[Reader-list] SACW #2. (24 Dec. 01)
aiindex at mnet.fr
Mon Dec 24 15:59:42 IST 2001
South Asia Citizens Wire | Dispatch #2 | 24 December 2001
#1. India: People for Peace - We the citizens of India want peace not war.
- Human Chain For Peace At India Gate,New Delhi / 25Th December 2001
#2. Pakistanis speakup : Joint Statement by Malik Meraj Khalid,
Muhammad Haneef Ramay, Dr Mubashir Hasan
#3. Retaliation for Dec 13 - Armed attack is no answer (Praful Bidwai)
#4. Where is The Indian Peace Movement? (Shankar Gopalakrishnan)
#5. Kashmir's Islamic Guerrillas See Little to Fear From U.S. (John F. Burns)
#6. The India-Pakistan Conflict Lies Threatening in the Wings
Bush's goal should be to bolster Musharraf. (Mansoor Ijaz)
#7. India Pakistan Arms Race & Militarisation Watch (IPARMW) # 57
23 December 2001
24 Dec 2001 14:07:04 +0530
People for Peace
At a meeting held on December 22, 2001, peace activists from many
civil society organizations met at the India Social Institute and
resolved the following:
We the people of India want to live in peace with our neighbors just
as our neighbors wish to live with us. We do not wish for war,
death and destruction. Therefore it is imperative that the war
mongering which is gathering steam be immediately curtailed.
At the outset let it be said that the nuclearization of South Asia
in the year 1999 was a disastrous step and its consequences are
being felt every moment of our lives. We do not perish in a nuclear
We wish to unequivocally denounce terrorism wherever in the world it
occurs; this condemnation includes state terrorism manifested in
terrorism by the police. Citizens are being harassed in the name of
security. In this respect, we urge the media to be a watchdog of
human rights and the sentinel of peace, and to dissociate itself
from the hysteria that vested interests may wish to spread.
At the same time we are fully conscious to the fact that the
government of India is using the current situation to push its
authoritarian agenda. We condemn this modus operandi. Instead of
viewing every event and incidence as law and order problem or as
terrorist attack the ruling establishment should try to go into
the root cause of social crisis that is confronting the country.
Given the fact that India, the land of Mahatma Buddha and Mahatma
Gandhi has always had a tradition of keeping its doors open to one
and all and also open to dialogue, we condemn the recent move by the
government to ban the Samjhauta Express and the Sadhbhavna bus
between India and Pakistan. It will cause the greatest harm to
common people for whom it meant family reunification. We condemn
the government's decision to recall the Indian High Commissioner
from Islamabad. This attitude of `diplomatic punishment is not in
keeping with the dignity and the tradition of India.
We deplore the fact that in this game of brinksmanship all the real
issues have been forgotten; most importantly the issue of Kashmir,
and the aspirations of the people of Kashmir. All the moves being
contemplated by the government to reduce the daily trauma of the
people of Kashmir lie forgotten.
We urge the government to withdraw its sanction against the train
and bus to Pakistan and allow the people to people contact to
continue. Talks should immediately be resumed at the highest level
within the framework of SAARC and efforts should be made to find
political not military solutions to outstanding problems.
Finally, the silence of the majority is being misinterpreted as
popular endorsement to war mongering. We appeal to our sisters and
brothers in both countries to speak up for peace and not let the
current crisis escalate into a holocaust by default.
We the citizens of India want peace not war.
People for Peace will form A Human Chain for Peace at the Amar Jawan
Jyoti, near India Gate on the 25th Tuesday the birthday of the
Apostle of Peace from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm.
A delegation will meet the President of India and the leaders of
political parities to hand over this statement and send the same to
members of civil society in Pakistan.
A meeting has been organised for 29th or 31st of December to review
the situation and to plan the future course of action.
Nirmala Deshpande Former M.P.
