Thursday, January 06, 2011

Macaulay's Children

I wonder what on earth is the criteria for a person to be appointed the "group editor" of an Urdu national daily newspaper? How ignorant or shortsighted one has to be to fit into that slot?

Abbas Ather of the daily Express has not only rattled sabers again in his column today by insisting on calling Salman Tasser 'shaheed' but has also claimed that he could not find any evidence of any desecration or disrespect of the Prophet Muhammad or of any Islamic norms in the last 1400 years until 1990 when Zia-ulHaq's law was enforced and blasphemy cases started appearing. To erroneously prove that blasphemy law is not an Islamic one he merely quotes how it has been misused.

Why the heck he wants to call his hero by an Islamic term anyway?

I don't want to waste the rest of my blog post by quoting his long-winded but absurd arguments. I will just show how wrong he is in saying that there was no incident of blasphemy in the last 1400 years until Blasphemy Laws of what he insists on calling Zia's 'Kala Qaanoon' made them appear in a cascade. I am quoting from the Time magazine of April 16, 1979 - the same issue that coincidentally had the story on Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's death printed in its pages:

"Early Christian polemicists against Islam used the Prophet's human person as their butt, accusing him of whoring, sedition, charlatanry. As writing about Islam and the Orient burgeoned—60,000 books between 1800 and 1950 — European powers occupied large swatches of "Islamic" territory, arguing that since Orientals knew nothing about democracy and were essentially passive, it was the "civilizing mission" of the Occident, expressed in the strict programs of despotic modernization, to finally transform the Orient into a nice replica of the West."

I am sure Thomas B. Macaulay, that supercilious English snob who was a member of the British Supreme Council in Indi, amust be smiling, from wherever the heck he is now, to see the products of the educational system he had proposed, who now proudly call themselves liberal, enlightened and secular. The term used for these people is Macaulay's Children who are born of Indian or Pakistani ancestry but adopt Western culture as a lifestyle, or display attitudes influenced by colonizers.

Macaulay was so disdainful and contemptuous to the Eastern culture and scholarship that he said: “The whole native literature of India and Arabia was worth but a single European library shelf." (Mind it he did not Arabic or any of the Indian languages.)

The passage to which the term, Macaulay's Children, refers to is from his Minutes on Indian Education, delivered in 1835. It says:

"It is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population."

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Salman Taseer: Shaheed Or No Shaheed

The following is a letter I wrote this evening to Abbas Ather, the group editor of the Daily Express, an Urdu newspaper of Pakistan. I have asked him a few questions that I had after reading his column in today's paper . It is self explanatory.

Dear Mr. Ather, Daily Express

Sir, let me say this first that I like your columns and the first thing I do every morning after perusing the headlines in the Express is to turn to the second page to see if your paper has carried your column.

Mostly, I find your column very incisive, analytical, and well-rounded. Once in a while, I catch you taking untenable partisan positions but not enough to prompt me to write something about it. (I joined PPP at a relatively tender age in 1968 enchanted by ZAB's charismatic personality and his program to uplift the down-trodden.)

But after reading your column today (Jan 5) I feel I should write something. I know I don't have the privilege of having a bully's pulpit in the shape of a newspaper column that reaches millions uncontested, as you do. So I have to be content with an email.

Anyway, let me come to the point. First thing: let us not confuse and mix up things. We can mourn all we want the emotionalism of our nation, the extremism of our often-denigrated 'Maulvis', the poison they are injecting in our body-politic, the fact that the Prophet Muhammad is 'Mercy to all species' and how he treated his opponents and enemies, Quad-e-Azam was a liberal or fundamentalist, some Maulvis called him Kafir-e-AzamI and opposed him in his efforts to get a separate country for Muslims, and Maulvis called Boota Singh a shaheed even though he had committed suicide. We can discuss all that but not in the context in which you have done in your column.

There are a few issues here:

(i) Is a person entitled to call one person he likes a 'shaheed' but another who he does not like but died in similar conditions 'not shaheed'? I would say 'yes'. Because a particular person could be a rascal to one and a saint to the other. A religion could be a superstition for the one who doesn't believe in it. But it doesn't matter. We are not the ones who can render a final verdict on this. It is for the Creator to judge whether a person is a shaheed or not. Our saying so, though it may please us, doesn't make him one or vice versa.

(ii) The real issue here is whether the blasphemy law is based on an injunction that was revealed to Zia (as you have said) or to the Prophet in the Holy Quran? Just because Zia introduced it or had had it promulgated does not make it wrong or 'controversial', or does it? By the way, even if a law is revealed to Zia or the Prophet it would take some personnel to prepare it as a bill to get it passed into a law.

(iii) Is Blasphemy Law is the only law in Pakistan that is misused to persecute the innocent?

(iv) Is it the only law in which here say may be admitted as an evidence?

(v) To answer your question that which other Islamic country has the Blasphemy Law, Iran is a theocracy and and its official religion is the doctrine of the Twelver Jaafri School. Yes, and it does have a blasphemy law. Does Iran having a Blasphemy law makes it Islamic?

(vi) Did Salman Taseer called Blasphemy Law 'kala qaanoon' (Dark Law) just because it was introduced by Zia? or because it has been misused to persecute minorities?

(vii) Is there any other law in Pakistan that has ever been misused to persecute some innocent or has been used improperly? Did Salman Taseer said that other law was also 'kala qaanoon'?

(viii) What if Blasphemy Law is derived from Shariah as Iranians claim that it is and Salman Taseer has called it 'kala qaanoon', do you still believe that he is 'shaheed' and you will pay tribute to him?

(ix) If Salman Taseer has called a Quranic Law a 'kala qaanoon' and Mumtaz Qadri has killed him because he thinks he was blasphemous then why Salman Taseer is better than Rajpal and Mumtaz Qadri is inferior to Ilm-ud-Din (should I call him shaheed?)?

Last question: would you please have my email printed as is?


Khalid Masood Butt

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Why Record Number of Britons Are Embracing Islam?

The Independent newspaper calls it the Islamification of Britain because record numbers of Britons are embracing Islam. The number of Britons choosing to become Muslims has nearly doubled in the past decade, about 5000 a year.

This increase in number of those adopting Islam is despite the fact British Muslims are under enhanced scrutiny, criticism and analysis than any other religious community and the often negative portrayal of Islam in media.

The figures are comparable with studies in Germany and France which found that there were around 4,000 conversions a year.

According to Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, the think-tank that has done this survey it is "the prominence of Islam in the public domain" that prompts people to find out "what Islam is all about" and "some will inevitably end up liking what they discover and will convert."

Then the Independent tells the interested one how to become a Muslim:

Islam is one of the easiest religions to convert to. Technically, all a person needs to do is recite the Shahada, the formal declaration of faith, which states: "There is no God but Allah and Mohamed is his Prophet." A single honest recitation is all that is needed to become a Muslim, but most converts choose to do so in front of at least two witnesses, one being an imam.

Then some of the new converts to Islam have been introduced:

Hana Tajima, 23, fashion designer
Hana Tajima converted to Islam when she was 17. Frustrated by the lack of variety in Islamic clothing for converts she founded Maysaa, a fashion house that designs western-inspired clothing that conforms to hijab.

"It's true that I never decided to convert to Islam, nor was there a defining moment where I realised I wanted to be Muslim. My family aren't particularly religious. I was interested in religion, but very disinterested in how it related to my life. I grew up in rural Devon where my Japanese father was the ethnic diversity of the village. It wasn't until I studied at college that I met people who weren't of the exact same background, into Jeff Buckley, underground hip-hop, drinking, and getting high. I met and became friends with a few Muslims in college, and was slightly affronted and curious at their lack of wanting to go out to clubs or socialise in that sense. I think it was just the shock of it, like, how can you not want to go out, in this day and age.

"It was at about that time that I started to study philosophy, and without sounding too much like I dyed my hair black and wore my fringe in front of my face, I began to get confused about my life. I was pretty popular, had good friends, boyfriends, I had everything I was supposed to have, but still I felt like 'is that it?' So these things all happened simultaneously, I read more about religion, learned more about friends of other backgrounds, had a quarter life crisis. There were things that drew me to Islam in particular, it wasn't like I was reaching for whatever was there. The fact that the Qur'an is the same now as it ever was means there's always a reference point. The issues of women's rights were shockingly contemporary. The more I read, the more I found myself agreeing with the ideas behind it and I could see why Islam coloured the lives of my Muslim friends. It made sense, really, I didn't and still don't want to be Muslim, but there came a point where I couldn't say that I wasn't Muslim.

"Telling my family was the easy part. I knew they'd be happy as long as I was happy, and they could see that it was an incredibly positive thing. My friends went one of two ways, met with a lack of any reaction and lost to the social scene, or interested and supportive. More the former, less the latter."

Denise Horsley, 26, dance teacher

Denise Horsley lives in North London. She converted to Islam last year and is planning to marry her Muslim boyfriend next year.

"I was introduced to Islam by my boyfriend Naushad. A lot of people ask whether I converted because of him but actually he had nothing to do with it. I was interested in his faith but I went on my own journey to discover more about religion.

"I bought loads of books on all the different religions but I kept coming back to Islam - there was something about it that just made sense, it seemed to answer all the questions I had.

"I would spend hours in the library at Regents Park Mosque reading up on everything from women's rights to food. Before I went to prayers for the first time I remember sitting in my car frantically looking up how to pray on my Blackberry. I was so sure people would know straight away that I wasn't a Muslim but if they did no-one seemed to care.

"During Ramadan I'd sit and listen to the Qur'anic recitations and would be filled with such happiness and warmth. One day I decided there and then to take my shahada. I walked down to the reception and said I was ready to convert, it was as simple as that.

"My friends and family were rather shocked, I think they expected there would be some sort of huge baptism ceremony but they were very supportive of my decision. I think they were just pleased to see me happy and caring about something so passionately.

"I grew up Christian and went to a Catholic school. Islam to me seemed to be a natural extension of Christianity. The Qur'an is filled with information about Jesus, Mary, the angels and the Torah. It's part of a natural transition.

"I do now wear a headscarf but it wasn't something I adopted straightaway. Hijab is such an important concept in Islam but it's not just about clothing. It's about being modest in everything you do. I started dressing more modestly - forgoing low cut tops and short skirts - but before I donned a headscarf I had to make sure I was comfortable on the inside before turning my attention to the outside. Now I feel completely protected in my headscarf. People treat you with a new level of respect, they judge you by your words and your deeds, not how you look. It's the kind of respect every dad wants for their daughter.

"There have been some problems. Immediately after converting I isolated myself a bit, which I now recognise was a mistake and not what Islam teaches. I remember a lady on a bus who got really angry and abusive when she found out I had converted. I also noticed quite a few friends stopped calling. I think they just got tired of hearing me say no - no to going clubbing, no to going down the pub.

"But my good friends embraced it. They simply found other things to do when I was around. Ultimately I'm still exactly the same person apart from the fact that I don't drink, don't eat pork and pray five times a day. Other than that I'm still Denise."

Dawud Beale, 23

Dawud Beale was a self-confirmed "racist" two years ago who knew nothing about Islam and supported the BNP. Now a Muslim, he describes himself as a Salafi - the deeply socially conservative and ultra-orthodox sect of Islam whose followers try to live exactly like the Prophet did.

"I was very ignorant to Islam for most of my life and then I went on holiday to Morocco, which was the first time I was exposed to Muslims. I was literally a racist before Morocco and by the time I was flying home on the plane a week later, I had already decided to become a Muslim."

"I realised Islam is not a foreign religion, but had a lot of similarities with what I already believed. When I came back home to Somerset, I spent three months trying to find local Muslims, but there wasn't even a mosque in my town. I eventually met Sufi Muslims who took me to Cyprus to convert.

"When I came back, I was finding out a lot of what they were saying was contradictory to what it said in the Qur'an. I wasn't finding them very authentic, to be honest. I went to London and became involved with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the political group who call for the establishment of an Islamic state.

"But while I believe in the benefits of Sharia law, I left this group as well. The problem was it was too into politics and not as concerned with practicing the religion. For me, it is about keeping an Islamic appearance and studying hard. I think we do need an Islamic state, but the way to achieve it is not through political activism or fighting. Allah doesn't change the situation of people until they see what's within themselves.

"I have a big dislike for culture in Islamic communities, when it means bringing new things into the religion, such as polytheism or encouraging music and dance. There is something pure about Salafi Muslims; we take every word of the Qur'an for truth. I have definitely found the right path. I also met my wife through the community and we are expecting our first child next year."

Paul Martin, 27

Paul Martin was just a student when he decided to convert to Islam in an ice-cream shop in Manchester four years ago. Bored of what he saw as the hedonistic lifestyle of many of his friends at university and attracted to what he calls "Islam's emphasis on seeking knowledge," he says a one-off meeting with an older Muslim changed his life.

