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On Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif, Kashmir and India

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An abbreviated version of the following letter is the first published in =
The Statesman of February 1 2000.  If IPI puts it on its website as is, =
I shall mention to the Statesman that their readers should refer to the =
IPI website for the full version of the letter.

The Editor, The Statesman, Statesman House,=20

Chowringhee Place, Calcutta.

January 20, 2000

Subject: The Implosion of Pakistan=92s Polity

Dear Sir:

Your January 17 2000 report that Nawaz Sharif may be charged with being =
a RAW agent is disconcerting for what it says about the mental state of =
Pakistan=92s rulers. Pakistan=92s elite remain self-deluded to this day =
in seeing the emergence of Bangladesh as one big RAW plot. By "RAW" is =
meant not so much the organisation by that name (whose competence would =
hardly extend to such degree) but rather a thinly disguised racist =
euphemism for "Hindu cunning". In this context, the following record may =
be of interest and may also assist Mr. Sharif=92s defence against =
trumped up charges he may well have to face in some kangaroo court.

An interdisciplinary project on Pakistan=92s political economy was begun =
at the University of Hawaii in 1986 by myself, then a young faculty =
member there, and my colleague William E. James, then of the East West =
Center. Zia ul Haq was in power and Benazir Bhutto had not yet returned =
from exile. James and I searched widely among top scholars of Pakistan =
all over the world and finally commissioned several to write on =
different historical, political and economic subjects concerning =
Pakistan. Our authors included the historian Francis Robinson, the =
economist Shahed Javed Burki, as well as the present regime=92s High =
Commissioner to Britain, the sociologist Akbar S. Ahmed. (Dr Ahmed=92s =
ideas for the Jinnah movie arose from that occasion precisely.) These =
authors and other scholars like Hamza Alvi were brought together by us =
in June 1989 in Hawaii. This volume of work came to fruition at =
considerable cost to myself, and was published by Sage and OUP Karachi =
in 1992 to good reviews worldwide under the title Foundations of =
Pakistan=92s Political Economy: Towards an Agenda for the 1990s. In 1993 =
Moin Qureshi, one of Pakistan=92s most respected civil servants and a =
former caretaker Prime Minister, received a copy from me in Washington. =
He did not tell me I was a cunning Hindu. Rather he congratulated me for =
having put together an all-star cast. In 1994, James handed a copy to =
one of Nawaz Sharif=92s closest advisers. And indeed Nawaz Sharif =
started almost to quote in his speeches in the run-up to the 1994 =
election and afterwards from the Introduction to the book that had been =
written by myself and James.=20

We, as economists, had decried the enormous drain of resources by both =
Pakistan and India as a result of their mutual antagonism, which had =
enriched none except small elites of both countries as well as foreign =
arms=92 merchants. We used game theory to suggest Partition had been a =
deep but explicable tragedy. We used Ayesha Jalal=92s biography of =
Quad-I-Azam Jinnah to suggest he needed historical rehabilitation. We =
concluded that without a genuine reconciliation, which necessarily would =
entail mutual reductions of military expenditures, there was no way =
forward for either country.=20

I have subsequently put it forward, e.g. at the Heritage Foundation in =
Washington D. C. in July 1998, that the only long-term diplomatic and =
political resolution of our problems rests in the formula "Common =
Defence, Common Market, Common J & K", in that sequential order, =
stretching perhaps over a decade or more. On the Indian side, it will =
require establishing firmly that Islam can fully, genuinely, and without =
hindrance flourish in modern India in coexistence with India=92s other =
faiths. On the Pakistani side, it will require recognition that there is =
no real raison d=92etre for that country=92s enormous militarization =
other than the selfish interests of the military. Most Pakistanis, other =
than the Pukhtoon and Baluch, have Hindu origins though they may not =
wish to admit it; thus hatred of Hindus becomes to some extent =
self-hatred. Such hatred cannot be a proper basis for defining a =
constructive Pakistani identity or an Islamic identity in the modern =
subcontinent. If General Musharraf wishes to go down in history as a =
great leader of Pakistan and the subcontinent (rather than just another =
Ayub, Yahya, Tikka or Zia), he would free Nawaz Sharif and then proceed =
to reach out to Mr. Vajpayee on the basis of the formula given above.=20

Yours faithfully

Subroto Roy, PhD(Cantab.)

Professor, Vinod Gupta School of Management

IIT Kharagpur, India 721 302.

Email: sroy@vgsom.iitkgp.ernet.in.=20

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