The Roots of Pakistan’s Rage
Published on: August 2, 2010
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  • Prof. Mead,
    The meeting of Ex Servicemen men was by no way inspired by any ISI patronage.We were at the front along with lawyers to reinstate the Judiciary. We played a big voluntary role through our own donations towards resettlement of IDPs from Swat.

    • Walter Russell Mead

      Understood — and thanks!

  • This is a most insightful report, and the sort of thing one would never see in American newspapers, where the story can’t be written until the editors reach consensus on who is the official Good Guy and Bad Guy.

    Your conclusion is apt: the first step is understanding one another’s perception. The next step is determining where those perceptions fit the facts. The third step is to determine whether and how those perceptions can be changed for mutual benefit. I fear this approach will break down at the very difficult third step, but thanks for trying.

  • Lewin Wickes

    Excellent. Most Americans have no knowledge about all this. They should acquire it. Compounding the problem, as I see it, is a tendency in Pakistan to explain its own various failures and shortcomings by scapegoating the US and India. It’s always the fault of somebody else. But maybe I’m way wrong on that score. I look forward to subsequent installments. Thanks.

  • Haim

    What can you say to people who sent combat pilots and fighter aircraft to attack Israel in 1973, yet claim that it is Israel that wishes to destroy Pakistan? Too bad you’ve left out the “Israeli lobby is behind American-Indian alliance” conspiracy theory which is so popular in the Land of the Pure. Also, India turning a Muslim Afghanistan into its operational base against Pakistan? India seeking to undo the partition and absorb millions of Muslims by destroying Pakistan? Good Lord in Haven.

  • Stop. Please.

    I’ve played Squash with Pakis. I’ve worked with them in America on software projects. I’ve listened to them whine like little girls about how America is at fault for everything bad, most especially everything bad that happens to them. I’ve heard them intone for hours about how if the USA would just abandon Israel, everything would be peaches and cream.

    Pakistan is a nation of whining day laborers. They can silk screen T shirts but they can’t get their own homes out of the mud. And they can’t see the obvious, namely that their willingness to cut Al Queda slack dooms them to the dust bin of history.

    Want to make a sure bet on the winner every time? Bet on the Indians.

    Pakistan is french for “loser”.

  • Morton Doodslag

    It is hard to get past your statement regarding the murderous Muslim Jihad against India that a “tolerant and complex civilization grew up across the subcontinent”.

    In his Story of Civilisation, respected scholar and historian Will Durant Wrote that “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”. Tens of millions of forced conversions at the tip od sword and scimitar were preceded by the sheer and unimaginable terror of 60,000,000 – 80,000,000 slaughtered, yet you write that “Hindus and Muslims sometimes fought but often they lived together reasonably well and, as Muslims remember it, this was a happy and prosperous time.”. No wonder! Muslims looted and slaughtered their way through yet another vibrant civilization and lived high for a brief time on the stolen plunder. Today Muslims depict themselves as the victim in this monstrous chapter of their violent, blood stained history. Why repeat their gargantuan lies about themselves? Why nurture their hideous sense of victimhood when they mass murdered Hindus to establish Islam in India !? No real understanding can come from repeating the lies, distortions, and propaganda of Islamic Jihad.

    Understand the true imperial, genocidal supremacist nature of Islamic Jihad, and that will explain everything one needs to know about why Muslims in Pakistan (or everywhere else) are filled with rage and hatred.

  • A great article in that it lays out, in a comprehensive manner, Pakistani perceptions.

    However, I can’t help but think that the root of the root is a national personality disorder that goes something like this:

    Sixty-three years after Partition, the Nation Next Door is a tolerant, democratic society and an economic powerhouse.

    Sixty-three years after Partition, Pakistan is, well, pretty much the same social, political and economic basket case it’s always been.

    Now I’m a database guy (and a policy junkie), but if I were a psychologist, I would diagnose this as Borderline Personality Disorder… DSM-IV code 301.83.

    BPD patients “….tend to see things in terms of extremes, either all good or all bad. They also typically view themselves as victims of circumstance and take little responsibility for themselves or their problems.”

    This is a common problem with certain types of societies in this part of the world, c.f. Palestine (and Hamas,) Syria, Lebanon, etc. Interestingly, Iraq alone seems to be well on the road to recovery from national BPD.

    Best regards,

  • SuchaB

    Enough is enough. Pakistan needs to stop blaming India and take responsibility for it’s own failure. Pakistan can’t blame anyone but itself for failing at establishing a stable democracy and an economic system that attracts foreign capital.

    Both India and Pakistan started as almost equals–two young democracies free from British occupation. Since deregulation of Indian economy in the 1990’s India has surpassed Pakistan in growth. As a result of it it has become a strong regional player. Not to mention, moderate Hindu philosophy resonates better with westerners.

    The truth of the matter is when you raise snakes as pets to use against others, you can’t complain when they bite you. Pakistan’s ISI has routinely funded terrorists to gain control of Kashmir. Even the most
    recent terrorist attacks in Bombay pointed towards Pakistan and ISI. They unleashed it…now they get to suffer. Growing up in India and hearing about daily bombings in Kashmir is not a distant past for some of us.

    India can not be safe and secure until Pakistan is safe and secure. And the only way to that for Pakistan is economic prosperity which requires stable democracy (or Chinese style Market Communism,which is impossible at this point for Pakistan).

    Pakistan is here because of their own mistakes and no one but Pakistan can get itself out of this mess.

  • Excellent start. It’s amusing to read Allan Drury’s famous novel of Washington in the 1950s. At the time, India was hostile and a client of the USSR. The image of the Pakistani ambassador in that novel is exactly the image of Pakistanis today. Frankly, I think the problem is Islam. Show me a successful society in which Islam is the dominant religion. There are more Muslims in India than Pakistan. How many know that ?

  • Paul is sooo right! My interaction with Pakis in the high tech world was just the same. Americans were all bad so they were not part of the team until the knowledge hogs blew up something and THEN it was important to make sure everybody knew what they’d been scheming to do. Wife’s night out with the neigbors and the kids left at home? Shrill denunciations for days. Welcome to America! “Pakistan is french for ‘loser'”!!!!! This is why our foreign policy is so corrupt. We give our tax dollars to tyrannical tribes like the Pakis and Norks. If our foreign aid was based on a policy of…perhaps…NO money to regimes that don’t support 1) First Amendment, 2) Second Amendment, 3) Article 1, section 2…we’d be building freedom with every dollar instead of supporting bozos.

  • craig

    Some things never change. This is just bog-standard Muslim whining about the fact that they aren’t the overlords anymore in ____ (insert India, Israel, Spain, … as needed). According to Muslim official history, once upon a time Muslims ruled these lands, everything was peaches and cream, and everybody was happy to be ruled by the caliph. Pay no attention to the stories of the non-Muslims, the millions put to the sword or sold into slavery and concubinage.

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many
    countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the
    next of its dignity and sanctity.

    The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

    — Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, 1899)

  • Trent Telenko


    The key issue for American counter-terrorism policy is that Pakistan is what we fear Iran will become — a nuclear armed, terrorist supporting, rogue, failed state.

    We have allies inside that failed state dealing with the Islamists, but often times we cannot tell the non-nutballs from the nutballs there.


    Whole ISI bases were involved with developing the Lashkar-i-Taiba threat to India, and not just via supporting Kashmiri terrorists. The ISI trains terrorists as part of nominal anti-terrorist training. (It’s easy with suitable compartmentalization and “need-to-know”.)

    As a result, the Islamist factions inside the Pakistani state have more deniability for terrorist operations than the Mullah’s of Iran.

    There is no one person or ruling faction in Pakistan who can enforce peace over all the factions and turn ISI’s Islamist terrorists off, be they Kashmiri, Afghan or Al-Qaeda.

    See this comment from the threat watch blog on Pakistani senior general General Kiyana:

    …it has to be understood that General Kiyani – head of Pakistan’s military and thus effectively its military intelligence (ISI) – while admirably stalwart against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in the North West and tribal areas, has always been equally stalwart regarding the Pakistani conflict with India over disputed Kashmir.

    General Kiyani may have intended a minor operation for Kashmir and was almost certainly in the dark about the metamorphosis of the operation into a Mumbai massacre, but the law of unintended consequences holds little acquittal when leaders play with the fire of terrorism.

    At this point, it is really hard to tell the difference between low to mid-level ISI, L-e-T, and Al-Qaeda — even for Pakistani generals.

    Pakistan is Somalia with nukes.

