India's vain search for peace in Pak's diplomacy of the absurd Delhi's Pakistan policy has all the emotional intensity of a battered wife with a karmic commitment to marriage. Justice must surrender to appeasement in the pursuit of some higher purpose. Rehman Malik was Pakistan's home minister when killers backed by ISI and organised by a terrorist outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, murdered innocents in Mumbai on November 26, 2008. Malik breezed into Delhi to tell India that he had no desire to pursue, let alone apprehend, the mastermind of 26/11, Lashkar chief Hafiz Saeed. It was time, he added gratuitously, to move on. Rehman Malik does not understand niceties. He refuses to wear a cloak patched with the grace of dextrous language and the discretion of diplomacy. He is neither unique in Pakistan's governing elite, nor a maverick; he is dangerous only because he is blunt. He knows the truth about the narrative rife within the cantonment and those caustic by-lanes along the main street which distrust India, despise its secularism and invest in conflict. He was telling it straight with the only kind of mind he possesses, and applause duly swelled from his many-tiered constituency within Pakistan's media, armed forces and madrassas, a powerful troika. Malik's logic goes like this: "Mumbai terrorism is India's failure, not Pakistan's fault. India is responsible for the root cause, Kashmir, and therefore must factor in the possibility that there will always be 'freedom-fighters' determined to rescue Kashmir Muslims from 'Hindu domination' just as Pakistan was liberated from 'Hindu rule' in 1947. India's intelligence agencies failed to prevent the terrorist attack in 2008 despite the fact that operatives like Headley were roaming around helped by Indian friends and well-wishers. Why should Pakistan punish fighters who believe Kashmir should be part of Pakistan? It is India's problem, and if India hangs one of them, that is part of war. So do not blame Pakistan and let's keep riding the twin horses of talks and cricket- till the next time." This is the mindset that remains the biggest obstacle to peace between India and Pakistan. Malik has simply lifted this truth from private discourse into public space. This leaves Indians desirous of peace befuddled. One of the secondary ploys in this great game played in toxic fog is the second-track dialogue, a set-piece interaction meant to smooth rough-edge problems before they can be discussed formally by governments. One can appreciate the peacenik's dilemma: to admit this truth is to accept defeat even before the foreplay has begun. Indians travel to Lahore possibly prepared to be whelmed, and discover they have been overwhelmed by hospitality which is effusive and genuine because it comes from the heart. And then they confuse this with Islamabad's policies, which emerge from the head; one that swings between insecurity and aggression. The eventual realisation that war is futile never seems to prevent successive Pakistani leaders, civilian or military, from attempting yet another provocation in the hope of weakening India. In 1947, the first serious decision taken by Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan was not how to stabilize and build their new nation, but to seize Kashmir through war, when its status would have been determined through peaceful negotiations.(Jawaharlal Nehru, in a confidential note to Mountbatten, formally suggested that discussions on Kashmir, which had what was known as "standstill" agreements with both India and Pakistan, begin in the spring of 1948.) Ayub Khan and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who wanted to fight India for a thousand years, launched their own invasion in 1965. Yahya Khan attacked India in 1971 and lost half his country. Zia ul Haq sustained Khalistani secessionists in an insurrection which damaged India very deeply. Pervez Musharraf entered Kargil even before his coup against Nawaz Sharif. Asif Zardari was in office when Mumbai happened, and his home minister has shrugged off India's demand for accountability with jibes, half-truths and explanations that are manifestly dishonest. Pakistani leaders have tried everything from the implausible to the unforgiveable without worrying about the unacceptable. The Indian response, most often but not always, is best summed up in a Urdu couplet: Rasmein ulfat ko nibhayen kaise, Har taraf aag hai daman ko bachaye kaiseâ€¦ (rough, and inadequate translation: How do I honour the rules of love; there is fire everywhere, how do I save myself from flames?). Pessimism is not a solution. There is hope in Pakistani hospitality. The corridors of power in Islamabad are arid; but in the heart of most Pakistanis there is fertile space for harmony. This is more easily said than done, for governments become a barrier, but it can be done. Cricket is an excellent way of reaching out to the people. Sport easily slips out of the grasp of authority and reminds people of the enormous dividends that lie in peace. A great sportsman, Imran Khan, could be part of Pakistan's government in 2013. Is it time for optimism? India's vain search for peace in Pak's diplomacy of the absurd by The Siege Within : MJ Akbar's blog-The Times Of India *********************** An interesting article. Is it a vain Indian search for Peace or is it a clever ploy to keep hopes high to keep the International, Pakistani and the Indians in a fond delusion like the elusive apple that should fall but does not as it tantalisingly holds on to the branch of intense historical animosity? Should India keep this charade in full flow as it is doing or get a grip on the reality? How far is Malik correct to announce that the Mumbai massacre was actually a failure of India? If so, where all did India fail? Politically, diplomatically, on the intelligence front, or totally security unreadiness? Should cricket and such like diversions be an on going process to build a better people to people relations or should such activities be junked? Again the issue crops up - Should India keep this charade in full flow as it is doing or get a grip on the reality?