The Pakistan situation


by Rumbold
28th April, 2009 at 7:04 pm    

Quite a bit has been happening in Pakistan recently. We’ve had Taliban advances to within 100km of Islamabad (though they then abandoned that position), the increasing adoption of Sharia law in various parts of the country, and renewed contempt for a government that seems incapable of dealing with this threat. Oh, and don’t forget an economy hit by the world recession (though not as badly as one might think), widespread corruption and heightened tensions with India. However bad the government has been though, I am not sure whether any power could solve these problems easily.

(Hat-Tip: Jai)


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  1. Bert Rustle — on 28th April, 2009 at 8:05 pm  

    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/print/200905/kaplan-pakistan

    Pakistan’s Fatal Shore

    With its “Islamic” nuclear bomb, Taliban- and al-Qaeda-infested borderlands, dysfunctional cities, and feuding ethnic groups, Pakistan may well be the world’s most dangerous country, a nuclear Yugoslavia-in-the-making. One key to its fate is the future of Gwadar, a strategic port whose development will either unlock the riches of Central Asia, or plunge Pakistan into a savage, and potentially terminal, civil war.

    by Robert D. Kaplan

  2. Naadir Jeewa — on 28th April, 2009 at 8:34 pm  

    Great, trust Kaplan to say that.

    Juan Cole has a more nuanced approach:

    “In answer to some comments below. First of all, the Pakistani military is not “unable” to stop the Taliban in the North-West Frontier Province. The Zardari government is just not desirous of alienating the Pushtuns by being heavy-handed. They only sent in 250 special ops troops to deal with Buner, which is a very light touch for an army with lots of artillery, tanks and fighter jets.

    Pakistan now is not like Russia in 1917. Its two main political parties are of old standing, have contested many elections, have millions of supporters and canvassers. The main threat to the PPP government is parliamentary– that it will be unseated by the Muslim League if it fails a vote of no contest and there are new elections.

    All the military coups in Pakistan have been made from the top by the army chief of staff. Therefore Gen. Ashfaq Kayani is the man to watch. He was Benazir Bhutto’s army secretary and has ties to the Pakistan People’s Party. Not a Talib.

    The hype about Pakistan is very sinister and mysterious and makes no sense to someone who actually knows the country.”

  3. Huma Imtiaz — on 29th April, 2009 at 5:53 am  

    Mohammad Hanif [author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes] describes the current situation in Mingora, Swat for the Washington Post here, an extract below:

    “Mingora is not a backwater, not part of the Wild West that foreign journalists invoke whenever they talk about the Taliban. It’s bursting with aspiration; it has law schools, a medical college, a nurses’ training institute. There is even a heritage museum. Yet when peace arrived on Feb. 16, all the women vanished. They were not in the streets or in the offices, not even in the bazaar, which sells nothing but fabric, bags, shoes and fashion accessories.

    The music market vanished, too. All 400 shops. The owner of one had converted it into a kebab joint. “This is sharia,” he spat at his grill, which hissed with more smoke than fire. Across from his stand, a barber had hung the obligatory “No un-Islamic haircuts, no shaves” sign and was taking an early morning nap, his face covered with a newspaper.

    This, I was told, was the price of peace”

    Also, even if General Kayani isnt a pro-Taliban supporter, there is no knowing how much support the Taliban actually has within the Pakistan Army [considering they were one of the surrogate parents of the Afghan mujahideen]. The current government seems to have proved that it does not have the willpower to implement reforms that will actually help the region more than a full-fledged army operation.

  4. platinum786 — on 29th April, 2009 at 9:33 am  

    I’m quitely optomistic. The militants appear to have shot themselves in the foot. A few key things have occured.

    The Nizam-adl Redgulation (NAR) was signed with the TNSM who had been fighting the government in the Swat area, to get this regulation bought in. In recent years they have made allies with elements such as the TTP and Baitullah Mehsud, who have also adopted the “shariah” lingo to win local support in areas they couldn’t force the locals to obey. The TNSM when noticing the anti state activity of these elements, and the terrorism etc, took an opertunity, they agreed peace with the government, offered them peace in the region by “reigning in” the other militant groups, in exchange for the NAR.

    The government forced through the NAR, some walked out, a few brave voices spoke out, but essentially they gave into black mail.

    However, the arrogance of these militant groups knows no bounds. After feeling they have taken on central government and won, they declared that the Supreme court of Pakistan was unislamic, as was the high courts, and the rest of the judical process and nobody could appeal to them. This invoked the anger of the lawyers movement, a movement who through people power and democratic means have shaken the very same government to the core.

    They went on to declare the constitution of Pakistan unislamic and democracy Unislamic, (the best bit is that Sufi Muhammad in the 60′s contested elections himself, but I suppose old age does these things to your memory). That got the politicans rattled, and those who had remained silent, even the Islamist parties and the Imran Khan, a true enigma of Pakistani politics, all of them turned on the TNSM and declared them out of line.

    Weeks ago you guys might remember a very despressed me, saying that no action will be taken until the seats of pwoer are threatened by these people. Well It’s early days, but i feel the seats of power have been threated by those two statements, and by the fact they moved into and took Buner. The Taliban then “withdrew” from Buner, only for the military to intercept intelligence suggesting it was a strategic withdrawal in a bid to take it.

    So because of these actions, the TTP have threatened, government, all politicians and the political process, the judicary and their movement. That was civil society in a nut shell, all the elites, threatened.

    They had already caused great harm to the army and the sufi Muslims(who despite making up the majority of the population, have very little political movement), Shia Muslims and religious minorities in Pakistan. They tipped the edge i feel, and now a military operation is underway.

    It is early days and there have been operations in the past which have come and gone, and the militants have come and gone, but I have some confidence in the current one, the reasons being both political and military.

    Politically I have explained how they have crossed everyone, and now we have a united national voice against them, which we previously didn’t, even the Islamists can’t defend them, as they hold seats int he very parliament they reject as unislamic.

    Militarily there have been some tactics deployed which make me think, this is different to the other operations.

    In the past the Frontier Corp was used, an under equipped force, kept from the British era, who only exists to provide jobs more than anything. One of the reasons for this was that they were local people, and the tribals rejected the presence of non locals on their territory. Now they’ve tasted talibanization due to the failure of the previous military strategy, the tribals are more than happy to give the regular army, the one pointed at India, a try.

    Look at the pictures, they’re using artillery, they’re using tanks, the guys have got bullet proof vests, the airforce is backing them up, we’ve even had airborne devisions dropped behind enemy lines. The FC is still present within the ranks, as they know local people, they know local geography, but the speed of the operation and the effectiveness shows that the army is out of the barracks.

