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    How Pakistan can deal with India's Aggressive intent

    Shireen M Mazari

    Dealing with the Indian intent

    The writer is Director General of the

    Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad

    [email protected]

    As the Indian propaganda and moves on the ground unfold, those who are assuming that the chances of even a limited military encounter are over, need to do a reality check. To begin with, the massive mobilization undertaken by India has come at great economic cost and cannot simply be understood in terms of a political-diplomatic pressure ploy. Also, when taken together with the other Indian moves - including the cutting off of all rail, road and air travel links and the drastic downsizing of diplomatic missions as well as of recalling their high commissioner from Pakistan - indicate a more far-reaching policy objective of the Indians.

    What is that objective? To use the limited military option, probably through an offensive against Azad Jammu and Kashmir - and perhaps with air strikes a la the US style over Afghanistan - after all the Indians have constantly stated that if the US could act against Afghanistan after September 11, India can do the same against the Kashmiri freedom fighters ("militants" as they would say). After all, their ally Israel has also done the same against the beleaguered Palestinians. This is why it was so important for the Indians to create an incident of adequate proportions - and hence the December 13th incident of the "attack" on the Indian parliament.

    Post this incident, India's shifting demands from Pakistan also reflect that the real intent is to go for a limited attack on AJK but to first prepare international opinion. Hence the graduated steps beginning with the diplomatic actions, demands for Pakistan to arrest the "guilty" militants and their leaders and now the list demanding the extradition of twenty Pakistanis to India. One has only to recall how the Israelis have been making new demands on the Palestinian Authority in order to justify their military aggression against them to understand the Indian game plan.

    So what can Pakistan do? To begin with, Pakistan needs to very firmly state that as a sovereign state it will punish its own citizens under its law once India has provided proper proof. So far, aside from histrionics, India has not an iota of evidence linking any Pakistani group to the 13th December incident. Even the film footage decimated worldwide through Indian sources shows no evidence - nor was their any visual or other identification of the actual culprits immediately after the attack. In fact, there was no particular mention of the exact timing of the attack either! That is why Pakistan volunteered to institute a joint enquiry into the incident. Strange why the Indians were so reluctant!

    But then perhaps not given that the whole incident was in all probability a self-created incident. In any event, Pakistan, as a sovereign state, will certainly not send its citizens for trial to India - given that there is no extradition treaty presently between the two states. That is why the Indians know that this demand cannot be met legally. After all, Pakistan has been hampered by this factor for many years when it has been unable to get the perpetrators of terrorist acts committed in Pakistan by Indian-trained/sheltered groups.

    This harbouring of terrorists of this region became very evident in the era of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan when the Indians used Khad (the then Afghan intelligence agency) agents to carry out terrorist acts in Pakistan and then seek shelter in India. The present interim Defence Minister of Afghanistan, General Fahim, was once heading this Afghan intelligence network and only recently visited India. After his visit he started his tirade against Pakistan, declaring that Osama was already in Pakistan - again without substantiating the remark.

    There is a need for Pakistan to adopt a more public stance on exposing Indian links to terrorism in this region, including the Hindu fundamentalist groups who openly preach violence against Muslims and Christians in general and against Pakistan in particular.

    Linked to this, Pakistan also needs to remind the world that it began a crackdown against armed groups in Pakistan much before September 11, including the banning of groups like the Lashkar-i-Jhangvi - only the rest of the world was not particularly interested at the time. Now, the international media is playing the Indian theme that Pakistan is coming down on the religious extremists because of Indian and international pressure - which the Indians claim proves their point that these groups are guilty of the 13th December incident in Delhi. Pakistan needs to do more to counter this assumption through a more aggressive assertion of its sense of sovereignty. It has to undermine the sense within the country that somehow it is now on the defensive - otherwise we may develop an acute political-fear psyche akin to India's Kargil trauma.

    After all, it is the issue of sectarian terrorism that has necessitated the arrest of all those guilty of this crime against Pakistani civil society, just as the enforcement of the law of the land is a basic requirement and one of the major commitments of General Musharraf's government. With the departure of the Taliban sanctuary in Afghanistan, the job has been made a little simpler but there are many pitfalls that still have to be dealt with.

