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Pakistan, Obsessed Over India, Risks Anarchy

Hope was brief for easing a long troubled relationship after Pakistan’s Nawaz Sharif traveled for the May inauguration of Narendra Modi as India’s prime minister. Sharif, who won in a 2013 landslide victory, now confronts protests from the opposition as the Pakistan military and agitators thrive on the notion of India as a permanent enemy, with many even condoning terrorist activities directed at the neighboring state, including the vicious 2008 attacks on Mumbai. “The Pakistani military continues to seek military advantage against India even though the possession of nuclear weapons by both countries should deter the prospect of war,” notes Husain Haqqani, author, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States and director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute. “Jihadis offer a sub-conventional deterrent to Pakistan against India’s overwhelming advantage in conventional military capability.” Sharif declared normalization of relations with India a priority, yet political subversion undercuts efforts by Pakistan’s civilian leaders to nurture trade and other initiatives. Outsized influence of extremists in Pakistani politics is more tragic for Pakistan than India. – YaleGlobal

Pakistan, Obsessed Over India, Risks Anarchy

Pakistan cannot afford India as lasting enemy, yet agitators won’t let leaders make peace
Husain Haqqani
YaleGlobal, 21 August 2014
Will the twain meet?  Promise raised by the meeting of two prime ministers was dashed (top) after the Pakistani high commissioner in Delhi met with Kashmiri separatist leaders; from left, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Nayeem Khan

NEW DELHI: The elaborate diplomatic dance between India and Pakistan has been interrupted once again. The two sides remain far from a major breakthrough in their troubled relationship. As long as the Pakistani Army continues to view India as an existential threat and maintains its grip over security policy, the twain may never achieve permanent peace.

India has called off the meeting between its Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh and her Pakistani counterpart Aizaz Chaudhry scheduled for August 25 in Islamabad, after Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Delhi met Kashmiri separatist leaders. This has ended the euphoria following Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s journey to New Delhi for the inauguration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last May. Pakistan’s decision to remind Indians of their dispute over Kashmir followed Modi’s comments about Pakistani support for terrorism during a recent visit to Kargil, where the two countries fought a war in 1999.

Both Sharif and Modi spoke of the need to bury the hatchet during their meeting on occasion of Modi’s inauguration. But the expressions of desire for normalization could not contain the more substantive problems in the India-Pakistan relationship. India remains unhappy over Pakistan’s failure to prosecute terrorists involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Sharif, on the other hand, must deal with hardliners in Pakistan’s military who insist on seeing India as their country’s permanent enemy – unwilling to look too closely at the terrorists involved in the attack.

For India, the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were as much a challenge  as the 9/11 assault was for Americans. The 12 coordinated shootings and bombings carried out by ten Pakistani terrorists killed 164 people and terrorized India’s commercial capital for almost three days before commandos flushed them out of various buildings, including five-star hotels and a Jewish Community Center. The images of the attacks, telecast live into Indian homes, are seared in the memory of most Indians.

During the May inauguration, Sharif and Modi spoke of the need for India and Pakistan to bury the hatchet.

Although Pakistan arrested several individuals involved in planning and executing the Mumbai attacks, prosecution has been repeatedly delayed. Intelligence reports, including some from US sources, have indicated that the detained commanders of Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, enjoy amenities not available to prisoners. Some have been found passing instructions on the phone to operatives. Recently, their trial was once again postponed without recording  evidence or other substantive proceedings.

LeT chief Hafiz Muhammad Sayeed remains free, appearing on television spouting venom against India, Israel and the United States from his massive headquarters near Lahore. Indian officials read Pakistan’s refusal to prosecute the 26/11 accused or clamp down on Hafiz Sayeed as a sign of reluctance in shutting down anti-India jihadi groups.

In July Pakistan’s military launched a military operation against terrorist safe havens along its border with Afghanistan, yet the Pakistani state is far from shutting down the jihadi infrastructure built since the 1980s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and the subsequent militant uprising in Kashmir during the 1990s.