    However it’s too early to celebrate, despite big gains, the army faces a guerilla war. These guys will dissapear, be out of sight, the army will move out after a few weeks or months, the FC and the police will take back the job of policing, and the terrorists will probably come back with scuicide bombers and car bombs and murders in the night. the post operation strategy is more important than the operation right now.

    This is where our military is lacking. They’ve enver trained to hold land, to control a population, they’ve enver planned to keep parts of India for long, only at time of war to push forwards and take territory which will be used at a later time to negociate a ceasefire and retreat back to normal positions. This kind of Baghdad style or Northern Ireland style operation has never been done, and for those of you who read about this kind of stuff, you’ll know you need massive police presence and intelligence in these areas to win those wars.

  5. Jai — on 29th April, 2009 at 9:39 am  

    Rumbold, thanks for posting this article, mate.

    ***************************

    Some more links online relating to this topic:

    ‘ “Stop the Taliban now — or we will” — the US gets tough with Pakistan as terrorists move to within 60 miles of the capital’:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6168940.ece

    Quote: “In return for the imposition of sharia [Islamic law] in Swat, the Taliban agreed to disengage, disarm and stop menacing people. But it was from Swat last week that their fighters overran Buner with about 500 well-armed men under a hardline commander, Maulvi Khalil.

    As in Swat, once his forces had established themselves, Khalil began to impose the movement’s repressive rules on what had once been a peaceful valley. He ordered girls over seven to wear veils and directed men to keep their women inside and to grow beards. He banned music. In several villages the Taliban were snatching mobile phones on the pretext that they had musical ring tones or photos of women on them.

    The Taliban stole livestock, took vehicles belonging to government officials and ransacked the offices of some local nongovernment organisations. In a phone call, Khalil denied the Taliban were terrorists. He said: “We’ve raised the arms to spread the message of Allah. This is the responsibility of each and every Muslim.” But residents fear it is just a matter of time before their daughters are forced to marry Taliban commanders, a process that has begun already in Swat, along with public floggings.”

    ***********************************

    “Sixteen children have been killed in explosions in Pakistan over the weekend – 12 of them while playing with a football which contained a bomb.”:

    http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Football-Bomb-Kills-12-Children-In-Northern-Pakistan-While-Another-Four-Die-As-Grenade-Explodes/Article/200904415269416?lpos=World_News_Third_World_News_Article_Teaser_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_15269416_Football_Bomb_Kills_12_Children_In_Northern_Pakistan_While_Another_Four_Die_As_Grenade_Explodes

    Quote: “The blasts were in the northwest region where violence has increased as Taliban fighters extend their reach.

    The football explosion happened in a village in the mountains of Lower Dir. The children, five of them girls, found the ball as they were returning from school. Seven victims belonged to the same family.

    Pakistan’s Interior Ministry chief, Rehman Malik, blamed the Taliban saying: “The Taliban have exposed their real face by killing innocent children.”

    He said investigators would check whether the children were targeted because their families had refused to let the Taliban take them for training, including as suicide attackers.”

  6. Jai — on 29th April, 2009 at 9:41 am  

    More articles:

    “The Taliban in Pakistan have issued a direct challenge to the legitimacy of the Pakistani government, by declaring the country’s entire legal system “un-Islamic.” :

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/21/pakistan.taliban/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

    Quote: “”Let the judges and the lawyers go to Islamic university,” said Muslim Khan, a Taliban spokesman in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. “(After) they learn Islamic rules, Islamic regulation, they can continue to work.”

    In a telephone interview Tuesday with CNN, Khan demanded the imposition of Islamic sharia law all across the country. He also called for the creation of jaziya, an Islamic tax, to be levied on all non-Muslims in Pakistan. And Khan denounced any Pakistanis who disagreed with his interpretation of Islam, calling them “non-Muslims.”

    …..Speaking by telephone from the town of Mingora, Alam claimed Taliban militants have kidnapped, ransomed and even killed lawyers in recent months.

    “The only sane voice against the militants, the only sane voice against the criminals, is the lawyer community,” he said. “And this is why we have been declared by them, I mean the militants, liable to death.”

    …..During his interview, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan said that if his vision of an Islamic society is fulfilled in Pakistan, terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden will be welcome to travel and live openly here. “Sure, he’s a Muslim, he can go anywhere,” Khan said.

    Khan added that he would like to see sharia law implemented beyond Pakistan, even in America, a country he knows intimately. For four years, the Taliban spokesman lived in the United States, working as a painter near Boston.”

    ***********************************

    “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Pakistan is in danger of falling into terrorist hands because of failed government policies and called on Pakistani citizens and expatriates to voice more concern.”:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/22/clinton.pakistan/index.html

    Quote: “I think that we cannot underscore the seriousness of the existential threat posed to the state of Pakistan by continuing advances, now within hours of Islamabad, that are being made by a loosely confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state, a nuclear-armed state,” Clinton said in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday.

    “I don’t hear that kind of outrage and concern coming from enough people that would reverberate back within the highest echelons of the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan,” she added.”

    ******************************

    “Fareed Zakaria: ‘Spiraling chaos’ possible in Pakistan:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/22/zakaria.pakistan/index.html

    *******************************

    “Pakistani jets have begun launching airstrikes against Taliban targets within “Pakistan proper” “:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/28/pakistan.airstrikes/index.html?iref=topnews

    Quotes: “Fighter jets are pounding targets in Buner and Swat Valley in an effort to block the militants’ entry and exit points, he added.

    …..But he warned that a Pakistani military operation against what is sometimes perceived as “going after its own people” will not be an easy task for the government.

    “The military will go into the field and reclaim territory, but it’s not going to be pretty and it’s not going to be easy,” he said.

    …..He said that local residents have told Amnesty in recent months that Pakistani military operations have “destroyed houses, destroyed markets, without in any way impacting the Taliban.”

    “And that’s what really frightens people,” he said. “We’ve seen over 500,000 people are now registered as displaced from areas and most of those are people who are afraid of military operations.”

  7. Shamit — on 29th April, 2009 at 9:53 am  

    Pakistan is a dichotomy — one hand you have emergence of a strong educated civil society holidng the government to account and projecting soft power through authors, musicians and international bureaucrats serving in UN etc — and on the other hand you have the Taliban.

    I agree with Platinum on what he says about the extremists shooting themselves in the foot by over reaching — but it still says volumes about the Pakistani Government and the Army as well when a city was taken over just 100 Km away from Islamabad.

    The action that we have seen now against the Taliban is clearly coming as a result of US and other international pressure — and you have to wonder what the repursussions of that would be on the ground.

