- The Washington Times - Monday, July 29, 2002

In Friday's editorial “Clear and present danger in Pakistan,” The Washington Times misdiagnosed the cause of India-Pakistan tensions and proposed a solution namely greater British involvement that would have little or no effect on the situation.

Both The Times' editorial board, and some sections of the Bush administration, go to great lengths to avoid saying the Pakistani military sponsors terrorists that target Indian civilians. Since Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf announced his latest “crackdown” and promised to permanently end infiltration across the line of control, more than 100 civilians have been killed in Kashmir. If this many people die with Gen. Musharraf cooperating, what does The Times believe non-cooperation yields? Your own editorial states that Pakistani Pashtuns are fighting in Kashmir, hence debunking Pakistan's assertion that all the groups are indigenous Kashmiris fighting for freedom. As these foreigners cross the line of control, who supplies them with machine guns, grenades and plastic explosives?

As for a British role, the curt reception that Foreign Secretary Jack Straw received in New Delhi should demonstrate that the Indians see no role for outside mediation. Considering the British still haven't managed to settle the problems in Northern Ireland, the last thing they are qualified to do is mediate in Kashmir, a problem they helped create in their poorly planned and executed partition of the subcontinent in 1947.

The Times is correct in stating that a war between India and Pakistan would be devastating for the region and the Unites States' hunt for al Qaeda. But pressure has to be applied on Pakistan to rein in its terrorists, not on India to defend itself.


KUNAL BHAUMIK

Washington


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