Potential, Unaffordable Indo-Pak War Calls World Leaders to Aid in Diplomatic Efforts

Posted: 31 December 2008 by Little Alex in India-Pakistan; 26/11, International Affairs
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Daily Kos

After exaggerated sabre-rattling from India’s responses to the Mumbai Attacks (26/11), Pak began massive troop mobilization from the Afghan-Pak to the Indo-Pak border and concerns itself with Indian response:

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi reported today that neighboring India “has activated their forward air bases,” and urged dialogue between the two nations to solve their long-standing disputes over Kashmir. Minister Qureshi suggested that if India returned its military to “peacetime positions” it would send a positive signal. The address echoed calls from Pakistani General Parvez Kayani to avoid a military confrontation with India.

Yet Qureshi’s Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, denied that India had made any moves to mobilize its forces along the Pakistani border. “We have not created any tension,” Mukherjee insisted, adding that “there is no question of mobilization or escalation of tension” between the two sides.

Yet Senator John McCain was also quoted yesterday as saying “the Indians are on the verge of some kind of attack on Pakistan,” and warning that “we’re going to be in for a very difficult time there.” The Indian government has repeatedly insisted that any concerns about war are being deliberately fomented by the Pakistani government for its own gain, but as troops remain on alert on both sides of the border it seems a situation worth continuing to watch.

Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Pak’s concerns are not invalid. Early last week, Pak went on ‘red alert’ after India mobilized troops and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘rushed’ to Pak.

Neither country can afford a war and Pak’s military head, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said “there is a ‘need to de-escalate and avoid conflict'” and the “focus should be on ‘peace and security in the region.'” This week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) is in New Delhi and Islamabad to aid in the mediation of the two nuclear rivals, along with the Chinese and the Saudis:

Iran is turning out to be the first country of the region that has decided to play a mediatory role at the head of the state level between Pakistan and India.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is dashing to New Delhi early this week for talks with the Indian leaders with regard to the alarming situation prevailing in the neighbourhood. He may visit Islamabad immediately after concluding his discussions in the Indian capital. The Iranian president, who is deeply concerned about the rising tension between the two neighbouring nuclear states on its southeast, has been maintaining interaction with both the countries termed friends by Tehran.

The Iranian president will convert his endeavour into shuttle diplomacy if he gets encouraging signals from both the capitals. Pakistan will welcome such an effort. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehar Mottaki has already spoken to his Pakistani and Indian counterparts about the situation separately.

The US reaction would be watched with fair amount of interest in the world capitals since it might not come out in public to offer its reaction on the move, they remarked. It is pertinent to mention that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi has already said that Iran is ready to defuse tension between Pakistan and India over the recent Mumbai attacks. “The ongoing tension between the two neighbouring countries would only benefit terrorists,” said Qureshi adding that he had talked to his Iranian counterpart who has expressed his deep concern over the Indo-Pak tension.

“Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told me in a telephone conversation that he had spoken to Indian Foreign Minister Paranab Mukherjee and asked India to show restraint,” Qureshi said. He added that Iran believes that any instability in South Asia affects the whole region and even beyond.

Manouchehr Mottaki, in his conversation with Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed that Tehran will remain engaged with both Pakistan and India to defuse tensions between the two neighbour countries. Mottaki noted that he has also discussed the issue with his Indian counterpart Paranab Mukherjee and urged India to show restraint. Iran’s foreign minister warned that the tensions in south Asia would affect the region and even beyond. During the telephone conversation, Qureshi said that Pakistan had also been a victim of terrorism and was engaged in the fight against this menace.

Mr. Qureshi (right) adds:

“Dialogue is in the interest of both the countries – we should sit across the table and also use diplomatic channels.”

He said Pakistan was making “two specific proposals” – that India de-activate its forward air bases and relocate its ground forces to “peacetime positions”….

“This will send a positive signal and reduce tensions in the region.”

He said that Pakistan was ready to co-operate with India in tracking down the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks….

“Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that evidence will be shared with us once they have concluded their own investigation vindicates our earlier stand that we haven’t yet been provided with any evidence,”

He described Mr Mukherjee’s statement as a “positive development” and said recent telephone contacts between the two countries would “help defuse the situation”….

