Can we change our ‘hate-India’ mindset?

Discussion in 'China' started by ajtr, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Can we change our ‘hate-India’ mindset?


    Pakistan has been in the throes of a rumoured reconstitution of the government under the army’s patronage, similar to what Bangladesh enacted in a hybrid judicial-technocrat government. Planned as a clean-up therapy to bring some sense to the alternatively vindictive policies of both Hasina Wajed and Khaleda Zia, it additionally aimed at weeding out the corrupt.
    The Bangladesh army did a couple of things better: one, they did not directly take over power, and two, while cleaning the corrupt from the system, carried out a thorough census and instituted a strong and independent Election Commission. The Election Commission’s insularity from any external influence was so explicitly manifested that Khaleda Zia initially boycotted the elections for a clear failure to be able to manipulate the commission for favour. We in Pakistan got involved in some other acts, chief were the infamous NRO condoning corruption and a blatant misstep to neuter the judiciary.
    Since elections in 2008 and the return of Hasina Wajid under a relatively cleansed dispensation, the Bangladesh model has undergone some even more significant variations, perhaps a Bangladesh Model II. It is worth a look.
    Under Ms Wajid, Bangladesh enacted an act to declare the country secular. This has separated the clergy from all matters of governance, political interference and issuing fatwas in matters of personal life. Next, a revolution of sorts has come about with the Grameen experience. Ordinary rural women have been empowered by small loans and guidance to invest in garment manufacturing and this has helped unshackle them from the religious straitjacket and presumed male domination. And, the fact is that these women are the real force behind the rise of Bangladesh’s garment industry. They have chosen to educate their daughters at the same level as their sons and also have smaller families. Importantly, the mullah’s ability to interfere in their belief system has been curtailed by the state.
    Bangladesh today is the world’s fourth highest exporter of garments — at $12 billion a year (this for a country that grows no cotton!). Investors and entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan and Sri Lanka, are shifting their manufacturing plants to Bangladesh. Under Hasina Wajid, the economy has been averaging annual GDP growth of six per cent for the past three years. Bangladesh has near universal literacy and is far ahead of other South Asian nations in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Around a million Bangladeshis leave their shores every year for employment in foreign countries and contribute over $10 billion a year in remittances. In another innovation, the central tax authorities held two fairs to enable citizens to join the income tax payment scheme. What happened? Long lines formed as they joined in to be a part of the drive and pay the applicable taxes.
    Bangladesh is, with great national pride, the literal better-half of the erstwhile Pakistan. That needs to be applauded. And that is the model we need in Pakistan.
    The question is that are there any takers? Are we going to change our ‘hate-India’ mindset as Bangladesh has done, freeing resources for the economy? Of course, at the same time, can we do without the army chaperoning this infantile democracy, especially since democracy itself seems unwilling to grow and the state is unable to make all those who should pay actually pay tax.
    Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2010.
     
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  3. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    No they can't, this hatred is institutionalized. They need to change their textbooks first.
     
  4. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Atleast someone in Pakistan is talking sense and do have the nerves to talk about changing mindsets when it comes to India. This is not possible now, but maybe in the near future with change of generations.
     
  5. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    till the time pakistanis are kashmir obsessed,
    till the time ISI/PA owns the state called pakistan,
    till the time hate hindu mentality doesnt disappear,
    till the time pakistanis see themselves as some sort of whole sole representatives of muslims and islam,

    till then certainly no.

    PS: interesting to read all those comments to that article on that site, some mature heads there.
     