"I liked the way the Muslims students I knew conducted themselves. It's nice to think about people having one partner for life and not doing anything harmful to their body. I just preferred the Islamic lifestyle and from there I looked into the Qur'an. I was amazed to see Islam's big emphasis on science.

"Then I was introduced by a Muslim friend to a doctor who was a few years older than me. We went for a coffee and then a few weeks later for an ice cream. It was there that I said I would like to be a Muslim. I made my shahada right there, in the ice cream shop. I know some people like to be all formal and do it in a mosque, but for me religion is not a physical thing, it is what is in your heart.

"I hadn't been to a mosque before I became a Muslim. Sometimes it can be bit daunting, I mean I don't really fit into this criteria of a Muslim person. But there is nothing to say you can't be a British Muslim who wears jeans and a shirt and a jacket. Now in my mosque in Leeds, many different languages are spoken and there are lots of converts.

"With my family, it was gradual. I didn't just come home and say I was a Muslim. There was a long process before I converted where I wouldn't eat pork and I wouldn't drink. Now, we still have Sunday dinner together, we just buy a joint of lamb that is halal.

"If someone at college had said to me 'You are going to be a Muslim', I would not in a million years have believed it. It would have been too far-fetched. But now I have just come back from Hajj - the pilgrimage Muslims make to Mecca."

Stuart Mee, 46

Stuart Mee is a divorced civil servant who describes himself as a "middle-of-the-road Muslim." Having converted to Islam last year after talking with Muslim colleagues at work, he says Islam offers him a sense of community he feels is missing in much of Britain today.

"Everything is so consumer-driven here, there are always adverts pushing you to buy the next thing. I knew there must be something longer term and always admired the sense of contentment within my colleagues' lives, their sense of peace and calmness. It was just one of those things that happened - we talked, I read books and I related to it.

"I emailed the Imam at London Central Mosque and effectively had a 15 minute interview with him. It was about making sure that this was the right thing for me, that I was doing it at the right time. He wanted to make sure I was committed. It is a life changing decision.

"It is surprisingly easy, the process of converting. You do your shahada, which is the declaration of your faith. You say that in front of two witnesses and then you think, 'What do I do next?' I went to an Islamic bookstore and bought a child's book on how to pray. I followed that because, in Islamic terms, I was basically one month old.

"I went to a local mosque in Reading and expected someone to stop me say, 'Are you a Muslim?' but it didn't happen. It was just automatic acceptance. You can have all the trappings of being a Muslim - the beard and the bits and pieces that go with it, but Islam spreads over such a wide area and people have different styles, clothes and approaches to life.

"Provided I am working within Islamic values, I see no need in changing my name and I don't have any intention of doing it. Islam has bought peace, stability, and comfort to my life. It has helped me identify just what is important to me. That can only be a good thing."

Khadijah Roebuck, 48

Khadijah Roebuck was born Tracey Roebuck into a Christian family. She was married for twenty five years and attended church with her children every week while they lived at home. Now, divorced and having practiced Islam for the last six months, she says she is still not sure what motivated her to make such a big change to her life.

"I know it sounds odd, but one day I was Tracey the Christian and the next day I was Khadijah the Muslim, it just seemed right. The only thing I knew about Muslims before was that they didn't drink alcohol and they didn't eat pork.

"I remember the first time I drove up to the mosque. It was so funny; I was in my sports car and had the music blaring. I wasn't sure if I was even allowed to go in but I asked to speak to the man in charge, I didn't even know he was called an Imam. Now I wear a hijab and pray five times a day.

"My son at first was horrified, he just couldn't believe it. It's been especially hard for my mum, who is Roman Catholic and doesn't accept it at all. But the main thing I feel is a sense of peace, which I never found with the Church, which is interesting. Through Ramadan, I absolutely loved every second. On the last day, I even cried.

"It is interesting because people sometimes confuse cultures with Islam. Each Muslim brings their different culture to the mosque and different takes on the religion. There are Saudi Arabians, Egyptians and Pakistanis and then of course there is me. I slot in everywhere. A lot of the other sisters say to me, 'That is why we love you, Khadijah, you are just yourself.'"

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Benazir Bhutto Murder Planned By Pakistani Brigadier Genreal?

How many people in Pakistan had already had a hunch that it has to be that way? Nobody does or did a survey to find out.

Just the printing of the story of the plot to assassinate Benazir Bhutto was hatched at a serving army personnel's house in itself is considered a big deal in scary Pakistan. Rauf Klasra of Express Tribune has left every other head honcho of journalism in dust by scooping this one.

Let us see how does this story unfold and how does it mesh with the political stirrings that are already afoot: MQM visit of Mansoora; resignation of JUI ministers; PML (Q) meeting with Fazal; MQM trying to weasel out of the loop to reorient itself for the new game; US worries about missing Pakistanis; Fazal asking for prime minister Gillani's head; Fazal's visit to Saudi Arabia; etc etc.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Islam Is Saving the World - Soul by Soul

Will Englund of the Washington Post writes that young Russians are turning to Islam in search of faith. What is attracting them is simple: they are in search of a way out of the pointlessness of their cataclysmic lives, old identities, old certainties that have proved empty and want to join a global community of believers - "a very pleasant atmosphere and pleasant people" -
which is full of meaning, order and purity and gives them a sense of direction and where they are welcomed like never before. Part of Islam's appeal for them is its promise of simple domestic happiness, a good, respectable life.

Their new faith makes it easier for them to give up drinking, the hanging out on street corners, the sneaking off to a village where they could party all night. They eventually come to understand that the world is full of devils, and that the duty of a good Muslim is to overcome those devils. It is not material poverty that drives young Russians to Islam but a spiritual poverty in a country where every institution, from schools to hospitals to the police, is riddled with cynicism and corruption.

They understand when they embrace Islam that everyone is born a Muslim and it is the parents who turn a person away from religion. Not necessarily one's literal parents, it could be a metaphor for society.

Even thsoe who don't have that troubled background draw deep satisfaction from the rules Islam imposes. That frees up so much and they start paying attention to their souls. They treasure the way Islam allows them to discard life's vanities and spend time on only necessary things in life. Now they know that being Muslim is more important than being a Tatar or a Russian.

They are happy that Islam is helping them find the answers to questions like 'Why am I here? Why will I die? What will happen after I die?' You gradually start to understand who you are and why you were created." Through Islam, all is spelled out. "The prophet showed people everything - from how to go to the toilet to how to run a state."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fake WikiLeaks: Another First For Pakistan

Pakistan has won, again, the dubious computer-age distinction of being the first country in the world to introduce a cooked-up story citing some non-existent WikiLeaks cables for propaganda purposes.

Last time it got there first was when the first ever computer virus dubbed Brain was let loose in 1986 by two brothers from Lahore, Amjad Farooq Alvi and Basit Farooq Ali reportedly to deter any potential piracy of the software they had written.

This time some "agency" (news or otherwise) "hoaxed" almost all Pakistan newspapers to publish a story attributed to cables originating from American Embassy in New Delhi and leaked by now a world phenomenon, WikiLeaks in which American diplomats had been alleged to make disparaging remarks about Indian army generals. The source of the story was credited by the newspapers to an Islamabad-based news agency owned and chaired by some Mohsin Baig.

According to the story carried by English language the News and Urdu language the Jang, owned by the same group of newspapers, US diplomats reported in their cables that Indian government has secret links with Hindu fundamentalists; Indians are covertly supporting militants in Waziristan and Balochistan; and Indian Indian generals were geeks, vain, and genocidal; one of the generals was compared to Slobodan Milosevic and was engaged in a "genocide" against Muslims in Kashmir. In the same story there were accounts of "gushing American praise" for Pakistani generals.

The Guardian of London did its search of the WikiLeaks database and declared the reported story was "not accurate" and suggested the "incendiary allegations" were "the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes."

The Guardian said, "the lopsided media coverage highlights the strong influence of Pakistan's army over an otherwise vigorous free press."
After the Guardian exposed the falsity of reported story Pakistani newspapers admitted that "they were hoaxed" and apologized "profusely".

The News had this to say about the story it had run day before:

The story was released by the Islamabad-based Online news agency and was run by The News and Daily Jang with the confidence that it was a genuine report and must have been vetted before release. However, several inquiries suggest that this was not the case.

When contacted, the owner of the agency, Mohsin Baig, and some of the editorial staff were themselves unclear about the source of the story and said they would investigate the matter at their end.

Mohsin Baig said he had just returned from Turkey where he had accompanied the prime minister on his official visit and was therefore in the dark about how the story was released. He said he would talk to his editorial staff and get back to us. After a while, Online's news editor contacted us and told us he too was unaware about the source of the story and would check and get back to us as soon as possible. Despite repeated requests, he declined to contact the employee who had downloaded the news, and asked us to check with them the next day. On further inquiries, we learnt from our sources that the story was dubious and may have been planted.

A check on the Internet as well as The Guardian report showed that the story was not based on Wikileaks cables, and had in fact originated from some local websites such as The Daily Mail and Rupee News known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies. The Guardian quoted Shaheen Sehbai, Group Editor The News, as describing the story as “agencies’ copy” and said he would investigate its origins.

Friday, December 10, 2010

FikiLeaks: Who Is Being Served?

Just because not one but many (and not all) Pakistani newspapers had simultaneously carried this later-turned-out-to-be a fake story that WikiLeaks leaked cables emanating from New Delhi contained disparaging comments and denigrating remarks about Indian army generals should have made people suspicious.

Probably that is what did make Declan Walsh, Islamabad correspondent of British newspaper the Guardian, do some more and extensive search of his own. After sifting through the database of 250,000 leaked cables, he reported that he had found nothing to match any of the claims in the Pakistani media.

Then, next day some (not all) of the English language newspapers (and none of the Urdu newspapers) later apologized and admitted that they had been hoaxed to carry this fake story and it "may have been planted."

The question was: who had planted the story?

The BBC claimed that "the fake cables are believed to have been planted by Pakistani intelligence."

But Mohsin Baig, the Chairman of the Online International News Network (OINN), whose news agency had provided the story to Pakistani newspapers, is still adamant that the story was true and authentic. He told the BBC Urdu website that Pakistani newspapers were wrong in retracting and apologizing for running the story.

Why is he still in a state of denial? Who gave him this story?

We may never know.

But this morning I decided to find out if the cables database had anything matching with what has been reported. I looked at all leaked cables that came out of the US Embassy in New Delhi, India.

There are only six cables. (All of them have been reproduced here.)

My verdict: None of them contains anything that come even close to what has been reported.

What I still don't know is: who is being served?

Cable 1:

Reference ID: 08NEWDELHI3228 Subject: CONGRESS PARTY STUNG PLAYING RELIGIOUS POLITICS Created: 2008-12-23 Released: 2010-12-10 Classification: CONFIDENTIAL Origin: Embassy New Delhi

DE RUEHNE #3228/01 3581326
O 231326Z DEC 08
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDCTuesday, 23 December 2008, 13:26
EO 12958 DECL: 12/22/2018
Classified By: PolCouns Ted Osius for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
¶1. (C) Summary: On the floor of parliament, Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram officially dismissed comments made by the Minority Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay that implied Hindutva elements may have been involved in the Mumbai attacks. Antulay sparked a political controversy on December 17 with comments insinuating that the killing of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) Chief Hemant Karkare by the Mumbai terrorists was somehow linked to Karkare’s investigation of bombings in which radical Hindus are suspected (reftel). The outlandish comments suggested that somehow Hindutva elements were in league with the Mumbai attackers, or used the attacks as cover to kill Karkare. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) immediately called for Antulay’s resignation and protested with boisterous walkouts in parliament over the course of five days. Compounding matters, the Congress Party, after first distancing itself from the comments, two days later issued a contradictory statement which implicitly endorsed the conspiracy. During this time, Antulay’s completely unsubstantiated claims gained support in the conspiracy-minded Indian-Muslim community. Hoping to foster that support for upcoming national elections, the Congress Party cynically pulled back from its original dismissal and lent credence to the conspiracy. Regardless of Chidambaram’s dismissal (and Antulay’s party-ordered retraction), the Indian Muslim community will continue to believe they are unfairly targeted by law enforcement and that those who investigate the truth are silenced. The entire episode demonstrates that the Congress Party will readily stoop to the old caste/religious-based politics if it feels it is in its interest. End Summary.
Killed in Mumbai Attacks, Karkare Led Investigation into “Hindu Terror”
¶2. (U) Indian Minorities Affairs Minister A.R. Antulay’s sparked controversy on December 17 with comments insinuating that the killing of Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) Chief Hemant Karkare by the Mumbai terrorists was somehow linked to Karkare’s investigation of “Hindu terrorists.” Two of the Mumbai terrorists gunned down Karkare, and his ATS colleagues Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte and Inspector Vijay Salaskar the first night of attacks, November 26. The three officers were killed as they reached a hospital the terrorists entered after attacking the Mumbai train station.
¶3. (U) As Maharashtra ATS Chief, Karkare led the investigation into the September 2008 Malegaon blasts which claimed the lives of six people. Initially the police suspected Muslim terrorists. However, authorities recently arrested eleven Hindus, including an Indian Army Lieutenant Colonel. Police identified five of those arrested as having ties to the BJP’s youth wing in their earlier years. Two others had ties to a recent addition to the Sangh Parivar family of Hindu nationalist organizations.
Antulay’s Comments
¶4. (U) On December 17, even as a solemn debate on the Mumbai attacks and counterterrorism was taking place in parliament, Antulay made a series of public comments drawing attention to a possible link between Karkare’s killing and his investigation. He offered no evidence to back-up his claims.
-- “Superficially speaking they had no reason to kill Karkare. Whether he was a victim of terrorism or terrorism plus something, I do not know.”
-- “Karkare found that there are non Muslims involved in the
NEW DELHI 00003228 002 OF 002
acts of terrorism during his investigations in some cases. Any person going to the roots of terrorism has always been the target.”
-- “Unfortunately his end came. It may be a separate inquiry how his end came.”
-- “There is more than what meets the eyes.”
Congress Party Dismisses...
¶5. (U) Most Congress Party leaders quickly disassociated the Party from Atulay’s comments. Congress Party spokesman Abishek Singhvi told the press, “We do not accept the innuendo and the aspersions cast. This should be the end of the matter. The Congress does not agree with Antulay’s statement.” Another Congress Party spokesman, Manish Tiwari, followed the next day with, “The Congress in any manner does not endorse Antulay’s views.” Just as quickly BJP leaders called for Antulay to resign or be sacked.
...Then Equivocates...
¶6. (U) However, on December 21 senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh told the media, “I don’t think Antulay made a mistake. What he asked for is a probe. What is objectionable in his statement?” Two days earlier the Congress-led government of Maharashtra rejected a demand for an inquiry into Karkare’s death. The opposition BJP took exception to both the substance of Antulay’s comments and the Congress Party’s inconsistent response. Shouting slogans, the BJP staged a walkout in the parliament three days in a row and demanded a formal clarification from the government. Emboldened by the equivocation, Antulay refused to apologize or retract his statements and said they reflected the views of a large segment of the Muslim population.
...And Finally Dismisses
¶7. (U) After taking flack for nearly a week, the Congress Party finally gave its official view when Home Minister Chidambaram stated in parliament, “There is no truth whatsoever in the suspicion that there was conspiracy.” Chidambaram called Antulay’s comments “regrettable.” Shortly thereafter Antulay backed down and told the press, “For me the matter is settled.” He ruled out his resignation.
Congress Party Plays Cynical Politics
¶8. (C) Comment: While the killing of three high level law enforcement officers during the Mumbai attacks is a remarkable coincidence, the Congress Party’s initial reaction to Antulay’s outrageous comments was correct. But as support seemed to swell among Muslims for Antulay’s unsubstantiated claims, crass political opportunism swayed the thinking of some Congress Party leaders. What’s more, the party made the cynical political calculation to lend credence to the conspiracy even after its recent emboldening state elections victories. The party chose to pander to Muslims’ fears, providing impetus for those in the Muslim community who will continue to play up the conspiracy theory. While cooler heads eventually prevailed within the Congress leadership, the idea that the party would entertain such outlandish claims proved once again that many party leaders are still wedded to the old identity politics. The seventy-nine year old Antulay was probably bewildered to find that his remarks, similar in vein to what he would have routinely made in the past to attack the BJP, created such a furor this time. End Comment. MULFORD

Cable 2:

Reference ID: 09NEWDELHI1337 NSA JONES DISCUSSES U.S.-INDIA SECURITY 2009-06-29 2010-12-10 SECRET Embassy New Delhi

DE RUEHNE #1337/01 1800553
O 290553Z JUN 09
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDCMonday, 29 June 2009, 05:53
EO 12958 DECL: 06/26/2019
Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Peter Burleigh for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
¶1. (C) Summary. Meeting National Security Advisor James Jones on June 26, Defense Minister A.K. Antony stressed his support for moving beyond minor irritants and to a broad and expanded security relationship between India and the United States. Both Jones and Antony affirmed their commitment to building the U.S.-India mil-mil partnership as envisioned by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh. Antony stressed the importance India places on success in Afghanistan. Chief of Army Staff Deepak Kapoor told Jones about the continuing problem of infiltration from Pakistan and the need for India to be able to have confidence and trust in its western neighbor for effective dialogue to take place. End Summary.
¶2. (SBU) Participants:
NSA General (retired) James Jones CDA Peter Burleigh Senior Director Don Camp Senior Director John Tien Senior Advisor Sarah Farnsworth DATT Colonel Richard White Political Officer Sameer Sheth (notetaker)
Minister A.K. Antony Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor Other Ministry of Defense Officials
Need to Move Beyond Minor Irritants
¶3. (C) After warmly welcoming Jones, Antony began by emphasizing the importance of expanding the quality and depth of the U.S.-India relationship. He stressed his desire to expand the bilateral military relationship despite minor irritants, and expressed his hope that Jones’ visit to India would further the relationship. Antony mentioned joint development and production, and technology transfers as meriting focus, adding that the Indians find U.S. technology transfer conditions too restrictive. Jones and Burleigh urged completion of the End-Use Monitoring agreement. Antony said it needed to be defensible to Parliament, musing that he himself is accountable to parliament and to India’s vibrant and multi-party democracy.
¶4. (C) Jones declared to Antony that he is very encouraged by the overall direction of the bilateral relationship, especially after having met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had expressed his optimism for U.S.-India relations. Jones told Antony the U.S. is in complete agreement with the Prime Minister’s vision, emphasizing that President Obama is also equally committed to strong ties between the two nations. “There is real intent to follow the vision of our national leaders,” Jones noted. He assured Antony that the U.S. will be as flexible as possible within the confines of U.S. laws, Indian laws, and both our publics. We must do whatever we can to resolve the challenges that can potentially slow the relationship down, since these are sensitive times that require both nations to find ways to more closely cooperate.
Success in Afghanistan Critical
¶5. (C) Antony told Jones India has a stake in Afghanistan, reminding him that India’s borders before partition extended to Afghanistan. The Indian military is concerned by the situation in Afghanistan, Antony admitted, and stressed that the international community’s operations there must succeed because the India cannot imagine for a moment a Taliban takeover of its “extended neighbor.”
Pakistan: Infiltration Continues/Trust Deficit Remains
¶6. (S) After the conversation moved to Pakistan, General Deepak Kapoor, Chief of Army Staff, interjected and told Jones the Pakistani military’s statements regarding the Indian threat on its eastern border are wholly without merit. Even after the 11/26 terrorist strikes on Mumbai, he emphasized, India did not make any move of a threatening nature toward Pakistan. Kapoor alleged that there are 43 terrorist camps in Pakistan, 22 of which are located in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Although the Pakistanis raided some camps in the wake of 11/26, Kapoor averred, some camps have reinitiated operations. Kapoor further asserted infiltration across the Line of Control cannot occur unless there is some kind of assistance and/or degree of support that is institutional in nature. He described several incidents of infiltration that occurred this year, including that of 40 terrorists in March who were found possessing significant ammunition and other equipment. India is worried, Kapoor said, that some part of the huge U.S. military package to Pakistan will find its way to the hands of terrorists targeting India. Furthermore, if “we can catch them (the infiltrators), why can’t the Pakistani military?” Kapoor asked. “There’s a trust deficit between the U.S. and Pakistan but there’s also one between India and Pakistan,” he stressed.
¶7. (S) Jones asked Kapoor how the Pakistanis react when the Indians confront them with these incidents. Kapoor replied the Pakistanis remain in denial mode, but fortunately today India’s counter-infiltration posture is stronger than in the past. Asked about the percentage of infiltrators that get through, Kapoor estimated between 15 to 20 percent but cited the challenge posed by India’s open border with Nepal. He asserted that at least 16 terrorists this year entered India through Nepal and then traveled to Kashmir. Throughout his remarks, Kapoor stressed that infiltration bids were “acts of aggression.”
¶8. (S) Jones queried Kapoor on prospects of upgrading Indo-Pak military talks to discuss these issues. Kapoor rhetorically asked whether there should not be a degree of confidence in Pakistan before such a dialogue can even begin. Antony interjected that unless there is some tangible follow-up action by Pakistan against the perpetrators of the 11/26 attacks, discussions with Pakistan will be difficult. Regarding terrorist camps in Pakistan, Jones told Antony and Kapoor that the U.S. will take up the issue with Pakistan.
Regional Problems Require Regional Solutions
¶9. (C) Jones suggested regional problems require regional solutions, underscoring the need for all of us to move forward on a broader strategy by building confidence and trust. The U.S.-India partnership is very important in this context. The worst thing for the region would be another 11/26-type attack, Jones stressed, and that we cannot let the terrorists play us off against each other. He concluded by underscoring President Obama’s desire to stimulate the bilateral relationship and the U.S. commitment to working as honestly as possible to share information with India on security matters.
¶10. (U) NSA Jones cleared this message. BURLEIGH

Cable 3:


DE RUEHNE #0163/01 0281320
O 281320Z JAN 10


EO 12958 DECL: 01/18/2020

Classified By: Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer. Reasons: 1.4(B, D).

¶1. (C) Summary: In a January 18 meeting with Special Representative Richard Holbrooke, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao described the Indian effort in Afghanistan as focused on strengthening governance by building Afghan capacities. She said Indian engagement is transparent and should not be threatening to Pakistan. She urged U.S. pressure on Pakistan to break its ties to the terrorist groups and to permit Afghanistan’s economic links with India to grow. Rao said India needs some deliverables on terrorism before it can engage bilaterally with Pakistan. Holbrooke pledged transparency with India on U.S. activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He noted that the increase in U.S. troops has helped stabilize the security landscape, saying that the top security focus now is on unified training of Afghan army and police personnel. He identified agriculture as the highest civilian priority for the quick returns it promises, which Rao welcomed. Rao expressed Indian reservations on reintegration programs, saying they are unlikely to change Taliban thinking. Holbrooke drew a distinction between reintegration and reconciliation, saying that there will be no power sharing with elements of the Taliban. Rao was neutral on postponing Afghan parliamentary elections, saying the decision should be left to the Afghan government. She said that Iran could play a positive role and should be engaged in finding a solution in Afghanistan. End Summary.

Transparency With India

¶2. (SBU) Special Representative Holbrooke met with Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao for nearly two hours over breakfast on January 18 to exchange views on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Holbrooke said at the outset that the important underlying principle of his visits to India is the need for complete transparency on U.S. activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He noted that he comes with a clear vision of the centrality of India to the strategic landscape in the region. He reiterated that his portfolio explicitly excludes India, policy for which rests with SCA Blake and Ambassador Roemer. Holbrooke was accompanied in the meeting by Ambassador Roemer and SRAP Advisor Vali Nasr. Rao was joined by Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran) Sinha and Joint Secretary (Americas) Gaitri Kumar.

Holbrooke Briefing on Afghanistan

¶3. (C) Holbrooke said that the mission in Afghanistan continues to be difficult but the situation has been stabilized, primarily as a result of the President’s politically courageous decision of more than tripling the number of American troops in the country. In his view, the Afghanistan Presidential election cast a shadow on 2009. The election was untidy, but it produced a legitimate President. Rao offered that there was less fraud and rigging in this election than in previous post-Taliban Afghan elections.

¶4. (C) The agenda for 2010, according to Holbrooke, is to strengthen the government. On the security side the effort will be to improve the army and police, primarily through unified ISAF training instead of dispersed and uncoordinated training by many countries. Holbrooke described this as the most important part of the international challenge. Rao accepted his offer of a detailed joint State/Pentagon briefing on the redesigned training plan for the Afghan army and police.

¶5. (C) Holbrooke said that on the civilian side, the number one priority is agriculture because it produces the quickest payoff. He noted that investment in mining, power, and other sectors is important but the gestation and payback periods are longer. Besides, he observed, Afghanistan has traditionally been an agricultural export country, with India as its biggest market. With revival of an agricultural credit bank and other agriculture support programs, the
NEW DELHI 00000163 002 OF 004
international community expects a quick return in terms of employment and incomes in rural areas. Holbrooke described this as a sharp contrast with the previous administration, which focused on poppy eradication. On narcotics, the USG effort now is to target the traffickers and the kingpins, not ordinary farmers.