    This takes us to another hard geo-political reality.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened because America had the economy and the political will to both forge nuclear weapons and to use them to eliminate the threat. All it took was a Pearl Harbor to fatally enraging the American people and time.

    Our Islamic terrorist foes in Pakistan are seeking to provide the Indian people with that same motivation to eliminate the threat a’la “Pakistan Delenda Est.”

    And there is nothing America can do to stop this.

  • Sidney Weinberg


    Dear Mr. Mead,

    You will learn nothing about Pakistan by spending your time listening and speaking with Pakistanis in Islamabad. Imagine going to Washington, DC and listening and speaking with Americans in DC to garner a view of American opinions, concerns and interests.

    This might better serve as a guide to “How to be Out of Touch.”

    This list of Pakistani concerns is as old as Pakistan itself. It has not changed since partition (although one can substitute Afghanistan with the Northwest Frontier Provinces back and forth over time).

    I will be curious to read your next installment to see what other insights you might glean from your trip.

  • one of those things left undiscussed is Pakistan’s incredible level of corruption. Of all of the aid sent to the Mujaheddin during the anti-Russian war, 50-60% of this ended up in Pakistani pockets, either those of the government or individuals.

    Today, much of the materiel lost in transit from Karachi to Afghanistan disappears as spoilage or is destroyed by extremists operating freely within Pakistan.

    The Taliban and Haqqanis would collapse tomorrow if the Pakistani government decided to crack down on the sanctuaries and hospitals and madrassahs.

    Pakistani interests arm, plan for, and logistically support the Afghan insurgency. As has been seen in the Wikileaks papers, Pakistani Army units have provided direct support to Insurgent activities, including artillery and heavy weapons support.

    Today, most of Afghanistan’s heroin and opium transits Pakistan on its way to the West. To many of those involved, the narcotics trade is jihad by other means.

  • You are aware of a Moslem King in India who killed 100,000 Hindus every year as an offering to Allah?


    Historian Will Durant wrote in his book The Story of Civilization:

    “The Mohammadan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying within.”

  • George B

    Very good article. Would never have guessed that Pakistanis believe that Indians would want to get stuck with any involvement in Afghanistan.

    I suspect that one reason that Pakistan is such a hopeless mess is the high percentage of cousin marriages. Estimated percentage is 50%. That’s a high rate of inbreeding.

  • khan

    Mr. Mead you nicely put together the way Pakistanis think about US. it is also ture, as friends commented, that Pakistanis keep blaming others for the worngs they do or the rights they don’t do. however US can acheive its objectives in Pakistan working out how ally these four concerns of Pakistan.
    any way good job so far.

  • standfast24

    Excellent article and required reading for any person who wants to understand the challenges in Afghanistan.
    Most Americans don’t comprehend the obsession with India and the persecution complex exhibited by Pstan leadership and ruling class.
    My question, is with the fall of the Soviet Union, do we need to pay any attention at all to Pstan ?
    Is it not better to support India as a counterweight to China ?
    Await the next installment in your series

  • John Blake

    From a diplomatic – military standpoint, Pak-U.S. relations have very little upside. Deposing Afghanistan’s terrorist-enabler Mullah Omar in the aftermath of 9/11 was necessary but by no means sufficient to preempt a barbaric Muslim nexus from striking out as opportunities arose.

    As Churchill recognized, Islam in general and Muslim theocracies in particular are murderous anti-civilizational forces, nihilistic totalitarians to the core. Recall that when Bangladesh, “East Pakistan”, split off from Islamabad (how indicative), the western rump State descended into tribal anarchy aligned with Kabul. As notoriously in the Mideast, national borders were mere imperial Foreign Office artifacts, remaining largely artificial constructs to this day.

    Global Islamic terrorists respect no civilized limits whatsoever. In Pak-India context of Afghanistan and Ahmadinejad’s crazed Iran, nuclear weapons capabilities render Mullah-dom’s scorched-earth fanaticism deadly dangerous. Yet from the egregious Cameron in Great Britain to EU sideliners to corrupt and feckless crypto-Muslims infesting the worst executive regime in all American history, preventive self-defense is a vexed concept.

    When the nuclear axe falls, China and Russia will no doubt act surprised. What follows next may make a picnic of India’s previous sixty megadeaths. Is there a solution?– yes, one that dates from c. 1948. If it’s not yet too late, it very soon will be.

  • Walter Sobchak

    The name Pakistan is not a name of a place or a nation. It was coined by Jinnah and his friends while they were at university in England as an acronym for Punjab, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.

    You wrote: “Take Islam away and there is no point to Pakistan.” And, it is very true. Unfortunately, their Deobandi brand of Islam is as narrow and intolerant as the Saudi Wahabi. Not only do they promote anti-Western, anti-intellectual values, they encourage brutality toward women, including “honor killings”, and systematically persecute non-conforming Muslims such as Shias and Ahmadis.

    Pakistan is a complete failure in every dimension as a state. Its “intelligence” service is a key player in promoting and spreading jihadism. It promotes attacks on its neighbor India. India would have been well within its rights to have treated the Mumbai attacks as an act of War.

    What the US needs to do, and the only way we will be able to leave Afghanistan is to work with India to disassemble Pakistan. Punjab and Sind should be reintegrated into India, and Afghanistan, Baluchistan, and Northwest Territories should be quarantined as a large Indian Reservation having very limited contact with the outside world.

  • Engineer

    I was recently contemplating the possible outcomes if the USA settled for a friendly strongman in Kabul and got every last GI out with no intent of ever returning (at least with boots on the ground). One successful coup later, Mullah Omar and his crowd are back running things, the ISI is manipulating the Pashtun players and the CIA and Indians are arming the non-Pashtuns to keep the Taliban from feeling complacent.

    Over the subsequent years we evolve into a new cold war where there is a Sino-Islamic axis (oil for nukes & a security council veto). Pipelines and railroads through Tibet eliminate the maritime chokehold of the Malacca Strait. The US forms a democratic league with Japan, India, and the assorted democracies along the Pacific rim. Russia tries to play spoiler, but its demographic collapse will mean it either loses Siberia and joins the US or joins the US to prevent losing Siberia. Europe will turn on whether immigrants can impose an Eurabia or not. Sudan’s renewed war with the non-Muslims in its south tilts sub-saharan Africa to the US-led alliance, even as Nigeria flares into renewed civil war.

    That scenario looks a lot like the Pakistani fears. The Pakistani’s have influence to prevent such an outcome by understanding that the Taliban must be smashed so a non-adventurous regime runs Afghanistan and work to achieve a detente with India that is based on MAD strategic deterrence and writing off Kashmir.

  • Mike M.

    “Nationalism and religion are the two strongest forces in world politics today”

    Ninety percent of the world’s problems beautifully summed up in just one short sentence. The world so desperately needs more enlightenment and less tribalistic primitivism.

  • Malik

    an excellent write. waiting for the next part.

    didn’t read all the comments, but just one while browsing through.

    someone wrote about the pakistani combat pilots that were sent to fight Israel. yes, so?? when Israeli Mossad and Army chief can visit India over how to tackle the Kashmiri struggle, justifies the sent pilots.

    keep up the good work Mr. Mead.

  • Kenneth Allen

    Nepal was NEVER part of British India. During British presence in the Indian subcontinent Nepal was independent and NEVER a part of the British Raj.

  • Adam Garfinkle

    What has always impressed me about the U.S.-Pakistani relationship is not only how badly and selfishly the US has behaved over many years, but how impossible it is to reason with even educated Pakistanis (with lots of exceptions). Pakistanis are the most conspiratorially minded people I have ever met, and I know lots of Iranians and Arabs, so that is really saying something. It is simply not possible a lot of the time to have a coherent conversation. I despair of ever getting this relationship to work.

  • CJ

    I actually travelled through India and Pakistan in the early 1970s. At that time, Pakistan was considered the better bet to progress and prosper. It had been left with relatively more infrastructure than India after the British got out. The conventional wisdom among the leftist international set then was that India was mired in traditionalism (I know this because I talked to them and studied with them) while Pakistan was ready to stride forward. The conventional wisdom of strategic thinkers (that I only knew through reading) was that Islam was a deterrent to the appeal of Marxism-socialism-communism.

    How improbable the facts of today would have seemed to anyone then. The rise of China and India, the growth of world trade, the regression of Pakistan, the recrudescence of Islam, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the evaporation of belief in Marxist economics — if I had somehow returned from the future to tell the story, most likely no one would have believed it.

  • Ben Franklin

    Pakistan: Ignorant, resentful, violent, and Muslim (spit). The USA needs them like a hole in the head. India is a natural ally. The world will be a better place with Pakistan wiped off the face of the earth. Nuke ’em dead!

