BY FRANK HUZUR (picture on the right)
There never was a good war or a bad peace! In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.
Humphrey Hawksley was the face and voice of BBC television and radio broadcasts in Asia from 1986 to 1997. It was Hawksley who was chosen to open the BBC’s first television bureau in China in 1994. Indian and Pakistani public, not the least movers and shakers in corridor of power, had a strange tryst with this BBC correspondent in summer of 2001, a couple of years after both arch-rivals had beaten their chests with nuclear-heathen missiles and came dangerously close to bite the Uranium dust in Kargil heights. Hawksley launched his prophetic fiction work, Dragon Fire, with much fanfare and pomposity, predicting nuclear nightmare between New Delhi and Islamabad towards the end of this very decade. Precisely, Hawksley fiction predicts the starts of nuclear war in May of 2007 when Pakistan’s atomic strike leads India to devastating retribution. Suddenly, China, India and Pakistan are at war, and the nuclear arsenals are being mobilized. Humphrey predicted China pushes the world ever closer to Armageddon with her bombing of Indian. The US and UK threaten to retaliate against China, though Moscow warns that she will attack Europe or America should such an action occur.
This frightening prophecy of Humphrey Hawksley didn’t bring tears to eyes of Indians or Pakistanis or for that matter Chinese in the May of 2007. It’s a passé now as a gaffe. In summer of 2001, the then Defence Minister in the Hindu Nationalist BJP-led NDA government, George Fernandes had, however, exhorted every Indian and Pakistani to read Hawksley’s labour of love between the lines. If not anything, Fernandes had gleefully prescribed the copy of ‘Dragon Fire like a doctor in all-white showing off a plastic vial of Johnson’s baby shampoo. This formula was gentle to eyes, he had smirked, saying, it cleanses the scalp of our imagination without stinging the eyes. Nuclear bomb seemed then to motor-mouth defence minister just like shampoo, which should be only for external use and must be kept out of reach of children and its use must be discontinued if skin irritation occurs.
There is not a great gulf between May of 2007 and November-December of 2008. A quick rifling of finger calculation tells us only 18 months have passed away before mind-numbing terror strikes on Mumbai, 26/11, have punctured the balloon of peace and elevated the slumbering hostilities between New Delhi and Islamabad to menacing level. Hawksley paints a make-believe portrait of nuclear war where he would have us believe the Indian Interior Minister is a Bengali-speaking hardliner and commander of a sector in Kashmir has his surname Chidrambaram, while the Prime Minister is a Brahmin, symbolizing the power hierarchy of pre-dominant Hindu India. Not much seem to be different in India of 2008-2009 where the diminutive dynamo Pranab Mukherjee, a Bengali-speaking firebrand Congress leader though the External Affairs Minister of rising, resurgent India has been pushed into the ring to lead the pack of ‘hunting hawks’ against gaggle of novice democrats in Islamabad. The gentleman by the last name of Chidambaram is the sudden boss of Interior Ministry, scrambling his financial wizardry to plug in the loopholes of vast intelligence apparatus. Throwing the Hawksley prophecy on its head, Indian Prime Minister is not the one of a Brahmin descent, though his predecessor Atal Behari Vajpayee indeed was! Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a Sikh, not elected directly by Indian electorate to the lower House of Parliament, rather thrust into the hot seat by will of destiny and desire of Sonia Gandhi’s sacrifice for the highest office of land of over One billion people, and he is a silent spectator to the war of shooting arrows-like-war-rhetoric. But as he prepares to commander the Indian attack against Pakistan, he is very much conversant with the reality of authorizing a war against the land where he was once born. Dr Manmohan Sing was born in Gah, now in Chakwal district of Punjab in Pakistan. If India goes to war against Pakistan in coming weeks, some missiles might stray into the birthplace of Indian Prime Minister, and this will sum up the dark irony of waging war. During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable, even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.
In India of 2008, Sonia Gandhi-Manmohan Singh led-UPA government would be the most unwilling of duo to strike on an Islamic Republic. Through out its four-and-half-year rule, the Congress-led government has been accused by its principal claimant to power, BJP, of appeasing Muslims, the 150-million strong minorities in Secular-democratic republic of India. The Congress has ruled India by the overpowering support of a huge chunk of Muslim voting en masse for it. All these four years, Manmohan Singh and his financial managers had been painting a picture of a perfect world where all the communities, including Muslims, Dalits, backward Hindus and tiny Christians had been aspiring to development, so they must not go to war. However, like Hawksley says in prologue of his prophetic literature, Dragon Fire, Time and time again common sense is turned on its head and even societies whose standards of living are rising rapidly use the excitement of nationalism to balance either the treadmill of economic growth or the weakness of corrupt leadership. Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and swathes of Africa at once come to mind and danger signals are now flashing in Pakistan, India and muted China.
