Thoughts by Bahadar Ali

December 1, 2008

Mumbai Terror: Shining India vs ‘Rogue’ Pakistan?

Filed under: Political — bkhan @ 6:09 am

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I would like to start my note with condemnation of the incidents of Mumbai and condolence to the families who are mourning the death of their beloved ones. It was an act of terrorism which was brutal and by no means we should let it go without bringing the culprits and perpetrators to justice.

This attack which was carried out on the most posh neighborhoods of Mumbai, or simply was carried out against the ‘haves’ by the ‘have nots’. In one of my previous observations I noted that every evil starts from stomach. Having said so, I am dejected by the stance taken by Indian government and media. While this operation was still on and nobody actually knew who the culprits could be, Indian establishment categorically started accusing Pakistani government, intelligence agencies particularly ISI and some banned religious militant groups in Pakistan. This is highly unfortunate and detrimental to the confidence building measures taken by both governments in last few years to bury the hatchet.

No doubt this incident has wounded the Indian pride and their anger is justified. But the working of international relations is not based on emotions. Indians should have pondered over for a moment and should have deliberated for while before pointing finger at their perceived arch-rivals. It is important to understand that India is a world in itself. It has more than 1000 million population and in every nook and corner their are small to big groups who have grievances against the state for one reason or another. Muslims of India are one of the similar affected groups. And in the post 9/11 world it is so easy to implicate any Muslim in any violent activity and world will accept it without wasting a fraction of a moment. Because this is how in the current world Islam and Muslim is defined.

At the same time, India must understand that she is not US. No doubt they are developing at a very fast pace and through their diplomacy they have impressed the world as another super-power-in-waiting. But ground realities are different. If out of 1000 million 60+ million have attained some kind of prosperity the remaining 900+ million are still living in abject poverty. I wish Indian progress could be homogeneous and everybody there should reap the fruits of the projected Indian progress. But currently Indian progress is confined to few cities like Banglore, Chinai or Hyderabad. This much hyped progress is because of great projection through their cinema power and 20+ million NRIs. Not everybody is an IT person there and poverty is a monster hitting average Indian forever, for centuries. A kind of poverty whereby Assam state declares that people should eat rats!

Pakistan is by no means is a Kosher state. It is living with its own set of problems and its past policies at the behest of West has earned it a very bad name. A set of self-puritans, Jihadis, is like a rust for Pakistani civil society. But in the context of Mumbai events Pakistani involvement can be a nightmare for Indians but not reality. Pakistan has so much to address already in terms of fighting the menace of extremism and poor financial health. And certainly it is not in positions to start any adventurism on its eastern borders.

The knee-jerk reaction is another unfortunate reality in Indo-Pak relationship, especially in India. Every mischief in India is always perceived to have Pakistani finger prints. We have seen it in the past. In 1994 plague disese hit some north Indian states and instead of advising its people to observe proper sanitation rules they blamed on Pakistani Intelligence agency ISI by blaming that latter had the intent to destroy Indian tourism industry. In December 13, 2001 some ‘mujahideen’ attacked Indian parliament and it was declared as an attack on India by Pakistani agents. Four people were arrested including a pregnant woman in connection with those attacks. India brought its half million troops on its borders with Pakistan and naturally Pakistan brought her same number of troops against them. That stand off of one million armies continued there for three months. The world went into a panic over this escalation as that conflict or war could have readily transformed into a nuclear and mutually assured destructions. That was averted by US and third party mediation. Later on the three suspects arrested in this connection were not found guilty and released. One of them was awarded death penalty which is still in doubt and a debate is going on about the accuracy of judgement. This doesn’t stop here and in 2007 Samjhuta Express, the train service between India and Pakistan was set on fire and 66 Pakistani burned alive inside. At that time again Indian government blamed Pakistan and ISI. But this case turned out to be really unique. Just a few weeks ago, investigation found a serving Lt Colonel of Indian Army Srikant Purohit as guilty for providing RDX explosives to the members of an ultra orthodox Hindu extremist party, who sabotaged the train and killed so many innocent civilian passengers.