¶6. (C) Rao responded that supporting Afghan agriculture is a high priority for India as well, with Joint Secretary Sinha on his way to Kabul on January 19 to explore opportunities to build Afghan capacities in this sector. She noted that the GOI is considering establishment of an agriculture college and enhanced training, in part through scholarships to Indian agricultural colleges. Holbrooke offered to arrange a briefing for Sinha in Kabul on the USG’s agriculture support programs and plans.

Indian Approach to Afghanistan

¶7. (C) Rao described the Indian effort in Afghanistan as a focus on strengthening governance by building Afghan capacities through training and infrastructure such that the country can develop a functional administration. In her view, the international community should resist the temptation to micromanage in Afghanistan. Instead, the effort should be to build institutions and let them manage the country. Rao observed that India has the resources and the willingness to assist Afghanistan and is prepared to explore areas that the may assist the U.S. effort.

¶8. (C) Rao observed that each year the GOI provides about 1,300 scholarship to Afghans for education and training and is considering increasing this number sharply. She noted that security assistance was minimal, limited to 150 training scholarships to Afghan army personnel in various Indian Army training facilities, including the Staff College. Rao readily agreed to Holbrooke’s request for a briefing on Indian training for Afghan security personnel, emphasizing that this engagement is completely transparent. She supported her argument by noting that the GOI had previously provided a detailed briefing on this at the U.S.-India Defense Policy Group meetings. “We have nothing to hide,” she declared. Holbrooke assured Rao that he is in favor of Indian assistance programs in Afghanistan and is not influenced by what he hears in Islamabad.


¶9. (C) Rao and Sinha raised grave concerns about Taliban reintegration plans currently under discussion. Sinha argued that no amount of monetary incentives would induce the Taliban to alter its core beliefs of intolerance and militancy. He was particularly troubled by the British plan which, in his view, takes Afghanistan back to the pre-1990s. Rao expressed skepticism that such a plan would work unless Pakistan changes its policy on supporting the Quetta Shura and other Taliban elements. She observed that it had failed to bring in the Maoists in Nepal and was likely to fail for similar reasons in Afghanistan.

¶10. (C) Holbrooke explained that some of the anxiety stems from confusion between reintegration and reconciliation. He noted that the reintegration program is not a political negotiation designed to give Taliban elements a share of power. The United States cannot be a party to any such arrangement, in his view, because the Taliban is allied with the Al Qaeda and the social programs of the Taliban are unpalatable. He noted further that the Taliban leadership appears to have no interest in talking to the international community in Afghanistan. Holbrooke also allayed Indian concerns that UNSCR 1267 policy would be altered with respect to Taliban and LET leaders such as Mullah Omar, Gulubuddin Hekmatyar, and Hafiz Saeed.

¶11. (C) Holbrooke said it is important that the Afghan
NEW DELHI 00000163 003 OF 004
government have in place a program to respond to frequent ceasefire calls at the local level. Such a program should involve laying down of arms and commitments to participate peacefully in society. He outlined the public rollout of the reintegration plan, with a Karzai announcement soon, to be followed by the London conference where a reintegration fund would be established, and to be capped by a conference in Kabul where funding pledges will be solicited. He urged Indian support and contributions. Rao said reintegration could work if it is Afghan-led, if it is painstaking in its selection, and if it involves real commitments to respect human rights and the constitution. She underscored her skepticism by noting, “these are big if’s.”

Parliamentary Elections

¶12. (C) Holbrooke identified the upcoming Parliamentary election as the most important political event of 2010. He offered the USG view that the election be postponed to the fall because of inadequate preparation and insufficient ISAF troops on the ground to ensure a peaceful and smooth election in May. He noted that Afghan law allows for such changes in election dates. He requested India’s support for this proposal. Rao responded that it must remain the Afghan Government’s responsibility to make the call on postponement of elections. “Unlike Pakistan, we do not interfere in the affairs of Afghanistan,” she quipped with a smile. She offered Indian assistance in administering the elections.

Pakistan Role in Afghanistan

¶13. (C) Rao said that Afghanistan has the potential to prosper as a hub or transit point for energy, agriculture and trade if it could be connected to its natural market in India. She said it was unfortunate that Pakistan does not allow this to happen. She asked that the U.S. apply pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting the Afghanistan Taliban and to allow Afghanistan to develop through trade and commercial links. Holbrooke responded that Pakistan views certain Taliban groups, particularly the Quetta Shura, as an insurance policy to protect its strategic interests in Afghanistan and it is not clear that anyone can easily influence Pakistan to turn on these groups, although the U.S. is exerting tremendous pressure. Rao said she was alarmed at this continued Pakistan support for terrorist groups, noting that the LET was “ideologically fused” with both the Quetta Shura and the Haqqani network. As evidence, she pointed to the Haqqani group’s 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul. She was also disturbed at the length to which Pakistan had gone to exclude India from the Istanbul conference on Afghanistan, citing it as an example of unwarranted Pakistani insecurity over Indian intentions in Afghanistan. Citing the USG’s own difficulties in dealing with the Pakistan government, Holbrooke suggested that many people overestimate the U.S. influence in Pakistan.

India-Pakistan Relations

¶14. (C) Rao expressed concern that there has been a sharp increase in unseasonal Pakistan-inspired violence and preparation for violence. She pointed to incidents of cross-border shelling along the line of control and in Punjab, increased infiltration, and transfer of terrorist hardware. They are clearly trying to “stir the pot” in Kashmir, she added. In her view, Pakistan is trying to deflect attention to its eastern border from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where the focus ought to be. Yet, Rao argued, India has not turned its back to Pakistan but needs some Pakistani progress on terrorism to reengage. Holbrooke noted that India and Pakistan working together is obviously in the interests of the region and the international community. He said that Foreign Minister Qureshi was very pleased at the phone call with Foreign Minister Krishna. He reassured Rao that he understands
NEW DELHI 00000163 004 OF 004
clearly where the U.S. strategic interests lie. Holbrooke and Special Advisor Vali Nasr briefed Rao on the evolving political landscape in Pakistan with a weakening President Zardari and the fluid dynamic between the various centers of power, including COAS Kayani, Prime Minister Gilani, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and Chief Justice Choudhary.

Iran-Afghanistan; Iran-India

¶15. (C) In response to Holbrooke’s query, Rao and Sinha suggested that Iran could play a positive role in stability in Afghanistan. They cited Iran’s common border with Afghanistan, its strong links with the Hazara ethnic group and its economic and cultural connections as reasons for involving Iran in shaping a solution. She said that India was willing to play a helpful role in enabling Iran’s engagement with the international community and this had been conveyed by the Prime Minister to the Iranian Foreign Minister. India, however, does not want to be a mediator in any capacity, she declared. Rao said Iran-India relations were good -- civilizational ties, India’s large Shia community, petroleum trade -- but “not as good as you may expect” because Iran is difficult to deal with.

China in South Asia

¶16. (C) Holbrooke and Rao agreed that the Chinese have a big interest in Afghanistan but it is focused on exploitation of the country’s natural resources. They also agreed that China does not use the influence it has in Pakistan to shape responsible Pakistani behavior. Referring to the U.S.-China joint statement issued during President Obama’s China visit, Rao disclosed that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao had told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Copenhagen that China has no intention of playing any mediating role in South Asia.

¶17. (U) SRAP Holbrooke has cleared this message. ROEMER

Cable 4:


DE RUEHNE #3044/01 3371509
O 021509Z DEC 08


EO 12958 DECL: 12/02/2018


Classified By: PolCouns Ted Osius for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)

¶1. (C) Summary: Diplomatic missions in Delhi have agreed to offer a more sympathetic message to the Indians rather than pound on the government for its massive intelligence failure. Evidence that Pakistani-based extremist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT) was the culprit is still not out in the open, although the question being asked now is whether Pakistan’s Intelligence Agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was directly involved in the attack. Dipomatic missions in Delhi are praising Delhi for its restraint while advising Pakistan that now is the time to collaborate. End Summary.

Offering Only Sympathy and Support
¶2. (C) At a 2 December meeting with counterparts from the Australian, British, Canadian, and New Zealand High Commissions, these diplomats communicated details of the controlled approach their respective missions in Delhi have taken in their responses to India’s reaction to the Mumbai attacks. They concluded that any offers of assistance should be made carefully to avoid being interpreted by the Indians as politically motivated or attempts to monitor their actions. Delhi-based missions are taking extra care at this stage to not get sucked into the blame game Pakistan and India are currently playing.

¶3. (C) The EU (diplomatic mission heads) are scheduled for a strategic dialogue with India on 5 December to discuss what type of support India would feel comfortable receiving; in addition, the EU plans to send to Delhi a counter-terrorism coordinator in January.

¶4. (C) The French Ambassador, according to the British High Commission, called the French, German, and Italian Ambassadors (unbeknownst to other EU partners) to discuss assistance to the Indians. President Sarkozy is expected to call Prime Minister Singh to express his sympathy and to offer cooperation at a suitable level.

¶5. (SBU) The Australian Prime Minister in his speech to his parliament said Australia “stands with India at this time” and offered any assistance that their “friends” in New Delhi may require. He stressed the importance of tracking down those responsible for the planning and execution of the Mumbai attacks, singling out LeT as an separatist militant group which has been a threat to India for a long time, but saying it is too early to speculate on who the perpetrators were.

The Million Dollar Question
¶6. (C) While Indian press continues to pin blame on Pakistan, observers and diplomats in Delhi are asking the same question: was the ISI behind the Mumbai attacks? While there are clear links between the attacks’ perpetrators and the extremist group LeT, and likewise, there are links between LeT and the ISI, there is no clear evidence yet to suggest that ISI directed or facilitated the attacks, according to the British High Commission.

Demarching the Indians and Pakistanis
¶7. (C) A British diplomat told us that UK Foreign Secretary Miliband urged restraint to External Affairs Minister
NEW DELHI 00003044 002 OF 002
Mukherjee when they spoke on 1 December. The call took place only after many delays on the GOI’s part. Mukherjee apparently disavowed any interest in raising tensions further, but insisted that Pakistan must take action in response to India,s demands. Our contact stressed that the UK had been very direct in presenting India and Pakistan with specific information regarding those responsible for the attacks. She also noted that the list of names the Indians had put on the “Most Wanted Criminals List” that had been passed to Islamabad included figures such as fugitive crime lord Dawood Ibrahim and Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Maulana Azhar, who had been on prior lists the Indians had submitted. In her view, this took away from the focus on LeT members implicated in the Mumbai attacks.

¶8. (C) Narayanan, according to British diplomats, delivered the message that he understands Pakistan’s civilian government has no control over the ISI or the army. He said India is not blaming the Pakistani government. The Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is still waiting on the Pakistanis to provide the name of the ISI Director they plan to send as well as a date.

¶9. (C) The Australian High Commission delivered the message to the Pakistanis that this is a watershed and cooperation with the Indians now is crucial. The Australians have praised the Indians for the past restraint they have shown toward Pakistan and offered assistance, which was “politely denied”, according to an Australian diplomat.