  • Vijay D

    Sidney Weinberg, one of the commenters sums it perfectly. Professor Mead, if he didn’t already have it, has been afflicted by the Stockholm Syndrome. There is so much to refute that it is almost pointless. It is an unfortunately shallow analysis that is amazingly flawed in terms of even getting a simple fact wrong: there was NO war between India and Pakistan in 1984 and the 1999 Kargil War was not really one given that neither nation declared war formally (Pakistan of course insisted that none of their troops were at the front during the conflict).

    As for omissions, the most obvious and egregious one is the massacre of over 2 million East Pakistanis by Punjabi muslims who dominate the army. Also glaringly omitted is that India has as many muslims as Pakistan, most of whom would rather immigrate to Sudan than Pakistan.

  • Every person in every country sitting out the 21st century is furiously jealous. Rather than improve their own lot, it’s easier on the ego to blame one’s failure on the successful. Class envy writ international.

  • PetraMB

    I’m not entirely convinced that it is beneficial to try to understand, and try to adapt one’s own conduct to deluded conspiracy theories. Like some others here, I find it deplorable that with regard to Bangladesh, India’s role is mentioned, but the atrocities committed by Pakistan are considered not worthwhile mentioning. Similarly, the remark that the way Pakistanis “see” their nuclear program is somehow comparable to how Israelis “see” theirs is in my (Israeli) view hardly justified. What about Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation, that goes diplomatically unmentioned?

  • vic

    For those interested, Rushdies ” Shame” while little dated gives an amazing glimpse into the Pak psyche.

    The obsession BTW is not so much Islam as fear of the ” murderous Hindu hordes”, and the bulwark against them which is the Pak Army. Consequent to its ( the army’s) role as the protector of Pak virtue, the Army expropriates for itself an ungodly fraction of the GDP. Even Major, Lt Colonel level officers live like feudal lords. The army in order to perpetuate its own appropriation needs constant strife, for as we all know it is only the army which stands between the state and chaos.

    There is no long term solution to Pakistan that does not involve a PERMANENT return to the barracks for the Pak army. This however will need to be accomplished by force as they are not going to give up their privileges voluntarily.

  • K2K

    This is post-partition Pakistan, a state as artificial as the Iraq created by Gertrude Bell, but without the oil. Recommended reading: best single volume history of India before Partition is John Keay’s “India: a History” , though very thin on the Pashtun tribal areas.

    Most of the Moghul era was as Mr. Mead writes, “A tolerant and complex civilization grew up across the subcontinent; Hindus and Muslims sometimes fought but often they lived together reasonably well and, as Muslims remember it, this was a happy and prosperous time.” Try reading William Dalrymple: “City of Djinns”, the seven layers of Delhi’s history, and then “The White Moghul”, Hyderabad around 1800 when the British could still go native and embrace the culture of the Moghuls.

    I started studying Af-Pak, and then what is now India, in 2003, and follow their news, so I am not very surprised by these insights. The conspiracy-obsession does seem a Pakistani national characteristic. I do wonder if that is not inherent in a reasonably literate population with a sensationalist media in the native languages and no Founder role model. Junnah died too soon, and no one ever filled his shoes.

    Neither India nor Pakistan will allow any third party help mediate Kashmir. I have not read the last two days of Kashmiri news, but my sense last week was that they have veered away from joining Pakistan (why would they want to thes last few years?) and now want autonomy, but Pakistan still wants the pan-Islam dream, and the water source for the Indus.

    It is so ironic that Pakistanis might want the U.S. to get involved with Kashmir AND solve the Israeli-Arab conflict, when the U.S. can do neither.

    A few weeks ago, at another blog, someone suggested that Israel should aspire to Kashmir as a model for the future because he could only view kashmir as “merely a border dispute”

    It is late, so without too much more rambling, the Pakistani dilemma lies in their primary education in many areas.

    The story by Daniyal Mueenuddin that introduced me to the resiliency of ‘Joe’ Pakistani, known as Nawabdin Electrician

    And the film “Earth” directed by Deepa Mehta, set in Lahore in the time period directly before and during the partition of India in 1947. Lenny is Parsi, and Shanta, Dil, and Hassan are part of a larger multi-ethnic group of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh friends.

    The Punjab is the heart. Sindh is still feudal. The Pashtuns and Baluchis still want autonomy.

    Perhaps stubborn pride is the real culprit for the Punjabis of both countries, and that includes the Sikhs.

  • Georgiaboy61

    American and western interests allign naturally with India simply on the basis of the fact that Pakistan is Muslim and India is (excepting a significant minority) not. India is the world’s largest democracy, whose values accord well with our own. Pakistan is a de facto military dictatorship, corrupted by pro-jihadist influences such as the ISI, who shake our hands even as they hold a knife behind their backs and shelter Bin Laden and his kind.

    There will be no civilizational breakthrough for the Pakistanis or any other of the millions of poor and dispossessed in SW Asia and the Middle East until reform happens within Islam.
    The greatest enemy of tolerant Muslims who wish to join the modern age is their violent coreligionists who still believe the literal truth of a 7th century barbarian.

    PacRimJim, your comment about class envy writ large is right on the money. Ralph Peters has made very much the same point, that envy and shame are powerful motivators within the Islamic world.

  • Air Marshal Masood Akhtar

    I had suggested the following during our meeting with you in Serena Islamabad:

    •The US should not be investing in single persons but in institutions and the nation; with eventual adverse consequences for both US and Pakistan. Additionally it should enable the GOP to put together its own National Security Policy and National Interests, rather than make it follow US policies and defend US Interests.

    •The US must not keep pushing the GOP and Pak Army to go and clear up North Waziristan, when the army is already stretched operationally and logistically. It should not be pushing us to destroy the Taliban in Pakistan, when its own mission asks for only disrupt, dismantle, defeat and not destroy the insurgents in Afghanistan.. Additionally the US should encourage Pakistan in its dialogue with the Taliban when it itself prefers to do the same in Afghanistan.

    •The US must encourage India to sort out at least Sir Creek and Siachin problems to improve confidence between the two nations. It should encourage composite dialogue and some movement on Kashmir so that Pakistan can truly concentrate on its counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations.

    You have not dilated on these subjects in your article.

  • Jill

    Malik :”someone wrote about the pakistani combat pilots that were sent to fight Israel. yes, so?? when Israeli Mossad and Army chief can visit India over how to tackle the Kashmiri struggle, justifies the sent pilots.”

    Wow, Pakistan has fighter jets that can travel 2-3 decades back in time?! I’m impressed!

  • Malik

    [ed paraphrase: Pardon me, Jill, but I don’t think you understood my point.]

    i said “combat pilots” as someone in the comments before me had posted, and NOT the jets.

  • Chris M

    That’s a good article but the history of India / Pakistan part it rather screwy. What is the word…. a somewhat revisionist view?

  • Haim

    Malik: actually, Jill got you bang to rights. There was no security cooperation of any sort between India and Israel before at least 1980. There were no diplomatic relations till 1992.So Zionist-Hindu conspiracy was a figment of Paki imagination, but in 1973 Pakistan had decided it would be a great idea to send pilots and fighter planes against Israel to join in the coming Muslim triumph. You would be surprised, but Israelis saw this stupid, empty bellicose gesture as a declaration of war. So if there’s an Indian-Israeli cooperation today, and if it is detrimental to Pakistani security interests (whatever they may be), Pakistan can only blame itself.

  • Reeta

    Walter, among other things, wrote in this article “Muslim conquerors stormed down from today’s Iran and Afghanistan to build some of the world’s richest and most powerful empires”.

    This may not be entirely correct. Even before Islamic invasions, India was one of the richest country in the world and India had some very powerful empires under rulers like Nandas, Mauryas etc.

    All Islamic invasions did was murder millions and millions of Hindus and forcibly convert millions more (threat of sword) to Islam.

    Mr Walter, I would urge you not to romanticize Muslim invasions as these invasions is one of the most bloody chapters in India’s history.

  • Arjun

    The problem with Pakistan is its military unlike its counterparts in the civilized world is infested with religious extremists and other terrorist apologists when such unscrupulous elements call the shots in a country which has amassed nuclear weapons it becomes a serious liability for everyone around it, specially when its been now established that 09/11 bombers, the london attackers and even those who carried out 26/11 all received training or logistical support from Pakistan what is the guarantee that some of these groups cannot get their hands on nukes ?

  • Reeta

    Pakistan just does not tire in reminding the world that it is also a victim of terrorism as India and Afghanistan.

