Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Beslan to Peshawar- one Professor's perspective

Children butchered at two schools, one in Belsan a decade ago, the other in Peshawar today- and after the tears are shed a numbed world turns back to its quotidian tasks with some vague impression that dem Islamists be crazy.
The truth about Beslan, of course, had more to do with hostility between 2 small nationalities, both Muslim, the Ingush and the Ossettians, in a remote Mountainous region. Chechen Islamists masterminded the earlier atrocity and, it appears, some foreign Islamists (Arabic speaking it has been suggested) were involved in the one we are still reeling from today. 
This raises the question, is the incomprehensible attack on Peshawar similarly not actually about Islamic extremism but rather some internecine ethnic conflict among remote peoples whose identities we muddle together?
Peshawar was always part of British India. After Independence, it was integrated into the Pakistani State. The Tehreek-e-Taliban, however, which has claimed credit for yesterday's atrocity, is based in the 'Federally Administered Tribal Area' (FATA) where the writ of the Pakistani Govt. emphatically did not run. 
For 55 years, this area was independent in all but name. Then, after 9/11, the Americans put a nuclear gun to Pakistan's Military Dictator's head and his troops began a slow process of negotiating, with carrot and stick, some degree of authority. That project failed. Does the attack on the Army School in Peshawar signal the outbreak of total war between Pakistanis and those tribes whose recognition of Pakistani suzerainty was purely nominal or provisional?

As with Beslan, we will never know the truth because we aren't interested in the truth because it doesn't affect our interests. What about people from Peshawar, some at least of whom have relatives or ancestors in FATA? They may learn the truth, or already possess it, but it isn't their interest to cling to it. Instead they will tell us silly stories.
Here is an article about Pakistan by a learned Professor from that part of the World.  He tells us that the reason Pakistan is so fucked up is because it's like real insecure coz Partition was like so traumatic dude.
In an extraordinary display of ignorance, he describes Hyderabad and Junagadh as Muslim majority states.
'The partition protocols had given the subcontinent’s princely states the right to accede to Pakistan or India. Among these were three large Muslim-majority states: Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir. India forcefully annexed the first two - 'The third had a Hindu maharaja ruling over a 77 percent Muslim population. In a controversial move, the British had awarded India a land corridor to Kashmir. Fearing that Kashmir would suffer the fate of Junagadh and Hyderabad, members of Pakistan’s military and political establishments conspired to infiltrate tribal militants into the valley. Alarmed by insurgent advances, the maharaja appealed to India’s British governor general, Lord Mountbatten, who agreed to intervene if the maharaja signed the instrument of accession. In short order, Indian troops marched in and beat back the tribesmen, triggering the first shooting war between the two nascent states.'

Pakistan got nervous and invaded Kashmir, except it didn't really, it sent in tribal irregulars, but then the Indians got a legal invitation to march in and defend the Kashmiris who were being raped and massacred by those irregulars so the upshot was Pakistan got less of Kashmir than it felt entitled to which is why it's got a license to behave like a spoiled child for all eternity.
Still today, of all days, the question is urgent for the whole World,  how are we to avoid atrocities like Peshawar and Beslan?
If Muslims kill neighboring Muslims, who may differ somewhat in terms of clan or tribe or whatever, then clearly India must hand over Kashmir and like disband its Army and not get angry if terrorists turn up to bomb its Parliament or Taj Hotel or some other scenic spot where they can pose for selfies before blowing themselves up. 
Till Pakistan gets its hands on 4 million Muslims in Kashmir (there are about as many Ahmediyas being currently persecuted in Pakistan coz Bhutto suddenly decided they weren't actually Muslims) more and more atrocities like the Peshawar School atrocity are bound to happen.
Nothing to do with Genocidal Gangsters instrumentalizing Islamist Jihad at all. Nor bein pensant professors talking Civil Society Shite on the International Conference Circuit.
Nope, just hand over Kashmir and Palestine and Southern Spain and Coastal Thailand and any other place which has hot chicks and you just see everything will be fine.

I copy and paste the following from a comment on 3 quarks (since deleted) about this Professor's article.

1) Junagadh wasn't, as the Professor says, a large state. It was tiny. But the Professor wants to prove that Pakistan felt vulnerable at its inception. It didn't at all. It got a proportionately larger share of the British Indian Army and was in a position to use Muslims within India against the Congress regime. Indeed, Liaqat by a stroke of genius had opened the door to an alliance with the Leftists. The big tactical mistake was in not cultivating the Princes so as to give Congress a 'moth eaten' Hindustan. Jinnah's offer to the Maharaja of Kashmir might well have been accepted had the irregulars not invaded- though it must be said the Dogra regime had only been able to keep Poonch with British help and it's overthrow in that region was inevitable. What was not inevitable was that the Muslims of the Kashmir Valley would recoil so drastically from integration into Pakistan.  Here it was the indiscipline and savagery of the irregulars which was the clinching factor. Pakistan blundered hugely by using the tribal levies as a 'plausibly deniable' proxy. But, their use was not dictated by fear of India's might but rank opportunism and romantic dreams of glory.