Zardari Cornered
¶10. (C) An official in the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi told Poloff that he held the Indian press responsible for any deterioration in the Indo-Pak relationship. Following the Indian press coverage which misrepresented the potential visit of the ISI Chief and complicated potential cooperation between the two governments, this diplomat said Zardari’s options became more limited and the GOP felt it had no other choice than to backpedal on its initial offer, made before the Mumbai attacks, to send its ISI Chief to India. MULFORD

Cable 5:


DE RUEHNE #0288/01 0480827
O 170827Z FEB 09
EO 12958 DECL: 02/16/2017

Classified By: AMB David C. Mulford for Reasons 1.4 (B, D)
¶1. (C) Summary. In a meeting between Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke on February 16, Menon:
-- stated that India “has a huge stake” in the Special Representative’s success in his new role and promised to support Holbrooke’s efforts publicly to alleviate negative media speculation about the Special Representative’s mandate; -- gave his assessment that the intentions and capabilities of the Pakistan Army were the key determinants of Pakistan,s internal situation and the cause of friction between India and Pakistan; -- said that India wishes to collaborate closely with the U.S. on Afghanistan, and offered support for U.S. views on the suitability of an August 20 election date; -- suggested that after consulting internally, he may travel to Washington to provide GOI input into the U.S. review of Afghanistan policy; and -- provided a brief on the GOI’s initial reaction to Pakistan’s response to the Mumbai terror attacks. End Summary.
¶2. (C) Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, accompanied by Ambassador, met February 16 with Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. Also in attendance from the U.S. side were Paul Jones, Deputy for Holbrooke; Ashley Bommer, Representative Holbrooke’s assistant; and an Embassy notetaker; the Indian side also included Joint Secretary (Americas) Gaitri Kumar and Joint Secretary (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) TCA Raghvan. Holbrooke explained his responsibilities as Special Representative and emphasized the importance of Indian views in the formulation of the new administration,s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy. He also provided Menon with a brief readout of his trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan
¶3. (C) Menon cited the numerous times he had worked both publicly and privately with Holbrooke in the past, and said he was very happy to see Holbrooke in his new incarnation. The Indian government, too, was pleased with Holbrooke’s appointment, he stated, adding “We have a huge stake in your success in this role.” He agreed with Holbrooke’s assessment that in regard to the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan “you can’t solve one without the other.”
¶4. (C) The Indian government was aware of the suspicions the media had created about Special Representative Holbrooke’s mandate (i.e., that it included Kashmir), Menon said. While the media would always speculate, Menon promised that the GOI would publicly support Holbrooke’s efforts, adding that it would repeat the message “India has a huge stake in your success” in its public comments.
¶5. (C) Turning to Pakistan, Menon observed that the mood there had deteriorated over the past year, saying it had gone from euphoria after the return of a civilian government to worries over security and the economy. The U.S. has influence, however, “where it matters most,” Menon said, referring to the Pakistan Army, arguing that most of the problems in Pakistan can be traced to the capacity and intentions of Pakistan’s military. Not only must Pakistan’s army shift its attention from east to west, Menon asserted, but it must also cut its links to jihadi organizations, who have gone global over the past five years. Supporting Pakistan’s army is not the answer, he said, suggesting that changing its operating assumptions would be more effective. Menon noted that the Indians had felt last week’s meeting at the Munich Security Conference between National Security Advisor MK Narayanan and General Petraeus had been especially productive.
¶6. (C) Menon pointed out that in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, India had consciously not attempted to take any measures to destabilize Pakistan’s civilian government, and had made every effort to continue trade and travel relations. However, Pakistan’s Army continued to make things difficult for India, through ceasefire violations, infiltrations and continued support for terrorist groups.
NEW DELHI 00000288 002 OF 002
Menon noted that India, in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, had consciously not built up troops on the border with Pakistan, as it had following the 2001 attack on its Parliament.
¶7. (C) Turning to Afghanistan, Holbrooke noted that the focus now was on the elections. He lauded India for the effective contribution it had made to Afghanistan reconstruction, which Menon said is now up to $1.5 billion. Menon acknowledged Pakistani suspicions about India,s intentions in Afghanistan and explained that India has made numerous efforts over the past few years to try to allay Pakistan’s concerns, only to be rebuffed. Menon said that he, as High Commissioner, had offered to President Musharraf to sit down and explain exactly what India was doing in Afghanistan, without even asking for a reciprocal explanation from Pakistan, but that Pakistan officials -- not just Musharraf -- “have avoided it in every way.”
¶8. (C) India has no interest in any specific candidate in Afghan elections, Menon stated, but believes the upcoming election process should not add to instability. Equally important is that the election process is credible, therefore making Afghanistan’s democracy credible. Menon noted that Afghan Lower House Speaker Mohammad Yunis Qanuni was currently in Delhi, and said India supported the Election Commission,s proposal for August 20 polling. Menon stated that the GOI was also planning to tell Qanuni that controversy over the exact date of the election should not be allowed “to bring the house down,” adding that to do so would only be in the Taliban’s interest. Holbrooke urged Menon to tell Qanuni to accept the August 20 election date. (Note: Menon offered to brief Post on the Qunani meeting, and Post will report septel on any readout provided. End Note.)
¶9. (C) Responding to Holbrooke,s brief of the Afghanistan policy review currently underway in the USG, Menon said he would consult with his government on what would be the best way for India to provide input. He suggested that, after consultations, he would like to travel to Washington for high level talks with the new team. Menon assured Holbrooke, that on the issue of Indian cooperation with the U.S. on Afghanistan, we could be assured that India wished to work closely with us.
¶10. (C) Menon asked if the U.S. was considering including Iran in a Core Group on Afghanistan. Holbrooke referred to his interview with Tolo TV where he emphasized the need for all of Afghanistan’s neighbors to be part of the solution, but said no policy decisions had been made. Menon said he believed a contact group did not have to be formally set up yet, but rather if we “let it cook,” it would form itself. Menon noted the interest China has had in such a group for the past two years, and added that Iran has been signaling to India for the last four months that it was interested.
¶11. (C) Menon offered an initial GOI assessment of the Pakistani response to India’s dossier on the Mumbai terror attacks. Saying that it was “remarkable that we got this far,” Menon thanked the U.S. for its role in pressing Pakistan to act. Still, Menon maintained, Pakistan has further to go to bring justice to the perpetrators of the attack, and it is not clear whether Pakistan will continue on this positive track or, citing the Daniel Pearl case, recede when public pressure wanes. Menon also speculated that many of the “30 questions” submitted by Pakistan were added after the investigation by politicians in response to domestic pressures. “We haven’t reached the point of no return yet” for Pakistan’s government to positively conclude the investigation, Menon stated. Menon also offered that he did not believe the Mumbai attacks themselves would play a major role in India’s upcoming elections, because efforts to capitalize politically on such a heinous event would likely backfire on any political party.
¶12. (SBU) Ambassador Holbrooke has cleared this message. MULFORD

Cable 6:

Reference ID: 10NEWDELHI295 COLD START - A MIXTURE OF MYTH AND REALITY 2010-02-16 2010-11-30 SECRET Embassy New Delhi


DE RUEHNE #0295/01 0471345
O 161345Z FEB 10


EO 12958 DECL: 10/01/2020


Classified By: Ambassador Tim Roemer. Reason: 1.4 (b,d).
¶1. (S/NF) Summary: The Indian Army’s “Cold Start Doctrine” is a mixture of myth and reality. It has never been and may never be put to use on a battlefield because of substantial and serious resource constraints, but it is a developed operational attack plan announced in 2004 and intended to be taken off the shelf and implemented within a 72-hour period during a crisis. Cold Start is not a plan for a comprehensive invasion and occupation of Pakistan. Instead, it calls for a rapid, time- and distance-limited penetration into Pakistani territory with the goal of quickly punishing Pakistan, possibly in response to a Pakistan-linked terrorist attack in India, without threatening the survival of the Pakistani state or provoking a nuclear response. It was announced by the BJP-led government in 2004, but the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not publicly embraced Cold Start and GOI uncertainty over Pakistani nuclear restraint may inhibit future implementation by any government. If the GOI were to implement Cold Start given present Indian military capabilities, it is the collective judgment of the Mission that India would encounter mixed results. The GOI failed to implement Cold Start in the wake of the audacious November 2008 Pakistan-linked terror attack in Mumbai, which calls into question the willingness of the GOI to implement Cold Start in any form and thus roll the nuclear dice. At the same time, the existence of the plan reassures the Indian public and may provide some limited deterrent effect on Pakistan. Taken together, these factors underline that the value of the doctrine to the GOI may lie more in the plan’s existence than in any real world application. End Summary.

What It Is and What It Is Not

¶2. (S/NF) As we understand it, Cold Start is an operational plan devised by the Indian Army and designed to make a rapid and limited penetration into Pakistani territory with the goal of quickly punishing Pakistan over some event, such as a Pakistan-linked terrorist attack in India, without threatening the survival of the Pakistani state or provoking a nuclear response. Cold Start is not a plan for the comprehensive invasion or occupation of Pakistan. Cold Start is said to have been formulated after the Indian Army’s slow and drawn-out 2002 mobilization in response to the fatal 2001 Pakistan-linked terror attack on the Indian Parliament. The lengthy process of mobilization, lack of strategic and operational flexibility, and the resulting lack of any element of surprise drew criticism from Indian politicians and opinion leaders, which prompted Indian Army planners to devise Cold Start. (See Reftel for further details on Cold Start’s genesis).

¶3. (S/NF) In order to avoid the Indian Army’s slow and lumbering military mobilization process and preserve the element of surprise in attack, Cold Start attacks could begin within 72 hours after the attack order has been given, and would be led by armored spearheads launched from prepared forward positions in Punjab and Rajasthan. As described, the plan emphasizes speed and overwhelming firepower: armored formations and accompanying infantry would advance into eastern Pakistan with limited goals in terms of distance and in terms of duration. Although the plan reportedly has a significant air support component, it is unclear to us how much joint versus parallel planning has taken place. We have not heard of a major operational role for the Indian Navy or parallel sea-launched attacks. (Reftel provides further analysis of the military aspects of Cold Start doctrine and implementation).

¶4. (S/NF) A positive attribute of Cold Start from the Indian perspective is that the short 72-hour time period between decision and attack could shield the GOI from international pressure to refrain from taking military action against Pakistan. India’s prolonged 2002 mobilization period gave the international community notice of Indian troop movements and allowed plenty of time for a series of Western interlocutors to lobby GOI leaders. Even if the plan is never actually implemented -- and there is considerable question as to GOI intent to ever implement it -- news of Cold Start’s existence has already paid dividends to Indian policymakers by providing reassurance to the Indian public that the GOI has the means to punish Pakistan for attacks on Indian soil without triggering potential mutually-assured nuclear destruction. From the Indian perspective, the unimplemented plan has the added virtue of accentuating Pakistani discomfiture and angst, which in theory may have some deterrent value.

Prospects for Cold Start

¶5. (S/NF) As noted above, GOI intent to ever actually implement Cold Start is very much an open question. The Cold Start doctrine was announced in April 2004 by the BJP-led government that was replaced shortly thereafter by the Manmohan Singh government, which has not since publicly embraced Cold Start. A political green-light to implement Cold Start, fraught as it is with potential nuclear consequences, would involve a highly opaque decision-making process and would likely necessitate broad political consensus, a factor that could prolong the time between a precipitating event such as a Pakistan-linked terror attack and Cold Start deployment (which in turn could reduce the element of surprise). We lack firm details of the decision-making process that the political leadership would use in the event of an incident that would trigger consideration of Cold Start or other military action against Pakistan. The precise function of the Cabinet Committee on Security in ratifying decisions to take military action, the character of the military’s advisory responsibilities to the Cabinet, the possible ad hoc nature of decision-making in the upper levels of the Indian government and the role of Congress Party figures like Sonia Gandhi in this process are not clearly understood.

¶6. (S/NF) If the GOI were to implement Cold Start given present Indian military capabilities, it is the collective judgment of the Mission that India would likely encounter very mixed results. Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement. Reftel sets forth in detail the various resource challenges that India would have to overcome, challenges that range from road and rail transportation to ammunition supply. In addition, Cold Start’s reliance on swift mobile advance would have to contend with a large number of built-up populated areas in Pakistan that the Indian Army did not have to face in 1971, the last time it advanced in force into Pakistani Punjab and Sindh.

¶7. (S/NF) Indian leaders no doubt realize that, although Cold Start is designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner without triggering a nuclear response, they can not be sure whether Pakistani leaders will in fact refrain from such a response. Even in the absence of a Pakistani nuclear response, GOI leaders are aware also that even a limited Indian incursion into Pakistan will likely lead to international condemnation of Indian action and a resulting loss of the moral high ground that GOI leaders believe India enjoys in its contentious relationship with Pakistan.


¶8. (S/NF) We think that the November 2008 Pakistan-linked terror attack in Mumbai and its immediate aftermath provide insight into Indian and Pakistani thinking on Cold Start. First, the GOI refrained from implementing Cold Start even after an attack as audacious and bloody as the Mumbai attack, which calls into serious question the GOI’s willingness to actually adopt the Cold Start option. Second, the Pakistanis have known about Cold Start since 2004, but this knowledge does not seem to have prompted them to prevent terror attacks against India to extent such attacks could be controlled. This fact calls into question Cold Start’s ability to deter Pakistani mischief inside India. Even more so, it calls into question the degree of sincerity of fear over Cold Start as expressed by Pakistani military leaders to USG officials. Cold Start is not India’s only or preferred option after a terrorist attack. Depending on the nature, location, lethality, public response, and timing of a terrorist attack, India might not respond at all or could pursue one of several other possible options. Finally, several very high level GOI officials have firmly stated, when asked directly about their support for Cold Start, that they have never endorsed, supported, or advocated for this doctrine. One of these officials is former National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, who has recently been replaced. While the army may remain committed to the goals of the doctrine, political support is less clear. ROEMER

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Books to Read on Pakistani Politics

In case you missed it. Following is a list of books on Pakistani politics compiled by Aqil Shah, a former Rhodes Scholar and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, New York, for the Foreign Affairs magazine.

The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League, and the Demand for Pakistan.

By Ayesha Jalal. Cambridge University Press, 1985.