However, there is a strange paradox in the theory. Hawksley had not anticipated monstrous events like 9/11 before offering his cup of nuclear café. He hadn’t conceived the hot-bubble bath of NATO-American-British forces on the borders of Pakistan-Afghanistan, nor had he predicted at the time the sprouting of blood-pool in razing of glittering five-star properties of Taj, Trident and Marriot. He had not imagined the dance of dangerous dragons like non-state actors, as Pakistan President and widower of Benazir Bhutto would want Indian leadership to believe.
The Congress government in New Delhi doesn’t want to sacrifice some more of its soldiers. It has to run for cover for losing over a dozen of its elite security force-National Security Guard commandos in ‘Operation Thunderstorm’ at hotel Taj Mahal and Trident on 26-29 November 2008. Like Herman Goering once told Adolf Hitler, naturally the common people don’t want war, neither in India, nor in Pakistan, nor in American, nor in Germany or England. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Pranab Mukherjee talking ‘hawk-hunting’ diplomatese knows if he doesn’t attack with his tongues and if he blinks in demonstrating patriotism, the BJP hawks would expose his party to danger and hijack the April-May 2009 Parliamentary elections. Nobody sells hate-Pakistan agenda in Indian cities and villages more successfully than the BJP. And here lies the rub! Mumbai attacks was an attack on ‘Shining, rising India’. It was an attack on corporate India, who has been inured to living in a perfect world. Its representative fills the coffers of the political parties and its members who jockeys for power and take turns each five year. It must swing into action or it stand to lose everything. It is no ordinary situation. The ambition and impatience of media houses are also on the boil, for their members who dine at exclusive, glittering preserves of five-star restaurants have also been shot into their chest and head and gone silent for good.
I was in Lahore on 13 September 2008. This was my fifth visit to cultural capital of Pakistan and hometown of nation’s most recognisable son, Imran Khan. I had arrived in the evening of September 8 on my last leg of Imran Khan tour in course of completing my biography of Imran Khan, the politician and chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Just as the evening dust settled in the clear sky of Lahore, all the 40 news channels of Pakistan were beaming live pictures of serial blasts ripping into heart of New Delhi. There was fear on the brain. I didn’t waste any moment in tuning into the Geo TV broadcast at my guesthouse in Gulberg. All the calls to New Delhi were jammed, anxiety deep within me was acquiring cancerous colour with passage of every minute. Because I was worried about the well being of my actor-companion who happened to be in Mandi House-nerve-centre of drama and theatre- rehearsing for her stage drama, Laila Majnu. As the clock on the wall struck eight , I finally hear her panicking voice, assuring me of her escape, unscathed in the brutal serial blast where one of her theatre actor friends had received minor bruises in the explosions at Underground Metro station of Barakhmba road. Then, I spoke to my Indian publisher who was in the Cannaught Place-Rajiv Chowk, stuck in panic and fear as the police cordon off the area, and begin viewing every passing soul with lingering eyes of suspicion.
It was Saturday on 13th of September. In the evening, Imran Khan’s brother-in-law hosted me for dinner at Kababish, a hot spot for kabab hunters in heart of Lahore. He broke into swear words against the terrorists who are hitting city after city in India and then drew parallel with a series of blasts in Lahore itself over the past year, not to mention multiple blasts rocking one town or the other in North West Frontier Province and North and south Waziristan.
Hafeezullah Khan Niazi was grieving with me, and so were dozen of my acquaintances in Lahore and Islambad who were calling me up to commiserate with the ghastly tragedy in New Delhi. Imran Khan was in Islambad on 13 September 2008. He was returning to Lahore the very next morning. He was the first politician of Pakistan to condemn the series of lethal blasts in New Delhi. His party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf beat even the Prime Minister and President’s office in issuing statements of condolence and shock and horror.
A week later, I was still in Lahore on 20 September 2008. I was to leave for Islambad in the early hours of next morning.
