Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Ayaz Amir on Musharraf's commando style diplomacy

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Ayaz Amir on Musharraf's commando style diplomacy

    This is an interesting column which realistically reflects Pak options.
    http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/ayaz.htm
    A fresh line in cosmetics


    By Ayaz Amir

    If a college of cynics, duly certified as a professional body by its examiners, had been charged with the task to write a primer on how not to prepare for a summit, it could not have bettered the script followed by General Musharraf and his team of advisers.

    Everyone and his uncle have been called for consultations with General Musharraf. There in the mock-ornate setting of the Prime Minister's House (which Pakistan's supreme ruler uses for his office) Pakistan Television's captive audience has been treated evening after evening to shots of the general listening serious-eyed to his various callers regarding the line to take in the summit with Mr Vajpayee. In the last few days no one could have been more free with press and TV interviews than the general. Is he hoping to conquer Agra with this media blitz? Are we getting ready for a circus or a serious round of talks?

    Talking endlessly about the core issue is fine for a domestic audience. But it is doubtful whether it can have much effect on India. In any case, it doesn't hurt to keep things in perspective. Can we make the ground shift from under Mr Vajpayee's feet? What leverage have we at our disposal to make India share our perceptions on Kashmir? To suppose even for a foolish moment that any serious plans about settling the Kashmir issue will be floated in Agra--Chenab formula or whatever--is to live in a wonderland of our own creation.

    On offer at Agra will be a new range of cosmetics, or rather an old line of cosmetics wrapped in fresh paper: trade, travel, easing of visa restrictions, and the like. In other words, makeup or, at best, plastic surgery. No more. Not that in displaying this range India would be guilty of any particular deviousness. There is little we can do to change its marketing strategy.

    Yes, India would like militancy to die down in Kashmir. Yes, a Kashmir on the boil hinders India's march to great power status. Even so, we don't exactly have India on the mat. As such we cannot wring from it any major concession. This is not rocket science but simple common sense. If Gen Musharraf's planners are choosing to see it in a different light that's their problem.

    Ladies of fashion or beauty who are used to attention take compliments (and even passes) in their stride. In response to the Vajpayee invitation the Musharraf government has simply gone overboard. Its tremulous state of excitement has been evident in the build-up to the summit--a build-up out of sync with what is on offer. If the mood in the Chief Executive's office had been a trifle more restrained, expectations could have been pitched low, in which case even old perfume in new bottles could have counted as an achievement. With expectations pitched unrealistically high, the danger is that a sense of frustration and disillusionment could set in if no tangible progress is made on Kashmir.

    It is no good saying amidst the hoopla and noise that we expect nothing dramatic from the summit. The build-up itself, and the CE's relentless consultations and interviews, tell a different story. Mr Abdul Sattar will have a job on his hands once the pageantry is over. Having to look serious (not a difficult task for him) he will have to read deep and portentous meaning into the slim offerings at Agra. Unless of course the talks are to be blasted as a failure and India accused of intransigence. Which is unlikely, given the overall climate which is not conducive to such histrionics.

    Not that India-Pakistan relations do not stand in need of a facelift. They do indeed. We need more trade and travel and other forms of exchange to lower the barriers of hostility and mistrust between us. But while doing so, and making the best of a bad job, there is no need to fool ourselves. While we have a position on Kashmir-- and perish the thought we should ever abandon it--we lack the means to change the status quo to our advantage. Nor is it likely that India will give away on the negotiating table what we have failed to wrest from it on the battlefield.

    That Kashmir is disputed territory, its disputed status underwritten by UN resolutions, is not something writ on water but a fact carved in stone. If the people of Kashmir do not want to have any truck with India, or if they want to strike out on their own, who are we to sell them down the river? But at the same time no discernible purpose is served by remaining locked in a state of permanent hostility with India.

    For our sake, if not India's, we need to come out of the mental trenches of the past. Trade will benefit both countries and perhaps Pakistan more than India. And reducing the burden of militarization will allow scarce resources to be put to more productive uses. That is, if on both sides of the divide, the national security establishments which have a vested interest in the continuation of hostility permit such an outcome to emerge. Look at the subcontinent's poverty and then consider the pretensions on parade. The two things are a world apart.

