Reporting From Pakistan
Published on: July 30, 2010
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  • Neville

    “One thing I’ve learned here that has been a surprise: virtually all Pakistanis are operating on the assumption that the United States plans to cut and run in Afghanistan.”

    How could this be a surprise? Of course this is what happens when a president signals as clearly as Obama has that his sole interest in relation to the war is how fast the US’s commitment can be reduced.

    Your point about American opinion swinging to the right is reasonable, but look at the likely Republican presidential contenders and think again. None of them has any visible personal level of interest in a war in Afghanistan. Whoever replaces Obama will need and want to focus on the economy.

    Pakistan’s problem is that they have allowed themselves to become the new Afghanistan: an enemy regime harboring radical Islamist terrorists dedicated to attacking the US and its allies. They are also becoming, in US foreign policy terms, the new Iraq: an enemy of the US led by a regime whose domestic support depends on continuing to stir up both anti-Americanism and trouble for US allies in the region.

    Pakistan is now just one atrocity away from becoming a popular target for the next American assault in the ‘Long War’, which could easily come to be perceived as ‘taking the gloves off’ and going after the enemy’s home base. Worse, the Pakistani government has created a situation in which they may not even be in control of whether this happens.

    Over the medium term, the visibly abject failure of US ‘nation building’ efforts in backward Muslim countries is going to lead to a decline in interest in the US in investing in that direction. This will inevitably shift the emphasis of future military actions in the region towards basically punitive expeditions (the British term for which was ‘butcher and bolt’) which the US military is admirably well-equipped to deliver. Pakistan should (but probably won’t) be careful to avoid positioning itself as the most obvious and popular target for these attacks.

  • Earl of Sandwich

    The Nation is a shrill anti-American publication in Pakistan? I guess its nice to know that you can travel half-way around the world, and some things will never change.

  • PetraMB

    Oh, what a great great link the AP report is!!! I can’t get over it — here’s the best part of it all:

    “Speaking at the seminar, Prof Dr Qalb-i-Abid pointed out that Pakistan was neither a failed state nor a rogue state, although it had multiple problems, which should be sorted out amicably and with minimum use of force.
    The American policy-makers should give top priority to resolving the Palestine problem and to do all they can to put pressure on the Israeli government to implement the two-state solution in order to remove the sufferings of the Palestinians, he added.
    He said that the Palestinian problem was linked with the Muslim world as shown by the recent Flotilla incident which had greatly impacted not only Turkey’s relations with Israel and the world but the Muslim world was also deeply annoyed by the attitude of Israeli commandos, who used disproportionate force against the innocent people trying to help the besieged Palestinian people.”

    Well, well, so the professor doesn’t want anybody to see Pakistan as a failed state, and in any case, he seems to think that obsessing about Israel is somehow more important.
    It’s not hard to see why — Israel and Pakistan were established around the same time; actually, Pakistan was established as a Muslim state just in time to vote on the UN Partition resolution for British Mandate Palestine that recommended the establishment of a Jewish and an Arab state… Of course, Pakistan voted against the resolution, and they are still not pleased that the Jewish state they didn’t want to come into being is doing so much better than they are doing, with so incomparably fewer resources and advantages.

  • K2K

    Thank you Mr. Mead. I wonder what you meant when you said “the world is closer to an acceptable solution of the Kashmir issue now, more than at a half century ago” at Punjab University as reported by the APP.. Did you mention the world thinks Pakistan should stop making Kashmir a political football spiked by terror, and focus insted on mature negotiation with India over the Indus River water resources?

    I wonder about the topic of the seminar where Prof Dr Qalb-i-Abid thought it so important to bring up “American policy-makers should give top priority to resolving the Palestine problem” Do Pakistanis really believe that is such an urgent priority for American policy-makers?

    What is the point of Mr. Mead’s presence if highly educated Pakistanis embrace the Zionist-Hindu-Crusader conpiracy?

    Of course they think the U.S. is on the way out of Afghanistan. That is how the elite want it, to pre-empt “being encircled by India and its allies [Russia and the Stans]”

  • One point I tried best to highlight in my meeting with Prof. Mead today were the two transition points on the spectrum of violence. First, a decision made on good judgement to employ violence as a policy instrument to achieve political end and secondly a conscientious decision to stop the violence and revert to diplomacy (negotiations). I told him that the war for him may be 8 years old and could still become a long war, but for Pakistanis and Afghans, it is already 36 years. One option to revert to peace could be to revert to the 1996 Plan rejected by USA.