In the evening of September 20, the news of lethal explosion with the help of 1400 kilogram of RDX driven by a lone suicide bomber into lobby of Marriot Hotel, one of the two five star hotels in federal capital territory of Islambad, reached Lahore with the speed of a hurricane. I was once again in my guest room, fiddling with half-baked manuscript of Imran Khan biography, Imran versus Imran-An Untold Story.
The entire swanky hotel was charred to charcoal black holes, portico wad buried under the over 30 feet crater dug in flash by the impact of the blast. Fear gripped me before news of casualty of over 60 people, including Czech ambassador and two US Marines sunk into my mind.
My fear had its root in my nationality. I was an Indian in Pakistan at the time the country was mourning the first ever deadliest blast at a five-star hotel. Quite a great number of news channels got cracking over the hidden hands behind the blasts. Nearly every anchorperson or analysts of repute spoke about foreign hands behind the tragedy. Nonetheless, all of them refrained and restrained themselves from naming the foreign hand. My fear storming out of my nationality subsided by the early morning when my Lahore-based friend, Nisar Ahmed Chaudhary who works for peace between India and Pakistan and heads Pakistan chapter of South Asian Fraternity arrived to drive me on motorway to Islamabad.
The night of 20th September was full of fearful sleeplessness. Ahsan Rashid, head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Punjab chapter hosted me for dinner the very evening and dropped me at the guesthouse. He assuaged my fear and spoke about the terrorist helplessness to target American Marines and other Western guests who are like housemates at Marriot any time in the year. Sleep eluded me throughout the eerie night, as I couldn’t take my eyes off live broadcast on news channels. Imran had left for Brussels to address the European Parliament in the same afternoon. I was to return to New Delhi a couple of days later.
I found myself grieving with my Pakistani friends just as they were grieving with me in the night of New Delhi serial blasts a week ago. Islambad was a ghost city in the afternoon of 21 September. My escort will hesitate to drive down the blue area where ghostly, razed Marriot stood like a beheaded bride. I wanted to pay a brief visit to Press Trust of India, Islambad correspondent Rezaul Hasan Laskar who was waiting on me. Nisar would fear to drive down an Indian residence in Islambad for fear of being nabbed by Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence officials patrolling the street in plain clothes. I still persisted and forced him to take me to PTI correspondent friend. When we reach the place, there was no trace of any intelligence officials manning the street. It was a surprise as much for me as for my Pakistani friend.
The Marriot blast completed the half-century of bomb blasts of varying intensity in one single year in Pakistan. Before the ghost of Marriot returned to haunt Taj Mahal, Trident and CST station in heart of India commercial capital, Mumbai, we in India also have had our tryst with as many bomb blasts of different intensity in different Indian cities. Over 2500 Pakistani, including some prosperous and vast crowd of poor had perished in the blasts from Bejaur in Waziristan to Karachi in Sindh. We in India didn’t have lesser number of dead and maimed. Until Delhi blasts, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh didn’t raise his finger at Pakistan, nor did President Asif Ali Zardari jumped the gun to pass the buck to Indian spy agencies in fuelling the catastrophic blasts.
Everything changed in the dark, silent night of 26 November. As media reports would have us believe, the terrorists colleague of Azmal Qasab who is now in custody were looking frantically for people with the American and British passports. At Nariman House, they demonstrated their mission statement in gunning down six Israelis, including the Rabbi. In all, their target were not only Indian citizens, not only Hindu Indians, they were instructed to kill Americans, British, Jews and Muslims. They accomplished their mission to their utmost satisfaction before succumbing to elite security force National Security Guard bullets. Nearly one fourth of total victims who felled to assassins’ bullet were Indian Muslims.
Indian government reacted sharply to the scale of the tragedy, which shook the foundation of Indian state in course of over 50 hours shoot-out at shining India’s finest landmark, Hotel Taj. The arrest of Azmal Qasab buttressed the New Delhi case, as the Versace-wearing assassin started singing like canary and actually became the global face of Mumbai massacre. The Congress-led UPA government acted with purpose of intent, though a tad nervous in face of Assembly elections still unfinished in state of Rajasthan and Delhi. With news channels breaking into ‘war-cry’ against Pakistan, and people on streets of Mumbai swearing expletives against politicians of all spectrums for failing to protect precious lives, not much was left on the platter of the UPA Government though.
