So then: to this now

Published: August 15, 2013
The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto

The writer is a columnist, a former major of the Pakistan Army and served as press secretary to Benazir Bhutto [email protected]

The out-of-control and rampaging terrorists are now down to attacking the Jamaat Khanas of the most peaceful, philanthropic, tax-paying, law-abiding community of Pakistan: the Ismailis. Just a day after Eid, 38-year-old Shirin and her four-year-old son Sharmil died in an attack on the Karimabad Jamaat Khana and 44 others sustained injuries, some surely life-threatening. A standing ovation to the brave warriors who target innocent women and children.

Recall those of you who want to face facts that His Highness Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah, Aga Khan III, after whom we have named roads in Lahore and Karachi, was a founder-member and then first president of the All-India Muslim League and was one of the first to petition the British government to consider Muslims as a distinct nation in India.

His grandson, the elegant Prince Karim Aga Khan has done more philanthropic work in Pakistan than any other single person or institution, setting up the peerless Aga Khan University, which among other institutions, runs the Aga Khan Hospital and Medical College in Karachi, extending his work to the Northern Areas, including Chitral, which has brought much prosperity to those backward parts of our country.

Going back in time, it was none other than HH Aga Khan II, who gifted his house in the expensive Akasaka area in downtown Tokyo to Pakistan as its embassy. His various generosities to the country were great and unbounden, and this is what we do to his followers? Kill a woman and her child in a Jamaat Khana, which also serves as a community centre. Shame on us, sirs.

So typical, actually, and in keeping with our penchant of turning away friends and those who would wish us well; and clasping to our breasts the worse of the lot, be they the ‘good’ Taliban; heartless takfiri murderers; coldblooded and callous Salafi executioners, you name it. And so we go playing with fire and letting the murderers get stronger still.

Look at what happened at the police funeral in Quetta the other day, and again a day before Eid this time: 34 policemen, among them some good and senior police officers getting blown up with scores injured. I was recently in Quetta with an HRCP mission and met one of the SPs, who too was killed: a smart, bright young man who produced data we had asked for in the quickest time and who was most forthcoming on what was actually going on in that murderous province. Indeed, we met the good IG Sukhera and Mir Zubair the CCPO, both mercifully spared injury.

As always, the spokesman for the TTP has claimed responsibility in a mobile phone call to newspapers, TV stations, etcetera. The question to ask here is why it has not been possible for our security agencies to trace the number when they have extremely accurate and advanced and very, very expensive equipment for the task; and get to the very heart of the TTP?

Many of us repeatedly asked the question when it came to finding (and, hopefully destroying) Mullah Radio’s clandestine Swat FM radio during the benign rule of the Commando when the terrorists were killing peaceful Swati men, women and children and hanging their headless bodies upside down at Khooni Chowk in Mingora City. The radio daily broadcast lists of the people who were to be murdered with ‘extreme prejudice’ that same night. The host of the programme was always Muslim Khan, who was ostensibly ‘captured’ but has not been heard of for the last seven years.

But wait, there is a silver lining to all of this. It is said that the PM is upbeat and confident about the well-thought out steps his government is about to take to counter the ‘scourge’ as he called the terrorist menace in his speech on August 14. His interior minister, too, is showing a resolve one had not seen before: of either getting the murderers to lay down their weapons or face ‘all-out war’.

Many of you should be mystified why I have not yet touched upon the recent ceasefire line incidents in which both India and Pakistan are once more heaping blame, one upon the other. The media, the Indian media leading, and ours coming in a close second, has gone overboard as usual — kindly recall the six-month-old incident of the alleged ‘beheading’ of an Indian soldier with no proof whatsoever — which was blown up into a virtual war-like situation, the flames being principally fanned by, let us not be afraid to name it: Times Now, Pakistan-hater Arnab Goswami presiding.

NDTV, with the elegant and intelligent Barkha Dutt, was far more muted and even discussed the death of our Naik Afzal of Chakwal and grave injuries to a Pakistani jawan when I brought up the matter. I had said then that there was no other way out but talks, talks and more talks between India and Pakistan. And visits, visits and more visits between the leaders of both countries.

