Pak-India Relations: Security Dynamics and Future Scenario


Pak-India Relations: Security Dynamics and Future Scenario

Seminar deliberations throwing light on ties between the arch rivals in post Mumbai attacks scenario


Policy Perspectives , Volume6 , Number1, January – June 2009


Opening Remarks{Khalid Rahman}

The relations between Pakistan and India have rarely been smooth throughout their history. But the situation after November 26 incidents in Mumbai has created unprecedented tension and a quite visible war hysteria.


Should it be taken as an inevitable consequence of the incident, which left 172 dead and kept the Indian agencies engaged for around three days, or there could have been a different approach to deal with the situation? Or putting it differently, did the Mumbai incident offer an opportunity to spur on Pak-India relations? And if the answer is in affirmative, does this opportunity still exist or has it been lost?


These questions are particularly important in the backdrop of a number of Confidence Building Measures taken between the two countries during the past few years. These measures, one may recall, included scores of high level meetings, Parliamentarians’ visits, rounds of dialogues, exchange of friendly gestures, people-to-people contacts, sports events, media conferences and a lot of activities by non-government organisations (NGOs) along with a number of track II initiatives.


While there may be two opinions about any significant movement in many areas, the subjects which were being discussed in these interactions were not confined to one or two problems but included as many issues as one could think of. To name a few besides Kashmir, which is certainly a core issue, these included nuclear confidence building measures, conventional confidence building measures, Sir Creek, water issue including Baglihar dam, Wullar barrage and other similar projects, issues related to trade and commerce, smuggling and construction near the borders, road transport and highways, communication links between maritime security agencies, import and transport of gas, cultural exchanges, drug trafficking, intelligence sharing, terrorism and even joint mechanism to deal with the terrorism.


Many believe that these confidence building measures could be strengthened by a responsible behaviour at this extraordinary testing moment as it is a fact that the people facing the similar agonies and troubles naturally get closer to one another especially when they share this realisation that they are facing a similar threat.


It is probably why the initial reactions of the Pakistani people on Mumbai events were of shock, grief and sympathy. These feelings, expressed by the general public and the officials of Pakistan, were quite natural as on the one hand thousands of innocent people of their own country have lost their lives in similar incidents in recent years and on the other hand, many more have been indirectly affected.


In view of the fact that incidents of violence have seeped down from the far flung areas of the country to the settled areas and even to the capital, it would not be an exaggeration to say that tens of thousands of people are witness to such heinous events whereas millions have seen the blood running in the streets on television.


The affected individuals of Mumbai incidents, especially those who lost their lives on railway station and hospitals, were the same ordinary people as they are and if the hostages in Taj and Oberoi Hotels were elites, Marriot Hotel incident in Islamabad a month ago make them empathise with the victims in Mumbai. Could there be a better opportunity than this for building confidence and bringing the two peoples closer? Nevertheless, these feelings remained alive only for a few hours as the reaction from Indian government and media demonstrated the tendency of losing this opportunity before it even opened up its wings.


This scenario leads to another question: did this opening go waste because of an impulsive reaction? Or was it a prearranged response?


As the aftermath of the incidents is unfolding its angles, it appears to most of the people that this reaction was not impulsive; it was rather a part of some well thought scheme and unfortunately the impression that the opportunity is slipping out of hand is getting stronger with every passing moment.


Many therefore argue that this has only proved the fragility of the whole process of CBMs and has once again exposed the lack of genuineness on the part of one or the other or both to move for a sustainable solution to the disputes and issues being confronted between the two countries, most importantly the issue of Kashmir.


It is in this context that the three speakers, with their vast experience, insightful exposure and immense expertise in Pak-India Relations, will discuss the dynamics of almost a decade long CBMs and Composite Dialogue, current Indian mindset and psyche towards peaceful coexistence, and the role and approach of external powers in the tensions arising as a result of Mumbai incidents. They will also analyze the Indian position, the role of media in difficult times, Pakistan’s response towards Indian stance and the importance of conflict resolution especially in the presence of nuclear arsenals.


{Shireen M. Mazari*}

Within the framework of what can be seen as the overall structure of the prevailing Pakistan-India relationship, there are three very important levels at which this relationship exists today i.e. bilateral, regional and global. Bilateral aspect of this relationship is the defining framework of the other two levels.


For instance, as we see right now in terms of bilateral conflict, the other two dimensions also get impacted upon. Of course, the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and India is basically reflected presently or was reflected in the ongoing dialogue and peace process. And what was the hallmark of this dialogue and peace process? Starting from January 2004 joint statement made by Vajpayee and Musharraf, one of the hallmarks of this process has been the total lack of substantive movement on any of the issues of conflict that exist between Pakistan and India.


In fact there has been a basic difference in the approach of the two countries right from the start. India basically wants conflict management and Pakistan has always been seeking conflict resolution and, therefore, the approach of the two countries to dialogue has been very different. Regarding Kashmir, of course, there has been no meeting point. The two countries have been skating around the issue and much has been focused on the measures like bus service and trade and so on. My own view on CBMs is that CBMs are becoming an end in themselves, without pushing the two countries to a final resolution of the conflict.


On Siachin also, where a blueprint of an agreement is existing since the late 1980s, there is no movement at all and India has now adopted an indirect approach to finalize the occupation of the glacier. This is through the so-called Siachin Tourism.

Sir Creek also remains unresolved. As to the water issues also, India is using delaying tactics and Pakistan is seeking international arbitration. An international arbitration, of course, has been provided by the Indus Water Treaty. But there has been no commitment to any substantive movement on issues of conflict.


Looking back to pre-Mumbai, one sees that there existed a relationship that was good atmospheric but nothing substantive, with little bit of progress on the peripheral issues.


Only one exception existed [bilateral annual exchange of lists of nuclear installations] that will be taken up later. So it is not a surprise that when Mumbai happened, everything fell apart because there was nothing substantive.


What marred this relationship was the unilateral concessionary dis-pensation on the Pakistani side which began and included the January 2004 bilateral statement issued by Musharraf and Vajpayee. In this statement, Pakistan basically admitted that it was running so-called terrorist camps and would not allow them to be run in the future.


This was unnecessary; it was the unilateral concessions on the part of Pakistan and therefore Indian demands that are now coming so strongly after Mumbai are because of the leverage provided by Pakistan government. They have given this impression to the Indians that they are prepared to make unilateral concessions on a number of very crucial issues. The present government has gone even further in the unilateralist concessionary mode where land trade route has been acceded. Pakistan’s traditional position was always that unless there is some movement towards conflict resolution, we will not make further concessions on trade.