    I am waiting for Prof. Mead’s views on our meeting on this blog.

  • davelnaf

    After defending Kabul our number one priority in Afghanistan is to prevent Al Qaeda from reconstituting in that country. Bagram Air Field’s presence near Kabul makes it one of two prime locations for doing both (the other place is Kandahar), that is, once we give up on nation-building in that country. Having worked in Afghanistan as a civilian contractor from April ’08 to September ’09 it was obvious even to me that Bagram was being prepared for the long haul.

  • “Meanwhile, for the hardcore Mead loyalists out there…”

    This is almost as orbital as “Excelsior.”

    Scholars don’t have “loyalists” except insofar as they appreciate one’s writing style. We need to talk, because I want to be on your side.

  • @davelnaf,
    Thanks for your information, something every American visiting Pakistan denies.
    In Nation Building it is far more important to build positive cognitive constructs and give people a feeling of oneness through a complimentary alliance. Physical infrastructure is only a very small part of it. you must read my blog and the series of articles in it.

  • Glen

    Thanks for the post.

    One thing Tyler Cowen and Walter Mead have convinced me of is that i need to read the foreign press much more. Especially as its easy these days to read Pakistani, French or Turkish english-language news sites.

    But these types of posts are a pretty good substitute for an interested, but lazy, reader.

    A key issue in this type of counter-insurgency campaign is perceptions of your persistence and commitment. Afghan villagers or regional powerbrokers won’t help you if they believe you’ll be gone in two years, but your enemies will be there forever. Especially when they think of the inevitable payback.

    So your comment that almost all Pakistanis are operating on the assumption the Americans will soon be gone is a troubling sign.

  • Vijay D

    Two issues: most Pakistanis believe that 9/11 was a Mossad/CIA conspiracy, so it may as well be the Gulf of Tonkin. Secondly, who is going to fund a 100 year proxy war for the Pakistanis? The ever gullible Yankees of course in the hope that aid will persuade them to do otherwise.

  • Tim

    It was interesting to see Prof Meads interview with a Pakistani journalist on a weblink. The Pakistani spent no time in talking about his own country and how to solve its problems, but kept harping on how bad India was, and how unfair it was that the world thought India was doing better than Pakistan. This then is the crux of the problem. On the one side there is a country which for all its issues is actually progressing and mostly has a functioning democracy and a vibrant economy, and smart leaders who are concerned about their countrys problems. On the other side, there are people who are obsessed about Islamic superiority, and will watch their country go to pieces on their watch, but are only concerned about how their hated rival is perceived. Pakistan is in deep trouble, given that their well educated, and well heeled commentators are so unreasonable and cannot do anything to save their own country.

  • Ajat

    I was listening to the interview of Walter conducted by Mallick on one of the Pakistani TV channels.

    Hearing views of a typical Pakistani like Mallick just reinforces the fact that Pakistanis suffer from a serious inferiority complex vis-a-vis India as well as a typical Pakistani feels the need to constantly compare himself/herself with India in each and everything….and their other major cause of grief, as once again apparent from this interview, is what they perceive as the world now clubbing India with countries like Brazil and Russia while Pakistan being thought of as a failed “Banana Republic” and clubbed with countries like Afghanistan and Sudan etc.

    Walter was trying to be polite and as diplomatic, as possible, in his answers but it was obvious even his patience was wearing thin hearing so much of moaning and groaning from Mallick.

    I

  • Reeta

    Please allow me an opportunity to discuss 2-3 issues that Pakistanis keep talking of in their interaction with USA officials.

    (A) Kashmir: Even as Pakistanis claim entire Kashmir issue is an unsettled issue, this did not stop Pakistanis, in the meanwhile, dividing Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) into 2 parts: (1) what they refer to as Azad Kashmir (2) Gilghit and Baltistan. Pakistan has also gifted a part of POK to China.

    While India has done no such thing i.e. partitioned Kashmir into 2 parts (1) Jammu and Ladakh (2) Kashmir valley.

    2. If Pakistanis claim Kashmir is an unsettled issue of the past (1948) then why stop at 1948 itself? What if Indians claim that the very act of partition in 1947 itself is an unsettled issue from the past and entire region of Pakistan is a disputed territory?

    The fact is when given a choice, Maharaja of Kashmir following partition signed the paper opting to join India so Kashmir is an integral part of India.

    (B) Pakistanis want the world to treat India and Pakistan in an equal-equal manner.

