Wednesday, February 4, 2009


          An article carrying an excellent analysis on post Mumbai situation has recently come up from Gen. (Retd). Jahangir Karamat, formerly Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Chief of Pakistan’s armed Staff and one of the few generals who literally followed the constitution of Pakistan 
          Hitherto our army generals (the COAS-cum CMLA’s-cum Presidents) have been lecturing us only on dangers that this country faces and they as Supremos of Pakistan army are the only saviors, the only judge to decide on patriotism of an ordinary Pakistani. Anybody who opposed their government (which was in every case, without a single exception100 percent dictatorial) was either a mulk-dushman or agent of somebody who is outright determined to undo this land.
          In case one didn’t fit into any of the above categories, he was a communist, an Indian agent or many a time just a “persona non grata”. (I remember once our friend from Safma (South Asia Free Media Association) an ardent supporter of India Pakistan Friendship while speaking on this subject, was told by then Governor of Punjab, again a military general that to him the former appeared to be an agent of RAW and to this quipped our friend, “my dilemma is when I speak of friendship between two of us (India and Pakistan) in India am told, am an agent of ISI and here in my own country I become an agent of Raw. The fact is General Sahib! Am agent of Pakistan only and as a Pakistani I sincerely believe in friendship between the two countries".).
         In this context, am extremely delighted to read this post and find it extremely heartening that Gen. (R) Jehangir Karamat has the sagacity to utter the stark truth, a truth that most of our policy makers always tend not to recognize. Rightly says he, we just shove our eyes in the sand and forget that there is something happening, something which we need to redress.

by Gen. Jahangir Karamat ex COAS

By now so much has been said and written and has happened that there is a dire need to draw conclusions. Not just draw conclusions but to evaluate them, prioritize them and act on them.

The general consensus is that India and Pakistan need to talk. This is a decision that the political leadership on both sides needs to take. The how, when, where and what can be sorted out once this political decision has been made.

By now it is clear to all except the ostriches that Pakistan faces a serious internal crisis. This crisis is multifaceted and has many interconnected dimensions. It cannot be addressed unless there is an in-depth understanding of its reality. To do this it is necessary to develop a comprehensive picture of the scale and magnitude of the internal threat.

Recent writings, discussions and decisions have made it abundantly clear that Pakistan lacks a national intelligence coordination mechanism and a policy planning and decision making structure. This gap leads to reliance on intelligence agencies for not just intelligence but also the response options. This must change. Coordinated intelligence will produce the threat picture and the policy planning process will develop response options. From these options the decision maker will choose the course of action. This process will also respond to the criticism of intelligence agencies.

Political stability will be one facet of the response to the internal threat but the general conclusion being reached by most Pakistanis is that has to be the first step and it can be a comparatively easy step if personal ambitions and vendettas are shelved and simple decisions taken on restoring the parliamentary system, empowering the judiciary and election commission and removing controversial appointees.

There is a dawning realization that Pakistan should not seek an identity beyond our region in Arab lands. Our identity is in the greater South Asian sub-continent that includes Afghanistan. If we come to terms with this reality our bilateral relations with our neighbors will take on a whole new significance and urgency. For this a process of re-education has to start. Muslim countries and particularly Arab countries will remain our close allies and friends.

Finally it is clear that in a globalized world Pakistan's foreign policy has to be on a global scale and Pakistan should never be seen as a threat to global peace. To climb out of the economic quagmire Pakistan has to forge relationships on the basis of trade, economic activity, technology transfers, investment, education, health care and support at the international level. This should help in prioritizing relationships and developing public opinion that supports foreign policy rather than opposing it. This is what will redefine and drive our relationship with the Wes


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