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Indian Restraint will Help Pak in its Hour of Crisis

By Shirin R. Tahir- Kheli

THESE are difficult times for Pakistan, a country of some 180 million people fig
hting for the future of their nation under impossible strains. The state is in t
he throes of calibrating the relationship of civil and military institutions and
how that effort plays out will likely have profound consequences for the countr
y and for the region. Assumptions of military oversight over national security h
ave lately suffered a blow due to the initially undetected U. S. raid into Pakis
tan and the killing of Osama bin Laden within a stone's throw from a premier mil
itary institution on May 2.
Then, on May 23, six or more wellarmed militants attacked a naval air base in Ka
rachi, destroying two U. S. supplied P- 3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft,
and fighting a pitched battle with army forces for 18 hours before four of them
were killed and the rest escaped.
Targeting the PNS Mehran base, a high security area and destroying valuable mili
tary hardware that provided antisubmarine warfare capability to the Pakistani na
vy, is a bold and unprecedented escalation aimed at demonstrating the militants’ c
apability and the military s inability to safeguard some of its most prized hard
For the military establishment, charges of incompetence and negligence are new.
For sixty- four years, there was little criticism as they garnered the lion s sh
are of the state s resources. Past failures, including the 1971 war that cost Ea
st Pakistan, were blamed on the ineptitude of the civilian political leadership.
Their failures were said by the military to have brought the country to the bri
Not so this time. The militants’ attacks focused on military assets to demonstrate
that no weapon system was outside the scope of an attack. International repercu
ssions from the Mehran attack are likely to reverberate for a while. And interna
l politics may drive the process for the moment.
Already, there is a divide between what the party in power, the Pakistan People
s Party (PPP), is saying and the sentiments expressed by the main opposition, Pa
kistan Muslim League (N) headed by Nawaz Sharif. The PPP is playing it safe, wil
ling to listen to the reasons for the problems on the bin Laden and the latest n
aval base attack fronts. Wanting to stay in power for another two years to compl
ete its term in office, having broken precedent by re- appointing General Ashfaq
Kayani as army chief for another three year term last fall, criticism by the PP
P leadership has been muted. PPP members have voiced strong concern in the media
and at parliamentary sessions which saw both the army and the intelligence chie
fs being summoned for answers on the failure to guard against the American incur
sion and the lack of awareness on part of the army brass of bin Laden hiding in
their midst for years.
The opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, has taken a hard stand, calling for an inqu
iry and accountability up the chain of command. Unlike times of yore, today s Pa
kistan has a robust media which has finally homed in on issues of national secur
ity and the performance of military czars, heretofore a taboo for discussion.
Pakistanis are being asked to press the military into a transparent assessment o
f its failures and action to deal with those who have brought things to such a p
As economic woes mount, the question being asked is: why should the people pay f
or a negligent military, once beyond reproach but now saddled with charges of in
eptitude and corruption at the top?
Reaction to the calls for accountability will likely go one of two ways: first,
the military will take the criticism to heart, recognise that as the custodians
of the nation s security and its nuclear arsenal, it has to be beyond reproach i
n performance and reputation. Under such a scenario, a full- scale inquiry will
lead to corrective action, even involving the dismissal/ resignation of commande
rs found lacking in judgment or oversight.
A second scenario would be one in which blame for all of the recent problems are
laid at the feet of the civilian leadership, the U. S. and/ or India. Here it w
ould be said that the enemies of Pakistan have taken it upon themselves to bring
the country to its knees and that any corrective action would thus amount to gi
ving in to those who want the destruction of Pakistan.
It is certainly in the interests of the U. S. and India to help ensure that the
second scenario is not the favoured one. Such an effort is even more necessary n
ow that political leaders in Pakistan, along with the people, are beginning to n
ote that India is not Pakistan s enemy number one.
Restraint by India at this critical time, in particular, will help generate supp
ort for internal military accountability because Pakistani leaders and people fi
nally seem to recognise that Pakistan s strength and viability are not a functio
n of endless acquisition of hardware but of a leadership with a vision and its p
eople being given the resources and priority to advance economically in security
in a democratic state.
American policy in the near future in Pakistan is complicated by the low opinion
most Pakistanis have of the U. S. The U. S- India strategic relationship had fe
d the decline in US fortunes in Pakistan where the much touted de- hyphenation o
f the India- Pakistan equation for Washington has fed the paranoia of the averag
e Pakistani.
This at a time when a weakened Pakistan threatened by militants operating at wil
l, causing havoc in urban and tribal areas, has serious consequences for India.
Pakistan s implosion will not leave India untouched, for as Indian leaders have
noted, “Geography is destiny” for the subcontinent.
One can only hope that the recent thaw in India s relations with Pakistan will m
ove forward and that joint enterprises from trade to energy and water cooperatio
n along with a resolution of the more easily soluble issues dividing the two nei
ghbours will change the future for the better. All who want a South Asia at peac
e and productively engaged in cooperation for the benefit of the region will nee
d to press their case now.
The writer served at the White House on the National Security Council Staff unde
r three Presidents. She is currently a Carnegie Scholar crisis
Source: Mail Today
URL: http://newageislam.com/NewAgeIslamCurrentAffairs_1.aspx?ArticleID=4717

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5/29/2011 1:17:42 PM bpshah
In my earlier post read the year as 2012 instead of 1912.

