BHARAT RAKSHAK MONITOR - Volume 5(2) September-October 2002

Features.jpg (4975 bytes)


The Monkey Trap: A synopsis of Indo-Pak relations

 J L Khayyam Coelho  


For nearly five decades, the Pakistani Army backed by the wealthy anglicized elite, has fought a savage war against it's people [1]. Only by understanding the nature of this conflict, will it be possible to grasp the dynamics of the Indo-Pakistan conflict in general and the Kashmir dispute in particular.

The roots of this conflict are not, as is commonly assumed, due to the partition of the subcontinent. Instead, they are a consequence of the capture of Pakistan by a narrow segment of the population consisting of  the land owning feudal class, in alliance with the bureaucracy, military and what passes for the techno-industrial elite of Pakistan.

Despite an unbroken history of almost continuous failure, the most spectacular of which was the 1971 [2] , [12] cataclysm when over 90,000 Pakistani Army personnel surrendered to the Indian Army, dismembered Pakistan and created Bangladesh, this elite has successfully managed to prevent all attempts at reform that may challenge their suzerainty over the Pakistani state. Buttressed by a desultory appeal to Islamic fundamentalism introduced by General Zia ul Haq to cement his dictatorship, the ruling Pakistani elite has long used India and the Kashmir issue to defeat all attempts to break their stranglehold on power.

This article explores the Kashmir dispute within the above-mentioned framework in three parts. The first section details the characteristics of the Pakistani state that is relevant to this article and the challenge it poses to India. The second section details the current end result of the Indian response to the challenge by the Pakistani anglicized elite in their increasingly desperate efforts to maintain their traditional dominance by externalizing the failures within Pakistan to India and specifically Kashmir. The last section discusses the implications of the post 9-11 scenario on the Kashmir dispute.

A remark on the references: It should be noted that the references in this article are primarily Pakistani. The references are sourced almost entirely from the writings of the Pakistani elite class from the English language press in Pakistan. This press represents the Pakistani elite, and not the middle or lower sections of Pakistani society,which can be gauged from the fact that; not only is English the language of politics, the military, the higher courts, etc., but as Jahangir Tareen, writing in The Nation points out: 

This and other English newspapers are read by perhaps 25,000 people in Lahore, 15,000 in Islamabad and a max of 50,000 in Karachi. That is it. Yet, these few are also the high and mighty, the chosen few, the Elite of our country who make, break, crystallize and certainly influence public policy  [23] .

The articles have been chosen essentially to allow this class to speak for itself; they represent therefore, the English speaking Pakistani elite "at home".

The Challenge: The Ruling Anglophone Pakistani Elite

Pakistani commentators and historians have often remarked that the elites that grabbed control in Pakistan after partition were precisely those who had been most comfortable with British colonial power. As the former military officer and historian A H Amin has written; Men who had collaborated with the British before 1947 became Pakistan's rulers within seven years of Independence [3].  In order to show their loyalty to the new dispensation, this class soon realized the value of becoming "more loyal than the king" and buttressed their power by carefully crafting and nurturing an official ideology [19] , [32] , [33] , [34] .

Referred to as the "Nazria-e-Pakistan", or the "Ideology of Pakistan", it essentially involves the elites that control the state imposing on the population a potent mix of a vitiated Islamic theology, coupled to a mythological idealization of Pakistan as the home of "martial races", and a vicious anti-Indian racism that is used as the primary reason for the paramountcy of the elite and the Army [35] , [36] , [37] . The racist component of this ideology, has been modernized enough to include a quite virulent strain of government sponsored anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism [38] , [39] .

The genesis of the elite lies in the astonishingly small administrative class that took over Pakistan after partition. As the former World Bank executive Shahid Javed Burki has pointed out, after partition, the Pakistan Administrative Service, now called the Civil Service of Pakistan, was formed by just 81 members of the old British Indian Civil Service [11]. This handful of bureaucrats, in conjunction with the Army generals, the famous "22-families" that owned the wealth of Pakistan and a few politicians co-opted into this elite, formed the core of the oligarchy that continues to rule Pakistan today [17].

While Islam has always been, and still is secondary to the purpose of the elites that control the state, it remains the primary ideological tool to keep the masses obedient to the Army and feudal elite. Central to this ideology is Kashmir. The never ending war with India, fought for the last decade by the Pakistani's through their Jehadi terrorist proxies, motivates the anti-Indian stream of Pakistan's ideology and provides the army with the raison d'etre for their regular coups which enable them to maintain their strangle hold on Pakistan.

The official ideology encouraged by this oligarchy can be amazingly crude in it's application. As P. Hoodbhoy, the prominent Pakistani scientist,who refers to the Pakistani education systems Extreme intellectual poverty [as] our Issue Number One [22] , has demonstrated:

The currently enforced official curriculum, duly authorized by the Curriculum Wing of the Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan. According to this document, at the completion of Class-V, the child should be able to:

Acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan. [pg 154]

Know India's evil designs against Pakistan. [pg154]

Make speeches on Jehad and Shahadat [pg154]

Be safe from rumor mongers who spread false news [pg158] [19] .

Also, as the noted educator, Professor Tariq Rahman has put it:

The project of the state is that of the consolidation of the power of the ruling elite ... There have been many attempts at pointing out that our textbooks spread hatred and create jingoism. ... our textbooks cannot mention Hindus without calling them 'cunning', 'scheming', 'deceptive' or something equally insulting. ... If Indian textbooks had called Muslims evil all the time, would we not be justifiably outraged?

All wars with India are written about in a one-sided manner. Facts are twisted and hidden. For instance, the fact that armed fighters were sent across the Line of Control in 1965 and in Kargil in 1999 are glossed over. The students do not learn that our previous policies have been wrong. What they do learn is that we require very aggressive policies otherwise we would be annihilated by India without reason [42] .

Such text books create a national psychosis that soon becomes obsessed with a virulent anti-Indianism, a paranoid anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism, that makes them believe that India, Israel and the US are conspiring against them [18] . Essentially, the Pakistani elite took a page out of the Saudi handbook. They have successfully managed to divert the population's attention away from their mis-governance, corruption and incompetence as state managers, and externalized it to the "enemies" of Islam and Pakistan.

This is carefully reinforced through mass media such as television, as I A Rehman describes:

Pakistan's television reminds viewers of their enemy every day. ... The issue is placed in a wider historical context. India has resorted to carnage and pillage in Kashmir, it is argued, because it has not reconciled to the creation of Pakistan. Its Kashmir policy is therefore part of its plans to undo Pakistan.

Thus, Pakistan is confronting an entity whose hostility is not confined to the dispute over Kashmir, but one whose enmity to Pakistan is more deeply rooted. Since India's non-acceptance of the reality of Pakistan is on account of its repudiation of the theoretical foundations of Pakistan, it is an enemy in an ideological sense as well as in physical terms. Thus unless India agrees to give up Kashmir and offers proof that it has reconciled to Pakistan's existence as a free state, it will continue to be rated as a standing enemy.

...In its essays into history, India is identified as the party that was more hostile to the Pakistan demand than even the British. ... The Indians were said to have challenged the followers of Islam, hence they were primarily against our faith. ... It was not necessary to analyze the genesis of the conflict or the enemy's version of events or even the stakes in the conflict. This approach did not help in drawing a full image of the enemy. [40]

The husbandry of this anti-India identity occupies the central position in the conceptual space that defines Pakistan's identity. And at it's core lies the simplistic formulation;

Question: What is Pakistan? Answer: It is not India.

The centrality of this ideology stems from its crucial role in the elites hold on power. Consequently, attempts to improve Pakistan's economic potential draw a sharp response from this class. For example, in commenting on a proposal by Burki to link Pakistan closer to the Central Asian States [20] ; Shireen Mazari, the Director-General of the Pakistani government funded think tank, the Institute for Strategic Studies, Islamabad, says that it is an insidious design to edge Pakistan out of the South Asian framework ... [and] ... Once Pakistan, the only state that is able to challenge Indian hegemony in South Asia, is given a Central Asian identity, the way is cleared for India to move towards attaining its major regional and global player status. ... the intent behind this ... [and] ... the timing of this campaign ... is part of an overall campaign to redefine the geographic parameters of certain strategic players, ... [and] is strategically very convenient for countries like the US [21] .

Mazari's call for Pakistan to base it's policy on whatever will damage India rather than what will benefit Pakistan is understandable since anything that challenges the anti-India bogey undermines the elites ability to control the state. The quick drop into anti-American paranoia is merely par for the course.