President Zardari declared that India was never a threat. One can not be sure whether he consulted anybody in the institutions that are supposed to give input into decision making. It seems that history is not his strong point because one would wonder what the three wars were fought for had India never been a threat but a loving country in the neighborhood. He also referred to LoC as more or less a border in some of his statements. So a tradition in the Pakistani ruling elite of rewriting history is being capitalized by the present government as well in the case of the Pak-India relationship.


The issue that has now come to the fore is “terrorism”. Despite the SAARC and bilateral memoranda on this issue, India has tended to focus continuously on targeting religious groups within Pakistan as well as Pakistan’s intelligence agencies especially the ISI. Pakistan, on the other hand, both in the previous government and in the present one, has maintained the strange silence despite the growing Indian involvement in Baluchistan and in FATA. Now, the Indian Anti Terrorist Cell itself has identified rogue elements within Indian army, who have been linked to the Samjhauta Express act of terrorism[1], where Pakistanis are killed as well as other terrorist attacks where Muslims were target within India itself. Now, despite this clear cut evidence that has come from the Indian side, Pakistan government has not seemed it fit to use either diplomatically or in any other way to bring the perpetrators of Samjhauta Express act of terror to justice.

The question mark that hangs over the intent of Pakistani government is now even more important. In the face of the Mumbai saga we are wondering why Pakistani state is not demanding the handing over of Colonel Purohit and others that have identified by Indians themselves as being involved in the acts of terror. Indians are making the similar demands in connection with Mumbai on evidence that has not yet been substantiated.


Mumbai showed how quickly mere atmospherics can be destroyed and how, once again, India is using the incident to target Pakistan diplomatically while keeping its military options open also. Unfortunately Pakistani government has no clear-cut policy which was also reflected in the bungling approach from the first bizarre declaration of sending the DG ISI to India. It was forgotten that Director General ISI would not have diplomatic cover and could easily have been arrested by the Indian authorities becoming the source of a major embarrassment.


From that act to all sort of other statements that have been coming and finally the clumsy handling of the issue and eventual sacking of Lt. Gen (r) Mahmood Ali Durrani, the National Secretary Advisor; there appears a lack of coherent policy which has allowed India to take advantage of this weakness within the Pakistani government.


One thing is clear that India learnt its lesson in 2001-02 standoff. India this time was not going to mobilize the bulk of its conventional forces in what was supposed to be a conventional war threat. India has realized that it is not feasible because neither side can afford an all out conventional war. So what has India done? There is a lurking suspicion that there is more to the Mumbai acts of terror than meets the eye. There are some unanswered questions. One is of course, this whole issue of the killing of Hemant Karkare, Chief of Anti Terrorism Squad in Mumbai incident. Everybody knows that he had exposed the rogue Hindu extremist elements within the Indians military.


The second question mark is, the excessive evidence that India is pointing towards Pakistan including some small daily use items such as Pakistani tooth pastes – so on and so forth. There is a lot of nonsense in that sort of excessive evidence. If those involved are so well trained that they can engage the Indian security establishment for hours and days and hold them hostage, they are certainly not going to be as clumsy as to leave this trail of rather ridiculous and amateurish evidence in the little rubber boat that they allegedly came on.

As to the identity of Ajmal Kasab[2], Pakistani government has handled it very badly to begin with. But where this Mr. Kasab arrives from? Was he actually taken from the prison of Nepal or did be actually come by boat and what exactly is his linkage to the Indian agencies if any? How come he is the only one whose picture is clearly taken on CCTV and the only one who is alive or capitalized or whatever you put to it? And now it is said that the lady who identified the other perpetrators has disappeared. So there are a lot of question marks.


India is trying to create a case against people from Pakistan and now insists that they are linked to agencies in Pakistan. The first thing India did was to handover this whole issue to the electronic media. The whole Mumbai saga has been conducted through the media, not through government to government channels. The Indian media took the lead, defined the parameters of the issue, and went on a attacking Pakistan.


The Pakistani media responded, with restraint. But certainly the tone became much more belligerent as the Indian accusations became wilder and more easily flung through the media channels and the impression was given as if India was about to conduct what referred to as surgical strikes. As we know India has Cold Start Doctrine, which is very interesting, having been evolved specifically to counter the sort of what India saw as stalemate because of the stability of the nuclear deterrence. How to get round it? You cannot fight a conventional war because it may cause nuclear war and you cannot have a limited war because you cannot keep the war limited. No one knows how the other side will respond. So they evolved cold start strategy which of course means that a country is capable of deployment within enemy territory, to counter the slow mobilization of the land forces. The assumption was that India would have reached its objectives very quickly and retreat before Pakistan could respond. In the mean time, all the international community would step in, but the anticipation was that when the international community would step in, in any case, it will basically be to stop Pakistani response.


The media built up this whole hype that India was immediately going to strike. My own view is that India was not going to strike, India was going to use all the diplomatic tools available first to discredit Pakistan and this is the stage it has now arrived at. This dossier[3] was also revealed to media. If you have serious, sensitive information, you do not give it to the media. One of the Indian newspapers got hold of it, put it on its website then our media picked it up. So obviously, there is more of a political intent, diplomatic and propaganda game playing in the dossier than really any hard evidence as such. The prime minister of Pakistan has now also stated the same about the dossier, finally.


It seems that the Indian government is going to play the diplomatic game to the bitter end to see what it can squeeze out of Pakistan depending on the pressure Pakistan will come under. Indians have now appealed even to Saudis to put pressure on Pakistan. Americans, of course, do not need much. They are ready to put pressure on Pakistan in any case and they are doing so. British are playing bizarre game, saying Pakistan state is not involved but coming down heavy on Pakistan, demanding to saying do what Indians want.


My own guess is that at the end of the day, if India is not able to get that what it wants through this diplomatic game it may still use cold startoption. I don’t think military option is written off; it still exists, and that is why the media continues to be in the forefront. In the India-Pakistan relationship the media has played very important role. We have had SAFMA playing the peacemaker role; we have now delegations of track two people and the media trying to go to India to express sympathy. The media is being used very cleverly by the Indians.


In Pakistan the media has been used effectively to some extent, but at the same time the Pakistani media is not, now going to play any government game as the Indian media is prepared to do. That is the big difference in the media response and counter response. Indian media by and large has toed the Indian government line, what India wanted to do that is to build up the sight to warn the world that Pakistan is not doing anything and, hence, India has no option but to use military card. And Pakistani media has asked more questions. Pakistani media has even given the Indians’ point of view. Many Indian hawks have been interviewed on Pakistan television channels. The equivalent has not been there on the Indian televisions.


