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LectureHop – Pakistan-India: What’s Next?

Looking to get his fill of international conflict, Kashmir Bureau Chief Mark Hay grabbed a chair in the Satow Room last night for “Pakistan-India: What’s Next?”

November 26 will mark a somber anniversary – one year since the coordinated terrorist attacks of the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba ripped through the Indian city of Mumbai, paralyzing both nations for several days. And just like that, after several years of improved relations – cooperation on anti-terror issues, relaxations on border controls – the India-Pakistan debacle was back in the news. Since the relative silence after the Kargil War of 1999, observers had all hoped that what some had called the most dangerous conflict on earth would just fizzle out and die.

Fat chance, as it turns out. So it was in memory, in fear, and in a tenacious spirit of hope that the Organization of Pakistani Students and the massive pan-South Asian club Zamana convened a panel of experts last night to discuss the vital question of “Pakistan-India: What’s Next?”

The night started strong with a Pakistani narrative of the situation, as Harvard’s Dr. Hassan Abbas rejected the standard spiel of intractable differences, misplaced blame, historical baggage, and the impossibility of solving the vital issue of Kashmir. Rather, Abbas noted the extreme changes in the nations’ relationship as early as four or five years after the Kargil War – a shift incited by the lessening of communications restrictions, the common threat of terror, and the good job Pakistan has done investigating the Mumbai attacks – and suggested that such internal problems and increased understanding of the other side has led to Pakistan’s desire for peace. Ultimately, in Abbas’ view, India can and should trust the new Pakistan.

Columbia’s own Professor Philip Oldenburg then chimed in to agree that the progress of the past decade has driven Pakistan towards a much more conciliatory note, and that perhaps it is mainly the nation’s stale military and Foreign Service apparatuses that distort these gentle and knowing gestures. Oldenburg also noted India’s relative success when compared to Pakistan due in part to its recent alignments with the U.S. over nuclear issues, and wondered whether India had not been put in too dominant a position for peace to be reached.

Next, the venerable Dr. Saeed Shafqat, an adjunct professor at SIPA, mused that perhaps a larger issue to consider is that the subjects relevant to peace negotiations have shifted tremendously – away from Kashmir and the historical background, and towards the more pressing matters of the present day. In particular, Shafqat reflected on the inorganic presence of the U.S. in peace talks, the increasingly troublesome issues of water on the subcontinent, and India’s heightened focus on future conflicts with China as opposed to Pakistan. So regardless of slight variations between their viewpoints, the three men all agreed that Pakistan has undergone a paradigm shift, is trustworthy, and not only needs but also desperately wants peace.

And to this, the final speaker – Manish Thakur, CEO of Hudson Fairfax Group and director of the U.S.-India Institute, a think tank devoted to security and economic relations between the two nations – merely said pishaw. From his Wall Street vantage, Thakur noted foremost that while Pakistan wants to solve border issues with India before commencing trade, India wants to start trading before solving the border issues. Pakistan, however, will probably have to admit defeat here, as its military buildup pushes it ever towards bankruptcy and India appears to be rapidly losing interest.

To Thakur, the question is not one of how do we end animosities so much as how Pakistan will “maintain [its] survival as a country … when [it is] ripping itself apart?” Thakur also pointed out (to much noise from the audience) that as long as Pakistani military commanders draw a line between “good terrorism” and “bad terrorism,” there will be no ground on which Pakistan can settle, and there will certainly be no chance for peace.

As one might have expected from such bold statements, the question and answer portion of the event devolved quickly into a conversation with Thakur (it didn’t hurt that he was clearly the most talented speaker of the night). The audience fired at him primarily for his comments that Pakistan should pursue deals before a full resolution on Kashmir, and for his insistence that India is not instigating violence in Baluchistan, Waziristan, or any other trouble region; one student responded with such a vigorous and prolonged counterattack that the flustered moderator had to figure out how to cut him off, as various wide-eyed organizers at the back of the room made a strange dance of chopping motions. But Thakur responded evenhandedly, saying that he wasn’t suggesting the speaker abandon “your passions,” but instead that “you should not allow one issue to halt the development of your nation wholesale.” The other panelists did get the chance to slip in a comment or two, but it was mostly to offer a soft-footed and vague reiteration of their main points, and possibly to poke at a different vantage just lightly enough so as to avoid the wrath of Thakur.