    There is a difference:

    Terrorism in India and Afghanistan has its main source and can be traced to Pakistan while Pakistan’s is a victim of terrorism by terrorists trained by Pakistan who have now become out of control and turned to bite their own master.

    Moreover, in Pakistan it is often difficult to distinguish between Al Qaeda and ISI/Pakistan army as basically they are two sides of the same coin.

  • G Dudley

    Late General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq during the invasion of Afghanistan by the soviets,”Tell Israel to send weapon to Pakistan but without the star of David on the boxes.”
    They [Pakistanis] hate the Chinese during the cold war and milked the USA and Europe. Then they decided to milk the Saudis and the Chinese and dump the Americans.
    After 9/11 it’s Uncle Sam again to save them.
    They hate the Hindu, Jews, Christians, and Americans etc. They hate each other suni/shia etc.
    We must feel sorry for these people. The myth of Islam intellectualism is now exposed- no oil no food. The day of robbing is over.
    G Dudley

  • salim

    History is “His” story, ie so called victor’s. Settled civilized societies are at receiving ends of conniving sexually perverted and economically frustrated brutes.

    Such conniving brutes were Romans as well who used Jesus’s teaching to create armed legion, what we call Christianity. Saudi Arabs perfected this use of native spirituality for imperialism and enslaving other people. They destroyed Misepotemia, its language, culture and native spirituality. Same thing they did to Egypt and Syria. In 40 years whole of Persia was converted and the native Zarotrostian spirituality fled to India in 7th century. So also Jews. It was easy to do when you inact laws that say that all Non Muslim (Kafir) property women and children are Haram and Muslims have first claim over them. Once that is done then the new convert your brother will steal your share of property and make your wife his cocumbine and your kids as his slaves. This Abrahamic religion brought slaveryto Africa and then new Abrahamic western Europen converts made it into big business. New white Europen converts did the same to Native American lands, destroying cultures, languages and enslaving the people.

    Todays Pakistan is inhabited by these new converts who are utterly rootless. they want to be more Saudi Arabian than Saudis. They have no pride and care of their true ancestors, their achievements. How many care that Panini the grammarian who penned Sanskrit grammar and thus all Indo-European languages came from Peshawar (Purushpur). How many would care that the university at Taxila near Peshawar housed 100K students and the library their was nine story tall.

    Imagine Vietnam becomes rootless and destroys its own language ie Vietnamese and adopt Russian, start wearing long coats and furry hats like Breznev and destoys all Buddhist temples and history, goes on pilgrimage to Moscow to give respects to Stalin and Lenin. They will be utterly rootless and confused. That is what has happened to Pakistan and to some extent to Bangladeshis.

  • Sun P

    Well, I am Indian so probably my view might seem to you all as biased. But here is the thinking of Mr Jinnah (one of the rare interviews) after partition and nothing has changed since then.

    We have lived with their deceit for last 63 years and glad people are getting to know them well. I wish world would have listened to us instead of discarding it as biased Indians. We in India do not want any thing to do with them, if they just let us live in peace.
    India’s interest in Afghanistan is limited to having a government w/o Pakistan influence. During Taliban’s rule Indian plane was hijacked and parked in Kandahar with more than 200 passengers on board, and we could not do anything. No prize for guessing, who orchestrated all this. We had to free 6 dreaded terrorists in exchange because for us value of life 300+ people was more important than those 6 guys. One of those 6 guys ended up founding JEM that killed probably more people than we thought we saved. Another of those guys Omar Saeed Sheikh killed Daniel Pearl and considered mastermind of 9/11.
    Those who believe madrassa graduated Talibans know tactics and strategy to fight NATO are, simply put, naive. I assume they can copy and make AK47s, crude bombs, but where are they getting ammunitions, Toyota pickups, gas, satellite communication equipment. They don’t teach technology and science in madrassas.

  • Morton Doodslag

    Comment by Air Marshal Masood Akhtar – August 4, 2010:

    “•The US should…”
    “•The US must…”
    “•The US must…”

    This is what you get when you flush tens of billions more into the sewer which installed the Taliban, was the first to recognize them diplomatically, and the last to sever diplomatic ties after 9/11. When Islam begins nuking Western capitals, we’ll all remember who spread the nukes to Iran, NoKo, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc.

    Pakistan, their Sunni masters in Saudi Arabia & UAE, along with Shiite Iran, are the true axis of evil. Epicenters of global Jihad, and future nuclear ground zeroes all.

    Keep telling us what the USA “must” do, Mr. Air Marshall. Keep an eye on the sky – the last thing you see will be vengeance visited from above from the righteous victims of your rape.

  • Abdul Al-Okullah

    What I see here is a collection of apologies for the weak Hindu rulers of India. Islam conquered them because Islam is stronger. Now, with the help of Pakistan, we have Nuclear Islam. It will eventually conquer the whole world again. The weak-minded academics in the west and elsewhere do not realize that one day they will be eliminated by the same Islam that they fail to understand.

  • Shannon Love

    I think this is a good summation of what many Pakistani believe but I think it important to point out that most of their beliefs are utterly delusional and that if they find themselves on the wrong side of America interest it almost entirely a matter of their own doing. I think Pakistan’s real problem is their cultural/religious supremism and their complete and utter unwillingness to accept responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

    People who believe they have the one truth faith automatically default to the assumption that the entirety of human history and every contemporary human action revolves around them. This is a cognitive trap shared by anyone of any religion or ideology who believe that only they have all the answers. You see it in the adherents of some adherents of Christianity, Buddhism and Marxism. In the case of Muslims, they cannot even imagine a world in which the super powerful Americans simply largely ignore Islam. How could we when Islam is the center of human existence and the story of Islam is the story of humanity itself? Clearly all major events in history and all major actions of America and other powers must ultimately be about Islam. Nothing else makes sense.

    Basically they are presented with choice of two world views. In the first world view, they are ultimately the most important people on earth and the only good and just people. They are poor and powerless only because evil forces constantly conspire against them. They are the struggling persecuted heros of humanities collective story.

    In the second world view, muslims have not played a key role in human affairs in over five hundred years. They are not economically, culturally, scientifically or technologically relevant to lives of non-Muslims. If every muslim in the world suddenly dropped dead no one else would be materially affected in the least.

    In that world view, muslims in main a just a poor, powerless and self-marginalized people whom the rest of humanity can utterly ignore unless muslims strike out violently. The historical injuries they suffer at the hands of America and the rest of the developed world are caused not by malice but by inattention. They are so small and trivial that we hurt them in the same way a human hurts ants by unknowingly walking over them. Islam and Muslims are not important enough for Americans or anyone else to spend the least amount of time or effort hating.

    If you were in their shoes, which world view would you gravitate towards? It is the differences between a solider dying heroically in a loosing battle versus a hobo being accidentally backed over by a garbage truck. Would you rather think of yourself as oppressed but important or self-destructive and ignored. Which would sell better politically in any culture?

    This is the intrinsic problem with dealing with the Muslim world. Getting them to see how we really view them and getting them to see their real context of our actions means getting them to let go of the idea that they are the most important and admirable part of humanity. It requires getting them to understand how trivial and unimportant they are.

    That’s a hard sell to say the least. The Germans and Japanese had similar views and look what we had to do to change their minds. The idea that a little more money, a little more negotiations or a even a little more cultural groveling will improve things is a desperate fantasy. I fear Muslims will persist in this fantasy until it drives them to some disaster that is impossible to ignore.

  • Mahesh Pande

    The only solution to my mind is balkonisation of Pak into four distinct provinces namely Baluchistan, NWFP, Sind and Punjab. Finish this demon called Pakistan and ” all will be right with the world”.

  • India should be horrified by Pakistan! India is a true democracy and is not interested in initiating wars. Every war India had with Pakistan was initiated by Pakistan. India even officially declared that they will not use the nuclear weapon first. Pakistan has never committed itself to a no first use policy concerning nuclear weapons.

    Pakistan is a dysfunctional state with a dysfunctional economy. It cannot survive with America’s few billions of dollars in aid. India has a mighty economy and can survive without any American aid.

    Why are Pakistanis afraid of India? India is not the monster!

  • Bob Frenier


    I enjoyed the article and commend your effort. I wonder if you would have heard a slightly different story if you had spent some time with Pakistani business people. If somebody came to America and interacted with “journalists, officials, students, intellectuals and diplomats,” like you did in Pakistan, that person would get a pretty skewed image of what this country thinks. All the people you spoke with can be quite wrong in their perceptions with little or no professional consequences; but if business people misperceive, they go out of business. Please consider talking to some bankers, insurance people, manufacturers and large retailers and tell us what they think. Thank you.