There is another difference between Pakistani and Indian approach when it comes to media. In India, it is impossible to catch any of the Pakistani channels. Pakistan has not so far closed down any of the Indian channel. India has just ousted the Pakistani theatre groups from India although these are the groups who have been propagating peace with India, so it is rather ironic. Pakistan has not put any breaks on Indian films or Indian music. So, again, unfortunately Pakistan is going into more unilateral accommodations and concessions. It is going to be very costly to Pakistan.


The way to deal with Mumbai is not in a panic and guilt ridden fashion. Pakistan has nothing to be guilty about. If there is a person who is involved in Mumbai who happens to be Pakistani then he should be dealt with according to the law. But, terrorists have no particular nationality. After all, the hijackers of 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Arabian government was not drawn and the act was not labeled as state terrorism.


Secondly, the Indian government still has not given anything substantive. If and when it does, the onus is on the Pakistani state to demand that it be given access to the information so that it is able to verify the information and the so called evidence for itself. There is no way that the Pakistani government can accept what India said as the gospel truth. Pakistani agencies and investigators need to be involved in the investigation to see whether India is offering as evidence is really evidence or it is concocted information.


At the regional and global level, the whole issue of terrorism and the relationship with India is very important. India is very closely involved in Afghanistan including in a military fashion; and, therefore, the India factor has become important for Pakistan now for the first time on its western border also.


Another factor that is impinging on Pakistan security is the India-US relationship which has a very strong military and defense component. There is no need to go into details, but there is, of course, missile defense cooperation and the nuclear deal which will allow India to produce a lot of weapons. Americans say that they have de-linked their relationship with India from that of Pakistan But for Pakistan, there is no de-linkage because what the US does with India in terms of weapon system and strategic cooperation has a direct bearing on Pakistan security. We, the Pakistanis, also know that Americans want to bring Indian troops into Afghanistan. So the India-US relationship directly impinges now and creates an added factor for Pakistani security consideration.

In 2006 the Indian Air Chief at that time was on a visit to Washington. He declared that they also have now decided to adopt a pre-emptive doctrine and they have a right to hot pursuit in other countries’ territories. If one sees all these dynamics of the Indo-US relationship with the large presence of extra regional forces in the Indian Ocean as well as in Afghanistan and Central Asia, one can understand why we are concerned about the India-US relationship and India’s intervention into Afghanistan.


India is seeking a global power status and a permanent seat in the Security Council. But, unfortunately, India until puts its own house and its neighborhood in order, it is not going to be accepted as global power and permanent member of the UNSC. Certainly that also is something that Pakistan has to be wary about and, therefore, become more active in its policies in this connection.


In terms of future scenarios, it is becoming clear that there is going to be low intensity conflict in the region. The region is going to be destabilized as long as Afghanistan is not resolved. As long as the US/NATO military presence remains in Afghanistan, there is going to be instability in this region. It should be remembered that this is the region where US has ambitions to redraw boarders, where energy politics is being played out, where a resurgent Russia is going to seek recovery of its lost influence, and where the US wants to build up India as a core state and as a regional partner because this is the area where the US also wants containment of China.


So unless Pakistan moves towards strengthening its civil society and national polity it will provide a temping vacuum to power games by external players. As far as Pakistan-India relationship is concerned, until there is movement towards visible conflict resolution, any incident, will push everything back to square one. Today it is Mumbai; tomorrow it would be something else.


Only one CBM has not been impacted upon in the crises that both countries have sustained, which is the exchange of the nuclear installations’ lists at the end of every year.It also shows that India is aware that the dynamics have changed and that there is a now nuclear order in South Asia. But whereas Pakistan wants to play a more conscious game, India is creating more space in this nuclear scenario for brinkmanship and adventurism. But India also knows that at the end of the day that brinkmanship, if it is not contained, can be an extremely costly way of achieving all the aims and, in fact, in the nuclear situation no one is going to achieve anything.


At the back of India’s mind there is this realization and that is why the list was exchanged this December also. But India is testing the waters to see how far it can gat away with it. That, at the end of the day, defines India’s present policy after the Mumbai incident. Unfortunately countries like the US are also involved in this very dangerous game that India is playing.


{Asad Durrani}*

It is rather surprising when people say let us sit across the table and talk about our problems. One can not be sure whether states have ever done that, simply out of the goodness of heart, sitting on the table and resolving anything. Other tactics have to be used, indeed, and we also did a couple of conventional things.


In 1997, the two governments looked ready for at least working out a framework for establishing peace. And while talking about conflict resolution between Pakistan and India, it may be useful to first of all analyze the theoretical framework of peace process and how it was evolved.


The “authors” of peace included the then foreign secretaries of the two countries, and the process was nudged by the two prime Ministers, Gujral on Indian side and Nawaz Sharif on Pakistani side. The PMs said to the two secretaries to work out a framework. Incidentally, we the Pakistanis keep forgetting about certain aspects of “Gujral doctrine[4]” that we neither understood nor worked upon.


It is understandable that over the period of time, a process may reach a point where it can be said that we are ready to talk, but how do we do it and what is the framework? And the first problem, it is argued, is what to do with Kashmir. Whenever we say it’s the core problem, one always wonders how to get to the core without going through the crust. I think this insistence of Pakistan that we must resolve Kashmir first then something will happen was not a very strong point. The environment has to be improved before we can get the grips with these most difficult problems.


But even then, was it possible for the two sides to say we will now put it on the ice, talk about that later on, and first of all we have to do certain other things? So that is where the ingenuity of the people must have come into play and they said we will work at 8 difficult tracks and Kashmir, of course the most important point, would be handled at the foreign secretaries level. We could be happy that Kashmir was given due importance, but it is a fact that foreign secretaries do not meet very often, may be once in 2 years and that will be the slowest track in any case. We have nothing much to talk on Kashmir except the Pakistani point. However, both the sides had something at least to sell at home.


But essentially, the idea to try to improve the environment was not that bad as it could be possible that once the two sides are ready, may be the environment would be so favorable that something could be done about Kashmir, gradually.


For the problems of such nature, the solutions only evolve and blueprints are very difficult to be worked out.


Making a plan is only 10%. The remaining 90 % comprises how is it implemented, adjusted and managed and most importantly how to take care of the distractions. There are people, basically military establishment but also in civil establishments, who would suspect, and if they feel that the process will benefit the other side more, they will cut it.


So the biggest challenge is that how the political leadership has to take care of them.


While we have not done very well, but one can still go through a certain chronology to explain what actually happened. The process was called “composite dialogue”, which does not seem to be the appropriate name. The composite would have meant that the slowest and the fastest tracks would be moving with the same speed. In the military terms, or from first of all the civilian terms, it could actually be called a multi tracked and multi speed process, in which things will move at their own speed. The easier problem can be resolved quicker, and for the difficult problems, you will have to wait till you have enough confidence. Although, no military man was involved, but had there been one, he would have approved the concept.