Perhaps last night did exactly what the first three speakers would have liked – increased the dialogue and understanding between the actual people on both sides, and not just the big cheeses. Perhaps not. Bwog noticed that for the first half of the event, one could distinctly hear the muffled grunts and slams of a martial arts class in practice. The second half was flavored by what sounded like a rather pained and misplaced sing-along wafting through the too thin but aggravatingly impassable wall. It is impossible to tell if anything truly profound and symbolic can be made from that background, but it seemed at the time to summarize the event perfectly – veiled, faint, confusing, but absolutely scintillating.

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  • "pakistan", says:

    @"pakistan", “afghanistan”, and “bangladesh” are India’s. Look at the sad state of those savage nations in the hands of muslim barbarians. All three of them flourished under Hindus and Buddhists. The US should cut all aid to Pakistan and allow India to crush it.

    1. troll. says:

      @troll. do not feed, etc.

    2. wow says:

      @wow there are so many ways to respond to your three sentences that I do not know where to start. Perhaps not even addressing your racist and uninformed statement would suffice.

    3. I AGREE!!!! says:


  • well says:

    @well saying you’re not addressing it… is addressing it.

    1. Purple says:

      @Purple Monkey Dishwasher. Purple Monkey Dishwasher. Blue Gorilla Dryer. Grape Ape Fan.

  • i think says:

    @i think thakur should just suck my dick.

  • so.. says:

    @so.. I like how this dialogue and the audience (most likely full of OPS tools) has basically absolved Pakistan of all blame for Nov 26th. What paradigm has changed exactly? It has been less than 365 days since Pakistan indirectly / directly orchestrated the events of 26/11, subsequently claimed that the terrorists were not Pakistani, have since failed to arrest members of the LeT and the Jamaat-e-Dawa, and has failed to take any action against the perpetrators of the attacks and dismantled the links between the ISI.

    It is only now that Pakistanis, having gotten a taste of their own medicine, are waking up to the havoc that terrorism can wreak on civilian life. There is basically no evidence that India has sponsored any unrest in Baluchistan/Waziristan, but frankly I’m not sure why they don’t retaliate with exactly the same kind of shit Pakistan has been doing to them for years.


  • INDIA says:


    1. this says:

      @this could only be a Paki

  • KASHMIR says:


  • so... says:

    @so... commenters 9 and 12 are the same person. discuss?

    1. well says:

      @well what can i say, it looks like thakur gives good head so why not? DESTROY THEM PAKI PIGS

  • India says:

    @India has committed heinous human rights violations in kashmir for the last 20 yrs.

    1. Pakistan says:

      @Pakistan on the other hand is a shining example to humanity. Please keep assassinating your leaders and replacing them with their family members, bombing your own hotels, keeping your girls out of schools and under veils, gravitating towards Shari’a law/ a Caliphate, getting IMF bailouts, and pretending that this isn’t the product of your own doing.

      Carry on, noble nation, carry on.

  • It's not racist says:

    @It's not racist Pakis and Bengalis are pretty much the same race as Indians. They just have some mongol and turk blood due to their ancestors being raped. You might say that it is “religiousist”, but Islam isn’t a religion. It’s a cult of death, polygamy, and oppression.

    1. ... really? says:

      @... really? cult of death, polygamy, and oppression? … really? come on, man. that’s all I’ve got to say.

      1. How says:

        @How The truth of of Islam’s foulness is obvious if anyone takes the time to read about it.

        Muhammad, the ideal man of Islam, was a murdering polygamist slave owning pedophile.
        All of those statements are facts. They can be found in the Haditha.

        “The militant Muslim is the person cutting the head of the infidel while the moderate muslim holds the victims feet.”-Marco Polo

        1. Geert Wilders fan, eh? says:

          @Geert Wilders fan, eh? Well, I’m not going to fight you on this, because you’re set in your views. That’s fine. I will just say that it is NOT obvious to anyone who takes the time to read about it. I’ve read the sahih hadith and some of the da’if as well. I’ve read the Qu’ran. I draw different conclusions, and the vibrancy of fiqh declarations in the shariah traditions, and the multiplicity of schools of Islamic jurisprudence … Shafi, Hanafi, Hanbali, etc., not to speak of the Shi’a variability … should be enough to dispel the notion that hadith says any 1 thing. and could I really not turn around and make some strange and hateful accusations to any other religion based on their holy texts – highly poetic, harshly translated things that they are? I dare say I could even made a very harsh case against my own religion. Doesn’t make it the truth of the matter though. Please don’t act like you know the truth of the matter.

