No to Musharraf

Musharraf is not acceptable as India’s social guest

Indian taxpayers are paying for the security of a man who is personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Indian soldiers, and through his sponsorship of terrorism, for the deaths of thousands of Indian civilians. Far from showing any remorse, he is brazenly unapologetic about the whole thing.

If history is any guide, India would do well to beware of cricket-loving dictators. This cheat sheet should help those who need some guidance on how democracies should treat those dictators that they are compelled to deal with.

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59 thoughts on “No to Musharraf”

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  6. I agree that Pakistan’s regime is a roadblock to stability. But publically slapping Pakistan is not a solution.

    The quickest route to regional peace is the economic integration of Pakistan with India and the world. While other moves to contain and limit Pakistan should be taken, the Paks must be integrated. Refusing entrance to their leader is not a way forward.

    I love you blog!

    -Dan

  7. Dan,

    I fully agree that the pursuit of peace with Pakistan is a very important and very desirable goal. Further, I agree that better economic relations provide a good way to bring this about.

    But I do not think this is possible as long as the Pakistani army holds the reins of power. Remember, Gen Musharraf scuttled the Lahore peace process and began the Kargil war. Not only is he unrepentent, he recently reiterated the position that Kargil is unavoidable until the Kashmir dispute is resolved (to his satisfaction).

    While publicly slapping Pakistan’s dictatorship is uncalled for, so is publicly embracing it.

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  9. Nitin – I am heartened to see this effort.

    Dan – people growing up in democracies tend to confuse nations with their leaders. Pakistan is not a democracy – A slap on the face of Musharraf is not a slap on the face of Pakistan.

  10. Very good message. Though I am not a keen observer of politics, I hate Pervert Pervez’s visit to India, that too in the pretext of watching a game which I LOVE.

    I think we should also slam BCCI & our government for inviting him.

  11. Why is it that the Indian govt. doesn’t want to deal with the King of Nepal but are OK dealing with a military dictator who they know for sure was one of the main people responsible for Kargil. My dad was in the war so it stings even more.

  12. Pervez Musharaff was the person who is responsible for the war in Kargil.
    I am at a loss to understand why we are even dealing with him or even Pakistan.
    Can we see the U.S. inviting Saddam or Khatami to the White House? Why dont we just focus our energies on building our economy and military muscle without worrying about Pakistan.

  13. For all Musharraf’s failings we still need him. We can’t forget that in politics, you can’t always rely on your ideals. While most all the developed world, I’d even wager all, has a problem with him, he is still the leader of Pakistan and in order to deal with Pakistan you have to deal with him.

    Pakistan is of too much geostrategic importance to brush off like a nobody 3rd world African dictator whose country is of little importance anyway. Do you really think isolating the country will do any good? Isolating countries only pushes them further out of reach and makes the people more reliant on the dictator. Engage them. Make them dependent on you, work with them. You’ll accomplish more with them than without them.

    Thomas PM Barnett says that disconnectedness defines danger. One of the reasons North Korea is so dangerous is because it is out of our orbit, out of our reach. Pakistan, however, isn’t and as long as we keep it that way we can continue to bargain and pressure him.

  14. The Kargil War speaks of Musharraf’s utility as a tool for South Asian Peace. It was an embarrasment to his administration and substnailly lessoned his prestige. Better a weak Pakistani than a strong one!

    It may be India’s interests to work for the long-term dissolution of Pakistan. But refusing to be cordial to such a potentially useful neighbor is not a way to do it.

    Pakistan should be encouraged to integrate its economy with India.

  15. Dan,

    I have always argued that a democratic Pakistan that is internally reconciled and takes its natural rivalry with India into the economic domain (and the sporting domain) is in India’s best interests. Indian policy should be geared towards achieving this goal.

    A dissolution or further disintegration of Pakistan is not necessarily a good thing for India — none of the successor states can be viable entities, are likely to become outposts of radical Islam or warlordism or both, and worse, some of them may even retain a nuclear capability.

    As for Kargil; all the ‘lessening of prestige’ is pretty pointless if Musharraf himself is unapologetic about it, and in fact, threatening another one.

  16. Many are missing the point that “Musharraf is not acceptable as India’s *SOCIAL* guest”. Deal with the devil, if you must. But do not invite him for tea (or to watch a cricket match).