    A thousand hard-liners, however, from the comfort of their armchairs can be heard declaiming that peace and cooperation with India while the Kashmir dispute remains unresolved is an unthinkable proposition. Why? China's unalterable claim to Taiwan does not stop it from having profitable links with Taiwan. Just as Hong Kong's being a British colony did not prevent China from having extensive contacts with it. Japan has never given up its claim to the four Northern Islands captured by Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War but that does not stop it from engaging with Russia in other spheres. Why can't we be similarly pragmatic? Why should sensible relations with India be considered tantamount to the loss of national manhood?

    Let us overcome our internal problems, let us attain political stability and build a strong Pakistan. Let us trade with India and try to reduce our absurd arms expenditure. And at the same time let us remain faithful to our position on Kashmir. These three aims are not contradictory. Statesmanship lies not in playing zero-sum games (either/or) but in relating national goals to national strength.

    Such a definition of statesmanship, however, flows from a calm way of looking at things. The circus atmosphere allowed to grow around the Musharraf visit is the exact opposite of this mood. What we are expecting from India regarding Kashmir is related more to our wishes than to the facts on the ground. When India does not accede to our wishfulness will we relapse into sullenness or seek refuge in false interpretations?

    But caveats apart, let us count our blessings. The momentum generated by this visit is all for the good for even fanfare and empty pageantry have their uses. After this visit, even if nothing else is achieved, it will not be easy for either side to revert that quickly to the rhetoric of the past.

    Meanwhile, an important point worth remembering is about the peace clothes General Musharraf is wearing to India. They represent an enduring and not a passing phenomenon. Musharraf's foremost priority is consolidating his rule and giving it a democratic face-lift, plastic surgery being the rage in Pakistan as much as in India. For achieving this aim he has to be more politician than soldier.

    Small wonder then if from the various corps headquarters right down to monitoring teams in the districts an intense effort is underway to choose the right kind of district nazims for the August 2 election. There is nothing surreptitious about this process. Generals and brigadiers are openly telling candidates as to who is on board and who is not. General Musharraf has promised to devolve power to the grassroots. Whether this promise is kept or not, grassroots interference by the army of the kind now being seen is a first for Pakistan.

    This is democracy army-style and the sounds it is conveying are the birth pangs of a new Convention League to act as civilian handmaiden to another military strongman. It is for outsiders--those who accuse Pakistan of adventurism-- to draw their own conclusions. With the army leadership engaged in these political manoeuvres, it should be obvious to anyone that the army's agenda is peace not war. There can be no better augury for the Agra summit.


    #2
    another article saying that pak does not really have any leaverage to make demands to india.

    from 'nation' todayCrunch time at Agra
    Crunch time at Agra

    M.A. Niazi

    The expectations are growing for some kind of a result from the Agra Summit, and just as India set the pace by sending the invitation, it is raising hopes by a series of confidence-building measures that are designed to catch the public eye without conceding much of substance, leaving Pakistan reacting as before, and trying to stem the tide that the Indian have set in motion, threatening to swamp the core issue of Kashmir.

    Once again, the pattern emerging is one that has bedevilled the Indo-Pak relationship for the last half century, or at least since Simla: India insisting that the relationship involves a broad spectrum of issues, each in their way important, and Pakistan insisting that there is one issue, and only one, Kashmir.

    Pakistan has stood its ground, and has reciprocated with exactly nothing. India, in a carefully timed public relations blitz, has announced the release of certain categories of Pakistani prisoners (fishermen and casual strayers across either border or Line of Control), promised to invite cultural delegations and provide scholarships, then promised to ease visa restrictions as never before, and offered to send over the Army's Director General Military Operations at once, followed with or accompanied by experts on nuclear issues.
    Pakistan's response has been to welcome all of these measures, but to reciprocate none. The only issue demanding immediate attention, the DGMO's visit, was carefully postponed until after the Summit, rather than before, as the Indians had suggested. At another level, the Pakistani team has refused Indian offers to bring a large and varied delegation. Unlike Vajpayee, who brought a large delegation to Lahore in 1999 (including the Punjab Chief Minister who took home a breeding ram courtesy of his Pakistani counterpart), the Pakistani delegation will not include the Finance or Commerce Ministers. There are to be no side issues, the business at hand is Kashmir.
    One conclusion that has to be drawn from this is that the kushti is real, not noora. In diplomacy, such summits are prepared for months in advance. Here, the Indians have given themselves as well as Pakistan about seven weeks. And then, towards the end of this period, to have such a flurry of one-sided blandishments on offer, especially when the other side is not reciprocating, is a sign that the pre-Summit manoeuvring is in earnest. International (read American) pressure is there, but there is no foregone conclusion.