This meticulously researched book refutes conventional theories that the demand for an independent state of Pakistan was driven by immutable differences between Hindus and Muslims or British divide-and-rule strategies. Ayesha Jalal focuses on the role of Pakistan's founding father, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and his strategic bargaining with the British and the Indian National Congress during the endgame of British rule. She shows that in the 1940s the Muslim League under Jinnah put forward a demand for "Pakistan" mainly as a strategic ploy to safeguard the interests of India's Muslims within a broader consociation of India. But the secular Congress' intransigence to concede to the League's communal demands helped precipitate the partition of India. While the strategic use of religion allowed Jinnah to position himself as the sole spokesman for the Muslim community in India, the political geography of the subcontinent allowed the British use his own "two nation" theory as a razor to slice the two main Muslim majority provinces, the Punjab and Bengal, along communal lines in order to protect their Sikh and Hindu minorities. As a result, what Jinnah got was a "moth-eaten Pakistan" composed of a divided Punjab and a remote, noncontiguous East Bengal.

The Idea of Pakistan.

By Stephen P. Cohen. Brookings Institution Press, 2004

In this book, Stephen P. Cohen, America's most seasoned expert on Pakistan, provides a necessary corrective to the popular, alarmist view that Pakistan is a state on the brink of collapse. Cohen's central argument is that the country's identity has always been contested, with visions ranging from Jinnah's relative secularism to radical Islamism. Impressive in its breadth and scope, the book spans such topics as the nature of the Pakistani state, its foreign policy, the army, domestic politics and parties, regional and ethnic conflict, the role of Islam, education, demographic trends, and the economy. Toward the end, Cohen sketches several possible futures for Pakistan: more of the same (military-dominated autocracy), genuine democracy, an Islamist state, a failed state, or a ruined post-bellum Pakistan (in the case of a war with India). He predicts that Pakistan is likely to remain suspended between weak democracy and "benevolent autocracy." The book concludes with thoughtful recommendations on U.S. policy options vis-à-vis Pakistan.

The Military and Politics in Pakistan: 1947-1997.

By Hasan Askari Rizvi. Sang-e-Meel Publications, 2000.

Originally published more than 30 years ago, Hasan Askari Rizvi's book was the first in-depth study of the military and politics in Pakistan. It skillfully traces the transformation of a professional "ex-colonial" army into a political one within the context of Pakistan's acute insecurity regarding India and its participation in U.S.-led Cold War alliances. Risvi sees political decay, not military failure, at the heart of Pakistan's praetorianism: weak political institutions, low levels of regime legitimacy, and civilian reliance on soldiers in civil administration, he argues, created an opening for the military to expand its role into civilian life. Over time, persistent military intervention and rule have aided and abetted the development and entrenchment of the army's expansive corporate interests in the state, society, and the economy.

Military Control in Pakistan: The Parallel State.

By Mazhar Aziz. Routledge, 2009.

In this more recent volume on the military and politics, Mazhar Aziz challenges the view that nonmilitary factors, such as political instability or ethnic divisions, explain military dominance in Pakistan. Instead, he argues, the answer lies in military institutional interests. The author skillfully weds history with theory to show that military control was spawned by elite policy decisions made during the formative years after independence, such as the co-optation and socialization of military officers in civilian governance and the move to ally with the United States. The institutional legacies of these choices generated military interests in creating a "parallel" state that has precluded any lasting transition to a democratic alternative.

Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.

By Husain Haqqani. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005.

This timely book by the veteran Pakistani journalist Husain Haqqani -- who was recently appointed Pakistani ambassador to the United States -- offers insights into the often puzzling links between the military and the Islamists, exposing the supposed "khaki bulwark against extremism" as the actual facilitator and beneficiary of radical Islamism. Haqqani shows how the Pakistani state has played the Hindu, or India, card in order to unify a multiethnic polity around an Islamic national identity. In the process, the military has sponsored and supported Islamist proxies both to nullify demands for democratic representation and to balance regional threats emanating from India in the east and a traditionally irredentist Afghanistan in the west. This historically entrenched coalition between the mosque and military, Haqqani points out, continues to pose a serious threat to regional and international security.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes.

By Mohammed Hanif. Knopf, 2008.

Journalist Mohammed Hanif's first novel is a punchy satire of the U.S.-allied military junta of General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, the self-appointed guardian of piety and virtue. The fictional story revolves around a factual incident, Zia's mysterious death in a plane crash in August 1988 that also killed the American ambassador and most of the top military leadership. The novel is narrated by a homosexual air force cadet with his own axe to grind against Zia, and the plot serves as a crafty reminder of the conspiracy theories that typically follow the assassinations and deaths of military and political figures in Pakistan. The motley crew of suspects includes Zia's intelligence chief; a Maoist secretary general of the Sweeper's Union; and even a crow haplessly (or not) sucked into the plane's engines. Laced with the characteristic buffoonery of military life, the novel takes the reader from the fortified presidential palace to the Inter Services Intelligence torture chambers. With the CIA-sponsored anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan as its backdrop, the story penetrates deep into the shadowy world of crafty, paranoid, and two-faced army generals, doing so with an irreverent wit and aplomb.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What's the Problem With Pakistan? A Discussion

What's the Problem With Pakistan? Washington and the Generals

Participants: Stephen P. Cohen, C. Christine Fair, Sumit Ganguly, Shaun Gregory, Aqil Shah, Ashley J. Tellis

March 31, 2009

Stephen Philip Cohen is the author of numerous books on Indian and Pakistani security issues. Before joining the Brookings Institution in 1998 he was a Professor of Political Science and History at the University of Illinois and served in the State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 1985 to 1987.

C. Christine Fair is a Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation. She has authored and co-authored several books, including, most recently, The Madrassah Challenge: Militancy and Religious Education in Pakistan.

Sumit Ganguly is a Professor of Political Science, holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations and is the Director of Research at the Center on American and Global Security at Indiana University at Bloomington. He most recently edited, with C. Christine Fair, Treading on Hallowed Ground: Counterinsurgency Operations in Sacred Places.

Shaun Gregory is Director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at the University of Bradford. His latest book, Pakistan: Securing the Insecure State, will be published in 2009.

Aqil Shah a former Rhodes Scholar, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University.

Ashley J. Tellis is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 2001 to 2003 he served as Senior Adviser at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, and in 2003, he also served on the National Security Council staff as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning and Southwest Asia.


Part I: Who Rules?

Who holds power in Pakistan today? What is the relationship among the government, the army, and the intelligence services?

March 31, 2009

Sumit Ganguly: Is there any doubt about that? The army, for all practical purposes, has been and remains in charge. It has steadily increased its power since the first military coup in 1958. The military has a veto over most critical decisions affecting both foreign and security policies, and during the Zia era, it expanded its reach into some areas of domestic politics as well, fomenting, and then containing, ethnic discord in the Sindh and pandering to religious zealots in social policy. Civilian governments in Pakistan are of transient significance. The military, the higher echelons of the civil service, and the intelligence services are the permanent features of the state. There is little or no evidence that the civilian government has any meaningful autonomy.

Shaun Gregory: I agree with Sumit on this. The civilian government is very weak. The Pakistani army retains de facto control of foreign policy, defense policy, internal security, and nuclear policy, and will defend its expanded economic interests -- which mushroomed under Pervez Musharraf. On the relationship between the army and the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence]: in 2006, Musharraf told the London Times that the ISI "is a disciplined force . . . doing what the [military] government has been telling them." I think we should accept his word. I don't buy the idea that the ISI is a "state within a state," or that it is always "rogue" elements doing various nefarious things. Broadly speaking, the ISI is under the control of the Pakistan military and serves as its instrument.

Ashley Tellis: Sumit has it dead-on. The army rules on all the critical issues important to it: the nuclear program, the budget, security policy, relations with key foreign partners. Although civilian governments have room to play in other areas, their choices are crowded out by prior military preferences. I think the view that the ISI implements military preferences is by and large correct. ISI can conduct activities that the GHQ [General Headquarters] may not be aware of, but I don't believe that any such autonomous actions can ever be sustained if they are seen to be against military interests.

Aqil Shah: The military has withdrawn from exercising direct government power by passing the baton to elected civilians, as it has done several times in the past, but it would be naive to expect it to loosen its control over what it sees as its legitimate "structural" missions, including Afghanistan, India, and the nuclear weapons program. The intelligence services work directly under the command and control of the army chief of staff, even though the ISI is formally answerable to the prime minister. It is hard to determine the presence or extent of factionalization within the military-intelligence complex, but there is little credible evidence to suggest that the military does not operate as a coherent organization. Once the army chief signs off on a policy, the costs of disobedience can be prohibitively high.

Stephen Cohen: The ISI is part of the government, and especially the army, but it is not certain that either exercises sovereign control over all of Pakistan. The weakening of central authority would not be of much concern to outsiders, however, if some groups did not operate beyond Pakistani borders or threaten the fabric of Pakistan itself. In the long term, the weakening of the Pakistani state itself will be a problem, not just its loss of territory or control over radical elements. The army cannot govern Pakistan but won't let anyone else govern it either. It's a chicken-egg situation, worsened by the total collapse of the economy and the withering away of state institutions. Right after Musharraf took over (in a coup that I thought was necessary), I suggested to him that the best course for the military would be to reset the system, allowing the Pakistani people to decide who governs them. He obviously rejected this and other advice.

Aqil Shah: I disagree with Steve that the 1999 coup -- or any past coup, for that matter -- was "necessary." There are two assumptions underlying this observation. One, that the military has the competence and the capacity to "reset" the system, and two, that military intervention is the default option when civilian governance falters. In fact, the military has neither such competence nor such capability, and coups are more often made by armed men who think they have the duty to "sort civilians out" whenever they deem it appropriate.

Sumit Ganguly: The military in Pakistan is bloated beyond all reason. Curbing its influence and inducing it to become a professional army focused on legitimate threats should not in any way compromise its viability. It is time that the United States use its still considerable leverage within Pakistan to trim the extraordinary privileges of the army, induce it to shed its extracurricular activities, and end its support to jihadis of every stripe.

Christine Fair: I am dubious about this posited U.S. leverage so long as Washington depends on Pakistan for help with the war in Afghanistan. Russia's willingness to permit passage of nonlethal goods is a welcome development, but Russia doesn't share a border with Afghanistan, and there are also lethal goods that need to be shipped into the theater. These supplies can be airlifted, but it's costly. The bottom line is that the United States needs new regional partnerships to make its demands to Pakistan more persuasive. It also needs a new assistance paradigm that envisions the kind of Pakistan that is desired to emerge over the next 20 years and works to make that a reality. The United States and the international community need to invest in civilian capabilities in Pakistan. Domestic insurgencies are defeated by police forces with armies in support -- not by armies themselves. Yet the U.S. approach has been to support the army while spending little on civilian institutions, which only perpetuates and exacerbates the problem.

Stephen Cohen: Christine raises a critical issue, that Pakistan controls two vital choke points: access to Afghanistan from the south and east, and intelligence cooperation regarding jihadis who commute between Pakistan and other places (notably Europe). Past administrations in Washington were unwilling to forego Pakistani cooperation on security issues, something that gave Islamabad powerful cards. Will the Obama administration be able to develop alternative routes to Afghanistan that make it less dependent on Pakistani cooperation? Not anytime soon.

Ashley Tellis: The cruel fact is that there are only two efficient supply routes into Afghanistan, through Pakistan and Iran. The northern routes are too long and convoluted and run through too many independent states.

Sumit Ganguly: I think the argument that Washington needs Pakistan to supply Afghanistan is wearing a little thin, even if it is technically true. Let's face it: the Pakistani state is in hock. It cannot afford to give up the substantial rents that it earns from the supply routes. What would replace them? With global oil prices down, the Gulf states are hurting badly, so Saudi Arabia will not bail out Pakistan with any substantial infusion of cash. Nor is China likely to dole out huge sums of money.

Part II: The Military's Worldview

What do the Pakistani security services want? How does supporting political violence and extremism fit into their agenda?

April 1, 2009

Shaun Gregory: The extent to which the army and ISI support terrorism is contentious. That they have done so in the past is beyond dispute. That they still support certain groups that serve their internal or regional interests is highly likely. That they support groups that threaten Pakistan's territorial integrity is most unlikely. However, there is more than one actor stirring the terrorist/extremist pot here. Pakistan, having been through 1971, views territorial integrity with the utmost seriousness and is acutely sensitive to those countries -- such as Iran and Afghanistan -- that support subnational groups within Pakistan threatening secession. Anyone seeking greater stability in the region, or seeking to wean Pakistan off support for extremists and terrorists, has to address Pakistan's legitimate security needs. This means working with neighboring countries to draw the sting of issues such as Kashmir and Baluchistan. Pakistan, for its part, must move to a fairer federal dispensation and take the opportunity for bilateral progress with India that the present context offers.