I had even suggested at one of the Track-II meetings that in addition to the hotline between the DGMOs, there should be direct and secure telephones between the Pakistan and Indian PMs and COASs; that they should be frequent visitors to each other’s countries; meet for lunch now and again and talk over the latest actions that destabilise relations along the Line and the border.

I did not talk about this grave matter first, because it IS the terrorist who has the most to gain by soured relations between these two nuclear-armed neighbours, so that their own project to destabilise the region is achieved. But even here, there is a ray of hope: the warmongers on this side should understand that the PM contested the elections on two main planks: the improvement of the economy and friendship with our neighbours. The people voted him in with a large majority, which means (and please UNDERSTAND) this gentlemen, they agree with him.

So, enough of your antics. Fall into proper ranks and help the constitutionally elected government.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (34)

  • gp65
    Aug 15, 2013 - 10:20PM

    “I did not talk about this grave matter first, because it IS the terrorist who has the most to gain by soured relations between these two nuclear-armed neighbours,”

    No Sir, not the terrorists but Rawalpindi has most to gain. They do not want to fight TTP and want an excuse to divert attention to the eastern border.

    As far as india is concerned even Arnab Goswani (who I admit is completely over the top) has never asked for war nor any leading BJP politician that I know. All that they are saying is that there should be disengagement until such time as Pakistani civilians can show themselves to be in control of their military and non-state actors. There is no point investing energy in peace talks that do not yield any peace dividends.

    It is incorrect to brand those promoting disengagement as warmongers. India has not started any war and should not start any wars. It however must not submit to bullying and must defend its land and people.Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Aug 15, 2013 - 10:21PM

    Agha khan Foundation is doing great work even in India. Its running many schools and helping restoring many old monuments. Pakistanis are doing great job in shooting themselves in foot by attacking the very people who have done so much for them.


  • hemant
    Aug 15, 2013 - 11:03PM

    I am an avid news watcher but now totally shun Times Now and find Arnab Goswami totally
    obnoxious .


  • vikas, Mumbai
    Aug 15, 2013 - 11:13PM

    Sir, in your opinion, who killed the five Indian soldiers and what should India’s reaction be?Recommend

  • Parvez
    Aug 15, 2013 - 11:35PM

    Liked what you have said……….and the behaviour, the foot dragging the display of helplessness, of our armed forces towards these extremists is simply not understood. If it is premeditated policy then it is even worse.
    On the LOC incidents what is true and what is not will never be known to us…………all we can do is hope that better sense prevails on both sides.


  • Mansi
    Aug 16, 2013 - 12:26AM

    alleged ‘beheading’ of an Indian soldier with no proof whatsoever

    I get angry looking at this kind of casualness over war crimes. What proof do you want? the soldier’s body? Arnab may be loud, but he questions exactly what most of ordinary Indians are asking.If that makes most of us haters, so be it. We should not be afraid of self defense for the want of “good image”.

    Barka Dutt and NDTV have been proven time and again to have a political agenda and it seems to align with the views of this author who casually overlooks henious crimes. I do noy feel like taking this opinion seriously. I won’t compromise the security of my countrymen to please some political masters.


  • sid
    Aug 16, 2013 - 12:33AM

    Pakistani’s don’t watch India Tv, Times now and few other Hindi channels…………..These are Indian Zaid Hamid………..(but they cannot match Zaid Hamid in commedy)


  • sabi
    Aug 16, 2013 - 12:36AM

    Kamran Shafi;
    Excellent op-ed thank you.The word ‘IS’ in first line of second paragraph is intriguing ,a message in between the lines!


  • Average Indian
    Aug 16, 2013 - 12:47AM

    Dear Sir, I have read many times on this site that there is no proof that 26/11 was orchestrated from inside pakistan, there is no proof that Kasab was a pakistani, there is no proof that OBL was hiding in Pakistan,there is no proof that Indias most wanted Dawood Ibrahim stays in Pakistan, there is no proof that Hafiz sayeed instigates, indoctrinates, poisons and recruits young minds in pakistan against India, there is no proof that five Indian soldiers were killed by someone other than Indians.

