Please change the channel

New Delhi should realise that it can’t do business with the impotent, flippant and tiresome characters in Islamabad.

Let’s face it: After Asif Ali Zardari was marginalised by the Pakistani military-jihadi complex through the device of the 26/11 attack on Mumbai there is no purpose—save ‘political rationality’—in talking to the motley bunch of slick political operators that pass off as the Pakistani government. Their lack of empowerment to make any foreign policy or security-related decisions is masked and matched by their proclivity to say outrageous things that might score points with the military-jihadi complex.

It’s not about ‘trust deficit’ as it is made out to be. If a shady character promises to sell you the New Delhi Airport’s Terminal 3, you will be wrong to think that the deal is doable if only the trust deficit—if shady character were somehow less shady—is reduced. Yet that is exactly what Dr Manmohan Singh’s government is doing. Forget dismantling terrorist networks, the Pakistani government can’t even file charges against Hafiz Mohammed Saeed in just one case of terrorism directed against India.

When the Pakistani delegation asks for a timeline for the resolution of Kashmir, Sir Creek and other boundary issues in return for a timeline for the prosecution of those accused in the 26/11 attacks, it shows how powerless its negotiators are. That they had to have a long break suggests that they had to consult people not in the same building.

That said, that Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, should repeatedly defend the Lashkar-e-Taiba shows that the problem goes beyond the Pakistani military-jihadi complex. When asked about India’s demand for action against the LeT chief in April, during the SAARC summit in Thimphu, he dismissed it as the “same old beaten track.” He did worse yesterday, by comparing Mr Saeed’s anti-India vitriol to the Indian home secretary’s comment that the ISI was responsible for 26/11. It is as if he is the foreign minister of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. [See Smita Prakash’s report]

New Delhi must communicate with the Pakistani centres of power: but its language, instruments and channels must change. People like Mr Qureshi are just so tiresome.

12 thoughts on “Please change the channel”

  1. Can’t agree more with you that still the centers of power are MJ complex.The GOP is puppy and chained.

    Coming to more serious thing can you give more perspective on how Musharaff coming into political landscape of Pak will change it’s dynamics.

    Will Musharaff and General Khyani fight or they have a grand scheme of things.

    I strongly believe that Musharaff’s role can’t be dismissed soon.

    rajkiran.

  2. We need to realize that peace cannot be achieved by appeasement. with pak there is only one kind of peace possible “peace of detterance”. what hurts more than hafeez saeeds vitriol is the smug and callous attitude of SMQ. Every time he smirks, he spitting on the graves of all innocent people who died in mumbai. Its time mr.embarressment (s.m krishna) develops some spine and stands up to the smug attitude of pak. The same thing applies to the main stream media. We want peace standing up not kneeling down.

  3. They are helpless to take any actions and we are weak enough to take any strong action against their inactions. As you pointed out pakistan government is not in position to make any foreign policy or security-related decisions due to its internal situation. Manmohan singh must understand this and comes out of this illusion that he can write a new chapter on peaceful and better India-pakistan relations. GOI should better work hard on its internal(kashmir and terrorism) problems and improve its relationship with afghanistan.

  4. Nowhere in the world do we see the aggrieved returning to the negotiating table so regularly and so without shame as in our case. And this when the aggrieved is supposedly stronger than the aggressor. Either we do not care for the costs of the lives of our citizens or those at the helm have things far more important than lives of a few mortals coming in the way of higher agendas.

  5. I wish we had some real options. Then again, the whole “trust” deficit thing is important, because if there’s deep rooted mistrust, then everything we say and do will be a threat to them and vice versa. They’re humans after all.

    In that atmosphere, everything we say will be misunderstood and misinterpreted and will be scrutinized for threatening implications etc…

    Like I said, I wish we had some real options ๐Ÿ™

  6. “When the Pakistani delegation asks for a timeline for the resolution of Kashmir, Sir Creek and other boundary issues in return for a timeline for the prosecution of those accused in the 26/11 attacks, it shows how powerless its negotiators are.”

    Nope. It shows that Pakistan is not going to prosecute the 26/11 perpetrators, because they consider it as leverage over the UPA government.

    Pakistani calculations are simple and could possibly go as follows:
    UPA government needs to deliver something on 26/11 before the next election. If Pakistan doesn’t budge by then, it is a grand slam of victories over India. They kill Indians. They prove that India cannot retaliate. They establish that they can defend the most indefensible of murderers without any consequences. They also prove that they can hold the elected government of India hostage. They might also end up proving that they can topple the Indian government as they wish.
    If the UPA government is what I(and Pakistani establishment) think it is, then expect serious concessions to Pakistan for prosecuting 26/11 before 2012.