Achin Vanaik MIND
Col.V.S.Verma IPSI, Noida
Col. A.R. Khan IPSI, Noida
V. Mohini Giri Guild of Services
Syeda Hameed New Delhi
Ritu Menon Pancheel park
Iqbal A. Ansari Jamia Nagar
R.M. Pal PUCL
John Dayal Media Apartments, I.P. Extension
Safeer Mahmood Press Indian News Services
Lt.Gen.(Dr.) M.M. Walia IPSI, Noida
Valson Thampu St. Stephens Hospital
Fr. Bento Rodriques Fr. Agnel Ashram
Felicio Cardoso Seraulim, Salcete, Goa
Smitu Kothari Lokayan, Pancheel Park
Prakash Louis Indian Social Institute
Peter Lewron New Delhi
Lekha Bhagat New Delhi
Mahi Pal Singh PUCL
N.D. Pancholi Champa foundation
/C. S.Chandrasekhar IPSI, Noida
Mrs. Naheed Taban Zakir Nagar
Azra Rizvi Zakir Nagar
Brinda Singh Pascheel Park
Aurobindo Ghose Keshva puram
Mary Scaria Justice & Peace Commission
Iqbal Jamil Taj Enclave
Rizwan Quiser Jamia Nagar
Ajeet Cour Academy of Fine Arts & Literatures
Aruna Pai Panandiker Gurgaon
Brig. S.G. Gorver Noida
Mrs. Prabha Grover Noida
Navaid Hamid Balli Maran, Delhi
Bindia Thaper NDSE-I
o o o o
HUMAN CHAIN FOR PEACE AT INDIA GATE,NEW DELHI
TUESDAY: THE 25TH December 2001
All those who have been involved in promoting
peace and friendly relations between India & Pakistan
are deeply perturbed over the present rising tension
between the two countries. The sudden and unilateral
decision of the NDA Government of India in recalling
the Indian High Commissioner from Islamabad,
cancellation of Samjhouta Express and Lahore Bus
Service from 1st January 2001 have been received with
shock and disbelief. There seems to be a deliberate
attempt to create war hysteria and drive the two
countries on a collision course.
A meeting of representatives of large number of
organizations was held at the Indian Social Institute
today to decide as to what action could be taken by
the concerned citizens to prevent the dangerous
Meeting was convened at the initiative of Smt.
Nirmala Deshpande, Syeda Hamid and Achin Vanaik. It
was decided to organize a human chain between 11 to 1
PM on Tuesday, the 25th December 2001
at the India Gate.
All are requested to participate in large
numbers. Please forward this message to other friends.
22nd December 2001 For Champa-The Amiya & B.G.Rao
JOINT STATEMENT BY:
Malik Meraj Khalid former Prime Minister of Pakistan
Muhammad Haneef Ramay Former Chief Minister of Punjab
Dr. Mubashir Hasan, Former Finance Minister
India's action to recall its High Commissioner from Islamabad and to
suspend train and bus service is unfortunate but understandable. The
situation demanded vigor and sympathy from government of Pakistan at
the dastardly attack on the Indian Parliament. A critical situation
The armed forces of Pakistan and India are standing face to face on
the borders, but we need peace not war. The governments of our two
neighborly countries owe it to their peoples to use their resources
on alleviating poverty rather than wasting them on wars or for
preparation of wars. Nothing could be more ill advised for us to
engage in any military conflict or confrontation when the entire
world is planning to participate in the economic activity to be
launched in Asia directly in our region.
President Parvez Musharraf took the first step in the right direction
by distancing Pakistan from Taliban of Afghanistan. But that was only
step that demanded more and more steps in the same direction. Pakistan
should not be a safe haven for the extremists to carry on their mission of
hatred. Prime Minister Vajpayee took a most commendable step by inviting
President Parvez Musharraf to Agra. Good but not sufficient. That step also
needed a persistent follow-up. No doubt, there are complex and serious
problems like Kashmir between Pakistan and India, but once our two
governments realize their primary duty towards their peoples, these
problems would be cut to size and it would not to be too difficult to
resolve them through genuine negotiation.