The need of the hour was to talk tough with Islambad, as increasing evidence of involvement of Laskhar-e-Tayyba with implicit support of some rogue, retired elements of Pakistan dreaded Inter-Services Intelligence began to surface, as so has been alleged by the Indian Intelligence agencies and investigators.
Indian offensive diplomacy has indeed brought consolation prize to South Block bosses in New Delhi. The ban on Jamat-ul-Dawa, alleged charity front for Laskhar-e-Tayba in the United Nations Security Council has been a calming influence on jangled nerves of Indian leadership. Hawks on the street are heaving a sigh of relief over the clinching of first major breakthrough. Its implication has put Zardari administration in deep trouble in Pakistan. Three weeks after the tragedy, Indian Defence Minister A K Antony has categorically ruled out military strikes against Pakistan, sending ripples of joy in Pakistani streets, but Indian external affairs minister wouldn’t commit the same just as differing voices are emerging from different shooting mouths in Islamabad.
Whether Indian diplomacy has succeeded in cornering Pakistan or not, it is too early to predict anything. However, the churning of sequence of events at breakneck speed over the days and nights does provide fodder for the thought. In less than three weeks, Manmohan Singh government has, however, achieved one major battle against its principal opposition and main claimant to power, the BJP. The passage of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the National Investigation Agency Bill on the floor of Parliament with enthusiastic, though, cringing support of the BJP has provided gleeful moments for Congress leaders, who were so perilously on backfoot whenever L K Advani and company raised the issue of scrapping of tough terror law-POTA enacted during the NDA government. Before winning over the BJP, the Congress had pre-empted its victory in Rajasthan and Delhi, defying pollster prediction that the BJP will ride the Mumbai terror wave to sweep these states too, in addition to Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
The terrorists, recruited and trained by Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, a Jihadist organisation with alleged links with Taliban and Al Qaeda, had an on objective cut out. Their masters had calculated their success and failure graph with compact precision despite knowing the fact that both New Delhi and Islambad had nuclear warheads and they wouldn’t be allowed to go to war unless something really unthinkable takes place. Only 9/11-like scenario could have attracted angry, war-like response from New Delhi towards Pakistan. And, the terrorists were determined to wreak tragedy not less powerful in impact than that of September 11 America experienced in the collapse of twin towers in Manhattan.
The architect of the apocalypse at Taj Mahal Tower would want to succeed. They would want to blow the bridge of peace hitherto quaking, yet quelling, to pieces. It’s not that executioners of attacks on Marriot and Taj don’t know anything like there never was a good war or a bad peace! In peace, the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons. In Indian streets, over fifty bomb blasts across the country in a single year have forced fathers and sons to bury each other. They were all hapless, indigent citizen of India Inc, so their screams ended in whimper. The shining, resurgent Indian state didn’t feel the jolt from the blue to train guns on its neighbour, nor did it feel the urgency to sweep the moth-eaten carpet of its Intelligence apparatus. The death of over fifty thousand Indians in such blasts over a decade didn’t force even 24/7 media maestros to declare war on the evil of terrorism. Their anger and anguish remained confined to studio-debate over Rakhi Sawant and rippling muscle of Khalli, the wrestler who is being mobbed by American teenager planting lollypop scarlet scars of kiss on his puffed-up chests, and Indian idols.
In similar sense of outrage on Pakistani streets, people have swallowed the anger and anguish and buried not only their sons and daughters, but over 1600 soldiers, who have died fighting their own men in the on-going third-war of Waziristan, in search of Osama bin Laden and his cave-warriors.
In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners. It is time to bury the Aristotlean concept repackaged by shoe-dodger American president George W Bush, ‘we make war that we may live in peace’. Since March 9, 2007 when General Pervez Musharraf sacked the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary, the world was watching the never-before-seen outpouring of emotion for Independent judiciary on streets of Pakistan. Forget a huge force of 90,000 screaming lawyers, there were hundreds of thousands of Pakistani on streets chanting slogans in support of free judiciary behind pied piper of rule of law like Imran Khan and others. Alas, the world community failed the aspirations of Pakistani for rule of law. America and Britain, as much as New Delhi and Riyadh bypassed the historic opportunity to censure the ‘charade of justice’ on show.