Sumit Ganguly: The security services and the military basically wish to preserve their prerogatives at the cost of the rest of Pakistan's society. They have steadily aggrandized power and privilege and have come to construe their principal role as the guardians of the Pakistani state. They see the jihadi groups as their handmaidens and believe that the risks in using them are both controllable and calculable.

Aqil Shah: Any desire to deal firmly with cross-border militancy is trumped by the military's perceived need to retain its ties to this or that militant group in order to counter Indian influence in Afghanistan. The army continues to fear that the United States could simply lose interest in Afghanistan once it captures the senior leadership of al Qaeda (as Washington did after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan), leaving Pakistan exposed to Indian (and Russian) "encirclement" -- evidence of which it sees in New Delhi's alleged support for the insurgency in Pakistan's resource-rich Baluchistan province and Indian funding for a 135-mile road connecting Afghanistan's Nimroz province with the Iranian port of Chabahar. Intelligence officials privately concede their mentoring of militant groups in the past, but say they have now escaped the military's orbit -- an assertion not fully consistent with the facts. There appears to be a pervasive belief in the army, among both mid-level and senior officers, that the United States and India are destabilizing FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas] and the rest of the country as a prelude to depriving Pakistan of its nuclear weapons. Officers who have served in FATA have told me that they face a U.S.-Indian combined offensive and that the local Taliban receive their funds from across the border. The army might inculcate such beliefs in order to motivate its soldiers, but they also connect to the military's larger worldview. For the generals, the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal is proof of an evolving Indo-U.S., or even Indo-U.S.-Israeli, strategic alliance -- not to mention American duplicity.

Stephen Cohen: Aqil has captured the essence of the Pakistani security establishment's paranoia, but even paranoids have enemies, and no Pakistani soldier (or intelligence functionary) will soon forget that their country was cut in half by India. Most of them see things through an India-tinted lens, and have always feared that the United States might choose India over Pakistan -- a fear confirmed by the US-Indian nuclear deal. Other Pakistanis have a more nuanced view of the world.

Sumit Ganguly: Aqil's views on the Pakistani army's paranoia about Indian involvement with the CIA in the FATA are fascinating. That said, it would be a marvel if the Indians were that competent with covert operations. Their flat-footedness in these matters simply does not convince me that they constitute a viable threat in the FATA, even if they would want to be one. I disagree with Steve, however, about the Pakistani army's "memories" of the dismemberment of their country in 1971. Surely they have a glimmer of understanding about their own role in precipitating that crisis. India certainly played a major role in bringing about the genesis of Bangladesh. But the Pakistani army resists coming to terms with the flight of close to ten million individuals following the military crackdown there. The 1971 crisis is exploited to good effect for public-relations purposes and India-bashing, but we need not buy into this obfuscatory propaganda.

Aqil Shah: It would be reasonable to speculate that [India's] RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] is settling scores with the ISI in Afghanistan and perhaps Baluchistan. But so far, the Pakistani military establishment has produced little evidence of the "Indian hand," and logically it doesn't make sense for India to back groups that could instantly turn their guns on New Delhi, as many of the Pakistani Taliban promised to do in the wake of the recent Mumbai attacks. The trouble with Pakistan is that the specter of the unremitting "enemy" serves the parochial interests of the military. That is why the question of civil-military relations is critical to Pakistan's external policies and behavior. When the entrenched organizational beliefs, biases, routines, and interests of the military become the primary drivers of a state's decision-making for war and peace, it has trouble written all over it. Sumit is on the mark with the argument that the military believes it can still calibrate and control the "good" jihadis (those who fight in Indian-administered Kashmir or lend a helping hand in Afghanistan) from the "bad" ones (those who have turned on the Pakistani army, ostensibly with Indian prodding). In fact, the generals continue to see the "good" ones as the frontline in the military's strategy of asymmetric warfare against a conventionally superior India. Senior military officials reportedly told a group of journalists in Islamabad after the Mumbai attacks that the militant commanders were "patriotic" Pakistanis, and that they had "no big issues with the militants in FATA," "only some misunderstandings" that "could be removed through dialogue."

Sumit Ganguly: The Pakistani military may well have legitimate concerns and indeed misgivings about India's weapons purchases. That said, two issues immediately stand out. First, Pakistan has to decide on its own -- or better, in conjunction with India -- what constitutes an adequate level of weaponization to address its security needs. Second, we need to acknowledge that India has other threats that it faces, namely, from China. If we in the United States hedge against Russia, then we should concede that the Indians have every right to hedge against an uncertain future with China. But they also need to reassure the Pakistanis that they will not use their growing capabilities to intimidate or coerce Pakistan.

Shaun Gregory: It is increasingly clear to everyone except Pakistanis that Pakistan is no longer a regional equal of India, and nobody behaves any longer as though it is. Sumit is right: if Pakistan wants sensitivity to its legitimate interests, then it must acknowledge those of others, and that means recognizing India's emergence as a great power and its legitimate concerns about China. Pakistan's insistence on a bilateral calculus vis-à-vis India makes no sense anymore and is a patent obstacle to progress.

Christine Fair: I think it would be a mistake to completely disregard Pakistan's regional perceptions due to doubts about Indian competence in executing covert operations. That misses the point entirely. And I think it is unfair to dismiss the notion that Pakistan's apprehensions about Afghanistan stem in part from its security competition with India. Having visited the Indian mission in Zahedan, Iran, I can assure you they are not issuing visas as the main activity! Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan. Kabul has encouraged India to engage in provocative activities such as using the Border Roads Organization to build sensitive parts of the Ring Road and use the Indo-Tibetan police force for security. It is also building schools on a sensitive part of the border in Kunar--across from Bajaur. Kabul's motivations for encouraging these activities are as obvious as India's interest in engaging in them. Even if by some act of miraculous diplomacy the territorial issues were to be resolved, Pakistan would remain an insecure state. Given the realities of the subcontinent (e.g., India's rise and its more effective foreign relations with all of Pakistan's near and far neighbors), these fears are bound to grow, not lessen. This suggests that without some means of compelling Pakistan to abandon its reliance upon militancy, it will become ever more interested in using it -- and the militants will likely continue to proliferate beyond Pakistan's control.

Aqil Shah: Christine's observations provide damning evidence of the games states play. The Indians seem to be saying, "The Pakistanis did it to us in Kashmir, so we will pay them back in Baluchistan and elsewhere." So it should not be surprising that the Pakistani military continues to patronize groups it sees as useful in the regional race for influence, even if the costs to Pakistan's political stability outweigh the benefits.

Sumit Ganguly: I never suggested that the Indians have purely humanitarian objectives in Afghanistan. That said, their vigorous attempts to limit Pakistan's reach and influence there stem largely from being systematically bled in Kashmir. Their role in Afghanistan is a pincer movement designed to relieve pressure in Kashmir. Whether it will work remains an open question. Meanwhile, I know that the Indians have mucked around in Sind in retaliation for Pakistani involvement in the Punjab crisis. But as much as the Indians may boast about their putative pumping of funds into Baluchistan, why is the evidence for that so thin?

Ashley Tellis: What do key Pakistani actors want, especially the military? Obviously, they want security for Pakistan, along with the ability to protect their own interests inside it. Both objectives become problematic, unfortunately, when pursued in certain ways. The army is pursuing security for Pakistan in the east by combating India through a war of a thousand cuts and a rapidly expanding nuclear program, and in the west by a little imperial project in Afghanistan. There is a temptation to see the latter entirely through the lens of India-Pakistan competition. But Pakistan has interests in Afghanistan that transcend its problems with India. In fact, one of the crucial problems in both theaters is the exaggerated Pakistani fears of what it believes the Indians are up to. Aqil captures that paranoia quite well. I am not sure I buy Christine's analysis of Indian activities in Pakistan's west: this is a subject I followed very closely when I was in government, and suffice it to say, there is less there than meets the eye. That was certainly true for Afghanistan. Convincing Pakistanis of this, however, is a different story. I think Sumit and Shaun get the bottom line exactly right: Pakistan has to recognize that it simply cannot match India through whatever stratagem it chooses -- it is bound to fail. The sensible thing, then, is for Pakistan to reach the best possible accommodation with India now, while it still can, and shift gears toward a grand strategy centered on economic integration in South Asia -- one that would help Pakistan climb out of its morass and allow the army to maintain some modicum of privileges, at least for a while. The alternative is to preside over an increasingly hollow state.

Christine Fair: I am not trying to blow Indian activities in the region out of proportion, rather stressing the need to not dismiss the importance of Pakistani perceptions of those activities simply because one thinks they are exaggerated. These activities matter to some in the Pakistani elite and to a broader public that is fed a steady stream of information about them. Countless surveys demonstrate the Pakistani public's peculiar view of the region and their country's activities in it. Public opinion matters to the army, and it will not cooperate with the West's desires unless such cooperation enjoys support among Pakistanis at large. Coercive measures against the army -- which I tend to support to some extent -- are at odds with attempts to persuade Pakistanis of the real nature of the threats their government has brought upon them and the need for immediate action in response. Regarding the formation of perceptions, Pakistan's educational system is, of course, the font of these problems. Alas, Washington has focused entirely too many (wasted) resources on the so-called madrassah problem while failing to acknowledge the much larger problem of Pakistan's public schools, which educate some 70 percent of the student population. (Private schools of varying quality educate another 30 percent of full-time students, with madrassah enrollments largely a rounding error.) Attitudinal surveys of older children in religious, private, and public schools show very different views on militancy, violence, minority rights, and the conflict with India. Private-school students have the most reassuring worldviews, suggesting that those schools, the vast majority of which are not elite, are doing something right. Surely, market incentives could be bolstered to encourage private-school expansion and utilization.

Part III: The Military's Worldview

What are the most important U.S. interests in Pakistan, and how should Washington advance them?

April 2, 2009

Ashley Tellis: As far as the West is concerned, its principal objective is simply getting the Pakistanis to make good on their commitment to confront terrorism comprehensively. It is easy to understand why Pakistan won't. It is harder to understand why Pakistan, even now, cannot appreciate the risks to itself in its chosen course. Three problems account for this in my opinion: first, simple inertia (what has been done for fifty years becomes the default course of action); second, a tendency to maximize short-term gains at the expense of long-term interests; and third, the vexed civil-military relationship in Islamabad. Unfortunately for Pakistan, the West is losing patience with its shortcomings -- and while Pakistan may be slowly changing, the threats emerging from that country toward the rest of the world are increasing fast.

Christine Fair: As Ashley notes, the perplexing question is why Pakistan's security elites do not recognize the problems their policies pose to Pakistan's own security. They argue that militants are increasingly turning on them, not as "blowback" from their own past and current policies, but because of Pakistan's alliance with the United States. Many have told me that once that alliance is shaken off, the Pakistani state will be able to restore good relations with the militants, who will continue to serve the security elites' interests. And to date, the use of these militant groups has been almost cost-free, has it not?

Sumit Ganguly: Without some explicit benchmarks, further aid to the Pakistani army will be money down a rat hole. We have done this before, and not just with Musharraf. I distinctly recall that after several years of support to the Pakistani military during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan we discovered to our great horror that the bulk of our assistance had gone to those who had done the least fighting, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and his thugs. It is time we make it clear to the Pakistani army that it will not be business as usual.

Stephen Cohen: I strongly favor conditionality when it comes to a matter that is in Pakistan's own vital interest, such as counterinsurgency. I don't see why we should sell arms for other purposes. But the problem, of course, is that we want more things from Pakistan than they can probably deliver. We want them to be a democracy, clean up the madrassas, get along with India, be forthcoming on A. Q. Khan and their past nuclear program, have a world-class nuclear command and control system, be with us against al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, and the Pakistani Taliban (including its Punjabi ideological soul mates). If you think that a threat to cut off military sales can make them do all of these things, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you. We must decide what is most important.

Sumit Ganguly: Steve, we don't need to ask the Pakistanis to do all those things simultaneously. That said, I see no reason why we cannot approach such a list sequentially. This will entail a serious discussion in Washington about near- and medium-term priorities. At a bare minimum, we can ask Pakistan to end its ties with jihadi organizations. This is in the American interest, in the interests of India and Afghanistan, and ultimately in the interest of Pakistan itself. Cutting the umbilical cord between certain entities of the Pakistani state and these organizations will not be easy or simple, but unless concrete, tangible steps are taken toward that end, we may as well stop talking fatuously about how Pakistan is "a valuable ally in the war on terror." The menace that was spawned on and unleashed from Pakistani soil threatens us all, and we need to be forthright about it.

Stephen Cohen: What if they stop their ties to jihadi organizations that affect us but not to those that are pointed at India? Is this our problem or India's? And is al Qaeda a jihadi organization?

Sumit Ganguly: There cannot be neat distinctions between "good" and "bad" jihadis. The Pakistani army cannot guarantee that even ostensibly "anti-Indian" jihadi organizations will not turn their guns on us when it suits them. And yes, al Qaeda is a jihadi organization!