There are strong hawkish groups in Pakistan and India who would love
to light the flames of war. We appreciate that President Musharraf
Minister Vajpayee are showing restraint. All saner elements and peace
loving people of our two countries must raise their voice against any
kind of war between India and Pakistan.
Both Pakistan and India have enough internal problems. Now that both
have attained nuclear capacity, it is their responsibility to
exercise greater tolerance. It is time to start negotiating for some
honorable and acceptable solution to our problems including Kashmir.
It is time for decisions. It is time for statesmanship.
The international political climate favours peace. Both Pakistan and India
should do their best to control their extremists. It is not in the interest
of any government or people to have in their midst armed bands and their
training facilities. The errors made by former governments to allow such
bodies to form and grow should be corrected. It will be a great tragedy if
they miss this opportunity. In case they engage militarily, there is every
danger that some peace plan is imposed on them by the international
community. To avoid that eventuality, the leaders of Pakistan and India
must reach out and embrace one another in the best interest of their
peoples and in the true sprit of peace and justice.
We urge all the peace loving peoples' of both countries actively to
support their respective governments in the efforts at establishing
SIGNED: Malik Meraj Khalid, Muhammad Haneef Ramay, Dr Mubashir Hasan
True Copy: Signed Mubashir Hasan
[ Column 24 December 2001]
Retaliation for Dec 13
Armed attack is no answer
By Praful Bidwai
It is a relief that the initial responses to the hair-raising
terrorist attack on Parliament House have significantly mellowed.
Hawkish elements, who saw in the incident a big chance to "do an
America" (or Israel) on Pakistan through "retaliatory" strikes
against "terrorist camps" across the border, have somewhat sobered
down. Not many government leaders now talk of an immediate,
"decisive, final" struggle against terrorism. But the danger of an
outbreak of war has NOT passed. Troop and tank movements near the
border show the danger remains real. Prime Minister Vajpayee's
"tough" Parliament speech has further stoked it.
Very few people in the country, leave alone outside it, buy the
hawks' fanciful argument that the December 13 attack, condemnable and
ghastly as it was, constitutes an "act of war", and is in turn a
casus belli, or a rationale for war. Their hopes that the US would
energetically follow up its initial statement of shock, sympathy, and
support for "appropriate action" on India's part, have been dashed by
President Bush's and Mr Colin Powell's repeated calls for restraint.
India's own armed services chiefs reportedly told the Cabinet on
December 17 that they prefer a measured political and diplomatic
offensive and won't be stampeded into military retaliation. The
government still says an attack on Pakistani territory is the "last
option", not the first.
There is a powerful case against this "last option". A mature,
cool-headed, self-confident response should concentrate on
identifying and politically isolating those responsible for the
December 13 attack, and their backers. To start with, it is vital to
recognise that the official case linking the episode with
"Pakistan-based and -backed" groups, and hence with Islamabad, is
weak; the evidence far from clinching. Home Minister Advani has
essentially repeated Delhi police commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma's
version of events after the arrest of Prof Syed A.R. Geelani and
other suspects. There are numerous problems with the official
version(s), which the US now arrogantly demands to see--and
presumably, to judge.
* First, Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh named Lashkar-e-Toiba as the
culprit. Then, the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi police named
Jaish-e-Mohammed. Mr Advani has taken the police's line, and added
LeT's name--without citing persuasive evidence. But, as we see below,
LeT and JeM are disparate, competing, organisations.
* All five (now dead) attackers were said to be Pakistani, although
their specific identities and affiliations have not been revealed.
But all the rounded-up suspects are Indian nationals, whose links
with the attackers are indirect and distant, e.g. a February meeting
between JeM commander Ghazi Baba and Mohammed Afzal. The police have
still not established the necessary direct and continual links.
* Were there only five terrorists? Or was there a sixth man, as
* Prof Geelani is described by the police as a Hurriyat/JKLF
sympathiser, also involved in "Left-wing politics" in Delhi's Zakir
Hussain College. His colleagues contradict this. Sympathy for the
JKLF cannot even remotely constitute a "terrorist" link. Mr Yaseen
Malik wouldn't know what to do with a Kalashnikov!
