I am glad that the Indians called off the Secretary level meetings last week following “unacceptable” behaviour by the High Commissioner of Pakistan to India. But, there is something that I find rather unsettling that the same day that the meeting was called off, the High Commissioner of Pakistan to India hosted a dinner at a 5 Star Hotel in Delhi and guess who attended? What is going on?
In the meanwhile here is a book review in the Hindu that concludes with “Shah’s painstaking research confirms long-held suspicions on this side of the border: that there can be no meaningful peace initiative between the two countries without the blessings of the Pakistan military; that to protect its special status and corporate interests, the military may not be inclined to endorse such initiatives; and, in the event that it did acquiesce in peace with India, it would strive to preserve undiminished its institutional influence.” The review by Govindan Nair is worth studying carefully. The book itself should be worth reading and I intend getting it once it hits Indian book shops.
I had found the eariler book Miliary Inc, Inside Pakistan’s Military economy by Ayesha Siddiqua quite fascinating and her conclusion is that Pakistan is a state run by its army. Siddiqa shows how the power of the military has transformed Pakistani society, where the armed forces have become an independent class. The military is entrenched in the corporate sector. So Pakistan’s companies and its main assets are in the hands of a tiny minority of senior army officials. Siddiqa examines this military economy and the consequences of merging the military and corporate sectors. Does democracy have a future? Will the generals ever withdraw to the barracks? The latest standoff between the two countries is most certainly something engineered by the Pakistani army which has a vested interest in keeping the India bogey alive.
Yesterday’s TOI had two items that will be of interest to like-minded Indians who think that the Kashmir problem can be solved with modern marketing tools, if the establishment in India wants to. There are too many vested interests making too much money in keeping the pot boiling for that to happen. Sad. The first one is an editorial on the strategy of BJP for the forthcoming polls in J & K and the other is an interview with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
I get the feeling that things are happening behind scenes and some interesting developments can take place in the near future in Kashmir and also in the Indo Pak relationship areas.