Monday, May 30, 2011

First of two on Pakistan

Sushant Shareen writes in Tehelka: (excerpt, but read the whole thing)

PAKISTAN IS not so much a victim of terrorism as it is a victim of the stupendous success of the indoctrination programme that has replaced the innate pragmatism of the people. Islamism doubles up as nationalism and validates substantially, if not entirely, the concept of Islamofascism. It is this phenomenon that leads a newspaper owner, who is an ideal candidate for a lunatic asylum but in today’s Pakistan is a leading flagbearer of the ‘ideology of Pakistan’, to demand a nuclear strike on India because after a nuclear exchange Pakistan will be able to progress like Japan did after Hiroshima! It is this thinking that leads a top general under Pervez Musharraf, and a man who at one point was touted as a possible successor to Musharraf, to advocate firing “a nuclear warning shot in the Bay of Bengal, across India, demonstrating our circular range capacity” in order to send the message that “you don’t mess with a nuclear power and get away with it”. It is this thinking that makes a former information minister declare that “Pakistan has made nuclear weapons not to keep them in the cupboard but to use them against its enemies”. It is this mindset that makes the so-called ‘civil society’ — news anchors, lawyers, activists — defend the action of the assassin of Punjab governor, Salman Taseer. And it is precisely this mindset that prevents the Pakistan army (its ranks filled with the oxymoronic ‘moderate Taliban’) from ending its double-game in the war on terror. 
Today, it is not the nukes that protect Pakistan but Pakistan that protects its nukes. 
This then is the terrible reality of Pakistan. Unfortunately, just as the Pakistanis are in denial, so too are the Indians, or at least the Indian establishment, about the ground reality in Pakistan. India’s Pakistan policy (if at all there is such a thing) is predicated on interactions with what is a fringe group of liberal, moderate, modern, and sensible Pakistanis who are excellent advocates of their country but whose words don’t count for anything in terms of setting their country’s policy or direction. This is a class that doesn’t number more than a couple of thousand.