So far is the Pakistani sense of identity bound with India, that a statement by a former Air Chief Marshall that ... As long as the people of Pakistan perceive the Indian threat to be real, the armed forces in Pakistan will continue to enjoy the position of authority and trust, and it will be unreasonable to expect any political leadership to assume that position. Paradoxically as it may sound, therefore, the key to real democracy in Pakistan lies with India [10] , is considered perfectly normal. Of course it's India's fault. Who else could it be?

While the Pakistani army / elite are the first to stand in line for the privileges that their position allows them in their praetorian state, they take no responsibility for the resultant mess that they inevitably create. It is always someone else's fault, or as Amin says: Our memories are short, we have been brought up doctored through propaganda, through censured press and are made to believe that our present rulers are honest while their predecessors were dishonest. [3].

The ruling Pakistani elite are not slow in blaming the "mullah's" or the "beards" for their problems. After the 9-11 terrorist strike, the loudest voices raised against the Jehadi's were precisely the Army and the elite. In point of fact, as Ayaz Amir, Pakistan's most prominent journalist has pointed out, the Pakistani elite has simply used these groups. He asks;

Who's held a gun to the nation's head? It cannot be the Beards who have never held power in the state. While they can be accused of many things--principally of being a nuisance and of filling the airwaves with rhetoric we could all have done without-- mismanaging the nation's affairs is not a sin that can be laid at their door.

For this feat of endurance--ineptitude and folly spread over 50 years--the English-speaking governing elite in power since 1947 has to carry all the blame. In Pakistan's power structure the Beards have been outsiders. All the institutions of state--political, military, bureaucratic, judicial--have been the exclusive preserve of a governing class whose greatest achievements have been self-perpetuation, corruption and an incompetence that often defies analysis. What have the Beards to do with this record?

... [It] should be a sobering thought that all the debacles which stand out in our history were the products of ... [the] English-speaking establishment. [31] 

Najam Sethi, editor of the influential The Friday Times, echoes similar views; ... Irrespective of the rights or wrong of the issue, Pakistani army generals provoked military conflict with India in 1965, 1971 and 1999. In the process, Pakistan has had to sign unequal ceasefires (Tashkent), submit to humiliating surrenders (Bangla Desh) or accept forced withdrawals (Kargil). ... Let us admit it. After Afghanistan, our biggest foreign policy failure is in Kashmir. From 1947 to 1965, we beseeched the UN to grant us Kashmir in vain. We then tried to stir revolt in the valley and triggered a destabilizing war with India. After 1971, we buried the Kashmir issue at Simla and forgot about the UN resolutions abroad. We then woke up in the 1990s to foment trouble in Kashmir after New Delhi had made a mess of things in the 1980s. In the last ten years, we have exported Islamic revolution to Kashmir ... [and] ... we have pulled the rug from under the feet of elected political representatives who dared to think of smoking the peace pipe with New Delhi. [25]

Khaled Ahmed, well known journalist and political commentator, joined in by pointing out that after 9-11, the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament and Musharraf's about face, that:

... The secret of the empowerment of the clergy ... is no longer a concealed fact. Religious extremism is engendered by jehad and is related to all religious parties and state institutions promoting Islam. The state itself was extremist in its views and was spurred on by the establishment, led by the ISI and other intelligence agencies representing the paranoia of the state ...

He warns that ... the state is no longer willing to change its stance on a number of issues that it has adopted as ideology. The outside world therefore has a duty to the people of Pakistan who agree with a change in the nature of the Pakistani state: a very considerable pressure must be kept up ... [because] ... Given Pakistan's incapacity for change, its bombs can become a threat to the world if its extremists are not prevented from taking over. [24]

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, speaking to Reuters from London where she has been in exile after being ousted from power in 1996, stated to the world what we already know: I think General (Pervez) Musharraf's regime has strong links with terrorist groups like al Qaeda ... In one year al Qaeda have regrouped in Pakistan with the backing of military hard-liners [6], she said. Although it is a curious statement since it was during Bhutto's term in power that the Taliban were formed, its implication that Pakistan's elite does not, or cannot, grasp the necessity of change is worth noting.

The state is unable to change, but the elite too, have difficulty grasping reality. Consider the words of the prominent political analyst Ejaz Haider, for example. He states that ... Pakistan is much smaller, has an economy teetering on the brink, is politically unstable, is a revisionist power armed with nuclear weapons, has abysmal educational standards, is lawless to the extreme, is swarming with anti-US jihadis and erstwhile leftwing intellectuals, has had linkages with elements that were, and are, prepared to harm US interests and make no bones about their intentions and, finally, its non-state actors pose a clear threat to US interests. But then goes on to add, ... An example of this is Pakistan's strategy of sub-conventional war against India. It was a good strategy until it started accumulating costs for a host of reasons ... [16]

Haider approvingly and casually characterizes terrorism as "sub-conventional warfare", except for the annoying fact that the costs have escalated. Also of interest is the quite remarkable grasp on reality that believes that a strategy that left Pakistan with a teetering economy, politically unstable and with abysmal education standard is considered to be "good"!

Amazingly, these views, which most would consider more than a little strange, are exceedingly common in the pages of the elite English press. Mazari, the "star" of Pakistan's strategic community, [29] , writing in the Spring issue of the ISSI journal states that "low intensity conflict" i.e. terrorism, will continue as Pakistan has no other method to continue it's Kashmir strategy. [41]

These are not isolated examples. The degeneration of Pakistan's oligarchy can be attested to by the astonishing revelation made in Dawn by A. Cowasjee, the "grand old man" of Pakistani journalism when he reveals that: 

... Nawaz brought up the subject of how Aslam Beg early in 1991 had sought a meeting with him (then prime minister) to which he brought Major-General Asad Durrani, chief of the ISI. They told him that funds for vital on-going covert operations (not identified by Nawaz) were drying up, how they had a foolproof plan to generate money by dealing in drugs. They asked for his permission to associate themselves with the drug trade, assuring him of full secrecy and no chance of any trail leading back to them [14].

The reference here is to Nawaz Shariff, the former PM deposed by Musharaff in his coup. General Mirza Aslam Beg is well known from our television screens as Osama's and the Taliban's "defender", and General Durrani the former ISI Chief was appointed Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia by Musharraf after his coup.

The view of Masooda Bano, a regular commentator on Pakistan seems apt:

  [The] Pakistani state has turned into a complete predatory state. It is a state that is feeding on its people rather than serving them. But, what the mangers of this country need to realize is that this cannot go on for too long. Eventually the system would collapse completely if things don't change. And that would hurt the rich more than the poor who already have nothing to lose. It is time that the country's leaders start to put country's interests above personal interest. Add a bit of commitment, and a vision to this and the country can embark on a much more promising path. Sadly, the current regime has none of the three [15].

Writing in The News, Bano expanded on the Pakistani state as a "Predatory State" adding that

... The ruling elite of this country needs to realize that there is no way that this exploitation of the common man can go on unchecked forever ... the ruling elite [needs] to stop thinking just about itself and to think of Pakistan and its people as one nation where all have to co-exist. The greed of those at the top will eventually lead this country to complete chaos. But clearly the current regime is not learning. It is fixated with concentration of power, manipulation and distortion of the constitution of the country, wastage of state resources over farcical referendums, and desperately trying to give the military rule a democratic cover. [5].

As Bano says;

it is critical for us as Pakistanis to remember the crimes that we committed against our fellow countrymen. And how the concentration of political power in hands of a few military officials and bureaucrats led to its complete abuse ... But, in Pakistan there is always an attempt to forget the past. Don't think about it, don't bother to learn lessons from it, and don’t punish those who were responsible for the crimes in the past. [4]

Pakistan’s elites have mis-managed their nation to the extent that prior to 9-11, it was virtually classified as a failed state. While soft-loans from the US and IMF may put off the day of reckoning, the state structure and economic situation has deteriorated to the extent that the alliance between the Army and other elites is breaking down. Hence the push for "graduate" conditions etc… these are necessary to narrow the pool of the rent-seeker class that the state needs to satisfy.

There simply is not much left in Pakistan to sustain the looting of the oligarchs. In such a situation, the Army, with it's guns wins. As remarks by Senator Shafqat Mahmood, a former member of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee of Pakistan's Senate and a columnist show the Pakistani elite are well aware of the reality:

...TV pictures show stern faced officials scrutinizing BA degrees, bank defaulter lists, criminal records and paid stamps on utility bills. While much of this is necessary, the routine is humiliating. These candidates are supposed to be future rulers of Pakistan but the process grounds their dignity into dust right at the outset. ... Parliament [is] an appendage, not a repository of real power. Real power was always with the state machinery. The military determined the defence policy and the foreign policy and it also dictated its share of the budget. ... The rest of the state was run by the bureaucracy. ... What is on sale here are crumbs of power but for those who have never had power, these crumbs are everything [13].

The elite is not only determined to stay in charge, but the very social structure of the military/elites reinforces their behavior. As Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha, the former Director of Naval Research for the Pakistan Navy points out:

It is very important to understand that over the past fifty years, the armed forces have emerged as a fraternity, or a club, that provides certain privileges to its members. ... Pakistan is an underdeveloped country where the lack of economic and political growth has led to elitist structures.

... Due to its prominent position in power politics, the military has emerged as the most powerful actor with its well-defined organizational interests. The sum total of these organizational interests also represents personal interests. In fact, these two categories denote interconnected layers. Hence, what is good for the organization is also good for an individual. Whatever prospects there are for personal growth are directly connected with the over-arching organizational interests.

Furthermore, in an underdeveloped socioeconomic environment, it is only convenient for members of a certain clan or fraternity or elite to further their interests through the group. In the case of Pakistan's armed forces, the group ethos is strengthened through remaining focused on what serves the interest of the organization and strengthens it in the overall political scheme. The benefits, of course, are obvious. ... There is no other group that is on par with the armed forces in terms of providing lucrative opportunities to its serving and retired members. A few years of military service, especially in the middle management and above, opens up a wealth of opportunities and resources.

... The attraction of benefits during and after the service tenure tends to make the officer cadre highly career-oriented. ... This lesson is not lost on military officers. In fact, it would be fair to say that after a certain management level, the primary ideology remains the interest of the organization. Moreover, after reaching that management level, when members are in the run for higher ranks and benefits, personal and organizational interests get so intermingled that it becomes hard to tell the difference. This also proves damaging because individuals are likely to begin supporting decisions that might be personally beneficial or even advance organizational interests but could well contrary to the strategic interest of the state. [9]

This system, as Pakistan's former Interior Secretary, I H Mohsin, remarks in an article in The News, is held together by a quite ordinary grasp of reality. Citing Benjamin Franklin, he says that the dominating ideal is that: 

"We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly, we shall all hang separately." This conventional wisdom must be remembered by the power-hungry elites, the barely-surviving civil society and the wretched multitudes of Pakistanis kept illiterate and ignorant by design [30] .

An understanding that extends well beyond what one would assume about the "ideologically pure" as Isabel Hilton makes clear:

Much was made of the risks that Musharraf ran in standing with the United States, but in his Cabinet, at least, there was no dissent. Lieutenant General Javed Ashraf Qazi, the Minister of Communications and Railways, told me that the decision was unanimous: "The Taliban hadn't listened to us. They hadn't returned the fugitive group of sectarian killers who had taken refuge in Afghanistan. "The Cabinet was of the view that we shouldn't stick our necks out for them. The might of the U.S. was a much greater risk. They were looking for a target. Why should it be us?" ... "The Army is clear about survival". [8]

Commenting on the Pakistani elites grip on power, Farrukh Saleem, a prominent contributor in Pakistan's English press, says that the Pakistan Army's survival methodology has two prongs to it:

Externally, it was "keep Kashmir burning"; internally, it was "breed a frail democracy". Kashmir kept the defense allocation intact while a feeble democracy at home kept political power firmly in the barracks. Political influence brought in state power, especially its coercive apparatus. Economic power in essence is political power. Kashmir, outside of Pakistan, in tandem with overwhelming political influence within Pakistan, meant all the authority rested with the uniformed politicians while civilian politicians were made to shoulder most of the responsibility. Heads I win, tails you lose  [7] .

India's Response: The Monkey Trap

The way you catch a monkey is quite simple. What you do is put a large, heavy jar with a mango or banana in it out in the open. The jar has a very small neck. Soon enough, a monkey will come along and stick his hand inside to grab the fruit.  When he tries to draw his hand out he can't. The hand with the fruit is too large for the neck of the jar. The monkey could easily let go of the bait and escape, but they never do. Even when he sees the catcher with his net, he'll jump up and down and squeal ferociously, but he won't let go of the fruit. He simply can't. It's quite beyond his power. No one knows why, but that's the way it is, and that's how they catch the monkey.

(Source: Indian children's fable.)

The Pakistani elite have long justified their terrorism in India as a low cost solution to "bleeding India dry". Somewhere amidst the grand visions of these strategic thinkers, the Pakistanis missed the rather prosaic fact that during the decade long terror war, India not only didn't "bleed white" but in fact did far better than it had ever done.

Pakistani spent the last decade of the Twentieth Century screeching the battle cry of Jehad, creating the Taliban, supporting Osama bin Laden and waging a war of terror on the people of India, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, the Central Asian states and even China.  Meanwhile the elites attempted to loot everything in sight. India, on the other hand, quietly went about producing the fastest economic growth since Independence and, among other things, become a world power in software.  Pakistan's strategic gambit in Kashmir failed spectacularly and brought Pakistan to the verge of state failure and being declared a terrorist state, it came astonishingly close to collective suicide during it's years of delusion.

We put forward the hypothesis that India, faced with the threat of a bankrupt, unstable and permanently recalcitrant neighbor which could soon join the list of failed states, and acting in the interests of it's own security, engaged the "monkey trap" as India's solution to the half century long Kashmir dispute and Pakistan problem. We do not however, provide any supporting evidence. The "trap" is a hypothesis, no more.

The essence of the monkey trap is its simplicity, which in turn is based on the limited strategic options available to Pakistan and the national character of its elite. Pakistan is caught in a self-destructive cycle with no way out, trapped between rhetoric and reality. It cannot abandon the anti-Indian crusade and Kashmir because too much has been invested into it and without the Indian enemy they have no identity and no method to maintain their rentier control of the Pakistani state. This fundamental basis of Pakistan can be understood within the context of the earlier section.

The monkey trap, in our opinion, was the only method available to India to engage and permanently destroy an unhinged enemy, and played almost perfectly to India's strengths and to Pakistani weaknesses. All that it is necessary for India to do is to stand firm, make no significant concessions, and quietly watch Pakistan's long slide into irrelevance, as it seeks ever more desperate ways to obtain that ever elusive "victory" over India.

It does not require the political or economic penalty that a major war would have, but its effect on Pakistan has been just as destructive. It allowed Pakistan's elites to flay away pointlessly at a controlled target, Kashmir, while the Indian economy continued to outgrow it's previous growth bounds. The strength of the trap lies in the fact that, given the character of the Pakistani state and its ruling elites, it requires India to do the absolute minimum for it's success. In fact, India has to do nothing more other than protect it's citizens and territory for the trap to work. It is a passive strategy and consequently fits in well with India's democracy.  Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to tell a politician, do nothing, and you will triumph, and NOT expect them to overwhelmingly accept that as a "brilliant" Fabian like strategy.

India did, and the trap, in our opinion, worked.

It should be noted that, it is irrelevant whether the trap was deliberately set to bait Pakistan, or whether it evolved as India realized that Pakistan may have over-reached itself. It is also irrelevant if, as far as India is concerned, there is no "trap" at all. The end result is the same. Pakistan is irrevocably locked into an impossible endeavor and caught in a cycle it cannot withdraw from while it's society and nation rapidly slips into an abyss and India grows from strength to strength.

Pakistan could, of course, in principle let go the fruit and remove it's hand from the jar. However, just as the mythical monkey does not have the slightest idea why it's trapped, the structure of Pakistan's elite society precludes any such behavior.  More over any such move would endanger their control of Pakistan, relinquishing the fruit cannot happen unless the Pakistani elite are collectively willing to let go of their control. Additionally, if this was possible, the elite would have done so long ago, but Pakistan's ideology comes into play, and to "let go” negates the very existence of Pakistan itself.

After 9-11: Enter the Gorilla

A strategy such as the Monkey Trap would obviously require an end game. 9-11 however, made all such calculations redundant. In this section, we shall argue that the essence of the trap has not in fact changed, but may have even greater benefits than before 9-11.

In order to understand the role of the trap in the post 9-11 world, it's necessary to understand that the US is well aware of Pakistan's links with Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network, the Taliban and Pakistan's sponsorship of terrorism in Kashmir. The testimony of Vincent Cannistraro, the former CIA Chief of Counter terrorism Operations and Analysis, before the House Committee on International Relations and the work done by Yossef Bodansky, the former Director of the Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare of the U.S. Congress, makes this clear [26] , [27] .

The Pakistani government's links to these terrorists are now so well known, that even Pakistan's friends in the US have admitted, as the Brooking Institute's Stephen Cohen did recently, that if bin Laden were to be "found" by the Pakistani's, then; 

... there will be a corpse of Osama bin Laden. That would solve the Pakistani problem. Somebody would get a reward. You don't want him talking and explaining exactly who he got his support from. Also the-you know, so I think his guards and people around him, especially the Afghans are-you know, he has more to fear from them [the Pakistani's] than, perhaps, from American bombing in the next few days. [28]

Since the 9-11 attacks, Pakistan seems to once again have become an American "ally". Our argument is that as far as Pakistan's status as a failed state and it's entanglement in the monkey trap is concerned, 9-11 changed nothing despite the rhetoric. This claim is quite easy to defend. Our fundamental argument is that nothing has changed because the rentier-elite and it's ideological framework, the Nazria-e-Pakistan is the fundamental source of all of Pakistan's problems and this elite is exactly where it was prior to 9-11, firmly in charge.

The elite is intelligent, nimble and amoral enough to take advantage of the US's blood loss on September 11 that Pakistan did so much to cause. We do not claim that "Pakistani's are stupid", or incapable of changing. We simply claim that the "system" in Pakistan does not allow them to make any more than cosmetic changes.  This will not save Pakistan from becoming a failed state, just as Gorbachev’s “tinkering” with the Soviet system failed to save the Soviet Union. The only change that could make a permanent difference is if Pakistan abandons it's ideology and it's Kashmir claim. Neither can happen.

Therefore, we contend that 9-11 made no fundamental changes to the Pakistani elite, except for the vast amount of humiliation they had to bear as the US, after greasing them with the IMF, forced them to bend and receive whatever the US decided to insert into their body politic. Of course, this entry of the US, per se a 1000 pound gorilla, does change the dynamics in the subcontinent.

However, as the massive mobilization by the Indian Armed Forces showed, India's coercive ability within it's own backyard is enormous. The force displayed seemed to be designed to send multiple messages. On behalf of the US, the mobilization ensured that the Pakistani Army was forced to move to forward positions, putting the entire PA within the open persuasion range of the USAF's "daisy cutters".  This gave Pakistan a certain level of incentive to co-operate with the US, and also ensured that the US's Special Forces do not trip over them along the Afghan borders as they try to "help".

On another level, the mobilization also sent a clear message by India to not only the Pakistanis, who are already aware of the "messages" the Indian Armed Forces are capable of sending, but more importantly, to the US and anyone else interested. The message said that if India was forced into war, it would do so on a scale and size that would alter the regional agenda towards Indian geo-political objectives instead of the American ones. This is not a trivial point, and was succinctly stated by Indian's former Prime Minister, V.P Singh, " If there is another war, we will not stop until our strategic aims are obtained."

It is here that Pakistani begging for US intervention to "force" India to make concessions preferably regarding Kashmir is nothing short of astonishing. It never seems to occur to Pakistani “strategists” and “intellectuals" that except for all out war, (in which the US would risk billions of dollars, thousands of casualties a depressed world economy and a potential nuclear exchange), there is no possible way for this to happen.  Exactly why the US should opt for war against India on Pakistan's behalf is never clear.  This lack of understanding of the real world is India's greatest weapon against Pakistan.

India is clearly not interested in war, not even against Pakistan. After all, why should India expend blood, sweat and treasure taking down Pakistan?. If  the Americans want to do it, its perfectly fine from an Indian perspective. The US has accomplished more in Afghanistan, than India ever could. And there is every reason for India to ensure that the US finishes the job before getting distracted by Iraq. This leads, quite serendipitously to perhaps the most important role of the Monkey Trap; it's generalization.

Pakistan currently provides the most tempting fruit available for the neighborhood’s newest and largest primate. Pakistan, a nuclear armed "moderate" Islamic state, controlled or influenced by the US a la Egypt or Turkey, and a potential check on Indian, Iranian, Russian and Chinese influence in Central Asia is a tempting ally. It remains to be seen whether or not the Americans have realized that way madness lies. Perhaps, the Americans will be successful. On the other hand, a failing Pakistan is a clear and present danger to the US as it's nuclear weapons may fall into the hands of non-state actors. The temptation to act pre-emptively would be overwhelming.

Then the Monkey Trap would morph into the Gorilla Trap.

Either way, India stands to gain. As it would lock the US into doing precisely what India wants, to clean up the Pakistani mess at their own cost. All in all, India benefits whether America succeeds or fails.


