Friday, 29 July 2011

Rebuttal to Mr.Ejaz Haider.

This blog is a reply to the article published by Express Tribune news paper from Pakistan. The article had the following address Therefore this post should be read in the light of the above mentioned article.

Mr.Ejaz Haider, this concluding part of your rebuttal of Shashi Tharoor’s article, seems straight out of the anti India manual of the Pakistan army since you seem to have toed their version hook, line and sinker. Shashi Tharoor surely has set the proverbial cat among the “GHQ’s Pigeons”. This article should have been more suitably titled “Right from the Generals mouth” Before anyone lynches me for my transgression; I will point out why I think so.

Firstly, Mr.Ejaz opines that Indians are very good at hiding their underbelly and project a goody picture of their country abroad. Sir, could you tell any country which doesn’t do that? How many times have the Americans, Europeans and even your good friend Chinese have come to Pakistan and projected their own under belly? You are lamenting the fact that Pakistanis don’t project a positive image of their country abroad. But seriously, since almost all of Pakistan is now a huge “Under Belly”, what positive can Pakistanis project to the world? First enlighten your own citizens about the virtues of being a Pakistani and then only they can project any thing positive abroad.

Secondly, you are accusing India of not agreeing to “Force Rationalization” by citing the Chinese threat. Respectfully Sir, We Indians have been humbled by the Chinese in 1962 and we still have Chinese claiming our state of Arunachal Pradesh, besides having deployed nuclear tipped missiles in Tibet, directed against India. Is China then not a threat to us? Could we ever forget the nuclear and missile proliferation which the Chinese undertook to help you make the nuclear weapons and delivery systems? Was that an act of Chinese friendship towards India? India is seriously looking at a possible two front war in future and our military has to maintain a minimum deterrence vis a vis China.

Thirdly, you are stating that 1947 was an indigenous uprising. This is sheer ISI propaganda. Kashmir was an independent state from August to October 1947 till Pakistani intruders and army regulars forcibly tried to capture it. Indian troops had no presence in Kashmir till the Maharaja came to us for help. Rest as they say is history and I need not elaborate further for want of space. India is seriously trying to check the human rights violations in Kashmir but Mr.Haider would you please enlighten us as to what role the “Shining Stars” from your “Jihadi Galaxy”, have played in the violence in Kashmir?

Fourthly, you are admitting that 1965 war was a mistake on Pakistan’s part but ironically you also justifying the Pakistani action since it was to reclaim your own territory. Please make up your mind Sir and then only a rebuttal would be effective from my side. You have totally failed to mention, which most Pakistanis would be unaware of regarding the territory holdings of both the sides after the cease fire. India gained 1,840 square kilometers of Pakistani territory: 640 square kilometers in so called Azad Kashmir, 460 square kilometers of the Sialkot sector; 380 square kilometers far to the south of Sindh; and most critical, 360 square kilometers on the Lahore front. Pakistan took 540 square kilometers of Indian territory: 490 square kilometers in the Chhamb sector and 50 square kilometers around Khem Karan. Pakistanis can verify these figures and rationally think as to who had better territory holdings post the war.

Fifthly, you are saying that India attacked Pakistan in 1971 and true to the official version of the Pakistan army; you have totally ignored the circumstances leading to the war. In short, Bengalis were tormented, India had a problem of lakhs of refugees, Mrs.Gandhi visiting every power in the world requesting to rein in the delinquent Pakistani army and left with no option India had to step in. If the world powers had intervened, like they did against Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Col.Gaddafi in Libya, perhaps Bangladesh would still have been a part of Pakistan. As far as Siachen is concerned, it was a vaguely demarcated area and if Indians had not captured it, Pakistanis would have been occupying it.

Lastly, you are accusing India of being a revisionist power and that Pakistan is checking India’s hegemonic designs in South Asia. This is a statement without backed by any evidence. Shashi Tharoor very rightly said that as to what Pakistan actually has that India would like to possess? If India had any revisionist and hegemonic designs it would surely have annexed East Pakistan in to that mythical “Akhand Bharat”. Mr.Haider should better realize that in trying to counter India’s so called hegemonic designs, Pakistan has become a failed state sustaining a large military disproportionate to its economic strengths. If this scenario continues, instead of becoming a West Bangladesh, Pakistan would surely become West Punjab, West Sindhu Desh, West Baluchistan and a West KP, all independent entities. 


Support Anna Hazare

To say that corruption is endemic in India would be a gigantic under statement. Besides the various plans to tackle this epidemic, the formation of a Lok Pal body seems to be the most effective. As we are aware that social activist Anna Hazare sat on a fast at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to force the government to act decisively on the appointment of a Lok Pal. Anna Hazare's fast, which garnered huge public support, forced the government to act on his demands. After various rounds of meetings between team Anna and the government, no consensus was arrived at and it created some degree of acrimony. The basic of point of difference was that the government opined that Anna's Lok Pal draft would appoint a body of people who will be omnipotent thus undermining the authority and functioning of the government and the parliament while on the other hand team Anna declared government's draft as an attempt to appoint a toothless Lok Pal. The government, after much deliberations, has come up with a draft of the Lok Pal bill which it intends to present in the upcoming monsoon session of the Parliament. As expected, team Anna has out-rightly rejected the government's draft calling it a cruel joke on the nation.