The idea was good and the sub-continent is so rich in ideas, although so poor in implementation. The first thing that happened was that immediately after this signing of the framework for Composite Dialogue in 1997 some media started saying that for the first time in 50 years, we have made the Indians agree that they are going to talk about Kashmir. The Indians responded that we are not going to talk about it. However this wasn’t going to be an event that would have prevented the two sides from proceeding further. The next year, in 1998, after the nuclear tests, the two sides felt that there was more urgency now to go on this and implement or operationalize the so-called composite dialogue.


Soon after that, Vajpayee visited Lahore (February 1999), and the thinking must have been that what must be done urgently so that the nuclear accidents can be prevented. Both the sides had resolved to resume or to take up the composite dialogue, the process that was not going very far because of Kargil, and later on the military coup in Pakistan in 1999.


After that, the same person Musharraf who was considered to have spoiled the process because of Kargil and coup was at the center stage in Pakistan. Agra summit also failed for whatever number of reasons – not enough preparation by us or not having understood that how to pursue this process further. For example, if the emphasis from Pakistani side again was Kashmir, it was going to be difficult.


The Indians, in the mean time also came up with some very dis-ingenious thoughts, which also were not helpful. They started saying that unless we take care of “terrorism” emanating from the Pakistani side we can not move. Pre conditions make things more difficult. There is no way that you one measure that “terrorism” is now below the acceptable level and we are prepared to talk. Of course, by saying that, you are giving the handle on the peace process to someone else.


It is not easy to talk about non-state actors alone, because state actors can also do the same thing. If there is a feeling that other side is benefiting, both can scuttle the link. Nobody knows that whether hawks in India – Advani and others played any role. It can also not be said with certainty that what really happened at the breakfast meeting[5]. However, it was understood that these things have to be taken care of.


In Pakistan, people were not happy after the two-line resolution that was issued after the meting between Musharraf and Vajpai on the sidelines of SAARCK Summit in January 2004 in Islamabad, saying that that “terrorism” will not be allowed from Pakistani side and the Indian side saying that Kashmir is very important. However, the fact is that the things did kick-start after that.

It is also true that no substantial progress was made except one i.e.

bilateral annual exchange of lists of nuclear installations. Surprisingly the easier issues were not being solved and Kashmir, of course, was nowhere near solution. As I said earlier, you can put the problems like Kashmir on the back burner or on ice once,


but political management requires that something is done that gives the Kashmiris the confidence that something is going to happen for them with their involvement – not just between Islamabad and Delhi – and something substantial, not just wada-e-ferda (promise for tomorrow).


Good things were also happening, such as the movement of people including those from APHC, the bus service between Srinagr and Muzaffarabad and some other routes were started and some trade was likely to start. These can be considered as steps in the right direction although their management was poor, so the people who authored and conceived the process could not be blamed.


So-called unilateral concessions were wrong for another reason, from the designological point of view.


Talk of dividing Kashmir into 7 regions or the proposals like Chenab formula, were giving the Indians an impression that as Pakistani President is coming up with some new concession and proposal every week, why not wait some more time, as he might come up with the solution which we can accept immediately. So non-response was correct on their part. Such concessions also gave the impression that Pakistan was desperate and under pressure of time and has weakened its bargaining position. Lastly, it also sowed confusion not only in Pakistan but among the Kashmiris.


It was, however, a benefit of this situation that eastern border was quite for last 4 or 5 years, and there was some respite, although we had such a murky security situation for Pakistan on the western front.


And then comes Mumbai. I am not going to say who done it, but whoever did it, did more damage to Pakistan than to anyone else. That’s why there is an interest for Pakistan in ensuring that we get to the bottom of it and punish the perpetrators.


I don’t know how we are going to look like as we are acting seriously, because we could not be seen as not talking seriously about Kashmir – while India, for its own political reasons, can not be seen talking seriously about Kashmir. However, one can say that dynamics have changed, particularly because of very complex subject “terrorism”.


The two sides signed joint anti-terrorism mechanism two or there years ago, which is the best mechanism, operationally. The best way to fight “terrorism” is to fight it jointly – otherwise no one can do so. Joint investigations and interrogations are essential. Some people have reservations about the mechanism in Pakistan also, but on the Indian side there seems to be a unanimity that it was wrong to have signed joint anti terrorism mechanism, as they feel it inappropriate to let Pakistanis interrogate anyone including, Kasab.


This Indian apprehension makes it difficult to proceed further.


Lastly, India does believe that it is now in an entire different league, and it is no longer 1997, although there may be a feeling that it is strategic partner of USA and, therefore, can perhaps get away with certain things that Americans also tried and got away with. But we should keep in mind that with the foreign forces being there in the region, the mightiest military machine in the world i.e. NATO led by the US remain the real threat. Pakistan is certainly facing threat but the danger is for the whole region.


If the threat is like this, from Pakistani point of view, it is important to find the “regional consensus”, because unless the countries in the region resolve their conflicts, the outsiders will always have sound reasons and some rational to come in and play the role that we asked them to play when ever it suits us. When it suited Pakistan, it asked for their intervention. The Indians has done this on at least three occasions. Now they are invoking American intervention citing Americans’ statements in their favor. However, if US is interested in playing a role in resolving Kashmir, and Indians may not be happy, I feel Pakistan should also be concerned about US role as America’s interest would be different.


{Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri}*


Peace Process and post Mumbai Tension


In order to understand strange and complex Pak-India relationship, which arouses the best and the worst of emotions at different times, and thus makes the two sides obsessive about each other, one has to delve long into history. Only thus one can understand the psyche of each regarding the other. Hindu Muslim communities in South Asia claim inheritance to two great civilizations of the region- the Mauryan and the Mughal. The partition of Sub-Continent which the Congress accepted only when left with no alternative, and the bloodshed that accompanied it further exacerbated the hard feelings. Kashmir dispute ensured the continuance of the feeling of animosity between the two countries.

As both countries have not been able to resolve their disputes including Kashmir, the rift has deepened. Other issues of concern are; the water issue, Sir Creek and Siachin. As a result, Pak-India relations are laced with suspicion and mistrust, and pose a serious challenge to peace and stability in South Asia.


Starting from the Simla Agreement in 1972, almost every major political party which is represented on the political horizon of Pakistan today has undertaken substantial steps for the purpose of creating stable and peaceful conditions in South Asia during its tenure in power. This was natural since it was a security imperative.

The recent decade long period of CBMs was initiated in 1997 by Pakistan to resume bilateral talks with India in order to resolve peacefully all outstanding issues between the two countries including Jammu & Kashmir.

