Let’s stop flattering India so much - TheNews OpEd

Discussion in 'China' started by ejazr, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=21826&Cat=9

    Ayaz Amir
    The centre of the Pakistani solar system is not the sun, as innocents may tend to believe, but our elephant-like neighbour to the east, from whose bosom once-upon-a-time we were carved: India. We may be fighting a war on our western frontier and the greatest threat to the idea envisioned by our luckless founding fathers may come from the forces of religious extremism – whose creation in present form and shape is one of the singular achievements of our defence establishment – but all our war doctrines are based on the real or presumed threat from the east.

    Thus, while the world marches on we remain trapped in a time warp, fighting the battles of the past, obsessed with the perception of a threat which spurs us on to a nuclear arms race underpinned by no sense of logic or rationality...as the rest of the world understands these terms.

    How much land does a man require?... famously asked Leo Tolstoy. How much nuclear security does a country require? In a reasonable world five nuclear bombs would be enough to ward off real or chimerical dangers. If Al-Qaeda had a single nuclear device the United States would not know how to deal with the threat. We may be a beggar country but, Allah be praised, we have enough nuclear bombs, and missiles to carry them, to spread death and destruction across the entire sub-continent.

    Yet our supreme custodians of the national interest, self-appointed protectors of our ideological and geographical frontiers, are not satisfied, continuing to articulate and champion a national security doctrine out of sync with the times.

    If the bombs at our disposal and more than half a million men, and mercifully a sprinkling of women, under arms are not enough to impart a sense of security to this putative citadel of Islam – another of our mythical notions – then Ares, the god of war, can descend from Olympus and we will not be secure.

    Yes, we have problems with India and will continue to have them. But surely we are not envisaging a recourse to arms to settle these problems. We should stick to our viewpoint on Kashmir and, in this regard, be guided by the wishes of the Kashmiri people. If we have water problems with India we must talk to resolve them. If both countries are engaged in the most senseless of standoffs anywhere in the world – on the dizzying heights of the Siachen Glacier, the only way for common sense to make an appearance is through negotiations.

    Except for the first Kashmir war, 1947-48, which allowed us to acquire the portion of Kashmir in our possession, all our subsequent wars with India were exercises in unmitigated folly. In the name of the national interest and, from Gen Ziaul Haq’s time onwards, in the name of ‘jihad’, our supreme keepers of the national flame have done things which in other countries would have called for the requisitioning of a determined firing squad.

    Haven’t we gone through enough but must we still learn no lessons? Yes, the Pakistan-India border remains one of the most militarised frontiers in the world. Yes, there is an unbroken chain of military cantonments on the Indian side of the border, just as there is a similar chain – from the mountains of Kashmir to the sea – on our side. But we should be reversing this state of affairs, not advancing it.

    Yes, we must remain eternally vigilant, I suppose an inescapable cliché in this sort of discussion. But the point is that we have enough, and to spare, to meet and even exceed the demands of vigilance. There may be sections of Indian public opinion hostile to Pakistan. But that shouldn’t cause us any sleepless nights. There are many things about official India which we don’t like. To hear Indians talk about their economic achievements, the implication being that Pakistan has been left far behind, can be tiresome, especially when repeated too often.

    But the mark of being a civilized people is not to eliminate prejudice – it would be a dull world without anger and prejudice – but to keep it in check. We can indulge our fancies in private but when fancy and fantasy cloud public discourse or become substitutes for wisdom in government policy we invite trouble for ourselves.

    Pakistan is not a morsel that can be chewed and swallowed. Contrary to what many in the chattering classes assert, Pakistan is not a banana republic. The United States does not run Pakistan and indeed could not, because some of our most glaring stupidities in the name of ‘jihad’ and national security are entirely indigenous, capable of concoction in no other laboratory.

    Without under-estimating the ingenuity of the CIA, would the CIA have been able to create something quite like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or the Lashkar-e-Taiba? The Kargil adventure could have been dreamt up only by the best and brightest in our own general staff. The fortress-of-Islam narrative can only be a Pakistani production. Making regular asses of ourselves in the name of religion is very much a home-grown talent.