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  18. I have added the banner to my blog. However I don’t think we can ignore him and act like he does not exist. India has to come up with a way to deal with him keeping in mind that he is the head of state and that he stabbed us in the back in Kargil. He makes statements like “if there is no no progress in 18 months, there will be more Kargil like incidents” (apparently on his website – from NDTV’s big fight) with impunity and no is calling him on it.

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  20. MadMan,

    Thanks for the tip, Gandalf 🙂

    I’m keeping a watch on the traffic figures as I write this. If it gets out of hand, I will need to take your advice.

  21. umm, rather disappointed not to see a similar one for Wen Jiabao. (maybe not “you are not welcome dictator”, but no edit or op-ed piece?)

  22. As an outsider who engages in similar efforts from time to time:

    Your take on the specifics of this are thoughtful, particularly when buttressed by the reasoning in the cheat sheat you provided. From a framing standpoint though, I think it’s helpful to present this issue more broadly. I don’t think you’re building bridges with Pakisatanis, as you very importantly recommend, by using words like “evil”, not mentioning that one of the reasons you object is because you care about how Pakistanis are being deprived of their right to a decent system of governance, that you recognize that the Indian government isn’t without flaws, particularly in its relationship to Pakistan.

    At the end of the day, what coalition are you building with this particular tactic and campaign? To me, it looks more like an Indian nationalist one, not a pro-democracy one.

  23. Saurav,

    I find myself in agreement with much of your analysis. Actually, the original intention was to make a statement, rather than start a campaign. The Indian government had already made up its mind on this, and we wanted to point out that we disagree with that position.

    You are not far off the mark when you point out that this is not so much a generic pro-democracy stance, as much as it is an India-centric one, yes, even a nationalistic one.

    While the Acorn itself has devoted considerable time to point out how Pakistan’s democratic deficit has led to its own troubles (and to those of its neighbours), this did not come out in the banner or the poster. Again because, this message was India-centric.

  24. W,

    A commentary on India-China is coming soon 🙂 But no, it won’t be an ‘evil dictator’ thing.

  25. Actually, the original intention was to make a statement, rather than start a campaign. The Indian government had already made up its mind on this, and we wanted to point out that we disagree with that position.

    Nitin, circumstances always take events out of our control. At this point, though, what are you going to do about it? I don’t think it’s sufficient anymore, given how many people are circulating that banner, to say, “we only wanted to critique.” Now that it’s an issue, how are you all going to adjust?

    You are not far off the mark when you point out that this is not so much a generic pro-democracy stance, as much as it is an India-centric one, yes, even a nationalistic one.

    …which leads to the inevitable problem that you’re more likely to attract fanatical Hindu fundamentalists to this effort than pro-democracy Pakistanis. Even in your response, you pretty much laid all the blame at the hands of Pakistani governance, and didn’t talk about any of the overarching themes–the Cold War, the heritage of divide and rule, the “democracy deficit” of all the countries in the region (even if it’s not equal), the rise of religious fundamentalism (hindu and muslim especially)—which could be unifying factors to talk about South Asian democracy rather than India’s narrow interests.

    I would think that relying on a framework that emphasized linking people with common values (e.g. democracy) over common membership in a group (e.g. India) would be more effective and probably speak more to the Indian people’s long-term interests.

  26. sourav,
    you are spot on. Iam for peace and peace process, even if it is a false hope, I would rather like to cling on to it. The fact that Ind-pak cricket matches used to be a war has gone now and more people interaction are happening is a great thing. And i don’t have any problems in mush doing a peace summit visit Or welcoming Shaukat Aziz for a cricket match. But iam not up for inviting musharaf as a social guest.

    I feel we shouldn’t forget kargil that easily and cozy up with mush as a friend. He should be reminded that we are dealing with him due to necessities and not because we forgot the past.

    India didn’t have to invite musharaf. They could have told zillions of reasons and rejected his self invite. That wouldn’t have made any difference in the peace talk. But forgetting everything that he has done and inviting him, so that he can get what ever he wants is totally unacceptable and that’s what iam against and i guess many of the people will agree with me.

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  28. no, I wasnt looking for a “get out Jiabao” thingy. But I did think a state-visit where there were numerous agreements signed left right and centre deserved a piece from you.

    If you notice other pieces on the same, please do let me know!

  29. Why the hell I bear the pain of hosting a jehadi. why I should bear the cost of hosting a Paki killer. It’s just embarrasing.

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