation and lies have been spread in Pakistan the results whereof are alarming. A common person who is not aware of the technicalities associated with water sector projects accepts the blatant lies propagated by so called “Experts”.Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Apr 16, 2012 - 7:49PM

    Dr. Hoodbhoy is a great scientist, a great thinker and a sincere peace loving Pakistani. The article reflects his great personality and is a thought provoking for every Pakistani and Indian citizen.


  • Baloch
    Apr 16, 2012 - 9:55PM

    Our leaders have come in Pakistan to eat the right the foolish Pakistani who do not have voice wake up and be against of them. That is why we Pakistani have never developed and just being notorious all over the world………….


  • Truthbetold
    Apr 17, 2012 - 12:34AM


    “Kashmir the represents the usurpation of the basic rights of a populations of millions on which India does not want to listen. “

    Would you then also agree that Balochistan issue “represents the usurpation of the basic rights of a populations of millions on which Pakistan does not want to listen” ?


  • Ilyad
    Apr 17, 2012 - 12:37AM

    Why do we want to corrupt an otherwise reasoanble (sharif) admi?


  • Jiang
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:07AM

    India has still not overcome its partition in 1947, The capture of 70,000 sq km of Kashmir by Pakistan in the 1947/48 war, Nor has it overcome Pakistan’s victory in the 1965 war. India has tried ever since its partition to “undo” Pakistan and restore and massage the battered Hinduvata ego. Which itself received a blow in 1962 when it attacked China across the McMahon line.

    India and the people of India especially the government of India, Must learn to love India more than they hate Pakistan. Lets not all forget that India was still receive food aid and was in a famine when it indulged in crass aggression against Pakistan in 1971. Pakistan can never be fooled into thinking that malevolent Indians are out looking for any genuine peace. Ofcourse Pakistan today has 150+ nuclear weapons which is a prime example of state security calculus. It is India that wants transit rights via Pakistan and trade with Pakistan and cultural links with Pakistan, Pakistan is in the drivers seat and should dictate the terms and conditions of any entente.


  • K B Kale
    Apr 17, 2012 - 4:41AM

    Paakistan didn’t win 1947 war, India refused to win it when it could have because our then PM thought UN was a fair organisation. It was not! 1965 war was won by India. Rest is history.


  • venky
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:08AM

    Prof. Sahib, a wishful thinking but you are just a decade earlier to pronounce this. I believe the Pak Army to understand Kashmir and Jihad beyond the core issue, will take a long time to materialize.. If Pak Army is serious, then they should implement your third point first. Shut down the show at Wagah border. If I visit Wagah border, my curiosity would be just to see the other side of the land, not their military power.


  • jagjit sidhoo
    Apr 17, 2012 - 7:53AM

    @Jiang: “drivers seat” ? keep driving


  • Ashish
    Apr 17, 2012 - 8:55AM

    @Jiang : Well done Jiang, I would like to know your name of School. Such a logical thinking. You are one step ahead of Jaid Hamid. Congrats. I can assure you that till the time , people like you are there , these talks of peace and aman are day dreams.


  • abdulazeez
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:24AM

    @ kashmirian, open your mouth and look into the sky.


  • Tanvir
    Apr 17, 2012 - 1:10PM

    What I get by your comment is that at least you admit the usurpation of the basic rights of a populations of millions on which India does not want to listen.
    Now on Balochistan: it is an internal matter of Pakistan, no territorial claims exist by any other country on it. You can compare it with the “Indian Punjab” of 80’s or the Indian regions under Mao resistance of today.


  • Apr 17, 2012 - 5:18PM

    I ain’t see it plausible. I wonder how one can put Big issues aside/unsettled and hope to strenghthen (longterm) the relations.

    If not, any other Mumbai attack/Smjhota Express would undermine whole peace process again. The game will again go back to Zero. Ultimately all the hardwork done by both sides will be undone.

    SO please be realistic than overly-optimistc


  • peace for all
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:26PM

    @kaalchakra: get your facts right. India has only 4 embassies in Afghanistan. Embassies are not terrorist camps which are hidden in Pakistan. Afghanistan permits to build these embassies and these information are in public domain. Do your research!Recommend

  • peace for all
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:39PM

    @Mirza: We (Indians and your brothers) are very happy to have you. I am a strong believer that people on both sides love each other but the politicians (on both sides) and religious fanatics and ofcourse military have hijacked the situation.

    One thing which really worries me is the hatred and lies in the pakistan text book against hindus in particular and indians in general. We are shown as monsters in your country and just see what have become of your hindu minorities.

    I hope these misconceptions are removed by civil society and intellectuals of Pakistan and we can live in peace as good friends/brothers.


  • k. Salim Jahangir
    Apr 17, 2012 - 11:06PM

    He will not come to Pakistan during this government’s tenure.


  • ashok
    Apr 18, 2012 - 3:52AM

    Please add “If and” before the title so that it appears more realistic.


  • Lala Gee
    Apr 18, 2012 - 7:19PM

    @K B Kale:

    “Paakistan didn’t win 1947 war, India refused to win it when it could have because our then PM thought UN was a fair organisation. It was not! 1965 war was won by India. Rest is history.”

    The world and UN is unfair when it unanimously decides against India and is fair when Indian point of view is supported. And, by the way, you refused to win by air dropping commandos in Sri Nagar in extreme haste.


  • Dr v n Srivastava
    Apr 23, 2012 - 3:13PM

    Let their be subcontinent union, Srinagar be the Capital of the union ,just like Europian union .iti will solve all our problems.


More in Opinion