1 Khurram Dastgir Khan; The war to rule Pakistan, The News July 12, 2002.
2 The Liberation Times, 
3 A H Amin; Essence of the Matter , The Nation, August 21, 2002.
4 Masooda Bano; Forgive or forget?, The News, August 09, 2002.
5 Masooda Bano; Cheers for 'Anjuman Mozareen' , The News , August 30, 2002.
6 Benazir Bhutto; Interview to Reuters, Fri Aug 30, 2002.
7 Farrukh Saleem; Military's 'new' gameplan, The Friday Times, August  16 - 22, 2002
8 Isabel Hilton; The General in his Labyrinth, The New Yorker, August 12, 2002.
9 Ayesha Siddiqa-Agha; The Friday Times, Aug 30 - Sep 05, 2002.
10 M A Khan; Future of Democracy, Dawn, 22 August 2002.
11 Shahid Javed Burki; Those eventful years , Dawn, August 06, 2002.
12 Shehla Butt; Of Parasites and Mercenaries, The Balochistan Post, August 20, 2002.
13 Shafqat Mahmood; Fighting for crumbs, The News, August 30, 2002.
14 Ardeshir Cowasjee; We never learn from history, Dawn, July 21, 2002.
15 Masooda Bano; A masterpiece, The News, August 02, 2002.
16 Ejaz haider; US diplomacy on Kashmir, The Friday Times, August 2-8, 2002.
17 Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, The News, August 04, 2002.
18 Zafar Bangash; US, Israel, India: the real axis of evil threatening the world , Pak Observer, July 23, 2002.
19 K K Aziz; The Weekly Independent , Feb 28 - Mar 06, 2002
20 Shahid Javed Burki; The question of "location", Dawn , Jan 29, 2002.
21 Shireen Mazari; Pushing Pakistan into Central Asian 'stans' , The News, March 03, 2002.
22 P. Hoodbhoy; Turning higher education around, The Friday Times, Feb 15-21, 2002.
23 Jahangir Tareen; The Nation, April 26, 2002.
24 Khaled Ahmed; The Friday Times , February 01-07, 2002
25 Najam Sethi; Fresh Start Needed , The Friday Times, Dec 21-27, 2001.
26 Yossef Bodansky; Pakistan, Kashmir and the Trans-Asian Axis Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, 1995.
27 Vincent Cannistraro; House Testimony, October 03, 2001.
28 S. Cohen; Transcripts of the Brookings Briefing on: Countering Terrorism: The Fall of Kabul and its Aftermath, Nov 14, 2001.
29 Pervez Hoodbhoy; The Wages Of Obedience, Z Magazine, February 24, 2002.
30 I H Mohsin; We must hang together, The News Nov 07, 2001.
31 Ayaz Amir; The fantasies of Pakistani liberalism, Dawn Nov 23, 2001.
32 Abdus Sattar Ghazali; Hegemony of the Ruling Elite in Pakistan, Eagle Enterprises, Oct. 2000
33 Abdus Sattar Ghazali; Islamic Pakistan: Illusions and Reality, Eagle Enterprises, 1996, Revised 1999.
34 Ahmad Faruqui, The Enigma of Military Rule in Pakistan, Feb 2001.
35 A H Amin, Letter to the Editor: Martial Races, Defence Journal, Oct. 1999.
36 A H Amin; The Politics of Indo Pak Muslims- A Political and Psycho Social Study , Book Serialisation in Globe Magazine, Feb. 2001 - Aug 2001.
37 A H Amin; Stray Reflections on Geopolitics and History Writing, Defence Journal , July 2000.
38 See for example the article published in one of the Pakistan Governments most prestigious "think tanks" titled The Brahmanic-Talmudist Alliance in the Quarterly Journal of the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan, Spring 2002 by Ghani Jafar of the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad .
39 See the Report by Dr. Shireen Mazari of a Roundtable Conference between the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and the Institute of Political and International Studies, Tehran, February 22, 2001 held at Mazari's Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.
40 I A Rehman; Enemy Images on Pakistan Television, The Hoot March 06, 2002.
41 S Mazari; Future of India-Pakistan wars, ISSI Journal Spring 2002.
42 Tariq Rahman; The manipulation of knowledge, The News June 23, 2002.


Copyright © Bharat Rakshak 2002