Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Threesome Tango: US, Taliban and Pakistan

Tango is a South American dance form where two dancers dance quite in an embrace.

However, a new type of tango has evolved in the Af-Pak region with three dancers in a deadly embrace, the Americans, the Pakistanis and the Taliban.

Now, the Taliban are not monolithic and are composed of at least two groups, the Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban. The latter, known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP, have two sub-groups, the 'good' and the 'bad' Taliban. The 'good' and 'bad' divisions are convenient creations of Pakistani Establishment to pursue their enduring concept of 'strategic depth'. See this for details. Since the Laal Masjid episode, almost all the Deobandi terrorist tanzeems in Pakistan have identified themselves with the 'bad Taliban', thereby making it the most powerful component of TTP. The 'bad Taliban' could have easily taken on the 'good Taliban' but tribal equations, and sane counsel probably prevailed upon them from starting a war of attrition that could not have helped the larger cause of AQAM.

Even assuming that there exists 'good' and 'bad' Taliban with different objectives and worldviews, the former fighting a jihad to regain their land from foreign occupation forces and the latter an evil force to perpetuate Al Qaeda's ideologies in Pakistan, we need to investigate the latest developments in the last few weeks.

Developments are taking place on two fronts, the Afghan Taliban front and the Pakistani Taliban front. The US, Pakistan and the Taliban are involved in both the fronts. While the US is the prime mover in the US-Afghan Taliban-Pakistan tango, it is Pakistan whih is the prime mover in the Pakistan-Pakistani Taliban-US tango.

Just, what are the objectives of these three players ?

The US wants to have an honourable exit from Af-Pak without much blood loss to retreating troops as the pullout of men and material begins. The US would also like to retain some presence in Afhanistan to oversee transition from the incumbent Karzai government to whatever new power-sharing agreement is arrived at for the post-2014 scenario. The US would like to ensure, for some time to come at least, that the new dispensation that comes to power in Kabul does not become a threat to US and Western interests. A base in Afghanistan would also help geostrategically in a region where American interests are huge such as in nearby Pakisran, Iran or Central Asian Republics (CAR) or even Russia.

For the Pakistanis, the requirement is simple: a pro-Pakistan government in Kabul that would allow Pakistan to re-establish its concept of strategic-depth and remove Indian influence which had alarmingly resurfaced in the last six years in Afghanistan. Other objectives such as bottling-up Pashtun nationalism that could pose a threat to its Durand Line border with Afghanistan come next and way below in terms of immediate priority.

The Taliban also want to regain control of Afghanistan but on their own terms. They want to be seen as victorious in the end of a decade-long battle without surrendering their ideological beliefs. They want the Americans and the Western forces to be seen as vanquished in Afghanistan, and would want to reinforce their usual claim of Afghanistan being country which has the reputation of being a place where no foreign invader has been able to rule the natives, They would therefore like to see no foreign troop on their soil post the American withdrawal in c. 2014. More than anything else, they would like to trumpet two things: the only remaining superpower has been defeated through jihad and that Islam (of Osama's variety)  has won.

Let us therefore interpret the recent developments with the above paradigm in mind.

The US exit strategy in Afghanistan  has a striking similarity to what happened in Vietnam way back in 1969, not only in the fact that the talks were held in Paris then as it is happening now also, but also in the format, content, strategy and situation as well. In Vietnam too, while the US was leading the fight, several SEATO member countries had sent in troops as well. Of course, Pakistan had not. Situationally, the US was not doing well in Vietnam when Richard Nixon came to power in c. 1968 and there were wide protests within the US to withdraw from there. The US decided to train and equip the South Vietnamese troops, a programme that lasted three years doomed only to fail in the end, as in the Afghan case. The US also attacked communist sanctuaries in neighbouring Cambodia.  Secret and open peace talks ensued. The North Vietnamese were particularly tough negotiators and after nearly three years of negotiations, the two sticky points were the likely leader of the provisional government of South Vietnam and the withdrawal of the Vietcong from the South. In the meantime, the US administration was  developing the détente with China and the USSR. This development which made the North Vietnam leadership literally see red (pun intended) along with  a massive punishing air campaign of two weeks made the North agree in the end. The US also needed to engage in other foreign policy initiatives like detente which was expected to reduce not only military risks but also help bring huge economic benefits to the US and so did not want to be drained anymore by the Vietnam situation. The US was engaged with the USSR in the SALT-I treaty negotiations and wanted it to succeed. In c. 1971, the US also engaged with the Chinese through dramatic secret talks, helped by Pakistan, to normalize relationship. Ultimately, the US left Vietnam leaving South Vietnam to decide its own fate. The South and the North fought between themselves for another three years before South Vietnam collapsed and the victorious North Vietnam captured Saigon.
In Afghanistan too, a weary US (and its allies) want(s) to go back home, though there are no massive protests per se within the US, unlike in the 1960s. The US has not been doing well within Afghanistan itself though the drone strikes have been successful in FATA of Pakistan. The US has been having secret and open talks with the Taliban who, like the North Vietnamese negotiators, have not been yielding ground. It is not possible for the US to send B52 bombers and bludgeon the Taliban into submission and the drones are the effective alternates. Already, we see a big rise in the number of drone strikes in the first week of the new year. An important leader of TTP who used to send his troops to Afghanistan to fight the NATO/ISAF, Maulvi Nazeer, has just last week been taken out by these drones in South Waziristan. Many members of another commander, Gul Bahadur, have been similarly killed in North Waziristan a couple of days back. Like developing the détente with USSR and China, the twin supporters of the Vietcong, the current US administration is trying to replicate the same with the Pakistanis who created and now support the Taliban and without whose support, the Taliban would be easily decimated. The US Administration wants to re-focus its foreign policy relations to the developing situation in the East China Sea, South China Sea and the Indian Ocean areas. The Obama administration has therefore decided to ‘pivot’ itself more closely in the evolving situation in Asia-Pacific and a useless unwinnable Afghan situation is unproductive and a massive drain. It has therefore been training the ANA, the Afghan National Army, (along with friends like India) in the hope that they would be able to take over when the US left. It may be that the Americans know what fate awaits the ANA after they leave but they have to maintain a pretext of training them to shoulder responsibilities. Again, like in Vietnam, the guerrilla forces of the Taliban would overcome the ANA easily and take over Kabul and Kandahar, the two centres of power (political and religious respectively) in Afghanistan.

For Pakistan, nothing is more important than seeing the back of the Americans and seeing the re-installation of the Kandahari Taliban in power in Kabul. They would like a smooth transition without the debilitating internecine war that accompanied the transition of power in c. 1989. At times, in the early years of the 1990s, Pakistan came close to losing Afghanistan as some of its plans came a cropper, until the Taliban force was created which had no participation of the powerful but warring mujahideen leaders, Pakistan cannot afford to go through a similar exercise yet another time, what with its own precarious internal conditions. It must have also received strong advice from China, its all-weather friend, that instability must be avoided at all costs since such a situation would lead to civil war for many years. Apart from Pakistan, and to some extent China, no other player in the region is interested in seeing a re-emergence of the Taliban. Afghanistan's neighbours such as Iran or CAR (Central Asian Republics) are against Talibani control of Afghanistan. Other regional players such as India and Russia are equally disinclined towards such a development. It is only the US (some of its allies like the UK) and Pakistan who, for different reasons, prefer the Taliban.

The Pakistani Army cultivated the 'good Taliban', had 'peace deals' with them which were followed scrupulously. This helped the Pakistani Army a relief of pressure to that extent. But, times are changing now. The small component of 'good Taliban' has clearly outlived its utility though they might be close to Mullah Omar. It will be the larger 'bad Taliban' that alone can ensure peace both internally and in FATA and beyond. So long as division existed within TTP, the Pakistani efforts may be derailed and there may be a constant threat to itself. This is what Gen. Kayani meant recently which was wrongly interpreted in India as recognition at last by the Pakistani Army that threats to its existence came from within and not without. Pakistan now wants to effectively turn this 'threat within' to tackle the 'threat without'. The TTP has also been speaking the Pakistan Army's language of avenging the 1971 defeat. At the same time of offering an olive branch to the Pakistani Establishment, the TTP is also showing its ruthless face by assassinating the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister, Bashir Ahmed Bilour followed a few days later by the cold blooded murder of the 22 captured Levies soldiers who happened to be Shi'a. The latest Quetta massacre of the Hazara Shi'as is also by the same group. All these incidents sent multiple messages - that TTP would not go soft on its targets just because talks are initiated, that it will keep the pressure on the Establishment, and that TTP is sectarian with a very narrow extremist Sunni agenda that sees Shi'a as murtad,

The Pakistan Army has been unable to take on the TTP and their associates in the last eight years since they launched the operation against them. They have conceded ground to them and the writ of the state has shrunk in large areas of Pakistan where the Taliban have successfully established their rule. Places like FATA, Swat, Peshawar, Quetta, Southern Punjab, parts of Karachi etc come to mind immediately. They have successfully carried out violent attacks against the armed forces including at locations where nuclear weapons are stored, at the General Head Quarters (GHQ), airforce, navy and army bases with little counter attack by the Pakistani armed forces. The Taliban are beginning to considerably establish their sway in Karachi. At a political level, they have the overt support of all Islamist political parties and parties like Imran Khan's Pakistan-Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) which completely sympathizes with their demands and actions. A nationalist party like the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa based Awami National Party (ANP) has been literally bludgeoned into submission especially after the recent killing of Bilour. At a societal level, large scale conversions to Deobandism are taking place or are being attempted all over Pakistan. People who profess the Deobandi interpretation of Islam will provide overt and covert support to the TTP. At an international level, the peace talks between the US and Afghan Taliban have raised the question as to why Pakistan cannot have a similar dialogue with the TTP who after all are all Pakistanis. The US President has, during the joint press conference with the Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday (Jan 11, 2013) said options other than military hold the key for peace in Af-Pak.