The Lt Col Srikant Purohit case is interesting as mainstream Indian media found that terrorism has no religion and only Muslims cannot be terrorist but a new term circulated in Indian press of “Hindu Terrorism”. This really upset the Sung Parvar, a term used for group of Hindu extremist parties like Bajrang Dal and Vishua Hindu Preshad. But instead of showing any embarrassment these Hindu fanatic parties started calling Srkiant Purohit as their hero. Another interesting and sad thing to note is the first casualty of the recent Mumbai carnage is the police Anti Terrorism Squad(ATS) chief Hermant Karkare who actually unearthed the conspiracy of Col Purohit is killed. This might be a coincidence but in the wake of life threats ATS Chief Karkare was receiving from Hindu extremist parties following his investigation that lead to the arrest of Col Purohit is sending mixed signals.

We used to have debates about the division of sub-continents but after the Muslim genocide in Ahmedabad (Gujrat) I was convinced that creation of Pakistan was the right choice for the Muslims of India. Usually majorities protect minorities in the societies but if majority becomes hostile against the vulnerable, the results are disastrous and Indian Hindu majority in Gujart has amply proved it under the notorious and extremist CM of Gujrat Narendar Moody. This sad episode left more than 800 Muslims killed, many of them burnt alive.

Another dimension of this move can also be related to the new set up in US which is going to assume charge in the new year. Barrack Obama has shown his willingness to sort out Kashmir issue and he is going to appoint none other than Bill Clinton as his envoy for the resolution of this chronicle sore on the maps of India and Pakistan. Incumbent president’s this desire was not taken warmly in the governmental, diplomatic and extremist circles of the India. We can not rule out the possibility that Indian establishment might want to put up a case against Pakistan thus yielding an effort to distract Obama’s resolve for Kashmir solution.

Indians must look for their problems within. They are a recipe for disaster as out of 610 Indian administrative districts 240 are the focus of separatist movements of one kind and another. Also the native inhabitants of India, the Dravidians, living in south still argue that sub-continent was wrongly divided between east and west rather it should have been carved out on north-south lines. A plethora of separatist movements are running on full gear in Tamil Nadu and this is where the first ever suicide bomber of sub-content blew herself off to assassinate Ex-Inidan Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. This was the first lesson of suicide bombing imparted to South Asians which was later very well taken by Muslim suicide bombers in Pakistani tribal areas.

If we look at the implications of Indian escalation on borders with Pakistan, these are even more dire consequences for Indians than Pakistanis. If their intelligence agencies can become hostage to one dozen fanatics what will happen in the case of war with Pakistan. As we know everything is fair in war!

Indian progress is the result of, no doubt, with the hard work of their academic, intelligentsia and diplomatic force, it is also dependent on huge investments from multinational companies. And investor, if sees things are heading to a war which has the potential to turn nuclear, they will take few days to fly their capital away to some place more safer. Capitalist never loves lands or geographies, he only loves his profits. We have seen this phenomenon in the ASEAN countries, the so-called Asian Tigers of 90s decade.

The menace of terrorism is real. Both countries should work together to eradicate and instead of indulging in useless blame game which can yield nothing but mutually assured destructions. With the kind of lethal weaponry that both countries possess now, whatever infrastructure they have developed over the period of last 60 years will evaporate like puff of a smoke.

The top level leadership of both countries must negotiate their unresolved issues which gives pretext of violence to the extremists on the both sides of the divide. Media must stop hate rhetoric and help the establishments of both the states to identify the enemy within. Finally, I end my this note with the hope that things will be sorted out in a more cultured and civilized way between both countries and the real culprits will be brought to justice who are practically manoeuvering the bilateral hostility in both countries.

Published in Daily The News Dec 05, 2008

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