* The first police account says the terrorists had RDX high
explosive. But the subsequent version says they bought ammonium
nitrate, sulphur, etc.--all gunpowder-like low explosives.
Let's face it. The attack on Parliament House was an amateurish
affair, executed by desperados whose primitive planning skills and
military talent hardly match their intense anti-India hatred--unlike
the bombing of the J&K Assembly or suicide-attacks on Badamibagh
Cantonment. This by itself does not disprove the involvement of the
ISI or other Pakistani agencies, but it suggests that the groups'
operations were not directed in minute detail by a professional
More generally, it makes little political (itals political) sense for
Pakistani official agencies to undertake or closely supervise
high-risk terrorist operations when Islamabad is on the defensive and
under extremely close American watch. Being caught on the wrong foot
risks squandering Islamabad's recent gains in overcoming its
political isolation. Evidence of its involvement will invite US
hostility just when the Americans are setting up a base at Jacobabad.
Even assuming the ISI acted off its own bat, i.e. without Gen
Musharraf's consent, it does not make sense for India to attack
terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Such attacks won't
punish the ISI, as distinct from its trainees and clients. Nor will
they counter anti-India sentiment or future activity. Such
retaliation will seem more like an act of blind revenge than a
militarily effective, well-considered, targeted, action. Some
reality-checks are also in order about the hyped-up "training camps".
According to "The Hindustan Times", the armed services chiefs told
the Cabinet these camps are "no more than drill squares and firing
ranges"; strikes against them will have little impact. Also, many
camps are located deep inside Pakistani territory--in JeM's case, in
Thus, it makes eminent sense to demand, as the armed forces chiefs
did, that the psychological impact of possible strikes be weighed
against the military escalation they would cause. Crossing the LoC
could lead to a four-to-six week war, even a nuclear exchange. Unlike
the US-Taliban case and the Israel-Palestine case, which are both
highly asymmetrical in military capabilities, India and Pakistan are
relatively evenly balanced. Both possess nuclear weapons. Any use of
nuclear weapons is TOTALLY, ABSOLUTELY, UNACCEPTABLE (Pl
emphasise)--irrespective of the circumstances. Even the possibility
of a threat of use must be defused. Nuclear wars cannot be won. They
are suicidal and genocidal for all concerned.
Thus, India should not imitate US or Israel in launching blind
retaliatory attacks. As repeatedly argued in this Column, the US was
wrong to have attacked Afghanistan in the first place. Three months
after September 11, it is still hard-put to muster clinching evidence
of Al-Qaeda's direct culpability--as the latest, far-from-convincing,
Jalalabad videotape shows. Israel was even more reprehensible to have
launched murderous assaults on Palestinian civilians. Such vengeful
attacks can only vitiate the moral-political climate and render the
fight against terrorism more difficult.
India, located in the world's most dangerous and disaster-prone
region--the only region with a 50 year-long hot-cold war between the
same two rivals--does not have the luxury of crossing the LoC on mere
suspicion or surmise. It must produce clinching, irrefutable evidence
of Pakistan's culpability and concentrate on exploring non-military
options. Of course, it goes without saying that India must not
fatalistically or stoically condone December 13 and lapse into
Practically, what should New Delhi do? The present climate is
extraordinarily favourable to politically isolating terrorist groups.
India must patiently build a convincing case against the December 13
culprits--on the strength of hard, unimpeachable evidence. (This is
still to be gathered). Here, it just won't do to conflate JeM with
LeT. JeM (estd. 2000) is linked to the Deobandis of Pakistan, in
particular, Masood Azhar. Its headquarters is at the Binori madrassa
in suburban Karachi.