    So let us not run ourselves down and put India on too high a perch. India cannot harm us. Let us get this dangerous nonsense out of our heads. India is not about to attack Pakistan. Its leaders would have to be crazy – crazier than us – to even contemplate the possibility. India attacked us only once, in 1971, and even then we had made such a mess of East Pakistan that it was almost like inviting India to intervene. The rest of the times we attacked India, with nothing but disaster to show for it. We should get the balance of this accounting right.

    Pakistan stands in greatest risk from itself, from our incapacity to look hard at our real problems and from our failure to confront those problems. Religious extremism especially in its Taliban and Al-Qaeda variety is a product of 30 years of distortion starting from the Zia era (or rather the 1977 rightist movement against Bhutto which set the stage for so much occurring thereafter). Reversing the tide of this extremist is not just a question of conducting military operations in one area of FATA or another but of reinventing the Pakistani state and making it less of a playground for theocratic forces.

    This task of reinvention has to include the country’s most powerful institution, the army...which, unluckily for Pakistan, instead of having a reformist and progressive influence on the nation has been the smithy for the forging of some truly strange concepts and doctrines.

    And the time for this reinvention is very short. The Americans begin to withdraw from Afghanistan, as they are priming themselves to do, and a new period of uncertainty, to put it no stronger than this, will begin in that embattled country. We have to get things right between now and then.

    None of the principals in Islamabad (to name them is to spoil one’s mood) inspires much hope in this regard. But for the general staff at least, the self-appointed custodians of all that is holy, this should be a cue to change gears and spend less time fretting about India and more time in sizing up the threat of religious extremism – which won’t grow less when the Americans depart.

    With all the nonsense assiduously cultivated over the years about strategic depth and our legitimate interests in Afghanistan, and the threat from India, we have managed to turn what could have been a perfectly beautiful country, a crossroads of East and West, the gateway on the one hand to India and on the other to Central Asia, into an abnormal country.

    The foremost task facing us as a nation is to return to normality and make education and the march to civilization our central preoccupations, instead of the totem poles currently the greatest objects of our worship: bombs and nuke-carrying missiles.

    Tailpiece: Shahzain Bugti being held by the scruff of his neck as he was arrested...a photo, in the context of Balochistan, about as damaging as the one which showed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry being pushed by the head into a waiting car. Will we never learn?
     
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  3. utubekhiladi

    utubekhiladi The Preacher Elite Member

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    Who is this author? he made very good and sensible points. he is different from typical pakistani authors. this guy points finger towards pakistan instead of pointing towards India. if every body in pakistan thinks like this guy and work towards improving their motherland(i,e pakistan) then peace will available in cheapest and giveaway price. this author earned my respects.
     
  4. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    Insightful indeed. But to become a civilized country, Pakistan must first drop it's religious shades, which is not possible currently as I see it.
     
  5. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

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    he gonna get missing in somedays..
     
  6. sob

    sob Moderator Moderator

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    These articles keep popping up from time to time in Pakistani media but unfortunately they remain voices in isolation. The establishment in Rawalpindi is not bothered by it because as they say power flows from the barrel of the gun or in this case from the silos of a missile site.
     
  7. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Aptly said, Sob ! As I had said in another thread, that there are a lot of sensible people in the Pakistani media, and in upper echelons of the society who very well know that their home grown extremism is the biggest threat to their country, and not India and know that both the neighbors can achieve a lot if they follow the path of peace, but unfortunately their voices are clipped by the ever powerful military and intelligence services, and members of those dime-a-dozen psycho-fanatic parties.
     
  8. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    But Pakistan is currently under a (so called) democratic rule. If there's any chance for them to salvage whatever is left from the wreckage - it is now.
    No one knows till when this window of opportunity stands, for our neighbors are famous to toggle between all possible forms of national leadership.


    Regards,
    Virendra
     
  9. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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  10. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    My heart was so heavy with longing for you
    My arms were so lonely, lonesome and blue
    Alone in my sorrow, I heard a voice cry
    A voice in the wilderness, a voice from the sky

    Have faith in your darling, the voice seemed to say
    Be true to her memory, she'll come back some day
    And though there was no-one, nobody to see
    A voice in the wilderness brought comfort to me


    We had a quarrel, I was unkind
    Why did you leave me, love made me blind
    My darling forgive me, I yearn for your touch
    Have pity, come back now, I need you so much
    Believe me and you'll hear it, that voice from above
    The voice in the wilderness, the voice of true love




    Ray Sir, you surprise me everyday!
    Cheers!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Oracle,

    I do hope I dispel the stereotype of Colonel sahab of the Hindi movies! :)

    We, of the Army, are quite a versatile lot with an all around awareness.