The Pakistani Army, the main component of the Establishment, is therefore forced to adjust itself to the emerging situation. At the same time, it realizes that increased trade and contacts between the people of India and Pakistan, which Pakistan grudgingly allowed under pressure from the US, might, in the long run, undermine its strategic objective, that of comprehensively defeating India and destroying it if possible. Even if it may not be able to defeat India, it would be happy to see anarchy, violence and terrorism in India in the same scale as it exists in Pakistan.

Pakistan operates on cues. The green signal given by the US to play a prominent role in Afghanistan once again, the US green signal for pursuing options other than military in dealing with terrorists in Pakistan, the arrival of John Kerry as Foreign Secretary in the US, the politically-besieged, clueless and impotent Indian ruling coterie, the imminent withdrawal of the US from Af-Pak, the start of flow of funds and armaments once again from the US and above all the likely re-installation of the Taliban in power in Kabul and Kandahar will all embolden Pakistan to start another misadventure with India. The prelude to that has started along the Line of Control (LoC) already.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

TTP and Pakistan

As the situation in Afghanistan moves relentlessly towards a denouement, a flurry of activities has been set into motion by various actors involved in the Af-Pak theatre. Two of them who merit attention for Pakistani watchers are the ‘Establishment’ of Pakistan and the so-called ‘bad Taliban’ or the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
Why do these two entities merit our attention suddenly ? It is not any ‘sudden’ attention that Pakistani watchers are focusing on these two entities for they have been always under the scanner; but, some new developments are taking place suddenly between these two that we need pay attention to.
But, who are the ‘Establishment’ and the ‘bad Taliban’ ?
The ‘Establishment’ has two permanent members, the very top commanders of the military forces of Pakistan (particularly the Army) and some powerful members of the bureaucracy. Whenever the President of the country was an Army General, he was naturally the head of the Establishment. Otherwise, it has been the Chief-of-Army-Staff (COAS). The overwhelming power and influence within the Establishment lies with the top Army generals and the Chiefs of the Intelligence agencies. At various times, the political classes may be co-opted into the Establishment for a limited period and purpose depending upon the exigencies of the situation. The Establishment operates with the sole and permanent motive of avenging the 1971 defeat and, if possible, destroying India. In the course of pursuing this goal, the members of the Establishment enrich themselves personally, a fact borne out by various scandals. For sustaining themselves at the pinnacle, they effectively use the cards of 'Islam-in-danger' and 'national interest and security'. The Establishment had generally had excellent relationship with its Masters, the US administration, with the result that the latter were able to considerably influence Pakistan’s policies. The Establishment members were severally and collectively rewarded by the numerous administrations of the US for their services. The Chinese have similarly developed a deep influence over the Establishment but, for various reasons, personal benefits may not accrue much to the members of the Establishment from the Chinese. Nevertheless, their hold over the Establishment is considerable and natural when Pakistan depends entirely on them for strategic weapons and their delivery arsenal.
Who are the ‘bad Taliban’ ? This is a figment of the Establishment’s fabrication solely to preserve its core concept of ‘strategic depth’. In spite of being four decades old, the Establishment is steadfastly refusing to give up this core concept. In a recent video interview, the incumbent Emir of TTP, Hakimullah Mehsud, accepted what has been putative otherwise, namely that the ‘good Taliban’, ‘bad Taliban’ and the Al Qaeda were all one and the same. Why did this division come about then ? During the time period between c. 2004 and 2012, the US and its allies were pursuing a two-tier strategy against the terrorists in the Af-Pak region. The first tier was the most important and that was to eliminate all leaders of Al Qaeda and scatter and degrade them in such a way that they would not be of any direct threat to the US and Western interests in the medium term. For this, they needed the whole-hearted support of Pakistan and they received it through various threats and inducements. Yet, the Pakistani ‘Establishment’ added a sting in the tail by safekeeping the trump card, Osama bin Laden, away from American harm for as long as possible. The second and a less important tier of the NATO/ISAF approach had been to go after the Afghan Taliban who ‘accommodated’ and facilitated the Al Qaeda on the soil of the 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan'. This goal, again needed Pakistani Establishment’s support. By this time, Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, warlords in the Af-Pak borderlands and various Pakistani terrorist tanzeems of the Deobandi variety had coalesced to fight the twin common enemies of the US and its subservient Pakistani state. Though Gen. Musharraf quoted the ‘Treaty of Hudabayah’ to describe his incipient engagement with the US, the enraged AQAM (Al-Qaeda and Allied Movements), as the new coalition was called,  was unwilling to accept the General’s nuances. Pakistan’s capitulation to US demands after 9/11 so angered the AQAM that they decided to pursue their own two-tier approach, that of fighting the Americans and allies in Afghanistan and attacking the ‘Establishment’ in Pakistan that was supporting the US. The former task was undertaken by the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan warlords, particularly Haqqani and his shura now safely ensconced in North Waziristan of FATA. The latter task was handed over to the new outfit, the TTP,  that was formally created in c. 2007, after the Laal Masjid incident in Islamabad.
Though there were uncoordinated attacks earlier too on the ‘Establishment’ by various outfits owing allegiance to Osama bin Laden, it was the creation of the TTP that lent it a vicious gruesomeness. Naturally, the Establishment wanted to isolate and deal with those who were attacking them; but, at the same time, they could not afford to antagonize the Afghan Taliban in whom they had invested heavily since c. 1994. The Establishment wanted to preserve the Afghan Taliban because they wanted to ensure that Afghanistan came back under their pre-2002 sphere of influence after the US and allies eventually left. The Establishment cannot tolerate any Indian influence in Afghanistan and the Afghan Taliban were the surest bet for ensuring that. So, the Establishment protected Mullah Omar and dozens of his shura members at various ISI safehouses in Quetta and Karachi. The Establishment cited one reason or another for several years not to take on the Haqqani shura though they went after the TTP in the nearby South Waziristan. The US-Pakistan relationship came close to break-point a couple of times during this period but the Establishment weathered those storms. The US administration, completely at the mercy of Pakistan, blew hot and cold but to no avail. The Establishment created the canard and compartmentalization of the Taliban into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ for its own narrow strategic needs. The Establishment’s definition of the ‘bad Taliban’ includes the Pashtuns on the Pakistani side of Durand Line (excluding some sarkari Taliban commanders like Maulvi Nazir Ahmed of South Waziristan or Gul Bahadur of North Waziristan) along with jihadi groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihadi-Islami (HuJI, the original Punjabi Taliban), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (or LeJ), Jandullah (created by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who plotted 9/11), Tanzeem-ul-Ikhwan, the Zafar Group,  and Brigade 313 (the group formed by Ilyas Kashmiri killed in c. 2011) among others. All these groups have at one time or another enjoyed the full patronage of the Establishment right upto the highest level.
What is America’s position on the Taliban, good and bad? The Americans had extensively dealt with the ‘good’ Afghan Taliban before 9/11 and they had no particular problem with them except for some of their women-related issues or extreme fundamentalism. They have always treated the issue of the Taliban as an internal matter of Afghanistan. Even after 9/11, their emissary to the Taliban, the discredited ISI Chief  Lt. Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed, was asked to convey only the handing over of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders for the Taliban rulers to be left alone. They would therefore have no compunctions in handing power back to them under a paper guarantee that they would abide by the Constitution of Afghanistan. For their part, the Afghan Taliban, the ‘good’ variety, have rejected the existing Constitution and demanded an Islamic one, again, something the Americans can have no particular issue with. Thus, the stage is set for greater role of the 'good' Taliban in the Afghan peace talks and the task of turning the Taliban around for peace talks is left in the capable hands of Pakistan, which simply means in the hands of the Establishment. As for the ‘bad Taliban’, the Americans attacked them whenever the Pakistanis felt particularly overwhelmed by them. The American drones took out Nek Mohammed, Baitullah Mehsud, Ilyas Kashmiri and other ‘inconvenient’ commanders, thus relieving pressure on the Establishment.
The Establishment, which until recently, had a tumultuous relationship with the US (variously referred to as the fifth period of divorce) sees a thaw in that and wants to seize the opportunity. This see-saw US-Pakistan relationship has been a constant feature ever since the US President Gen. Eisenhower made that fateful decision to have close military and political relationship with Pakistan in c. 1954. The Establishment knew that the US would eventually come around and therefore held on tenaciously, even if precariously, until it happened. The ‘road map’ of Afghan denouement, which was released recently, gives primacy to Pakistan in peace efforts and the resolution of power-sharing among various groups come c. 2014. The Establishment is elated that, if it plays its cards meticulously, it will re-establish its strategic depth in Afghanistan. Unlike in c. 1989, this time, the Chinese friends of the Establishment are also interested in these developments because they want to have access to the rich resources of Afghanistan and beyond. The Trans-Karakoram railway line that is being built can be put to good use too to cart away the riches. They may also have a strategic need to be present in Af-Pak to contain the Uyghur separatism radiating from these areas into XUAR (Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region).  The People's Liberation Army of China (PLA) is already in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and would not feel averse extending that, if necessary, to Af-Pak border or into Afghanistan.
Consistent with these developments, new alliances have to take place and the TTP and the Establishment have taken a lead. Seemingly out of nowhere, the TTP offered last week to have talks with the Pakistani Government and the latter have responded ‘cautiously’ too. Of course, TTP has laid down important conditions for talks such as
  1. TTP willing to have a ceasefire but no surrender of arms.
  2. TTP would not forsake its friends and allies such as the Uzbeks, Chechens, Uyghurs and Arabs at any cost.
  3. The TTP reserves for itself the right to kill anyone whom it considers as infidel.
Pakistan's Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, has already welcomed the talks provided the TTP 'quit its violence'. For a good measure, he has also said that "action would be taken if the TTP continued on its path of violence.". We can immediately recognize the smokescreen being created by Rehman Malik. Already, one expects the talks to have begun between the Establishment and the TTP. The much battered (by TTP) Awami National Party (or, ANP) of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has also welcomed the talks. They are in a particularly difficult situation for they would lose either way. They probably felt it prudent to welcome the talks and avoid more battering from the TTP. The whole lot of Islamist parties such as Jama'at-e-Islami (JI) or the factions of Jama'at-Ulema-e-Islami (JUI) have always advocated talks with the TTP and no military action against them. The Prime Minister in waiting (or, is he ?), Imran Khan, has been a strong sympathizer of the TTP though he is no longer in their good books currently.