LeT was set up in 1987 and functions under the aegis of
Markaz-Dawatul-Irshad of Muridke, near Lahore. Its head is Hafiz
Muhammad Saeed, a retired theology teacher. LeT has strong Saudi
Arabian Wahhabi affinities and financial links. It is the only group
active in Kashmir, which is linked to, and part of, the Al-Qaeda
network. Bin Laden, incidentally, is not particularly supportive of
Kashmiri independence, which he sees as "interfering" with his
pan-Islamic vision, based on the global ummah or Islamic community.
Once it reconciles its varying accounts and arms itself with solid
evidence on those actually involved in the Parliament House attack,
New Delhi should move the UN Security Council, citing Resolution
1373. This mandates all states to act against terrorist groups. This
move must be backed up with a well-focussed, serious, independent,
diplomatic offensive, not just jumping on the "anti-terror"
bandwagon. The ideal forum for bringing the culprits to book would be
the International Criminal Court, which is supported by more than 150
states and is about to come into existence. Regrettably,
India--guided, like the US, by a dangerously mistaken notion of
national sovereignty--opposes the Court, indeed all supra-national
criminal jurisdiction. New Delhi must change and accept an
international criminal forum, which alone can keep pace with the
internationalisation of crime and of terrorism.
India's case will be greatly strengthened if the Vajpayee government
fights off the temptation to exploit the present situation
electorally in Uttar Pradesh. It must instead adopt a policy of
transparency in Kashmir, scrupulously respect human rights, and start
a dialogue for peace and reconciliation with Pakistan, leading to a
just resolution of the Kashmir problem in consultation with its
We should not run away with our own rhetoric about "cross-border"
terrorism--to obscure and evade India's responsibility for the mess
in Kashmir. True, Pakistan has, deplorably, exploited this mess to
its own advantage. But India's own culpability, aggravated by gross
human rights violations, cannot be denied. Reforming the present
situation, and taking a bold, independent multilateral anti-terrorist
initiative could be India's best contribution to a healthier, kinder,
more humane, world--as well as to creating a more secure domestic
society, in which terrorism gets discredited because true justice is
24 December 2001
Letter to SACW by Shankar Gopalakrishnan
WHERE IS THE INDIAN PEACE MOVEMENT?
This may appear to be a criticism, but I hope people
will take it more as it is intended: as a statement of
The other day I saw a news photo of children carrying
doves. Ah, I thought, at last the peace marches have
begun. But the caption said: "peace march in Lahore,
So my question is: where are the Indian counterparts?
What are we doing on this side of the border? Why is
it that our peace movement seems to have fallen
completely silent, other than a few position papers?
Within days of September 11th, there were marches in
New York City against war. Granted these are
different circumstances, but here we also have two
nuclear powers teetering very close to mutual
destruction. And the VHP, trustworthy as always, is
taking out virulent rallies calling for war. Are we
too scared of the Hindutva brigades to reply? Too
frightened of being branded Pakistan-lovers? If even
the Americans, with their almost totally depoliticized
democracy, could respond so quickly, couldn't we do
I do not have the contacts right now to know what
people's organizations are planning. But I do hope
that sometime in the near future we will see India's
wellsprings of democracy, community, and compassion -
so central to our polity - return to the public stage.
This is after all the land of Gandhi, even if it
seems that in less than a human lifetime his basic
message has disappeared entirely from the political
We cannot afford to let the warmongers win on this
one. They have seized the initiative far too often
before; this time at least we have to remind people of
the sufferings of Kashmiris because of security forces
and militants, the innocent deaths in communal riots
and pogroms, and ask if we need to add a nuclear war
to all these other curses of our nation.
The New York Times
December 24, 2001
Kashmir's Islamic Guerrillas See Little to Fear From U.S.
By JOHN F. BURNS
Pakistani border guards, right, and Indian counterparts held a
ceremony at the border crossing near Lahore.
MURIDKE, Pakistan, Dec. 23 - The signboard has disappeared now, gone
from the clutter of brightly painted ads for American soft drinks and
tire vulcanizers and the merchants who live off the traffic that
thunders down the Grand Trunk Road, which starts on the Afghan border
400 miles from here and ends 1,000 miles away, in Calcutta.
