August 20, 2009

The Fashion of Confession

Divya Kumar Soti

American diplomats at one time pioneered the concept of “Politically Correct Polite Words”, famously abbreviated as PCPWs in diplomatic slang. Now Pak politicians and Generals have invented what may be loosely termed as “Politically Correct Impolite words”. These days Islamabad is open to candid confessions about more than friendly relations with Taliban. Pak Army spokesperson Maj Gen Abbas reportedly told CNN that Pak Army is in touch with Taliban leaders like Mullah Mohammed Omar, Haqqani and Hikmatiyar among others. He went futher and said that Islamabad is ready to arrange a peace deal between Taliban and Kabul, if Washington addresses Pakistani concerns vis-à-vis India. It is another thing that Gen Abbas soon retracted from his verbal bravery-a usual thing in politics these days. Since everybody involved in stabilizing Afghanistan knows that ISI is playing host to Mullah Omar and Quetta Shura and Haqqani network is now ISI’s chosen tool in Afghanistan, the questions arise with regard to motive of Gen Abbas.

If one looks at the statements coming out of Islamabad over the last few months, picture will become clear. First of all Prez Zardari started to say that Taliban is a greater danger for Pakistan than India. Then he went further and told a gathering of bureaucrats that Pakistani politicians and army created ‘terrorists’ to achieve ‘short term tactical goals’. It may very well be expected that Mr.Zardari will say in coming days as and when he becomes more frank that terrorists were created to achieve ong term strategic objectives. Or he may have already meant that because politicians often get confused about the difference between strategy and tactic! By the way, I, hereby, clarify that this is not a joke on Prez Zardari!

These melodious statements are aimed at giving a boost Pak’s goodwill index which has been witnessing a phenomenal Bear market during trading in major world capitals.

It is interesting to note that former Pak NSA Mahmud Durrani had to loose his job when he acknowledged that 26/11 killer Ajmal Kasab is a Pak citizen. So theme goes like this: if you admit about Pak role in terror outrage on Indian soil, it amounts to political heresy but if you confess about Pakistani role in Afghan turmoil, you are just being frank about your dirty naughty adventures.

However, PM Gilani after arriving back from Sharm-al-Sheikh again criticized Zardari’s statement that extremism is a greter threat than India. Around the same time, a leading Pak think tank released a report saying that it is futile to militarily compete with India and it is a self-defeating biz. But Generals in Rwalapindi having confidence that their knowledge is supreme are unlikely to give ear to what they would probably term as ‘academic red herring’.

If one needs any proof of this here is what Gen Musharraf recently told an interviewer in London. He claimed that nothing can go wrong with Pakistan so long as Army and ISI are there. It is another thing that factually it is quite opposite as every wrong things has been happening it Pakistan while being guided by Army.

Anyway, Gen Musharraf has his own set of confessions about the sponsorship of terrorism by Pak military-intelligence establishment. He told he interviewer that there are some ‘individuals’ in establishment who support such organizations. Now, that is a tortuous one. But, at least for the first time there is an admission that there are rogue elements in military-intelligence establishment. Now, since LeT is able to function smoothly and has developed into a phenomenon in Punjab, it suggest that support of such rogue elements is very potent. Let us hope Gen Musharraf will throw light on these things in his future lectures.

So motives differ from one case to another. In some cases confessions are made to convince international community about pious intentions of Islamabad as few are ready to be swindled again. In other cases, to send signals publicly out of excitement about some opportunity as is the case with Gen Abbas’ statement as it precisely amounts to an open offer to stabilize Afghanistan in consideration of restoring strategic depth to Pakistan.

(The writer is an intelligence and strategic affairs analyst and may be reached at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is no brainer that the US-Pak nexus is a potent force that India will have to contend with in the foreseeable future.

As long as the Americans are willing to keep Pakistan afloat with generous economic and military aid, there will be no change in the India specific modus-operandi of the Pak Army and the ISI.

So in that sense India is fighting the Americans in Pakistan, while talking business and friendship.