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  • Robert

    Mr. Mead, Please ask the Pakistanis that you meet whether they have any sympathies for the Chinese Uigher Muslims that are repressed in China. I bet you will find they don’t really care but love the atheist Communist Chinese govt for the support it gives them.

    Also, please ask if they believe Kashmir belongs to Pakistan, why did the Pakistani govt “gift” a large part to China and why were there no protest about it.

    And finally, ask some Pakistani intellectuals if they thought of the prospects of free trade with a booming India and what benefits it could bring Pakistan.

  • Nick

    Sir, why are you romaticising the barbabic Islamic invasion of India, it is one of the bloodiest conquests witnessed in history, millions force converted by the sword, taxes, lies, deceit, etc, 60 – 80 MILLION Hindus, Sikhs & Bhuddists were slaughtered to death by barbaric Muhammedans, read Mark Twain.

    Pakistan has made a imaginary enemy out of India. India has suffered set backs to developing the country & lost many citizens because Pakistan believes they are chosen by Allah to carry on the barbaric Islamic conquest of India.

    Pakistan & brainwashed Pakistanis are soley to blame for the problems the country is going through, no one else.

  • Nick

    Will Durrant, not Mark Twain, I got the authors mixed up!

    Terrorist Islamic Republic Of Pakistan needs to stop exporting terrorism. Clean up your house & stop having wet dreams of turning India into a Islamic state.

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  • Exposing Dishonest-“jounralism”

    ref: “Merchants, mystics and saints spread the faith across the subcontinent..”

    You Lie!

    Please add “swords, volience, rape, intimidation etc.” to how the faith was spread.

  • J. Ram Ray

    This is an excellent, scholarly, on-the-ground reporting from one of the best historian journalists today, and is aptly titled. I hope Mr. Mead’s later reports include other perspectives – especially the India-Pakistan contrast. These countries were born twins, shared the same landmass, history and parentage. India, fodnly described by Sen. Galbraith as a functioning anarchy, remains poor but emerged as a well grounded democracy, a global source of highly skilled workers and the world’s back office. And Pakistan, the world’s largest pool of jihadists! I hope Mr. Mead will explore what went wrong and why. Since Pakistan was created as a safe heaven for Muslims, Mr. Mead should let his readers understand that India is home to as many Muslims as Pakistan. As Thomas Friedman says, Indian Muslims, at least the millions with middle class aspirations, are too busy striving to be the next Ajit Premjis to think of crashing a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center.

    J. Ram Ray

  • ahmed

    The united states is hated by average Pakistanis at two levels

    1) The religious nuts hate it because of their own misguided superiority complexes

    2) The seculars in Pakistan hate America because they accuse America for reason no 1.

    From a secular Pakistani, if America continues its unholy alliance with Saudi Arabia which in turn continues to promote violent wahhabi islam in Pakistan, then I am afraid we are all doomed. A de-radicalization of Pakistani jihadist could only be possible if their umbilical chord is cut and funding from Saudi Arabia stops. So far the US has done nothing to stop this money trail, at least publicly. Once the mullahs in Pakistan are forced to work and earn, then automatically they will become de-radicalized. Right now mullahs are enjoying the comforts of living thanks to saudi largesse.

    Pakistan also happens to be a frontline state for Iran and Saudi arabia. Sectarian outfits in Pakistan are being directly funded by these organizations

  • Robert

    So I gather from the article just about everything under the sun irks the Pakistanis and it is all the fault of everyone else.

  • Peter

    The U.S. has been way too tolerant with Third World countries like Pakistan for far too long.

    This probably started with the goo-goo talk when the United Nations was established, which allowed a dysfunctional Pakistan actually think it has (or deserves) a seat at the table.

    The time of accommodation is ending. [To use Mr. Mead’s apt analogy, ‘the time is coming the Walrus said, to speak of many things.’]

    Economics is forcing the U.S. to sober up and get serious — no more nation building, no more lip from the the Pakis, among others..

    If Americans don’t like Islam — and why should we — so what?

    If the U.S. finds it in its interest to be friendly with India, get use to it.

    The world as gotten use to the U.S. being a overly forgiving softy. Get read for reality.

  • dave beal

    Walter: This is a very good work in progress and told me a lot I didn’t know. Hovever, as you go forward with your analysis of the Pakistani situation, you should get deeper into the reasons why the US tiea with India are so strong vs. our ties with Pakistan. One reason is our deep and growing business/economic engagement with India. In my state (Minnesota) as in many others, a professional group of Indian entrepreneurs meets for monthly dinner meetings. This group typically draws large crowds, including many non-Indians who do business with the group’s members: lawyers, accountants, techie types, economic developers, etc. Many Indian entrepreneurs have launched successful businesses in the Twin Cities over the last couple of decades.Many large businesses in the Twin Cities and elsewhere outsource computer jobs to workers in Bangalore and other parts of India. And Indians teach as adjuncts and full professors in business schools in the Twin Cities. All of this is happening elsewhere in the US, too. It adds up to a critical mass of executives and professionals — all across America — who work with businesses and governments in India to maintain and improve relations between the U.S. and India. The reality is there is no comparable biz/econ critical mass in the US working to strengthen relations with Pakistani businesses and governments. I don’t know how much this counts for. I leave it to you to figure that out and work this aspect of the story into your final analysis, but I hope you will take a crack at it.

  • andy

    A sharp and concise survey of Pakistani opinion. To take the analysis to it’s conclusion would however suggest the the USA should treat Pakistan as the enemy it perceives itself too be, rather than pretend Pakistan is an ally. None of the Factors enumerated by Mr. Mead above are going to change significantly in the next few years.

  • V, T, Abraham

    Instead of talking to the elites, talk to the average joe on the street and in the villages. Despite the indoctrination they get from childhood they are more worried about food, jobs and getting ahead rather than being fixated on India. The Army uses India as a bugbear to frighten the population, expropriate a large chunk of the treasury and justify their nefarious activities. Pakistan is not a country with an army but an army with a country. The Army sabotages any attempt at peace with India. General Kayani has never allowed the civilian leadership to take a different line in foreign policy and security issues which contradicts the army’s views. He scuttled Zardari’s efforts to bring the ISI under the Interior Ministry. He prevented Zardari from sending ISI Chief Lt. Gen. Suja Pasha to India for discussion after the “26/11” Mumbai terror attacks which we know today was sponsored by the ISI with Kayani’s blessings. If Pakistan’s beef was with India why did they shelter Bin Laden before 9/11 (since Bin Laden was focussed on the US and not India). Infact the Army refused to hand him over to the US and provided him with a security detail and gave him dialysis at their Army Hospitals up until a few days before 9/11. In Afghanistan 80% of the operating expenses of the Taliban is provided by the ISI (as per interviews with Taliban operatives in the field by Newsweek). The ISI’s instructions to the suicide bombers who blew up the Indian Embassy in Kabul (killing 54 people and wounding 140) was intercepted by the CIA and replayed to them. The ISI gives Rs 200,000 to the family of suicide bombers. US tax dollars being used to kill US soldiers. Pakistan has mastered the art of state sponsorhip of terrorism, all the while maintaining plausible deniability by using non state actors, but their duplicity is finally catching up with them.

  • abhishek sharma

    The writer of this article needs to understand that you cannot justify creation of a terrorist state because your neighbor is doing well. Pakistan is a state that is based on religious fundamentalism and their issues with India will not resolved until India and entire world convert to islam. it has nothing to do with Kashmir or military threat from India( who lever invaded Pakistan but Pakistan has committed aggression in each instance). It has become a habit in islamic world to not do anything but blame west or non-muslims for their ailing and sick society, Just like Palestinians, Pakistan keeps asking for control for Kashmir or more land but cannot explain why it cannot even manage its current resources, why it is failed state, why it export nothing except terrorism and why it is a cancer to entire human race. Mr. Mead, please cease your Pakistan biased pseudo-ambivalence and start looking at the serious consequences of this dangerous society which is hell bend loose on destroying everything man has achieved until today. Or to make it simple for you… STOP TERRORISM and STOP JUSTIFYING TERRORISM as you are doing in your article.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I don’t understand why Muslims keep harping on how everyone is attacking them. It is completely untrue, as a simple review of history shows. I can’t think of any Indian attacks in Pakistan, but the attack in Mumbai sticks out and I understand approximately 400 people die in India every year from Muslim terrorist attacks. Black Sunday, World Trade Center, 9/11, Bali, Spanish train attack, London train attack, the list of Islamic attacks goes on and on. Israel has had to defend itself continuously from the entire Islamic world from its very formation, why is that? In fact 99% of all terrorist attacks are done by Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 40. Profiling should be made mandatory for all security personnel. It seems to me that it is Islamic countries that are always attacking, and all others simply defending themselves.