  8. Jai — on 29th April, 2009 at 10:08 am  

    The Taliban then “withdrew” from Buner, only for the military to intercept intelligence suggesting it was a strategic withdrawal in a bid to take it.

    This is discussed in further detail in an article from today’s Independent, which also includes extracts from phone taps of intercepted conversations between Taliban commanders (according to the Pakistani military):

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pakistan-takes-revenge-for-taliban-withdrawal-sham-1675821.html

  9. The Common Humanist — on 29th April, 2009 at 12:16 pm  

    Platinum,
    Thanks for the info in yr comment.

    V quick qu: Whats the FC?

    Cheers

    TCH

  10. platinum786 — on 29th April, 2009 at 2:20 pm  

    FC is Frontier Corp…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frontier_Corps

    The fact it exists is a sick joke, only around to provide employment to a region totally neglected for the last 50 years by the Pakistani government.

  11. fugstar — on 29th April, 2009 at 2:40 pm  

    7. but its also says volumes about international understanding of the geography of pakistan that 100km from islamabad is understood as ‘close’.

    Gandalf’s getting quite vexed, http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/ardeshir-cowasjee-the-price-of-moral-cowardice

  12. Jai — on 29th April, 2009 at 2:49 pm  

    7. but its also says volumes about international understanding of the geography of pakistan that 100km from islamabad is understood as ‘close’.

    Given the size of Pakistan, 100km is indeed “close” (particularly from the perspective of large countries such as the US and India, for example). Hell, 100km is less than the distance from London to Leicester, and the UK is far smaller than Pakistan is.

    **********************

    Another good article from CNN:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/26/pakistan.taliban.message/index.html

    Quotes:

    ” In radio broadcasts and sermons, Taliban militants have been promoting themselves as Islamic Robin Hoods, defending Pakistan’s rural poor from a ruling elite that they describe as corrupt and oppressive…..That message has been resonating throughout the Pakistani countryside, where the culture is deeply conservative and the people are desperately poor.

    …..”Its systematic. The Taliban move into an area, they use local existing resentments. They often go in with the guise of being Robin Hoods,” said Amnesty International representative Sam Zarifi. “They scare away some local thieves, they impose very, very quick justice, very harsh justice, and initially in some places they are even welcomed.”

    …..Sports star-turned-politician Imran Khan summed up his response to the Taliban in Pakistan by saying, “The poorer section of society is joining them…this is now developing into a battle between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots.’

    “What the Taliban are giving them is cheap — in fact, free — accessible justice at the village level,” he added. “This is what Pakistan should be doing for its own people.”

    But if farmer Babar Hussein has his way, Taliban justice would mean taking away freedoms from Pakistani women, like the right to have a driver’s license.

    “Women should not even come out of their houses. That’s against Islam” he said, while complaining about the un-Islamic fashions he saw women wearing in Islamabad.

    When Taliban militants overran Buner last week, they told women to stay indoors, warned men to stop shaving their beards, and threatened shopkeepers who sold movies and music.

    In Pakistan’s rural society, male strangers are not even supposed look at local women. And yet, some farmers enjoy blaring Bollywood music and even dancing on trailers full of hay, while driving their gaudily-decorated tractors.

    If the Taliban’s rural revolt succeeds, it could bring silence to the Pakistani countryside.”

  13. Jai — on 29th April, 2009 at 2:53 pm  

    …..and a view from the same website but taking a more skeptical stance about the danger that Pakistan currently faces:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/27/bergen.strategy/index.html#cnnSTCText

    Quotes:

    “Some media commentators have even warned that the populous, nuclear-armed state might fall into the hands of the religious zealots.

    This is hyperventilation. Pakistan has myriad problems — its economy is tanking; its political leadership is feckless; its military is not trained or equipped to fight a domestic insurgency; and the Taliban now can control the lives of millions of Pakistanis. But none of this means that Pakistan is in danger of becoming a failed state or that the religious militants are about to take over the country.

    …..A new Pakistan leader will have to emerge who has the courage to say something like the following: “I have a plan. It is a Pakistani plan and not an American plan. Our main enemy is no longer India; if we go to war again, we may well destroy each other with our nuclear weapons. Our new enemy is the militants claiming to act for Islam in our midst. They do not represent the Pakistan that our great founder, Ali Jinnah, envisioned; a country for Muslims living in peace, not an ideologically Islamist state. We will make no peace deals with the Taliban again. Every time we have done such a deal the Taliban have used it as a prelude to steal more of our land and impose their brutal rule on more of our citizens. We will task and train our military for an effective campaign against the militants, and we will wipe them off our lands.” “

  14. faisal — on 29th April, 2009 at 2:56 pm  

    This is from the Dawn article fugstar linked to:

    And where is ‘civil society’, where are the lawyers? They motor-marched for the independence of the judiciary. Why are they comatose when it comes to the imposition of a parallel judiciary by a supine parliament? The fearsome Muslim Khan of the Taliban may have threatened the lives of those who oppose the infamous Nizam-i-Adl, but there should be some, other than Ayaz Amir and the MQM, who can show a bit of spunk. The press, at least some portions of it, are doing their bit and speaking up and out. Where is everyone else? The army chief, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, went to the rescue of the government at Gujranwala in March, but now he and his army have succumbed to obscurantism.

    Calling Islamabad…Islamabad…Calling Islamabad…Islamabad…

  15. Jai — on 29th April, 2009 at 3:01 pm  

    The first article I linked to in #6 includes some quotes by Pakistani lawyers regarding the threats, kidnappings and murders that they’ve been subjected to at the hands of Taliban militants.

  16. Bert Rustle — on 29th April, 2009 at 5:06 pm  

    http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/204173/afghanistan_pakistan.pdf

    … The security situation in Afghanistan remains serious, particularly in the south and east. Insurgents are unable to defeat international forces directly, or Afghan forces where they have international support.

    But the insurgents’ switch to asymmetric attacks (against which international and Afghan forces can only provide the population with a certain degree of protection); their access to havens across the border in Pakistan; and the combination of poverty, lack of good governance, weak rule of law, lack of progress on reconciliation and social and economic development, and perception of widespread corruption, mean that the insurgency has not been delivered a decisive blow.

    The local population therefore lacks sufficient confidence actively to back the legitimate government against the insurgency. Without an improvement in security, particularly in the south and east, sustainable progress in Afghanistan will remain difficult; and what progress there has been so far will be put at risk – as will wider regional stability, and our own national security. …

    Discussed by Richard North at http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/04/escape-from-kiddies-korner.html

  17. qidniz — on 29th April, 2009 at 6:23 pm  

    Gandalf’s getting quite vexed

    Linking to a stinking rich kafir — how’s that for doubly damned! — on this blog? Sunny will be very disappointed in you. Tsk, tsk.