Today, New Delhi is mourning it has no faith in the confidence of incumbent civilian President, and leaders in New Delhi are wrinkling their nose in disgust when leader of Pakistan People’s Party government urge New Delhi to repose faith in its judicial system for trying the arrested suspect in Pakistani court. New Delhi missed the opportunity of condemning the rape of judiciary while it was going on in broad daylight on Pakistani streets. Not even a single bar association in India passed a single resolution for fear of annoying President General Musharraf.
Terrorists wanted to trigger war between India and Pakistan. They are nervous of up-coming Barrack Obama presidency, who has warned hot pursuits against Taleban and Al Qaeda in tribal areas of Pakistan and in Afghanistan. Little wonder, they didn’t make any demands and also they didn’t take any hostages. All hostages were gunned down. They wanted to force India to mobilize its troop against Pakistan on the eastern front, thus forcing Pakistan to retaliate. In doing so, Pakistan was going to be forced to withdraw its 150000 troops fighting terrorists in tribal areas on Afghan border. But their action was also designed to provoke massacre against Indian Muslims at the hands of majority Hindus. This would have brought further dividends to extremist group looking for recruits. They have failed in some, their prospect of gaining in some of their objectives is beginning to look brighter.
Pakistan army has lost over 1500 of its soldiers fighting Taleban and Al Qaeda elements in the tribal agency in the course of four years operation ever since General Pervez Musharraf sent troops to fight in the tribal areas. Withdrawal of troops from western fronts to eastern fronts would have been a win-win situation for Pakistan army too. Pakistan army has been fighting a losing battle in the tribal areas. The history of army suggests it was raised to fight India, not its own people.
Little wonder most of Pakisitani soldiers don’t put up much fight and surrender gleefully to Baitullah Mehsud’s army. India will retaliate and Pakistan military would moved its troops to further perpetuate the saga of half-a-century conflict. By doing so, it is going to win-all-round support from Pakistani citizen, who have turned against it during General Musharraf tenure. This is what America and Britain understand clearly and are trying to nip in the bud. Even though Indian government was under tremendous pressure from its own people, angry and bitter towards Pakistan, Condoleeza Rice and Gordon Brown calmed the nerves of Manmohan Singh government, saying bigger battle is raging on in Pakistan tribal areas and Afghanistan where NATO forces would be at the receiving ends if Pakistan pulls out of alliance. Don’t forget Pakistan has been given status of main non-Nato ally in the war against terrorism by American President George W Bush.
Imran Khan left for London on December 3 while war-mongering was in full swing on streets of India and Pakistan. He was visiting London to address British Parliamentarians in the House of Commons, the lower house of British Parliament. He was regretting the terrible tragedy in Mumbai and was at loss for words over shoot-out at Taj Mahal hotel where has spent many a nights in course of his stay in Mumbai. Imran wants India to show patience and maturity in dealing with the nightmare. “We all in Pakistan are sad and in sorrow over loss of lives. But I expect maturity in response from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Terrorists have their own agenda, and both New Delhi and Islambad are suffering at their hands. They don’t want peace between nuclear neighbours, and we can’t afford to fight a nuclear war. We have to fight this common enemy. Until the investigation is over, it is immature on behalf of New Delhi to blame Pakistan for the atrocities”.
However, Imran was bitter with Indian government decision to throw the proposed tour of Indian cricketers into dustbin of prevailing hatred against Pakistan. He was blunt in blaming the Indian government for poor handling of the entire situation, and for sacrificing healing power of cricket at the alter of power politics.
Imran was invited by President Zardari during the All Party Conference in Islamabad. He had declined all the previous invitation of Pakistan People’s Party government due to its failure to restore the suspended chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhary. Imran says until there is rule of law in Pakistan, terrorists can’t be fought with success. He says, “Islam shouldn’t be blamed for any terrorist acts, anywhere in the world. Taleban and Al Qaeda extremists are illegitimate offspring of a union between the United States under Ronald Reagan and Pakistan under General Zia-ul-Haq. Then, the Washington hailed them as freedom fighters, now it is using unmanned droners, helicopter gunships and missiles to kill innocent civilians in name of hunting down terrorists on Pakistani soil. Pakistan army may be an ally of the US in military action, people of Pakistan have turned against both Pakistan army and the USA. With each missile strikes, American gives birth to a dozen of suicide bombers in the lap of Taleban and Al Qaeda. Indian government should take notice of the crisis and adopt a comprehensive strategy to avert such attacks in future, which is only possible by engaging Islamabad in dialogue and fighting its own indigenous terror outfits, because without ground support from local Indian extremists or terrorists, no outside terror group can carry out such dastardly acts. If any Pakistani citizen is involved in the attacks, Pakistan government must stringent action to prevent such occurrence in future”.