The two countries held three rounds of Foreign Secretary level talks on the agreed eight item agenda. The eight items agreed for the composite dialogue included peace and security including CBMs, Jammu & Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, terrorism and drug trafficking, economic and commercial cooperation and promotion of friendly exchanges in various fields. However, little progress was achieved during this phase. During this period, a momentous development took place with far-reaching implications for regional as well as international peace and security. India conducted five nuclear tests and these were followed by six tests in the same month, May 1998 by Pakistan.


Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee visited Lahore on February 21, 1999 and the Lahore Declaration signed during the visit committed the two countries to intensify efforts to resolve all outstanding bilateral issues including Kashmir. It also obliged both sides to refrain from interference in each other’s internal affairs and evolve measures to reduce risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, strengthen SAARC and combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The period between 1999 and 2002 witnessed a high level of tension between India and Pakistan due to a number of factors including among others, Kargil 1999, the inconclusive Agra Summit 2001, attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, and the mobilization of a million troops on the border.

Taking over as the foreign minister in 2002, I strongly believed that normalization of relations is in the best interest of both Pakistan and India and that the people of Pakistan want peace with India provided peace is with honor.

At that time, in the wake of 9/11 India had unleashed a campaign to project itself as a longstanding victim of terrorism and to convince the world of links between Osama Bin Ladin, Taliban and the freedom struggle in Indian held Kashmir. Accordingly, very unfortunately and very unfairly the Kashmir freedom struggle was now being seen internationally in a different light.

Pakistani argument and stance till then that Kashmir freedom struggle is indigenous and that Pakistan extended only political, diplomatic and moral support was not evoking acceptability from the US and EU and especially after 9/11, even Pakistan’s closest friends began to advise us to think of an alternative way for achieving our objectives. It was, therefore, becoming clear amongst a large section of the influential decisions makers and the intelligentsia in Pakistan that while maintaining our position of principle on the issue of Kashmir, we have to adopt a different strategy.

Indians also learnt a lesson after the troops’ mobilization (in 2002) when they realized that Pakistan did not blink or cave in because of India’s show of military might. Pakistan made it clear that it would not accept Indian diktat and would counter any aggression.

Indian PM Vajpayee on April 18, 2003 offered in his own words ‘a hand of friendship’ to Pakistan. Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali welcomed the announcement in a call facilitated by the then US Secretary of State Colin Powel. Pakistan’s strategy was based on the recognition that the international community had zero tolerance for violent means for changing the status quo, no matter what the cause. The distinction between the freedom struggle and terrorism was beginning to disappear.

Some Indian parliamentarians also visited Pakistan in August 2003[7] interaction proved very useful at that stage.

Pakistan also announced a major CBM to observe ceasefire by Pakistani forces along the LOC with effect from Eid-al-Fitr on November 26, 2003. Musharraf and Vajpai met on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Islamabad in January 2004 and a joint statement was issued that included reference to the need for a resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute to the satisfaction of both Pakistan and India and that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used for terrorism. The issue of joint statement generated optimism and contributed to the lessening of tension. It was hailed by the international community and the two leaders were given credit for their vision in breaking the impasse.


During this phase of relations, Pakistan followed a three track approach, namely CBMs, Composite dialogue and back-channel on Kashmir. The four points that President Musharraf often spoke about regarding Kashmir included identification of region (Pakistan wanted to ensure that the Northern Areas are non-negotiable), demilitarization, self governance and joint mechanism.


During this period, the then government came under some criticism that Pakistan has taken a U-turn on Kashmir; President’s four point proposal amounted to giving up on our principled stand, Pakistan is offering concession on all issues without any quid pro quo; and pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir are being isolated. The then policy makers, however, believed that such perceptions were entirely misplaced.

In April 2005, Indian PM Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Musharraf met in New Delhi, and declared that the Peace Process was “irreversible”. As a result of the process, several high level contacts were made. People to people contact reached to an unprecedented level in 2005 when thousands of Pakistanis were visiting India monthly and an equal number were coming from India to Pakistan. The direct bilateral trade had increased from 200 million to over 2 billion dollars, the bus and rail links started between the two countries on various routes.

On terrorism, Pakistan was able to make India and the world realize that it is as much a victim of terrorism as any other country. The joint anti-terrorism mechanism is supposed to be used by the two countries to convey concerns of each other on incidents of terrorism. A lot of progress was made on the backchannel on Jammu and Kashmir. On Siachen, at the political level, the two sides were inching towards a package proposal.

On Sir Creek, the two sides have already conducted a joint survey.


Regarding nuclear CBMs, the two countries had concluded Agreements on pre-notification of flight testing of ballistic missiles and on reducing the risk from accidents relating to nuclear weapons. Conventional CBMs included: re-confirmation of both sides to the commitment of upholding of the ceasefire, implementation of the 1991 agreement on air space violation, up-gradation of hotlines between the DGMOs, hotlines between Indian coastguards and Pakistan Maritime Security Agencies, across LOC travel, bus and truck service.

Pakistan was working in the hope that this process of composite dialogue, CBMs and back channel diplomacy would create the necessary environment for resolution of outstanding disputes particularly Kashmir.

Pakistan continued to emphasize the need to make genuine progress on substantive issues.


Coming to post Mumbai tension, it can be said that threat of military confrontation is abating. Indian forces are deployed on non-peace time formations. Pakistan has asked these forces to be reallocated to peace time positions. The cost for both countries of a conflict or a surgical strike by India will entail unforeseen risks. However, current state of tension is unlikely to pass quickly since India believes Pakistan is resisting the crackdown on militants.


India often accuses Pakistan of living in a state of denial regarding terrorism, but itself lives in a state of denial about Kashmir. Additionally, it is common knowledge that there are various types of secessionist, regional, ethnic, and ideological movements in different parts of India. I am not just referring to Muslim outrage over the demolition of Babri Mosque or the massacre of the Muslims in Gujrat; Maoists violence against upper caste Hindus is unleashed in major parts of India covering almost 1/3 of its territory. The details of Indian homegrown militancy are well documented[8]. Even extremist elements have been identified in Indian military. India is ignoring these realities and continues to blame Pakistan.


Mumbai Incident: Approach of External Powers

Reaction of the International Community Including US, EU, China and other major countries to the current crisis is stated below.


  • Tilt towards Indian stance by high profile visitors from America, Britain and EU including Dr. Rice, Admiral Mullen, Senator McCain, Senator Kerry and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in their statements is evident.
  • Dr. Rice also suggested that Pakistan’s principal problem is not India but militancy and stabilization of border with Afghanistan where more needs to be done. This point of view is also being echoed by large number of Pakistani scholars and commentators who believe that terrorism is a common threat and it needs to be addressed jointly. President Zardari in his telephone conversation with President Bush on the last day of 2008 reiterated the position of the government of Pakistan that it would not allow its territory to be used by non-state actors for launching attacks on other countries; he went on to add that anybody found involved in such attacks from the soil of Pakistan will be dealt with sternly.