  18. platinum786 — on 29th April, 2009 at 6:43 pm  

    Faisal, whoever wrote that article is a bit out of date, The PML-Q questioned the terms of the deal when it got to the senate, the PML-N questioned it too, Ganja gave an interview to Newsweek. PTI have also condemned TNSM and Sufi Muhammad regarding his comments, as have the JI and even the Tableegi jamaat have come out to oppose sharia at gunpoint as they called it.

    We now have political consensus that they need to be tackled and can’t be dealt with, read this article by Pakistani ambassador to the US Haqqani;

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/Pakistan/09-haqqani-chides-us-media-for–panicked–coverage-szh–02

    Defending the peace deal in Swat, the Pakistan envoy likened it to the ‘Sunni awakening’ in Iraq: ‘The goal for this dialogue was two fold — first, to restore order and stability to the Swat Valley; and second, to wedge rational elements of the religiously conservative population away from terrorists and fanatics.

    ‘The model here was the successful pacification of Fallujah in Iraq, where agreements with more moderate elements broke them away from al Qaeda nihilists. The model worked so well in Fallujah that it is now being resurrected by the American and NATO troops in Afghanistan. The goal in Pakistan’s Swat Valley was the same.’

    Haqqani also re-affirmed Pakistan’s resolved to combat al Qaeda: ‘Let me be perfectly clear here: Pakistan’s civil and military leadership understands that al Qaeda and its allies are not potential negotiating partners. But, as the US did in Iraq, Pakistan sought to distinguish between reconcilable and irreconcilable elements within an expanding insurgency.’

    Regarding the India threat, I don’t think it’s quite gone yet. The government recently claimed India is supplying militants in Balouchistan, the grandson of the founder of the BLA who is a fugitive residing in Kabul recently asked India for support to help “liberate” Balouchistan. If I was the Indian intelligence agency i’d take this opertunity, they don’t stand to lose, it’s win-win for them.

    Can anyone ever prove it, no, intelligence agencies are too good at what they do for that. Nobody has ever proven the ISI have done anything, nobody has even proven the CIA has done anything, nobody has ever proven Mossad has done anything.

  19. comrade — on 29th April, 2009 at 6:56 pm  

    platinum786

    Just two questions.

    What persantage of people in Pakistan are of Islamic School that follow the Teleban form of Islam?

    Can the Teleban really over take Pakistan?

  20. thabet — on 29th April, 2009 at 8:18 pm  

    I’d recommend stuff by Chapati Mystery:
    http://www.chapatimystery.com/

  21. thabet — on 29th April, 2009 at 8:20 pm  
  22. Zak — on 29th April, 2009 at 9:30 pm  
  23. fug — on 29th April, 2009 at 10:02 pm  

    jai. mountains…topology. the capital was moved there from karachi because its more defensible, and not just from india.

    quizniz. his social background doesnt detract from his sagacity.

    platinum bismillah. its a weeek or so old. as pointed out by sunny or somebody ‘condemnothoning’ may be how folks here might approach social reform, but its not really an effective move in muslim countries. I think its because the chasm between formal and informal vernacular is so wide that translation becomes a problem.

    Imran Khan’s party has stuff to say about this.

    http://www.insaf.pk/News/tabid/60/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2211/Why-military-action-is-not-the-answer-Article-by-Dr-Shireen-Mazari.aspx

    I remember him at the tehelka summit last year giving quite an accesible reading of whats going on there.

    Its educative and not so sexed up as the western and eastern militarist/nosey buggerist approach, or the major national political eyewash.

  24. Naadir Jeewa — on 30th April, 2009 at 7:54 am  

    There’s some interesting arguments in (Scott, 1998), that basically the geography of some regions are such that they’re ungovernable by modern nation-states, inhabited as they are by fugitive populations who fled to the safety of regions where it’s hard to build up state infrastructure (such as the steppes) in order to avoid becoming subjects of the state.

    Northern Pakistan is one of those regions. Other parts of Pakistan, not so much.

    * J. C. Scott, Seeing like a state: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed (Yale University Press, 1998).

  25. platinum786 — on 30th April, 2009 at 8:10 am  

    Comrade: unfortunately it’s not as clear cut as what School of thought they follow. That just happens to be a side show. The religious ideology of these people is either Salafi/wahhabi, yet some members may also be Deobandi. Yet the Deobandi scholars have issued a fatwah against their actions, and Saudi Arabia is Salafi/wahhabi central and they’re involved in the war against terrorism. Their religious ideology is not to blame, their religious-political ideology is. They follow at the top the teachings of Sayyid Qutb, the guy who inspired Al Queda, however most of the rank and file, don’t need to be told of ideology, their educational level is not high enough to even grasp what an ideology is.

    As for can they take over Pakistan, never say never. 6 months ago if someone asked me could they threaten Islamabad, i’d have laughed, yet due to poor management of the crisis, they nearly did. all in all I’d say, they probably can’t win a war, but they certainly can cause a massive civil war that would last for years. There are regions of the country they could control easier than others.

    FUG: I read that article yesterday, and I somewhat agree with it. Defeating these people militarily is only about 10% of the solution, but even that cannot be done completely whilst the other 90% of the problem is tackled. Our current strategy is like plugging the sink, opening the tap and then trying to empty the sink of water using a cup.

    It’s no secret that the Taliban offer people jobs as militants. If those people had a financial future elsewhere, they might not be attracted towards militant money.

    It’s no secret that the Taliban use madarsas nationwide for recruitment of young boys to brainwash them and turn them into the next generation of terrorists. If those places are not closed AND the students put in alternative accomodation AND the students put through rehabilitation and councilling, you don’t get rid of this problem. Notice how I used the word “and” all of those things must be done as a minimum to remove the recruitment problem.

    We all know the Taliban pick up and use political issues. They offer themselves as an alternative, almost a revolution. Look how they hijacked the NAR issue in Swat. The issue has been around since the early 90′s. The government ignored it for nearly 20 years. The fact that people in Pakistan don’t get justice has been ignored since independence.

    The list is endless, thousands of mistakes have been made, and all of them need correcting, it’ll take decades, but if you tackel a few of the big ones, you can weaken the Taliban and end the threat they pose.

    As of yet they’ve even failed to figure out where they get weapons and money from.

