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November 18, 2012 2:55 pm

Dear India,Pakistan: Stop blaming each other for everything

On the Indian subcontinent, regional trouble is blamed on the foreign hand. This is because our citizens unreservedly love their nation and its constitution. It is the mischief of the neighbour that must be supressed.

Such stupidity is commonplace in our parts among the public, state and media.

It is of a piece with the unthinking and closed-minded view that is unique to us in India and Pakistan.

India first enoucntered this 30 years go when its troubles in Punjab were blamed on Pakistan. Those angered, those agitating, those killed in encounters, were all agents of the enemy state. The vocabulary of the state evolved and common people began using phrases like asamajik tatva (anti-social element) which came from propaganda.

When Muslims in Kashmir began a ferocious protest under the Jamaat e Islami and the umbrella organisation of Hurriyat, the villain was Pakistan.

Even today, when the trouble is behind us, it will be difficult to find an Indian analyst who can say what is obvious to the world. That a large number of Kashmiri-speaking Muslims reject the Indian constitution.

The primary cause of Kashmir’s trouble was unrest in the population. The militancy, whether local or imported, was secondary. Guerilla war, which is what was waged against India, cannot be prosecuted without a base in the population. But this violence became the narrative and there the solution was focused.

President Musharraf switched off the jihad in Kashmir (something India hasn’t thanked him for) and the violence wilted after 2002. It is almost gone today. But can we think of Kashmir as any other Indian state? I don’t think so, and the reason is that many, if not most people in the valley are still sullen, and attracted to the Jamaat e Islami and its calls for bandh.

I am visiting there in a few weeks and will have an update on this then.

MEANWHILE Pakistan has the same attitude problem, recently blaming India for the trouble in Balochistan.

As a long term observer of the Urdu press, this was not surprising to me. But I was taken aback to read that even people like Najam Sethi were talking of Indian mischief in Balochistan.

Analysts should get out more, because gathering information from mostly state sources will leave too much for them to filter out.

Then there is talk of Indian intervention in Fata and elsewhere through the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan.

Even the damage done by Talibs to the Pakistan Navy is debited to India. Why? Because the aircraft they shot down were India-specific.

No logic is more advanced than this. But if Talibs consider the Pakistani state their enemy, and they do, it is only to be expected that they will pinch it where it hurts.

The fact that this has not crossed these analysts minds (If it has, I have yet to hear it), shows the extent of their paranoia.

I wonder who they think in the Indian government authorises such mischief. Manmohan Singh? Sonia Gandhi? If so, they don’t know much about India.

The sad fact is that our problems are mostly of our own making. Our constitution, whether Indian or Pakistani, is not universally loved internally. We should try selling it more to those who don’t accept it.

To accept our neighbours have more sovereignty than we do over our territory, which is what we do when we blame the foreign hand, is ridiculous.



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