    Infact there is ample proof that everything was done by Indians themselves inlcuding 26/11, mumbai blasts, parliament attacks, beheading,recent killings so that Pakistan gets a bad name.

    I can understand an average reader saying that but I Cant understand, how with this kind of logic and conspiracy theories, you can get through to indian audience and expect them to listen to your arguments to promote peace.

    Arnab or no Arnab, kindly clarify who did all these things including the alleged beheading.


  • Jat
    Aug 16, 2013 - 2:01AM

    @Mansi, @Average Indian it is of no use trying to knock some sense into them. The Pakistanis, including the media and intellectuals, have decided to commit collective suicide.

    You two have already enumerated most of the reasons. No one can stop them now.


  • B
    Aug 16, 2013 - 2:05AM

    “Times Now, Pakistan-hater Arnab Goswami”.

    If you can take/talk on NDTV why not try out with Arnab Goswami for once. Shredded?


  • Naveen
    Aug 16, 2013 - 2:25AM

    Some interesting points raised. As for Arnab Goswami, he is surely not the brightest of the lot when it comes to cool headed journalism.


  • Cosmo
    Aug 16, 2013 - 4:37AM

    “Alleged beheading”- shame on you for showing such casualness for human life on other side of the border. For many Pakistanis the following are “alleged”:
    1. 26/11
    2. 9/11
    3. Indian parliament attack
    4. Border behading
    5. Bangladesh mutiny
    6. Kashmir terrorists

    Well, and you question why the world is worried about the migraine called- pakistan!!

    Common sense is very uncommon in Pakistan!!


  • nizamuddin khan
    Aug 16, 2013 - 5:32AM

    It has been 66 years since independence (from the British) however we have not embraced the inter-dependence that is required to co-exist. The Mr Kamran Shafi as usual has done a good job of trying to get our attention to those aspects in a democratic country that we are still struggling to get our arms around.

    Yes, we have given birth to people who want to kill us and bring a bad name to our country. Yes, our neighbors are not always right and there are elements in every country that are crying for attention.

    How do we want to spend the 67th year after independence? The answer might be in growing inter-dependence to help build trust, security, trade, communal harmony, etc. If we all realized that we need each other then there will be no reasons for killing each other.

    Independence day comes once a year…however everyday is Inter-dependence day.


  • vasan
    Aug 16, 2013 - 6:45AM

    I agree with the author that there should be talks and more talks and no war. But there should be accountablity and proper investigation from Pakistani side preceding talks and talks. That is precisely India is demanding and not war. I think it is a reasonable and sensible demand. What does Pakistan have to hide, is the question many in the world ask,


  • Amjed Jaaved
    Aug 16, 2013 - 8:56AM

    Agha Khan Foundation is rich enough to take scanning and biometric precautions to protect its people. The government can’t put guards at every nook and corner to protect citizens.. But, it can follow up the incidents to ensure that the offenders are punished in accordance with due process of law.


  • Author
    Aug 16, 2013 - 9:11AM

    @Mansi: I did not explain ‘alleged’ fully: I am not questioning the fact that an Indian soldier was unfortunately killed: only that his ‘beheading’ cannot be put on Pakistan’s ARMY without evidence, that is all. Please remember that our Naik who was killed by Indian firing on the same day was also a human being with a wife and kids just like the Indian jawan. As to Mumbai I have written reams: please Google. I have always stood for close friendship between the two neighbours’ for in the security of one lies the security of the other. May both our peoples prosper. Please read our PM’s statements carefully; and also see the reaction of our hard-right nutters.


  • Ammar
    Aug 16, 2013 - 10:28AM

    @Average Indian:

    If you don’t want to listen, please don’t!