The town of Muridke was never much more than a dusty way-station on
the strategic highway built when Pakistan and India were part of
British-ruled India. If the town has had a claim on the consciousness
of 140 million Pakistanis, it lay in the missing sign, for an Islamic
militant organization known in English as the Army of the Pure, in
Urdu as Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose spiritual headquarters lies a mile or
so off among the green rice paddies and grazing buffalo that flank
The sign came down some time last week, just before President Bush
announced that he was adding Lashkar-e-Taiba to the United States'
official list of terrorist organizations, and asking Pakistan's
military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to arrest Lashkar's leaders
and disband it.
Mr. Bush cited India's accusations that the group was behind an
attack on Dec. 13 on the Indian Parliament in which 14 people died,
including all 5 attackers. Lashkar has denied any involvement, and
Pakistan, implying Indian mischief, has demanded that India produce
Down the dirt road leading to the compound of Lashkar's parent
organization, the Center for the Call to Righteousness, Mr. Bush's
action, and the possibility that General Musharraf will begin his own
crackdown when he returns from an official visit to China on Monday,
is greeted with studied indifference.
"That's Bush's headache, and Musharraf's, not ours," said Rashid
Minhas, a 28-year-old Pakistani who is rector of the 200-acre
educational complex where 1,200 students are steeped in the tenets of
militant Islam - and, according to Western and Indian intelligence
reports, in the basics of "jihad," or holy war.
"Let Bush do what he will; our duty as Muslims is to follow the
teachings of the holy prophet," Mr. Minhas said during an hour-long
tour of the campus in which he waved away any questions relating to
the activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the attacks of Sept. 11, Osama bin
Laden or the disputed territory of Kashmir, where Lashkar's Islamic
fighters have been challenging Indian rule for much of the past
decade. "We are not frightened of Bush, we are only fearful of God."
Even if it was carefully rendered for the benefit of a Western
visitor, the indifference reflected something common among Islamic
militants. It is a sense that God's will, and certainly not American
power, is the ultimate driving force of mankind's affairs. It also
seemed to echo something of the turbulent history of the region, and
the fatalism it has engendered in succeeding generations.
When Britain divided its Indian Empire into two independent states in
1947, at least a million people died in rioting that followed, many
of them only a short distance from here along the Grand Trunk Road
and the rail line across the Punjab that carried fleeing Hindus east
to India and fleeing Muslims west to Pakistan. Since 1947, the two
countries have fought three wars, adding tens of thousands more
The wounds are kept fresh, more than 50 years later, by frequent
killings in Kashmir, the one territory that remains disputed between
the two countries today.
For the Bush administration, naming Lashkar to a list that also
contains Mr. bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist group was, in a sense, a
natural step after Sept. 11. Since it first appeared in Kashmir in
the early 1990's, Lashkar has been known for ambushes, bombings and
assassinations that have concentrated on the Indian army and police,
but also killed large numbers of civilians. With a smaller Islamic
militant group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, previously named to the American
terrorist list, Lashkar has been cited, over the last three years,
for about three- quarters of all Pakistan-backed attacks in
For India, getting the groups declared terrorist organizations by the
United States, and persuading Mr. Bush to press General Musharraf to
disband them, was a strategic goal from the moment of the Sept. 11
attacks. In New Delhi, Mr. Bush's war on terrorism was greeted as a
rare opportunity to accomplish what perhaps half a million Indian
troops and police have been unable to achieve - to suppress, at their
source in Pakistan, the groups that have kept India's rule in Kashmir
violent, costly and fragile.
In Pakistan, too, there were few who did not see Sept. 11 as a
watershed for what are known here as "Kashmiri freedom fighters." For
years, it has been an open secret among Pakistani intelligence
officers that Lashkar has had links with Al Qaeda, and that Lashkar's
installations were ports of call for Arab "holy warriors" heading
west to Afghanistan or northeast to Indian- ruled Kashmir. Hafiz
Muhammad Saeed, who founded Lashkar after teaching Islamic theology
in Lahore, has praised Mr. bin Laden in his speeches and on the
group's Web site.