    India is the largest Democracy in the world, with a nearly $1.5 trillion dollar economy and growing at nearly 9% per annum and India is nearly 7 times larger in land area than Pakistan. So what exactly is the basis of comparison with a small debt ridden, failed state like Pakistan?

    (C) Pakistan claims USA is supplying weapons to India. Reality is India is buying weapons from USA while most weapons are supplied free by USA to Pakistan (in form of aid). No.2 though Pakistan may feel otherwise, India mainly sees Pakistan as a mere nuisance state and India’s main threat is China so India’s defence needs in the future would be keeping China in mind.

  • Reeta

    Mr Walter, I am sorry to see that you feel the need to delete my earlier post as it may not be to your personal liking….though difference of opinion (right to dissent) is a major hallmark in any democracy but sadly you do not feel freedom of expression by members has any place on your blog.

  • V. T. Abraham

    An American withdrawal would most probably be accompanied by a reduction in aid (a portion of which goes to fund the retirement accounts of the Generals). It is highly unlikely that their Chinese friends would step in to fill the financial void. Thus it is in Pakistan’s interest to keep the war in Afghanistan on a boil and keep the Americans fighting the Taliban. They have done everything to ensure that happens, from surreptitiously funding and arming the Taliban to protecting the Shura council and the upper echelons of Al Qaeda by ensuring that NATO soldiers are not allowed to cross into Pakistan where these scumbags have taken refuge and could be apprehended. It is truly unfortunate that the US has not been able to grasp the extend of their chicanery or do anything about it.

  • sanjithmenon

    Someone asked Pakistani commentator and former General talat mahmood on the double dealings of ISI. He says there is no way, pakistani troops can go into North waziristan , beacuse, that action would turn the entire taliban against Pakistan. thanks talat mahmood for speaking the truth, but then nobody in American policy research understands.

  • Gagan

    http://pkaffairs.com/Play_Show_Kehnay_Mein_Kia_Harj_Hai_3rd_August_2010_9952

    Your viewers might want to listen to this piece of interaction with Mohammad Malik. The guy is clearly hostile towards Mr Russel, and the US.
    This inspite of him being educated, and fully understanding the extent to which the US has helped and supported his country.

    His behavior can be an interesting case study of the Pakistan of today. Even as debt ridden Pakistan, sinks in a vortice of unending terrorist attacks, their hatered of India surfaces at every living second. This interviewer mentions India’s name more than Pakistan’s name during the course of the Interview! His pet peeve is ‘why does the US not hate India as much as he and his country’s strategists do’.

    And BTW someone please enlighten these guys to some of these basic facts:
    1. For every dollar that the US put in during the 80s, the Saudis put in twice that amount, AND brought in the wahabists in a big way. I don’t see the Pakistanis complaining to the saudis about how their role during the 80s brought the pakistanis to this end? Is it because the pakistanis think that the US ‘responds’ to their tantrums, and the saudis won’t?
    2. Pakistanis unrelentlessly and ad-nauseum keep repeating their need for a nuclear deal ‘just like india’. Could someone please ask them, how they intend to pay for even ONE nuclear reactor? Or how they intend to absorb the tech needed to run such a reactor, given that they have produced all of 30 odd science phds in their entire history, and most of those have a curious penchant for writing theses on ‘jinn thermodynamics’ or ‘methods of harvesting jinn energy’. (Note: Jinn = angel / sprits).

    I have maintained that the real danger to the people of this world is not from the madarsa educated Pakistanis, but the ones who have passed through their regular school system. The madarsa educated ones will only blow themselves in the Af-Pak region, and will essentially be the foot soldiers. The school educated ones are likely to be the planners of terror strikes, and are likely to be able to afford to travel internationally.

    Finally one humble suggestion on my part, take if for what its worth –
    Give peace a chance – DESTROY Pakistan (Or dismantle it).

  • salma

    I am really amazed at the last comment…not that it is talking about destroying Pakistan, God forbid, but due to ignorance on the part of the respected person who has given the above comment.
    Okay…don’t worry …..so destroy Pakistan…but do you think the destruction would be limited to Pakistani borders only….Pakistan has been doing the donkeys work for India for more than 3 decades….it has been acting as a buffer for India….Has it not been for Pakistan, which btw is facing the brunt from both sides, India would have been the one where scores of army personnel would be dying, where dozens of bombs would have been exploding today. Today Pakistan is suffering due to the favors it extended during the russian war….Today Pakistan is facing terrorism and trying to combat it …if it had not been for Pakistan India would be directly dealing with these terrorists and would be directly facing the loses that Pakistan has to bear today…..So India should thank its lucky stars that Pakistan exists and fighting bravely to combat the so-called terrorism!

  • Yousuf Ibnul Hasan

    Pakistan is continuously facing constant suicide attacks on religious institutions within its geographical boundaries. This assignment is well planned by Mosad and Raw, keeping in view of differences between various sects of population of Pakistan. The idea behind the suicide attacks on Imam Bargah (Shia Mosques) and target killings of Sunni Scholars can be analyzed as the elimination of Shia religious houses that support the Iran and damage the strong Madaris force (Sunni Schools for Religious Education) that develop Taliban mentality at the academic level which ultimately convert into Jehadi force (fighter in will of name of Allah).

    The factual position to all the above and the role of the government and the governors of Pakistan being the only nuclear power in the Muslim world that has strong, disciplined, well trained, well equipped, faithful, loyal, keen and effective armed forces. Pakistan with all its limitation is measured as a direct threat for India which is not only a bordering country, but also ten times bigger in area, population and size. India has the superior qualities and capabilities at armed force level and in addition has much advance, effective and improved technology with highly sophisticated war heads in possession. To give benefits for being the non Muslim country. Large size business market and a wall against Pakistan, India was given a status of a “Mama Child” by developing and Jewish influential countries. With all the internal and external mischief that India is practicing is ignored. India’s all nature aggressions in Kashmir are remaining without being seen and tolerated by giving justification of high degree cruelties for which India is sole responsible at Muslim populated part of Kashmir, the peace loving nations and human right pundits never accuse India of being the cruelest. internal matter of the country. With all brutalities, cold blooded activities and

    The Jewish relationship with India has taken a turn in the beginning of 2000. As result Muslim countries come into view as Master’s monitors. These rulers are similar to the then rulers, installed by Britain and France over 80 years ago, remain the same today. The puppets and corrupt ruling class have governed the states not in the interest of the people, but in the interest of the West. They stole wealth that Almighty Allah blessed to the Muslim world. The huge wealth, a bit of which spent on the development of their own countries and more on the bordellos, casinos and stock exchange markets of Paris, London and New York.

    It is a dilemma to see that Muslim world invested billions in buying arms & equipment from the West to get their own pockets filled in this process as well as strengthens the defense industries of US & Britain which are controlled by Jews. But miserably they have not invested in creating institutions like a strong Army, Navy or Air Force that can be an effective fighting force. As a result American troops deployed for guarding the major part of the Muslim world at the cost and expense of Muslim nations.

    Why can’t Muslim see through all this? Wealthy Muslims of their Muslim world kept hundreds of billions of pounds and dollars in Britain for decades, thereby helping to prop up the Pound sterling but has not invested heavily in science and technology in Muslim world. These golden opportunities of oil wealth in the Muslim world that can transform the Muslims into a well-built power, being spend in dribs and drabs.

  • Yousuf Ibnul Hasan

    In continue with …………
    Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan remains under the control of American influence not because American wants the way it is. It is because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely and after Russia broken into peaces the American are trying their best to be into peaces and in this efforts they are entering into such areas where Almighty Allah have different program. The American influence in Pakistan cannot be portrayed as the friendship because friends are not the masters. American influence and interference in Pakistan is masterminding to protect the interest of India and to make Pakistan clearly understand that 1947 independence does not mean that Muslims of sub-continents are out of cage to flay and reach the sky. Wings will never be strong enough to make Pakistan to enjoy solo flight though the blessings of Allah categories Pakistan as “the country of opportunities”.

    American influence knows that Pakistan is internally control by those who keep Pakistan as the country of “people” and motivate the people to be the “the nation”. It is also a fact that Almighty Allah continuously warns the people to become “the nation” through continuous catastrophes. One should not blame America or American allies for the present situation of Pakistan. It is a matter of decision Pakistani in particular and Muslim in general should take now.

    What’s wrong with you Muslims? Where is your magnitude for religion, traditions and history? Muslims of this 21st Century! Do you have the answers or have you lost all senses, feelings and meanings of self-respect, dignity and humanity? Do you have any answer to what is happening with you around the world? Is there any single Muslim to comprehend and weep? Can you wake-up now and see with your own and open eyes, the plans of west that are now aimed at dividing the Ummah, by making the Muslim world into smaller and even weaker states. “Extracted from the Article “Just Peep into your dignity” By Usuf Hasan”.