  6. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Wedded to the past



    On Sunday, a group of people met in Karachi, under the banner of an organisation called Aman Ittehad, to talk about building a peace movement to bring about social change. A timely meeting in a country where extreme violence is a daily occurrence. Whether Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, where drones bomb daily, or Balochistan, where there are target and torture killings or Karachi where death squads ride pillion on motorbikes, there is no part of Pakistan where citizens feel safe, there is no rule of law or the writ of government. It’s good to meet, march, form support groups, write letters and raise awareness but what we need is a strategy. How do we end this?
    To do that, it is important to look back in history and understand how we got here. It is also important to realise we are not alone. The 1970s saw the Cold War apparatus take its toll on many democratic and independent-minded states. It is no secret that the US busied itself with overthrowing democratically elected governments in the Third World, notably South and Central America. And their involvement in the coup against Mr Bhutto’s government in 1977 is part of Pakistani political lore. A systematic policy to break up Third World unity that had been forged between states was pursued. As a result, all these countries have suffered from decades of violence, death squads, disappearances resulting in a collapse of institutions and structures that make up a democratic state.
    If we find similarities between other countries of the Third World and ourselves, then perhaps we need to look toward those countries and see how so many of them have managed to move out of the death squad paradigm. From what I have read, these countries had broad democratic social movements in the 1960s that began at the grassroots. They may have been forced underground or lay dormant for decades but when democracy returned, the foundations of these movements were there. They believed in decolonisation, in regionalism, they were ready to think outside the proverbial box. The Bank of the South was established only a year ago to benefit all Latin American countries and to free them from the protocols of the IMF and the World Bank. Education became a priority and with innovation and the use of indigenous tools there was, in some countries, a complete turn around of the education sector in a short nine years. In Bogota, Colombia, change came through the efforts of a mayor who realised that for there to be real social change the city had to work for all its inhabitants, not a select few.
    Today, Pakistan continues to carry its colonial past. All our existing state structures are colonial, just look at the police and the manner in which they function. Or look at the bureaucracy and the military, both huge and unaccountable in different ways. They are testimony to the fact that top-down models do not work. The language of government is that of rulers and the ruled, the civil military establishment has exercised control over the functioning of the state — as a result we have weak institutions and little or no accountability.
    Pakistan’s strong democratic social movement came in the 1970s. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took his inspiration from the Third World; faced with a hostile neighbour he looked to the Islamic world to form a block bringing together leaders as diverse as Colonel Gaddafi of Libya and King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. It may not have worked but at the time it was thinking outside the paradigm. Today, rather than take policy from Washington, we need to look at the region as the only way to peace. We need to look at our indigenous traditions, our strengths and those of our neighbours. In doing so, we will surely find that there is a commonality of issues that is enough to bring our different agendas together. Our neighbours are India, Afghanistan and Iran and once we get over our India-phobia we will surely find that peace dividend called prosperity. Of course, it is not so simple but it is also not so difficult and the peace meetings must build themselves into movements for change.
    Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2010.
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    I must confess that the title of Air-Vice Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry’s piece “Can we change our ‘hate-India’ mindset?” was deceptive as it was more about Bangladesh than India. It also raised expectations, that perhaps the retired air marshal had re-thought the basic framework which drives hatred for India in this country. Instead, I came across a rambling piece regarding the use of a Bangladesh model, which is very popular amongst the Pakistani pro-establishment circle, to bring about internal changes in the country.
    The article inferred that development in the country, as in the case of Bangladesh, would help get rid of our anti-India policy. To say the least, this sounds like an absolutely incorrect reading of the past, present and even the future. Bangladesh and Pakistan are different — as one of the main political players in Dhaka, the Awami League, traditionally has good ties with India. This is mainly because part of the Bangladeshi military, the Mukti Bahini freedom fighters, is indebted to India. Ziaur Rehman’s BNP under the leadership of his wife Khalida Zia, on the other hand, had relatively better ties with Pakistan. This could also be due to the fact that Bangladesh’s General Zia was part of the repatriated officers who form a bulk of Bangladesh military’s officer corps.
    In Bangladesh, the common man, especially those in the border areas, dislikes India more than Pakistanis due to border skirmishes between the two neighbours, and other issues including smuggling of cattle and water. The reason such popular opinion does not translate automatically into more conflict is because, unlike in Pakistan, Bangladeshi governments are not willing to use this negative opinion to their political advantage.
    As for the Bangladeshi model of political change that Mr Chaudhry and others of his ilk so like, it was a top-down change envisioned by the country’s middle class. However, it did not manage to weed out the political actors it so wanted to. Nor has the Grameen Bank model brought real change in Bangladesh. In fact, it was later discovered that the bank was deceptive in reporting its financial performance. More recent research, some of which can be read in the autumn issue of the South Asian magazine Himal, shows that Yunus’s was a neo-liberal approach which increased indebtedness of the local community without increasing profits because too many people were doing the same thing through micro-credit loans. However, since the collateral was indirect, people tended to waste money rather than put it to good use.
    Had Mr Chaudhry looked deeper, he might have discovered two broad reasons for why Bangladesh has performed better than Pakistan. Despite the high polarisation of the Bangladeshi state and society, they are largely committed to a secular identity. Although the majority of people are Muslims there have never been claims of the country being the fortress of Islam which can only be defended militarily. The separation of religion from politics provides a healthy space in which faith can grow and allow people to coexist.
    To Bangladesh’s advantage, its military’s initial structure was not professional despite the fact that the bulk of its officers were those repatriated from Pakistan. This meant that the military continued to be less Machiavellian in the initial part of the country’s history. Although the army conducted two coups, it could also be pushed out because it had not managed to create a powerful national narrative that was based on inciting fear and gathered people around the armed forces.
    The fact of the matter is that India-hatred is the raison d’être of Pakistan’s security apparatus. This, in isolation, is not wrong since all militaries are designed to respond to an external threat. The main problem is that like the Prussian army, our military has become larger than life and continues to paddle anti-Indianism as the nation’s driver. Under the circumstances, many like Shahzad Chaudhry may privately or publicly confess to anti-Indianism, posing a problem for economic growth, but fail to offer a solution. Settlement of outstanding disputes alone may not solve the problem — the solution of disputes itself is linked with a change in perception.
    Published in The Express Tribune, October 24th, 2010.


    http://tribune.com.pk/story/66665/can-we-change-our-hate-india-mindset-2/
     

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