    President Bush urged both Indian Prime Minister and Pakistani President on this occasion to cooperate with each other in the Mumbai attack investigation as well as counter terrorism in general.

    There is a growing realization among some western writers and thinkers about the need to address the root causes of the Muslim hate against the west. For instance, recently Robert Fisk writing in the Independent in a peace titled “Why do they hate the west so much, we will ask” has focused on what he describes as the double standards of the west in its foreign policy, and more particularly, of the Bush administration and its blanket support to Israel which has led to bloodletting and “atrocity on the level of the Balkans war of the 1990’s”. When the Muslims show “blind anger on the west”, the west has to realize the reasons for it. This reminds me of a telephone call I received as Foreign Minister from a very well known person in Washington who expressed his desire to come to Islamabad and wanted to know if I would be able to see him. I said of course I would, but I just wanted to know the immediate purpose of the visit. I was told that the distinguished person wanted to know why Americans were so hated in Pakistan. I immediately corrected the person and said that Americans were not hated at all; it was the American foreign policy that was thoroughly unpopular among large number of Pakistanis. I added that the distinguished visitor would find a similar situation everywhere from Indonesia to Morocco. I further said in a lighter vein that the Pakistanis did not dislike America; if that was the case there would not be such long queues of visa seekers outside the US Embassy. I sincerely hope that the new Administration in the United States which has been voted in on a promise of ‘Change’ will do a deep re-think about US Foreign Policy towards the Muslim world generally.

  • As a general reflection of the US and Western approach towards the issue, even before the Mumbai attacks a report of the Pakistan Policy Working Group in September 2008 titled ‘the Next Chapter – the US and Pakistan’ seeks to adjust Pakistan’s cost benefit calculus of using militants in its foreign policy through close cooperation and by calibrating American assistance. This report is the work of a bipartisan group of American Experts to make recommendation to the new US President and his administration on managing this partnership. The group was guided by the understanding that Pakistan will remain one of America’s foremost foreign policy and national security challenges. The report was endorsed by Richard Armitage former Deputy Secretary of State and Lee Hamilton former US Representative and Co-Chair of the 9/11 Commission. Obviously this report will influence the mind of the new Administration.
  • The Chinese Special Envoy and Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei was in Pakistan on 29 December, 2008 and met the Pakistani Leadership. China’s efforts were aimed at defusing tension and immediate de-escalation and resumption of dialogue. It feels lingering conflict would strengthen the terrorists in the region. China itself is a victim of terrorism; Chinese Engineers have been mercilessly murdered in Pakistan but it is a reason to salute China that it still continues its multi-faceted cooperation with Pakistan despite such threats to its nationals. China targeted terrorism much before US started its current focus following 9/11[9]. It is however appropriate to note that while China continued to give good advice publicly and privately, it showed its commitment towards the government and people of Pakistan during the high profile visit of General Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff, precisely at this time of crisis.


Comparison of Mumbai attacks 2008 and Mumbai Blasts 2006

According to Professor Joe Nye of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, “politics in the information age is about whose story is winning” It is obvious that Pakistan’s story is not winning any “kudos” in the current media war over Mumbai. Before going on to discuss Pakistan’s response, let me take you down the memory lane, when the Government of which I was the Foreign Minister, had to deal with serial bomb blasts on commuter trains in Mumbai 209 persons lost their lives and more than 700 were injured in July 2006. It would be instructive to compare Pakistani response then to the present situation. I was in New York and I instantly realized that this disaster would have a major impact on the dialogue that we were going through with India and for which both sides had worked very hard, including on matters pertaining to conflict resolution. There was great anger in India then as now and fingers were instantly pointed towards Pakistan. Following points become very clear:

  1. That all stakeholders including the President, the Foreign Minister, the Foreign Office spokesman and the Information Ministry were speaking from the same page. As a result we were spared the criticism of flip-flops and contradictions, which we saw recently e.g. the strange issue of the hoax call from Foreign Minister Mukherjee to President Zardari, whether the DG ISI was going to India or not or the nature of the violation of our airspace by the Indian Air Force; the summary dismissal of the National Security Advisor is so bizarre that it is in a class of its own and shows a total absence of communications between the two top functionaries of the govern-ment. Such acts also impact negatively on the credibility of the government both internally and externally. In 2006 there was also complete understanding between the government, the military and the ISI and there were regular meetings to coordinate our response.
  2. We were continuously stating our side of story. I was interacting with the Pakistani, Indian and the Western media personally. We were telling them that Pakistan would cooperate fully in the investigations and that Pakistan could not possibly have any motive behind the ghastly incident.
  3. We were proactively engaged from day one with the foreign governments and I spoke to a very large number of my counterparts rebutting the Indian allegations.
  4. We also kept channels of communication open with India both diplomatically and through the track 2.


The reaction of the Indian Government and media was very jingoistic initially. Both countries expelled each other’s diplomats.Early in August 2006 a very critical statement was issued by the Indian External Affairs Ministry interfering in the internal affairs of Pakistan (in connection with tragic demise of Nawab Bugti in Balochistan), the Foreign Office also issued a strong rejoinder. It is important to note that while all this was going on we were also discussing behind closed doors with the Indian government. We were also in constant touch with major governments of the world to build diplomatic pressure in favor of our position. Through this focused interaction, we were able to find a way out and drafted the outlines of the joint anti-terror mechanism which was finally approved by the two leaders at Havana in September 2006 just eight weeks after the Mumbai serial blasts. In 2006 Pakistan was able to project its side of the story in a satisfactory manner.