  • Molly Budarz

    Perusing through all the comments I am quite surprised to see not a single comment from a Pakistani American or someone defending Pakistani view of things. Perhaps they don’t read anything not related to Islam – or they are too preoccupied with prayers five times a day to find time for intillegent reading…

  • sonofsam

    Mr. Meade,
    You talk about ‘Muslim Victims’ in India.
    Do you know, there were TWO INDIAN PRESIDENTS who were Muslims?
    There were several KEY CENTRAL MINISTERS who were Muslims. There were several Chief Ministers of States in India who were Muslims.
    Show me one Indian Hindu successful in Pakistan?

  • Jim Berg

    Akhtars immature response shows the dysfunctional nature of the Pak-US relationship. The tail wagging the dog.

    First, let Pakistan’s ISI clean up its incestuous relationship with the Taliban and then make demands. As the Mumbai attacks, the London bombings show, there is a Pakistani hand whenever terror strikes the civilized world. Pakistanis are rootless people without a culture of their own, having left or been dragged from their Buddhist/Hindu heritage and converted forcefully to militant Islam in eons past. They now seek to emulate their conquerors in being as brutal and barbaric as possible, when it comes to dealing with other faiths and cultures, as typified in the actions of the Punjabi dominated Pakistani military elite.

    The right way to deal with Pak would be to put crippling sanctions on them, take away their nukes and treat them as a pariah state, which they are, till they learn to behave themselves. North Korea and Iran, for far less, are treated far worse. Pakistan has been a much more violent and sociopathic state having committed genocide in Bangladesh, within its own borders in Baluchistan, sponsored terrorism in India with countless dead, feeds organizations like Lashkar which do global terrorism. Pakistan should be brought to heel.

  • Yash

    Dear Mr. Mead,

    Excellent article, though admittedly from Pakistani point of view, as you have been trying to understand Pakistan. Three additional points need to be remembered in order to understand them better. First is that a huge portion of Pakistani thinking is based on lies. This is true of historical as well as current events. The behavior of is similar to a kid who is failing at everything he does and blaming all the failures on others. Third is that it is not in the institutional interest of Pakistani army to have either peace or democracy.

  • jodetoad

    Out of curiosity, I spent quite some time reading and posting at Pakistani blogs in English, there are many. May not represent attitudes of non-English speakers, but what I saw agrees with the post.

    In addition, noted a LOT of racism and regional hostility: the various ethnicities in Pakistan appear to detest each other only slightly less than they destest India.

    Even the slightest hint of disagreement from me brought accusations that I was an Indian.

    My impression is that Pakistan is only held together by blaming other countries, as it keeps them from blaming each other. Disfunctional to the max.

  • sonofchandrasuryagangadharan

    Many self evident factual inaccuracies which always come about when western authors try hard to give an unbiased view (i.e. equal equal treatment to india and pakistan) (i.e. if Pakistan has these negetive points then they feel the itch to come up with imagined points against india to appear unbiased)

    Heres a few
    India won the subsequent war, and continues to hold most of the old princely state.
    YOU HAVE PUT kashmir’s frigging map on your website, cant you see that India holds arround 35%, pakistan holds the same and China holds the rest? Whaddaya mean India holds most of the old princely state? False! and the problem area is at the norther part of the portion India holds, the south and the east part have Hindu and Buddhist majority and i bet they dont want to join pakistan. Its the Islam in danger hysterical screaming that has created this impression that India has enslaved kashmir or some other nonsense like that.

    another attempt at sounding impartial
    Muslim conquerors stormed down from today’s Iran and Afghanistan to build some of the world’s richest and most powerful empires

    FALSE!!! muslim conquerors stomed Iran and Afganistan to TAKE OVER already existing rich and powerful empires who had no response to the mad frenzy of the newly founded religion that promised plenty of loot in this world and the next. Over a period of a few hundred years they sucessfully turned the rich and powerful empires into what they are now. that has been the islamic contribution to civilization. Do some unbiased research – all the civilization progress in the name of islam whether in Mathematics, architecture etc have been Persian, the remnants of the older empire which still had the scientific temperament intact INSPITE of islam

  • K2K

    Reading most of this comment thread is startling.

    though not as startling that anyone would consider Will Durant’s account of the Muslim invasions in “The Story of Civilization” to be the sole source of a complex history.

    No nation is without blood on it’s hands at some point in history.

    This thread reads like 800 AD, with the French talking about the Vikings, the global terrorists of their day. “But we beat the Muslims in 732! These Norsemen sure fight dirty!)

  • Kala

    Jinnah was an egomaniac and made the process violent.
    I’m far past worrying about why they are angry. They are madmen.
    I care about protecting my family from these maniacs.

  • salim

    Pakistan is a colony of arabs already. Islam [comment removed –ed]. Slavery under China will bring a further terrible devaluation of Pakistan since China has been misusing it already for China’s imperialist mischief. See China’s dealings with Tibet, Sin Kiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar etc. – China’s rulers are an extremely cynical and ruthless lot.

    Way forward for Pakistan is to admit that its hate of India and hindus is totally unwarranted and counter-productive for both. Why ignore India and embrace China or the west? After all it is the brother who will really care. Why do so many indians/hindus write on this blog, even bitter words? Because they care. How many chinese or germans or arabs write?

    Advise pakistanis to reject slavery under China and Islam and arabs. CIA = China, Islam, Arabs. That is the CIA that is now misusing Pakistan. Earlier it was the US-CIA. But the US-CIA got a bloody nose through pakistani duplicity.

  • salim

    Little about India which Americans might not know:

    “Stretching more than sixty-three thousand kilometres, the Indian railway system transports around 20 million passengers daily in 9,000 trains. It is also one of the largest employers in the world and has more than 1.6 million people in its service. In major metropolises such as Mumbai, the urban railway system transports around 7 million passengers most of whom are workers from outside the city itself.

    The association of the dabbawalas or the lunch-box deliverers has been awarded a Six Sigma certification by Forbes, based on their ability to deliver 200,000 lunchboxes daily to workers within Mumbai from their homes without messing up more than 3 orders for every million delivered. The actual error rate is much lower, at only 1 in 16 million transactions, and is largely due to the Mumbai trains’ timing and punctuality as they are the primary mode of getting the plethora of lunch boxes to their destinations.”

    Pakistan so far acted as a hired goon of the west and for its activities against India and Soviets was abundantly rewarded. Now it wants to be hired goon of Chinese and Saudis.

  • Morton Doodslag

    “This thread reads like 800 AD, with the French talking about the Vikings, the global terrorists of their day. “But we beat the Muslims in 732! These Norsemen sure fight dirty!)”

    Inane moral relativist can’t even make a good simile. Vikings of today have gay marriage, design cool furniture, tap geothermal energy, have naked sunbathing, and tolerate just about anything, sometimes to their great detriment. [broad and derogatory comments about a religious community deleted and pointlessly uncivil ad hominem reference to the mental capacity of the author of another comment deleted — ed.]

  • Andrew Morton


    While you are in Pakistan, it is the perfect time to read Nobel Prize Winner V S Naipual’s two travelogues Beyond Belief and Among the Believers to get a deeper sense of Pakistan’s and Pakistani’s neurosis.

    They are a people who are basically Hindu and Buddhist converts to Islam but actually all imagine that all their ancestors came down from Central Asia as invaders. As Naipaul puts it, it is like the Native Americans welcoming Cortes as their hero and savior!

    Unlike Bangladeshis who know that even though they are Muslims, they are culturally Indian, i.e Hindu, Pakistanis deny their cultural heritage. This is at the root of their neurosis. There is no cure for this neurosis except to acknowledge their Hindu/Buddhist cultural moorings, but that is not going to happen anytime soon.

    So while the political grivances may change with times, Pakistanis wont stop whining anytime soon. When I was in grad school, I had a Pakistani colleague who could not stop trashing Indians. Only much later, I came across Indians as colleagues and these guys barely talk of Pakistan, except that it exports terrorism.

    It is not clear what Pakistan has to offer economically, culturally, ro socially to the US. We need to engage with Pakistan because of their proximity to terrorist groups. In the long run, closer relation with India makes far more sense to the US.