Prima facie it seems that team Anna is right in slamming the government's draft. There are various aspects of the draft but I will touch on a few important points. Not only the PM and the judiciary are out of the purview of Lok Pal but more importantly all the government servants are also set free. I think the decision to keep the government employees out of the ambit of Lok Pal is totally unacceptable. Almost each one of us has had a first hand experience of the corruption among the various babus. Right from getting an electricity connection to even getting a death certificate, nothing can be done without greasing the palms. The whole bureaucracy is so designed that corruption can thrive unabated. Everyone has his share of the booty therefore no one ever complains. Honest officers end up getting frequently transferred or they are left with no option but to quit. The existing anti corruption laws have been woefully inadequate to check the problem since almost everyone has a vested interest in keeping the corruption pot boiling. For common people like us, a strong Lok Pal, having investigative jurisdiction over government employees would have come as a huge relief. But the government by keeping the bureaucracy out of purview of the Lok Pal has clearly indicated that it just doesn't have the moral courage to stem the rot.

Anna Hazare has declared that he will restart his fast from the 16th of August and I think all right thinking Indians should support him in whatever way possible. Systematic corruption has not only caused huge losses to the exchequer but also has severely dented the international image of India. Today the corruption figures run in to thousands of crores and can we really afford it when we have a third of our population going hungry? The anger among the people is brewing and the government in it's arrogance feels that they can do a Ramdev on Anna Hazare and fizzle out his campaign. I think if people present a united front then the government can be forced to act. Such blatant attempt by the government to protect the corrupt and dismiss the people's voice with utter disdain should be resisted at all costs.  

Thursday, 28 July 2011

India-Pakistan Talks

The arrival of the young and impressive Pakistan foreign minister has created a lot of public interest in India. The media has certainly gone overboard talking about Ms.Hina Rabbani's designer clothes, swanky goggles and an expensive handbag. Her good looks have caught such great attention that the veteran criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani while attending an official dinner, remarked that he came to meet Ms.Rabbani after seeing her photograph in the papers. In spite of all the non professional attention Ms.Rabbani received, she actually surprised everyone with her deft handling of ticklish India-Pakistan issues and her controlled demeanor was outstanding considering her young age. The atmospherics which get a tad boring and at times even jingoistic in India-Pakistan talks, were surprisingly pleasant. The good thing about the present meeting of foreign ministers was that it was kept low profile and contentious issues were not hyped to score brownie points. The Indian side is still grappling with the surprise of Pakistan not talking Kashmir openly although Ms.Rabbani's meeting with the Kashmiri separatists didn't go down well with the Indian side. The closed door protest by India did actually work but still no provocative mention of Kashmir by Pakistan has surprised many analysts.

The pertinent question here is as to why Pakistan was a little subdued on Kashmir? Was it a deliberate ploy on their part to make the talks successful since Kashmir tends to vitiate the atmosphere rather swiftly? Or is it that there is more than what meets the eye? My take is that Pakistan in no way is going to soft pedal the Kashmir issue since it is related to its very existence and more over Kashmir has always been India's jugular vein. We need to understand that Pakistan army has its hands full when it comes to tackling jihadis in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Nearly a third of the Pakistan army is engaged in tackling jihadis in these lawless, rugged but strikingly beautiful terrains. The world knows the bitterness which has come in the US-Pakistan relationship, post Osama Bin Laden raid in the garrison town of Abbotabad. The souring of relationship has resulted in US withholding military aid to Pakistan which has further compounded the tensions. The gist of the whole story is that Pakistan army, which is the de facto ruler of Pakistan, can not afford any confrontation or raising of hostilities on its eastern border with India. With a collapsing economy, Pakistan just does not have the wherewithal to fight on two fronts. Therefore the Kashmir faucet is turned off for the time being. The net result is that a record 7.5 lakh tourists have visited Kashmir till date. Compare this with the terrible stone throwing incidents in Kashmir valley last year killing and injuring many people. A lot of that violence was triggered by the ISI through its Indian Kashmiri cronies. With not much help coming from across the border, the Indian separatists are lying low in sharp contrast to their venom spewing marches in the valley last year. Ironically, anarchy in Pakistan has brought some much needed peace in the Kashmir valley. Peace is more because of Pakistan's preoccupation  and not because of the CM Omar Abdullah becoming a better administrator overnight. But the fault lines in Kashmir still remain and the triggering factors have very low combustible points. Complacency is the last thing Kashmir can afford and the administrators should use the peaceful time to strengthen the bond with the common Kashmiri so that any future conflagration can be managed effectively. Let us see how long the India-Pakistan bonhomie will last.