  • tom

    india usa isreal want to finish pak . floods are done by usa india

  • John Flintoff

    @ Mr. Yousuf Ibnul Hassan
    What if I rephrase a part of your article with slight changes in it;
    ” pakistan’s all nature aggressions in Balochistan are remaining without being seen and tolerated by giving justification of high degree cruelties for which Pakistan is sole responsible at Baloch populated part of Balochistan”
    You can see the crueties of MOSAD, RAW, CIA etc but cant you see what the Pakistani establishment and forces are doing to Baloch people of Balochistan for the last 62 years.
    More than 200 mutilated bodies of Baloch youth which include mainly students, political activists, doctors and journalists are found who were killed and dumped by Pakistan’s forces (ISI, MI, FC)
    You will not agree to it because the Pakistan has only room for religious extremists but no room for secular, optimist and moderate people like Baloch community.
    I think its peak of Hippocracy by Pakistani people and government and its institutions.

  • Yousuf Ibnul Hasan

    “You will not agree to it because the Pakistan has only room for religious extremists but no room for secular, optimist and moderate people like Baloch community”. Your argument has no reason to admit because if you see Pakistan as a country of 180 million people with majority of those who belong to a system which is classified as “Islam” which mean “invitation” and does not accept any identification to be Baloch, Punjabi, Sindhi, Mohajir or Pakhtoon. Islam has the fundamentalism which is wrongly interpreted by west and it is very different in practical way which is practice by west in their own lifestyle. Islamic Fundamentalism does not justify the identity without “Muslim” and being a Muslim one has to be the host of best possible way to those who share him or her as guest to know Islam and to take Islam as lifestyle. It is not the religion and totally differs to the concept of religion. When we say what the establishment did to Baluchistan, we must understand what Baloch did for Baluchistan? Since 1947 after the independence of sub-continent, India as a major partner in the region never accepted Pakistan as the sovereign state whereas West has taken India as the sole proprietor of South Asia. Instead of taking care of the poverty and backwardness that British Raj gifted to the region during a long aggressive rule also injected a lacuna so that two countries having same culture same color remain in dispute and kill themselves as and when they want. East Pakistan is the example which was created by India. What happen and how it was happen is the long story, but what it concern was the interference of India in Pakistan affairs. American policy remains with Pakistan as step child and now being the Mother-in-Law attitude with Pakistan always stabbing in the back of Pakistan. Once by high hope of 7th Fleet to stop war in East Pakistan, the after back out from the ethical and moral obligations towards Russian aggressions in Afghanistan when using Pakistan as condoms that “use it and throw it”. Now today training terrorist in NWFP and Baluchistan to destabilize Pakistan economy which is already moving towards total collapse due to “War against Terror” which I called as “War Against Peace”. It is Muslim fundamentalism that saved the Middle East and the West from Russian aggressive act through KGB. Ignoring the fact that CIA, RAW and Mosad doing the worst in present what KGB acted in the past. Financing terrorism, training the youths, planting the bombs, tempting the children on suicidal attack and asking Pakistan to do more. Baluchistan is the area which my friend does not know in historical perspective which infects one of the richest areas in Pakistan but one of the most un-develop part of progressive Pakistan. The reason is the Baloch tribal system which British Raj gifted to those who licked the feet’s of Viceroy. These elite classes are the factor of discrimination and destruction of Baluchistan. The tribal chiefs are the parliamentarians who are selected by CIA, RAW and Mosad and elected by Balochies. They rule on the Balochies and financed by CIA, RAW and Mosad. It is the right of the state to combat anti state elements and in Baluchistan or in NWFP poor population is deprive not because of Pakistan Army, they are the victims of power politics that the super powers are playing and keeping Pakistan as their battle ground to settle their disputes and interest. Guatemala, Nicaragua, Salvador, Hattie, East Timor, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand. Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and many other which make the chapters and chapters are not to be blame because all what powers did to these are the right of the power to do so. When you see Hypocrisy in Pakistan and you find in the Baluchistan chapter you must keep the record straight that “God help those who help themselves”. I am sorry to conclude that the way Baloch adopted is not the right way to get their right of self determination and if they need the share in the fruits then they should know how to harvest the garden which is bless by Almighty Allah

  • Some truly wonderful posts on this website, thanks for contribution. “I finally know what distinguishes man from other beasts financial worries. – Journals” by Jules Renard.

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