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«THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION Brookings Briefing THE IDEA OF PAKISTAN Moderator: STEPHEN P. COHEN Panelists: AKBAR AHMED, MARVIN WEINBAUM Wednesday, ...»

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years in the Reagan administration in the policy planning staff and there were a lot of issues we dealt with. And we kept on saying to ourselves, Afghan-related issues, Pakistan-related issues, well, let's just get through the crisis now, let the next administration deal with this. And one of the faults of the American system is that there's an enormous tendency to sort of not think beyond the next election. And Bush has four years in a row now to deal with these issues. He's got a team on board that's pretty well experienced, and I would hope that they stabilize the relationship with Pakistan and of course continue to build the relationship with India.

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profile, where it says "Type of Government," it has been modified to read "Parliamentary democracy." I would like to ask you how you interpret this.

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but it's not a parliamentary democracy. I think that--Khalid, I did say that--I guess you put it right--that the army can't run Pakistan but won't let anybody else run it either. And I think that's the central dilemma of Pakistan. I wrote about it in those terms in a book I wrote on the Pakistan army in 1985. Let me back up--I wrote a book on the Indian army that was read by President Zia. He invited me to come to Pakistan in 1978 and '79 and then 1980. And I spent a month or two months with the army itself, talking to people.

Really, it was an extraordinary experience for a professor. And I came to the conclusion in 1985, when the book was published, that, really, the army can't run Pakistan and won't let anybody else do it either. There had to be a phased-stage withdrawal of the army from politics.

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and, you know, they're very distrustful of the civilians. And I point out in the book as well as in personal conversations, well, of course they're not competent, you don't give them a chance to learn their job. And I always felt that the army really should take advantage of Pakistan's federal system, in a sense allow things to happen in different parts of the country which may be different and really allow the politicians to grow and to learn their profession. The politicians have their problems, obviously, but I think that in the long run going through the Pakistan Military Academy, the Staff College, the War College, and Defense University there doesn't equip you to run a country. It equips you to do other things, but not run a country.

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way of getting itself out of politics, out of the economy, out of the social life of the country. The problem is that in recent years it's embedded itself further in the economy in particular. And my hope is that--"hope"; hope is not a policy, but hope is something worth having. My hope is, expectation is that if the detente with India continues, then the army will find that one of its major jobs is diminished in importance, and that is defending the country against India. So a normalization of the relationship between India and Pakistan could give the army an opportunity to extract itself to some degree from politics.

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States, and a growth of political parties in Pakistan really leading to a normal Pakistan five, six, seven years from now. Musharraf has said that he would stay as president for another term, and I find that an acceptable condition. But in that term of office--it's going to be five years or so--he really should the parties to reactivate themselves, especially the mainstream parties. And I think then you will find, as we've known in the past from all the previous elections, that the radical Islamists and the Islamist parties are actually a very tiny minority of Pakistanis. They don't get many votes. And if you allow the mainstream parties--the PML, the PPP--to campaign freely and operate freely, the do garner a lot of votes.

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Pakistan's security problem is at least manageable and that this allows them to withdraw from politics. Because they simply don't trust the politicians when it comes to foreign and security policy. That's why I'm not too upset over this national security council-that General Karamat proposed, in fact, and was fired because of that--because I think bringing the army in in the short run allows you to get out in the long run.

QUESTIONER: Henry Sokolski with the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center.

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about this panel is that there a Jew and someone who is in dialogue about Mr. Pearl.

Some people have told me--I don't know if it's true, but there are a lot of anti-Semites in Pakistan. Now, they may not be in the elite, or they may be in the elite. But I was wondering, given your expertise, which is unique on this panel, some people say that a secular state is one that is not particularly anti-Semitic. You know, the Jewish question has been running through the thread of history for secular states. Let's think out 50 years. What are your thoughts on how much of a problem this is and, academically, what would you do for the educational system to steer Pakistan away from what some critics say is a problem?

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characterize Pakistan that way. I've worked in Pakistan for more than 35 years and I have never once had difficulty in that regard. Now, you can say not everybody recognizes your background. Obviously, something can become a problem if you make it a problem. But I think most Pakistanis are very well able to separate out those who may hold views on policies they don't agree with from what someone's faith is. I really believe that the heart of Pakistani thought here is not a fanatical view. Yes, it's held by some elements, particularly this Deobandi tradition, which happens to be much more virulently anti-Shiia than it is anti-Christian or Jew.





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Obviously, the Israel-Palestinian issue has taken on a higher profile recently, but that's in large part a function most recently of Iraq and it's been part of the larger phenomenon here of this view that somehow the United States has become anti-Islamic. I can perfectly well see that if some reasonably good settlement is reached between Israel and its Arab neighbors and the Palestinians, that Pakistan will have no trouble with this.

I think you heard General Karamat say--and indeed, it's very interesting.

Because after President Musharraf was here, and it was in this country that he said, I would like to open up a dialogue, a debate in Pakistan on the recognition of Israel.

When he went back, indeed a debate opened up. I was there at the time. And one might have thought this would have been closed down very quickly. Well, he kept his word.

There were articles over the news papers. And the remarkable thing was that they were very rational arguments. They were all based on what was in Pakistan's national interest. I didn't see in any of this dialogue here the emergence of any bitterness which would reflect anti-Semitism.