    India has made it clear what it would like from the Summit: substantial agreement on one or two relatively minor issues, such as Siachen, major improvements in routine relations, and increased people-to-people contact. But more important, it wants Pakistan to stop its covert aid to the Kashmiri mujahideen and to reduce its overt political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle, in exchange for regional peace. It has the blessings of the USA, which has the puppet strings of the IMF and the World Bank in its hands. In short, it wants Pakistan to sell out the Kashmiri freedom struggle for a price.

    If the President wishes to sell out the Kashmiris, it is perhaps a good time to do so. The Indians are ready to do a deal, the Pakistani nation has grown apathetic enough that it is a safe bet it will not rise up in revolt and revulsion. It will not be too difficult to present a sell-out as a great moral victory for Pakistan, and the best possible deal under the circumstances. The improvement in economic circumstances will allow a breathing space to the government, and allow it to continue with its plans to provide good governance, a revived economy , provincial harmony and all those other things which have been as glaringly absent during the last 21 months as ever. It is another matter that such a deal might help India devote its attention to Kashmiri genocide, but it does not solve its Kashmir problem, of a people who are committed to leave the Indian Union, whether independently or to accede to Pakistan.
    However, there is one thing militating against this. That is the fact that Pervez Musharraf is about as representative, indeed stereotypical, an officer of the Pakistan Army that one can find. It is an institution with many faults, not the least its arrogant assumption that it knows better than the Pakistani people what is good for them. However, it has a certain independent frame of mind that has prevented it from falling into the trap of the civil bureaucracy, whose leading lights have generally tended to fall over themselves pleasing the sources of foreign aid (as well as lucrative secondments and post-retirement jobs). Just as the military has refused to subordinate itself to any civilian ruler to the extent of becoming a political tool, it has also refused to subordinate its view of the national interest with the latest dictates from Washington. This is why Pakistan pursued the nuclear programme at great direct and indirect cost, an independent Afghan policy, and the Kashmiri freedom struggle. The same gutsiness may carry it through the negotiations with India.
    Here it will take courage to risk the failure of the Summit. The temptation to be resisted is to come away with India accepting the disputed nature of Kashmir, but leaving it in possession. India has refused to accept the disputed nature for over 45 years, since the first elections to the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly. Vajpayee is realist enough to accept the disputed nature, and hope to maintain possession for another alf century. Pakistan cannot force India to settle the issue swiftly.

    It is close to impossible, but Pakistan can only count a success if it obtains Indian agreement to substantial steps, within a closed timeframe. Again, how is this possible, given that Pakistan cannot forcibly stop India from backing down? The way India backed off from the composite dialogue process in 1997 is an example.
    There are two components to this. First, though Musharraf is allergic to the phrase 'composite dialogue', that is the only feasible midway point between India's position of settling the peripheral issues, and Pakistan's of Kashmir as the core issue. Pakistan must be ready to accept a composite process. Second, so far no one has addressed the question of what India is supposed to get out of the deal. This is a key point in any negotiation of any kind; it has to benefit all parties to some extent, even if some benefits more than others.

    It should be noted that India is offering benefits for Pakistan to come around to its point of view. What benefits does Pakistan offer? It is not a matter of simply offering CBMs. India is offering Pakistan serious strategic pay-offs, in economic terms, through the indirect support of the donor agencies. 'Reasonableness' and 'moderation' will be rewarded. Is Pakistan offering anything in return? Especially when Pakistan is asking for something that might well threaten the integrity of the somewhat fragile Indian Union. There are two problems for Pakistan. It does not have any third-party backing, which would allow it to pay a price with other people's money. It also lacks the comparative advantage that size gives India. One price India might be willing to extract is the establishment of its hegemony, of Pakistan being content to play a regional role similar to that of Bangladesh, which has a comparable size and economy. It has its occasional difficulties with India, but it follows India's lead in most international issues.

    Would Pakistan's self-pride be able to pay such a price? It may be possible to negotiate a slightly less subservient relationship, but it would also involve Pakistan doing two things. First, it would have to cool its relations with China, and second, it would have to abandon its present Afghan policy. In short, it would have to carry out a diplomatic revolution.

