We know it’s RAW, but…

If it believes India is supporting the Baloch insurgents, Pakistan must ‘internationalise’ the issue

It didn’t take much for Gen Musharraf to say it. The Indian foreign ministry had only to mention Balochistan and Musharraf responded with a thinly disguised insinuation that he knew “who is financing and supplying weapons to the irritants”. Soon on his heels Jam Yousaf of Lasbella, the provincial chief minister, repeated his charge that the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, was bankrolling as many as 40 ‘terrorist’ training camps in Balochistan. Many people, both in Pakistan and India, would like to believe that the General and the Jam are right.

Surely, these are grave charges. It should follow then, that Pakistan will take up the matter of India’s support for terrorists both in bilateral talks as well as with the international community. Take it to the United Nations, perhaps? And since terrorists in involved, and Pakistan is a FATWAT, it ought to bring this to the United States’ attention. Isn’t India doing exactly this with respect to Pakistan’s support for terrorism in Kashmir? If it is serious about its allegations, Pakistan should too.

But chances are, it won’t. Gen Musharraf does not really want the international community to take a greater interest in Balochistan does he? Even as Pakistan’s newspapers rush to publish their president’s conspiracy theories, they would do well to ask what his government intends to do about them.

16 thoughts on “We know it’s RAW, but…”

  1. Who do you think is arming them. My guess is that it is either the Americans to put additional leash on Musharraf to control the Taliban/Al-Queda and keep Gwadar from materializing or even the Iranians as a warning to Musharraf if he sides with the Americans against them Baloch will burn.

  2. Cynical Nerd,

    Some time ago, I’d written this post on the possible foreign hands in Balochistan. Much of it is valid even now, but some factors may have changed since then.

  3. Interesting post, Nitin(the one you link to the in the comments). The only time Pakistan broke up was when Indian intelligence helped a rebel movement(of course the Indian army played a big role) – that might be one reason for the current government to not get enmeshed with the Balochis.

    It would be a good idea for our government to internationalise this issue, after all, the USA would definitely not raise this issue. Perhaps the good angle to give to the Yanks would be why Mushy’s rushing tanks and the army into Balochi areas when he should be fighting Al Qaeda.

  4. Nice analysis you have. But I would’nt discount Iran;s role like you did. Iranians helped supress the second Baloch rebellion under Shah’s regime when it was the Uncle’s poodle. Perhaps, the Ayotollahs have the courage to stoke in the Balochs as a defenisive measure now that they feel threatened by the USA.

    If the US has been doing it, their media lapdogs viz BBCs and CNNs and other Human Rights Wallahs of the world will be all around the town. There is zero coverage of this in internatinal media.

    And finally, we should’nt underestimate Baloch peeople’s frustration with the Punjabi dominated Pak Army. This time the real risk is that General Musharraf thinks he is smart enough to take them head. But the rebellion risks spreading to other provinces like Sindh. Let’s see how long he can control the situation.

  5. Interesting posts (both this one & the linked one).

    I was curious to know what in your opinion the Indian govt should do to promote democratic institutions & push the Pakistan Army out of their civil administration. Is this something that can be achieved from outside in?

    In contrast, the War in Iraq (as is being advertised) seems to be an attempt to achieve it from the inside out.

    –Das

  6. Das,

    For starters, it could have refused to negotiate with Pakistan as long as there is a military dictator out there. More than anyone else, it is Vajpayee who is responsible for pulling Musharraf out of the international doghouse.

  7. I would argue that Indian national interests take higher priority over keeping Musharraf in the international doghouse.

    And, it was in our interests to make some progress on the thorny Kashmir problem. While it may not have delivered the expected results, atleast it was an attempt. If India needs to emerge as a better nation, with no poverty and good standards of living for all its people, it cannot allow itself to be bogged down by a guerilla war on its territory.

    Good or bad, Vajpayee thought peace was the best way to go forward. I doubt if consideration for Musharaff’s doghouse status played any part in that decision.

