General Durrani’s abominable comment about Indian Muslims
General Mahmud Ali Durrani has a column in today’s The News. He holds forth — as is his wont and what earned him the sobriquet of General Shanti in Pakistan — on the importance of Track-2 talks between India and Pakistan, as exemplified by Aman ki Asha. Among all the other apple pie and motherhood stuff, one particular bit stood out. And stood out for its outrageous abominableness.
We often forget that there are more Muslims in India than in Pakistan. We also seem to ignore that the quality of life of the Indian Muslims is directly linked with the quality of the relationship between our two countries.[The News]
What utter nonsense. Nearly a decade back, MJ Akbar wrote a piece titled Pakistan cannot expect the support of India’s Muslims.
Indian Muslims are the only Muslims in the world to enjoy sustained democracy since the freedom of their country from colonial rule. Muslim nations, particularly Pakistan, have been unable to fashion a polity relevant to the modern age, with governments accountable to a democratic process. …Indian Muslims use democracy with vigour and finesse. They control or influence the results of elections in at least a hundred seats in the Lok Sabha – the House of the People – the directly elected part of India’s Parliament…[Link]
Are there no problems with India’s Muslims? Yes, there are. On the one hand, there are fundamentalists among them and some of them have even been involved in terrorism. On the other, as a community, their challenging social, economic and educational conditions have been well-documented in the report of the Sachar Commission. But these conditions have little to do with the state of India-Pakistan relations. Leave alone Pakistan, the Muslims from the rest of India have never stood out in support of Kashmiri separatists, who portray their cause as Islamic. Forget the rest of India, even Muslims from the neighbouring Kargil region have never supported the separatism in Kashmir Valley.
How can General Durrani, who must have been in the army then, forget what happened in August 1965? Ayub Khan launched Operation Gibraltar, a plan to provoke uprisings in Jammu and Kashmir by infiltrating teams of military personnel to conduct sabotage and prod the Kashmiri people against Indian forces. The Kashmiris did not co-operate with the Gibraltar Force and the plan failed. The same thing happened in 1999 when there was no support from locals for Pakistani incursions into Kargil.
Anyway, this is not the first time General Durrani is spouting such nonsense. He was at it even in 2009, after the Mumbai terror attacks. What is really tragic that we have a vocal community of Indian Track-2 participants who consider him to be an India-friendly Pakistani activist. If he is India-friendly, then imagine what others in that country would be like.