  26. Jai — on 30th April, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    “Adrian Hamilton: Demonising Pakistan will not solve Afghanistan”:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/adrian-hamilton/adrian-hamilton-demonising-pakistan-will-not-solve-afghanistan-1676352.html

    Quote:

    “It’s gang up on Pakistan time.The US Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton, has declared it “poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world” and now Gordon Brown has joined the party, flying to Kabul and Islamabad to show that he too regards the two neighbours as one region and making that the centrepiece of his so-called “new” Afghan policy in the Commons yesterday. There was, he claimed, a “chain of terror” stretching from the mountainous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan to the capitals of the world.

    If this reminds you of the language of the Raj, when the North-West Frontier obsessed our administrators and took up a disproportionate part of our military resources, so it should. Just as the British failed to control the area in Victorian times, so we are back in the same exercise again, only this time we’re demanding that the Pakistanis act as the redcoats bringing order to the wild tribal lands. Now leave aside the question of whether this really does amount to a new strategy and whether Brown needed to use up his carbon allowance by flying for the day to the region. It’s his headlong rush to join up with the US Af-Pak approach, however, that is so worrying.

    In a geographic sense, of course he is right. You cannot divorce the insurgency in Afghanistan from the safe havens of Pakistan any more than you can divide the Pashtun tribes that straddle the border. If the Taliban have now been able to come back with such force in Afghanistan, it is because they can arm, equip and draw men from across the border. It is also true that, in terms of terror, the major part of activity here – three-quarters according to Brown – originates from this area.”

  27. Jai — on 30th April, 2009 at 11:09 am  

    This is quite a long article from BBC News but worth taking some time out to read through, as it discusses many of the issues Platinum786 has mentioned:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8016485.stm

    Quote:

    “The Taleban have now infiltrated western and southern Punjab province with the help of Punjabi extremist groups, the second largest city of Lahore and the southern port city of Karachi…..

    …..With the Taleban taking control of Buner district – although they have now said they will withdraw – and Dir as well as moving north to take over the Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan to China, there is the fear that Pakistan will soon reach a tipping point.

    With the Taleban having opened so many fronts, it will soon be impossible for the army to respond to the multiple threats it faces.

    The army’s rationale for doing nothing appears deeply irrational to many Pakistanis.

    The army still insists that India remains the major threat, so 80% of its forces are still aligned on the Indian border instead of defending the country against Taleban expansion.

    …..Meanwhile two of Pakistan’s closest allies, China and Saudi Arabia, have strongly indicated to the government that its continuing tolerance of the Taleban and al-Qaeda on its soil is endangering the national security of these two countries.

    With the entire international community now pointing out that the Taleban threat to Pakistan is dire, Islamabad finds itself diplomatically isolated as it continues to fail to respond.

    For the Americans and Nato the situation is quickly reaching a crisis point.

    With Washington sending 21,000 additional troops to southern Afghanistan, Nato sending another 5,000 to secure the Afghan elections in August and large numbers of Western civilian experts due to arrive to help rebuild the country, neither the US nor Nato can for long tolerate the stream of supplies and recruits that continue to pour into Afghanistan from Pakistan to support the Afghan Taleban offensive against Western forces.

    The Pakistani Taleban, even while continuing their penetration of central Pakistan, are also mobilising fresh recruits from all over the country to go help their Afghan Taleban brothers resist the newly arriving Western troops.

    For Pakistanis and the international community the refusal of either the government or the army to respond to its greatest threat since the country split apart with the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 reflects a chronic failure of leadership, will and commitment to the people of Pakistan.”

  28. Jai — on 30th April, 2009 at 11:27 am  

    ^^^PS. The BBC article above also includes a good selection of reader responses, including comments from a number of Pakistanis.

  29. qidniz — on 1st May, 2009 at 6:23 am  

    (Zak:) http://www.grandtrunkroad.com is good

    A splendid rant. Not that it will do any good, though.

  30. qidniz — on 1st May, 2009 at 8:26 am  

    PS. The BBC article above also includes a good selection of reader responses, including comments from a number of Pakistanis.

    I kind of liked this one:

    If we really want to get rid of the Taleban, we should invite the Chinese and Indian military in, give them a wide remit and let them use their own rules of engagement. It will not take long before the Taleban are no more. (Iqbal, Islamabad)

    Some outside-the-box thinking there, to make an ironic point.

    The Army is not the Police, and cannot be.

    For the Army to be tasked with defeating the Taliban, it has to be acknowledged first that Pakistan is in a state of civil war, that it indeed is a matter of killing kith and kin.

    However, it’s still possible, in theory at least, to see this as a law-and-order problem, something for the Police and civil authorities to tackle. And something where if it came to killing, it would be of criminals, not “enemies”. The reality, of course, is that 60 odd years of corruption and military rule have comprehensively destroyed the civilian infrastructure that otherwise could have had a chance.

    There is no Police worth the name, and using the Army has already proved futile. Look at what they did in Bajaur. They flattened towns and markets, and created refugees. All of the Taliban chieftains are still alive, and sitting pretty in their strongholds. The Army couldn’t even kill the few that they needed to.

    Pakistan has run out of options.

  31. platinum786 — on 1st May, 2009 at 8:44 am  

    Move to fight for women’s rights in Malakand

    ISLAMABAD: A female senator of the PML-Q plans to unite women parliamentarians so as to launch a collective move for the rights of women in the Malakand division.

    “I plan to get signatures from the lady members and start a combined effort for women’s rights in the troubled areas,” said Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar, who hails from Rawalpindi. She maintained that women representation be ensured in the proposed APC on the Swat issue.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=175234

  32. platinum786 — on 1st May, 2009 at 9:09 am  

    #31: Whoever wrote that comment is an obvious idiot. If any such move was made there would be civil war, even I’d go fight in that war.

    First and foremost the Indian state and the Indian army is no friend of Pakistan. Pakistani’s realise that, and no matter how often America or anyone else states the opposite and wish us to beleive them, it’s not going to happen. Anyone who thinks otherwise has as much credibility amongst Pakistani’s as Quillaum or Taj Hargey have amongst British Muslims.

    We’ve fought 3 full scale wars, 2 localised conflicts and have an ongoing issue in Kashmir which is the cornerstone of our relations. You can ignore it as much as you like, but it’s not going to go away. you can find Pakistani’s who will wound “around those issues” and “put them on ice” ten a penny, but that still does not give them credbility, and will only go to weaken support for those governments.

    FACT: Pakistan/India will never be resolved until Kashmir is resolved, as Pakistan/India is Kashmir, nothing less, nothing more.