    Again, I still think India should call the bluff of everyone involved – Pakistan, jehadis, Kashmiris (atleast those of them who claim they want independence). The way to call the bluff is to tell the people of Kashmir that if they really want to be independent, they can go and be. Let’s then see who folds and who continues with these tactics…

  8. Nitin

    For starters, it could have refused to negotiate with Pakistan as long as there is a military dictator out there. More than anyone else, it is Vajpayee who is responsible for pulling Musharraf out of the international doghouse.

    I could not agree more.
    He single-handedly forgave Kargil, the sacrifice of our jawans, and also the number of innocents killed by that regime. The only time he came close to making Pakistan pay was when his office, the Parliament, was attacked, and even then all he did was spend money on logistics.

  9. Theesra,

    What you’re saying amounts to bowing down to the terrorists – after our Government has bowed to them on most occasions(except for their core demand).
    Given the quality of rulers and administrators, we will then be looking at bartering the country we call ours into 565 states or lesser, again. Even it that seems farfetched, nothing will stop the governments from bowing to a terrorist again.

    The message will be the same Vajpayee and his successor have sent to terrorists:

    “You are free to kill, maim, destroy at your will. We will only act after such an attack happens – and then too, only in our territory”.

    Only we’ll be telling the terrorists that if they persist long enough, they will finally acheiving all their aims, if they kill enough Indians.

  10. Prasanna,

    How does it matter if we are x sq,kms or x-y sq.kms as a nation ?

    What matters is human beings born here are able to grow up and live a life of dignity and peace. This arbitrary and forced bond of a nation state is a creation of 19th and 20th century European imperialists, who had nothing more worthwhile than their own power in mind.

    This is certainly not bowing down to terrorists. Of course, we need to take a hard stance. But, we are not doing that either. We are being a soft, wimpy state that can be ruthless in putting the terrorists down or in accomodating their demands by making hard choices elsewhere. This softness is appalling, not Vajpayee did. What Vajpayee did was atleast to try and find a solution, which is worthwhile.

    My point is this : we need to make up our mind. Do they have a case for consideration of self-determination or not ?

    If they do, let them do it. Go ahead and determine if they want to be a part of India or not (there is no mystery in this : the overwhelming majortiy will want to be a *normal* part of India).

    If we make the determination that they don’t have a case, we need to be ruthless and forceful. No mucking around or pussy-footing about human rights violation and such like. We should be prepared to do what it takes to get the situation on the ground under control, international pressure or not. We can do it. We have done it before in other places (think Punjab)

    Unfortunately, the Govt just cannot seem to make up its mind. Blowing hot and cold alternately… Sitting in a remote corner of the country, with no access to intelligence reports, with no connections to the Govt, even I know that the NE is burning, with a thousand rebellions ready to break out, the Maoists have cut a swathe right from the edge of Nepal, all the way to AP, gaining control of so many districts across so many states, there is Pakistan and Bangladesh on either side of our country looking to undermine us, from within and outside, there is China looming over the horizon, not to speak of our standing status as a pawn in the great power rivalry between US and Russia.

    The Govt. is just asleep at the wheels, with two 70+ old-timers for Defence and Home Ministers. And, our External Affairs ministry position is still vacant, ostensibly being directly handled by our PM. You think we stand a chance in hell of winning a long-drawn out tactical battle, with this Govt. ?

    Like I said before, we have to make up our mind. Once made up, we have to decide whether to go the military way, or the diplomatic way. Either way, do something, and go somewhere. Don’t just stand still — deer in the headlights vision and all…

  11. Nitin,

    > Das,
    > For starters, it could have refused to negotiate with Pakistan as long as there is a
    > military dictator out there. More than anyone else, it is Vajpayee who is responsible
    > for pulling Musharraf out of the international doghouse.

    Actually, I meant “What should the Indian govt do *now*?” There are so many “could-have-beens” and “could-have-dones” in politics. 🙂

    So, in your opinion, what should the India govt do *now* and going forward to prop up any democratic institutions in Pakistan. Should it now declare all of a sudden that it would not deal with Mussharaf until there is a democracy? Can it *now* after dealing with him for so long? Will that help in restoring any semblance of democracy there?