The Pakistani military continues to seek military advantage against India even though the possession of nuclear weapons by both countries should deter the prospect of war. Jihadis offer a sub-conventional deterrent to Pakistan against India’s overwhelming advantage in conventional military capability. Most Pakistani civilian politicians recognize the dangers of reliance on terrorism as an element of Pakistan’s strategic planning, but the military retains tight control over foreign and national security policy despite return to civilian rule in 2008.

Like his civilian predecessor Asif Ali Zardari, Sharif has declared normalization of relations with India as a priority. Zardari’s government tried to open travel and trade and, in 2011, agreed to Most Favored Nation status for India. Despite completion of legal formalities, the status has not yet been granted, demonstrating behind-the-scenes military influence.

Most Pakistani civilian politicians recognize danger in relying on terrorism as an element of strategic planning.

After his election last year, Sharif renewed talk of normalizing relations with India, with special emphasis on trade. India and Pakistan have a combined population of 1.4 billion, share a 2,000-mile border and a common history until 1947. Their languages are mutually understandable, and parts of their populations have overlapping ethnicity. There is also significant complementarity in the two neighbors’ economies. Still, trade between them amounted to only $2.6 billion last year, less than 0.5 percent of India’s total commerce. As a businessman, Sharif says he understands the benefit of freer trade between the two countries.

Rhetoric and expressions of desire for more trade notwithstanding, security remains the overarching consideration in India-Pakistan ties.

Sharif’s participation in Modi’s inauguration was billed as the first time a Pakistani prime minister had attended such celebrations in India – an opportunity for laying foundations of a new relationship between India and Pakistan. The prospect of a new beginning, however, was soon undermined by incidents of firing along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. The two countries have fought for the control of Kashmir since 1947.

According to Indian officials, Pakistan has violated the ceasefire in the disputed territory 54 times this year through July 16 and 19 times since the Modi government took office May 26. Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament recently that Pakistan violated the ceasefire agreement 199 times last year. Pakistan flatly denies reports of these incidents just as it denies support for jihadi groups operating in Kashmir though they operate in full view of Pakistani and international media.

There are many logical reasons for why and how Indian-Pakistan ties can be normalized. Psychological, not logical, factors have held the relationship back so far. Since the country’s birth through India’s partition in 1947, Pakistanis have sought to define their national identity through denial of commonality with India.

Disputes, such as the one over Jammu and Kashmir, have over the years become more symptom than cause of tensions in the subcontinent. At the heart of the problem is Pakistan’s carefully nurtured national narrative and state ideology, diametrically opposed to India’s view of itself as the region’s preeminent power.

Two nations share a 2,000-mile border and common history. Pakistanis seek national identity by denying ties with India.

Since independence, Pakistanis have been told, and with greater vehemence since 1977 with the rule of military dictator Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, that their country is a “citadel of Islam,” that its destiny is to be an Islamic State and its army is “the sword of Islam.” Advocates of modern, secular values,  even pluralism, are denigrated as “enemies of the ideology of Pakistan,” therefore cast as “traitors to Pakistan.” Pakistan’s establishment, led by its military, also seeks parity with India, not only in the legal sense of sovereign equality between nations but in military and political terms.

This ideological milieu has helped religious-political groups exercise greater influence on national discourse than is justified by either the size of their membership or number of votes in Pakistan’s sporadic general elections and led to the outgrowth of jihadi groups, one more extreme than the other.

Pakistan’s state ideology has undermined prospects for peace with India since 1950, when Pakistani Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan travelled to Delhi and signed the first major agreement. The optimism about the agreement died within a year with the assassination of its Pakistani signatory. Pakistan has since gone through years of political instability while the army has gained influence in policymaking.

Over the years, Pakistan participated in US-led anti-communist military alliances to secure military hardware that would enable it to deal with a larger, ostensibly hostile neighbor. It has fought four wars with India, including the one in 1971 resulting in the creation of Bangladesh, leaving Pakistan with half its 1947 territory. Although Pakistan has acquired nuclear-weapons capability, its insecurity in relation to India has not diminished.

Soon after independence, Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah had said that he expected India and Pakistan to live alongside each other like Canada and the United States. But as long as Pakistan’s establishment continues to paint India as an existential threat and a permanent enemy in the minds of its people, no Pakistani leader –civilian or military –can embrace the Canada-US model. For now, the two sides will maintain their well-worn pattern of diplomatic engagement interspersed with periods of intense hostility.