    There is also another question, which this article has glossed over, much as India and Pakistan do, that of the Kashmiri people, and their right of self-determination. How do they fit into this framework? Indian intransigence has meant that Pakistan's President does not merely represent his own country at Agra, but also the Kashmiri people. Mere moralistic pleas will not work, so what will? How exactly do the Kashmiris factor into the equation that is to be developed in the shadow of the Taj Mahal?

    The answer to this question is not clear, but India has it, not Pakistan. If Pakistan is not willing to sell out the Kashmiri people, is India willing to let them go for free?
    E-mail queries and comments to: [email protected]


    Comment


      #3
      Ayaz Amir <- Glad to know that there are some sane men left in Pakistan!

      Comment


        #4
        This is an op-ed. Not reflective of the wider public views.

        and besides, when someone else posts from the Dawn, u ignore it as being partial and biased...and when it suits your purpose, all of a sudden Ayaz Amir becomes a sane person.

        Comment


          #5
          Who said there is no free press in pakistan

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Akif:
            This is an op-ed. Not reflective of the wider public views.
            and besides, when someone else posts from the Dawn, u ignore it as being partial and biased...and when it suits your purpose, all of a sudden Ayaz Amir becomes a sane person.

            Ayaz Amir has been consistently sane! Also I never said it is the public view.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by kumarakn:

              Ayaz Amir has been consistently sane! Also I never said it is the public view.
              Ayaz Amir has also written articles like

              "India has lost the high ground"
              "Indias kargil defeat"
              and few others....

              Comment


                #8
                >>"Indias kargil defeat" <<

                Every time I read Ayaz Amir, I feel like patting him on the back and stop weeping about Kargil.
                He consistently asked the same question.
                Namely what was the exit strategy, namely what if India retaliates ?

                Since it is not Mushraaf's ass in the sling but some poor, brainwashed kid's he went ahead.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Andhra:
                  >>"Indias kargil defeat" <<
                  namely what if India retaliates ?
                  ahead.
                  India can retaliate any time any place.
                  But it won't its bluff was called in kargil.

                  Do you think India wants to risk a nuclear war. India has been crowing no first use pact from day one.. You should know why.


                  Comment


                    #10
                    Ayaz Amir hmmm traitor hmmm waste of time......

                    ------------------
                    Our's not to reason why,
                    Our's but to do and die:
                    You can't fix stupid. So might as well troll them!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by CM:
                      Ayaz Amir hmmm traitor hmmm waste of time......

                      I don't know weather he is a traitor or a patriot I will leave that for the jury to decide.
                      He also has written several anti India articles I believe its all his personal points of views. One can retrieve several of his documents and prove him wrong.


                      Take the example of Dawn, I don't call it a news paper. Reason its news is one to two days old a cut and paste from other news papers.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        >>India has been crowing no first use pact from day one.. You should know why.

                        I sure know why! Confidence (in our nuclear capability) that we can beat the crap out of you guys, if you ever used one!

                        (That is precisely what Ayaz Amir means when he says, "what if India retaliates?")

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by kumarakn:
                          >>India has been crowing no first use pact from day one.. You should know why.

                          I sure know why! Confidence (in our nuclear capability) that we can beat the crap out of you guys, if you ever used one!

                          (That is precisely what Ayaz Amir means when he says, "what if India retaliates?")
                          What has that got to do with no first use.
                          Seems like you are still living in kookoo land. Lost crucial peaks for which thousand of your soldiers were killed "RIGHT ON YOUR TURF" and what if India retaliated! hahaha

                          Here is the bottom line India died for 5353/5340 and Bajrang and couldent do no squat about it. Its almost three years and we see your retaliation every day...

                          In Bollywood movies only.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Abdali:
                            Ayaz Amir has also written articles like

                            "India has lost the high ground"
                            "Indias kargil defeat"
                            and few others....

                            this is by Ayaz Amir when Kargil was in full swing. how correctly he anticipated that it will be fiasco.
                            http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/990625.htm

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by ZZ:
                              this is by Ayaz Amir when Kargil was in full swing. how correctly he anticipated that it will be fiasco.
                              http://www.dawn.com/weekly/ayaz/990625.htm

                              And if I was to believe Ayaz status quo should have been resored or it was end of Pak. Oh well three years down the road and you know if it ever did.

                              Oh BTW its the same dawn that was banned from India during kargil show down.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X