Musharraf seems to take his time before considering earthquake relief aid and something tells me that he hasn’t suggested “demilitarizing both sides of Kashmir” (both? now is he deciding for us too?) purely out of good will or willingness to negotiate. He is a shrewd army general who is not only fighting an international war for legitimacy for his military regime but also trying to squash internal fundamental rivals who would like nothing better than wiping India off the map. The Iranian President accidentally voiced the fundamentalists’ opinions aloud when he called for elimination of Israel’s existence. Large sections of our neighbor’s fanatical elite wish the same for India and no amount of goodwill gestures is going to change their hearts.
That said; should we even consider peace negotiations? Of course, we
should. But not without pre-conditions that set the mood for talking
peace. We spoke peace during the much-hyped Lahore Bus episode only to
find out later that Kargil was planned in the background. Similarly
now, we are making headway in the peace process via humanitarian
efforts toward earthquake relief even to the extent of opening the LOC
and suddenly more than 60 Indian citizens are killed on the eve of a
major festival in the capital city undoubtedly by fanatics supported by
our neighboring regime.
Musharraf condemns the attack but refuses to
act against elements that perpetuate such terror. On the other hand, no
one in the Indian establishment is willing to call on his
double-standards. Manmohan Singh issues a “strong” statement hinting at
a foreign hand in the blasts. He has also asked (again) Pakistan to
stop fostering cross-border terrorism. But it is somewhat difficult to
take a genteel economist’s threats seriously especially when you know
he doesn’t wear the pants in the administration. Natwar Singh, on the
other hand is fighting a survival battle after being implicated in the
UN Oil-for-Food scandal. Also, Union Minister of State for Home
Sriprakash Jaiswal said that Delhi blasts will have no effects on the
Indo-Pak peace process. Pray, why not?
Aren’t we talking peace with an entity that is opening supporting
killing of Indian citizens on Indian soil? Aren’t we missing something
here? The Pakistani establishment clearly must be laughing behind our
Recently some concerns were voiced when DesiPundit organized Blog Quake
Day in support of the earthquake victims. People were worried that any
financial aid we offer for earthquake relief would find its way to the
terrorists who would use it against us. Although a genuine concern, we
merely organized this day to raise awareness from a humanitarian
perspective. Also, I hoped that genuine goodwill always goes a long way
in easing tension. We gave readers the freedom to donate to an
international organization which hopefully would have stricter control
mechanisms regards where the relief aid ended up.
I support Atanu Dey’s
opinion that the Indian administration should not dole out $25 million
for the effort. Any help offered should be in kind or in form of
technical assistance and services. This would signal the lack of trust
and also send a strong message. If the Pakistani administration is
really serious about its concerns for earthquake victims, a little
change in plans regards purchasing F-16s can go a long way. After all,
it must be difficult to convince donors that you need relief aid when
you are sinking millions in buying defense equipment. We empathize
with the earthquake victims, having had our share of natural disasters
but we are sorry, we do not trust your rulers to give you money. We can
send you food, tents, medicines, etc.
Update: US military helicopter carry relief aid fired upon by militants. When I think that these people cannot act any dumber, they go and prove me wrong.