Way Forward: Internal dimension

  • Unity and integrity of Pakistan is also threatened by many internal factors. We are not a very tolerant society; every one claims to be the exclusive protagonist of truth and what is worse of “national interest”. Every body else is conveniently dubbed as anti Pakistan.
  • Regarding sectarian disharmony, the less said the better. There have been suicide bomb attacks on mosques and imam Bargahs. The origin of the current violent non-state actors can be traced to sectarian disharmony. Our national curriculum has not done much to promote a culture of tolerance.
  • Violent non-state actors present a clear danger to Pakistan and its survival. We have to make a choice whether we want to go back to Quaid-e-Azam’s vision of a modern, forward looking Muslim state attuned to breath taking changes occurring in different disciplines almost on a daily basis or develop a close mindset. If handled appropriately and with a national consensus behind an agreed solution, the current crisis offers us an opportunity for a paradigm shift and enable us to be credible and transparent in the fight for the soul of Pakistan which in my opinion, the Quaid’s vision amply represented.
  • FATA has been neglected by all governments since 1947. The time has now come for all of us to think of how best to integrate it with the rest of the country as quickly as possible politically, administratively and economically.
  • Madrassa education system in Pakistan basically attends to the needs of the poor and at the same time reflects the failure of the state sector in education. We can no longer afford to ignore education. Resources have to be generated internally and in case of any shortfall, it can be said that the world will help out willingly in upgrading Pakistan state education with resources and technical advice. In this connection the recent visit of Vice President elect Joe Biden in which he has reiterated United States commitment to pass the Lugar Biden Bill showing US’s continued commitment over the next fives years to Pakistan’s social sector particularly education, health and infrastructure development is illustrative of the above.
  • It has become fashionable for our planners to refer to 100 million young citizens of Pakistan below the age of 25 as a demographic dividend. If we do nothing concrete towards educating and training this massive pool of human resource, it could well become a demographic nightmare.
  • As a result of the violence generated by non-state actors there is a feeling of pessimism throughout the country regarding the economic future of Pakistan. Forget all possibilities of direct foreign investment. All of us know a large number of Pakistanis who are taking their own capital out the country – one major reason for the decline of the rupee value so dramatically.
  • From the above it is clear that Pakistan has strong reasons to control domestic terrorism of its own.

Way Forward: External dimension

  • For economic, national security and many other reasons, Pakistan just cannot afford isolation. It cannot be, has never been and never should be allowed to be isolated like some other countries have been in recent times and whose innocent populations have paid the price. National pride does not demand national isolation. Pakistan’s Foreign policy has ever since its existence tried to avoid precisely this situation. Many reasons can be given but it suffices to say here that our situation in the region and our desire to maintain relationship with neighboring countries on the principles of sovereign equality preclude such a course.
  • No friend or ally Islamic or western condones terrorism. Killing of innocent civilians cannot be justified on any grounds. Who should know better than Pakistanis who continue to pay a price almost on a daily basis with even Mosques and Imam Bargahs are not being spared. Friends like China and Saudi Arabia are victims of terrorism and are confronting it effectively[10]. Other traditionally close friends and neighbors including Turkey, Iran and the Gulf countries have shown their concern over the escalation and tried to defuse the situation.
  • As Foreign Minister I used to get well meaning and innocent advice whenever Pakistan faced a difficult crisis to further strengthen its relationship with China and or call a meeting of the OIC. I am not making light of this advice since it came from the heart and they say the heart has its own reasons. I used to always tell my friends that our relationship with China were closer than they could realize and that China was really a true friend of Pakistan, but a true friend always gives a sane and good advice sometimes not readily or necessarily popular on the streets. As for the OIC we tried our best to strengthen it during my tenure.

Pakistan’s Response

In view of the diplomatic and media offensive by India Pakistan needs to take action in the following manner.

  • We need to be more pro-activate diplomatically to counter Indian diplomatic offensive. To sensitize the world about our story, our concerns, our issues, our sacrifices in this epic struggle against terrorism have to be repeatedly highlighted.
  • Pakistan has to respond to international media which has started echoing Indian story after the Mumbai attacks. In a way this was natural because India had been a victim of a gruesome act of terrorism. The government of Pakistan responded by offering joint investigation while the government of India has rejected it. The western media is pointing to the divergences between the declaratory and operational policies on combating India focused militant organizations. We need to make efforts to put things in perspective and point out more aggressively both our offers for joint investigation as well as the recent historic upsurge in Kashmir where the Kashmiri youth demonstrated for weeks in mammoth gatherings and processions in favour of Azadi or freedom in a totally peaceful manner. No one in India accused Pakistan of being behind these demonstrations by the new generation in Kashmir
  • .

  • Pakistan must undertake all necessary steps referred to above in order to combat terrorism comprehensively inside the country. It must also investigate all the leads that we get from India regarding the Mumbai attacks. This is really in Pakistan’s own interest. While undertaking all these measures we must emphasize to the international community that unilateralism in international relations and trying to secure homeland security at all costs without addressing the underlying causes of terrorism is bound to fail as it is shortsighted, cruel and foolish as Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan so amply prove. It is not just the international opinion which has rejected such narrow minded approach to the issue of terrorism but it seems that the American electorate has also reached a similar conclusion while voting for change in the recent elections.

    It can be hoped that there is a genuine re-think by the new US administration on the concerns of the Muslim world and its genuine grievances. The use of force without moral authority is doomed to failure, more so in an age where asymmetric warfare can be successfully waged by people with a cause which they think is worth dying for. In my experience, Europe is ready for such a re-think. I saw this when I was representing Pakistan in the UN SC during the Iraq war. A change in US policies will have a huge effect all over the world and not just in Europe. No wonder much before the American elections the European, Asian and African public opinion was almost wholly in favor of Obama.

    While hoping for such changes in the international climate, Pakistan must put his own house in order. There is a need for institutionalized decision making; haphazard and ad-hoc decision making as seen recently must be avoided. There is a need to develop consensus on issues confronting us. The government was right in calling an ‘all parties meeting’ after the Mumbai tragedy. There is a vital need for developing a consensus to meet terrorism in a more coherent, integrated and a more holistic manner. Regrettably, the parliamentary resolution which was passed on the issue, lacked focus and anyone could interpret it in any manner that they liked – and they did so. It is difficult to arrive at a consensus when there are so many different parties with diverse agendas but the nature of the challenge that Pakistan faces calls for nothing less than precisely that.


Concluding Remarks{Khurshid Ahmad}

Normalization of relationship with India, as an objective, is not in dispute. Somebody may be called a hawk and somebody as dove, but the normalization of relationship is perhaps common between all of them. The question is that of peace with honor, justice and for resolving disputes, not deferring or sitting on them. So from that viewpoint, one has to realize that there are dynamics of power politics and idealism.

Morality is relevant but keeping in view the power equation, and the convergence and divergence of interests and finding out a more equitable sustainable equation is the real challenge. The psyche with which Indian leadership has been dealing with Pakistan; and our own mindset is not just product of current situation. It goes back to a thousand years and one cannot totally de-link from that. We have coexisted but we have never converged. We can live in peace with each other but to think of having a common civilization, culture and lifestyle is against reality. So it is a complex issue.

The issue of Kashmir is not a question of political game but an issue that deals with life, honor and liberty of 15 million people. It is not a land dispute; and India and Pakistan and for that matter any other power has no right to deny Kashmiris their right of self determination. To say that Kashmir has kept our relationship or the whole peace process a hostage is not in keeping with the human and political reality of the region. The issue of Kashmir has to be resolved and resolved with justice; and unless it is resolved with justice that satisfies the rights of the people of Kashmir, there is no future for the normalization of relationship in the region.

