Information Warfare: Blame India

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March 7, 2010:  Pakistan is blaming India for the Taliban terror campaign inside Pakistan. At the same time, the 17 month Pakistani campaign army against the Taliban, in the tribal territories along the Afghan border, has had great success. Some 2,200 Taliban have been killed, and over a thousand arrested. Nearly 200 soldiers and police have died in the process. The Taliban continue to carry out suicide bombing attacks, killing more civilians than soldiers. Most of these attacks are in the tribal territories. While the Taliban always had some support in the tribal areas, most of the Pushtun tribesmen disliked the Taliban. The government has used this anti-Taliban sentiment to support a campaign to shift blame to India, for the Taliban terrorism. The government, for example, is dropping pamphlets throughout the tribal territories, explaining how Indian intelligence agents are working with the Taliban to attack Pakistan. This is absurd, as the Taliban was invented by Pakistani intelligence (ISI) in the early 1990s. Since then, ISI has maintained contact with the Taliban. But the radicals within the Taliban moved the Islamic radicals towards an anti-government strategy, that resulted in a growing number of terror attacks on Pakistanis. The government is reluctant to dwell on this development.

The problem here is that the Pakistani leadership has been obsessed with India since the two nations were created out of British India in 1947. Pakistan was originally two widely separated areas; what is now Pakistan (then West Pakistan), and what is now Bangladesh (then East Pakistan). All the two "Pakistans" had in common was their Islamic religion. There were still more Moslems within India, but many prominent Moslems insisted on a separate Moslem state in the majority Moslem areas that are now Pakistan and Bangladesh.

By 1971, East Pakistan had rebelled (with some help from India) and broke away to form Bangladesh (which gets along with India much better than Pakistan.) Naturally, Pakistan blamed all its problems in Bangladesh on India, playing down the atrocities committed by soldiers from "West Pakistan" and unhappiness, in "East Pakistan" with the dominating attitude of "West Pakistan."

In response to the loss of Bangladesh, Pakistan (as West Pakistan was renamed) turned to Islamic radicalism. In the 1980s, this led to a terrorism campaign in India, as a tactic to drive non-Moslems out of Kashmir, and make the region part of Pakistan. That failed, and the Islamic radicals turned on Pakistan. But Pakistan blames it all on India. Not all Pakistanis believe the "India did it" theory, but key members of the ruling class either do, of find that attitude politically useful. India and the United States find this "blame India" angle absurd and counterproductive. But many Pakistanis cling to it, feeling more comforted by paranoid fantasies, than by the hard grind of reality.

 

 


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