Husain Haqqani, director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute, Washington DC, served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States. He is author, most recently, of “Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States and an epic history of misunderstanding.”

Rights:Copyright © 2014 The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale

Comments on this Article

31 August 2014
Pakistan have since independence have adopted terrorism as its state policy. it is engaged in training terrorists in Kashmir, Afganistan and supporting various terrorist groups such as Taliban, Al quaida, LeT etc. To promote terrorism it has promoted a kind of Islamic funamentalism. Pakistan Taliban is a product of this ideology and is now active in Pak in terrorist activities. Pakistan is itself to blame for many of its ill.
It has many challenges like Poverty, illiteracy etc but it is spending a large part og budget for defence to gain superiority over India.
-sunil , promoting terrorism
31 August 2014
Pakistan’s obsession of becoming Equal of India is keeping Pakistan down in the Dumpsi
Here is a comparison of Economies : GDP PPP
India : US$ 4.99 trillion – Pakistan : US$ 574.1 billion
The Indian Economy is about 8.7 Times that of Pakistan
USA : US$16.72 trillion – Mexico : $1.845 trillion
The USA Economy is about 9 Times that of Mexico
Does Mexico go around screaming “We are Equal to the USA”?
Has Mexico declared any war on the USA since 1947?
Pakistan has declared Four Wars on India and LOST ALL FOUR WARS!!
Pakistan daily screams : We are Equal to India!!!
-Enkay , Pakistan is obsessed withe being an Equal of India!
31 August 2014
Ex Pak Ambassador (known as "US Ambassador in Pak Embassy in D.C.") carries treason charges back home for his anti - state activities. This in view, his comments are prejudiced and biased. His labeling Pak as the spoiler with regard to Indo - Pak relations is illogical and dwarfs the prevailing security environment in South Asia. His allegations vz Pak and proving India to be an innocent state is highly misplaced. Nothing could be more preposterous in the backdrop of facts and history. Pak considers India as the "existential threat" to its security in view of the chauvinistic and hegemonic cinduct and aspirations of India. Look at the size of Indian defense budger vz Pak and the fact that 90% of the Indian Armed Forces are deployed / poised along borders with Pak. Why? Needs to be consudeted before casting aspersions on Pak.Haqqani is working to advance the American objectives / interests in South Asia, which overtly seeks to ensure Indian supremacy in South Asia.
India, despite its asymmetric power potential vz Pak, remains obsessed with Pak: Pak's obsession with India owing legitimate security concerns is obviously understandable. India is involved in destabilizing Pak using Afghan soil - supporting terrorist proxies in Balochistan and TTP to conduct terrorist activities inside Pak amply prove this point. Support of Sindhi sub - nationalist groups is another manifestation of india's " peaceful overtures" towards Pak.
India has to ensure sincerity of purpose and work for developing mutual trust for improvement of relations with Pak. And, for this, resolution of lond - standing disputes, like KashmirDispute, has to be ensured at the earliest. Pak, as a soverign nation, would not succumb / acquiesce to Indian coercive strategy and submit to India.
-Ali , Credibility of Hussain Haqqani
25 August 2014
Pakistan has been in a sorry state for a long time. Instead of building a newborn state and the lives of dirt poor people, politicians and their accomplices elite, military etc spent buillions of aid coming from abroad , to help themselves. Pakistan created this monstrous Talibanis, religious fanatics in the belief that it could be used against "the enemy that is India".
Everything has gone wrong. The Frankenstein's monsters ie Religious clerics, Talibanis have comeback to bite and kill the creator. It is the blow-back time. In the meantime, the country has turned into a hub of terrorism.
-Rao , Present state of Pakistan
23 August 2014
An article from an individual who has been proven as a traitor with charges of treason to the country he lived and fed by, hence is not creditable to write about Pakistan and her army. He ran in exile to escape justice just to spew venom against Pakistan. Such a traitor and bad breed.
The country is definitely facing some challenges but it would be unethical for a reputed site to publish one side of the picture. India is involved in an active proxy war in Pakistan in areas on Fata and Balochistan, proof of which has been given many times to Indians and displayed at international podiums. Indians are to blame for the current turbulence in the region.
-Brian , Haqqani is un reliable
