OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

After decades of distrust and blaming each other for fueling militancy, Indian and Pakistani officials began their Joint Terrorism Institutional Mechanism for the first time in Islamabad. Hinting at involvement of elements based across the border in Samjhauta Express blasts, India today handed over to Pakistan a photo of a suspected Pakistani national believed to be involved in the terror attack and sought its cooperation in tracking him down. Also a photograph of an unclaimed body recovered from the site of the Mumbai train blasts on July 11 last year was also given to Pakistan with the expectation that Islamabad will help in identifying him. New Delhi is understood to have given more evidence of involvement of Pakistan-based terror groups in the blasts in Delhi, Hyderabad and Varanasi and attack on makeshift temple in Ayodhya. Pakistan, in turn, claimed nationalist rebels of Baluchistan and Sindh are being helped from across the border and handed over material in this regard to India.

Earlier Several media outlets had reported that India will not present “hard evidence” about terror attacks to Pakistan. At the two-day meeting, the Indian delegation is  led by the additional secretary (international organisations) in the ministry of external affairs (MEA). The over the weekend off the record media briefings saw a the government significantly lower expectations:

Though Pakistan is not going to take up these proposals kindly at this stage, we hope to initiate a dialogue over such issues which are quite important for investigation as well as deportation of criminals from each side

Coming to the Government’s aid was NDTV’s Barkha Dutt who has consistently toed the PMO’s on the Institutional Mechanism. In a piece titled “Railway Crossing” that appeared in the Hindustan Times, Barkha Dutt called the mechanism a “brave new experiment”. Offstumped was privy to a rare and unusually candid Barkha Dutt at a recent event where Barkha fashioned herself as treading a lonely path by taking unpopular causes and not conforming to established positions to the Right or to the Left. It appears that Ms. Dutt often confuses her naivette and muddled thinking with enlighetened non-conformism. How else is one to explain Ms. Dutt’s characterising India and Pakistan to be “on the same of the divide”, makes one wonder what that divide is ? Ms. Dutt’s muddled thinking knows no bounds when she characterizes the blasts on the Samjhauta Express as “the perfect rehearsal run” for this inaugural performance and a “powerful or poignant symbol of how terrorism is a common enemy”. Left to Ms. Dutt the immigration rules and border security should be thrown to the winds. She wants the governments “to have simply thrown open the gates at the Wagah border” and allowed all grieving relatives to walk across, “irrespective of visas and passports”. Ms. Dutt’s naive diarrohea carries on with all kinds of hairbrained suggestions but what takes the cake is Ms. Dutt’s caution to India, not Pakistan, to “chose its words carefully” and “not gloat” over Americans pouncing on Pakistan and her rationale

A weakened Pakistani State could end up meaning more power for the religious mafia

Wasnt that exactly the rationale offered up by the Bush Administration types since Collin Powell and his buddy Armitage made those famous post 9-11 calls to Musharraf. In a rather stinging blog on MSNBC.com’s Hardblogger Lt. Col Rick Francona provides some very interesting insights into how American opinion on Pakistan is finally getting a dose of reality after the Dick Cheney visit. Comparing Pakistan 2007 to Cambodia in 1970 Francona writes

Removing the Pakistan safe haven is critical to achieving success in Afghanistan and the larger global war on terror. At some point, the United States is going to tire of Pakistan’s seeming inability or apparent unwillingness to address the problem, and take it upon itself to resolve it, regardless of the risk to the longevity of the Musharraf government

So left to the likes of Barkha Dutt our National Interest ought to be subordinated to the sole object of preserving the Musharraf Regime. This is exactly what Offstumped had been warning all along. We will indulge Musharraf to our own peril.

Manmohan Singh admitted “past responses to terror were inadequate”, assured us that “it cannot be business as usual” and promised us “zero tolerance”. Then in Havana, in a smoke filled room of Cuban Cigars, he got carried away and mushy when he called Pakistan a “victim of terror” and announced that India and Pakistan would set up a Joint Terrorism Insitutional Mechanism. In media briefing after media briefing from Barkha Dutt to Vir Sanghvi the Prime Minister’s spin doctors sold us how this was the brighest and best idea to deal with Pakistan. Manmohan Singh went even further in some interviews to say “We cannot go to war, this is the best we can do”. 

Offstumped then posed the question – Apart from breaking the diplomatic logjam in Havana what really was the Prime Minister and his spineless coterie of bureaucratic advisors thinking when they struck the Joint Terrorism Mechanism deal with Pakistan ?

Barkha has provided the answer for us – They were thinking how best to preserve the Musharraf Regime ? 

Offstumped Bottomline: The Manmohan Singh Regime has shown neither the willingness nor the the ability to fight terror. The PMO’s spin doctors in the media have betrayed the thinking deep down within the Government on preservation of the Musharraf Regime at the cost of national security and fighting terror. One must not be too surprised if the Communists and their left leaning muddleheaded pals in the media in a perverse demonstration of their lop sided world view lobby against American pressure on Pakistan lest it hurt the Musharraf Regime.

Here is a topic for the likes of Barkha Dutt to write about – How come not a single terrorist attack in India was a Suicide Bombing while every recent one in Pakistan was ?

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