The TTP have excellent advisors guiding them. Even as they extend an olive branch, they have set conditions from which they would not reconcile. Thus, it is the establishment which has to make concessions. Going by past experience, the Pakistan Army had always done so and this time would be no exception either. The Sararogha Peace Agreement of c. 2004 in which the Peshawar Corps Commander shared the platform with Nek Mohammed, hugged him and handed over to him USD ½ Million and agreed to humiliating conditions is a pointer to what can happen now as well. In that public ceremony, Nek Mohammed openly declared that “Pakistan's authority has become a thing of the past; now the Taliban will rule”. The Lt. Gen. did not refute the contention. The peace deal did not even survive a couple of weeks and the Taliban only consolidated their position and the Pakistani Army only formalized the loss of territories through the deal. The many Peace deals that subsequently followed met with the same fate. The Mother of all Peace Deals that the Establishment is about to sign with the TTP now will hand over Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Quetta, pockets of South Punjab and Karachi to effective TTP control. From here, the evil Emirate will radiate all over Pakistan in quick time. 

However, the Establishment is delighted that the TTP is talking the Establishment's words. The TTP has said that it was time to avenge India for the defeat of 1971 and for the hanging of Kasab. The Establishment is once again proving its time-tested tactical brilliance (if the impending deal can even be called brilliant) and strategic stupidity. In an earlier avtar of the Establishment, it similarly encouraged the Ahl-e-Hadees group of Professor Hafeez Saeed, the UNSC sanctioned terrorist chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba (or, LeT), to inculcate Islamism in the Pakistani armed forces and we now know where those efforts have taken the Pakistani forces to. The TTP are a particularly vicious amalgam of Deobandi, Wahhabi, Salafi and Takfiri brands of Islam imported from Saudi Arabia. Already, a grand effort to convert the majority berelvis into Deobandis is afoot within the Pakistani society. The close nexus that would develop between the TTP and the Pakistani armed forces as a result of the new peace deal will give an entirely new violent meaning to the Pakistani Army's motto of  'jihad fi sabilillah'.

Why is the Establishment so keen in forging a peace deal with the TTP which has pummelled the Pakistani armed forces hard in the last five years ? That takes us back to the scenario in c. 1989. One of the multiple reasons for which Pakistan supported the American 'Bear Trap' project was to let loose the remnant jihadi groups on India after the Afghan operations were over. The Establishment wanted to replicate aspects of the Afghan jihad in Pakistan's eastern border. At that time, Pakistan had not thought through the consequences of its mindless actions. Though there was some initial success, in the long run, Pakistan has been weakened considerably and India has emerged much stronger. This time around, Pakistan has to perforce find alternate employment for the TTP non-state actors because the denouement process will soon make them jobless. Or, at least, that is what the Establishment thinks. The Establishment feels that it can reap double benefits by deflecting them on India and thereby avoiding further blowback to itself.

Thus, the French proverb, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose (the more it changes, the more it remains the same) fits Pakistan once again.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rehman Malik's India Visit

Rehman Malik saheb has at last come and gone.

Why did he come ? He came ostensibly to operationalize the liberalized visa regime that India and Pakistan have agreed to lately. Could that have been the sole reason ? It is now obvious that it certainly was not.

He came possibly for three reasons. I state them in no particular order.

One, of course, the Americans are pushing both India and Pakistan to engage with each other extensively by meeting more frequently whether there is a need or not. There was absolutely no need for Rehman Malik to come to India to operationalize the new visa regime which was a routine matter at official level and yet he insisted on coming here so that his visit would add one to the count of the number of meetings and convince the Americans of the sincerity of Pakistani intent.

Two, Zardari saheb has not yet given up hopes of a visit by the Indian Prime Minister to Pakistan before the caretaker government takes charge ahead of the elections there. The Indian PM continues to talk tantalizingly of his intention to visit while the MEA officials, without identifying themselves, give a few reasons as to why a visit was not in the offing. It might be a good cop-bad cop technique, but Pakistan is too clever to dissect that and continue plugging away at softening Man Mohan Singh as it did at Sharm-el-Sheikh two years back. That episode must have encouraged Pakistan to entertain a glimmer of hope on the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Pakistan. They have sorted out the Indian leaders (of all political parties). All that they have to do is to make impossible promises which would allow an Indian leader an excuse to offer concessions to Pakistan. They know that Indian leaders generally do not hold their Pakistani counterpart's feet to the fire on the unkept promises.

Three, Pakistani leaders always want to come to India, abuse our hospitality, sow seeds of dissension among communities, fly some kites to assess Indian reactions and mouth inanities such as how friendship can lead to economic development etc to lull India into complacency and hide their evil actions and designs even while planning for the same are going on in Pakistan. There are too many instances of these. Two of the recent instances would suffice for example. The Pakistani Army planned Kargil even as Vajpayee was visiting Pakistan on a peace mission. Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mohammed Qureshi was visiting Ajmer sharif when 26/11 broke out.

In this post, I  will not go into the first two reasons cited above. However, the third one needs some elaboration. Let us jog our memory back to circa 1972 when the then Pakistani Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA), Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, came to Shimla for a summit meet with Mrs. Indira Gandhi to get back lost territory (14500 Sq. Kms.) and retrieve the 93000 Prisoners-of-War (PoWs) held captive by India. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was an inveterate India hater as his vow of a thousand-years war with India (which he announced grandly in the United Nations) and a determination to even let his people eat grass if only he could get nuclear weapons, prove. His quest for nuclear weapons, at all costs, which started after the massive defeat of 1971 goes to prove how much he wanted to destroy India because Pakistan never looked up to nukes as deterrent, but as offensive weapons to be used against India at the earliest opportunity, despite pious protestations to the contrary.

 But, even at the time he came to India as head of the Pakistani State in c. 1972 to negotiate with Mrs. Indira Gandhi an honourable exit from a very difficult situation, his deep hatred for Hindu India (Bhutto's characterization of India) must have been known to Indian leaders who were advising Mrs. Gandhi. Just six months before coming to Shimla, this son of a Hindu mother,  had already convened a meeting of Pakistani nuclear scientists at Multan and asked them to build nukes. It was this effort that eventually forced Ms. Indira Gandhi to order the Smiling Buddha test at Pokhran in c. 1974. He, as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, was the one to precipitate the 1965 war through wrong advice to Ayub Khan. This wily character then accused Ayub Khan after the Tashkent Agreement and turned tables against him to remain unscathed from the massive failure. He was the architect of the border concession with China just so that Pakistan could forge friendship with its arch-enemy's enemy. As a Foreign Minister, he was known for his constant vitriolic attacks on India.  He called Sheikh Mujibur Rehman as an agent of Hindu India and a person devoid of any Islamic character out to wreck Islamism in Pakistan All these were known to India by the time he came on a charm trip to negotiate the fate of lost territory and captured prisoners.