Christine Fair: I'd like to push police training. The [National Highways and] Motorway Police and the Lahore traffic police demonstrate that a good salary and absolute accountability can produce effective policing in Pakistan: police can be professional when the proper incentives are in place. U.S. assistance has not focused the resources it should have on civilian capacity building. While "Operation Clean-up" -- in Karachi against the MQM [Muttahida Quami Movement] -- had some pretty nasty and draconian elements, it did demonstrate the capacity of police and the rangers to put down serious insurrection when there is will to do so.

Shaun Gregory: For me, the top priority is Pakistan's ongoing support for the Afghan Taliban. Any hope the Obama administration has of progress in Afghanistan is going to turn in large measure on persuading Pakistan to act on its side of the border. I'd argue that the nuclear issue can wait, that even al Qaeda can wait; it's the tribal instability in the FATA/NWFP [North-West Frontier Province] and Pakistan's impact in Afghanistan that have to be front and center. The question of why the Pakistani army does not see its embrace of terrorists as ultimately self-destructive is important. Is it arrogance that makes it believe it can somehow weather the storm, achieve its objectives in Afghanistan, Kashmir, and elsewhere, and still control anti-state terrorism within its own borders? Or is there any merit in seeing this as driven by a pernicious mix of cultural and religious factors -- the labyrinthine working through of shame-honor/power-challenge codes, Islamic fatalism, the notion of jihad within the army? Is Pakistan so cornered that it feels it has no other options, or does the army prefer to pull the house down on everyone's heads, including their own, rather than accept a dispensation of regional weakness?

Aqil Shah: The United States has to pay more attention to the Kashmir conflict and be seen to be doing so. Kashmir shapes the Pakistani state's worldview to a significant degree. It also plays a crucial role in legitimating the military's virtually open-ended security mission and limits the prospects of reversing military power in domestic politics. Meanwhile, if Washington is backing civilian rule in Pakistan, as it says it does, U.S. officials should resist holding secret meetings with the Pakistani army leadership. These interactions undermine the authority of the civilian government and reinforce the generals' exaggerated sense of importance. The military feels it can get away with murder in good measure because it believes that it is indispensable to Washington. As for the possibility that "religious fatalism" is part of the problem, I don't think cultural or religious essentialism can help us understand the Pakistani military's intransigence in the face of changing circumstances. Organizational beliefs and norms, which define the values and goals that are important to the group and are imparted to all new members in a highly structured environment, deeply influence military behavior. One deeply internalized assumption is that India is evil and anyone who abets or aids it in any way, or is seen as doing so, must also have evil designs on Pakistan. On FATA, as urgent as dealing with militancy is, there is a serious and long overdue need to reform the barbaric colonial-era rules and regulations under which Pakistan (mis)governs the area. The government, for example, is currently allowed to use fines, arrests, property seizures, and economic blockades to punish an entire tribe for crimes committed anywhere in its territory. Official decisions are not subject to appeal in a court of law. The people of FATA are deprived of basic political rights, and political parties are still banned from operating in the area (which is one reason the madrassah-based JUI-F dominates local politics). External actors need to lean on Pakistan to get serious about governance and economic reforms in FATA. The Pakistani state has washed its hands of its basic responsibility to govern FATA by blaming it on Pashtun traditions and culture. But FATA is misgoverned deliberately, not because of tribal resistance.

Stephen Cohen: I know and admire Aqil's views, which have influenced me greatly. But achieving "Aqil's Pakistan" requires a long-term strategy, and some agencies in Washington have pressing short-term goals. They would be willing, like previous U.S. administrations, to trade off dealing effectively with al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban now at the expense of helping Pakistanis construct a stable and, hopefully, democratic state over the long term. But the prospect of a truly rogue Pakistan several years down the road is frightening. As far as policy is concerned, the approach set out in the Biden-Lugar legislation changes the fundamental ground rules of our relationship with Islamabad and the Pakistani people. I support it wholly. I don't think that the GOP understands this; Richard Holbrooke will have to make it clear to them that the old rules have changed, while convincing the rest of the Obama administration that a short-term policy must be accompanied by long-term policies as well. Finally, there must be active diplomacy with our friends and others so they can, if they choose, coordinate their diplomacy and aid packages with ours. Other relevant states also need to be engaged -- not just India but also China, Europe, and Saudi Arabia, all of which want a stable Pakistan. All this will require leadership. There's no guarantee that it will work, but looking at the fundamental trend lines in Pakistan, it is hard to be optimistic if things continue the way they are now.

Part IV: What Now?

Given all of the above, what are the implications of recent developments such as the Swat Valley deal and the Sharif–Zardari confrontation?

April 3, 2009

Sumit Ganguly: For me, recent events have only underscored the fragility of the Pakistani state and its institutions. They also reveal that the court system is firmly ensconced in the politics of the moment. It does not bode well for the country. Allowing sharia in Swat, regardless of its particular manifestations, constitutes an abnegation of state authority. This is deeply worrisome and cannot be sanitized. Even during the darkest days of the Punjab insurgency, the Indian state never ceded this sort of ground to the Khalistanis.

Shaun Gregory: What is depressing about the latest events in Pakistan is that they were completely predictable. It is like watching the unfolding of a bad tragedy one has seen a hundred times before. In my view, the issue of Sharia in Swat is less important than the nature of the people to whom the Pakistani authorities have ceded authority there. As for Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, this is a wholly unnecessary fight that diverts huge amounts of political energy from real priorities. They remind me of Holmes and Moriarty, so intent on the destruction of each other that they missed the point that they were standing on the edge of an abyss.

Aqil Shah: Recent events in Swat show only that the military-dominated Pakistani state is either unwilling or unable to perform its basic function: enforcing the legitimate monopoly over the means of coercion and administration in its own territory. Even if we concede that striking a cease-fire agreement with the Taliban was the only feasible option in the face of abject military failure and the rising human costs of the military campaign, how is the government going to make sure that the Taliban have made a credible commitment? What is to stop the Taliban from reneging on their promises? Press reports suggest that they have already violated the terms of the cease-fire agreement by attacking and kidnapping security personnel, just as they did in all of the previous "peace deals" in the FATA. The cease-fire agreement basically gives the Taliban a pass on their crimes against the state. They have terrorized the population, burnt down hundreds of girls' schools in Swat, and murdered civilians and military personnel. As Shaun says, it's déjà vu all over again.

Shaun Gregory: For U.S. and NATO policy, meanwhile, the fundamental challenges remain. Washington and NATO should partner with all those who can take Pakistan forward, wherever they are -- in moderate political parties, civil society, the private sector, even Islamist parties that eschew violence. Efforts should shift from military aid to civilian aid and strive for economic, social, and political progress. Any and all military aid that continues should be strictly accounted for and subject to conditionality. Western dependence on Pakistan -- in terms of logistics, intelligence, and so forth -- should be reduced so Western leverage over the army and ISI can increase. Washington should explore containment strategies for the FATA that end the airstrikes, re-task the Pakistan military, suppress arms trafficking, limit the reach of the extremist message, and seek some accommodations with tribal groups. Meanwhile, the West needs to recognize that Pakistan has legitimate interests and concerns in Afghanistan, and in the region more broadly, and allow those interests to be addressed, or else the paranoia of the army and the intelligence services will continue to be fed. A regional diplomatic process, with Pakistan and Afghanistan at the center, can provide a political framework for progress. The combination of Obama, [Hillary] Clinton, Holbrooke, and [David] Petraeus provides the best shot at such a process we're likely to see for a generation.

Aqil Shah: The transition to democracy has done little to change the dynamics of political power. The politicians appear too busy protecting their flanks to realize the gravity of the situation. Opinion polls show a sharp downslide in public confidence in the government's performance. The Sharif-Zardari showdown may not have been unexpected, but it has certainly disappointed Pakistanis who perceived the 2008 elections and their results as a first step toward extricating Pakistan from its authoritarian trap. The political, economic, and security problems faced by the elected government are largely legacies of Musharraf's military rule. But the PPP [Pakistan People's Party] government cannot hide behind that excuse to mask its own incompetence. Power in Pakistan, as in any other aspiring democracy, needs to be restrained by the rule of law. This, in turn, requires the supremacy of the constitution, enforced by an autonomous judiciary. But the PPP-led government has used paltry subterfuges to subvert judicial independence and has held over other anti-democratic measures from the Musharraf era, such as the presidential power to arbitrarily sack elected governments. The PPP and other parties may find it inconvenient to be restrained by constitutional checks and balances, but without them democracy is likely to remain feeble and vulnerable to authoritarian backsliding. If that happens, civilian politicians will have to share a good part of the blame for squandering the democratic gains of the last few years.

Sumit Ganguly: Sadly, I agree. Going back to a question we touched on earlier, do any of you think Pakistan's political elites fully grasp the dimensions of the crises that confront the state? Or do they feel that they will somehow find a way to muddle through yet again? I think that the country faces unprecedented challenges to its political stability, public order, and economic growth, and that its past ability to cope with similar threats may not be a useful guide to what lies ahead.

Ashley Tellis: I think Pakistani elites understand the nature of their challenge but are victims of short-term necessities, just like our own politicians. The Sharif-Zardari fissure is a great example. Both ought to be strengthening the civilian regime vis-à-vis the army, but normal politics comes in the way, as it always does. Shaun's recommendations for Western policy are very useful, but I'm pessimistic we can succeed. Washington will engage the civilians -- as it does already -- but is it realistic to imagine that it will "disempower" the Pakistani military so long as it is fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban? And Washington may shift the focus of aid to civilian ends, but civilian assistance may well be unfocused and wasted. There is strong pressure on the Obama administration to introduce conditionality on military aid to Pakistan, but I would be very surprised if it goes this route. Trying to offset the dependence on Pakistan through the northern routes makes sense, but I don't think there is much prospect of good news there -- for the foreseeable future, it's the Khyber Pass. (And to be fair, the Pakistani record in transporting stuff is not at all bad, a few dramatic events notwithstanding.) The idea of a containment strategy is interesting, but can a Pakistan with multiple sovereignties survive? I don't know. As for airstrikes and collateral damage, this has been more of an issue in Afghanistan than Pakistan, where the U.S. record on targeting bad guys has been remarkable. On Pakistan's legitimate concerns, finally, the real issue here is not Islamabad but Kabul. How do you protect Pakistan's interests when Afghanistan has a different conception of what those should entail? It is the security dilemma between Afghanistan and Pakistan that lies at the core of all else. I am personally skeptical about a regional approach as it is being defined now. I wish Holbrooke and his colleagues well, but you can't fix deep-rooted security dilemmas instantaneously or through marginal policy changes. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I am not optimistic. I think the best we can do is try to manage Afghanistan without Pakistan's cooperation while slowly working with Islamabad to bring it around over the longer term.

Aqil Shah: This is a classic moral hazard problem. Military and civilian elites in Pakistan believe that they can pursue their notion of the national interest without serious repercussions because of the country's strategic importance. And so far, the United States and others have done little to puncture that belief. Consider U.S. silence on Musharraf's demolition of the higher judiciary, an issue that triggered civil-society mobilization against his regime and helped loosen his grip on power. The not unfounded perception of this in Pakistan was that U.S. acquiescence was a response to the Supreme Court's efforts to apply Pakistani laws to illegally incarcerated terror suspects. To many Pakistanis, this was just another case of Washington's expedient alliances with Pakistani military dictators. The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore demonstrates all too well the audacity and growing reach of Islamist militants into the "settled" areas of Pakistan. Much of Pakistan's internal insecurity is linked to its perceived security dilemma, which is typically used by the establishment to pursue unaccountable security policies and to justify domestic repression. If the stabilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan is not addressed with all the diplomatic, economic, and political tools available, then the region is likely to go to hell in a handcart, with horrendous consequences.

Shaun Gregory: I've just been re-reading Tariq Ali's (admittedly leftist) analysis of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, The Duel. The basic thesis is that since 1958 the major Western powers have put their own short-term interests first, propping up one military dictatorship after another and paying only lip service to support for democracy. If such a course had achieved U.S. and Western objectives, it could perhaps be countenanced. But it hasn't. For decades, Washington and others have put the interests of the Pakistan army and the country's tiny kleptocratic elite first while neglecting the Pakistani people. This is a basic error that cannot be repeated if Pakistan is to be turned around. I can't help thinking that if the same resources and intellectual energy that have been put into the Pakistani military had been put into genuine support for democracy, social progress, and development, we'd be in a very different place today. Over the past ten years, Washington has spent almost six billion dollars on the FATA, 96 percent of them on military activity and just 1 percent on development. This is a sterile, failed policy, and there surely have to be other ideas worth trying. The Obama administration says it wants to change course. We'll see if it does.