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Dear Pakistani friends, Put yourself in my shoes

February 2, 2013

I did not want to write this post.

There are enough Indian voices, from Times Now to Hindutva Online, who point fingers at Pakistan. Like M Ziauddin of the Express Tribune newspaper, I think that the two countries need more unpatriots – not people who ‘hate’ their own countries but who question their own nationalist narratives. People who ask: could we be wrong? Asking questions of yourself is difficult, and blaming the other is instant gratification of ego. Questioning yourself has long-term rewards in helping you make peace with yourself.

I am forced to write this piece because I continue to see well-meaning Pakistanis online continue to complain about the Bad Hospitality given by India to the Pakistani women’s cricket team in Cuttack in Orissa. The complainants online have included some of my Pakistani friends whom I know to be liberal, peace-loving and well-meaning, and who have clearly been influenced by some clever propaganda that is deliberately not showing them the full picture.If the controversy escaped you, here is what happened: right-wingers demanded the Pakistani women shouldn’t be playing cricket in India, so the venue was changed from Mumbai to Bhubaneshwar to Cuttack. But even in Cuttack they were at it, so Cuttack hotels were reluctant to put them up and invite right-wing wrath. As a result, the Indians decided to put up the Pakistani women’s cricket team in the guesthouse inside the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack,where the matches are to be held.

Nationalist outrage at such discrimination was, according to this report in the Calcutta Telegraph, initiated by a ‘senior TV anchor’ in Pakistan.

Soon, Pakistani propaganda on Twitter included claiming that the ‘clubhouse’ at the Barabati stadium was not only far from five-star, it was as pathetic as this:

In fact it was more like this (as tweeted by Gaurav Sawant):

CNN-IBN report:

Despite these stories and images I still see Pakistanis online complaining. I’m not going to dig out right-wing nutcases from Twitter for you. Let’s look at the editorial in the left-liberal Express Tribune:

This discrimination is undoubtedly unfair and puts our team at a significant disadvantage. The team has been conciliatory about its treatment but the International Cricket Council (ICC) should take note of this.

Instead of appeasing the anti-Pakistan extremists, the Indian government must ensure the safety and comfort of our players. [Link]

My questions for Express Tribune: How does this put your team in a significant disadvantage in playing at the field? Why are you pointing fingers at the ICC and India but not at the Pakistan Cricket Board? After all, it is for the PCB to decide if the security/hospitality situation for its cricketers in India is unsuitable or not. It decided that it was suitable, even before the team left Pakistan. Now if Express Tribune thinks it is unsuitable why is it not asking questions of the PCB? Because that would be asking questions of oneself, and even the Express Tribune, it seems, doesn’t want to give up this opportunity at India-bashing. And as far as the ICC is concerned, they have approved of the accommodation inside the stadium. The ICC has in fact praised the BCCI and the Orissa cricket administration for making the match possible despite the security threats.

The PCB even knew in advance about the stadium accommodation:

Speaking on Wednesday evening, Biswal (a former India U-19 captain, national selector and World Cup-winning manager) added: “The Club House is the Association’s property and is within the Barabati Stadium complex… The facilities in the 17 rooms are absolutely on a par with any four-star hotel…

“There’s more than one swimming pool in the Club House and Pakistan’s women cricketers haven’t complained about anything… We’ve engaged a local caterer and food of their choice is being prepared… They’ve gone on record to say it’s like home for them. For us, that is very pleasing.”