The Professor ignores all this. He pretends that Pakistan was as vulnerable as Hyderabad. Why? Was Jinnah as stupid as the Nizam? Was the Pakistani army a bunch of jokers like the Razakars? Was Pakistan 85 percent Hindu? Did any Pakistani seriously believe that India could do to their country what they had done to the Nizam's Kingdom?
Suppose the Valley had sided with the irregulars. Suppose they had risen up. What forces could India airlift to bring to bear upon the situation? They wouldn't have had so much as an air-strip in the Valley.
The Professor says Pakistan was born out of a calamity and so felt vulnerable. But its leaders engineered that calamity and felt stronger, not weaker, after it was shown to be irreversible. Afghanistan ceased to be a threat and itself became vulnerable- that's why they killed Liaqat- once Jinnah showed the Tribal belt that he was reversing the British 'Forward Policy' and was going to let them breathe free.

2) Pakistani existential insecurity in the face of a mighty neighbor did not starve the Civilian sector. On the contrary, it grew rapidly. So did the Military but there was no crowding out effect- on the contrary, Pakistan's well-trained Army coupled with its suave diplomats won generous support and not just from the West.

The fact is, West Pakistan developed far more rapidly than gerontocratic Gandhian India. Industrially, educationally and at the level of nutrition and development indices it was a far cry from 'nanga bhuka Hindustan' (naked, hungry, India). Fatima Jinnah, it is true, played a mischievous role in condemning the Indus Water treaty- which had removed the one existential threat to West Pakistan's continuing prosperity. However, it must be said, Pakistan failed to capitalize on its tremendous agricultural potential preferring PL480 shipments which harmed the agricultural class. The Kashmiri front of the '65 war was, it is true, a shambles. The Muslims of the Valley refused to join hands with the infiltrators because memories of the savagery of the tribal levies was still too fresh.
Pakistan needed to manufacture another 'hazratbal' incident or else spend money more lavishly prior to infiltration. But, Ayub Khan can't be blamed too much. The fact is Pakistan's position was never stronger on this issue than in '63/'64. Most people thought it the thing was in the bag. Perhaps, if Nehru had lived another couple of years, the Valley would indeed have come to Pakistan without a shot being fired. By then the Indians were looking fearfully towards their North East Frontier. Pakistani Generals who wanted to put pressure on the Siliguri corridor (which would have enthused the Bengali officers) were ignored. Still the fact remains, '65 was an error of over-confidence. It wasn't a panicked reaction to Indian military build up.

3) The Army did not 'intervene directly to subvert democracy'. The civilians held no elections. There was no democracy to subvert. Had Liaqat not been assassinated the story might have been different. Still, it was he who brought in Ayub as CinC. Iskandar Mirza, lest we forget, was that amphibious thing a soldier-bureaucrat typical of the Imperial Political Service. He died in penurious exile after his Curry House failed.

The Pakistan Army has a remarkable record for preserving esprit de corps and the chain of command. By comparison, the Bangladesh Army was a shambles. Dog ate dog with a vengeance. Wives of officers were not spared during the recent mutiny- one aim of which was the right to serve in U.N. Peace Keeping missions!

The Army has toppled elected men- scoundrels without exception- but only because not to do so would imperil its own ethos, its own chain of command. This is not an entirely bad thing. The alternative would have been internecine conflict within the armed forces- Generals shelling Generals.

People joke that Pakistan is not a State with an Army but an Army with a State. Yes, but at least the Army is united. Not till this ceases to be true will Pakistan be a failed State.

Contra the Professor, the Army did not suddenly 'begin to see itself the custodian of the Nation'. It had always done so. After the death of Liaqat, no one else did or had.

The Professor says that the Army needed all Pakistanis 'to feel as vulnerable as the Muslims of middle India'. Nonsense. In the josh session, does the officer say to his men 'Sound the alarm! The Hindu hordes are at the gate!'

Not at all. What you have is a sort of Mard-e-Momin or Islamic Superman philosophy based on invulnerability not vulnerability, attack not defense, asymmetric improvisatory tactical belligerence not in-depth strategic deterrence.

The fact is, in 1971 people in Lahore feared Indian bombs. In 2001 they didn't.

That is the Army's achievement.

Imran Khan may come or he may go or may be offered a follow on. Why speak of him as the Army's creature? Everybody is the Army's creature. Pakistan- tragically orphaned at too tender an age- is what it is for weal or woe thanks to the Army. Today, of all days, we should remember the courage and sacrifice of not just officers and men, but also their families. Even little children have not been spared.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Proof it was an Indian plot here- http://www.dnd.com.pk/beslan-school-army-public-school-peshawar/