–  –  –

question because it reflects on the idea of Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah, who founded Pakistan, spent the first and only Christmas in Pakistan in a church with the Christian minority.

His famous statement was that "I would prefer to be the protector general of the minorities than the governor general of Pakistan." He was a man totally committed to understanding, to tolerance, to dialogue with the minorities.

–  –  –

Asia and Islam. This is something that you're imposing from the United States of America onto South Asia and Islam. And the reason is that, for South Asian Muslims, a Semite is an Arab who's also a brother Muslim. So when you say "anti-Semitism," it makes no sense to Muslims in South Asia. Indeed, there are tribes, many Pashtun tribes, and I can quote them to you, who have genealogical tables that trace their descent from the 13 Lost Tribes. They will say "we are descended from the Lost Tribes of Israel."

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makes little sense. It only makes sense in the context of the politics of the last decades.

When Pakistanis see Palestinians being killed, homes being destroyed, they become very emotional. There's no doubt about it. As the ambassador said earlier, if this problem is resolved, and we pray it's resolved, that both are able to live in harmony, in dignity and peace as independent states, then you will see that Pakistanis will immediately cool off in terms of their what you call anti-Semitism--I would simply say "standing up for what they identify as some injustice happening in the Middle East."

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killed in Karachi, as we all know. We know that he was forced to say "I am a Jew" and killed after that in a really savage way. To me, that's more a failure at a certain level in Pakistan society, and you have to put it in that context. Karachi, where this happened, was the city where I grew up. In fact, Nagar [ph] here is a neighbor of ours in a certain part of Karachi. It was a very different Karachi when Pakistan was formed, a couple of hundred thousand people. Today it has a population of something like 15 million. So all the services are bursting at the seams--law and order, health, education. So you put an incident like that in that context. People are being killed whether they're Shiia, Suni, Christian, Jewish. It's simply a huge megacity finding it very difficult to cope. Because I find many gray areas around this whole episode of Danny Pearl and what was behind that. Anti-Semitism, as we understand it here in the West, I'm not so sure is one of the motivating factors.

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Islam, put it in that context. Look at it in the context of the culture of South Asia. Even the confrontation with Hinduism, which is a thousand years old, I pointed out in my brief presentation, resulted in synthesis and dialogue and understanding on so many fronts, where there was a merger in terms of ideas, culture, even intellectual fusion. We have the great scholar Professor I.J. Singh sitting here, and he'll confirm that Sikhism itself is a synthesis between Hinduism and Islam. And that also is a very strong tradition of South Asia and Islam.

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some army guys. And they said, well, you know, a lot of Pakistan's problems are caused by the Jewish lobby in Washington, or the Israelis or something. I said, "I'm Jewish," and they say, Oh. There was sort of a silence. And they said, well, at least you're People of the Book--you know, part of the Abrahamic tradition. Unlike those Hindus, you know. And, you know, there are problems with that.

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in my first book, The Pakistan Army, there was a discussion of the comparison of Israel and Pakistan, two states founded on the basis of religious premise. And the book was banned by Zia. He apologized to me. He said, "Professor, we have to ban your book because we Muslims are sensitive about this issue." And then he eventually lifted the ban just before he died. He also said about me, he said, "Well, that's a pretty good book for a Jew."

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had a long discussion about religion and professionalism. He said--see, and I think Zia represents not the extreme Islamist view, but an Islamist view, sort of a little bit off to that edge from the center of Pakistani opinion. He said that, "Well, you can be a good physicist or chemist or soldier or professor, but you're better if you believe deeply in religion." And I think he was thinking of Dr. AQ Khan, frankly, at that time. That was that period.

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three countries that were formed as homelands were a persecuted religious minority.

Actually, there were four, counting Bosnia. One was Israel, of course, for obvious reasons. The second was Pakistan, the Indian Muslims who felt they couldn't live as minority among Indian Hindus. And the third was the United States. It was formed as a--really, it became a refuge for persecuted Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, from Great Britain. In a sense, we all share the problem of that identity and also the problem of reconciling our religious roots with the problem of governance and secularism, or governing our lives and protection of minorities by other than religious criteria.

–  –  –

in this at all. I think their major problem, as Akbar said, is inter-Islamic struggles between Sunis and Shiias, let alone the Ahmadias, who were simply outlawed as Muslims in Pakistan.

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side and the Pakistani side there's a question of what you learn in school books is what you become. What little I've read suggests that there's a large lacuna in Pakistani textbooks. I mean, there's the Buddhist period and the Muslims come in 900, and then there's a vast gap. I suspect--I haven't seen Indian textbooks--I suspect some of them the BGP recently tried to change.

–  –  –

hey, this is a bad thing, we really--I know there are some NGOs working in India are saying, hey, this is really where our future lies, is to confront our history honestly.

Because I think that, too, is a web that will weave our two countries together.

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up in our respective cultures, looking at each other through that particular filter of historical prejudice. I gave the example of these three figures. And I wasn't being frivolous, because in India I did see how these three figures are viewed and seen. Just the fact that any incident that takes place in Pakistan, even today in spite of the detente, in spite of the thaw, which we all pray continues, if there's an incident in Qatar, bombs go off, or an incident in India, the people of Pakistan will immediately pick this up.

They may not say it too loudly these days, but they will say the Indian security agencies are always behind this. In India, I felt that anytime there was anything was happening, whether the monsoons were late, whether they lost a cricket match, they would say the ISI is to blame for this.

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