    Equally important, there is a need to remember the real issue underlying the present instability in the region - that is, the issue of Kashmir and the struggle of the Kashmiri people for self-determination. India has tried to push this issue into the background with its present military mobilization and brinkmanship. To some extent India has succeeded in deflecting world pressure for dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir. Yet, in the month of December 2001 alone, Indian troops in Occupied Kashmir held 5,605 civilians under detention and killed 374 Kashmiris. In addition, there have been 688 recorded torture cases and 54 recorded cases of rape/gang-rape of women by Indian security forces. Quite a record of state terrorism - but where are our human rights organizations?



    The fact of the matter is that the indigenous struggle against Indian occupation in Kashmir has withstood over a decade of Indian military repression and has not succumbed to numerous Indian political ploys. Nor have the Indians managed to push the Kashmiri issue off centre-stage after the overt nuclearisation of the region. Hence this dangerous game of brinkmanship, which seems to include a desperate option of a limited attack against AJK in order to alter the parameters of the Kashmir dispute. That is, to then divert negotiations over re-establishing the status quo in AJK and thereby get its aim of having the LoC declared as the international border.

    Given the manner in which the international community is falling prey to Indian deception - or perhaps powers like the US have given India covert approval for their game plan - Pakistan needs to formulate proactive policy options, including reminding the nation as well as the world that Pakistan is an intrinsic party to the Kashmir dispute. Also, whether the world likes it or not, unless it alters the UN Charter, it is committed to the issue of self-determination for the Kashmiri people, as it was to East Timorese self-determination.

    A limited military venture in AJK would, of course, present Pakistan with difficult choices. It cannot respond in kind in Indian-Held Kashmir because that would mean killing Kashmiris. What it can do is respond by attacking military targets and supply routes in IHK. Would that necessarily be an escalatory step leading to a war across the international border? That is the element of uncertainty and danger and the Indians know it and hence their game of brinkmanship - also knowing full well that as its demands increase they simply cannot be met by Pakistan!

    Let it not be assumed that the various Indian moves are being done in isolation from each other. They are part of an overall plan to create the right environment for a limited military action - especially the downsizing of diplomats, which limits access to human intelligence. Also, the impression that India is easing the pressure diplomatically is false because on the ground the mobilization continues as do the politico-diplomatic moves. In any event, even if tensions actually ease and both sides move towards demobilization, it will take many months before the threat of war will disappear. The few words of "approval" by India, of Pakistani actions are immediately followed by a "but" and new demands.

    So there is a need to keep the overall picture in mind and respond to that - including the preparation of the nation for a possible military encounter. While war hysteria has to be avoided, keeping the nation in a state of blissful ignorance is equally damaging. So far the Pakistani electronic media has understood this and this approach has to be sustained. But even more important, there is a need to keep our focus on the real issue, which is Kashmir and India's brutalisation of the Kashmiri people. Otherwise, we will have allowed India to succeed in its aggressive designs.

    Perhaps most important, the prevailing strategic situation in the region makes the option of a formal security understanding between China and Pakistan most attractive for both states. This would be a total shift from traditional Chinese policy of not entering into defence/security pacts, but the regional situation is also totally new with the US right on China's borders, but refusing to acknowledge Chinese concerns about its separatists, and an aggressive India expanding its military presence into East Asia and the South China Sea. Therefore, bold new initiatives between Pakistan and its allies are required.


    ===============================================

    at truly wonderful article outlining both the dangers posed by a sabre-rattling government based on religious fundamentalism, and how best a diplomatically savvy Pakistan can respond to the danger it represents. Recommended reading.

    #2
    So far, aside from histrionics, India has not an iota of evidence linking any Pakistani group to the 13th December incident. Even the film footage decimated worldwide through Indian sources shows no evidence - nor was their any visual or other identification of the actual culprits immediately after the attack. In fact, there was no particular mention of the exact timing of the attack either! That is why Pakistan volunteered to institute a joint enquiry into the incident. Strange why the Indians were so reluctant!

    That sums the empty rhetoric of India in this whole crisis. India has refused to share any evidence it has with Pakistan, and it has refused to conduct a joint enquiry offered by Islamabad. Both refusals show that India has no evidence to speak of to make these claims and accusations against Pakistan. Further it has apparently shared some evidence with unnamed foreign powers, but none of those foreign powers have so far come forward and accused Pakistan, or asked it to hand the 'suspects' to India. All Indian hot air and lies.