The cloud of war might have scattered for sometime, but it has started gathering over our head. Fighter jets are scrambling in Islamabad and New Delhi. The UPA government is in double-bind. It doesn’t want to blink, and allow Hindu nationalists major share in electoral pie. When the Minorities Affairs Minister, AR Antulay whipped up the cord of investigation into the killing of Anti-Terror Squad chief Hemant Karkare, who had opened the can of worms by exposing Hindu Jehadists hand in Malegaon blasts, and was on the verge of opening a pandora’s box by investigating Samjhuata Express blasts, all hell broke loose. Even neutral observers in Indian media, not the least Hindu zealts, are baying for his blood. The poor minister has only asked after a separate probe into the circumstance of Karkare’s death. He is not claiming that Karkare has not been killed in the brush-fire of terrorists. Though the Congress party appeared like crumbling under united onslaught of Opposition BJP, Antulay has received support from some Congress leaders of tall stature. However, he has won support from Muslim MPs in Indian Parliament from across the party spectrum.
Under the clouds of war, it is humanity which hangs on the cross of iron. New Delhi is punching with iron gloves. The list of 20 handed over to Zardari government was a ploy by India to trap President Ali Zardari. As some sources in Islambad suggest, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent feelers through British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to President Zardari that the Indian government will be satisfied with handing over of Jaish-e-Mohammed headman, Maulana Masood Azhar. The Congress wants to score one up over the BJP, which released him in 1999 Christmas celebration. However, this scenario is extremely difficult one.
If Zardari relents and obliges New Delhi, Islamist forces in Pakistan would mount serious challenge to overthrow PPP government. They can create civil war-like situation on streets of Pakistan, forcing Pakistan army to intervene. This is another scenario New Delhi would not want to happen, but electoral calculation doesn’t take upheaval in Pakistan into consideration. Not long ago General Musharraf was a favourite dictator of New Delhi government. Thus, New Delhi can do business with another dictator if it succeed in satisfying angry public back home.
As America and England and other Western nations are succeeding in stopping New Delhi from going all out with military option, New Delhi knows its options are limited. If UPA government fails in the offensive diplomacy to win any election-winning concessions from Pakistan, it will lose ground to the BJP in next year April-May elections. If UPA government doesn’t go to war and the BJP-led NDA returns to power, LK Advani as a Prime Minister is more likely to go to war. It may not launch ground offensive, but air-strike option is not ruled out. New Delhi has modern Russian fighter jet, Mirage. It has the capability, with some losses, to penetrate deep into Pakistani territory. New Delhi has also acquired radar and electronic warfare equipment from Israel and it is also believed to have obtained some early precision-guided munitions from Russia and Israel.
The Obama Administration may not be able to prevail with hawkish BJP government at the centre six months later. One more attacks of similar scale and the spark flew thick and fast, as American president-elect Obama himself admitted India has right to act in the night of November 27. New Delhi has already made it clear that the ISI is their enemy. New Delhi might be tempted to attack key installations in Islambad, likely targeting ISI building, destroying files and personnel in targeted air strikes. And, Pakistan might find retaliation difficult, given the strength of its air force. It may not be the likely option for New Delhi, but the government may be considering this option. If not Manmohan Singh government, surely LK Advani-led government!
If it happens, says Hamid Mir, the immediate casualty will be growth of democracy in Pakistan. “It is in interest of India to support the flourish of democracy in Pakistan. Only a strong democratic government can crush terrorism and extremism from Pakistan soil. General Pervez Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nine years, but his tenure only helped the rise of extremists. New Delhi should cooperate with Zardari government as it is the tragedy of both governments”.
In the end, I can only recall ‘God of Guitar’ Jimmy Hendrix word, when the power of love overcome the love of power, the world will know peace. Let us hope Zardari and Manmohan Singh will hear the strumming sound of guitar, not gun, in their waking stage of walk in their corridor!
(Frank Huzur is a New-Delhi-based poet, playwright and journalist. He is the authorized biographer of Pakistan legendary cricket captain and Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan. His book, Imran versus Imran-An Untold Story will be published in March 2009 from Falcon and Falcon Books Ltd. London.)