That got confirmed when this newspaper spoke to Nadeem Sarwar, the Pakistan Cricket Board’s general manager (media), in Lahore. He said: “We have no issues at all and had been informed in advance about the accommodation. Our players are happy with the arrangements. That they don’t have to travel daily from another city is a boon.” [Calcutta Telegraph]

So I wondered why the Express Tribune is blaming ICC and India but not their own cricket administration for putting up with ‘discrimination’? I got the answer in another article in the same paper. It’s schadenfreude. Since a militant attack at visiting Sri Lankan crickets, Pakistan has become a no-go place for international cricket. Nadir Hassan is clearly pleased that this incident could bring India similar reputation. He writes in an article titled, “India Needs to Play Fair”:

Try this for a thought experiment. What if we tell international teams that Pakistan is completely safe for visiting teams so long as they never leave the stadium? The suggestion would get us laughed out of the ICC and yet a different standard is being applied to India. In 1996, when Australia and the West Indies refused to play their World Cup matches in Sri Lanka out of fear, the hosts offered to airlift the players into and out of the stadium. That wasn’t enough to get them to play. We should take a similar stand. If the Indians cannot guarantee our players’ safety outside the stadium, how can they ensure it inside? [Link]

Dear Nadir, please at least wait for a militant attack on a cricket team before you jump the gun. Given how we are going, I am sure it will happen one day, at the hands of either the Lashkar-e-Toiba or the Abhinav Bharat, and then we can decide whom to blame. Okay?

This schadenfreude also reminded me of some nasty tweets I saw from Pakistanis when the Delhi gang-rape was making international news. Some were using the hash-tag #RapistIndia. When I asked one such person what she had to say about the rape of Hindu girls in Umerkot, she did not reply. At least we are protesting rape; your media is being silence for even reporting it.

The element of schadenfreude in India-Pakistan bickering is an old constant – the more shit happens in one country the better the other feels about oneself. But I find it particularly acute amongst Pakistanis. It goes to such ridiculous extremes that when Manmohan Singh said he was going to address the nation on TV on the issue of FDI in retail, the military-obsessed Ejaz Haider tweeted that the Indian PM was going to tell Indians ‘why the shine’s come off India’. Hello, we got to know the truth about ‘India Shining’ back in 2004 when the BJP-led coalition lost power on that slogan. Besides, the FDI in retail issue was not about whether India is shining! Please at least keep yourself informed and updated about India; it will help you better with your India-bashing.

*

I digress. Coming back to cricket in Cuttack, Mosharraf Zaidi (until recently an advisor to the Pakistani foreign ministry) is not satisfied with the explanation that the Pakistani team was put up in the stadium premises because of security reasons. He asks on Twitter, “As if hotels cannot be secured?”

So if it’s not security, I wonder what he think is the real reason for the discrimination of not putting up Pakistani cricketers in a hotel like the other international teams. I get the answer of Bina Shah’s article, “Hating Pakistan,” in the Express Tribune: “The housing of the team in the clubhouse instead of a more luxurious hotel is being seen by some as a message to Pakistan: if you misbehave with us, we will treat you equally miserably.”

So it’s not enough for Pakistani pride to be hurt that right-wing Indian groups forced their team to not stay in a five-star hotel. They must go further and imagine greater hurt: India wants to insult us! Why can’t she remember 2010, when just two years after 26/11, the crowds in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru stadium gave an extra-warm welcome to the Pakistani contingent at the Commonwealth Games? Because that would puncture the victimhood narrative, and would not allow the column to be titled “Hating Pakistan”.

For such a narrative, it does not matter that Pakistani cricket team itself is fine with the accommodation, and happy that they haven’t had to encounter a single unwelcoming protest. The Pakistani team manager told the Press Trust of India that the accommodation was a lot like what they get in Pakistan! But since Pakistanis will call an Indian news source propaganda, let me quote again from the Express Tribune:

“We have no problems. In fact, we are feeling more comfortable,” Ayesha told The Express Tribune from Cuttack. “The stadium’s academy where we have been accommodated is similar to the National Cricket Academy in Lahore which has all the facilities. All the facilities are close to us and the girls are happy and relaxed. We have not come here to stay in five-star hotels but to play which is our main focus.”

Ayesha also approved the security arrangements being made for her team’s stay.

“The security arrangements are tight and we are content with it. The security is agreeable to all the members of the team and is not disturbing at all. We are thankful to the International Cricket Council and local officials who are very supportive.”

Meanwhile, the manager added the team is yet to confront a protest by local political parties.

“We have not seen things which we heard before leaving. The people here are cordial to us. We are enjoying our stay and we are hopeful it will go on like that.” [Link]

But that doesn’t wash with Bina Shah. She further writes in that “Hating Pakistan” column:

The manager of the team, Ayesha Ashar, said that the team was happy with the accommodation, a very diplomatic comment, given that the team is in India and has yet to play its matches. Expressing unhappiness with the decision would probably cause them a lot more grief in the headlines and from the right-wing kooks who think sports teams are the same as terrorists.

Her article then becomes a general rant about how India and Pakistan can’t get along because of their competing grievances. She takes it right up to Partition, which makes me go “Hey Bhagwaan!” She writes:

Sometimes it seems as though India has never forgiven Pakistan for wanting to break away and become its own country. How dare you, the unspoken line seems to be, how dare you break the territorial integrity of India, cause the death of millions during Partition, fight wars against us, support terrorists against us? Who do you think you are?

If she had any clue about how Indians see Pakistan, she would know that India doesn’t care about Partition. When even the extreme right talks of an ‘Akhand Bharat’ or ‘Greater India’, it does so only as a provocation. In truth, the Hindutvawaaadi is the biggest supporter of Partition, because that reduced the Muslim demographic. Proof: it is from the BJP that Jinnah’s supporters arise, be it Lal Krishna Advani or Jaswant Singh.

But it would be too much to expect Bina Shah to understand India because she does not even understand Pakistan. If she at least understood Pakistan, she would not be an apologist for feudalism.

*

I digress again. Coming back to cricket in Cuttack, this post may seem to single out the Express Tribune, so let me present to you just one sample from the older and still more influential Dawn, which was more forthright than even ET in instigating Pakistanis. It directly asks its readers:

- Keeping in mind the situation the Pakistani team is faced with in India, should the ICC play a more decisive role?

- Are the ICC and the BCCI setting a precedent for all future matches that Pakistan may be involved in in India?

- Being bound to the hotel (stadium in this case) has been cited by FICA and most international teams as a major concern when talk of touring Pakistan comes up. Will it affect the performance of Sana Mir’s team in any way?

- If travelling around in India is not a safe option for the Pakistan women’s team, is it right for the World Cup to go ahead over there? [Link]

I don’t even want to imagine what the Urdu press is saying.

*

Let us think of a hypothetical situation. The Pakistani media tells its readers and viewers that in a grave and unprecedented provocation, the Indian army has beheaded a Pakistani soldier and taken the head with them. How do you think these readers and viewers will respond? Do you think they will go to the Facebook page of Aman ki Asha and start asking for peace to break out? Do you think they will want the Indian cricket team invited for a series of one-day matches? Will they ask the government to invite Lata Mangeshkar for a concert? Will the people ask for easing visa restrictions for Indians? An Indo-Pak mushaira in Lahore, perhaps?

Well I hope they would: I would point out how we need more interaction to reduce the hate that causes such events between our armies. But I have no illusion that the Pakistani public would not buy that argument. I have seen only the brave Beena Sarwar say as much:

One can imagine a similar reaction in Pakistan had it been the other way around. Unfortunately, atrocities occur in conflict situations. Rather than knee jerk responses over individual incidents, there’s a need to work towards ending the conflict. Of course, action must be taken against violators, whether they are soldiers or civilians, ‘non-state actors’ or militants. [Link]

The only other Pakistani who can see the Cuttack fiasco in a broader picture is the Twitter celebrity @majorlypor ‘Majorly Profound’. But then Majorly Profound is so profound Pakistanis say he must be Indian!

*

Am I arguing that the Pakistanis shouldn’t be complaining about the discrimination in Cuttack or the denial of permission to Pakistani diplomats to be at the Jaipur Literature Festival or the cancellation of a Pakistani play in a theatre festival in Delhi and so on? Yes, and here’s why. I think that for all his faults and failures, prime minister Manmohan Singh has handled the media and right-wing pressure with great elan. If the protestors in Cuttack were to vandalise a hotel reception where the Pakistani cricketers were staying,or gather such a mob outside the Pakistanis weren’t able to leave the hotel, or if this necessitated police action against the protestors, that would be far worse for India-Pakistan relations and the fragile bilateral negotiations. The media on both sides would be whipping up tensions, the opposition BJP would call an end to cricketing ties and other forms of people-to-people contact. The government would have to give in to such demands given the public hysteria. If the match was cancelled they would still complain of not wanting peace. I think such having your cake and eating it too is a bit rich considering Pakistan is unwilling to even pretend to do anything about 26/11 and the Lashkar-e-Toiba.

The Express Tribune editorial I cited at the beginning of this piece said the Indian government was appeasing extremists; but if it was doing that, it would have cancelled the women’s cricket world cup. Some Pakistanis would be happy with this so as to write more masochist columns with such titles as “Hating Pakistan”, but I wouldn’t.

Similarly, if that Manto play in Delhi had not been cancelled, TV cameras would have been broadcasting live the protests outside. The Indian government didn’t ask the artists to go home, it merely cancelled the performance and the theatre group performed in another theatre on the invitation of a civil society group rather than a government body. Win-win. While Pakistanis on Twitter complained about how bad the Indians were being, they should have put themselves in Manmohan Singh’s shoes.

*

I was the first to point out, by quoting Barkha Dutt’s 2001 essay on the Kargil war, that beheading between the Indian and Pakistani armies is not unprecedented? In that essay, “Confessions of a War Reporter,” Dutt wrote:

A few months ago, I sat across a table with journalists from Pakistan and elsewhere in the region, and confessed I hadn’t reported that story, at least not while the war was still on. It had been no easy decision, but at that stage the outcome of the war was still uncertain. The country seemed gripped by a collective sense of tension and dread, and let’s face it — most of us were covering a war for the first time in our careers. Many of the decisions we would take over the next few weeks were tormented and uncertain. I asked my friend from Pakistan, listening to my anguish with empathy, what he would have done in my place? He replied, “Honestly, I don’t know.” [Link]

The struggle between nationalism and truth is not that of journalists alone. I wrote two more articles after that first one, one in Kafila and the other in Outlook magazine, pointing out the holes in the Indian media’s warmongering narrative: that the Indian army was not officially confirming and at one point even denying a beheading; that two reports have blamed the Indian army for escalating the tensions at the LoC; that the Indian media is trying hard to portray a localised skirmish as a well-planned attempt by elements within Pakistan to derail the bilateral dialogue; and most of all, that beheadings and mutilation of bodies is not unprecedented on the Line of Control. There have been other reports, which the Indian Army has chosen not to deny, of similar beheadings having taken place at the hands of both armies in 2000, 2003 and 2011. These reports came out in the English print media, which did not get carried away with the hysteria of television.

These articles of mine were received in Pakistan with smug appreciation (like this tweet by Ejaz Haider), which was strange. I thought that revelations that both sides have been chopping of the heads and other body parts of each other would be received with anguish and alarm by everyone in India and Pakistan. Instead of saying, “How horrible! We must stop our armies from committing such barbarity!” the Pakistani response was, “See, we didn’t do it for the first time. We didn’t start the fire.”

Since then, there has been another detailed report that claims that Pakistan has complained to the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan about several incidents of ceasfire violations, killings, a civilian massacre, as also beheading and mutilation of Pakistani soldiers.

Now, you would think the Pakistani media would be angered by such revelations. Surprisingly, there is silence. I asked a Pakistani journalist what explained this silence and he said it was the maturity of the Pakistani media. But if the Pakistani media was so mature regarding India what explains the hysteria over cricket in Cuttack? Why is lack of five-star accommodation a bigger issue for Pakistanis than the beheading of Pakistani soldiers, the gouging out of their eyes and so on? If you are a Pakistani and have an answer, do let me know.