    [This message has been edited by Malik73 (edited January 03, 2002).]

    Comment


      #3
      Very true malik, but it is a lot more dangerous than hot air. With India's stridently militant Hindu nationalist government itching to damage Pakistan's growing reputation in the fight against terrorism, it is important that world pressure is brought to bear on Vajpayee to calm irresponsible talk of war and seek to solve the potential nuclear flashpoint in Kashmir.

      Certainly, talk of winning a nuclear war has proven deeply embarassing for India as a whole and both Bush and Blair should publicly blast this idiocy.

      Comment


        #4

        [PLEASE USE MORE APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE]



        [This message has been edited by Mursalin (edited January 03, 2002).]

        Comment


          #5
          With Pakistan making such large concessions, and India refusing them all, despite no proof of Pakistan's involvement in the attack on the indian parliament, I see a dead end.

          Pakistan has been making peace gestures since day one, and India has been talking war.
          Pakistan arrested many militants, froze many accounts, and forced LET to relocate, yet India talked of war.
          Pakistan offered talks in Nepal, and India rebuffed them.

          Now India wants a list of 20 men to be arrested and handed over. Dont know whether to laugh at that or sigh.

          India is trying its level best to stuff Pakistan in a corner, where Pakistan would in fact be the one initiating a war, something that would get the worlds sympathy on Indias side.

          Perhaps Pakistan should put up a take-it-or-leave-it proposal for negotiations. We cant keep on making concessions for a country that itself is mired in cross border terrorism, civilian massacres and gang rapes, and suppression of the peoples voice. I know Pakistan will not be the first one to attack, as it shouldnt be. But we cannot continue appeasing some hot heads from across the border based on their illogical demands.

          Comment


            #6
            Akif,

            the only thing that Pakistan has to do is make sure we are not the one's to initiate a war. India will keep on ratcheting up the demands, but we can make our own demands. The world isn't blind, and with Pakistan's role still crucial in America's war in Afghanistan, India will have to be wary of making any initial move. Already they are backing down as Musharraf refuses to be led into a trap.

            If they want a war, they will have to clearly make the first move, and then they will find out what we are made of. No one should mistake good diplomacy for fear of conflict. If war is thrust upon us, Pakistan is no afghanistan, and we have more than enough means to defend ourselves from any foolish moves by our neighbours.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Mr Xtreme:
              Akif,

              the only thing that Pakistan has to do is make sure we are not the one's to initiate a war. India will keep on ratcheting up the demands, but we can make our own demands. The world isn't blind, and with Pakistan's role still crucial in America's war in Afghanistan, India will have to be wary of making any initial move. Already they are backing down as Musharraf refuses to be led into a trap.

              If they want a war, they will have to clearly make the first move, and then they will find out what we are made of. No one should mistake good diplomacy for fear of conflict. If war is thrust upon us, Pakistan is no afghanistan, and we have more than enough means to defend ourselves from any foolish moves by our neighbours.
              The Indians have gone crazy with envy because Pakistan is making steady progress. Its reserves had hit rock bottom to half bn $, now within 2 yrs it is touching $5 bn and by the end of this year it will be % 11 bn. The Indians had started talking of a failed state. They wanted to get it classified as a terrorist state. This hope has also backfired. So they started to stage dramas to show it as a terrorist state.
              Here is how BBC reported their 'hijacking' drama:- http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/wor...00/1578355.stm

              The Indian Government has launched an investigation
              into the reported hijacking of a domestic flight, which
              turned out to be a false alarm.

              Now they want to blow up the Taj Mahal and blame it on Kashmiris; http://au.news.yahoo.com/020103/15/2abk.html

              India says Kashmir rebels threaten to blow up Taj Mahal
              See how frustrated they are.
              The Indians think they are a super power and we are Palestinian boys with catapults. My invitation to the Indians. C'mon man Try it!

              Comment


                #8
                well the moderaters are also cracking down on muslims it seems i can give you examples of worse language used by people like andhra and rani
                i dont think i abused any one here

                Comment

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