Addressing Hafiz Saeed

The obsession with Hafiz Saeed displayed by politicians and media during President Zardari’s Sunday visit was amusing. Hafiz Saeed is not the issue. He is the symptom of the issue. That issue is not terrorism. The issue is ideological. Hafiz Saeed does not appear to be a terrorist. The hypocrisy of the Indian establishment which hit the roof after America placed a bounty on his head is nauseating. The same America, along with the United Nations, accused Lashkar-e-Toiba of perpetrating the Samjhauta Express bomb blasts by providing detailed information of five culprits who carried out the act. Yet Indian politicians and media feigned blissful ignorance of this while the UPA government accused Hindu terrorists of committing the same act of terror. How hypocritical can we get? If America and UN were wrong about the Lashkar committing the Samjhauta terror, why believe that America is right about Hafiz Saeed being a terrorist? Does it need America to tell us what Hafiz Saeed is? How subservient can we get?

I was thirteen years old when Partition occurred and had witnessed the communally integrated region before it became Pakistan. I had seen the political discrepancies of that period during boyhood, and decoded them in adulthood to conclude that the tragedy was engineered by our colonial masters. The mindset of my generation therefore is conditioned by a different experience.

After all, what does Hafiz Saeed represent? Pakistan asks India to provide sufficient evidence that might stand up in a court of law to nail Saeed as a terrorist. Our government says a full dossier has been provided to Islamabad. That dossier should be shared with the public. Is Hafiz Saeed a terrorist or, much worse, is he the ideological mastermind guiding terrorists in pursuit of an agenda he has never hidden? One is doubtful if legally he has incriminated himself by actually participating in terrorism. More likely he provides ideas and ideological leadership to the terrorist networks. He seems similar to the late Jagjit Singh Chauhan who propounded the idea of Khalistan, justified and extolled violence by others, but never bloodied his own hands with terror. Saeed’s agenda is publicized. His justification of terror is open. His admiration and support for the late Osama bin Laden was never hidden. What is terrorism to us is war to him. Whether or not he is a terrorist, his agenda must be fought at the ideological level.

Recently Hafiz Saeed spoke about his life to a Karachi newspaper. Excerpts were reproduced in the Indian media. He was born of Gujjar parents residing in what is now Haryana. His family was a victim of terror. He was born in a caravan during the journey escaping to Pakistan. His parents must have recounted to him the horrifying tales of communal terror they had encountered. Within four months after Independence over half a million innocents had been slaughtered. The number of Muslim casualties was the highest in Punjab. These are official figures. Not surprisingly Saeed’s attitude was conditioned by his upbringing in a Pakistan that became increasingly more fundamentalist.

This is in sharp contrast to people belonging to this writer’s generation. I was thirteen years old when Partition occurred and had witnessed the communally integrated region before it became Pakistan. I had seen the political discrepancies of that period during boyhood, and decoded them in adulthood to conclude that the tragedy was engineered by our colonial masters. They manipulated the tallest Congress and Muslim League leaders to make them act like pawns to further Britain’s global strategic interests. The mindset of my generation therefore is conditioned by a different experience. And that brings us to the ideological divide between the likes of Hafiz Saeed and this writer.

Hafiz Saeed told the media: “I am emotionally attached to the issue of freedom for Kashmir. I strongly believe that India will have to eventually leave Kashmir. If the superpower of its time, the Soviet Union could not occupy Afghanistan and the present superpower, US, is preparing to leave Afghanistan defeated, India also cannot stay in Kashmir.”

I will not dwell upon the cockeyed view of history revealed by Hafiz Saeed who compares the situation in Afghanistan with the one in Kashmir. Nor will I reiterate the chequered history of the Partition, of Kashmir, and of the blunders made by the Indian leadership resulting in the present crisis. That has been written about in books and newspaper articles. To counter Hafiz Saeed one must go to the heart of the problem and discuss the basic ideological dispute.

The Muslim League was committed to the two-nation theory and sought Partition. The Congress opposed the two-nation theory and was committed to India’s unity. But India was partitioned according to the two-nation theory to create theocratic Muslim Pakistan. The Congress had betrayed the public and its own pledge to prevent Partition. However it kept up the pretence that although Partition was accepted the Congress party’s commitment to secularism and Indian unity remained intact. This brazen chicanery did not work. Pakistanis said that the Partition remained incomplete until Muslim majority Kashmir also became part of Pakistan. Hardcore Hindu elements claimed that since the two-nation theory had been accepted and Muslim Pakistan had been carved out, residual territory had to be Hindu India. Therefore all Muslims must be expelled from India. Or, as Mr. Subramaniam Swamy demands, they should be disenfranchised and debarred from voting.