    Secondly that idea is a total flop because the Chinese will not interfere in our internal affairs. They don’t project themselves as colonialists and they don’t act like them either. If anyone in this entire world is ever going to back Pakistan, it’s going to be the Chinese, and they’d never set foot on our soil. Why because it’s a violation of our soverignty, it’s like shagging your mates wife. Your not mates anymore after that.

    The US is unwilling to accept that, and in doing that have proven again, they are no friend of Pakistans. Be under no illusion, Pakistan is no friends of America either, it’s due to our own patheticness, that we need them, and it’s down to geography that they need us, the only difference is, they’ve played their card right yet again and are on top.

    This is what the French Ambassador had to say;

    QUETTA: The French Ambassador to Pakistan, Daniel Jouanneau, has said the drone attacks are unacceptable whether they are carried out in Pakistan or Afghanistan when the strikes kill innocent people.

    “Of course, these strikes fuel anti-Western and anti-US feelings in the region. “This is why we have given very strict instructions to our troops in Afghanistan to avoid at all costs civilian collateral damages,” said Jouanneau, while talking to journalists here the other day during his maiden visit here after assuming the ambassadorial job in Islamabad in July last.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=175229

    We’re all adults here, the simple fact of the matter is Pakistan and India and America and Pakistan do not get alond due to long standing issues between us all which we have not resolved. Those issues will not and cannot be resolved in the short term, but that does not mean we should not be professional.

    Pakistan and America have SOME shared interests in Afghanistan and against the taliban and Al Queda. India shares in SOME of those interests. On the same issue we have very different interests in other aspects of it.

    On the interests we share, it’s paramount for all our interests we work together to resolve them, and in the ones where we conflict, we must work together to get around them.

    In a nutshell none of us want Pakistan or Afghanistan to be controlled by Taliban or their allies or be an area where the Taliban or their allies can operate.

    Pakistan wants a government in Afghanistan which has at it’s heart Pukhtoon tribesmen who have clansmen in Pakistan (there are more pukthoons in Pakistan than Afghanistan), as we want an Afghan government which won’t be aggressive to us.

  33. platinum786 — on 1st May, 2009 at 9:20 am  

    Regarding the failure of the Pakistani state in terms of security in the region, spot on. Government after government has failed to provide any real structure or development to large areas of the country, add to the mix the klashnikov culture we got as a result of the societ war and we’re left with the mess we have today.

    The Pakistan army can win this war, in the same model the Sri Lankans have won their war, a big, ruthless, bloody mess. The army is not trained or equipped to fight a counter insurgency war, it’s a very different war to the war they have fought and have been trained to fight. Holding territory has never been part of a Paksitani war doctrine.

    The USA, the UK have huge wealths of experience in that, their armies are setup to fight that war, but they have as of yet failed to help Pakistan by providing them with the equipment and training required to fight that war.

    Watch the history channel sometimes, they have great documantaries on military tactics used in Iraq by the US army, see how much of the war is fought at night, how positions are taken, and attacks launched before the enemy can even wake up.

    Can’t do that without night vision goggles. The Pak armies never needed night vision goggles, the Indians don’t have them (as part of the standard kit) hence they won’t fight at night, so the Pakistani’s don’t feel the need to either, as the military is setup to try to Match the Indians, not better them, we don’t have the economic capability to do that.

    Some of you guys might be reading this and thinking he’s gone off on one, I haven’t. The simple matter is, nobody new 911 was going to happen, nobody expected the situation we are in today. The Pakistan army has only ever had one threat and has built itself around fighting that threat.

    Today it’s evident we have another threat and currently a more serious threat, but for anyone to say that India is NOT a threat to Pakistan is frankly patronising.

    All it takes is a BJP government needing votes and a terrorist attack in India for it to all of a sudden become a nuclear nightsmare, similar to the one post the Parliament attack (in Delhi) or even the Mumbai attack. Had Israel not invaded Gaza the Christmas crisis would have been the Pakistan-India standoff.

    Pakistan cannot ignore that reality either, similarly we can’t ignore the Taliban anymore either. However nobody should expect overnight results against them, it is going to be a long war.

  34. qidniz — on 1st May, 2009 at 9:36 am  

    #31: Whoever wrote that comment is an obvious idiot.

    Irony, sarcasm and humor are lost on Islamists. Sigh.

  35. platinum786 — on 1st May, 2009 at 10:11 am  

    Oooh mud slinging how unique.

  36. Jai — on 1st May, 2009 at 11:05 am  

    Irony, sarcasm and humor are lost on Islamists. Sigh.

    With all due respect Qidniz, Platinum786 isn’t an “Islamist” by any stretch of the imagination. He’s an admirer of historical figures such as Bulleh Shah (as am I) and Rumi, whose message and examples are completely anathema to real Islamists such as the Wahhabis and the really hardline Salafis (and the Taliban, of course).

    First and foremost the Indian state and the Indian army is no friend of Pakistan.

    Depends on what is meant by “the Indian state”. Do you mean the government or the general population ?

    As for the Indian military, well considering that they’ve had to deal with multiple wars of aggression from Pakistan during the past 60 years, you can’t blame them for having their reservations until the sabre-rattling and fixation with India stops completely.

    Even Barack Obama, normally fairly measured in his choice of words, publicly stated a few days ago that Pakistan needs to get over its obsession with India and the idea of the latter being its “implacable enemy”. Hilary Clinton, of course, has already been very outspoken during the past few weeks about the US administration’s increasing irritation and frustration about this matter.

    It’s like insisting that the family living directly across the street desires your destruction because you claim that their back garden belongs to you while, simultaneously, the psychopath in your spare bedroom has already taken over several other rooms in your house and is plotting to eject you from your own home.

    Secondly that idea is a total flop because the Chinese will not interfere in our internal affairs.

    Not necessarily. China is already making noises about the matter:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/8016485.stm

    Quote: “With the Taleban taking control of Buner district – although they have now said they will withdraw – and Dir as well as moving north to take over the Karakoram Highway that links Pakistan to China, there is the fear that Pakistan will soon reach a tipping point……Meanwhile two of Pakistan’s closest allies, China and Saudi Arabia, have strongly indicated to the government that its continuing tolerance of the Taleban and al-Qaeda on its soil is endangering the national security of these two countries.”

  37. Jai — on 1st May, 2009 at 11:16 am  

    They don’t project themselves as colonialists and they don’t act like them either.

