Trust Pakistan ?

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari answered several questions at the last week’s (22nd November 08)  HT Leadership Summit in the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi. I couldn’t beleive that a President of Pakistan could be so friendly and candid. Unlike the previous President Musharaf, President  Zardari’s answers seemed to come from his heart. He was quite candid on difficult questions and I felt that even Mr. Karan Thapar who was moderating was a bit taken by surprise. It seemed that this President of Pakistan wanted peace with India at a time when his nation has been going around the world with a begging bowl to prevent its economic wheel from coming to a grinding halt.  A lot of us left the Durbar Hall a bit confused whether to count on  this man who was sort of gently pushing his trusting approach on the select audience which included business & polical leaders and the fourth estate.

As I was driving back home that night, I had this lurking fear that behind President Zardari’s friendly dialogue was perhaps a sinister design or worse still a genuine aspiration that he can never ever deliver because he is not in control in Pakistan. How can we trust this neighbour who has been

  • providing shelter to many of the underworld dons
  • harbouring deadly terrorist organisations
  • fostering training camps for hardening innocent & young people to become mindless mercenaries
  • Exporting terror to the rest of the world

The former President Musharaf once remarked that the bomb blasts that killed 200 poeple in Mumbai on 11 July 2006  were by “freelance terrorists”. When the question of certain groups being allowed to run terror outfits was asked, his answer was ” “One has to see what is the evidence against them…There are legal compulsions”. New Delhi has repeatedly asked Pakistan to ban the Jamaat-ud-Dawa as it is a resurrection  of the banned terror outfit well as  demanded the arrest of the JuD leader Hafiz Mohammed Saeed. Nothing was done.

Now with the assault on Mumbai that has shaken this country with the death of hundreds of civilians, brave policemen and national security guards, the President of Pakistan is once again on our television channels assuring us that once they see what evidence is against them, he will act. He is now parroting General Musharaf who in 2006 said “One has to see what is the evidence against them…There are legal compulsions”.

Now take a look at the number of attacks on India in the last 5 years ( all during the present government).

26 November 2008 : Mumbai Attacked
More than 200 people from different nations killed. Hundreds injured. Symbols of progress, & achievements destroyed by terrorists alleged to be from Pakistan.
30 October 2008 : Gawahati Bombed
70 innocents killed. Many injured. Eleven bombs ripped through the city
13 September 2008 : New Delhi Bombed
Heart of New Delhi terrorised killing 20 innocent people. 5 bombs exploded. Many bombs defused
26 July 2008 : Ahmedabad bombed
45 people killed. More than 150 peple seriously wounded
25 July 2008 : Bangalore Bombed
Small intensity bombs kill a woman wounding about 20 people
13 May 2008 : Jaipur Attacked
Seven bombs kill more than 60 innocent lives in crowded markets
25 August 2007 : Hyderabad Bombed Again
Amusement Park & Street stalls attacked killing 40 people.
18 May 2007 : Hyderabad Mosque attacked
11 worshippers killed leading to communal violence
19 February 2007 : Train from India to Pakistan Bombed
Killing more than 60 passengers
11 July 2006 : Mumbai Trains Bombed
About 200 people killed. Seven bomb explosions in trains & railway stations
07 March 2006 : Varanasi Bombed
Atleast 15 lives are lost wounding more than 50 people in this pilgrim city
29 October 2005 : New Delhi Markets Bombed
Three powerful bombs slaughter more than 60 shoppers.
15 Augsut 2004 : Assam Bombing
Ruthless killing of more than 10 school children
25 August 2003 : Mumbai – Car Bombs explode
Killing more than 60 innocent people

This list does not include the major attacks on the Parliament in 2001, then the1993 Mumbai carnage and not to speak of the Kargill war. What are these but wars inflicted on us. Wars are no more  just to annex a nation or claim a territory. If innocent people are killed with impunity by forces from outside the country, what are we doing as a soverign democratic nation? Open the Wagah Border, run friendly buses & trains, play cricket, export bollywood films and invite the toothless Pakistani President for a dialogue?


3 thoughts on “Trust Pakistan ?

  1. VVR,

    I think the issues in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Indonesia may be similar. Governments in most countries do not need a heavy hand to control extremists, but need to be vigilant.

    In the countries above, the extremists can rehearse and practice their evil intents easily – no matter what the Government may do.

    Of course, a blind eye may be turned, or there may be undercover funding and even passive encouragement through Mushie’s delightfully phrased “legal compulsions” – I assume he is referring to Kashmir.

    So, we need to flush out and eliminate the root cause.

    Indonesia is interesting, as they have executed three Bali bombers – yet they openly turn a blind eye to Jemah Ismalia and the acolytes of Abu Bakar Bashir, who openly aspire to terrorism and jihad.

  2. Dear Ranga,

    We are only echoing our thoughts which are a product of our vision through one prism; what if we were to look at it from the point of view of the other people involved –

    1) The Politician – I don’t care about these people who are pouring scorn over me now, they don’t vote for me (or vote, period); thank god the terrorists did not choose a slum to bomb, that would have really landed me in trouble. In any case, let the so-called intelligentsia fulminate for a while and we will give them the Shivraj Patils and Vilasrao Dehmukhs as bait. I am secure till everyone decides to exercise their franchise. But thankfully this may not happen in my lifetime.

    2) The Terrorist – I have been told by the people that I trust that we have been victims of atrocities all through history, now is the time to correct it, show our anguish and get more of our ilk to show their angst. We will emerge out of this stronger and we will be loved by our God and countrymen and all others who are secretly supporting us.

    3) The USA – we will continue to criticize strongly all terrorist attempts and make the usual placatory remarks about how our heart goes out the grieving public in India and the families who have lost loved ones. We will also throw in a few gratuitous remarks about the spirit of Mumbai and how we will overcome. But damned if we are going to give up on Pakistan, our only hope of fighting terror.

    4) Pakistan – I have no control over these Frankensteins. I can’t tell them what to do. I am bleeding economically, now they have really landed me in a soup. I will play my trump card and keep the USA on my side by threatening to move my troops to combat the possible threat from India.

    Personally, there is no solution to this unless we separate politics and religion from our debate on terrorism. One or the other keeps us from getting to the root of the problem, which is years of suppression, deprivation and segregation of a large number of minority population all over the world. Now is the time for healing, for love and compassion. For reaching out. If we don’t do this, we will continue to fuel the feeling of apartheid and resentment. Of course, we have to deal with terrorism with a firm hand and not look to others for approval or be fearful of their disapproval. Both have to go hand-in-hand. If both the perpetrator and the victim feel victimized, there is no solution. There has to be a recognition of the other’s point-of-view and a solution will emerge which will be long-lasting.

    Rgds, Ram

  3. “If innocent people are killed with impunity by forces from outside the country, what are we doing as a sovereign democratic nation?”

    Add to that “secular”, and you’ve got the answer – not enough. The government looks at a war on terror as a war against Muslims. They are reluctant to take drastic measures for this reason, especially a party like the Congress.

    I’m flabbergasted by how the Pakistani government seems to live in some deluded fantasy world where they rule the country when it’s pretty clear that they have no control. Either they’re very good at pretending or they honestly don’t have a clue. I presume it’s the former.

    Like Shashi Tharoor said – we are a state with an army while Pakistan is an army with a state. Another retired general also commented – “We are in a unique position because we have to save Pakistan from its army”.. We can’t possibly rely on the government to do anything there.

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