Saturday, May 28, 2005

PAKISTAN: Can the General be trusted

Those who tend to favour President Musharraf forget, quite conveniently and fatally, that he is the Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army which has been targeting India for the past more than half a century, has engaged in four bloody conflicts with India and continues to anchor its strategic doctrine and martial tradition and training to counter and neutralize India’s strategic superiority in the region. Despite the uncharacteristically long phase of truce between the two nuclear-power warring neighbours, there are no visible changes in the mindset or attitude of the Generals who run the General Headquarters at Rawalpindi. No one, even the staunchest supporter of the cricket and bus diplomacy, can vouch that the Pakistan Army is today friendlier towards India than ever before. Hence, perhaps, this new theory being floated that rulers on either side of the borders will have no choice but respect the bourgeoning popular opinion for friendship and peace. The argument sounds almost too good for comfort. The flaw is that in Pakistan, unlike in India, there is no popular opinion.

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