Mani Shankar Aiyar's rude intro to Pak jihadi hatred
Mani Shankar Aiyar, who wears his bleeding heart liberalism for all things Pakistan on his sleeve, found himself in a combative situation with Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba
Mani Shankar Aiyar, who wears his bleeding heart liberalism for all things Pakistan on his sleeve, found himself in a combative situation with an unlikely panelist when he appeared as the guest of a television channel in Islamabad on Thursday.Currently on a private visit to Pakistan, Aiyar perhaps reckoned it would be sweetness and sunshine all the way, given his reputation as a "friend of Pakistan". But he had not counted on the fact that the host of the news program would invite Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who founded the Lashkar-e-Taiba and masterminded the November 2008 Mumbai terror attack (and now heads the Jamaat-ud-Dawah, which fronts for the baned LeT) to be his fellow panelist.
If that visibly bothered him, Saeed's hate-filled rantings against India rankled even more. Saeed said that he disfavoured the grant of Most Favoured Nation trading status to India, given that there many unresolved issues between the two countries, including - ahem! - Kashmir.
Saeed then accused India of not being serious about resolving problems with Pakistan - and said that Indians in general were reluctant to acknowledge the very existence of Pakistan.
Aiyar counterjected to claim that he accepted Pakistan "one lakh per cent". Even that mathematical stretch didn't seem adequate, so Aiyar said India did not want Pakistan to be split up or be destroyed. "We want Pakistan to be strong, prosperous and we want friendship with Pakistan. We want to face the world shoulder-to-shoulder with Pakistan and not oppose each other."
Aiyar then claimed that Saeed was part of a "small group" that opposed better ties with India, whereas in fact ordinary people in Pakistan wanted relations between the two countries to grow.
"There are," he said, "some persons like Hafiz Saeed in our country who do not want things to move forward but thankfully the ordinary people want our ties to improve. We can improve our relations irrespective of what his (Saeed's) opinion is."
Watch the episode on YouTube:
But the point, Mr Aiyar, is that those who oppose normalisation of relations with Pakistan have a very small expectation of Pakistan: stop sending terrorists into India and setting off bombs in our cities. Give up your blood lust for Kashmir, and your patronage of jihadi snakes that are now turning on their own masters in Pakistan.
And unlike Saeed, those in India who want normalisation of relations to be put off until Pakistan meets these elementary conditions don't, in the meantime, send suicide bombers to be blown up in Pakistani cities.
Your equating of Saeed with those in India who disfavour normalisation of relations with Pakistan until it renounces sponsorship of jihadi violence is thus patently absurd. It is precisely because of people like Saeed that peace talks with Pakistan don't make any sense.
And unlike Saeed, who enjoys state patronage even as he conducts his terror campaigns in Pakistan, those in India who oppose bleeding-heart peacenik normalisation with Pakistan of the sorts you seek don't enjoy state patronage - and are in fact perennially vilified (including by you).
Perhaps now that you've seen the enemy, tugged at his beard and experienced first-hand the depths of his jihadi hatred, you'll feel differently about those who don't exactly share your "one lakh percent" ebulliance about pandering to Pakistan.
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