    In a more general sense, what is the best way to bring democracy in a country? Inside out the US way? Outside in like you seem to suggest? Is it possible at all without the will of the people or their representatives (elected or otherwise)?
    –Das

  12. Das,

    Now is as good a time as ever. Despite Musharraf’s hocus-pocus, there have been a number of attacks in Indian cities, infiltration has not abated, and the jihadi groups are in de facto control of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    What India should do now? Set a benchmark for Musharraf: perhaps arresting Masood Azhar, Hafiz Saeed and extradition of Dawood Ibrahim (perhaps as a result of Abu Salem’s interrogation). If he fails the test, that should be sufficient reason for India to point out that it is cooling off talks because of Musharraf’s inability to deliver.

    The best way to bring democracy to Pakistan? Contrary to suggestions to the opposite, I think the Pakistani people are well capable of doing so. All their dictators could remain in power only because of support from the United States. The only way India can persuade the US not to do so, is if it stops doing it itself.

  13. Nitin,
    Setting a benchmark for Mussharaf is all fine – the end result is well known; Mussharaf is not going to deliver anyone to India. India has cooled off the talks several times now – that has not affected either Mussharaf nor promoted democracy.

    You are absolutely right – Mussharaf is in power becase of U.S. support. U.S will keep supporting Mussharaf because it is in their interest that Mussharaf be in power – as long as he aids their efforts against the Taliban & Al Qaeda.

    Do you seriously believe that India can “persuade” US to stop supporting Mussharaf? What “carrot” does India hold? What “stick” does India have? The only scenarios that I see US dumping Mussharaf are a) Its business in Afghanistan & against Al Qaeda in Pakistani borders is over or b) It finds a replacement dictator (elected or unelected) to Mussharaf. In other words, US won’t be persuaded to replace Mussharaf simply due to the lack of democracy in Pakistan – US won’t intervene as long as the ruler is pro-US.

    All this is well understood, of course. Mere grandstanding is not going to bring about any change in the status quo. The question for India is: What is the utmost that India is prepared to do in this situation? Leave alone promoting democracy in Pakistan – what is India prepared to do to protect its own citizens from the proxy war (as demonstrated in the Diwali bombings among the scores of incidents over the past years)?

    –Das

  14. Theesra,

    How does it matter if we are x sq,kms or x-y sq.kms as a nation ?

    While it does, I did not advocate going on a conquest to annex areas. I advocated not giving in to terrorists, and countries hell bent on dividing India into pieces.

    What matters is human beings born here are able to grow up and live a life of dignity and peace. This arbitrary and forced bond of a nation state is a creation of 19th and 20th century European imperialists, who had nothing more worthwhile than their own power in mind.

    If only everyone thought that, we would all have peace. Obviously some people dont. And such people live in our neighbourhood, and target our country.

    I dont see why we should give Kashmiris the option of “self-determination” just because we, rather our foolhardy government is not taking a “hard” line against terror.

    My point is this : we need to make up our mind. Do they have a case for consideration of self-determination or not ?

    I was under the impression that the concession was that they dont hvae a case. especially given the kind of free and fair polls – including civic(if I recall right) polls, which is why the advocation for coming down hard on terrorists – and their apologists who the media terms “separatists”.

    You think we stand a chance in hell of winning a long-drawn out tactical battle, with this Govt. ?

    No. But this government can still hold its own, even if it doesnt have the balls to stop terrorism.

    Like I said before, we have to make up our mind. Once made up, we have to decide whether to go the military way, or the diplomatic way. Either way, do something, and go somewhere. Don’t just stand still — deer in the headlights vision and all…

    I agree on making the mind up, but we dont need to act just for the sake of acting – which is what the suggestion of “asking the kashmiris to decide” was – especially so since more than a third of the erstwhile princely state is outside our control.

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