23 August 2014
Keep sharing more and more new things. Definitely it will help me.
-US open 2014 , US Open Tennis 2014
23 August 2014
Even today a democratically elected Government is being forced to share power with Army due to machinations of one who can control about 40,000 mob into capital.. India shares its border with Pakistan and has to deal with it comfortably. Pakistan is in jitters because the Indian Leadership is not beholden to USA as has been in the past.
-captainjohann , Indo/Pak rrelations
22 August 2014
The likelihood of permanent peace between the two Asian neighbours in the foreseeable future is highly unlikely as long as the various terriost entities and the military personnel continue to exert their influence in Pakistan. I feel sorry for ordinary Pakistanis who are caught in the crossfire, unable to maintain their livelihood and live a normal they are entitled to. The situation in Pakistan is comparable to that in the Gaza Strip. The option for India is to do what Isreal is doing to the Palistines- bomb the bastards out. Taking punitive actions against Pakistan with a view to maintain lasting peace is not achievable in the foreseeable future because the struggle will go on for ever as in the Middle East. The aim of the indian military would be to carry out a massive strike and nuke Pakistan so that nothing can grow in Pakistan for thousands of years to come, not even a terrorist group. But to assume a massive military strike, India must win the diplomatic war first. Unequivocal support of Russia, USA , and in particular China is very important. India must not annoy China , but to make them understand that the muslim terror groups are spreading into China as well. Disappearing Pakistan from the the world map is the only way to maintain peace in the sub continent. Government may come and go, but Indian foreign policy against Pakistan must stay intact. Engaging in proxy war will go on for ever, but do the Indian politicians have testicles to launch a nuclear strike, i think not, they are a bunch of eunuchs.
-chandrika prasad , India -Pak relations
22 August 2014
Pakistan is not a normal nation-state, in the sense that while other nation-states define the longterm wellbeing of their citiziens as the national interest, Pakistan is an insurgent state. Its national interest is defined in opposition to some other nation-state's interest. So peace means, Pakistan is not following its national interest, and in their eyes that is failure.
Please watch M J Akbar's book lecture Tinderbox at Simon Fraser University, on the univ's youtube account to understand the psychology of the Punjabi army that masquerades as the nation-state of Pakistan. Other lectures that would help understand this are by Tarek Fatah, and also Christine Fair's book discussion "Fighting to the End" at the Hudson Institute's youtube account.
While nation-states fracture all the time in history by secession of disgruntled minorities, this state is the only one where the *majority* seceded as Bangladesh, unable to take any more Punjabi supremacy and atrocities. Punjabi Muslims, whose ancestors were Hindus, unable to psychologically deal with the historical trauma of those violent conversions, naturally created a fantasy (it happens all the time when an abused person develops a personality disorder to deal with that abuse). Their fantasy lets them identify with their abusers, otherwise they cant deal with the traumatic history of their conversions ( eg their missiles are named after central asian invaders, even if it is they themselves who bore the most brunt of those invasions). They sacrificed, negated, denied their own history and culture, to the extent that Punjabis are ashamed to speak their language and instead try their best to speak Urdu, which is "purer" and more Islamic in their view. To accept what was done to their ancestors and their Indic ways of life will be too devastating to their collective psyche. That is why undivided Punjab went to the extent of tearing itself asunder to create that fantasyland, the land of the pure. It is a classic illustration of the destructive power of unresolved inferiority complex and self-hatred of a people. They also envy us that we escaped, which makes it a bit easier to hate us. The nation-state of Pakistan, needs therapy to be normal.
-Guest , Pakistan is not a normal
22 August 2014
While some in Pakistan have for long been crying hoarse over growing Indian subversive activities in Pakistan through Afghanistan, this pr*ck is accusing that Pakistan is sponsoring terrorism?? the latest confirmation of such Indian state sponsor terrorism came from US Senator Chuck Hagel who in a previously unreleased video suggested that India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.
-Robinson , India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan