Tavleen Singh, The Indian Express
July 19, 2009
India will not talk to Pakistan as long as its government continues to
nurture and shield those who attack India. Why is it so hard for us to
say this? Why is it so hard for us to tell the visiting American
Secretary of State that it is not possible to speak to people who talk
about fighting against Islamist terrorism but openly support an Islamist
reptile like Hafiz Mohammed Sayeed. Pakistan’s war against its jihadis
is mercenary and fraudulent. It is being fought to get that $1.5 billion
that the American government has promised to give it and for no other
Nothing makes this clearer than the release of the repulsive Sayeed the
day before our Prime Minister was due to meet the Prime Minister of
Pakistan in Egypt last week. It should have been at this point that Dr
Manmohan Singh announced his inability to have even two minutes of
conversation with Mr Yousaf Raza Geelani but he chose not to. He sat
meekly through a long meeting with the Pakistani Prime Minister and then
acquiesced to a joint statement that implied that India was supporting
terrorism in Balochistan.
Ever since the attack on Mumbai I have been hearing from Pakistani
friends a half-hearted justification for Mumbai on the grounds that ‘you
also are doing things in Balochistan’. Whenever I have heard this, I
have pointed out that if India had the ability to get up to some serious
subversive activity in Pakistan, we would be decimating Islamists, not
promoting their activities. Any fool should be able to see that it is in
India’s interests for the Pakistani state (such as it is) to remain in
control of its nuclear weapons and not let them slip into the hands of
bearded fanatics bred on a hatred of ‘Hindu India’.
We would help the Pakistan government fight the Islamists if we could be
sure that the fight was sincere. It cannot be if the Pakistani
government finds it so hard to keep the founder of the Lashkar-e-Toiba
in jail. The Lashkar was created with the sole purpose of promoting
jihadi terrorism. That makes it a terrorist organisation and it makes
its founder a terrorist. What more proof is needed to arrest Sayeed?
This is what I would like to have heard our Prime Minister say after the
meeting in Sharm-ul-Sheikh. Instead he came up with that puzzling
distinction between talking and dialogue. There will be talks between
India and Pakistan but no dialogue. So will we be talking to the walls?
Our problem with Pakistan is no longer Kashmir. That movement for
‘azaadi’ was subsumed long years ago by the worldwide jihad and nothing
proved this more definitely than the attack on Mumbai. This is why that
attack remains so important. There have been other terrorist attacks on
Indian soil but what happened in Mumbai was not just another Islamist
terrorist attack, it was an act of war. There is evidence that the men
who were guiding Kasab and his pals were based in Pakistan and there is
evidence that some of them were serving officers in the Pakistani Army.
Nobody who has heard the chilling conversations between the terrorists
and their Pakistani masters can forget the cold-blooded evil of every
instruction. Now stand them up and shoot them in the back of their
heads. Kill as many people as you can.
The men who gave these instructions are still alive and free in Pakistan
and there is no indication that the Pakistani government is doing
anything to bring them to justice.
If we go ahead with ‘talks’, then this is the only thing we need to talk
to Pakistan about. Where are these men? Who are they? Is it not true
that the attack was planned and executed by the Lashkar-e-Toiba? Is this
ghastly organisation being protected only because it is a division of
the Pakistani Army?
Unless we get some answers, there is not the faintest possibility of the
peace process moving forwards. We cannot talk about Kashmir because
there is no point in talking about it when the attack on Mumbai makes it
so abundantly obvious that the objective of the jihad is not to win
Kashmir but to destroy India. While Pakistan has remained stuck in an
Islamic time warp, India has moved on and embraced modernity and the
changing realities of a rapidly changing world. We have our problems but
they are 21st century problems not problems mired in 7th century Arabia.
It is this changed India that Pakistan cannot deal with and this is why
the jihad, this is why the attack on Mumbai and this is why there is no
point in talking to Pakistan until it provides us with some evidence
that it too wants to change.