Saturday, May 13, 2006

My response to Brig.(r) Shaukat Qadir

A friend of mine emailed me this article by Brig.(r) Shaukat Qadir and asked me how I would respond to it. I present my answer below.

Dear Shaukat,

I have reflected upon the issues raised in your article and the following things came to mind.

1) The deployment of Indian security forces in India's territorial boundaries is not something any foreigner can dictate to India. Some security analysts have attributed the recent violence in J&K to the fact that terrorist groups inside Pakistan are now operating outside the control of the ISI or still have access to arms caches that the ISI dumped inside Jammu and Kashmir. The threat is unlikely to receed until either the caches are recovered or the groups acting independently of the ISI control are forever silenced in Pakistan. Consequently India cannot withdraw its troops.

2) I am aware that your army has lost effectiveness in POK after the recent earthquake. I understand if this makes people in GHQ nervous but please remember that if we had any hostile intentions we would have acted by now. We didn't - that should tell you where our interests lie. If you are that keen on additional troops and war material - get them off the Saltoro ridge.

3) You have pointed out that the Pakistani establishment only reluctantly called off support to the Kashmir Jihad when it realized that it could not make good on its Sept 11 promise made to the US to cut down on Jihadi groups. So by this logic the prime cause of Musharraf's unpopularity is his peculiar engagement with the US, and whatever anger Musharraf faces from the Kashmiri groups he has betrayed, is more directly a result of his promise to the Americans and less directly related to anything India ever asked him to do.

4) I agree that President Musharraf's promise and subsequent performance has led to considerable problems within Pakistan and that President Musharraf is not well liked in Pakistan. Musharraf cannot command the respect of the Jihadi ranks and his effectiveness as controlling their impulses is eroding. Perhaps this is what is making Washington lose interest in him? - an interesting question.

5) Pakistan has a long history of exporting its internal violence to its neighbors. We are well aware of this ability of the Pakistani elite to deflect blame onto others for their shortcomings. We are extremely well versed with the famous "blame a Hindu or a Jew" culture of Pakistan. So today when General Musharraf, world famous friend of Bush, is worried that his American friend may not like him - we find it no surprise that he is eager to blame India for the situation. Just like he is blaming India for the situation in Baluchistan. When anything goes wrong in Pakistan - everyone except Lord God Musharraf himself is at fault.

6) It appears that Musharraf has succeeded in getting Abdul Qadir Khan off the hook. It is very clear that Pakistan will get away with nuclear proliferation for the foreseeable future. To most countries this would have been manna from heaven. Not so for the inflated egos of Pakistan - people in Pakistan actually believe that they should get way more. I think this is a direct byproduct of the whole "Land of the Pure", "Pakistan uber alles" mentality that pervades light headed folk of Islamabad. India cannot be seriously expected to take a positive view of Pakistan's antics on Capitol hill as the Indo-US nuclear deal reaches Congress.

7) We are well aware of the risks of dealing with the puppets of Islamabad. We question whether any of them are serious about peace especially when they are avowed miltiarists who rely on anti-India hatred as means of keeping them in power. If the current dispensation in Islamabad is serious about peace it should - as J K Sinha has recently stated in his piece in IDR- open the LoC.

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