If you are one of those who feel outraged that a Washington-based Pew Research Centre survey shows that three in four Pakistanis think India is a bigger threat than the Taliban or al-Qaeda, you could be looking down the wrong barrel. Of course, India is a bigger threat. And likewise, we feel that Pakistan is a bigger threat than the other two gentle outfits mentioned. Because with our wild-eyed brothers in al-Qaeda and the Taliban, what you see is what you get and don’t you think that is a whole lot easier to deal with?
Take the recent foreign minister-level talks between S.M. Qureshi and S.M. Krishna. First, there is all that welcome reception waste of time, the handshaking and inquiries about the family and, finally, thank heavens, a bit of hostility. But not before the old do-drop-in-again routine. Now say, tongue-tied Krishna or fork-tongued Qureshi were dropping in on the Taliban or al-Qaeda for a natter on peace. The welcome would be a gun salute, at the very least or a Stinger missile greeting, preferably aimed at the visiting party. If the caller got past that, there wouldn’t be any of that nonsense of incremental talks, it would be the Taliban brand of ‘my way or the highway to heaven’ diplomacy. “Ahmed, bring out the scimitar for the exalted dignitary to get a feel of how well we keep our armaments.”
This could serve to solve the problems between the two sides lickety split instead of all this yammering about confidence-building. One look at that blade and you’d be flooded with confidence and other feelings. Our only regret is that we have been led up the Khyber Pass by so-called experts calling for the need for greater incremental engagement. If they had seen the light earlier, we could have had a happy celebration in Tora Bora, had a bit of a blast and ended it all in a blaze of glory.