  • some quotes says:

    @some quotes from the Koran, the “holy’ (according to Obama) book of the religion of peace, freedom, and equality:

    “Blessed are the believers…who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)…These are the heirs of Paradise…” (Surah 23:1-5-)

    Qur’an 2:191 “And kill them wherever you find and catch them. Drive them out from where they have turned you out; for Al-Fitnah (polytheism, disbelief, oppression) is worse than slaughter.”

    “Forbidden to you are…married women, except those you own as SLAVES.” (Surah 4:20-, 24-)

    “Try as you may, you cannot treat ALL your wives impartially.” (Surah 4:126-)

    “Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends.” (Surah 5:51)

    “Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God’s religion shall reign supreme.” (Surah 8:36-)

    “It ill becomes the idolaters [non-Muslims] to visit the mosques of God…” (Surah 9:17)
    Funny how muslims demand entry to our countries yet they won’t let us visit Mecca.

    “Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]…until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.” (Surah 9:27-)

    “You shall not force your slave-girls into prostitution in order that you make money, if they wish to preserve their chastity.” (Surah 24:33-)

    1. you will forgive says:

      @you will forgive that I don’t have my Quran nearby, but let’s go through this:
      on the topic of slavery, this is a recognition and regulation of an evil of the institution. the quran actually extols abstinence as the preferable action and also calls for manumuission whenever possible – the freeing of slaves. I believe the tradition holds that the first generation freed somewhere near 40,000 slaves. Sadly, sexual abuse is part of slavery and slavery was part of life, but the Quran at least offered basic human rights and rules of conduct with slaves – a step up – and in fact encourages their freedom and respect and equality. So there’s no impetus to resume slavery and actually it would be considered halal. And then in the case of hadith, several hadith exist for the case of taking slaves in war that forbid the sexual abuse of those captured – itself the origin of the somewhat interesting practice of temporary marriage. Whether that tradition still holds is highly debatable.
      For the polygamy part, it’s actually not enforced to be a polygamist and it’s actually discouraged if you cannot make an attempt to treat wives equally and borderline illegal if you can’t support multiple wives. the wives also have the option of leaving the husband if they disapprove of a new wife or if they feel themselves mistreated. this is not to say that it’s all sunshine and roses for women, but that polygamy is not a necessity and is in fact discouraged in many occasions and women have rights of action in this situation. Actually there’s a great hadith by Aisha about this – yeah, Aisha.
      As for what you say on Jews and Christians, might I break out the old factoid that the People of the Book policy treated Jews better than they were under Christian nations? Actually there are hadith and suras that allow Muslims to enter into contracts with non-believers, to co-exist with them, and especially to tolerate and embrace those who abide by the laws of the Old and New Testaments. The most harsh rulings are actually directed against specific groups of Jews and Christians – at the time waging wars against the nascent Islamic nation – who broke their contracts, warred with Islam, and/or failed to follow the laws of their own traditions. It’s not great, but it’s not universal and actually there’s a lot of leeway that is more frequently practiced for good relations with non-Muslims. Especially monotheists. What you translate as idolaters is more often translated as Pagans, or polytheists – they who join multiple gods with Allah, so there’s actually no Quranic justification to keep monotheists out of mosques, although the Maliki school does take it that way. However, I believe, it’s only the peninsula and Morocco that takes that approach right now and the interpretation varies. Generally anyone is allowed into a mosque so long as they do not eat or sleep there. And yes, there was originally a tax on non-Muslims, just like there was a tax in the early American republic of non-Anglicans to support the state church in Virginia and similar laws in other portions of the nation. There’s scriptural justification for both but interpretations of hadith in Islam and of other traditions in Christianity have allowed these practices to fall out of favor. Did I miss anything?

      Oh, for the sake of full disclosure, I am a Buddhist. I recite the three jewels and follow closely the five precepts and keep in mind always the eightfold path. I love the Pali Sutra. From it, though, I can say this:
      Buddha was a sexual deviant, a murderer, and a misogynist. Buddhism is a sexist religion and anarchical, harmful to society and inherently dangerous. Buddhism rejects the sanctity of marriage and the rule of law. Sound peaceful and capable of running a nation now?
      That’s all from the Sutras, but I can explain all of that away just as easily.

      1. correction says:

        @correction I meant halal to support the abolition of slavery. To clarify.

        1. wow says:

          @wow it makes me smile when i see people write essays in bwog to refute islamophobic comments. i used to do that as a freshie till one day i realised that there really wasn’t any point in ‘educating’ people who copy/paste soundbites from the quran and pretend to be some sort of scholar. you can take any quote of any one and twist it to suit what you believe in. anyway, a star for your effort but trust me there really is no point.

