No conspiracy theories, please

What the Indian cables reveal will reverberate for a long time in Pakistan.

Zafar Hilaly December 09, 2010

Talking to Time Magazine on July 28, 1958, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt confessed: “I have been a conspirator for so long that I mistrust all around me.” Were they equally candid our legion of conspirators would probably agree. Hence they dismissed the WikiLeaks exposures as a ‘CIA conspiracy.’ They did it with such aplomb and so quickly after the Pakistani leaks surfaced that it seemed they had proof.

In fact, they were trying to shield those who had blabbed irresponsibly to the American envoy in the certitude that their outpourings would never see the light of day. Well, it did and their credibility has been further dented. They should have emulated their supreme commander whose put-down of the insult King Abdullah hurled at him was masterly. In their case, too, a simple, ‘well, that is what she thought she heard’ would have sufficed. Their explanation was implausible to say the least. Clearly, some ‘new thought’ machinery is required in Rawalpindi.

Ironically, if the cables are a concoction, as our conspiracy theorists aver, then, logically the latest disclosures about Indian brutalities against Muslims that the cables from the American Embassy in New Delhi reveal, would also be false. In fact, the horrors perpetrated on Muslims by the Indian Army led by generals, in the mould of the war criminal Milosevic, are precisely what our intelligence reports relay. Are we then lying to ourselves?

Far from promoting the American cause, US embassy cables reveal that the US had in their possession solid information about the Indian Army atrocities against Muslims; the nexus between Indian generals and Hindu terrorist/extremist outfits like Shiv Sena, Sang Parivaar, Hindutva Brotherhood; the assassination of Hemant Kekare, an honest Indian policeman, by the Indian army in a pre-planned ambush in Bombay for exposing the involvement of an Indian army colonel in the Samjhota Express attack of 2007 and much else. One cable reports the prescient, albeit, pathetic pleas of Hemant Harkare for American protection, lest he be eliminated by the Indian establishment.

Notwithstanding urgings from its own diplomats in New Delhi, that Washington alert the UN to the genocide of innocent Muslims in Kashmir — Washington did nothing. Or, rather it did, Obama came to Delhi, grovelled for Indian support against China; announced support for Indian membership of the UNSC; opened up America’s armoury for weapon purchases by India and promised dollops of enriched uranium for Indian nuclear reactors to free up indigenous production for more nuclear weapons. Not content, he praised India for the great democracy that she was and warned Pakistan against harbouring terrorists. Not bad for a country which, according to its own embassy, said that while terrorist groups were found in Pakistan, this was far less compared to what India had on its own territory.

The little that has so far been revealed has shown America in not too good a light. It reveals the sordid values that underlie American policy and the fact that American self-interest speaks all sorts of tongues and plays all sorts of devilish roles. An American WASP (white Anglo-Saxon protestant), we may have guessed, was capable of such antics, but Obama? The liberal, half-Kikuyu with a Muslim father? It beggars the imagination.

What the Indian cables revealed will reverberate for a long time in Pakistan. They will probably remove the last vestige of trust in America and the hope of a semblance of balance in its policy when it comes to India and Pakistan. The fact that America knew and did nothing, because it must have approved of the Karzai-India collusion to sow disaffection in Waziristan and Balochistan, will effectively put to rest any possibility of reconciliation between Islamabad and a Kabul under Karzai; and, of course, anything like a rapprochement with India. And still our conspiracy-minded theorists will go on prattling that WikiLeaks was a CIA conspiracy.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2010.

Update: December 10, 2010

Dear Sir,

I was deeply disappointed with your paper and myself for being taken for a ride by what, on second thoughts, should have been seen as an obvious piece of dis-information. I refer of course to the fake WikiLeak documents purporting to be cables from the American Embassy in New Delhi published in your paper's issue of 9th December. Although, it seems, that the Tribune and I were not the only ones to have been so duped there is no gain saying the fact that better and more intrusive investigation may have revealed them to have been fake. To that extent we were both remiss.

As the article bearing my name in today's issue of the Tribune was prompted entirely by what these fake cables contained and which now turn out to have been palpably false I would like you to publish this retraction and to convey to your readers my unreserved apologies.

Your's faithfully,

Zafar Hilaly


harkol | 10 years ago | Reply Srinath: A person pretending to be sleeping, can never be woken up.
M.Srinath | 10 years ago | Reply To be fair, Mr Hilaly comes across as a relatively liberal and forward-looking analyst at least by Pakistan standards. He clearly does not belong to the class of Ahmed Rashid, Ayaz Amir, Irfan Ahmed, Ayesha Siddiqa or Kamran Shafiq. I was mildly surprised to see him fall hook, line and sinker for a story concocted by a bunch of imbeciles. His expression of regret is a measure of his intellectual honesty and hence this piece may be deemed as an aberration. Also, the last word on wikileaks is yet to be pronounced.
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