However there is a third option supported by this writer and many others. The Partition was wrong and therefore in substance it must be undone. It can be undone in two ways. Either a South Asian Union may be created diplomatically allowing India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to retain their sovereign identities but joined together through common defence, common market and free movement without visas as it obtains in the European Union. That would establish the cultural nationalism of the subcontinent. Otherwise Pakistan would implode of its own accord and disintegrate. Its dismembered parts would join with India to recreate undivided Hindustan. There are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. The Tamil Muslims are Tamilian, the Bihar Muslims are Bihari and the Punjab Muslims are Punjabi. The Muslims of the subcontinent are Hindustani. They have been so for centuries.

Hafiz Saeed should know that this is our cause for which we will fight our war. If he persists with his war he will have to reckon with our war. If he does not accept the decent and humane option of creating a South Asian Union, he and all those who think like him in Pakistan should be prepared for the eventual disintegration of their nation. Let him rest assured that the latter option would be achieved without firing a single shot. Pakistan would implode through isolation. To isolate a rigid Pakistan would require a government in New Delhi with will and vision. Let him also rest assured that India’s present government will not last forever. A future government with the requisite will and vision will surely govern India sooner rather than later. Hafiz Saeed is welcome to his view of history. I believe that my view represents the tide of history. History will decide who is right.


More by :  Dr. Rajinder Puri

Top | Analysis

Views: 3417      Comments: 5

Comment Dear Sir (and all readers),

[I feel honoured when you comment on my comment :) ]

In last comment, I only went one step further from what is suggested in the article, I wrote:

[Quote] Sure, Pakistan is going to reject such a proposal upfront because it won’t suit its army.

And so, such a proposal can only be used to expose Pakistan's real intentions to the world - but will even that help serve the purpose.[Unquote]

This comment tried to chose outcome of the proposed endeavour (between the two possible outcomes).

I very well understand the need and suitability of making south east Asia a common commercial zone, and have hint of desire of common man of Pakistan - having some of them as friends during my stay abroad. Probably India can go forward and create a free trade zone with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and except Pakistan. Its success may put Pakistan reulers under preassure from its people to join in !

Finally, that India is in decline path in terms of strategic interests and real economic growth, was clear back in end of year 2004 - just by observing the style of functioning the newly elected congress government. Since then, guesses are turning into truth.
It was also clear then in 2005, that in absense of India rising, European union and China would took over as participants in the race. Europe is also in declining path due to its economic structure so only remaining China is the beneficiary.

I also understand that a strong and capable government in New Delhi can still turn the tide altogether. But for that, masses of this country need to be in one opinion to elect strong leader, and for that, we have media to spoil any efforts !

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
11-Apr-2012 14:00 PM

Comment Mr. Bohre, I normally desist from responding to comments by readers, believing they are free to air their views. But I cannot resist responding to your totally flawed response which echoes the view of Krish. By your own logic culled from Mr. Gajendra Singh's article the root cause is not the public or the civil society but the army. Pakistan is a dictatorship run by the army. Hafiz Saeed is a pawn and instrument of the army. So what have I said? Why do you ignore the operative part of my article at the end? If Saeed and the Pakistan army do not relent Pakistan will be dismembered without firing a single shot. How this will be done by us I need not explain in this article. My "offer" of a confederation is an ultimatum. Accept confederation or be prepared for disintegration. Most of you readers are quite ignorant about what Muslims in Pakistan, as distinct from the army and the lumpen trained in madrassas, really want. And most of you are oblvious of the vital requirement of creating South Asian solidarity with India as the hub if we ever want really to be a global power. Otherwise be happy with the present trend as the current political leadership in the government and in the opposition continues to slide towards becoming like Pakistan a puppet of China.

My Word
11-Apr-2012 08:55 AM

Comment Dear Sir & Krish (and all reading this comment),

I think the topic can be discussed further to have 'convergent' views.

Point# 1:

I would like to quote text from concurrent article in, written by Mr. Gajendra Singh (

It quotes Major (Retired) Agha H. Amin, Pakistan Army from 25 November, 2011, since the quote is from Retd. major of Pakistan Army, the views are first hand and hence carry a lot of weight.