    To repeat, you and your readers must read Naipaul’s two brilliant books to get a deeper understanding of Pakistan’s and Pakistani’s neuroses.

  • Jack Kalpakian

    Dr. Mead,

    Can anything be done? Pakistan’s perceptions are its own. They are tying cooperation with the US in Afghanistan to United States support for the Pakistani program bent on destroying India.

    That is, of course, not in the interests of the United States, since India is the balance for China.

    This means that the United States needs to END its relationship with Pakistan. An alliance with Uzebkistan and Russia, along with the sub rosa de facto revival of the Northern Alliance by returning the Northern warlords to their provinces makes more sense.

    In the meantime, Pakistan can be told that its continued support for Taliban means that the US will support movements like the Sindh and Baluchistan separatists.

    And leave it to decide its own fate at that stage.

    Jack Kalpakian

  • Mustafain Meghani

    This author is kufffar! Zionist Hindu Americans will soon submit before Pakistan as we become the next superpower.

    You should be deported from the Pakistan for your lies. Pakistan never lost any war and will conquer India in Ghazwa-e-Hind when Mohammed and Jinnah return on their War Donkeys to lead our tall fair strong oily warriors into battle. The next will be Israel and the US.

  • miguel cervantes

    Did not the ISI, Cawthorne’s legacy, pick the group in the mujahadeen that they needed to support, this is true, from Kaplan, Bonner,Van Dyk, Bearden, Rashid,et al, And they were the most militant members, Hekmatyar’s HIG, Khalis, the mentor of the Taliban, Haqquani, and Raisul Sayyaf, over RAbbani,
    Massoud, et al

  • salim

    “Kashmiri girl Rukhsana Kausar, who shot into limelight after killing a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, today demanded a permanent government job, ideally in a paramilitary force, and said she should be shifted out of her home district of Rajouri in view of the threat to her family.

    The 20-year-old also said she favours imparting military training to children in schools so that they can “overcome fear and prepare themselves for taking on terrorists”.

    Kausar, who has been appointed as a special police officer in Jammu and Kashmir Police along with her brother and uncle for her bravery, said at a press meet organised by the Anti-Terrorist Front here that she wants a Central government job, “ideally in the CRPF”.

    “I am ready to sacrifice myself for the country. I am ready to do any job for my country, but it should be a permanent central government employment. The SPO’s job is a temporary one,” she said.

    Kausar also dismissed reports that she wants to settle in Delhi, but said she should be given a job outside Rajouri as living there is not safe for her family. She cited the revenge attack on her house by militants last week.

    Flanked by her family — brother Aijaz and parents Noor and Rashida — the girl who earned the sobriquet of “braveheart”, recalled how she along with her brother killed a top Pakistani militant of the LeT and injured another after a group of ultras barged into their house in Shahdra Sharief of Rajouri district on September 27. “At around 9pm, they had knocked our doors. They forced my parents to open the door and started beating them up,” Kausar said. She recalled how she and Eijaz, 18, scuffled with the militants, hit them with an axe and killed one of them after snatching his AK-47 rifle.

    Kausar, whose bravery had came in for praise from president Pratibha Patil and home minister P Chidambaram, said children should be given military training and made aware of how terrorists were wreaking havoc. “Kashmir is ours and will be so. We will fight the militants,” she said.

    Asked whether she is ready to join the army if given a chance, she said “yes”. To a question, Rukhsana said no major political leader had come to meet her after the incident.

    Eijaz said he also wants a Central government job. He said the family is not safe is Rajouri. “Some people asked me if I will be going to my house on October 29. I said yes, after which the grenade attack came at the night.”

    Anti-Terrorist Front chairman MS Bitta, who presented a Saibaba idol to Kausar and posed carrying swords with the family, said the girl should be given a job in CRPF or BSF.

    He alleged that “big political leaders” were shying away from meeting Rukhsana and no official other than the Rajouri SSP has came to her aid. A Maharashtra university was to award her, but scrapped the plan due to a “terror threat”, he said.

    “Why the BJP, which talks of tough stand against terror, has not honoured her,” he asked adding, he has a feeling that Kausar was not getting her due as she is a Muslim.

    Kausar’s mother Rashida said she is proud of her daughter and wants her to work for the country.

    Bitta said he along with the family of Rukhsana will visit Ajmer Sharif tomorrow.

    “We will give our thanks for saving the lives of Rukhsana and his family,” he said.

    A team of Jammu and Kashmir police is travelling with Rukhsana for her protection while security has also been strengthened at her house in Rajouri, one of the commandos accompanying the girl, said.”

  • Abdul Al-Okullah

    Simple question …

    Please dig deep in your memory … take the help of Wikipedia … talk to your favorite oracle …

    And then, come up with ONE thing that Pakistan has contributed to the betterment of the world …

  • Dev Nayak

    To write this long essay, you need not visit Pakistan. It can be done sitting in comfort of your home is US. Since, you have gone there, the first place of your ?visit” would be to read the mutilated constitution of the theocratic state. You could have borrowed few school text book, and learnt what they teach in Pakistani public schools. Once you are satisfied, you could have visited their vast feudal land and met both feudal and their vassals..This would have given you real time experience of Pakistan, and what it meqans to the whole world.

    It is unfair on your part, not to visit India and taken their point of view too.

  • The article does a fair (albeit incomplete) job of trying to explain Pakistani issues with America, but very few commenters seem to have understood anything at all.

    Most of the commentary here is absurdly biased, stereotypical, generalized, simplistic and misinformed. Take a look at your own comments people, before blaming Pakistani for being ‘maniacs’ and ‘full of hatred’.

  • Anand

    I thought you identified 4 topics – I just see two! India. Afghanistan because they fear India taking it over. America because they fear US-Indo alliance. They blame every one else but themselves. Pakis don’t realize it’s their hate towards India and Hindus that’s eating them up from inside.

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  • K2K

    I agree with what Nabeel wrote at 11:08 am

    Thanks to the editor for removing the
    “pointlessly uncivil ad hominem reference to the mental capacity of the author ” since I assume that would be me for my imaginary French blog comment thread in 800 AD on the Vikings, the global terrorists of their day. “But we beat the Muslims in 732! These Norsemen sure fight dirty!”

    Yes, the Vikings DID evolve from terrorists to colonists, from Normandy to Dublin to Kiev, and traders as far as Baghdad. I am not sure, but the Swedish urge war dissipated by the 18th century.

    However, in reading so many comments here, I thought of the French, confidently emerging as a nation after Charles Martel’s defeat of the Muslims at Tours in 732, only to be annually terrorized by the Norsemen around 800, almost in living memory. The Parisian French had the sense to give the Norsemen land for peace, the place we call Normandy.

    If only that approach had worked with Pakistan.

  • V. T. Abraham

    Here is a Pakistani bemoaning the radicalization in Pakistan in a Pakistani newspaper.

  • salim

    “Forced conversions to Islam, particularly of Hindu girls, who are abducted first, have become another routine. Hindu minorities who constituted 23 per cent of the population at the time of Pakistan’s creation in 1947 have now been reduced to barely 2 per cent.”

    “Cultural and ethnic minorities in Pakistan are in great distress, with suicide bombers routinely killing sectarian minorities like the Shia and the Ahmadi during prayers inside mosques, cross border terrorism once again raising its head after a brief lull, terrorists trained in Pakistan seeking to perpetrate terror even in the West.

    After a few threatening noises following the recent Times Square bombing attempt, the international community appears to be treating its dealings with Pakistan as business as usual. But if we are to get rid of the menace of massive violation of the human rights of sectarian, religious, ethnic minorities and women in Pakistan as well as cross border terrorism, it’s high time the world took the issue of neutralising the epicentre of terrorism in the world more seriously.

  • David

    This article reads like some bleeding heart liberal’s explaination why some guy turned out to be serial killer because he was abused as a child. This nation, Pakistan, is such a poor baby, all our hearts should be bleeding for it – abused and neglected by Britain, India and now the US.

    Frankly I don’t think it matters how it got here, it is high time Pakistan grew up as a nation and stopped training, equiping, controlling and deploying terrorists. One thing we should note is that it was not the CIA’s war in Afghanistan against Russia that brought terroisrm to Pakistan. The Pakistan army/government had decided to go into the terrorism business long before that, right after the defeat in the Bangladesh war (1971), That was when the decision was made that the only way to defeat India not in conventional war but by deploying terrorists – thus began the ISI’s terrorism program which continues to this day,

  • Sam

    MR. MEAD,




  • Dear Mr. Mead,

    Hope you also enjoyed your visit to Islamabad Club. You have interesting, deep observations and analytical skills. American Foreign Policy makers need to really work very hard to understand Pakistani Mindset. Most of our “democratic” leadership is supported by the US government.

    hope you enjoyed my articles that I presented to you.

