Eat your kababs, but dont lower your guard

Swapan Dasgupta calls for reality check in this excellent article on Rediff

Musharraf has learnt nothing, forgotten nothing:You must be an absolute clown to equate the well-heeled from Clifton, Karachi with the bearded mullah who has motivated many thousands to join the jihad in Kashmir. Yes, Pakistani society operates at various levels. Some of these are quite normal and wholesome while others are stark, raving lunatic. I guess that is true of any society.

In its dealings with India, it is the lunatic fringe of Pakistan that has hitherto prevailed. If saner voices are now being heard it is not because the hatred of India has been subsumed by a love for civilised values, it is because Pakistan has become acutely aware of its international pariah status thanks to its flirtations with international terrorists and its encouragement of nuclear mercenaries. It needs a good character certificate from countries like India to resume its place in respectable circles.

This is a point that is insufficiently grasped by Indians who imagine that Pakistani society has suddenly woken up to the delights of business and brotherhood.

For a start, we are being told that a healthy first step would be abandoning our forward positions in Siachen. That would be a very major step and one that is almost irreversible. It can be done only when we have cast iron guarantees that Pakistan will not unilaterally try to redraw the LoC as it attempted during the Kargil war. Can we honestly say that we have reached that comfort level with Musharraf? And what if Musharraf is toppled tomorrow? Will we be in a position to regain those difficult heights without incurring a tremendous cost both in terms of men and material? Sometimes, circumspection is preferable to euphoria.

At the beginning of the year, Pakistan was in the international doghouse. In just four months, it has clawed its way back to being flaunted as a non-NATO ally of the US. Just six months after the two countries exchanged abuses at the UN General Assembly in New York, Pakistan has bowled over India’s social butterflies. The world has lowered its guard against Pakistan.[Rediff]