5/29/2011 12:33:36 AM bpshah

Today s column by respected columnist Mr. Ardeshir Cowasjee in Dawn is absolutel
y on mark. What he has to say is,"
"The obsession of the country’s (Pakistan s) armed forces with its ‘traditional enem
y’ is quite understandable. They need India, and the ‘core’ issue which sadly will not
go away, to feed and succour them, their existence depends upon maintaining the
status quo of 64 years’ duration. Never mind that they have provoked and lost two
wars, and lost a third through the arrogance and poor abilities of early leader
ships. The nation has accepted all that and happily and readily allowed them to
become the richest, most powerful and leading industrialists of the country. It
has forgiven multiple sins and transgressions and with a couple of hiccups here
and there never failed to back them.
It has been brainwashed through its meagre educational system and through effici
ent propaganda into believing that, yes, India is an alien creature and ‘the’ enemy
(to give this government its due it has made feeble attempts to right this).No o
ne has told it that as early as 1948 prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru stated: “If t
oday by any chance I were offered the reunion of India and Pakistan, I would dec
line it for obvious reasons. I do not want to carry the burden of Pakistan’s great
I have enough of my own.”
And such has been the sensible thinking of successive Indian politicians. For a
comprehensive understanding of this destructive mindset recommended is a book pu
blished last month by Routledge, Explaining Pakistan’s Foreign Policy — Escaping Ind
ia, written by Aparna Pande, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washin
gton. One focus is on how from its inception Pakistan’s foreign policy has focused
on ‘seeking parity’ with India and ‘escaping’ from an Indian South Asian identity.
To locate a loyal Pakistani who will admit to descent from inhabitants of the su
bcontinent is rare. The now natives of this country will go to great lengths to
explain that their ancestors had little to do with the subcontinent other than t
o invade it or settle here, always originating from either Arabia, Central Asia,
even Iran — anywhere but the subcontinent. Such is the complex. All very sad. And
this, of course, contributes in no mean manner towards the ‘traditional enemy’ obse
ssion and the status of the armed forces." It is thus India who have restarined
themselves. The attitude of Army, majority of brainwashed Pakistani Muslims is o
ne of superiority. As NFP satirically says, they have Bin Kasim thinking & these
Bin Kasims still have a dream of Pakistani flag unfurling on Red Fort in Delhi
in 1912. Irfan Hussain, Ayesha Siddiqui, NFP and many others have the same view
, but unfortunately their Lords & Masters & uneducated brain washed Muslim popul
ation does not share their view.

5/28/2011 2:31:39 PM Ghulam Mohiyuddin

Car313 says, " When Pakistan can simply bribe the government in power why would
they want to waste bullets?"
Do you have any evidence that Pakistan has bribed India s leaders? It seems maki
ng shameless and irresponsible allegations is your forte. Restraint in foreign p
olicy becomes an imperative between two nuclear powers. Nobody wants to unleash
a nuclear war. India does have the option of carrying out Abbottabad type attack
s to take out LeT leaders, and it even has the right to do so after the Mumbai a
ttacks. But do we have the ability that the American Navy Seals with their steal
th helicopters possess? That is the question I have been asking for the past two
years. Making idle taunts against our government as you and many BJP-ites do is
just hot air.

5/28/2011 11:46:12 AM Ghulam Mohiyuddin

Satwa says, "You cannot expect anything from the author. He has not spoken abou
t ..."
The author is a she, not a he.
He adds, "that country is in shit and shall continue in shit."
You escaped the monitoring process this time, but don t count on it the next tim

5/28/2011 8:54:33 AM car313

No Mr Ghulam Mohiyuddin,
I do not want India to start a war. I am just pointing out how the whole world l
oves a bully.
Even if Pakistani government agencies train terrorists, coordinates Mumbai Massa
cre, infiltrates Kashmiri Freedom Movement, recruits members of SIMI to carry ou
t terror attacks in India, Starts the Kargil War, Indians should never complain.
Restraint is the watchword. Restraint and turning the other cheek. After we get
slapped on the other cheek, of course we ought to show them our behinds that the
y may find it convenient to kick it.
They should just sidle up to whoever is president of the US and whimper, snivel,
weep and complain like school children.."look teacher! he beat me". Next they s
hould grovel in front of the Pakistani leadership and invite them to cricket mat
Now that is the kind of foriegn policy which India must practice. That is what g
ets results. Whimpering is sound foriegn policy. Like we did when Islamic terror
ists hijacked a plane to Khandahar and our gutless citizens just started begging
the authorities to agree to whatever the terrorists demended so long as our pus
illanimous relatives were safe.
Never worry that India will ever start or win a war. When Pakistan can simply br
ibe the government in power why would they want to waste bullets?
Haven t you heard it said that India has the best parliamment money can buy.