But for many Pakistanis, branding Lashkar a terrorist organization is
nowhere near as obvious a sequel to the events of Sept. 11 as it must
have seemed to Mr. Bush. In Pakistan, the struggle for Kashmir is an
epic that no Pakistani leader could abandon without risk of immediate
ouster, by fellow politicians or the army.
The bottom line on Kashmir, in Pakistan, is that more than 80 percent
of Kashmiris, in India and Pakistan, are Muslims - and that those
living in the Indian-ruled part, known as Jammu and Kashmir, were
never given the right to vote on whether to join India or Pakistan
that India guaranteed them in United Nations Security Council
resolutions 50 years ago.
Once Lashkar has been suppressed, many Pakistanis say, India will
demand the proscription in Pakistan of any group that tries to join
the "freedom struggle" in Kashmir - and, relieved of armed
confrontation, will persist in refusing any move toward
The point is one that has been widely debated around the world: In a
global war on terrorism, where is the line to be drawn between
"terrorism" and legitimate armed struggle? It is a distinction that
has been frequently made by General Musharraf, who has insisted that
the United States draw a line between "freedom struggles" like the
one in Kashmir and terrorism of the kind that occurred on Sept. 11,
when the sole purpose of the attacks, the general says, was to kill
Mr. Saeed, the Lashkar leader, in statements on the group's Web site,
has sought to differentiate the group's military activities from
those of Al Qaeda. Just before Mr. Bush's announcement last week, Mr.
Saeed said that "all operations by Kashmiris under Lashkar-e-Taiba's
command have been carried out against the Indian Army with the sole
purpose of protecting the local population from repression," and that
any civilian casualties were "a regretful exception."
"We may differ with U.S. policy, and that is our right, but we do not
mean any harm to any U.S. citizen or property," he said.
For General Musharraf, deciding what actions to take against Lashkar
will be a tricky matter. On Saturday, the general's aides instructed
the State Bank of Pakistan to freeze Lashkar bank accounts. Mr.
Saeed, the Lashkar leader, described that action on his Web site as
meaningless, since Lashkar owns no bank accounts or buildings and
counts as its "only assets" the holy warriors in Kashmir. In
practice, Pakistani officials say, all of the money in Mr. Saeed's
Islamic empire has been vested in Lashkar's parent organization. .
In the face of popular feelings and his own hard-line record, General
Musharraf seems unlikely to go as far as President Bush has urged,
arresting Mr. Saeed and uprooting Lashkar and its fighters.
But even if he does order Lashkar closed down, senior Pakistani
officials say, it is likely to be prelude to a shell game that has
occurred before, in which groups that have become too contentious for
Pakistan to continue supporting have "re-badged" themselves under new
names, and resumed their attacks in Kashmir.
"If what Bush wants is that we simply give India what it wants, he's
dreaming," one official said. "Whatever we do, you can be sure that
it won't be an end to the struggle for Kashmir."
Los Angeles Times
December 23, 2001
The India-Pakistan Conflict Lies Threatening in the Wings
Bush's goal should be to bolster Musharraf.
By MANSOOR IJAZ
As U.S. Defense Department hawks train their sights on Saddam Hussein
for their next target, a more dangerous and immediate threat looms in
South Asia: a war between India and Pakistan born from the remnants
of Al Qaeda terrorists fleeing Afghanistan for the foothills of
disputed Kashmir--perhaps their last haven on Earth. These two
nuclear-armed neighbors have gone to war two times over Kashmir since
the 1947 partition.
