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Pakistan is the real victim of Bush’s war

Reading Peter Treston in The Guardian took me back to the early 1990s when while living and working as an Indian diplomat in Islamabad one saw the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif liberating his country’s entrepreneurial skills and latent talents through an ambitious reform programme and Pakistan’s economy surging. (In 1991, India had foreign exchange reserves sufficient for meeting import needs for 6 weeks and had pawned its bullion in London to raise money to add to the IMF loan, just to stay afloat.)  

Treston is right, Pakistan has become the casualty of the US-led war in Afghanistan. It could have been as buoyant as India despite its elites being corrupt, inefficient and insensitive as India’s. India’s success story is that it is today able to chug along despite its inept and notoriously corrupt government. It’s the ‘atmosphere’, Stupid! 

Pakistan’s got viciously polluted with the debris falling across the Khyber Pass. In spite of the ‘heavy burdens’ (what a beautiful way Treston has with words!) — that Pakistan carried (“preoccupation with India, the futile attachment to Kashmir, the hapless swings between corrupt democracy and army autocracy”), it did have a fighting chance to be alongside India in growth trajectory but for George W. Bush creating mayhem and anarchy in its neighbourhood. 

What is appalling, as Treston points out, is that India also didn’t exactly make it easy for Pakistan. It hustled Islamabad in those fateful days 10 years ago by clapping ecstatically when the US invaded Afghanistan and rushing into the bandwagon as ‘natural allies’ without the foresight to know that the Hindu Kush is a graveyard for invaders and there could be no victors in this war — or that the raison d’etre of the invasion was questionable, that the US’ intentions were far from clear, or that foreign military presence would only stymie the region’s genius to sort out problems. 
India’s permanent establishment is now (unwittingly, perhaps) triggering a proxy war in Afghanistan by training and equipping the Tajik militia from Panjshir Valley that goes under the rubric of the ‘Afghan armed forces’. And, that too, when only 18% of the Pakistani nation regard India as a ‘threat’. Our chaps may end up bringing the US down from its high rating at 59% and regaining their traditional rating as Pakistan’s enemy number 1 — and restoring the ‘back channel’ to its special status as permanent substitute for a normal relationship. Read Treston here.  

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16 Responses

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  1. ramabhat51 says

    “India …. is now ……. triggering a proxy war in Afghanistan…… And, that too, when only 18% of the Pakistani nation regard India as a ‘threat’…….. regaining their traditional rating as Pakistan’s enemy number 1 …………” :- author’s view.
    The author seems to conveniently ignore the fact that it is not the Pakistan nation’s perception of Indian threat that matters; only Pakistan military’s perception of the existence of Indian threat that matters. Kayani has clearly spelt out that India’s intentions do not figure in Pakistan military’s calculations; only India’s military capability figures. They will raise all sorts of issues to keep the pot boiling and hint to the world of the possibility of a nuclear exchange in case hostilities break out; this is to keep India tied down, using western diplomatic pressure, in the asymmetric warfare they want to wage.
    Unless India is willing to flex military muscle and impose costs on Pakistan, no amount of diplomacy will work. Diplomacy is not a stand-alone option anywhere in the world. It is always used with the threat to use force if negotiations fail. Unfortunately, India’s starting positon itself is that military action is not an option and talks are the ONLY option. Pakistan is very clear that military action is also an option and is always looking out for opportunities to surprise us on this score.

  2. Navi Reyd says

    I would instead say that America is the real victim of Pakistan’s deceit!

  3. subhash bhatnagar says

    The writer has started his write up from 1990 onwards but to understand the difference one must also note that since the inception of pakistan it`s Army was given upper hand to run the country and pakistan`s public must take the blame as so many coups by Army and running the civil affairs from time to time has made the Pak Army another wing of political party in the scene where no responsibilty is taken by army but fruit if any is consumed by them.Where as indian Army was always been apoltical and never interered or desired any civilian role .This indian fine tridition now can not altered or changed . IN 1990/1992 India has embarked on economic reforms ,the current situation is the result of indian public and indian govts .India is now self supported and can help pakistan too but irony is that pakistan though having begging bowls but doeas not want any help from india even if it is for natural calmity.To overcome all this pakistan`s public first must start revolution to correct their general governance .Thus writers view that Bush` war is responsible for the current situation is not right at all.
    subhash bhatnagar

  4. Rsingh says

    Pakistan economy tanked whenever American aid dried , so was the case in 90. In 2000s till Mus times when economy did well was owing to american money. India in contrast to all this Indian economy un aided has reached this postion.Then how can you MKB say India is equal to Pak.

    Even after so much aid to kashmir and the fact that an average kashmiri is much more properous than average Indian , to me it seems owing to incompetence people like you Mr. MKB in Ministry of External Affairs that the issue of Kashmir became such internationalized.

  5. Subhash Niyogi says

    Victim of wrong doings is the first one to taste the fruits,the fable goes thus.The creator of bhasmasur had to run for his own life.
    Pakistan is no exception. It created and nurtured terrorism against India for decades.The world laughed when we writhed in pain till it was 9/11.Then stories and full throat criticism all let loose till we see this type of blogs pitying the bhasmasur.
    Now we have to pity the authors of such invention that Pakistan is a victim of Bush’s war.

  6. sujit chitale says

    Bhadrakumar has gone mad or has got lot of friends on the other side. Last time i saw him in a debate on China spreading its wings in Karakoram he had some similar nonsense where he just stopped short of saying India should welcome Chinese in Karakoram. Similar was his confusion over Eirawat issue.