“If India de-activates its forward airbases which it recently activated, we will consider this a positive signal,” he said.

“Second, Indian ground forces that moved forward (following the Mumbai attacks) should be relocated to peace positions.

“Pressure and coercion between neighbours tend to complicate matters – rather than resolve them – and should be avoided.

“Mr Mukherjee said India had done nothing to escalate tension.

“[This] is not an India-Pakistan issue. This is an attack perpetrated by elements emanating from the land of Pakistan and the Pakistan government should take action against it.”

Lashkar-e-Ta’iba (LeT)/Ja’amat-ud-Dawa(JuD) chiefs have been in Pak’s custody and are alleged to have masterminded 26/11, but has held off on extradition. Top LeT commander, Zahar Shah, captured in a Kashmir raid earlier this month has confessed to the Mumbai attacks:

Pakistani security officials said Shah made the confession while under interrogation.

Shah told interrogators that he was one of the main planners of the assault and that he had spoken to the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused.

The admission, the officials said, was backed up by intercepts of a phone call between Shah and one of the attackers at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the site of a 60-hour confrontation with Indian security forces.

The report came as the US was mounting pressure on Islamabad to extradite the alleged mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks, Zaki Al Rahman Lakhvi, to India.

“The Americans are believed to have given Pakistan a taped conversation Lakhvi allegedly had with the gunmen involved in the attacks,” the Dawn newspaper said, quoting diplomatic sources.

Lakhvi and Shah were picked up during a crackdown, which followed a UN ban on the Jamat-ud Daawa – a front group for the LeT – in the aftermath of attacks on Indian financial hub.

The confession adds further pressure for Pak to extradite and not feed India more ammunition for its Newspeak — most notably the BJP’s allegations of Pak being a TerrorState.

Urdu Daily has made the, thusfar, unsubstantiated claim that Mossad, CIA, and the BJP were behind 26/11. The AP has reported of rogue police agents within India. Pak Alert Press has followed the conspiracy claim, as has PrisonPlanet.com. Sayyid and I don’t subscribe to these claims, but will follow them as they make their claims, as India’s central intel agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), is fixated against ISI.

We are firm in the involvement of Pak’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 26/11, but emphasize that ISI is a rogue agency, acting without the authorization of Pak’s civlian PPP government. I’ve reported my research of ISI here and will continue to battle Newspeak in differentiating ISI from Pak’s civilian government.

We stand firm in our condemnation of ISI as the only government organization that should be held accountable for their role in 26/11via their support of Paki terror groups. We’ll continue our support for dismantling the agency and I’ve made a loose, informal suggestion on how to do so:

And you really can’t ask for too much help from outside of your own house to clean it of it of an intelligence agency because you’re vulnerable to your helpers installing an intelligence agency more loyal to the helpers than the State they’re supposed to serve. This wouldn’t be direct, but say China helped the Pak rid itself of ISI. You can be for damned sure that China would only do so with the agreement of heavily increased intelligence sharing and a silent veto power over the agency’s hierarchy. It’s just the cynical nature of the game.

If the Paki people want to take ISI’s threat to them seriously, as they’ve overwhelmingly shown in their elections of two dovish, populist, socialists as president and PM, they’ll continue to do so in Parliament and lobby strong for social liberties in terms of self-defense, domestic surveillance, and decentralized power under those basic rights. The people aren’t bad, but they’ve become accustomed to a certain way of life under a dictator and it’s difficult to overcome the cultural influences of political organizations in Iran, the Taleban, and the Palestinian factions that veer toward Sharia Law.

That said, Pakistan is a relatively liberal people, who favor socialist economic policies, but at something closer to a consensus than the relatively laissez-faire West. If they can exploit the geopolitics to progress economically, their faith in those desires will strengthen, but the civilians will have to be committed to putting restrictions on their intelligence agencies — not succumbing to fear when ISI allows a domestic attack for the sole reason of strengthening itself as an authoritative institution. It’s the only way I can see dismantling it.

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