Politics / 06.07.2017

By Anjum Altaf Look at the map of Pakistan. The overwhelming length of its land border (92% of a total of 6,774 kilometers) is shared with three countries - India (43%), Afghanistan (36%), and Iran (13%). Pakistan has poor relations with each of these three neighbours. Has anyone seriously asked the two obvious questions: Why? And, At what cost? Before we jump on the moral high-horse and go into paroxysms of indignant self-righteousness, could we consider the following: When George Bush asks ‘Why do they hate us?’ and answers ‘Because we are so good,’ we marvel at his intelligence. When we proclaim the same, we want to be taken seriously? Surely, some self-reflection is in order. Point number one: When nobody likes you, the problem could very well be with you. At the very least, intellectual honesty demands one should be open to the possibility. Alright, there is a ready-to-serve narrative for...

Politics / 21.04.2011

By Anjum Altaf What exactly is India’s Pakistan policy? For years (decades, really) I have puzzled this over without being able to discern anything coherent. True, I am not privy to the inner councils of the Indian establishment but backward induction from observed actions does not seem to suggest I am grossly mistaken. The Pakistani establishment, by contrast, has a very clear India policy: keep the pot boiling, engineering an incident when needed; bleed by a thousand cuts with the bleeding outsourced to third parties; shore up domestic support by transforming education and information into indoctrination; and minimize public contact across borders to prevent any erosion of the mythology.
Behavior / 12.10.2009

Ibn-e Eusuf’s reference to the fable of Boris and Ivan to characterize one dimension of the relations between Pakistan and India (Pakistan’s Favorite Indians) has elicited comments trying to identify the sentiment implied by the characterization. Let me repeat the fable before attempting to address the comments. The Russian fable is about two poor peasants, Ivan and Boris. The only difference between them is that Boris has a goat and Ivan doesn’t. One day, Ivan comes upon a strange-looking lamp and, when he rubs it, a genie appears. She tells him she could grant him just one wish, and it could be anything in the world. Ivan says, “I want Boris’ goat to die.” 

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