  • Arijit Sharma.
    Aug 16, 2013 - 1:16PM

    @nizamuddin khan: ” … It has been 66 years since independence (from the British) however we have not embraced the inter-dependence that is required to co-exist. … “

    We are just too different politically and culturally to be interdependent. Trading is fine.


  • Agnostic
    Aug 16, 2013 - 3:11PM

    Other examples of peaceful activities. Kashmir, Hyderabad, Goa, Siachen…


  • Mazhar.A.Khan
    Aug 16, 2013 - 4:15PM

    whole life almost i worked outside country & recently gone to Karachi where i had to go through heart bypass surgery at Prestigious Agha Khan University & Hospital. It was my first experience in this hospital for going to have this kind of surgery. Being a Pakistani i am proud that we have this kind of institution in our country which is run by people who are very professional to the core. it is indeed a Prestigious institution, the impression & experience i grab in those moments when i was on the bed due to my sickness. The care, their professionalism & staff humbleness still warming my heart. I cherish those moments when I was coming out from hospital healthy & walking on my own feets. These are gems on our crown so respect & protect them even honour them. Don’t hurt them please!,


  • nikhil manek
    Aug 16, 2013 - 6:02PM

    @ author. you are right security situation in pakistan is very bad. do you think, pakistan govt. can bring this non actors under control, so that they dont attack india?


  • gp65
    Aug 16, 2013 - 7:56PM

    @Author: Sir your PM’s statements are definitely appreciated. Also you have a long personal history of being against war, so while I cannot speak for Mansi, I would never challenge your personal credentials and I have deep respect for you. I do happen to disagree with part of your analysis tis week. I have written a post earlier and would try to build upon your response to Mansi. Stay safe Sir and may your tribe increase.

    The unfortunate reality is that your PM does not have control over the Pakistan army and the so called non-state-actors. I say so-calld because when HAfiz Saeed who openly gives hate speech against Inida is provided state protection as was Dawood Ibrahim until very recently – it lacks credibiity when Pakistan tries to wash its hands saying these are non-state actors.

    Unless you think that beheading of the Indian soldier was an insider job, India has a right to blame Pakistan. If it wasn’t Pakistan army, it was one of their strategic assets who are openly allowed to collect funds and hides despite being ostensibly banned.Recommend

  • Ashvinn
    Aug 16, 2013 - 8:15PM

    Awesome bless you may your tribe grow


  • Last Word
    Aug 16, 2013 - 10:38PM

    Sir, I am thoroughly disappointed with your comments regarding beheading of Indian soldier and five soldiers killed well inside Indian territory which you conveniently failed to mention in your write up. India is certainly not indulging in any blame game but years of cross border violations along with committing of such heinous crimes is bound to lead to serious flare up of hostilities between the two countries soon.


  • Non State Actor
    Aug 16, 2013 - 11:16PM

    @Author: I did not explain ‘alleged’ fully: I am not questioning the fact that an Indian soldier was unfortunately killed: only that his ‘beheading’ cannot be put on Pakistan’s ARMY without evidence, that is all.
    Dear Author, I have read your articles on ET for many years now and I see you as the one of the rare voices of reason and pragmatism in Pakistan.
    I would like you to reverse the situation and imagine how if it would be if the shoe were on the other foot. If a Pakistani soldier was beheaded similarly on the Pakistani side of the LOC, would you be satisfied if the Indian government and the Indian Army simply asked the Pakistanis to provide proof that the Indian Army was involved. Would India be able to brush that off by saying that non state actors were involved?
    Even if Pakistan were to accept this ludicrous explanation, the international community would laugh as us and ask us whether we have any sovereignty over our own land.
    I know as an author that it is wrong for Indians to expect action from you as you retired from the Pakistan Army some time ago and as a result some of the comments may seem misdirected. However I hope you go through the comments before mine and understand the undercurrent of the Mumbai attacks in them. The Mumbai attacks finally succeeded in turning the Indian populace against Pakistan, something which 4 wars hadn’t achieved. Subsequent skirmishes have only tended to add fuel to the fire.
    Please bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks. I have no doubt that India and its citizens will reciprocate positively to this development.


