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June 5, 2001
Tackle Mr Hyde, not Mush Musharraf
More than a month before he sets foot on our soil, our press has begun to put out those soft, human-interest stories about him. News of General Musharraf's acceptance of Vajpayee's invitation was, for instance, accompanied by a front-page box item about how keen Musharraf is to see his old home in Delhi where he was born and spent his first ten years or so. Not content with this bit of nostalgia, The Times of India carried, on an inside page, a five-column present-and-past piece on the general's home, complete with a photo of that haveli in Daryaganj. The oozing, sugary warmth of the Indian welcome has truly commenced.
Simultaneously, a popular English weekly told us "Kashmiri leaders feel that Musharraf is a decent and reasonable man."
We are sure to get more of this mush Musharraf in days to come. We will be reminded of how the Pak general is a family man replete with a pet dog in tow. It will be recalled how, poor chap, his golf handicap had increased because of the strain of managing the jehadis and other affairs of state. His "yearning" for peace will be linked with to his oft-expressed willingness for talks with India "any time, any place, any level". His humility will be linked to his statement that he regards Vajpayee as the elder statesman whom he is willing to salute a second time. "Wah wah, what a fine man" it will be reiterated by those senior journalists and Track II operators who have enjoyed his hospitality in Muzzafarabad or Islamabad and been charmed by his exterior.
All this will not be for the first time in history that we mindless Indians will have exposed our lack of homework in assessing men and matters. For, make no mistake, the Dr Jekyl that many in our media have tended to paint is a Mr Hyde we have never bothered to look for beyond his Kargil caper.
Below is General Pervez Hyde's mini-profile stitched up from the painstaking research of B Raman, retired additional secretary, government of India, who runs the South Asia Analysis Group and who is director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.
1. He was twice punished in the Pak Army for indiscipline and insubordination
It is the above General Musharraf that Prime Minister Vajpayee will have to tackle after he's done with all his Islamic salutations to honour his guest. Vajpayee will be mistaken in believing that all the Ghalib and Iqbal quotes he renders will win over "the butcher of Kargil" to yield even a micro-milimeter on his demand for the whole of the Kashmir Valley on the basis of the oft-repeated basis of "the wishes of the people".
In the first place, there was no need at all for Vajpayee to have taken his bold "initiative" and made his grandstanding "gesture" of inviting Pak for talks. However, having done that, there is no need whatsoever for him to indulge himself further in his idealistic hopes of sharing peace and prosperity with Pakistan. Instead, he should forthwith do three things that must be transformed into slide presentations for Musharraf to digest before he goes off to Daryaganj or the Taj or wherever during his sojourn in our country's capital.
Firstly, vis-à-vis India's complaint to the UN Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter regarding Pakistan's illegal invasion of J&K in October 1947, Vajpayee should instruct his external affairs ministry to confirm that
The second exercise Vajpayee must do is to meet with Dr A S Anand, author of the book titled The Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir -- Its Development & Comments (Universal Law Publishing Co, Delhi) that is currently in its third, 1998, edition, but that has, sadly, been ignored in debates on J&K. Vajpayee must fully understand from him, our present Chief Justice, as to why the J&K Constitution, 1957, is an internationally valid legal document, why it represents the will of the people of J&K, and why its provision (Section 3) proclaiming that "The State of Jammu and Kashmir State is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India" is irrevocable in view of that Constitution's Section 147 prohibiting amendment of section 3.
Thirdly, Vajpayee should meet with B Raman and understand from him the statistics showing that
Indeed, if Vajpayee can spend half the time with Raman as he spends at every Iftar party, he will grasp how India is up against two armies in Pakistan -- the regular one and the Islam one that Musharraf refuses to rein in -- and how every government servant in Pakistan is, after their country's humiliation in 1971, emotionally committed to his national and patriotic duty of tearing apart J&K from the rest of India.
Then, maybe, Vajpayee will understand the critical urgency of evolving a truly pan-India policy that will shake us all up as never before and nurture in our blood a single-minded devotion to our national cause.
Yes, Vajpayee must realise that lifting a concilatory hand is an "initiative" all right, but the inability to do anything beyond that is apt to be labelled as incompetence, if not impotency.
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