Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"There is no such thing as an independent (Kashmir/Muslim/What-Have-You)!"

As I have always said, in any situation where a duopoly (or any other small, finite, number of players) rules the roost, the thing that most scares the folks that own the "market" is the possibility that someone might wise up to the idea that they can operate outside of their control. Whether it is the US two party system; or our college days in Pakistan when the ethnic militants and the Islamist militants ruled our campus at the point of a gun, anything that showed any promise was often greeted with a very loud "Listen; you just can't survive as an independent."

And as my brother's favourite political quotation goes "Don't believe anything until it has been officialy denied." Here's the official denial that Kashmir can go it alone:

Don't get me wrong; I am very patriotic Pakistani and avidly for peace between the two wonderful countries I and my wife belong to. But as I have said before, anyone or anything that reminds me of those Kalashnikov-toting Jamat-e-Islami activists or equally earnest representatives of my own ethnic organization that tried to shut down our efforts to organize concerts and the like at NED University in Karachi just rubs me the wrong way. There's gotta be a better way of convincing the Kashmiris you love them and will do best by them.

Though you do have to give Gen. Musharraf credit for being honest about why and independent Kashmir is not a possibility.

[A version of this has also been published on the Pakistan Futures blog.]

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