Of course, we came to know much more about him later. For example, he secretly advised Ayub Khan to not only yank the State of Jammu & Kashmir from India (through Op. Gibraltar), but also North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA, now Arunachal Pradesh) with assistance from China. His initiation of measures for greater solidarity among Islamic countries was not benign but was directed at India as he used this platform to launch political and diplomatic manoeuvres against India and further polarize communities within India on religious lines. Bhutto agreed with Ms. Indira Gandhi to make the de facto Cease Fire Line (CFL) which was thenceforth to be called Line of Control (LoC) as de jure International Boundary (IB) once the situation stabilized but pleaded with Ms. Gandhi not to include any of this as part of the Agreement as it would lead to complications for himself within Pakistan. He knew that a generous India would agree and so it did. Once he consolidated his position after returning victoriously from Shimla, he resiled from his promise made at Shimla.

So, it was to this man, by the name of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, that India surrendered without demurring at Shimla in July, 1972. He mouthed all the inanities and sweet-nothings that we continue to hear to this day from Pakistani leaders, opinion-makers and analysts. He told the Indian delegation as to how the two nations could improve the lot of the millions of the poor people if only they eschewed their enmity and diverted the funds for social development. He said how enmity was not the way forward, how the new LoC would become LoP (Line of Peace), how India needed to support a fledgeling democracy in Pakistan, how there was only the Army rule if he went back empty-handed from Shimla (the-after-me-deluge threat that all successive Pakistani leaders have successfully used) etc. Haven't we heard these arguments repeatedly from Pakistan ever since then and even now during Rehman Malik saheb's latest visit ?  For their part, the Indian interlocutors at Shimla (especially Foreign Secretary T.N. Kaul, and D.P.Dhar) were idealistic and wanted to see the 'larger picture' of 'durable peace' and the 'historic opportunity' and did not wish to 'impose harsh terms'  upon Pakistan. These two gentlemen should bear the cross for meekly surrendering all our cards without gaining anything in return and squandering away the greatest opportunity till date of settling the issues between us and them. Haven't Indian interlocutors (and a vociferous liberal section of voices) been mouthing the same useless arguments ever since ?

India's concessions at Shimla were aimed at 'removing the mistrust', end the cycle of 'enduring hostility' and to 'create conditions for long-term peace and cooperation''. But, those were not Pakistan's intentions. They wanted to recover lost territory and men and prepare to fight India another day.  We miserably failed to read what was clearly written on the wall that even a visually challenged person (no offence to them and with all due respect) would have read. The two contrasting intentions converged only on two points, exchange of territory and PoWs. True to his colours, Z.A. Bhutto simply forgot the Shimla Agreement after he achieved his goals and redoubled his efforts to destroy India. It was naive on our part to have hoped that a man who was furious after the Tashkent Agreement in c. 1965 would now implement the Shimla Agreement.

What have Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Shimla got to do with Rehman Malik ? Rehman Malik is the personification of Z.A.Bhutto and his sugar-and-honey promise on 26/11 is the equivalent of the Shimla Agreement. Similarly, we have some lofty objectives for the implementation of the liberalized visa regime, which is to further people-to-people contact, improve trade, remove mistrust, and encourage cultural exchange. But, Pakistan has none of these. They want to make it easy for Pakistanis to visit India only for their own nefarious advantage. The stalled grant of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India belies their tactics. The point is that Rehman Malik will go back and do exactly the opposite of whatever pious words he uttered in New Delhi, like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of 1972.

Now, what did Rehman Malik saheb do upon arrival in India ? He decided to follow a three-pronged approach to achive the three objectives that he was entrusted with. First and foremost, protect Pakistan's interests which required going on the offensive from the moment he landed in New Delhi. He equated the demolition of Babri Mosque with 26/11. He knew that this would stir a hornet's nest but that was exactly what he wanted. He wanted to dominate the narrative in India while he was here. He knows that the Indians have an enormous forbearance for insults heaped on them and he tested the extremities. He proceeded to do so without wasting much time.

In fact, he carefully chose Babri Mosque because he wanted the insult to connote three different sub-texts. He wants to kindle communal tension, open raw wounds and draw support for his position from those liberal sections of the Indian society waiting in the wings to pick up on the issue of the so-called oppression of minorities in India. There was another sub-text to this reference to Babri Mosque which was to implicitly equate India with Pakistan on the question of ill-treating minorities. Rehman Malik made it explicit when, while explaining his intention for referring to Babri Mosque, he said that his reference was in the context of killing of Shias in Pakistan. (In fact, he cleverly included the killing of Sunnis also in Karachi in that list. But, Sunnis in Karachi are getting killed not by Shias but in intra-Sunni sectarian violence and ethnic violnce among the Pashtuns, Mohajirs and native Sindhis) He thus made it very clear that his intention was equating the state of wahhabi/salafi/Deobandi anarchy in Pakistan with India. The third sub-text was to assert the very long-standing Pakistani claim that anything Islamic in Hindu India naturally belongs to Pakistan and Pakistan alone is the protector of Muslim rights in Hindu India. This goes back to the days of Jinnah when he said that the minorities in the two nations were guarantors of peace, which later resulted in a foolish (foolish on the part of Nehru, not Liaquat Ali Khan) Nehru-Liaquat Ali Khan Pact after horrendous massacre of Hindus in East Pakistan post Partition and Independence.

The second approach was to simultaneously deflect any critical questioning by his Indian counterpart, Sushil Kumar Shinde, on the progress of the 26/11 case in Pakistan. Of course, he came well prepared. He charmed his Indian interlocutors by promising things that he has no control over such as completing the case within three months after the second Pakistani judicial commission visited India.

The third and the most important approach was to cajole the Indian Prime Minister into visiting Pakistan as soon as possible, before the PPP government bowed out ahead of the upcoming elections. There are two important reasons why Pakistan is desperately trying to get the Indian Prime Minister to go across the border. The ruling PPP (Pakistan People's Party), which is in dire straits in the upcoming elections, would like to take advantage of the Indian Prime Minister's visit politically to bolster its chances. The other is that whenever an Indian Prime Minister met his Pakistani counterpart in a one-on-one session, the Indian leaders tended to concede a lot more than otherwise. The incumbent Indian Prime Minister had demonstrated that conclusively at Sharm-el-Sheikh two years back.  One does not know what transpired in the meeting between the itching-to-visit-Pakistan Indian Prime Minister and the representative of Zardari from Pakistan. Time will tell.

During the three days of his stay here in India, Rehman Malik saheb created furore after furore and insulted Indian hospitality and intelligence to an extent that no other Pakistani leader before him had done so. Let us list them.
  • Equating 26/11 with the demolition of the Babri Mosque.
  • Claiming that the mutilation of Lt. Saurabh Kalia was either because of some wild animals (also known as Pakistani soldiers, perhaps ?) or inclement weather
  • LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) could not have been behind 26/11 because it was already banned and its cadres had joined the TTP (Tehrik-Taliban-e-Pakistan)
  • India had never given any solid evidence against Professor Hafiz Saeed; all the dossiers were mere information
  • India should forget 26/11 and move on
  • 26/11 happened because of Indian intelligence failure and Pakistan cannot be faulted (He probably meant that the jihadis should also not be blamed because it is the sacred duty of the jihadis to attack kafir land. Only the kafir should be careful and prevent it.)
  • Had India allowed the judicial commission earlier, the case would have been wrapped up by now
  • Abu Jundal was an Indian R&AW (Research & Analysis Wing) agent who went 'rogue' just like David Coleman Headley
  • There is no infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan across the border into India. It is simply migration as happens between Mexico and the US. It cannot be stopped

  • Then, of course, were his promises. He promised to give then and there a copy of the 26/11 charge sheet filed in the Adiala Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and asked one of the Secretaries of his Interior Ministry who actually filed the charge sheet in ATC, to do so, only to be told by him that he did not carry a copy of the same. Malik saheb also promised, during the meeting with Sushil Kumar Shinde, to give details on call details, IP addresses and bank account details of the terrorists who are now jailed, but the accompanying delegation feigned complete ignorance on these. He promised to allow the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) sleuths to interrogate the jailed terrorists in Adiala and even offered to take them with him in the same plane, knowing fully well that such a flight of fancy (pun intended) was impossible.
    Now, Shinde has told the Parliament that perusing the documents handed over by Rehman Malik on the charge sheets filed against Professor Hafiz Saeed saheb, it was clear that they pertained to something else (probably nuisance to public law and order) and not related to the conspiracy angle in the 26/11 case. So, Pakistani perfidy (and, of course, Rehman Malik's own) stands out once again clearly. So, they never used material furnished in the Indian dossiers and never cared to gather, on their own, more evidence based on these, but continue to fraudulently claim that Indian evidence against Professor saheb could not stand in a court of law.
    So, Rehman Malik saheb came here for no official reason at all (the new visa regime would have come into force in any case), enjoyed our wonderful hospitality, abused us all and our collective intelligence roundly, floated his conspiracy theories (for which Pakistan is justly famous), disabused us of any hope that Pakistan may indeed pursue its relationship with India more seriously, flew some kites such as his vision of  Pakistanis being able to drive into India in their own cars (perhaps laden with suicide bombers and tonnes of explosives) and freely visit any part of India without having to report to the police etc. It begs the question as to why arch-enemy kafir Hindu India should roll-out red carpet to jihadi terrorists from Pakistan when the rest of the world has tightened their visa rules and entry procedures at border checkpoints as far as Pakistanis are concerned.

