are fighting the war against terrorism with your eyes
half-closed. You are afraid of opening your eyes fully,
lest you start seeing Musharraf for what he really is--the fomenter,
the instigator and the sponsor of terrorism in the name of
freedom-struggle. Unless and until you open your eyes
fully, you will go nowhere in your war against terrorism."|
me, the fundamentalist deluge in Pakistan."
is the fear Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator of
Pakistan, has successfully planted in the minds of many
policy-makers and moulders of public opinion in the USA, by skillfully
projecting before them carefully cultivated images of himself as an
anti-terrorist warrior, who has taken upon himself, at
tremendous risk to himself and his political future, a courageous
fight against religious extremism and international terrorism and by
waving before them the spectre of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)-wielding
terrorists assuming control of Pakistan were he to be thwarted in
his efforts to continue in power by hook or by crook and were he to
be pressurized to totally give up his use of terrorism as a weapon
to achieve Pakistan's strategic objective of annexing Jammu &
That is the
over-all impression in my mind after a short visit to the US last
week (first week of June), the second since February, 2002.
I was reminded of
another military dictator who held American political and public
opinion to ransom for years by creating in them the fear of
"after me, the Communist deluge". His name was Gen.
Pinochet. Apprehending a Communist take-over were he to be
discarded, the USA blindly supported his massacre of democracy in
the name of saving democracy from Communism.
could discern an anxiety to support Musharraf right or wrong, lest
undue pressure on him weaken his perceived (in US eyes) contribution
to the war against terrorism being waged by the international
coalition led by the US. The creator and the creation of WMD-threatening
terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan continues to be supported in
the name of thereby saving the civilized world from religious
The man, who
contributed enthusiastically to the creation of Pakistan's WMD-threatening
Army of Islam in the 1980s under the pretext of saving the
Islamic world from Communism, is now being supported in the hope
that he is the only Pakistani who can help the USA in getting rid of
this pernicious Army, which has taken its jehad right into the USA
and has started dreaming of the day when it could replicate Bosnia
in the USA by successfully waging a jehad for the creation of a
"Muslim homeland" in the USA through the surrogates of
American Muslims recruited and trained in the terrorist camps of
Pakistan in increasing numbers.
support to Musharraf, though still as strong as in February,
2002, is no longer as blind as it was then. During my
discussions with my interlocutors in February, I had said: "You
are fighting the war against terrorism with your eyes half-closed.
You are afraid of opening your eyes fully, lest you start seeing
Musharraf for what he really is--the fomenter, the instigator and
the sponsor of terrorism in the name of freedom-struggle.
Unless and until you open your eyes fully, you will go nowhere in
your war against terrorism."
It was gratifying
to see the eyes opening, but not yet fully and not as rapidly as
they should. There is now a greater convergence of views
between India and the USA on the real dimensions of the
military-sponsored terrorism radiating from the hub of Pakistan.
Before February, 2002, India's arguments that what one is witnessing
in Jammu & Kashmir is no longer Kashmiri militancy, but pure and
simple Pakistani Punjabi terrorism in the name and under the guise
of the Kashmiris fell on deaf ears.
Now, the ears are
no longer as deaf as they were before. One is
heard---patiently, attentively and with much greater understanding
than before February. One could sense a realization,
still hesitant, that Jammu & Kashmir is the victim and not the
cause of terrorism of the most brutal kind infecting the world from
One is gratified
by a willingness--- not yet whole-hearted--- to admit in tête-à-tête
discussions that the war against terrorism cannot be decisively won
unless and until the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani
territory--whether directed against India, the USA, Israel or the
rest of the world-- is destroyed truly and permanently and not in a
make-believe manner as Musharraf did after his televised address of
January 12, 2002.
however, this greater openness and receptivity to India's case has
not yet led to a realization that in its charge against terrorism,
the USA is riding the wrong horse. Despite all his
deformities, Musharraf is still the best horse available. That
continues to be the prevailing wisdom in the USA.
How to end
permanently the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan by working
through Musharraf and not by discarding him? That is the question
often posed, whomsoever one met. The alternative to Musharraf
can or will be worse. That is the fear still influencing opinion and
decision-making in the US. Despite his post-January 12
perfidy, there is still a readiness to see him as a
genuinely-reformed man who wants to put an end to terrorism in
It is pointed out
that Pakistan is not Afghanistan and that what the US did in
Afghanistan, it cannot in Pakistan. One has to find a
different way of dealing with the problem, it is said.
there will be no end to terrorism without an end to the pernicious
role of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), that no military
dictator will voluntarily defang the ISI, that only a
genuinely-elected political leadership, free from the stranglehold
of the military-intelligence establishment and fully backed by the
US and the rest of the democratic world, can be expected to rid
Pakistan of this evil etc are heard, but not yet accepted.
The argument that
if Pakistan has to be decontaminated of the virus of terrorism, the
Army has to go back to the barracks and Musharraf sent on his long
overdue superannuation does not have many takers. Statistics to show
that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism goes up when the military is in
power, that all the seven hijackings against India were carried out
by Pakistan-sheltered terrorists when the Army was in power and that
democratically-elected political leaderships have co-operated more
genuinely with the rest of the world in dealing with terrorism and
narcotics smuggling than military leaderships are noted, but without
any discernible impact on the minds of many interlocutors.
India should keep up its efforts to make the USA see the reality
that is Pakistan and that is Musharraf. The brutal
murder of Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, the grenade attack in an
Islamabad church, the murder of 11 French experts and the latest
explosion outside the US Consulate in Karachi have caused the
incipient signs of an unease in the USA over Pakistan and Musharraf.
At the same time,
there is still considerable reluctance to come to terms with
reality. To make that happen should continue to be the
principal objective of Indian diplomacy.
(The writer is
Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India,
and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai).