Frayed Fabric of South Asia-US Geopolitics
Dr. Chithra Karunakaran
A “Secret India-Pakistan Diplomatic Drive” ?
The following news story appears to have been faked all the way up and down.
The Times, London broke the story April 23. It was written by reporters Francis Elliot and Tom Coghlan and headlined:
“Restart of Cricket Relations Leads to Secret India-Pakistan Diplomatic Drive”
The Times story does not lay bare its sources. Nor does it state whether the “secret diplomatic drive” actually took place with a face-to- face between the respective leaders of India and Pakistan. So how did the two Times reporters gain access to the “secret diplomatic drive.”? Is the Times, London trying to pull a WikiLeaks?
Is this just half-baked reporting or something more?
India and Pakistan govt. officials are each claiming the “secret diplomatic drive” never happened.
Pakistan’s pretentiously-named vehicle of disinformation, its Inter-Services Public Relations Directorate (ISPR, same entity as ISI) denied the news item which appeared in The Times of London and called it “unfounded and totally baseless”. In New Delhi, a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) yesterday termed as ‘false’ the report that Singh had contacted Kayani before the Mohali meeting between prime ministers of the two countries, for the India-Pak 2011 World Cup semi.
In other words, the news report was trumped up, fabricated, faked, has no substance, never happened, nunca, nyet, nada, kabhi nahin.
So, the story was faked (or not)? The question is Why? Why was it faked, that is, if it was?
Look, this is not about building a conspiracy theory. Far from it. I’m trying my hand at what I am calling Development Journalism. A trial-and-error attempt to view geopolitics from a development perspective, not a superpower perspective, a G-3 perspective, to view it through the lens of the ordinary people, Aam Log, Indians, Pakistanis, Afghans in the South Asia region.
The Times story immediately gained weight and credibility. Did any Indian newspaper call up The Times reporters and ask them how and where they got their scoop? And why no sources are cited? The Times of India should have. Dawn should have. They did not.
Indian and Pak newspapers and TV news ran with the story, largely because it’s really about the hopes and despair of PEOPLE, repeat PEOPLE, Aam Janata in India and Pakistan, hoping for some good news, stability, some positive momentum after the ALL South Asia World Cup Cricket 2011 Final in which India beat a great, sporting Sri Lanka side, after earlier showing the door to a fumbling Pakistani team in the semi at Mohali, which the two Prime Ministers attended.
So let’s take it apart, this fake (or not) story because it contains some kernels of credibility and hope for drone-weary, terror-wary Aam Aadmi.
The news report [see full text below], in The Times, London states:
“Singh appointed an unofficial envoy to make contact with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s chief of the Army Staff who exercises de facto control over foreign policy”
“De facto control”? Really? Not so much.
The US controls Pak’s foreign policy, which is shaped by the CIA acting in its own interest against various factions of the ISI.
The LeT is therefore funded both directly and indirectly by the USCIA.
The USCIA will not name the LeT and Hafiz Saeed because they are valuable to CIA. George Headley yes, Hafeez no.
The LeT is part of the Pak US-dependent-client-state apparatus.
The CIA dictates the US Govt’s Foreign Policy, not the other way around.
[Most recent example, CIA operatives are and have long been in Libya]
That is the rocky, muddy, treacherous terrain of South Asia-US geopolitics that Manmohan Singh, born in Pakistan ( irony unlimited) has to negotiate. The tragedy of Partition, as ethical mishap, becomes more real every day. In 1947, Pakistan launched itself on an unethical trajectory from which there is little hope of return.
Unethical means leads to unethical ends. Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, Pakistan. Unfortunately India is in the crosshairs of the US-Pak nexus.
Afghanistan is clearly central to the geopolitics and The Times article points this out, reporting Kayani visiting Karzai’s High Peace Council, set up ostensibly to negotiate with the disparate Taliban factions.
Amazingly, the Times article fails to mention Kashmir. The ISPR cant be too happy with that.
But both Shuja and Kayani must be gratified that The Times has mentioned India’s role in Baluchistan. For that major mis-step we have to thank our former Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon for falling asleep at the switch.
The Times also notes that PakISI is “pressing” the USCIA to act against the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan. Let’s look closely at that tidbit.
Q. Can any logical rational analyst miss the point that Pak, the dependent-client state of the US both protests drone activity and in the same breath asks for more droning! More droning against its own people. Not to mention extracting more CIA blood-money in PakISI almost laughable-if-it-were-not-so-sad “war on terror” ! That’s what happens when you become a dependent-client-state of a superpower, even one in economic decline.
Also note The Times reporters angle the story towards UK and US dominant-state interests in the region. The article states
“Delhi remained silent…providing the latest evidence of rapprochement being driven by the US.” and again:
“The talks, through a back channel, have encouraged London and Washington to believe that the countries’ competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process.” That’s dominant-state talk.
Admirably, the Times story manages to get in a lot of issues ‘The settling of a disputed border at Sir Creek in the south, and the demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier in the north, are also being used to create an impression of diplomatic momentum.”
Further, The Times of London article states Manmohan sent “an unofficial envoy” to talk to Ashfaq Kayani and Shuja Pasha.
Kayani (b. 1952, same year as ISI head honcho Shuja Pasha) was commissioned, age 19, a highly impressionable age, in the year (1971) that the Pakistan Army was driven out of East Bengal under the leadership of Libertador Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman (BangaBandhu) and East Bengal became the sovereign nation-state of Bangladesh.
I lived in Kolkata (then Calcutta) and saw the raped and pregnant women, the living dead, but still survivors, enter the streets as brutalized refugees, war victims, from Dacca (now Dhaka).
Q.Will Kayani or Pasha, ever forget that humiliating defeat and lost territory? No, not so fast, even 40 years later.
India will have to wait for bitter Kayani’s and bitter Pasha’s successors, born in a later generation, to see significant progress.
This is why Pakistan will keep clamoring for Kashmir because of the psychological and political scars of a forever lost East Bengal in the psychological geopolitical mindset of Kayani and Pasha.
And look at poor Pak now. Pakistan now shrinks by the minute, its territory overrun by USCIA/NATO and its people droned from the air by the USCIA. The Raymond Davies CIA agent, who was set free by the PakISI, is only the latest predictable twiststory in PakISI/USCIA geopolitics.
See how complex and challenging India’s shared history with Pakistan is? Development Journalists, let us consider.
So long as the territory of Pakistan, not just the Af-Pak border, is owned by the USCIA, India will continue to need to take ***baby steps*** towards dialogue, always watching our back and looking over our shoulder.
No problem, India can keep doing that, we have become adept at watching the US operating in our region in collusion and against both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
US strategic operations to turn Pakistan into a dependent-client-state goes back to the early 1950′s, just about the time Kayani and Pasha were born! The two know nothing else except growing up and serving their Army and covert intelligence in US-dependent-client Pakistan.
Pity Aam Log of Pakistan, our blood sisters and brothers, who are suffering, and are in propagandist/hate denial for the crimes committed against them by:
1) their own government
2) in collusion with the USCIA
Full text of The Times, London April 23, 2011 news report recovered from LexisNexis, academic database, City University of New York:
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 42
LENGTH: 440 words
The Prime Minister of India has opened secret talks with the head of Pakistan’s military to build on the cricket-inspired diplomatic thaw between the rivals.
appointed an unofficial envoy to make contact with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of the Army Staff who exercises de facto control over foreign policy, about ten months ago, The Times has learnt.
The talks, through a back channel, have encouraged London and Washington to believe that the countries’ competition for influence in Afghanistan could be better managed during efforts to start a peace process.
General Kayani visited Kabul this week to meet members of the High Peace Council, a body set up by President Karzai, to build contacts with Taleban groups. General Kayani was accompanied by General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
Delhi, which in the past would have condemned the visit as Pakistani “meddling”, remained silent – providing the latest evidence of rapprochement being driven by the US, after the Cricket World Cup semi-final between the two nations.
Cricketing ties, severed in the wake of the Mumbai attacks in November 2008, have been restored and a series of three one-day games will take place to coincide with a visit to Islamabad by Mr Singh.
The settling of a disputed border at Sir Creek in the south, and the demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier in the north, are also being used to create an impression of diplomatic momentum.
Genuine progress, however, requires the co-operation of Pakistan’s military, which India has long accused of fostering militant groups to fight a proxy war in Kashmir. For its part, Pakistan accuses India of promoting separatists in the province of Baluchistan and seeking undue influence in Afghanistan as a counterbalance to its neighbour. It questions the need for India to maintain four consulates in Afghanistan, two of them close to its borders in Kandahar and Jalalabad.
Pakistan insists that it must insure against a possible collapse of Afghanistan into civil war, by retaining proxies within the country. It is pressing the US to open talks with figures from the Haqqani network in North Waziristan, as it seeks to influence the future Afghan government.
Despite US pressure and Mr Singh’s commitment there remain other substantial obstacles to a lasting thaw. Access for Indian investigators to the suspected conspirators behind the Mumbai attacks, who are detained in Pakistan, remains a sticking point.
Although it will allow the investigators to travel, Islamabad said that they may interview only the interrogators, not the suspects.
Dr. Chithra Karunakaran
City University of New York [CUNY]
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
- ‘PM Manmohan Singh opened secret talks with Kayani 10 months ago’ – Times of India (news.google.com)
- Why Pasha-Panetta talks failed (rupeenews.com)
- Manmohan using ‘unofficial envoy’ to contact Kayani – The Hindu (news.google.com)