    But, who knows ? A dhimmi India might just as well accede to these incredible demands from Rehman Malik saheb and dig its own grave even deeper.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Jihadi Terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab and Indian Liberals

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, only one of the ten foot soldiers to be caught alive by the bravest of the brave police officer Tukharam Omble, was at last hanged until dead in the historic Yerawada Jail in Pune. The late Tukharam Omble must now feel that his duty as a law enforcement officer is now complete. Nothing gives a greater pleasure to a police officer than the court (in this case up to the highest court of the land) punishing the criminal caught by the officer. In this case, the sense of elatement must be phenomenal because Omble caught hold of the hot barrel of an AK-47 with his bare hand to catch a jihadi terrorist waging an urban guerilla war against our country. It was Shri Omble's bravest act and his martyrdom in the process that have conclusively exposed the villainy and perfidy of Pakistan. Not for nothing then that Shri Omble was awarded the Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award of this grateful nation.

The Government of India needs to be praised for the quick action once the mercy petition was rejected by the President of India. The only aberration in an otherwise well executed plan, was the burial of Kasab's body within the precincts of the jail itself. One associates Yerawada jail with the incarceration of intrepid freedom fighters for India's Independence from under the British yoke. That such a place should now permanently hold the remains of the incarnation of evil, Kasab, is somewhat troubling. It would have been better had Kasab been given a sea burial in international waters, if Pakistan refused to accept his body, as was done in the case of Osama bin Laden. There should have been no trace of this personification of evil left behind in India.

However, true to its tradition of being argumentative as well as being bleeding heart, some Indians have voiced their dissent to the execution of this evil-personified, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab. These voices were heard even at the time the death sentence was pronounced by the trial court on May 6, 2010, later when the Mumbai High Court upheld the appeal on February 21, 2011. The trial court had convicted Kasab and awarded death punishment to him  on four counts of murder, conspiracy to murder, waging war against the country and committing terrorist activities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act  Though the trial court pinned 56 counts of murder on Kasab and his partner Abu Ismail, he was held solely responsible for seven deaths including three top Maharashtra police officers who were killed in their discharge of duties, ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, ACP Ashok Kamate, and Senior Police Inspector Vijay Salaskar.

These Indian liberals are at it again. See an earlier thread on this blog as to "Why Ajmal Amir kasab Should be Hanged Quickly". Leading the pack is the ex-Supreme Court judge, V.R. Krishna Iyer. Presiding over an organization called, 'People's Movement Against Death Penalty', he has termed Kasab's execution as an 'unconstitutional act'. One wonders how this learned ex-judge has today forgotten the Constitution of India. Indian Penal Code retains death penalty as of this moment of writing and hence the award of death and the implementation of the same are *not* unconstitutional as V.R.Krishna Iyer proclaims. Besides, Kasab has gone through all legal avenues open to him under the Indian Constitution and the award of his death penalty has been confirmed by the Bombay High Court as well as the Supreme Court of India as the 'rarest of rare case' fit for death by hanging. In fact, the Supreme Court opined that Kasab's was the rarest of the rare case to have ever come before it since the birth of the Indian Republic itself. His mercy petition had been reviewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs which sent its recommendation rejecting it to the President of India. The President of India applied his mind and rejected the mercy petition, after which Kasab was executed. Where is breach of constitutionality in this chain of events ?

He goes on to claim that Kasab's 'execution was no solution to crime'. Does the learned ex-judge recommend the dissolution wholesale of the Criminal Procedure Code because this argument can be taken to the extent that no punishment was solution to any crime, why only death penalty. Punishment for a proven crime serves two purposes, one dispensation of justice under a duly established justice system and two deterrence against further occurrences of a similar crime as it sends a clear message to potential criminals as to what they can expect. It might have other effects as well such as establishing the writ of a nation-state or bringing a sense of closure to the aggrieved party etc. The question to ask therefore is why should one say that 'execution was no solution to the crime'. Mr. Krishna Iyer answers that by claiming that " there was scope to reform the convict through rigorous imprisonment"

Is Mr. V.R.Krishna Iyer right when he claims that there was scope for reforming Kasab, making him abhor violence stemming out of religious bigotry and hatred and making him a productive member of a civilized society ? Mr. V.R.Krishna Iyer has given no reason as to how he knew that Kasab was quite amenable to reformation had he been awarded rigorous imprisonment. However, we can only go by evidences of news snippets that have regularly appeared over the years regarding his behaviour during incarceration. Going by those, one can easily conclude that Shri V.R. Krishna Iyer is over the top when he makes his fantastic claim that Kasab would have reformed.

We will first go by the statements of the equally learned judges (as Shri V.R.Krishna Iyer) of the trial court, the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court.

The Special Anti-terror Court of M.L.Tahaliyani said in its judgement, "In the court's opinion, Kasab has no chance to reform. Keeping such a terrorist alive will be a lingering danger to the society and the Indian government," He also said, "The Probability of reform is ruled out. The way he has committed the offence doesn't give scope for it. The court has noted that this man has voluntarily gone to the doors of the LeT in Rawalpindi. He Himself offered to become a mujahid".   The Bombay High Court similarly discounted the possibility of reforming Kasab. It said, "There is no scope of reform or rehabilitation of the convicted-accused. It is a rarest of rare case and the court cannot be more confident than it is today that death penalty must be given."

Let us also look at how Kasab himself behaved during the four years he was a captive. Did he betray any emotions that would have hinted at him being amenable to reformation as Shri V.R. Krishna Iyer conveniently claims ? While confessing before the magistrate, he was angry with himself that he could not kill more Indians. That was why the public prosecutor, Ujwal Nikam, characterized Kasab as a 'killing machine manufactured in Pakistan'.

At no point of time in the four years, whether in private or in his appeals to the court, did Kasab express any remorse for his evil acts. The Bombay High Court observed, "Kasab has never shown any remorse after his arrest and we have observed that even on video conference he has not shown any signs of regret".  In the Special Leave Petition to the Supreme Court, he simply requested for leniency because he was 'brainwashed like a robot, in the name of God' and that he was 'too young to die'. Countering this argument, the Supreme Court said, "We are unable to accept the submission that the appellant was a mere tool in the hands of the Lashkar-e-Taiba. He joined the Lashkar-e-Taiba around December 2007 and continued as its member till the end, despite a number of opportunities to leave it".  Kasab neither apologized for his actions, nor did he feel any remorse at any point of time. "He kills without the slightest twinge of conscience," the supreme court said and added "Unfortunately, he is wholly remorseless and any feeling of pity is unknown to him". How Shri V.R. Krishna Iyer alone concluded that Kasab was fertile for reformation is better left to him to explain. He has not bothered to explain that except to say that Kasab could have been reformed.

Apart from the fact that Kasab was unapologetic and unremorseful until the very end and hence not a candidate for any reformation, there was every possibility that a Kandahar-type operation could have been mounted by Pakistan to free him. This was the fear expressed also by the learned judge M.L.Tahaliyani of the special trial court when he said, "If Kasab is kept alive, this situation may occur again".

The appalling depths to which this nation has fallen is proved by the utterances of the liberals who demand a kid-glove treatment even when day-in and day-out ordinary and innocent Indians are subjected to terror of the worst kind from the likes of Kasab and his masters. if these jihadi terrorists are amenable to reformation, why don't these bleeding hearts go across the border and reform them ? Their task has been now made easy by the liberalized visa regime. If they are not willing to do that, they should simply shut up and let the State and Judiciary follow the Constitution of this land.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Collision Course among the Army, Government and Judiciary

A very interesting day it was, the 5th of November 2012.

The three important pillars of Pakistan, namely the Army, the incumbent Government and the Judiciary (the judiciary being the latest addition in recent years to the power equation) all spoke on the latest developments in Pakistan and sparks flew.

First, it was COAS Gen. Kayani who said mistakes of individual officers should not be blamed on the institution of the armed forces as a whole and any effort to drive a wedge between the armed forces and the people of Pakistan would lead to serious consequences. To any layman person who follows developments in Pakistan, it was apparent that Gen. Kayani was referring to the judiciary which in a recent spate of judgements, had severely criticized the army including asking for an end to its political interference. Just to ensure that Kayani's message was not misinterpreted, an Army officer was detailed to inform the press that the General was indeed referring to the judiciary. The immediate provocation was the about-to-be-delivered detailed verdict (finally given on November 8, 2012) in the 1990 poll rigging case in which the Supreme Court held the then COAS, Gen. Aslam Beg and the ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani guilty of violating the Constitution.

Incidentally, the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP), Iftikhar Choudhry, asserted in a bar council meeting on the same day ( it would be interesting to see if chronologically he spoke after Kayani's speech to his army units) that the security paradigm which necessitated Pakistan to acquire tanks and missiles was outdated and real security came from empowerment of people. He minced no words in declaring that the Judiciary had sky-high limits that cannot be questioned. He also said that nobody should be mistaken about the 'ultimate authority' of the judiciary.