    Do I think that talks should stop? Not by any means. I found the whole meeting very very informative. It gave us a great insight to who is in charge and their thinking about 26/11. Pakistanis think that it is their leverage. It is no different from their earlier position of attempting to leverage terrorism and nuclear weapons.

  7. On the GK pillai- Saeed equi-equi.

    It was pretty obvious it was if anybody the Pak FM who directly equated these two. Effectively Qureshi and the GoP have conceded that all matters ‘Home’ in Pakistan are under the control of Saeed. I expected Nitin to point this out but hasnt happened yet.

    thanks,
    Jai

  8. UPA government needs to deliver something on 26/11 before the next election.
    So says you. Lets not forget that there was a general election AFTER 26/11 – and the Congress came back with even more gains that they no longer needed commie trash to support them.

    Does any one even remember that this was second serious terror attack on Bombay in the space of two years – 07/07 being the first.

    If at all the UPA Government loses power it would not be because of 26/11, 07.07 or any other terrorist attack. A overwhelming majority of the Indian electorate has no problems living/dying with terrorism just as they have no problems living with dirty water and horrible sanitary conditions.

    Fuel price hike, food price inflation are more serious concerns for the UPA right now – not 26/11.

    If Pakistan doesnโ€™t budge by then, it is a grand slam of victories over India. They kill Indians. They prove that India cannot retaliate. They establish that they can defend the most indefensible of murderers without any consequences.
    This has already been demonstrated many times over – Bombay bombings post Babri Masjid demolition, Indian Airlines hijacking to Kandahar, Parliament attacks post 9/11, Bombings in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Akhshadharm, Bombay 07/07.

    What makes Bombay 26/11 stand out is the brazeness and the public humiliation of India in the eyes of the world.It showed that for all the talk of India being a “regional power” it was nothing more than a paper tiger with “men” like Manmohan Singh, S.M. Krishna, P.Chidhambaram at the helm.

    You cannot fault the Pakis for playing MMS, S.M. Krishna et al as p***sies – they are all “leaders” who exude such weakness that Pakistanis instantly sense and exploit.

    They also prove that they can hold the elected government of India hostage. They might also end up proving that they can topple the Indian government as they wish.
    Read my comments above – if it all the UPA Govt falls it could be because of food price inflation, fuel hike, failure to include caste in the census etc. Not because of its failure to stop 26/11 or effectively prosecute its perpetrators.

    If the UPA government is what I(and Pakistani establishment) think it is, then expect serious concessions to Pakistan for prosecuting 26/11 before 2012.
    Those concessions were ALREADY made in back channel talks during the first UPA government – Kashmir will no longer effectively be a sovereign part of India, as Pakistanis can come and go across the border without any visas.Worse, since there are no visa’s ,there is no expiry date to their “visits”.

    It is the first step India will be taking in effectively admitting that it does not have complete sovereignity over Jammu and Kashmir – it would also mean that India has conceded to Pakistan that Kashmir is a disputed territory and it does not have the same authority over it just as it does over say Himachal Pradesh.

    All that Manmohan Singh is BEGGING Pakistan for is a sop to show that they are looking into 26/11 “seriously”. Also after making such foolish rhetoric that India’s economic growth is tied to long term peace with Pakistan, he has no other option but to keep grovelling.

    Even before Quereshi had finished b**ch slapping Manmohan Singh ( if any one things that this is just an insult to SM Krishna, I pity you), MMS has already “decided” to “continue talking with Pakistan”.

    Things are so bad that Quershi says it is useless to talk about 26/11 and that India better start conceding quickly from Kashmir to Siachen to Indus Water “problems”.

    Do I think that talks should stop? Not by any means. I found the whole meeting very very informative. It gave us a great insight to who is in charge and their thinking about 26/11.
    Those comments literally made me cry. A fifth standard kid will tell you who is in charge and what is their “thinking” about 26/11. You dont need to go all the way to Pakistan, get spat on your face to know that.

    Your comments actually give ME great insight into how weak kneed Indians are and can be. What a joke – after all your rantings about how the Indian Government is being held hostage, you then proceed to advise that “talks should not stop by any means”.

    Dear Sir, the Pakistanis want to talk about India conceding on Kashmir, Siachen, Indus waters and a whole lot more – they consider it drivel and a waste of time talking about 26/11.

    What is it exactly you want to talk about with a Government after gaining , to quote your own words “reat insight to who is in charge and their thinking about 26/11.”

    Do you even think for yourself or blindly parrot what you hear from talking heads?

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