Despatches from Pakistan

“Zardari was keen to make amends with India and went overboard in a sense as far as the Army was concerning in trying to bring peace. He said some things, which the army did not like.”

“And then he tried to, in a sense, get a grip on the ISI, and the army didn’t like that either and he had to beat a retreat on all these fronts. So, his relationship with the army was a bit troubled from day one. And, then of course, having gotten rid of  Musharraf, he had to rebuild a relationship with General Kayani and that is still work in progress.”

That’s Najam Sethi, editor in chief of the Daily Times, speaking at a recent discussion on the challenges confronting Pakistan, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC.

“The army has lots of question marks about Mr Zardari’s ability to run government and also to deal with the United States. The Pakistani army thinks that Mr Zardari is soft on the US and the Pakistani army would like to take a harder line vis-à-vis these negotiating positions on Afghanistan and the war on terror, and Mr Zardari is more inclined to look at the money side of it.”

“He wants to put money into the budget, he wants money from the United States, he wants to get the economy moving, but the army has other priorities.”

The money is, as mentioned in my previous post, forthcoming, so Zardari can be happy — for now [Or not. The US largesse is to the tune of $7.5 billion across five years — peanuts for the Pak president, who says he would ideally like $100 billion, thank you very much].

Typically, whenever Pakistan needs something from the United States, it takes ‘stern action’, as with this ‘house arrest’ of Hafeez Saeed.

There is no official order to place Saeed under house arrest, according to Saeed’s spokesman.

“There are no written orders but he is not allowed to go out of his home,” Yahya Mujahid, Saeed’s spokesman, told Reuters. “He has been barred from performing his religious duty, it is against basic human rights.”

I just hate when the human rights of terrorists are violated, don’t you? Like, so:

Manish Vij points meanwhile to an interesting snippet in the leaked report of Gen McChrystal, who incidentally has threatened to quit if he is not given additional resources to fight the war in Afghanistan. [He might as well start typing out that letter of resignation, if this u-turn by the Obama administration does materialize.  Funnily enough, Afghan warlords are saying they will fight the Taliban if the US gives them weapons. Good luck with that — the last time the US armed locals to fight their battles for them, we got the Taliban and Al Qaeda].

From Manish:

While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani counter measures in Afghanistan and India. [McChrystal report]

By the dry phrase ‘encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India,’ I assume the report means ’suicide attackers with assault rifles, grenades and truck bombs.’

Right. India’s involvement in Afghanistan “encouraged” the ISI to mastermind the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, among other ‘counter measures’; recent times have brought reports of militants gathering in their numbers at the LoC while the Pakistan army repeatedly shells Indian border positions.

But I forget — all these problems will go away if you give Zardari $100 billion, no? The Acorn has more on the subject.

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2 thoughts on “Despatches from Pakistan

  1. The reporter is clearly aghast at the blatant ‘tokenism’ of the arrest, the duplicity and reluctance of the Pakistani establishment to take any actions against those perpetrating crimes such as 26/11.

    Let me get the obvious out of the way, first. I am not, in any way, suggesting it is right on the part of the Pakistani establishment (a contradiction in terms, that) to do what it is doing. People indulging in such gruesome acts definitely deserve the justice it merits. But tell me, why exactly is the Indian Govt. shocked?

    Isn’t that exactly what Raj Thackeray’s arrest was? Or the ‘Arrest him if you can’ dare at the Govt. by the Sena vis-a-vis Bal Thackeray? Even the name Praveen Togadia comes to mind. So, which part of the farce are we not familiar with by way of having indulged in it ourselves?

    And of course, its the ‘people’, both implicit and complicit, who make all this possible, so, why do the same ‘people’ sound so aghast by all this?

    Am not saying its right to do so. Am saying you do it yourself, so what exactly are you complaining about? Kettle calling pot black.

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