    Chinese colonialism is exactly what has been going on in large parts of Africa, given their massive financial and industrial investment in that continent and the fact that they’ve been moving large numbers of Chinese people there to run these operations. And I doubt they’re necessarily upset about the financial investments in the US they’ve recently been involved with too; not to mention all the reports that have been recently circulating about global cyberwarfare originating from China.

    http://www.sagoodnews.co.za/newsletter_archive/china_in_africa_is_the_continent_being_re-colonised_.html

    http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=E1_RDRJSTJ

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8080804

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2006/01/china_and_afric.html

    If anyone in this entire world is ever going to back Pakistan, it’s going to be the Chinese, and they’d never set foot on our soil. Why because it’s a violation of our soverignty,

    Maybe, maybe not. It would be naive to take this for granted.

    And of course there’s the precedent of China’s aggressive war with India in 1962 resulting in the annexation of Tibet, and their continuing designs on Arunachal Pradesh, for example.

    In a nutshell none of us want Pakistan or Afghanistan to be controlled by Taliban or their allies or be an area where the Taliban or their allies can operate.

    There have been considerable clashes in Karachi during the last few days, with Urdu-speakers blaming Pathans/Pashtuns for what they perceive as the growing Talibanisation of the region.

    More encouragingly, there have also just been major protests in Lahore against the Taliban, involving hundreds of people. Apparently there was a similar demonstration in Islamabad a few days ago.

    The bottom line is that if the Taliban are not destroyed/ejected from Pakistani soil, and the influence of their interpretation of Islam eradicated from Pakistani society (incidentally, didn’t one of the clerics who was involved in the “Red Mosque” siege and was recently released publicly claim his support for the Taliban ?), this whole conflict is going to get really ugly. Really ugly. Not only because of civil war, but because of other players who will start stepping in due to self-interest and/or rationale driven by self-preservation.

  38. qidniz — on 1st May, 2009 at 11:25 am  

    With all due respect Qidniz, Platinum786 isn’t an “Islamist” by any stretch of the imagination.

    Oh, he is an Islamist all right, but probably not an “Islamist”, as you say…

    He’s an admirer of historical figures such as Bulleh Shah (as am I) and Rumi, whose message and examples are completely anathema to real Islamists such as the Wahhabis and the really hardline Salafis (and the Taliban, of course).

    … because there’s more to the “real” Islamist than a convenient caricature.

    But that’s a subject for another thread. Maybe. I’ll let the matter drop here.

  39. platinum786 — on 1st May, 2009 at 11:25 am  

    Jai, when I say state, i mean government and to an extent sometimes public opinion. However at the same time, the fact is that public opinion is only formed do to the perceptions they get about the other state and from the actions of their own state.

    Anyone who denies there will be some ill feeling between the population in general is being a bit silly in my opinion, but all in all, nobody hates anyone. If there was no Kashmir issue i see no real reason why Pakistan or India would have any beef at all. It’s nothing like Israel Palestine where there is deep seated resentment. The fact that the communties all in all get along alright in the UK or elsewhere in the world where we are together, just goes to show.

    I agree with how it looks;

    It’s like insisting that the family living directly across the street desires your destruction because you claim that their back garden belongs to you while, simultaneously, the psychopath in your spare bedroom has already taken over several other rooms in your house and is plotting to eject you from your own home.

    But at the same time, lets not forget that the guys from across the road have been kicking on the front door even in recent times, irregardless of who is at fault.

    Arguements about who is at fault for what can go on forever, however at the same time a balance must be struck and we have to look at ground realities.

    India and Pakistan do not trust each other. Their main issue is Kashmir, that is not going to be solved any time soon as Pakistan cannot force the solution it wants and India is willing to accept the status quo as it’s not losing too much from it. The international community don’t give a damn. Until that issue is resolved the trust building cannot happen, as there is always an underlying reason for aggression towards the other.

    HOWEVER, Pakistan in particular does face a unique challenge we’ve never faced before and it is relatively serious. It’s not the crisis the world makes out to be, but that scenario is not entirely unfeasible either, hence Pakistan has to split it’s efforts between the threats it percieves.

    A lot of the critisism on Pakistan is about “not doing enough”, not enough soldiers, not enough aggression, not enough this and that.

    I think that’s to an extent correct but not entirely correct.

    Yes more soldiers can help, but at the same time the much maligned “peace deal” has helped too. The Pakistani elite is not professional. nobody in Parliament has questioned the integrity or udnermined British troops during the Iraq conflict, yet in Pakistan high profile political parties in an effort for point scoring has done. They claimed diplomacy was never given a chance, now that diplomacy has had it’s arse kicked, it’s back to plan A with increased public and political support for the armed forces.

    A military solution alone will not win us this conflict, it never does, but you cannot use diplomacy from a position of weakness, as that is a recipe for disaster.

    In order to get to a position of strength the military must be used, but for it to be effective it needs equipment it lacks, like the ability to attack at night.

    Pakistan has to strike a balance, we can all agree on that, but the world has to do it’s bit to allow it to strike that balance, being overbearing will not help, as the countries we share interests with in this situation we don’t trust.

  40. fugstar — on 1st May, 2009 at 11:30 am  

    “Pakistan has run out of options.”

    I dont think so, they can always create new options especially because the militaristic approach to solving all problems is failing yet again.

    recognition of failure is a test of creativity.

  41. qidniz — on 1st May, 2009 at 11:56 am  

    A military solution alone will not win us this conflict, it never does, but you cannot use diplomacy from a position of weakness, as that is a recipe for disaster.

    Excellent observation. It’s not just getting the Taliban to talk. It’s also getting them to listen. Which will need some of their heads to be bashed in first.

  42. Jai — on 1st May, 2009 at 12:26 pm  

    Platinum786,

    Anyone who denies there will be some ill feeling between the population in general is being a bit silly in my opinion, but all in all, nobody hates anyone.

    Well that’s definitely true for Indians, since their priorities in recent years have been quite different. You get bigots in all populations everywhere in the world, and India is no exception, but on the whole there isn’t necessarily a rabid hatred of Pakistanis. I guess somewhat flippant examples include the huge popularity of several Pakistani singers, some of whom are also involved in well-known (and highly successful) Bollywood soundtracks; one of them — you know who I’m referring to — is even a judge on a high-profile singing contest on a major Indian satellite channel, and is treated with huge affection and respect by everyone involved. Some of these contests include participants from Pakistan, and in this particular case two of them are rapidly nearing the finishing line, predominantly due to votes from the public. Anecdotally, most Indians (both here and back in India) would much rather be friends than enemies with Pakistanis, and would support any moves which facilitate this (apart from handing over Indian Kashmir, of course).

    As for Kashmir, you’ve summarised the main points accurately so I don’t need to reiterate them in any detail here. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that not only did the citizens of the former royal state concerned not get a vote in which country they wished to join at the time of the subcontinent’s independence, but neither did the inhabitants of any of the other 600+ royal states in the subcontinent at the time.

