On 26/6/2012 around 7 p.m. news broke out that Sarabjit Singh was to be released as Asif Ali Zardari was to commute his death sentence to life which he had already completed as he was in prison for over 14 years he had spent 22 years in jail. Sarabjit Singh was in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore. The news was too good to be true. The decision would have been unpopular in Pakistan.
Peace with Pakistan
On 18/4/2012 Pakistanâ€™s General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called for resolution of Siachen and other issues. He said the two countries cannot keep spending on defence alone and forget about development. This came after Pakistanâ€™s 127 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried alive by an avalanche on 7/4/2012 and searches are on for them.
Kayaniâ€™s statement is welcome but India should not throw caution to the wind. India should not vacate Siachen in a hurry. We know what happened in Kargil. After Kayaniâ€™s retirement next General may have different ideas about peace with India. Nawaz Sharif wanted peace with India. Atal Behari Vajpayee took bus to Lahore. A few months later Kargil War happened. Then Pervez Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif and sent him to jail.
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.
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.
Many Indians want India to send commandos to Pakistan to kill Indiaâ€™s Most Wanted in Pakistan. Operation Geronimo by USA is the inspiration. When asked by journalists army chief and air force chief have said that India is capable to commando operations.
The idea is fine but needs to be tested. India is not USA. India does not have the technology that USA has. In Indiaâ€™s case there is no room for error. Every commando operation is not a success. USAâ€™s attempt to rescue hostages in Iran in 1979 was a disaster. Operation Geronimo was a success in that it achieved its aim of catching Osama Bin Laden dead or alive but one helicopter could not fly back and had to be destroyed. USA has inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can hit any country in the world. Pakistan does not have ICBMs. India and Pakistan do not need ICBMs to hit each other. India does not have stealth helicopters that can evade radar detection.
Death of Osama Bin Laden
The news of the death of Osama Bin Laden on 2/5/2011 (1/5/2011 in USA) in Abbottabad brought cheers to Americans and there were celebrations outside White House and Ground Zero. Barack Obama said it was a historic day for America and justice has been done. Osama Bin Laden was not hiding in some remote mountain but in a building next to military academy, or 500-800 metres away from military academy, in a city. America wanted Osama Bin Laden dead or alive for almost a decade. The building was a mansion without telephone or internet and with 12-16 feet walls built in 2005. For long Americans bombed Waziristan and some areas in Afghanistan hoping to kill Osama Bin Laden. Perhaps they were misled.
Interview with a Pakistani cricketer
Q: You said Pakistanis are large-hearted, Indians are not. What do you mean?
A: Pakistanis are ready to lose matches for friendship. We lost semi-final at Mohali and showed our large-heartedness. We dropped Sachin Tendulkar four times. We could have scored the winning runs. It was not difficult for us to score 261 runs. We did not score and allowed India to win.
Q: Poor fielding and batting is not a sign of large-heartedness. Kamran Akmal on an average drops two catches in every match.
A: Kamran Akmalâ€™s heart is larger than other Pakistanis. His heart is the largest in Pakistan. Behind every successful man there is a woman. Behind every successful batsman there is Kamran Akmal. But against India other fielders dropped catches. We showed our friendship. About batting, even in the last over we could have won. Misbah-ul-Haq could have hit five sixers consecutively and Pakistan would have won. Instead he did not score a single run and gifted his wicket.
WikiLeaks and India
WikiLeaks on 26/7/2010 made public many secret documents dealing with Afghan War. Some of them have relevance to India.
ISI played a role in terrorist activities against Indians. ISI paid the Taliban and Haqqani network to target Indians, Indian Embassy, Indian Consulate in Kandahar and other places. Indians have died. India has suffered loss of property.
It is futile to expect Pakistan to act against ISI or USA to do anything significant. India has to act on its own…
India and Terrorism
India faces terrorism within and abroad. Indians in Afghanistan are targets of terrorism. Asking Pakistan to hand over terrorists has not helped. When the evidence is presented to Pakistanâ€™s foreign secretary he calls it literature.
IPL and Pakistan
Lalit Modi, IPL Commissioner, said teams did not select any Pakistan player and only one player from Australia was selected. Team owners said they were not convinced of the availability of Pakistani players for the entire season or they had some other players in mind and such things. It was clear it was decided beforehand not to bid for Pakistani players. Pakistani players had faced visa problems in December 2009. That was the foretaste of things to come. If Pakistani players were not to be selected they should not have been included in the list.