    Best Wishes and safe trip back home

    Dr. Naeem mushtaq
    HR manager
    Islamabad Club

  • Pingback: The Roots of Pakistan's Rage (A good read)()

  • sanjithmenon

    As an Indian i would like to make our position clear to all with regards to Pakistan. Our biggest generational priority in India, is to get our people out of poverty. We do not want anything else at this moment. We have enough poverty within our borders, we cannot imagine borrowing your poverty. So please let us go on with our lives.
    In our 5000 year history, India is the only civilization that has not invaded another nation. Every great idea that came out from our land was preceded with a prayer in the beginning, and blessing in the end.

    “In each living thing there beats an universal soul, hurting one is hurting you, helping one is helping yourself”
    yajur veda.

  • Pingback: Walter Russell Mead’s Pak-Vision | Great Power Politics()

  • Yosh

    Pakistan Flood Relief
    Mr. Mead,
    Would you happen to know which US charities have effective flood relief programs on the ground in Pakistan?

  • Dodo

    I liked Bob Frenier’s suggestion that you talk to the common people of pakistan – the man on the street, the businessmen and the non strategist individual to get the real picture of what Pakistan really desires, what the ordinary pakistani wants.

    I am willing to bet that what the ordinary pakistani wants is not much different from what any other ordinary human being would want, but there is one huge exception and a big caveat here.

    Firstly you are a white american, and the pakistanis will have these issues of honor and dignity (izzat) when talking to you, that’ll prevent any honest responses of their sense of hopelesness with what is happening to their world.

    Secondly, this is a society that has been fed a twisted version of Islam, a badly mangled version of Islamic history for 63 years of its existance. You will have to factor that in when you talk to these guys.

    Thirdly, the ordinary pakistani really fears the intel agencies in their country. They have a huge collection of them, lead by the ISI, the MI etc. These hated and feared bodies are collectively reffered to as the ‘agencies’. Any ordinary pakistani will be looking over his back in fear of the agencies watching him when he is talking to a white american. Remember, that by default you are a ‘CIA agent’ when you are in pakistan, and you’ll have to convinve people otherwise.

    Broadly, I am asking you to disarm the people you talk to at the outset with some straight talk about how much you know about their complaints.

    One other thing I want to add. The city of Deoband where the name Deobandi brand of Islam takes its name from is in India, close to New Delhi. While the Indian followers of deobandi islam are nowhere as intolerant as the pakistanis. Please consider this fact – there are as many muslims in India as there are in Pakistan, (perhaps more in India than pakistan) making India the home to the second largest muslim population in the world. And then I have George Walker Bush’s statement on record when he visited India, “180 million muslims, not one Al-Qaida !”. As far as the Indian muslims are concerned, I am convinced, that they’ll continue to love and live in India as they have all these centuries.

    Indeed there are things that the world’s largest democracy – India is doing right.

    The kashmiris might want more autonomy, but they sure as hell don’t want to be part of Pakistan. And one can be sure that eternal peace will prevail in Kashmir, the day the ISI stops arming and sending Jihadis across the Line of Control into the Kashmir valley, and stops creating trouble through its ‘over ground workers’ there. Interestingly, when the afghan war was going on in the 80s, and Zia-ul-haq was the dictator and Hamid Gul was the ISI chief, India had to face sikh terrorism in the state on Punjab. It is interesting how terrorism took place in the two states bordering Pakistan. Recently, the Bangladeshi have revealed how Musharraf on an official visit there met with the ULFA chief (a militant group in India’s northeastern state of Assam, who want state boundaries redrawn), no doubt in that meeting the pakistanis were upto no good.

    One more thing that one needs to consider is that Pakistan derives all this spunk and callousness from its possession of nuclear weapons, gifted to it by China, so that Pakistan can keep India engaged. Now Pakistan can securely carry out terrorist attacks such as Mumbai (1993, 2007, 2009), Indian parliament, numerous bomb attacks on trains, buses in various inidan cities, terrorist acts in kashmir today, and punjab in the past. Pakistan can do all this, secure in the knowledge that their possession of nuclear weapons protects them from Indian retaliation. The US for its contingency has unfortunately ignored sage advice and allowed this to happen. The Regan adminstration it seems wilfully ignored Pakistan getting nukes from China, even as the Bush and Obama administration today arm them with F-16s and AMRAAMS and guided missile frigates with harpoons.

    (no doubt to take out the Taliban navy and the taliban airforce !!!)

    It is indeed a skewed world we live in today.

  • Dodo

    What I want to get across to you and everyone who reads this, is that Pakistan follows an official policy of sponsoring terrorism. The government of Pakistan, (and the pakistani military – specifically the Army is the defacto government there) is a state sponsor of terrorism.

    All 4 neighbours are affected by this poison that that the pakistani army via the ISI has created. Iran has the Jundalla group, Afghanistan has the Taliban, China has the Uhigur militants (alebit there is possibly no state support there, considering pakistan’s current dependence on China for everything from nuclear weapons to missiles to financial aid to railway engines), and India (Punjab in the 80s, Jammu and Kashmir, trouble in the north eastern states, and random bomb blasts in various indian cities).

    The world’s Pakistan problem and the Islamic Jihadi problem can’t be solved, unless the Pakistani military, specifically its army and the ISI are not dismantled, defanged, and confined to their barracks.

    Why this is not being done, is because of two reasons:
    1. Pakistan has nukes, which the army protects.
    2. The jihadis have become a force to rekon with. They have grown in size and might and so if the Pakistani army is defanged, the jihadis will take over the country and its nukes and all hell will break loose.

    Here is where the crux of the problem lies. The Pakistani army is both the enemy and the one entity that the world powers can’t do without.

    Given these realities, only one possible solution has a chance of any success. Divide Pakistan into its 4 constituent states – which are as it is based on ethinic lines and don’t get along with each other or with the dominant punjabis, AND denuke pakistan by any means, preferably without the use of force. This division of Pakistan will make the Jihadis more geographical boundaries to contend with and will disspiate their energies. The problem will be more manageable once it is broken down into smaller parts. It will also spare the states of Balochistan and Sindh from the constant sectarian strife that these jihadis bring to them.

    Perhaps this can be one of the possible end points of the war on terror.

    But this entire process has to be carefully managed so that there is no backlash against pakistan’s neighbours specifically India – the world’s 8th largest economy, and afghanistan – which has seen nothing but strife and bloodshed over the last two generations.

    My two cents, take it for what its worth.

  • Aks

    Maliks comments are interesting, Pakistan is staring down the abyss, but he is not bothered about what Pakistanis should do to change that situation. Its rather the US should, India should. The Pakistanis elites sense of entitlement is amazing. Plus the casual bigotry in assuming that they are superior to the rest of the world, which must do as they say

  • Aks

    Actually meant Masood Akhtar not Malik

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  • Pak Student

    The moderate pakistani thinks all the problems in pakistan can be solved if islam was followed completely. Although, there is hypocrisy in following this claim and a subconcious fear of subjugation and austerity that islam brings ,which explains no islamic party ever got in power in pakistan . Also, complete secularization of pakistan is a great threat to all the pakistanis. Pakistanis think that the west has progressed because it is following the values of islam rather than scientific rationalism.

    Yes, we are indoctrinated from the begining about the evil presence of india and it’s plans to take over pakistan.All the wars are hindu india’s doing trying to take over.The spread of islam in india was without the sword and by the influence of sufi’s, who converted the oppressed shudars in hindu caste system . The perception of india is summed up by this urdu proverb ” baghal may churri mo may ram ram” ( meaning india wants peace on the surface but is holding a knife to stab as it sees the oppurtunity).The obsession with kashmir is so strong that everyday, news shows that the kashmirs want to join pakistan right now but india is holding them hostages and genocide is going on ( Operation Gibraltor showed something else).

    Strangely, pakistanis look at the past glory of islam and think that time will come again rather than realizing the world is different place today. Also, for all the ills of pakistan , pakistanis blame the corrupt politicians , unislamic system and the foriegn influence.

    I believe the decadance in the muslim world is the same faced by christians before the scientific enligtenment and rationalism. It is different in a sense that a clear example is front of the muslims in form of the west. Hopefully, muslims would realize their place in the world early , rather than running after supermacist dream of conquering the entire world and languishing in the dreams of past glory.

  • I likes Your New style friends

  • stimulating blog post, kudos for the info

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