          1. yeah, I know says:

            @yeah, I know … but I’m procrastinating, what can I say? I guess it just feels like a potentially justifiable procrastination … ergo, essay.

  • All you says:

    @All you did was confirm that slavery, polygamy, and the murder of infidels (in your post polytheists rather than Christians/jews) are indeed present in Islam.

    You are right that Muhammad discouraged polygamy. He said that men should only take at most 4 wives (while he had 12).
    Don’t you think Aisha was traumatized after being raped and enslaved by a psychotic murderer who was waging war against his own countrymen? Clearly she was brainwashed.

    How could Islam support the abolition of slavery when its ideal man was a slave owner. That’s like a dad telling his kid that it’s good to be a vegetarian as he takes a bite out of a hamburger.
    Slavery is very much alive in the modern muslim world. Saudi Arabia didn’t abolish slavery until 1962! Look up Simon Deng, a Christian Sudanese man who was kidnapped and enslaved by northern sudanese muslims.
    As to muslims being kind to Christians and Jews: I hope you were joking. Muhammad personally ordered over 600 Qurayza Jews to be beheaded and their wives enslaved.
    Muhammad personally ordered the death of his former scribe, Ibn Abi Sarh, for the crime of leaving Islam. In fact the prophet (pbuh), the ideal man of the religion o peace, also ordered the deaths of 5 other people on that same occasion. How befitting of a holy prophet.
    To this day Christians are still being brutally murdered by muslims solely for being infidels. If you google “muslim beheading” you’ll find dozens of videos of Christians from America, Russia, Italy, UK, Korea, and Japan being brutally beheaded with dull knives by muslim Chechyns, Iraqis, Pakistans, and Afghanis. It’s not just Christians though, hundreds of muslims have been beheaded for committing the grievous sins of homosexuality or adultery. Perhaps most disgusting was the case of Yevgeny Rodionov, a Russian soldier kidnapped and tortured for three months and finally beheaded on his 19th birthday after he refused to remove his cross.

    Now, by the above quotations and accounts of Muhammad, the ideal man for muslims, it is clear that Islam itself is a vile cult of misogyny, oppression, and murder. It was created by Muhammad (pbuh) for the sole purpose of obtaining wealth, sex slaves, and power. It was spread by the sword from the very beginning (siege of Mecca) and it continues to survive by the sword (murder of Theo Van Gogh).
    So it is clear that the heart of the religion itself is vile and it continues to be a menace to the modern world. Islam is the only “religion” in the world that can boost this.
    Christians no longer murder in the name of religion. Moreover if one studies the Bible (the teachings of Jesus obviously outweigh Leviticus) one can only conclude that Christianity is a religion of peace.
    Judaism has some dark spots in its teachings, but Jews are a peaceful people. The only violence they deal out is in retaliation against muslim aggressors.
    Similarly, you say that Buddhism is not a clean religion itself, but you don’t see Buddhist blowing up buildings or beheading people. The only major violence done by modern Buddhists is a retaliation against, you guessed it, militant muslims in Thailand (Sri Lanka is a very isolated instance and appears to be more ethnic than religion, for instance the oppressed refer to themselves as Tamils rather than Hindus ).
    Similarly Hinduism may not be a perfect religion, but you don’t see Hindus killing non Hindus for no reason. The only major violence among Hindus is a retaliation against, as usual, militant muslims.

    In conclusion, we see that Islam is the only religion that is essentially saturated with evil, and whose modern adherents are still up to no good.

  • does anyone says:

    @does anyone know the next time “Bugsy Malone” is going to be aired on TV? I love those little kids acting like bigshots. it’s like watching Tiny Toons, or A Pup Named Scooby Doo

  • well says:

    @well This is not about Islam, so the Anti-Muslim bigot should please fuck off. Indian has the third largest Muslim population in the world and they are doing just fine.

    It’s the Pakistanis that are fucked, and it’s not a religious issue.