  • Lala Gee
    Aug 16, 2013 - 11:37PM


    Just laughing out loud. How dare you write something that goes against India, does not matter how true or euphemistically put. I apologize, on your behalf, to your Indian fans for deeply hurting their feelings and ego. Next time, you must write something that portrays Pakistan bad in order to compensate and console our Indian friends.


  • truthbetold
    Aug 16, 2013 - 11:58PM


    “..only that his ‘beheading’ cannot be put on Pakistan’s ARMY without evidence, that is all. Please remember that our Naik who was killed by Indian firing on the same day was also a human being with a wife and kids just like the Indian jawan.”

    Kamran Sahib, I am a big admirer of your balanced and unbiased views and articles. However, on this statement of yours, how can you call for evidence for the beheading of the Indian soldier, but believe, without evidence that the Indians killed Naik? I am not saying that Indians did not kill Naik, but just want to point out the contradiction in your statement.


  • Gaga Lee
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:18AM

    @Lala Gee

    Are you alright? I’m asking since there is no mention of Sikim, Goa, LTTE, Timbuktoo, Junagad, Hyderabad and Rwanda in your post.


  • Asif Butt
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:19AM


    Its time to get fed up of all this 26/11 scenario.

    Lets forget about peace or Kashmir or ties or watever.

    Lets just dig into this 26/11 problem.

    I think Indian government should focus and allow EVERY ASSUSTANCE that Pakistani government wants to COMPLETE the investigation from a Pakistani point of view.
    And in the end both should also agree to possibly a UN based enquiry commission as well.

    I am a Pakistani and I am starting to feel that this 26/11 issue is worse than any war that we had or even the Kashmir nuisance.

    It is important for both you Indians and us Pakistanis to ATLEAST FAKE A PEACE PROCESS to let this investigation complete and then let some international neutral and legitimate body help consolidate on the findings.


  • Gp65
    Aug 17, 2013 - 7:22AM

    @Asif Butt:
    Sir you mean well. The entire episode was planned in Pakistan, so naturally the bulk of investigation needs to happen in Pakistan not India. Whatever proof India had – be it phone transcripts, voice recordings, transcripts of Kasab’s county proceedings, information gathered through US prosecution of David Headley aka Daood Gilani. Further investigation and follow up on all this can only be in Pakistan where the crime was planned. How can it be in India?

    When Samjhauta express occurred, did India come to Pakistan and ask for proof? No Indian police investigated the issue and the alleged planners are cooling their heels In jail.Recommend

  • Lala Gee
    Aug 17, 2013 - 12:46PM


    “The entire episode was planned in Pakistan, so naturally the bulk of investigation needs to happen in Pakistan not India.”

    You always amazes me with your logical and reasoning prowess. The crime happened in India, the only surviving culprit was in Indian custody, and you’re asking Pakistani investigators not to visit the actual crime scene or interrogate the only surviving witness against the accused planners. Can you ask the same to FBI or Scotland Yard to do the same and confine their investigations only to the planning place and then prove their case in a court of law and then also expect from the court to hand over the convictions according to your wishes. What was the need then for USA to offer US$ 10 million reward for providing sound information against the accused planners that would lead to conviction in a court of law, if India had sufficient proofs of their involvement. Why India refused to allow the visiting Pakistani Judicial Commission and the lawyers of the accused to give access to and cross examine the only surviving witness, Ajmal Kasab, if India really serious in punishing the accused planners, and there was nothing sinister to hide.


  • Lala Gee
    Aug 17, 2013 - 1:51PM

    @Gaga Lee:

    “Are you alright?”

    I am alright. How are you now? And how was your last visit to …..?


  • Sharon Avasti
    Aug 20, 2013 - 7:15AM

    @Amjed Jaaved:
    Sir, are you now suggesting that the citizens of this country resort to protecting themselves, and it is not the responsibility of an elected government to keep its citizens safe from extremists, and terrorists who kill and maim it’s citizens?

    Fine country you have there!


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