You have to stand guard over the development and maintenance of democracy, social justice and the equality of mankind in your own native soil. [Mohammed Ali Jinnah]

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mumbai bloodbath, apparent winners and loosers.

Sometime after 9/11 I had the honor of traveling with Prakash Singh, a cloth merchant and resident of Kashmore, Sindh. In our discussions during the train journey from Sukkur to Lahore, 9/11 attacks came up naturally. He gave me a simple anecdote, “ just wait and see who benefits from it the most ? one who does, has more probability of being behind it than anyone else! “

If I take myself back to 27th November, and try to weigh the events in light of Prakash's anecdote, I find myself seeing these events in a different perspective.

Victims and their families are no doubt the ones who suffered the most. Victims include the public and security forces personnel. Close to 200 deaths and 400 injured is a huge toll. Multiply that with the same number of families and extended families, you end up with a number running into thousands.

Mumbaikars in general, have lost a lot. Mumbai just like Karachi, is a place where most things at the end get measured as good for business or not good for business. Theses events have certainly affected livelihood of the residents of Mumbai, currently the world’s most populous metropolis.

Indo-Pak relations are the most hit in the bigger picture. A decade’s worth of efforts and CBM’s from both sides have been undone in a matter of 59 hours. I suspect that now there will be quite some time before No I wont work in hate films will be the headline of Bollywood celebrity magazines, and Friendship Cup cricket series will be held. Already I see people getting back to pre-Kargil frame of mind with regards to the people on the other side of the border are concerned.

President-elect Obama had given a clear signal that India & Pakistan need to resolve differences on Kashmir issue, it was the word in grapevine that Pakistani Foreign Minister’s visit to India & Pakistani presidents’ Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir video conference with the Indian journalists a few days back, was part of that chain. Now I think we can safely assume, this whole initiative will be thrown out of the window.

Ironically, the investigation team, probing into the Samjhota Express arson incident was killed in Mumbai railway station attack, which was probing into Indian Army‘s involvement in the incident. The attackers fled without a scratch. This has already led to many Pakistani’s belief that the attacks were totally or in part staged to get rid of the investigators, as it would have brought ill-fame to the mighty Indian Army. An event similar to what we are very much used to here in Pakistan.

Keeping in mind that Mumbai is the commercial capital of India, and the attacks have struck the business elite of the city, the ramification for Indian economy might be ten-fold. A visiting head of a business corporate from Japan, representatives of a European business delegation, people close to film industry have been killed in attacks. In this time of global economic recession, the problems for India might be multiplied.

The right-wingers from both the India & Pakistan are the ones who will make the most out of it. Already people like Mr. Modi, CM Gujrat have spun into action, and are in spotlight with exchange of heated comments regarding the neighboring country. The fingers have been raised on banned outfits that is lashkars & jaish in Pakistan, it will certainly help them ramp up their public acceptance once again and they might be operating & recruiting out in the open.

ISI & RAW are once again back in the action. The two agencies have been pretty busy in the past half a century scroing points against each other. Sometimes it was ISI training and sending people to East Punjab & Kashimr, other times it was RAW with its training camps in Bhoj sending trained people to disrupt life in Karachi and activities in Afghan consulates. Both of them had to shun their activities, surprisingly so during early 2000’s when there was a military government here in Pakistan and BJP was ruling in Indai. Now, I guess the ball is back in the Intelligence agency’s court, rather than being in Parliaments or Presidencies.

At the end, the biggest looser is the average person, living in India or Pakistan . With Pakistan spending a hefty amount, more than it can afford to, on the military, the needs of an average person are usually ignored. India on the other hand having a fair portion of the soon to be biggest population in the world living far below poverty line, had to invest in its nuclear arsenal and spend billions of dollars annually to buy arms from France & Russia to provide for its army. The amount both the countries have spent on their respective military machines over the post-colonial erra is huge, and is often the very reason that they could not address and provide for the needs of the poor of the region.



I completely agree with you.At the end of the day it is the common man who suffers. It is very heartening to read such Direct from the heart blogs. I would also request you to post your thoughts at where we are having a Discussion on the same issue.

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