Not to be outdone, the Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari, also spoke about the latest state of affairs in Pakistan at a conference of SAARC Speakers of Parliaments. He said that democracy was now firmly established in Pakistan because an elected government was likely to complete its term ! He also said that the 'old order' was still active but its kicks were convulsions of a person in death bed. One can easily conclude that the reference to the 'old order' was indeed a reference to the Army. As a sop, the Pakistani prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, said that there was no collision among the institutions of the state and such impressions must be dispelled.

The seemingly conflictual statements could have been completely coincidental, but, one makes such an assumption only with great peril when it comes to Pakistan. So, what prompted these three gentlemen to speak their mind out in that fashion ?

The Pakistani Army (PA) has been under pressure from different quarters, both from external and internal sources, in recent times. There is no doubt that some sheen (in the eyes of the common folk Pakistanis) has gone off the PA. To be fair to the PA, I must say that the loss of sheen is not a recent development but is a culmination of a series of defeats and failures since October 1947 (though the PA covered itself with fabricated glory as dictated by the security paradigm that the CJP has now shredded). J&K (Gilgit was a treachery by a British Army Officer and cannot be attributed to the PA), 1965, 1999, operations in Balochistan or FATA et al have all been unmitigated disasters. Adding insult to these deep injuries have been Salala, Abbottabad, Raymond Davis etc. The 'bad Taliban', for their part, almost captured the GHQ at Rawalpindi along with top Generals as hostages. They have been successfully harassing and tormenting the armed forces by attacking their nuclear weapon complexes, bases, buses carrying their personnel, top individual officers  (including their creator and mentor Col. Imam), recruitment and training centres, offices of the various intelligence agencies , convoys etc. The series of 'Peace Agreements' with the 'bad Taliban'  all collapsed within a matter of a few months each and the 'bad Taliban' considerably gained in the process.

Externally too, the PA-US relationship had at several times reached breaking-point in recent times only to recover just in the nick of time. Various American interlocutors have spoken openly and harshly of Pakistan's duplicity, an unusual occurrence. These have weakened the bond between the US and the PA, a relationship that has been purely transactional since the 1960s, after the initial American euphoria about 'ramrod straight Pakistani soldiers' being surrealistically 'out of a Hollywood movie' etc. However, the frequent  downs in the US-PA relationship had not substantially affected the PA's projects against India because the 'ups' had stocked the PA sufficiently to coast through the bouts of 'downs'. However, this time it looks very different because the American anger had cut across the political divide and the lay Americans have understood the Pakistani perfidy. The US also has a deep strategic relationship with India now while it was at the best indifferent and at the worst hostile to India's concerns in the three decade period between the 70s and the 90s. The PA-USA dream has gone sour, at least for now though there is no guarantee that it would not recover. All it needs is another event like 26/11 or December 24, 1979 or clever manipulation by Pakistan that would make the US dependent on Pakistan for 'services'.

In recent times, a series of high-profile events has dented the image of the PA. There was a setback in the Hussain Haqqani case for the PA as the main prosecution witness setup by the ISI was found to be unreliable. An angry Prime Minister, Gilani, dismissed the hand-picked PA General who was holding the post of Defence Secretary and replaced him with a woman. The Generals were forced to discuss military matters with a civilian and that too a woman, a shame in a country that prides itself on its martial misogyny. Abbottabad and Salala exposed the helplessness of the Pakistani armed forces in spite of brave words of shooting down intruding flying machines. At both these places, things happened even before PA could realize what was happening. The Supreme Court, led by the CJP who was reinstated by the Army Chief himself, revived the long-running Air Marshal Asghar Khan case. The Supreme Court (SC) confirmed that money indeed had been disbursed by the PA to influence politicians in the 1990 general elections and passed severe strictures against no less a person than the then army Chief, Gen. Aslam Beg, and his ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani (who is normally spoken of in Indian TV channels as a moderate voice of Pakistani military). It asked the ISI (and by extension the PA) to ensure that it dismantled its 'political intelligence wing' and did not interfere in politics henceforth. Then, there have been other cases as well like the corruption in the pilferage and disappearance of thousands of NATO containers sent through National Logistics Cell (NLC), a transportation unit owned and operated by the military. More than 29000 containers simply disappeared and an equal number were pilfered with. Of course, this behaviour of the NLC does not come as a surprise to regular Pakistani watchers because it has been the main conduit for heroin and smuggled goods from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

The warning shot fired by Gen. Kayani across the bow is understandable because the PA is entering a crucial period as denouement nears in Afghanistan. The PA is quite firm in its India-revenge project and Afghanistan plays the most crucial role in its scheme of things against India. The pivotal Doctrine of Strategic Depth, conceived and developed by the likes of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, Lt. Gen Akhtar Abdur Rehman, and Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul continues to define the approach of the PA towards war mongering with India. The fact that the Quetta and Haqqani shura are being protected within Pakistan is a proof that Pakistan is as vigorously pursing today its Afghan strategy as of the late 1990s. Both the US and the Afghan governments have been frustrated by the stonewalling of the Taliban interlocutors under a PA advice. We must expect a very bloody war of attrition in c. 2013 when the Americans and the Taliban try to degrade and demoralize the other party before crucial talks and the withdrawal of the ISAF in c. 2014. With a not-so-friendly US around and a number of neighbouring countries not wanting a return of the Taliban to power, the PA does not want any derailment of its Afghanistan strategy either through an internal issue or through a war with India at this stage. This would also explain the relative easing up of terror attacks on India this year (except for the fizzled out Pune bombs). It is therefore working overtime to install a PA-compliant jihadi Prime Minister in the form of Imran Khan in Islamabad. The CJP, through his various actions and utterances, seem to be undermining this noble PA project and the PA is incensed. Could the CJP be, wittingly or unwittingly, following an American agenda ? We should see, in coming months, a slew of PA-sponsored planted stories about the CJP to tarnish his reputation.

All along, the judiciary has either been a vociferous supporter of the PA (invoking the 'doctrine of necessity' to support the Army's frequent usurpation of power) or a cowering mute spectator. Judicial activism started when an arrogant Gen. Musharraf upbraided the CJP, Iftikhar Chaudhry and put him under house arrest. After PPP regained power in c. 2008, Asif Ali Zardari was unwilling to reinstate the dismissed Iftikhar Chaudhry leading to nation-wide protest. The COAS, Gen. Kayani, threw his weight behind the CJP and he was quickly reinstated. How could Zardari go aginst the wishes of an Army Gneral, much less a COAS ? Gen. Kayani must be ruing his decision now. Who knows ? The CJP, Iftikhar Chaudhry, might very well be nurturing political ambitions. The undue haste with which he initiated suo motu proceedings in the case involving his own son (Malik Riaz Vs. Arsalan Iftikhar) and in which he himself participated as the judge, thereby throwing to the winds tradition and propriety, show that the CJP is not 'lily white' as he has carefully portrayed himself so far. His intention could be to discredit both the PA and the politicians (which they both surely deserve) so that he comes out as the Knight in the Shining Armour.

Zardari and his PPP would be watching the developments and adding to the war of words appropriately for their own advantage.

Thus the French proverb, Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, fits Pakistan exceedingly well. Every party in this triangular equation hates the other two at this point of time. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Should Dr. Man Mohan Singh Visit Pakistan Now ? Part - I

The recently concluded foreign ministers’ meeting between India and Pakistan at Islamabad saw the Pakistani side demanding yet again a visit by the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh to that country in November coinciding with the Guru Purnima, a holy day for the Sikhs, to which community the Indian Prime Minister belongs. The crescendo has been building up for a while now and was brought up by President Asif Ali Zardari himself when he came over to India in June, 2012 ostensibly to pay obeisance at the Ajmer Sharif dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a holy place for Sufi Muslims of the Indian subcontinent. The sudden and an inexplicable visit of President Zardari to Ajmer Sharif, appears in hindsight, to be for no ostensible reason other than eliciting a reciprocal religious visit by the Indian Prime Minister through subtle pressure.

Though speculations have abounded as to why such an incessant request, even demand, has been made to the Indian Prime Minister when there has been apparently no significant progress in the on-going dialogue between the two nations, ranging from possible political gains to the much beleaguered Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP), to mounting American pressure in view of the looming withdrawal of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) from Afghanistan and therefore a need to forge a regional consensus, one is not certain about the real reason behind this request. The political dimension appears to be a more plausible reason. Recently, Pakistan delayed the signing of the documents for the new 'liberalized visa regime' when the Indian Home Secretary visited Islamabad,  by claiming that only political leaders should sign such an important agreement. Thus, Pakistan was even willing to wait longer for something that it has been vociferously demanding for many years now, just in order to get some political mileage out of this event.