  7. manoj sahoo says

    Pakistan is resposible for its own situation as today. There are other islamist countires in the world and quite developed. They don’t create propaganda over the differences with muslims across the world. Actauly the People in power fools their own poor pakistanis on the name of Kashmir, Bangladesh and Jihad.

  8. vijai murugan says

    It is ridiculous to say pakistan is a victim of war. These terrrorists were tainied and nurtured by pakistan. Pakistan exported terrorists or what they cll s jihadis all around the world including Bosnia, Somalia, Chechnia etc… If they had not aligned with the US then they would have been bombed to stone age. Thats why they joined the war gainst terror and went after oly a select group. The only problem ws the Lal masjid operation which turned the TTP against the pakistani army. But these terrorists were roaming freely in pakistan; wging war against India and afghanistan. If pakistan cannot control them then it is their problem and they deserve to suffer. If they really want to gt rid of the and could not do so, why can’t they seek intenational support? Pakistan is not a victim. IT IS THE AGRESSOR. PAKISTAN IS A GIANT SUISIDE BOMBER WHICH WANTS TO CAUSE IMMENSE HARM TO THE WORLD AND THE REGION AT ITS OWN EXPENSE. WAKE UP GUYS!!!

  9. Vijay Rajvaidya says

    I believe that the basic assumption of blaming the current war in Afghanistan to Pakistan’s plight is flawed. The real poison eating into Pakistan is its armed forces. They are the de-facto rulers of Pakistan. They are trained to wage war but allowed to practice foreign policy and nation building. It’s like handing a guy a hammer and sending him to the kitchen. Well, you know what happens when you have a hammer in your hand: everything looks like a nail. The glee with which Pakistan army nurtured extremism of Taliban regime doesn’t allow you to blame Bush’s war for Pakistan’s plight. Yes, it’s US which has made Pakistan army what it is today but it wasn’t Bush’s war. The rot is deeper. I haven’t read Treston therefore I cannot comment in detail. But it’s true that the basic reason for Pakistan being on a self-destruct course is US. Unless it shift its focus from military to the civilian government, however corrupt they may be, no solution is possible. It should be the civilian government in Pakistan paying salary to Kayani and not the Americans. It may help restore the sanity in due course.

  10. sunj says

    1. yes we want goods relations/prosperity for with pakistan but does their establishment want that?

    2. when the going is good it is islamic superiority over an inferior hindu race else it is nihilistic we will take them down with us mentality. if pakistan prospers and has wealth ( and we do want that) who will guarantee that their army will not adopt superior soldiers of god mentality and attempt to dominate over their neighbours and attempt to break them etc…endless mischief is guaranteed whenever economic power marries notions of superiority. (nazis, 1930”s japan). can we also get into their wahhabi ambitions please? lets not be naive just bcoz we had a few cocktails with a few well meaning liberals on the other side of the border.

    3. are they willing to address our security concerns like a mature state (their english paper editors are asking these questions). they talk soveriegnity but wont respect that of afghanistan or india.

    4. pl take a surve in rural punjab/NWFP and see if 18% see us as a threat. pl read their urdu newspapers..not dawn and tribune. it will be like 80%….

    5. anything that India seems to do on the diplomatic front is being criticized…with economic rise we have a few options and we are alos asserting ourselves. we are mature not to play a zero sum game and have an independent policy…the chinese have realized that…and weare building on that despite pretty young things on TV going ballistic for ratings..

    6. we are not interfering in afghanistan. did saudi send millins of dollars to their muslim brethren dieing in somalia? but they do fund other countries. investing also means some security aspects need to be . can we set up a joint fund (Indo-Pak Iran) to invest in afghanistan…will their establishment come to the table? Sunni Wahhabis have no tolerance for anything else and lets learn to deal with this…

    7. sometimes we have to show our mettle to deter, else how will they know when to stop?

    Dear Sir, I really request you to encourage us young Indians more…maybe we dont see the entire picture but do persist with us. BTW, your wisdom ,I wish permeates more to those outside the diplomatic corps as well. I have been following you for the past 8 years and its been nothing short of enlightening.

    Many Regards

  11. ABDUL KADER says

    America and Bush are the real culprits of every victimisation and bad news in whole world.

  12. M says

    Pak is a country where civilians are feudals only.
    Entire nation is a rogue society. This feature captured the imaginations of imperialistic powers and
    now this Frankenstein is eating all including itself too.
    Irony is, the very people who used it are pretending to be surprised and preaching others about morality and harmony.

  13. AFTAB SHIBLI says

    This is only a hypothesis. In India the revolution was brought by growth of technical

  14. umesh rai says

    The vision of ‘Grandeur’ and ‘Superior to India’ was given to Pakistan by UK and USA before the end of cold war. Now the project has turned out to be a failure, they want India to shoulder the burden of ‘PAKISTAN’. It will take at least a generation of modern education for Pakistan to change. Till then India should not touch Pakistan with a barge pole. Back channel is the best channel, further back better it is. Its inevitable that India will be public enemy number 1 to Pakistan once America goes away. You should not lose sleep over it, same as you learn to ignore your envious colleagues and neighbours.

  15. Vishwanathan T vishu says

    Author seems to think that u can do anything and get away. when u start investing on terror rather than on soci economic of ur country this is what happens. Pakistan is not a victim its the creator of this mayhem in Afghanistan and else where. Now for India its the mentality of the people who don’t support aggression. Here we had many movement which were turning point for the country it could have easily gone into different direction but people made the govt to move into direction for progress.

  16. Sridhar Seetharaman says

    Only if the Ruling class of the INDO PAK BANGLADESH realize the Cooperation for Mutual Economic Co Existence ( COMECON ) there is a chance this part of the world with un controlled Population Growth has any chance to survive

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