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June 5, 2001

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Arvind Lavakare

Tackle Mr Hyde, not Mush Musharraf

More than a month before he sets foot on our soil, our press has begun to put out those soft, human-interest stories about him. News of General Musharraf's acceptance of Vajpayee's invitation was, for instance, accompanied by a front-page box item about how keen Musharraf is to see his old home in Delhi where he was born and spent his first ten years or so. Not content with this bit of nostalgia, The Times of India carried, on an inside page, a five-column present-and-past piece on the general's home, complete with a photo of that haveli in Daryaganj. The oozing, sugary warmth of the Indian welcome has truly commenced.

Simultaneously, a popular English weekly told us "Kashmiri leaders feel that Musharraf is a decent and reasonable man."

We are sure to get more of this mush Musharraf in days to come. We will be reminded of how the Pak general is a family man replete with a pet dog in tow. It will be recalled how, poor chap, his golf handicap had increased because of the strain of managing the jehadis and other affairs of state. His "yearning" for peace will be linked with to his oft-expressed willingness for talks with India "any time, any place, any level". His humility will be linked to his statement that he regards Vajpayee as the elder statesman whom he is willing to salute a second time. "Wah wah, what a fine man" it will be reiterated by those senior journalists and Track II operators who have enjoyed his hospitality in Muzzafarabad or Islamabad and been charmed by his exterior.

All this will not be for the first time in history that we mindless Indians will have exposed our lack of homework in assessing men and matters. For, make no mistake, the Dr Jekyl that many in our media have tended to paint is a Mr Hyde we have never bothered to look for beyond his Kargil caper.

Below is General Pervez Hyde's mini-profile stitched up from the painstaking research of B Raman, retired additional secretary, government of India, who runs the South Asia Analysis Group and who is director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.

1. He was twice punished in the Pak Army for indiscipline and insubordination
2. He is the creator and the creation of Pak's jehadi organisations and the Taleban
3. He is also the benefactor and beneficiary of Osama Bin Laden who, after being nurtured, was used in 1988 to ruthlessly suppress the Shias of Gilgit in Pak Occupied Kashmir
4. Facets 2 and 3 above emerge because he, Lt Gen Mohammed Aziz (now one of the two corps commanders in Lahore) and Maj Gen (retd) Mahmud Ali Durrani (former ISI station chief in Washington and currently a confidante of Musharraf) constituted the blue-eyed triumvirate of Gen Zia-ul-Haq that created the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Tayiba et al and had them as well as Bin Laden trained by the Special Services Group for Pakistan's Afghan operations (in conjunction with CIA) against the Soviet Union.
5. Musharraf has always looked upon his Afghan operations as the major success story of his career insofar as he believes that the terrorist outfits he helped create led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. He therefore believes that those terrorist organisations would make a similar success story of Pak's proxy war against India.
6. If, as believed by those with first-hand experience, all political leaders in Pakistan are past masters in the art of dissimulation -- they who hug you, shower you with warmth and affection, before proceeding to stab you in the back -- "Musharraf is twice as wily as the rest of them."
7. He is adept at PR, shrewd in exploiting the written word to his advantage. Thus, he made millions of copies of an article in the Indian weekly Outlook and had it circulated around the world. Why? Because in that article published some time after the declaration of the 'cease-fire' by Vajpayee, the writer, Anita Pratap, had argued that if there was no let-up in the attacks against the Indian armed forces despite our army chief's admission that infiltration across the borders had come down, it only proved Musharraf's contention that there are no Pakistanis and mercenaries in Kashmir, but only indigenous "freedom fighters".

It is the above General Musharraf that Prime Minister Vajpayee will have to tackle after he's done with all his Islamic salutations to honour his guest. Vajpayee will be mistaken in believing that all the Ghalib and Iqbal quotes he renders will win over "the butcher of Kargil" to yield even a micro-milimeter on his demand for the whole of the Kashmir Valley on the basis of the oft-repeated basis of "the wishes of the people".

In the first place, there was no need at all for Vajpayee to have taken his bold "initiative" and made his grandstanding "gesture" of inviting Pak for talks. However, having done that, there is no need whatsoever for him to indulge himself further in his idealistic hopes of sharing peace and prosperity with Pakistan. Instead, he should forthwith do three things that must be transformed into slide presentations for Musharraf to digest before he goes off to Daryaganj or the Taj or wherever during his sojourn in our country's capital.

Firstly, vis--vis India's complaint to the UN Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter regarding Pakistan's illegal invasion of J&K in October 1947, Vajpayee should instruct his external affairs ministry to confirm that

  • Pakistan did not withdraw its troops and tribesmen from J&K as mandated by the UN resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 as a pre-condition for the plebiscite then proposed
  • Pakistan has done nothing about the unconditional assurance it was required to give before January 31, 1950 -- as per the UN Security Council president's proposal pursuant to the Council's meeting of December 22, 1949 -- that "under no circumstances will tribesmen be able to unlawfully enter into the state of Jammu and Kashmir from or through the territory of Pakistan"
  • None of the 13 UN resolutions and two statements of the UN Security Council president -- all recorded from January 17, 1948 to May 18, 1964 -- referred our complaint on the J&K "situation" in terms of "disputed territory" as is being alleged by Abdul Sattar, Pak's foreign minister, and some Hurriyat as well as other haughty leaders, who, nevertheless, have made such a fetish of the UN resolutions.

The second exercise Vajpayee must do is to meet with Dr A S Anand, author of the book titled The Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir -- Its Development & Comments (Universal Law Publishing Co, Delhi) that is currently in its third, 1998, edition, but that has, sadly, been ignored in debates on J&K. Vajpayee must fully understand from him, our present Chief Justice, as to why the J&K Constitution, 1957, is an internationally valid legal document, why it represents the will of the people of J&K, and why its provision (Section 3) proclaiming that "The State of Jammu and Kashmir State is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India" is irrevocable in view of that Constitution's Section 147 prohibiting amendment of section 3.

Thirdly, Vajpayee should meet with B Raman and understand from him the statistics showing that
1. Between 1995 and 1999, terrorists killed four times as many persons in J&K as in the rest of the world and
2. Between 1996 and 1999, the arms and ammunition recovered from terrorists in J&K would have been sufficient to equip at least one conventional army division and that, therefore, it can be presumed that the unrecovered stock must be enough for a second conventional army division.

Indeed, if Vajpayee can spend half the time with Raman as he spends at every Iftar party, he will grasp how India is up against two armies in Pakistan -- the regular one and the Islam one that Musharraf refuses to rein in -- and how every government servant in Pakistan is, after their country's humiliation in 1971, emotionally committed to his national and patriotic duty of tearing apart J&K from the rest of India.

Then, maybe, Vajpayee will understand the critical urgency of evolving a truly pan-India policy that will shake us all up as never before and nurture in our blood a single-minded devotion to our national cause.

Yes, Vajpayee must realise that lifting a concilatory hand is an "initiative" all right, but the inability to do anything beyond that is apt to be labelled as incompetence, if not impotency.

Arvind Lavakare

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