The non-stop demand for the Indian PM's visit to Pakistan also appears, therefore,  to be a political stunt by the ruling PPP which otherwise is hopeless about retaining its rule after the elections which are just around the corner. Coming in the wake of a series of D-Days for the PPP government in the form of pronouncements from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, one can only conclude that the visit of an Indian Prime Minister is desperately being sought to bolster the sagging fortunes of the ruling party. The announcement of an agreement on withdrawal of troops from the Siachen glaciers, for example, could contribute significantly towards a turnaround of fortunes for the PPP. Since June, 2005 when Mr. Man Mohan Singh visited Siachen, he has been determined to work out a deal to withdraw Indian troops from the advantageous and commanding positions that they have enjoyed along the Saltoro Range. This obsession by the Indian Prime Minister to commit a harakiri in Siachen is of course, music to Pakistani ears and they have been massaging him and his advisers to agree to Pakistani promises of good behaviour which is worth much less than anything written on a sandy beach washed by smashing tidal waves. Since that is something that the Pakistani Army also demands, especially after the recent Gyari incident, there is a rare approval of the PPP by the Army at least on this issue. Since Indian Prime Ministers have regularly conceded Pakistani demands in one-on-one meetings, it may be Pakistan's calculation that if Mr. Man Mohan Singh visits Islamabad they may have a chance of striking a deal on Siachen favourable to Pakistan.
Whatever may be the reason or reasons for Pakistan to demand this visit, we need to debate whether such a visit would do any good to India at all. Some Indian analysts have opined that such a visit must be undertaken now because they see no deleterious effect at all while there is a possibility of a progress, even if not a breakthrough, in one or more of the issues such as Sir Creek or Siachen or the Indus Water sharing disputes. At least one of them has cited how the meeting between Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and the then Pakistani Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan led to the Nehru-Liaquat Pact of  April 8, 1950 on the protection of the rights of religious minorities in both the countries in the wake of continuing violence after a genocidal Partition. Then, there is a reference to the Indus Water Treaty(IWT), signing for which, Pandit Nehru went to Karachi (September, 1960) and met Field Marshal Ayub Khan. The visit of Rajiv Gandhi to Islamabad (December, 1988) is also thrown in as a proof of a meeting that resulted in instituting a mechanism to exchange data about nuclear installations in either countries that would not be attacked in case of a war, thus paving some way for nuclear Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). Last, but not the least is the citation of Atal Behari Vajpayee’s bus-trip to Lahore (February, 1999) that realized a long-standing dream of bus travel and border trade between the two divided portions of Kashmir. The point being made by such an analysis is that summit meetings between Indian & Pakistani Prime Ministers can lead to some positives even if not a breakthrough is achieved resolving the ‘enduring hostility'. But, is such a conclusion correct and warranted ?  No, not at all, in my opinion.

Between circa 1972 and 1989 (when Pakistan-sponsored terrorism erupted in all its glory in India eventhough Pakistan has been sponsoring terrorism in J&K since c. 1947 itself), the Indian Prime Minister  and his / her Pakistani counterpart had met eight times in either countries. I have not included the meetings between them in third countries which account for another eight such meetings. In spite of these meetings, cross-border terrorism of the worst kind was inflicted upon India by Pakistan. Since circa 1990, there have been many more such meetings, and though some progress has indeed been made, the reasons for which are the dire economic necessity of Pakistan and the enormous pressure exerted on both countries by the USA, the fundamental differences continue to exist and have not been touched at all. And, Pakistan continues to pummel India with terrorism in all parts of India.

Less than two months back, there were serial bomb blasts in Pune and much fatalities, maiming and damage were averted because of pure luck: rain and a failed electronic circuitry. In July 2011, the most sought after target in India, Mumbai, was rocked once again by three serial bomb blasts that killed over two dozen people and maimed 150. In December 2010, the Varanasi temple was bombed and a toddler was killed. In February 2010, the Best bakery in Pune was bombed, again killing a dozen and injuring over 50. Yet another attack was exactly a year ago almost to this day at the Delhi High Court which killed a dozen people and injured over 70. How quickly we have forgotten all these ! May be, we no longer classify such attacks where the fatalities are less than a hundred, as terror attacks. These are cases which happened. We will never know how many attempts were nipped by the intelligence agencies. So, Pakistan believes that it needs to continue the terrorism pressure on India even while it tricks her into summit talks to get more and more concessions from the very big neighbour. The demand has always been that India must be more generous, something to which the Indian Wagah Kandle Kissers (WKKs) have regularly subscribed too.
Above anything else, we have to recognize one grand difference (among many others) between the way Pakistani and Indian leaders approach India-Pakistan relationship and the way to go about resolving disputes. Pakistan has always been governed by a powerful central leader (Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Z.A.Bhutto or military dictators from the front seat or Chiefs of Army Staff from the backseat). I have not included either Ms. Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif or Yousuf Raza Gilani in the list because while they were powerful (at least the first two), they were circumscribed in their handling of relationship with India by the powerful Army. These powerful central leaders (Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan or Z.A. Bhutto) and military dictators or the Army Chiefs (COASs) were answerable to none and handled the India-situation as they liked. Their goal was tactical and always to bring India down to her knees at any opportunity and they worked towards that goal, mindless of consequences. If the Pakistani Army sensed any small change in the government's policy from the conflict-mode to a peace-mode, it immediately stepped in to nip such changes in the bud. The characterization of Ms. Benazir Bhutto as a 'security risk' during her first term in office as the Prime Minister is an example. That she atoned for this lapse in her second term by vigorously supporting jihad against India is another matter though.

If a servile relationship with Western powers were to be forged, Pakistan was willing to do that without much of a debate. If jihadi Islamism were to be nurtured, they were happy to do so without worrying about the backlash. If a capitalist Western friend were to be substituted by a communist country at the height of Cold War even while being part and parcel of the Western military alliances against spread of communism, because that suited Pakistan at that particular moment, they did so without batting an eyelid. If thousands of square kilometres of land were to be ceded to China just so that friendship could be developed with that country to target India later, they did so without much of an internal debate. All these were explained away casually as decisions taken in the 'best national interests' to Pakistanis. Generally, the people of Pakistan including opposition political parties never questioned such short-term deals because these were acceptable tactics against  the mortal kafir enemy, India. They were never discussed in the Parliament firstly because there was no worthwhile Parliament most of the time (as military dictators have ruled for almost half the life of Pakistan) and even when there was one, everybody understood that such important foreign policy decisions would have been taken by the Pakistani Army and it was futile and even downright dangerous to discuss such 'sensitive' decisions. Even a few feeble attempts to bring the Pakistani Army and its notorious intelligence wing, the ISI, have been failures to this day.
Indian leaders cannot behave like that and have not behaved like that. They are answerable to the collective responsibility of the Cabinet, to the elected representatives in the Parliament and to the people at large. They have to and they do respect international conventions and agreements. A country encompassing roughly one-sixth of humanity within itself cannot take decisions without bothering about the consequences. An Indian leader cannot simply visit Islamabad and take a decision on the spur of the moment. The Indian Cabinet would authorize the Prime Minister for certain decisions before embarking on a summit meeting and he or she has to keep himself/herself strictly to that script. There have been a few exceptions like when Dr. Man Mohan Singh went out of his way to please and placate a fellow Punjabi, Yousuf Raza Gilani, by almost implicating India in Pakistan's Balochistan mess at the Sharm-el-Sheikh meeting in mid-July 2009. This caused such a massive uproar within the country and within his own Congress party, that a huge damage control exercise had to be resorted to contain the fallout. But, such incidents are rare and almost unheard of even when a steam-rolling and all-powerful Nehru was in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Let us also see if the Nehru-Liaquat Pact or the IWT or even the Nuclear CBM between Rajiv Gandhi-Benazir Bhutto came about just because the two Prime Ministers met or they met just to sign a deal that had been worked out after extensive preparatory work between the secretaries and ministers of both the countries.
Only Nehru-Liaquat Pact of April 1950 could qualify as something that was signed in a very quick time, without elaborate discussions. However, the exigencies of the grave situation were such that a quick action had to be taken and the Pact was a result of that. Why such a haste, one may ask ? I would only quote from the resignation letter tendered by a federal Pakistani minister and one of the staunchest Muslim League supporters, Jogendra Nath Mandal, in the wake of the 1950 genocide of the Hindus in East Pakistan. Mandal, a Bengali, was a freedom fighter and a Harijan (nowadays referred to as Dalits) leader, but was brain-washed by the Muslim League and enticed to support its causes and stay in Pakistan. Pakistan desperately wanted the services of these depressed people as no Muslim was expected to do the menial jobs in their cities and they feared that if Mandal left, the people would also follow him. In her wonderful book, 'Empires of the Indus', Ms. Alice Albinia recalls a similar incident with another Harijan leaders in Karachi in c. 1948. Mandal did not realize that the Muslim league had already accorded 'third-class citizenship' to the Harijans. Therefore, he received the shock of his lifetime one day in February, 1949. When Mandal raised the fear of the minorities during a discussion in the Constituent Assembly over the introduction of the Objectives Resolution, he was told by Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Usmani, the sponsor of the Resolution, that as a Hindu he should not have been in the first place in the cabinet of a Muslim nation and that he should be paying jizya. Mandal simply shut up. Now, let me quote a portion of Mandal's resignation letter:
It must be noted that stories of a few incidents of communal disturbance that took place in West Bengal as a sort of repercussion of the incidents at Kalshira were published in exaggerated form in he East Bengal press. In the second week of February 1950 when the Budget Session of the East Bengal Assembly commenced, the Congress Members sought permission to move two adjournment motions to discuss the situation created at Kalshira and Nachole. But the motions were disallowed. The Congress members walked out of the Assembly in protest. This action of the Hindu members of the Assembly annoyed and enraged not only the Ministers but also the Muslim leaders and officials of the Province. This was perhaps one of the principal reasons for Dacca (now Dhaka) and East Bengal riots in February 1950.
 It is significant that on February 10, 1950 at about 10 o'clock in the morning a woman was painted with red to show that her breast was cut off in Calcutta riot, and was taken round the East Bengal Secretariat at Dacca. Immediately the Government servants of the Secretariat stuck work and came out in procession raising slogans of revenge against the Hindus. The procession began to swell as it passed over a distance of more than a mile. It ended in a meeting at Victoria Park at about 12 o'clock in the noon where violent speeches against the Hindus were delivered by several speakers, including officials. The fun of the whole show was that while the employees of the Secretariat went out of procession, the Chief Secretary of the East Bengal Government was holding a conference with his West Bengal counterpart in the same building to find out ways and means to stop communal disturbances in the two Bengals. 
The riot started at about 1 p.m. simultaneously all over the city. Arson, looting of Hindu shops and houses and killing of Hindus, wherever they were found, commenced in full swing in all parts of the city. I got evidence even from the Muslims that arson and looting were committed even in the presence of high police officials. Jewellery shops belonging to the Hindus were looted in the presence of police officers. They not only did not attempt to stop loot, but also helped the looters with advice and direction. Unfortunately for me, I reached Dacca at 5 o'clock in the afternoon on the same day, in February10, 1950. To my utter dismay, I had occasion to see and know things from close quarters. What I saw and learnt from firsthand information was simply staggering and heart-rending.
During my nine days' stay at Dacca, I visited most of the riot-affected areas of the city and suburbs. I visited Mirpur also under P.S. Tejgaon. The news of the killing of hundreds of innocent Hindus in trains, on railway lines between Dacca and Narayanganj, and Dacca and Chittagong gave me the rudest shock. On the second day of Dacca riot, I met the Chief Minister of East Bengal and requested him to issue immediate instructions to the District authorities to take all precautionary measures to prevent spreading of the riot in district towns and rural areas. On the 20th February 1950, I reached Barisal town and was astounded to know of the happenings in Barisal. In the District town, a number of Hindu houses were burnt and a large number of Hindus killed. I visited almost all riot-affected areas in the District. I was simply puzzled to find the havoc wrought by the Muslim rioters even at places like Kasipur, Madhabpasha and Lakutia which were within a radius of six miles from the District town and were connected with motorable roads. At the Madhabpasha Zamindar's house, about 200 people were killed and 40 injured. A place, called Muladi, witnessed a dreadful hell.  At Muladi Bandar alone, the number killed would total more than three hundred, as was reported to me by the local Muslims including some officers. I visited Muladi village also, where I found skeletons of dead bodies at some places. I found dogs and vultures eating corpses on he river-side. I got the information there that after the whole-scale killing of all adult males, all the young girls were distributed among the ringleaders of the miscreants. At a place called Kaibartakhali under P.S. Rajapur, 63 persons were killed. Hindu houses within a stone's throw distance from the said thana office were looted, burnt and inmates killed. All Hindu shops of Babuganj Bazar were looted and then burnt and a large number of Hindus were killed. From detailed information received, the conservative estimate of casualties was placed at 2,500 killed in the District of Barisal alone. Total casualties of Dacca and East Bengal riot were estimated to be in the neighbourhood of 10,000 killed. The lamentation of women and children who had lost their all including near and dear ones melted my heart. I only asked myself "What was coming to Pakistan in the name of Islam."
It was after this terrible assault on the Hindus of East Pakistan, aided by the government, Muslim League leaders, and the state machinery, that Hindus began to migrate from East Pakistan on a large scale (first such large-scale migration after the traumatic Partition). Radio Pakistan was used to propagate a lie that tens of thousands of Muslims had been killed in West Bengal. This was very reminiscent of how Jinnah's own newspaper, Dawn, was used to put pressure on the Hindus (except for the Harijan) to leave the Sind in c. 1948. The East Pakistan riots spread like a wildfire from Dacca to other districts such as Chittagong, Khulna and Barisal. The 1950 massacres were preceded by several attacks on Hindus throughout East Pakistan, though not on the same large scale, for several months. The February 1950 massacre of the Hindus in East Pakistan was a re-run of the massacre of the Hindus in Calcutta (now, Kolkatta) during the Direct Action Day of August 16, 1946 when the Chief Minister of Bengal, Huseyn Shahid Suhrawardy himself, incited the Muslim rioters and murderers with highly inflammatory and objectionable speech and continued to protect the criminals while blaming the victims for the incidents. After the East Pakistan massacres of c. 1950, there were fears that there could be retaliatory attacks on Muslims within India. The situation became explosive.

Nehru visited Calcutta on 6th and 16th March, 1950 to assess first hand the plight of the thousands of Hindu refugees from East Pakistan, His appeal to Liaquat Ali Khan elicited no response. Then, serious anti-Muslim riots broke out in Howrah by end of March. It was only then that Liaquat Ali Khan decided to travel to New Delhi.

Did the Nehru-Liaquat Pact serve the purpose for it to be taken as an example of what can be achieved when Prime Ministers meet ? The very first paragraph of that pact brings out its farcical nature. It says "The Prime Minister of Pakistan has pointed out that similar provision {for protection of minorities} exists in the Objectives Resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan". It speaks volumes for the brazenness of Pakistan to claim fraudulently that the Objectives Resolution protected the non-Muslim minorities and it speaks even more volumes for the gullibility of India to accept such a duplicitous claim and allow it to be even incorporated in a pact that was supposed to help protect the minorities. What a pathetic bunch of leaders have we got in India.

Let us see what the 'Objectives Resolution' entails. Under a growing intolerant Deobandi influence, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan helped the passage of the Objectives Resolution (known as 'Qarardad-e-Maqasid) in the Pakistani Constituent Assembly on March 12, 1949 within six months of the death of Quaid-e-Azam, Jinnah. All the ten non-Muslim members of the Constituent Assembly opposed it but the bill was eventually passed 21 to 10.  All the Muslim members voted for it except for the lone Communist member Mian Iftikharuddin who absented himself. It made clear the contours of the up-coming Constitution. It said, among other things:

Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty  alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;

Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed;

It was this infamous Objectives Resolution that Nehru allowed Liaquat Ali Khan to include in the Pact as though it was a fount of law for the protection of non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan. He should have pointed out to Liaquat Ali Khan that all non-Muslim members (and also one Muslim member) of the Constituent Assembly opposed the formulation and a reference to that controversial resolution in the Pact would send the very opposite signal. He did not do that, one of the many blunders of Jawaharlal Nehru. The signing of the Nehru-Liaquat Pact led to serious rift within the Congress and two prominent ministers, Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Neogi, both from West Bengal, resigned from the cabinet citing the pact as an appeasement of Pakistan. There was a very serious division between the Prime Minister and his Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel. When the Pact did not serve its purpose, Nehru is reported to have offered his resignation to President Rajendra Prasad. 

In a research study on life after Partition, Anusua Basu Raychaudhry has the following to say about the failure of the Nehru-Liaquat Pact 
It is worth mentioning that, the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, signed in April 1950, failed to provide the way for the return of the refugees to their homeland. Later on, when the passport system was introduced for travel from Pakistan to India on 15 October 1952, more people started to arrive. It was a now or never kind of situation, which scared many people during this phase. 
The Pact equated a state which was constitutionally, wilfully and systematically  discriminating against minorities and driving them out in thousands, with a declared secular state from which minorities did not flee due to persecution. One of the provisions of the Pact was that minority members must hold political or other offices and must be taken in the armed and police forces. The first Sikh was admitted in the Pakistani Army in c. 2005, a full 58 years after the creation of Pakistan and 55 years after the successful Nehru-Liaquat Pact was signed. There is as yet no Hindu in any branch of the armed forces in that country. The first Hindu foreign service officer, Gyan Chand, was appointed 62 years after Independence in c. 2009. Even today, it is difficult for Hindus to get their NADRA ID card, or passport or marriage registration. So much for the Nehru-Liaquat Pact.

To claim the Nehru-Liaquat Pact as a success that came about because of a meeting between the Prime Ministers of both the countries and therefore worth emulating now, is falsehood on two counts. One, the Pact itself was a failure even then and two the context of the situations is entirely different too. Over the years, the continued exodus of minorities from Pakistan to India never stopped. The latest surge in the exodus of Hindus from Pakistan is a continued reminder of the abject failure of the Nehru-Liaquat Pact. An analysis of the failure of the pact can only show two reasons; one, the unabashed militant Islamism in Pakistan, supported by the officials, judiciary and the society at large,  that wants the minorities to either convert or flee; two, the utter insincerity and duplicity of the Government of Pakistan in dealing with this issue.

To cite such a failed pact as a reference template for a new meeting between Indian and Pakistani prime ministers yet again, either shows a naivety of enormous proportions or a bankruptcy of thoughts or a combination of both.

(To be Continued ...)