Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Category: Pakistan

Pakistan versus USA

The death of 24 Pakistani soldiers on 26/11/2011 in NATO air attacks has further deteriorated Pakistan-USA relationship. Pakistan has stopped NATO supplies to Afghanistan through its territory and has asked USA to vacate the Shamsi air base given to it in 15 days. Its army chief has vowed effective response. Pakistan has complained to UN and has decided to skip Bonn Conference on 5/12/2011 on the future of Afghanistan. China and Russia have come in support of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s double game in Afghan War has been clear for years. In recent months Americans have openly mentioned ISI’s role in Afghanistan. ISI has scuttled peace efforts. Afghan Taliban gets support from ISI. Afghan Taliban attacked American Embassy in Kabul and assassinated Burhanuddin Rabbani. Osama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad for six years. Pakistan claimed it was fighting Taliban without mentioning it was fighting Pak Taliban hostile to it and supported Afghan Taliban hostile to Afghanistan.

NATO forces are predominantly American forces. NATO wants to quit Afghanistan by 2014. It is better if they quit Afghanistan before that and leave it to Afghans to solve their problems. Afghans take money from whoever gives them. When Hamid Karzai was asked about getting money from Iran he said they take money from Americans also. Najibullah was betrayed by his people when he could not give them money. He took shelter in UN compound. When Taliban attacked UN compound and hanged Najibullah UN did nothing. USA and other NATO forces were quiet. Economy is the problem in USA and Europe. Let NATO countries spend their money to solve their people’s problems.

India should remain neutral in this hostility between USA and Pakistan. India has nothing to gain by taking any side. Pakistan has abetted terrorism against India. When India was the victim USA was not on India’s side.

If the army takes over Pakistan there should be sanctions against Pakistan. If China and Russia veto such a proposal in UN, other countries can impose sanctions on their own.

USA and ISI

For long India said ISI was behind terrorist activities in India. USA was quiet. For some years Afghanistan said ISI was behind terrorist activities in Afghanistan. That included Indian Embassy. USA was quiet. When American Embassy was attacked USA spoke. Americans wanted Pakistan to take action against Haqqani group, veritable arm of ISI, or they will act on their own.

India should have acted on its own. USA has its interests. It will not act in favour of other countries unless it is for its own advantage or there is a lobby in USA that wants USA to act in favour of another country like Jewish lobby’s support for Israel. ISI got away with crimes against Indians and Afghans and became bold enough to attack Americans.

Pakistan’s army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who was once ISI chief, threatened retaliation if American soldiers entered Pakistan. He said Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan and a nuclear power. It meant Pakistan will drop nuclear bombs on American soldiers. It halted American entry in Pakistan. Drone attacks are different matter.

It is unlikely ISI will stop its operations against Americans. Pakistan wants to control Afghanistan. Many Pakistani’s feel time is on their side, Americans will have to leave Afghanistan and after that Pakistan can dictate terms to Afghanistan. If USA stops assistance they can get it from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has emerged as a force. They have troops in Bahrain and have supported Saleh in Yemen. Saudi Arabia will support Pakistan against USA. China may sell arms to Pakistan but will not give assistance.

Some Pakistani politicians are not happy with ISI sponsoring terrorism but as long as army dominates Pakistan they cannot do much. When army domination ends Pakistan’s government can put an end to ISI activities. That does not seem possible in the near future.

Curious case of Khaled Chisti

On 22/6/2011 on NDTV 24×7’s Left Right and Centre the issue of showing mercy to Khaled Chisti was discussed. PM had written to Rajasthan’s Governor Shivraj Patil to release Khaled Chisti and Shivraj Patil had decided to seek legal advice. The question was whether India should show large-heartedness and release him on humanitarian grounds. The discussion led to some revelations.

Nidhi Razdan first asked audience members. One person said there are many Indians in Indian prisons in similar condition to that of Khaled Chisti. Nobody writes to PM about them. There should be common rule for all. One woman said she was fighting for justice and Pakistanis have carried out many terrorist activities in India. That meant he should not be released.

Nidhi Razdan asked Rajeev Shukla about releasing Khaled Chisti. Rajeev Shukla said Justice Markandeya Katju had sent his letter to PM through him through email and PM had replied to Markandeya Katju through him. So Rajeev Shukla was the intermediary between Markandeya Katju and PM.

The panellists were in agreement that Khaled Chisti be released on humanitarian grounds. Even BJP spokesperson Nirmala Seetharaman did not mention exchanging Khaled Chisti for the release of Sarabjit Singh. Ravi Shankar Prasad had demanded that if Khaled Chisti had to be released it should be in exchange for Sarabjit Singh.

Vinod Sharma said Markandeya Katju was a Kashmiri Pandit and a Kashmiri Pandit getting a Pakistani prisoner released will make Pakistani people happy about India and Markandeya Katju had written to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari to release Gopal Das. Gopal Das was released after Manmohan Singh invited Pakistani leaders to attend Indo-Pak World Cup Semi-Final. That time nobody said anything about Markandeya Katju’s letter. Vinod Sharma was wrong when he said there was no terrorism 20 years back. Terrorism in Kashmir had got a boost when five terrorists were released to secure Rubiya Sayeed’s release in December 1989. Vinod Sharma is associated with Congress.

Siddharth Bhatia wanted Khaled Chisti released.

Till some days back nothing was heard about Khaled Chisti. How this issue suddenly became important is not clear. Rajeev Shukla is married to Ravi Shankar Prasad’s sister Anuradha. Shivraj Patil was Home Minister. There is more to the case than humanitarian consideration. Judges should not get entangled in such matters.

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