Major Agha H. Amin says the following:

[Quote] Utopians in India are jubilant that Pakistan has made peace with India. Nothing in reality can be farther from the truth. [Unquote]

[Quote] The recent sudden angelic desire on part of the Pakistani establishment to make peace with India has nothing to do with any major shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy written in the Pakistani military headquarters popularly known as the GHQ.[Unquote]

[Quote] The Pakistani apparent shift is merely a tactical response to extreme confrontation with the US over perceived US view that Pakistan is playing a double game in Afghanistan.[Unquote]

[Quote] Pakistan will remain the same state run by an army rather than a state with an army. The Pakistani generals will control Pakistan’s politics and foreign policy and Pakistan India relations will remain a mix of an uneasy and an unpredictable peace. [Unquote]

Point# 2:

Now, today there is a news in "The Hindu", about reports that Pakistan is rapidly developing its nuclear arsenal, and nuclear inventory is supposed to be bigger than that of India. It says Pakistan has 90-110 nuclear weapons, whereas India has 80-100.

Further Analysis (based on above two points):

If Pakistan is looking at India as peaceful neighbor, then for whom it is building such a huge nuclear arsenal ?
For China ? Iran ? Sri Lanka ? Iraq ? Saudi Arebia ? Jordan ? Israel ? Uzbekistan ? (because its missiles cannot reach Africa, Europe, Americas & even far in Asia)

Even in situation of war, India has self-impose moratorium of no first use of the nuclear weapon.

That indicates how Pakistan sees India.
Now that, this is established, the next question is - who is behind this drive. After all, a huge sum of money is being spent on building such a large nuclear weapon inventory, while millions are looking for food in Pakistan.

Can it be 'political leadership' that ordered rapid increase in nuclear arsenal and at the same time making a drama here for peace with India, looking for more trades between the borders ?

For this, there is suitable answer in the article from Mr. Gajendra Singh, as mentioned in point# 1 above ( . There Mr. Agha clearly points out that the army is the real controller of foreign policy in Pakistan, irrespective of who is holding the PM's and President's office there.

The influential army there, have officers that are either emotionally attached or corruptibly attached in keeping hostile attitude among masses in Pakistan and its army as well.
That’s how terrorism is ‘sponsored’ in J&K and longevity of this problem leading to misunderstanding of the real root cause among various journalists in India. (Indian politicians have hand in this misunderstanding as well, but let’s keep focus on the topic)

It suits their current style of functioning and the system they developed since Independence.

The hostility will continue till the root of the problem is cured or eliminated.

The real reason of all India-Pakistan disputes and issues is:
- not communal massacre of partition, Hafiz Saeed is just used to fuel emotions
- It is not terrorism in Pakistan and in India (that is sponsored by Pakistan)
- It is not Baluchistan as well
- It is not the three wars the two countries fought
- it is not separation of East Pakistan as Bangladesh
- It is not Muslim majority Vs Hindu majority
- But, it is the Pakistan's influential army which, due to various interests, finds itself in comfort zone when hostility with India continues. Even though it may harm Pakistan's own interest severely.

And if the above is true, how practical it is to get into idea that Pakistan is really interested in peace.
And how practical is the idea of having a 'joint nuclear arsenal' and its joint management. Sure, Pakistan is going to reject such a proposal upfront because it won’t suit its army.

And so, such a proposal can only be used to expose Pakistan's real intentions to the world - but will even that help serve the purpose.

The Above conclusion is wrong only if it is wrong to believe that Pakistan's army is the real controller of Pakistan's foreign policy.

Dinesh Kumar Bohre
11-Apr-2012 05:07 AM

Comment Sir, you have seen the partition as a thirteen year old and have also seen how Pakistan has behaved with India since those unfortunate days; and you still believe that your idea will be acceptable in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. I wonder how romantic and impractical some people can be !

10-Apr-2012 10:26 AM

Comment "Or, as Mr. Subramaniam Swamy demands, they should be disenfranchised and debarred from voting."

Dear Sir, If i recall it rightly, Mr. Subramaniam Swamy opined the following - All non hindu Indians must recognize their descent from Hindus of India, IF THEY DO NOT recognize this, then the above demand (as mentioned in quote) is suggested.

Dinesh kumar Bohre
09-Apr-2012 10:06 AM

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