    1. Just says:

      @Just a few of the good deeds done in the name of the religion of peace (all these off the top of my head):

      Fort Hood: muslim terrorist soldier massacres 13 of his unarmed comrades.
      Arkansas Recruiting Station: muslim terrorist kills unarmed recruiter on his smoke break.
      Iraq: muslims bomb each other daily
      Xinjiang: Uyghurs go on stabbing rampages killing over one hundred Chinese Han
      9/11: over 2300 killed
      Mumbai: crazy muslim terrorist gunmen kill over 150
      Mumbai train bombings (2008): 209 were killed
      Madrid train bombings: kill 191
      London subway bombing: kill 56
      Bali bombings: kill 202
      Lockerbie bombing: kills 270
      US Cole bombed: 19 killed
      Kenya & Tanaznian embassies bombed: 212 (injur 4,000)
      Marine Barracks bombing: over 260 sleeping Marines killed
      Belsan school take over: muslim Chechens kill over 385 school children
      Russian apartment bomgings: Chechens kill 300
      Moscow theater hostage: 129 killed (over 700 injured)

      Now, how many Christian/Buddhist/Hindu/Jew terrorist attacks can you name?
      You’re in denial.

  • Hmm ... says:

    @Hmm ... “the teachings of Jesus obviously outweigh Leviticus”? Not if you’re Jewish, they don’t.

    1. That says:

      @That was obvoiusly regarding Christians.

      Jews were addressed later on.

  • STOP acting victimized says:

    @STOP acting victimized The forum was EXTREMELY biased towards the pakistani side, if I may say so, and it was completely ridiculous how pakistanis were crying about how india has created insurgency in balochistan when the fact of the matter is that pakistan has made COUNTLESS POLICY MISTAKES IN THAT PROVINCE, the most FAMOUS being Mr. NOT-SO-INTELLIGENT-Dictator Musharrafs decision to kill the most IMPORTANT tribal leader of Balochistan which caused so much unrest and ill-will for the pakistani cause in Balochistan. THAT IS the truth of the matter. Pakistanis trying to paint themselves as being victims (which, by the way, they have mastered the skill at that) of indian conspiracy in Balochistan is just funny.

    And the Kashmir issue and Mr. Taimur Malik bringing up how many people died in Kashmir the day before and the subsequent rebuttle by Mr. Thakur who put Mr. Malik in place by asking him if he knew how many people died in his beloved nation of pakistan was quite simply amazing. the bottom line from that is that pakistan needs to start having an inward looking policy rather than outward ,and constantly worrying and thinking about the impression of pakistan in the outside world. They should stop looking towards India, THEY ARE JUST NOT IN THE SAME LEAGUE. Pakistan is struggling to survive while india is celebrating 62 years of being a vibrant democracy. this seems to be a point understood by everyone but Pakistanis. Go figure.

    Finally, the girl who during the Q&A VERY IGNORANTLY (its a shame people like that go to Columbia) said that all Indians are ignorant (please note that this IS what she said and I’m not making it up, she generalized to this extent) of Pakistani affairs, and that pakistanis are NOT ignorant at all of Indian affairs, I’d like to say that pakistanis see the realities of India that THEY WANT TO SEE and respond in manners they find convenient and in their favor (as was seen in the forum that day where pakistanis came with all sorts of misconceptions). Furthermore she said she gets her information from Indian TV channels taht she gets in Pakistan… UM YEAH THATS BECAUSE PAKISTAN NEEDS TO GET ALL INDIAN CHANNELS SINCE THEY ARE SO DEPENDENT ON INDIA CULTURALLY, BE IT TV DRAMAS OR BOLLYWOOD SO ITS NATURAL THAT YOU FIND OUT MORE ABOUT INDIA THAN INDIANS DO OF PAKISTAN and please lets not talk about BANS- Pakistanis banned Indian channels as well during Musharrafs time and the Indian movies ban was removed only two or three years ago after years of restrictions. AND I’D ALSO LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT AS AN INDIAN I KNOW VERY WELL WHATS GOING ON IN PAKISTAN AND THERE IS NO IGNORANCE, LIKE SHE WANTS TO MAKE IT SEEM. I READ DAWN WHENEVER SOMETHING BIG HAPPENS IN PAKISTAN, TO GET A PAKISTANI PERSPECTIVE AND I AM UP TO DATE WITH SOUTH ASIAN AFFAIRS EVERYDAY. SO PLEASE, GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT OR START TALKING TO SMARTER PEOPLE AND GET RID OF ALL THESE VAST GENERALIZATIONS YOU LOVE TO MAKE.

    Pakistanis need to stop acting victimized all the time and take hold of their country. This attitude got them nowhere over the last 62 years. learn from it and start fixing yourselves.

    1. if there says:

      @if there was a “like” button next to your post, i’d click it repeatedly.

  • everyone says:

    @everyone who has posted in this topic is an asshole. for entering this discussion, i am not exempt

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