    I love music as such and Cliff Richards, born Harry Rodger Webb in Lucknow, is an Anglo Indian and studied in my school.

    You will notice that his accent is totally Anglo Indian and that is why it is not difficult to understand his songs.

    Ask Yusuf. He met me and refused to believe I could be from the Army or have ever been in the Army. He thought all Army chaps had a rifle in his hand and in the other a glass of whiskey, no matter what was the time of the day!!!! And that they were muscle bound in the head (brain)! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
  12. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    /\/\/\ No Ray Sir! Not at all the stereotype. I have my cousin who served the IAF and I know how educated our Military personnel are. I am just stoned with your knowledge about Rock n Roll. That's it Sir! And I hardly am a fan of Bollywood movies. Do contribute here!
     
  13. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    The man has made some fine points and I really appreciate this since it is pretty rare to find sane voices in Pakistani media who actually are concerned about their country and want to genuinely eradicate their current sufferings. However, just as I was reading the article and finishing it, something idiotic and delusional caught my eye:

    Okay let's be honest here even with the Pakistani members; since when was their country "normal" in first place to be abnormal? A country that was created out of forced separation, thousands of people massacring, blood of scores of women, kids and men and worst of all, standing on only ONE single pillar: Religion. A country that lacked zero individuality in itself, no culture, no indigenous script, no identity other than one thing: religion. Even the language was taken from Indian heartland since Urdu had "Islamic script" and fitted perfectly with the "living breathing Islam" that Pakistani leaders had echoed initially in the formative years (Though I personally don't regard Urdu as Indian language as it was an impure residue of foreign invaders who twisted a bunch of languages to get their own selfish combination).

    Without understanding the core principles on the formation of any country, Pakistani leaders went about forming a nation that rests only on 1 pillar of religion while keeping all the remaining 3 corners of the nation unbalanced. No economic identity, no political concept, no cultural/linguistic identity apart from Arabizing the local language scripts (Sindhi uses Devanagari, Punjabi uses Gurumukhi, Balochi during its initial stage again used a Gujarati version of Devanagari and Kashmiri ((illegal)) uses Sharda another spinoff of Devanagari; all of which are offshoots of Sanskrit script).

    Hence a country cannot be termed abnormal later because it wasn't normal in first place. Even Israel doesn't rely solely on religion but has a set of founding characters that give it a ground in the modern world. Also Saudi Arabia uses "true Islam" only as an excuse to consolidate its royal family's absolute power over the throne of the country and their rulers know the only reason that country is surviving as a country is because of oil money and being the virtual pet of United States and West.


    To do this, first thing they will have to do is genuinely separate religion from state affairs and bring civil law system into the mainstream; which in genuine terms means true meaning of secularism that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of Turkey brought when he founded the modern Turkey. That is what Pakistan will have to do but to do that it would mean going against the wishes of a very fundamentalist, paranoid, over-religious, over-zealous, narrow-minded and insecure population which in its current state is virtually impossible. The civilian politicians have given up on Pakistan as a nation and are busy looting it from all sides (Zardari rings a bell according to Pakistanis themselves) while the Army and ISI is the very source of religious fundamentalist foundation of Pakistan.

    Wonder if the author really took into account these 2 points since he has so genuinely accepted the realities (although has a typical mark of blackening India in it but still better off)...
     
  14. bhogta

    bhogta Regular Member

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    Very rare to see a Pakistani taking sense. Good for him. But in my observation most of these type of people in Pakistan are not that famous as some nuts like Zaid Hamid.
     
  15. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    His profile from wikipedia

    Seeing that he is ex-Army and also won a popular elections fighting PML-N in the Punjab hearland of Chakwal shows that his opinion could be more widspread that we believe. We need to understand that Pakistan is not a monolith entity and there are wide shade of opinions and a pretty active media.
     
  16. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    This is probably an US sponsered article, but nonetheless good to see such article appearing on Pakistani English papers. But the big problem is that, such articles are unlikely to appear on Urdu Papers.
     
  17. sandeepdg

    sandeepdg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yeah, sure as hell they won't, mate !!
     

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