Water issue is also critically important. Pakistan ignored it but now we are in a situation that we can no longer ignore it. It requires a very clear vision of our own policy. Institutionalized policy making is something that we lacked. Ad-hocism needs to be done away with and medium and long term formulation of policy is required.

Another point relates to the whole business of terrorism. Terrorism which involves killing of innocent people is a crime against humanity – conducted by an individual, groups or states. But it has been seen after 9/11 that terrorism, after its denomination as war, de-linking it from the reality of its being an act of crime to be addressed to as a crime under the system of criminal justice, has changed the whole grammar of politics. The way terrorism is being used today has become a part of new colonial hegemonic designs of the powerful. It is no longer a question of terrorism per se it is an instrument of policy of neo-colonialism. One has to see that who has benefited and gained from the incidents such as 9/11 in the US and 26 November 2008 in Mumbai.

It is true that Pakistanis, Muslims, in fact people all over the world, do not hate America but American policies. The policies of hegemony, exploitation, domination, occupation, support for Israel and ensuring that those who are trying to seek justice and freedom from oppression are not helped but efforts are made to exterminate them. But the agony is that beside this perception, our rulers continue to follow those very American policies in our lands.

The real conflict is between the aspirations of the people and the interests of the superpower and their collaborators who are ignoring the wishes of the people and are pursuing what is aggravating the situation. Whether it is Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir or FATA, these policies are failing and yet we are hands in gloves with those who are perpetrating these policies. That is the dilemma. The people have to be prepared to see it and rise; otherwise, one can not see any way out. If the people of the world want a peaceful planet and a just world order then such oppressive policies have to be checked and countered.

It can be said that even Mumbai has to be seen in this context. One should not be accused of falling back on conspiracy theories; because what is often dubbed as conspiracy may play a very important role in the making of the policy of powerful. Looking at the pre-Mumbai scenario, one sees that there was a remote possibility of some change as a result of elections in America. Then there are the phenomenon of popular uprising during June, July and August in Kashmir, the shift from militancy or counter-militancy to a democratic uprising, the emergence of indigenous force that could have influenced the future struggle in Kashmir, elections within India and the changed situation in Pakistan. Mumbai took place in a very extraordinary context and it deserves to be examined who had benefited. Some kind of a ‘reverse-engineering’ is needed in political complexities of this type.

There are a number of writers within India and around the world who are pointing that there is something more fundamental behind it. While Pakistan has called for joint investigation, it is well known that people can be used by those who are playing this game of power. The Indian Prime Minister has said that what happened in Mumbai could not have taken place without state support considering the level of sophistication of planning, execution and implementation.

One can raise the question that who rules in Mumbai? Who has command of the Indian Navy? Who is responsible for Indian agencies? Was it possible that a small bunch of youth – 10 persons coming from sky or somewhere else could have held the city and the entire Indian government, agencies, system and Indian Navy as hostages? Where were the coastal guards and Navy? How the struggle was sustained for 60 hours at Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels? How was the ammunition moved? What was the channel? Is it possible without support from within? So these are very fundamental issues.

And now the whole Kashmir issue has been sidelined and the sacrifices in the uprisings up to 2008 have been marginalized. These are very fundamental issues that are to be examined. The purpose of raising these questions is to find out what is the reality. And I have no reservation in saying that willingly or unwilling, by choice or by compulsion, if any Pakistani was involved in Mumbai attacks, he should be punished, and punished under Pakistani law, through its judicial process. It is right to say that Pakistan’s cause has suffered; has not gained.

But the issue is more complicated. Who did what? Who was behind? Who was used and how this very game has been played in the past. We know that at the time of every major and historic moment particularly during the last twenty years, when something of strategic importance was going to happen, some such unfortunate event did take place. When former US president Bill Clinton was visiting India in 2000, 38 Sikhs were killed in Chattisingh Pora. Pakistan was blamed and it was later found out that local agencies were responsible for it. Clinton, while writing the foreword of the book by Madeline Albright, has very intelligently suggested that had he not visited India those 38 persons would have been saved. So the incidents like Mumbai should not be seen as simply a new phenomenon; there seems to be a pattern.

The need is to listen to each other, identify issues, continue discussion and dialogue and to help the policy makers seek these dimensions so that more informed judgments could be arrived at, and policies which are not ad-hoc and do not lack harmony are framed.

Dr. Shireen M. Mazari is senior security analyst and former Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.

[1] On February 18, 2007, sixty eight people were killed and scores more injured in the terrorist attack on Samjhauta Express, a twice weekly peace train that runs between Delhi and Lahore, at Diwana station near the Indian city of Panipet. In the course of the investigation conducted by Anti Terrorist Squad Marashtra India Lt Col Prasad Purohit, a serving officer in Indian Army, confessed that he provided explosives for this act of terror ( IndianExpress, Nov 15, 2008)

[2] The lone surviving Mumbai attacker now in Indian custody.

[3] The information shared with Pakistan which India claims is “evidence” of Pakistan’s involvement in Mumbai attacks.

[4] The Gujral Doctrine is a set of five principles to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbors as spelt out by Gujral, first as India’s foreign minister and later as the prime minister. The principals are as follows.

  1. With neighbors like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka ,India does not ask for reciprocity, but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust.
  2. No South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of the region.
  3. No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another.
  4. All South Asian countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  5. They should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.

[5] Musharraf’s meeting at breakfast with Indian editors and senior journalists at the time of Agra summit 2001, in which he reportedly stressed that Kashmir was the central issue between the two countries, and that is citied by the Indians as the reason of failure in issuance of a joint statement by the leaders of the two countries.

Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri is former foreign minister (2002-2007) of Pakistan.

[6] This section of Mr. Kasuri’s speech has been abridged and rearranged for space constraints. Full text of the speech can be accessed at

[7] For a conference organized by South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).

[8] For example Barkha Dutt in a perceptive piece in the Hindustan Times on November 14, 2008 wrote about blurring of the lines between nationalism and terrorism and the enemy within. After referring to some of the internal dangers she said “if we don’t watch it, India could implode”. Outlook Magazine a few days before the Mumbai attacks in a cover story titled “Saffron in uniform” has talked about the penetration by the pro-Hindutva elements of the Indian armed forces.

[9] In fact the very creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization whose founder members, along with China, included Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan formed this organization basically to combat terrorism. It was only later on that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s focus and reach was enhanced.

[10] China itself is a victim of terrorism. Chinese concerns about terrorism are well known; they are keen to defuse the current crisis. Saudi Arabia confronted terrorism as early as the seventies when terrorists tried to storm the Kaaba. In more recent times Saudi Arabia bore the full brunt of terrorism and devised an effective strategy to combat it.

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