Preventing a fourth Indo-Pakistani war--one with nuclear
ramifications--needs to rise quickly to the top of the White House
agenda before military hawks in Islamabad and New Delhi decide jet
raids and missile launchers are the preferred instruments of
dialogue. President Bush's move Thursday to shut down funding to
Lashkar-e-Taiba was a good start. This is the declared terrorist
group operating in Kashmir and the one Bush said is responsible for
the Dec. 13 attack on the Indian Parliament that killed at least 12
people. But a more important step is ensuring Pakistan's long-term
stability and President Pervez Musharraf's viability in office. India
should assist Musharraf in fighting the evil in his midst rather than
condemning him for it, and perhaps thereby fatally wounding his
regime. At home, Musharraf cannot withstand an iota of challenge to
his support for Kashmir's indigenous militancy after essentially
betraying--in the eyes of Islamic fanatics--the Taliban and Osama bin
Laden. Abroad, he can no longer be seen as looking the other way
while Arab terrorists infiltrate the ranks of Kashmiri militant
groups and bring their money, guns, firebrand Islam and terrorist
methods to South Asia.
In New Delhi, the argument for ratcheting up tensions with Pakistan
to wartime levels is simplistic. Terrorists are terrorists, and those
who attacked the Parliament building with alleged support from
Islamabad are the same breed who have for years attacked Indian
targets in occupied Kashmir. If the United States can hunt down Bin
Laden and Al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan, why can't New Delhi go
after Lashkar militants across the Line of Control into Pakistan-held
Such thinking is nothing more than a recipe for provoking war. The
harsher truth is that New Delhi's most ardent hawk, Home Affairs
Minister Lal Krishna Advani, is raising the ante to save his ruling
nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party from embarrassing results in state
elections that could cost the party its majority in Parliament and
unseat Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. Advani is considered by
most to be the de facto ruling force in India.
But local politics is hardly reason to stoke the fires of war with a
perpetually unstable neighbor whose hawkish generals would love to
teach India a military lesson, regardless of the consequences.
Rhetoric aside, India's military preparations during the past week
indicate more than just talk is forthcoming. Air bases in Kashmir and
along the Pakistani border have been activated for military
operations. Troops are being moved closer to the border and
reinforcements are being sent to Kashmir at a time when normally they
come home from the winter snows. A single incursion across the Line
of Control by Indian army personnel or air force jets would be the
matchstick that lights the flame.
Pakistan, of course, is not without blame. Musharraf can't have it
both ways. He can't support what started as an indigenous movement
for self-determination in Kashmir and not recognize that the same
movement has been hijacked by Arab and Afro-Arab terrorists. He can't
hail Pakistani intelligence as a constructive force in stabilizing
the region when all the Inter-Services Intelligence agency
(Pakistan's CIA) has ever done is sow seeds of instability from
Afghanistan to Kashmir.
Musharraf realizes he has a dilemma. The question is whether India
realizes he does and whether New Delhi hard-liners are willing to
give him the time and space to clean up his mess.
Musharraf's intent is clear. He closed down religious schools that
taught firebrand Islam by day and bred the Kalishnikov culture by
night. He pulled his intelligence agents out of Afghanistan,
facilitating Kabul's rapid fall. He dismissed his intelligence chief
for conducting operations diametrically opposed to the U.S. and
allied effort to quash Al Qaeda. He even agreed to let the FBI go to
Pakistan to investigate any evidence presented by New Delhi of
official Pakistani complicity in the attack on Parliament.
Still, Musharraf can do more. He should cite the U.S. freezing of
Lashkar assets as reason enough to completely dismantle all
Arab-dominated militant groups operating in Pakistan and deport
non-Pakistanis to their homelands even if it means losing the Arab
world's financial support. A similar purging of Islamic zealots in
his military intelligence services would send an equally strong
India cannot eradicate terrorists from the midst of Kashmiris by
attacking a Pakistan that is delicately balanced on terrorism's
ledge. New Delhi's legitimate security concerns will only be
redressed when it is prepared to offer viable political solutions for
the Kashmiri people that replace rhetorical threats of war against
Mansoor Ijaz, an American Muslim of Pakistani origin, is a member of
the Council on Foreign Relations.
India Pakistan Arms Race & Militarisation Watch (IPARMW) # 57
23 December 2001
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