    Incidentally, pro-India parties won the elections in Kashmir last autumn, which should give an indication of what the greater proportion of Indian Kashmiris actually want. The Pakistani government and the military should give this matter some serious consideration if they claim to genuinely be acting in the best interests of the population of Kashmiris on the “other side of the border” and have designs on that territory.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/12/28/indian.kashmir.vote/index.html

    Anyway, the “Kashmir question” is a little too off-topic (even though it’s indrectly related to the situation) so I don’t think this tangent should be extended much further.

    Suffice it to say that at the moment — and increasingly so — the “real threat” does not come from India, and unless there’s a massive amount of psychological and strategic refocusing within Pakistan’s government and military, the country risks descending into all-out civil war and potentially imploding completely while their backs are semi-turned. “Kashmir” will be the least of their problems, and when the dust settles and the flames finally subside, in the worst instance the events that may take place in the meantime could result in the situation of Kashmir and indeed the Pakistani state as a whole being very different indeed.

    The latter in particular is something well-meaning people both within and outside Pakistan would wish to prevent, because a Talibanised Pakistan is in nobody else’s best interests (assuming that there isn’t pre-emptive military action by outside forces if that outcome starts looking like a genuine possibility), and alternatively a breakup of the country will cause enormous bloodshed and chaos. Not to mention the subsequent unpredictability and instability for the whole of South Asia in both scenarios.

    I guess what’s needed is decisive military action towards the Taliban and its supporters, and simultaneously some way to effectively counteract the toxic influence of Pakistani “clerics” etc who support that interpretation of Islam.

  43. platinum786 — on 1st May, 2009 at 1:59 pm  

    I think the US government is beginning to understand that involvement in Pakistan directly is not helping the situation. Whether they will back up rhetoric with not carrying out drone attacks, is yet to be seen.

    Take a look at this;

    Chairman US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator John Kerry on Thursday has ruled out an option of sending US troops to Pakistan to assist the country’s offensive against Taliban.

    In an interview to Fox news Kerry stressed, that Islamabad would have to develop a “homegrown” policy to fight extremists, the United States, would help empower Pakistani forces and enhance the capabilities of its government to successfully fight out the extremist elements, which are posing a severe danger to the very existence of the country, he added.

    “It can’t be an American-driven policy. It can’t have an American imprint or footprint. This really has to be “homegrown” and that’s what we’re really working with Pakistanis to achieve,” Kerry told the told the Fox news in an interview.

    http://www.brecorder.com/latestindex.php?latest_id=9878

    As for Kashmir and elections. Lets be serious, Saddam won a lot of elections too, so did Mugabe. Pro India parties may well have won the elections, but the Anti India parties told people not to vote and did not take part in the elections. But Kashmir is another issue, one that has to be dealt with seperately but with equal importance. You could at this point argue that there was a turnout for the elections despite calls for a boycott, but you’ve got to also accept that anti India and pro freedom parties from a point of principle can’t be seen to be taking part in elections held by the Indian state and at the same time the people of Kashmir need to make the best of a bad situation.

  44. Jai — on 1st May, 2009 at 2:37 pm  

    but the Anti India parties told people not to vote and did not take part in the elections…..but you’ve got to also accept that anti India and pro freedom parties from a point of principle can’t be seen to be taking part in elections held by the Indian state

    In which case, it’s a self-destructive, self-defeating “principle”, and one which results in the deliberate creation of a no-win scenario. It’s the equivalent of Democrats and other disillusioned groups/individuals hypothetically refusing to vote in the US elections last year even though doing so would have potentially changed the existing unsatisfactory situation and removed the Republicans and the Bush administration from power (the latter, of course, is exactly what happened in reality).

    Anyway, back to the main topic:

    Chairman US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator John Kerry on Thursday has ruled out an option of sending US troops to Pakistan to assist the country’s offensive against Taliban…..“It can’t be an American-driven policy. It can’t have an American imprint or footprint. This really has to be “homegrown” and that’s what we’re really working with Pakistanis to achieve,” Kerry told the told the Fox news in an interview.

    Apparently the US had threatened to “do the job for them” if the Pakistani government & military hadn’t been more proactive and assertive in response to the Taliban’s increasing boldness in the country — hence the recent increase in Pakistan’s counterattacks against the Taliban : http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6168940.ece

    Also, the US’s “hands-off” approach would probably change if the Taliban ended up being close to genuinely threatening the current Pakistani administration’s control of the country, especially if Pakistan’s nukes were in danger of falling into their hands. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

  45. Bert Rustle — on 1st May, 2009 at 5:51 pm  

    The following may be of interest:

    Unreported World

    Friday 01 May
    7:35pm – 8:00pm
    Channel 4
    8/9 – Afghanistan: Siege City

    Reporter Peter Oborne and director Alex Nott travel to the Afghan capital Kabul to reveal a city in chaos and plagued with violence. With the Taliban seemingly resurgent and bombings, kidnappings and shootings on the increase, the documentary looks at what life is like for ordinary citizens caught up in the crossfire.

    VIDEO Plus+: 607975

  46. qidniz — on 5th May, 2009 at 8:51 am  

    Breaking news: Things may be coming unstuck…

  47. Shamit — on 5th May, 2009 at 10:48 am  

    ..but the Anti India parties told people not to vote and did not take part in the elections…..but you’ve got to also accept that anti India and pro freedom parties from a point of principle can’t be seen to be taking part in elections held by the Indian state”

    I think its about being relevant. Hurriyat’s problem is its one issue politics which while relevant does not address the day to day issues. The kashmiri public went to vote in the Assembly elections to get public services and opportunities. And the turnout was big. That after a call for ban by the Hurriyat.

    Sajjad Lone’s stance now to run for a seat in the Indian Parliament is a lot similar to you could say Gerry Adams being in the UK parliament. He still stands by his goal of independence for Kashmir and he wants to make his case in the Parliament while also trying to deliver public projects and services to his constituents. May be Hurriyat has a thing or two to learn from Sajjad.

    Now going back to the main topic:

    Platinum – you have argued that there is a threat from India. But if you think through that argument – - why would India pose a threat to Pakistan? India would be very happy to convert the LOC into the final border and get on with it.

    And, it is in India’s best interest to see a stable democratic Pakistan where the security services don’t start another Kargil.

    Having a power vaccum in nuclear armed Pakistan is not good at all — and what India would not in any shape way or form is Taliban taking over Pakistan.

    So where is the threat — this “mortal threat” from India is such a load of bollocks. China – India there is a threat level that is associated with two largest powers in any geographic location. And, both have superpower ambitions.

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