*
Whoever chose to put out stories of the beheading of an Indian soldier through anonymous ‘sources’ as if it were the first such beheading, clearly sought to affect the India-Pakistan bilateral dialogue. What were their motivations I don’t know. There is not one but 2-3 conspiracy theories in Delhi about that. Manmohan Singh may be domestically the most discredited prime minister in a long time thanks to endless scandals, controversies and popular disenchantment, but it is to his credit that he was able to re-start the India-Pakistan dialogue within two years of 26/11. He has persisted with it even though the Pakistani army is no longer interested in resolving the Kashmir dispute in the way that he and General Musharraf had agreed to.
*

When in 2009 in Sharm-el-Sheikh India conceded to talks with Pakistan despite not getting any concessions regarding India’s concerns about security and terrorism and justice for the 26/11 victims, domestic uproar led by the opposition BJP forced Dr Singh’s government to go slow on the talks. But he managed to pick up momentum in 2010, and historic progress was made in 2011 and 2012. It needs to be noted that the opposition BJP did not oppose the new visa agreement or increasing trade ties. The numbers of Pakistanis coming to India for concerts, seminars, conferences, matches, theatre, art and so on, became a flood. Not a single day passes by without hearing of Pakistanis in town for public events. This is a great achievement given the post-26/11 public outrage and the war hysteria by the Indian media. But since India isn’t getting any concessions on that front from Pakistan, the peace process remains so fragile that I had argued in November that Dr Singh should not even visit Pakistan, keeping the peace process low-profile.

But Ejaz Haider is unhappy that the Indian government has been able to carry on a bilateral dialogue and improve relations with Pakistan despite not making any headway in getting justice for 26/11 victims. He writes in the Express Tribune:

…unlike Pakistan, there is no real political consensus in India on normalising with Pakistan. Regardless of Pakistan’s concessions, and Pakistan has conceded almost everything India has demanded over the years — trade, investment, MFN without reference to disputes — India demands, though it won’t say so for obvious reasons, unconditional capitulation from Pakistan. [Link]

Ejaz Haider’s claims that Pakistan has granted MFN status to India or that there is consensus in Pakistan regarding India is patently false. The Pakistani government has not been able to keep its promise of reciprocating India’s Most Favoured Nation status for trade by 1 January 2013. Why? Is it to appease fringe right-wing groups in Pakistan who hold rallies opposing the MFN status until Kashmir is resolved. Is it because the ruling party does not want to be seen as soft on India before an election? Is it because General Kayani hasn’t said yes?

Nobody in India cares about MFN status or visa regime. Nobody has opposed it.Even the persecution of Pakistani Hindus leading to their influx into India resulted in only a few protests. Yet, when you learn that a soldier has been beheaded by Pakistanis it is only natural that right-wing groups will put pressure on the government to not be nice to Pakistan and Pakistanis. The ruling party in India has to fight elections too, and the Indian army may not be India’s real masters but how can a government overlook its concerns? It is strange that Pakistanis want Indians to stop complaining about a spectacular and unprovoked terrorist attack from their soil in Mumbai, but are whipping up hysteria over lack of five-star accommodation for their sports-persons. Why do Indians and Pakistanis expect such maturity from each other as they are not themselves capable of displaying?
*
Despite the highest levels of warmongering on TV news for a week, many such events involving Pakistani participation were not cancelled or affected. Fareed Ayaz and his qawwal troupe have returned to Karachi from public performances in Mumbai, the city of 26/11 where the right-wing power to put such hurdles is at its height. A Track 2 consultation between two countries was held in a Delhi hotel. Pakistani writers attended the Jaipur Literature Festival despite a call by right-wing groups to disallow them. Some took the next flight for the Kolkata Literary meet. And I spent a lovely evening listening to the poetry of Fehmida Riaz.
*

There is a reason apart from 26/11 or the LoC beheading or general hatred of Pakistan that people-to-people contacts and cultural exchanges are being targeted. Voices in India have begun to ask why we don’t hear of Indians going to perform in Pakistan. The answers are known: the security situation in Pakistan and the absence of a large market that would make such a scale of cultural exchange commercially viable. If Pakistanis come to Bollywood for work and fame, it is natural there will be voices who ask about a one-way flow. These voices are foolish and myopic. I wish they understood that a Pakistani musician or actor or writer is not just Pakistani but also a musician, actor or writer. The reason why Pakistani performers are popular amongst Indians is not that they are Pakistanis but that they are great artists. I’d tell them that Pakistan was now the sixth-largest market for Bollywood films.

But what do I tell them when they say it takes two to tango?

*

If you have reached this far in my rant, thank you for reading. I must confess that despite the examples above, I think there are far more Pakistanis willing to question their nationalist narratives than there are such Indians.
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18 Comments leave one →
  1. Ilmana Fasih permalink
    February 2, 2013 5:41 AM

    Though one finds it distressing to see how Pakistani sports and sportsmen are discriminated against, I agree with Shivam Vij that instead of taking this as an offence, they should be taken as protective measures.

    However I have a different take for the situation. Why don’t we realize we live in a real world and not an ideal world, where everything is connected to everything else, and nothing is in isolation–including respect, dignity and peace.

    Before we shout dignity for Cricket players, where is the dignity of our own, which keeps getting challenged day in and day out by banning of basic trivial things like you tube, cell phones in the name of security, by millions holed up in homes when cities like Karachi are plunged into terror grips, or where is the dignity of the little babies in their thousands, who get deprived of Polio drops and a healthy future, while the same powerful refrain from taking concrete measures towards a Counter Terrorism Strategy. Where is our dignity when hundreds and thousands of Shias keep getting massacred, through the same modus operandi, unabashedly, for years not months or days and nothing changes.

    Let us ask for dignity within, to live with peace and harmony with our own minorities, before we ask outsiders to respect us.

    My heart winces when we are mistreated at international airports, or embassies when we go for visas, but it cries louder, by what we are subjected to in our own homeland. by our own.
    I want dignity at home FIRST, so that others then, also look up to us with love, and not hate.

  2. Raza permalink
    February 2, 2013 1:44 PM

    Indians and Pakistanis in my opinion are equally jingoistic. But Indians over time have developed a superiority complex conceding to all the good that had happened there in last twenty years. They have started seeing Pakistan as a basket case and mostly from a prism of our intelligence agency. Pakistan even with it’s nefarious fringe elements is home to 180 million people and each one has a different story to tell. We look at india and see both Bollywood and Bal Thackery, but for them we have become years on the calendar, references to wars and Hafiz saeed (ridiculous that no one even knew him in Pakistan before his 15 minutes of fame). Look at the venom in the comment section of TOI and ET by Indians, and you will get the picture. This Indo-Pak relationship has become so schizophrenic that average Pakistanis have stopped caring for the most part now. The strong reaction on the treatment of women team is obviously response to the latest round of Pakistan bashing that went on for a whole week. Even your english media reported like it was on shiv sena payroll. Pakistani liberals endanger their lives putting a mirror to all that ills their country. And Indian liberals love that. But they hate it when the mirrors are turned on them by the same people they claim to respect.

  3. February 2, 2013 1:48 PM

    Hello Shivam Vij Saheb,
    I have long been a reader of Kafila but have never commented before. This post has compelled me to add my two cents here. I have been silent admirer of your writing and this website. Your stature, in my eyes, grew up more when you wrote about beheadings from both sides in the Outlook. Kafila’s articles are always inward-looking (viz-a-viz India) and always advance the narrative of peace no matter what the situation is between India and Pakistan.
    Now coming to this episode I ‘ll say you had your Loc moment and we are having our cuttak/cricket moment. But it is still not as much big an issue as you might be thinking. Yes, many Pakistani liberals have taken up this issue but the issue will soon fizzle out (as it should. As for Urdu press I can say that they have not made it as much an issue as you might have suspected (and I’m saying this after reading two of the largest Urdu dailies).
    ‘-the more shit happens in one country the better the other feels about oneself. But I find it particularly acute amongst Pakistanis.’
    Well you may find it ironic but my perceptions are completely opposite, but then, it is just a matter of one’s perception.
    This will soon die down and we will move forward (hopefully!) and it is a good thing that tensions have lessened on Loc now and trade has been started again between the two neighbors. One prays that this continues.

  4. February 2, 2013 1:55 PM

    ‘Why is lack of five-star accommodation a bigger issue for Pakistanis than the beheading of Pakistani soldiers, the gouging out of their eyes and so on? If you are a Pakistani and have an answer, do let me know.’
    Being a Pakistani I can say that Pakistani media didn’t pick up the initial Loc skirmish with zeal, naturally they didn’t follow up the coming reports more rigorously. But let me assure you that despite all the hoopla about accommodation, this issue is not going to capture our media’s attention for long. Even Urdu press hasn’t made such a fuss about it as you would expect.

  5. Vistasp Hodiwala permalink
    February 2, 2013 3:14 PM

    There is so much richness and nuance in this piece at every turn and in every paragraph that almost every thought, every line can be taken out of context as proof of hatred for the other or be misunderstood for what it argues against. But taken together, and if one has the patience to go through the entire piece, it is one of the sanest outburst against the outrage that is the relationship between India and Pakistan. And there cannot be a more unbiased author than Shivam Vij to negotiate this murky terrain. Read and absorb, all ye right wingers from both sides of the border, if you possibly can.

  6. M Ali Khan permalink
    February 2, 2013 3:48 PM

    The shoes are of same size (and pinch) regardless of what side wears them.

    India’s own reluctance of removing the restrictive Non Tariff Barriers means their own MFN status to Pakistan years ago has failed to give confidence to Pak businesses. Pak MFN status to India should not be delayed but in order for proper liberalised trade to prosper between both India and Pakistan, removal of NTBs is a must!

  7. Mrinal permalink
    February 2, 2013 3:55 PM

    What Raza says is true. As the years go on and the gap widens this superiority complex will only increase. And that is how we should treat them. Why do you care Shivam about what Pakistanis think is true?

  8. February 2, 2013 5:34 PM

    I’d like to respond to your comments regarding my op-ed in the Express Tribune. First of all, I did not choose that headline: the editors did. My original headline was “The Wounds Still Fester”.

    You have completely overlooked the heavy criticism I have laid at my own country’s doorstep for contributing to the bad relations between India and Pakistan. Instead you have selected only what I wrote about India, and focus on it as if I was blaming India entirely. Distorted picture, much? Why don’t you congratulate me for being brave enough to state in a major English-language newspaper that one of the main reasons for the tension is Pakistan’s support of terrorism in India? Or does that not fit with your “narrative” about my “narrative”?

    Finally, you call me an apologist for feudalism, which tells me that you’ve again engaged in a very selective reading of my previous article on feudalism in Pakistan. It also tells me that you’re willing to engage in ad hominem attacks in order to dismiss my op-ed in the Tribune. Having grown up in Pakistan and lived here all my life, I understand this nation very well; and I also understand that my stance on feudalism has little to do with the content of the op-ed under discussion.

  9. February 2, 2013 6:59 PM

    Shivam: This seems like sermonizing and influenced by the kind of rants against each other we come across on social networking sites like FB and Twitter. I wonder instead of wasting so much of your energy and time in writing this sermon of putting two sides against each other and reinforcing the kind of dichotomy between two sides, Would it had not been better writing a piece on understanding the kind of mechanisms at work in the rhetorical nation states which give rise to commentaries like this one of your own. I suspect you are adding to the rhetoric of We and You. While saying ‘you pakistani’s’ you put up few National dailies and Social networking sites, i hope you understand the grave implications of this way of theorizing(if it is theorising at all).

  10. February 2, 2013 8:47 PM

    Shivam vij,

    you made a weak argument dwelling a bit too much on the quality of hospitality their cricketers received. Pakistan can’t even host a cricket match! India’s defense minister Antony denied the Pakistan allegations made by Pakistan (and in sections of Indian press and websites). Antony being known for his honesty and integrity, I am compelled to believe there have never been any be-headings (of Pakistan soldiers) by Indian soldiers. I didn’t like your choice of the word, “unpatriot”. That is too anarchist to appeal to people at this juncture. You are a Pakistan sponsored terrorism minimizer!

  11. Shah permalink
    February 3, 2013 1:56 AM

    Your last sentence rings true given the comments by Vasu and his ilk. It’s scary how a country of one billion can be taken by obvious propoganda by its own establishment. Instead of sermonising the other, focus on yourself while the Pakis focus on themselves. Admittedly you do a good job of that, but this rant is completely uncalled for. Never once have I come across an “unpatriotic” column by any Indian in its mainstream media. While clapping at the “unpatriotism” of a few Pakistanis. I hope to see your next article titled: “Dear Indians: Please put yourself in the shoes of Pakistanis and Kashmiris.” Too much?

    Besides the point, I took Bina Shah’s column as another one in a long line of Pakistani apologist columns.

  12. Tariq Ahsan permalink
    February 3, 2013 3:06 AM

    It’s best to postpone official sports engagements until the two governments make a firm decision to stop escalation along the LOC, and the two militaries are able to observe the ceasefire, and respect international humanitarian law in their day to day dealings with each other. When the two militaries representing the core of the state apparatuses on both sides have been bellicose and incompetent, we can expect the likes of RSS, Shiv Sena, and Jamaat ud Dawa & co, to create serious trouble, and the nationalist media to create needless contoversies .

    • gp65 permalink
      February 3, 2013 10:35 AM

      Comparing RSS with Jamaat Ud Dawa is false equivalence. RSS has never collected funds to raise a civilian army to attack Pakistan. LeT has. RSS never sent 10 people on a boat to KArachi, Jamaat Ud Daawa/LeT did send people to Mumbai.

  13. Hargopal Singh permalink
    February 3, 2013 3:13 PM

    Given the history of relations between India and Pakistan any issue big or small,nay even a non-issue is sure to be blown out of proportion..There is nothing surprising in what has been happening within the two countries over the current issues..One can stretch to any extent.The only need is to learn to live together as neighbors.The reality of Pakistan has to be understood by India and Pakistan that of India.There is no such problem which cannot be solved by sitting across the table.War-mongering may be a part of the strategy but ultimately it is the diplomacy which should have the last word.Both the countries have a long way to mature as a nation..

  14. SadMan29 permalink
    February 3, 2013 3:37 PM

    Its one of the toughest job to defend a wrong stand. Pity many Pakistani brothers and sisters are guided by the hearts not heads.

  15. Vilas Shetty permalink
    February 4, 2013 12:11 AM

    Indians stopped gloating at Pakistani misfortune a long time ago. As somebody mentioned earlier in the comments, Indians see Pakistan as a basket case with bombs going off everyday, and a bewildering amount of bloodshed. Pakistan is the not rival any more, China is. We’ve even got used to the terrorism and resigned ourselves to the fate that befalls anyone with crackpot neighbors.

    The only Pakistani intellectual I have come across who is not deluded is Pervez Hoodbhoy.

    • ilmanafasih permalink
      February 6, 2013 7:28 AM

      Yes, if there is ONE man, so upright, honest, beyond vested interests who reads issues from his head not heart, it is one and only Pervez Hoodhbhoy.No one else is even miles near him. NO ONE absolutely.

  16. February 5, 2013 2:40 PM

    what a line ” Questioning yourself has long-term rewards in helping you make peace with yourself.” wish people ponder about it..

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