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(ISBN: 81-7049-134-7)

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In a bold departure from conventional thinking on the subject, the author presents an exciting blueprint for the Resurgence of Pakistan from a terrorism sponsoring state to a dynamic and responsible member of the comity of nations. In a veritable tour de force he demonstrates that ‘fundamentalism’ has a limited life span. He goes on to say that if fundamentalism is not given up it will self-destruct the polity that adheres to it. The new global currents linked to the spread of knowledge, thanks to the information revolution, will take care of that, says the author who has dealt with several other issues ranging from the nuclear issue to the interplay of global forces in South and Central Asia.


BY Maj. Gen. (Retd) Vinod Saighal

”The doves should be able to read it dispassionately and concede many of its assertions as being valid.” (MOHAMMAD SHEHZAD, DAWN, KARACHI, SUNDAY 02 FEBRUARY 2003)

“ The West fought communism in the Islamic world through an appeal to religion: a blunder that could haunt both America and the Islamic world for a long time to come”. But just as “communism sank under the declining vigour of its own ideology,” the author warns, “the tragedy of communism must not be revisited on Islam in the 21st century”. (SOUTH ASIA POLITICS, NOVEMBER 2002).

“ Regardless of all else Pakistan, while rattling the nuclear sabre, is well on the road to self-destruction. Not because of the Indian action, but because of the global reaction to a potential threat that could as easily manifest itself in the underbelly of Europe or an American city as it does in Chechnya,” Saighal says. (NEWS TIME, HYDERABAD, MAY 27, 2002).

Dismissing any possibility of Islamabad stopping support to terrorists, Saighal says the Pakistani Generals who run the country were directly responsible for the Kargil debacle. “Their gamble failed. Gamblers, especially military leaders - who lose are expected to pay the price. In this case they carried out a coup against the civilian government and made the erstwhile Prime Minister pay the price. They are thus left with no option but to continue with cross- border terrorism in the desperate hope that the world will take note”. (DECCAN HERALD, BANGALORE, MAY 27, 2002).

“ Those at the helm of affairs in India have also to realise that Islam, although a transplant, helped to create one of the most magnificent Islamic heritages of the past thousand years. …Beyond the killings and suppression of the adherents of the older Indian faiths lay the synthesis of a unique blend that led to a cultural efflorescence, the parallel to which would be difficult to find except in the European renaissance” the book says. (PTI).

A blueprint for Pakistan to give up sponsoring terrorism and turn into a dynamic and responsible nation. (INDIA TODAY, JUNE 10, 2002).

There are recommendations on a wide range of issues related to Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and India that make this book worth the attention of policy-makers and analysts of not only these four countries but others too. (THE PIONEER, FEBRUARY 9, 2002).

Major General Vinod Saighal has written an absorbing book
on a theme that is of urgent relevance to India and the subcontinent in ways that the author himself did not probably fully comprehend at the time of writing. The book’s title effectively describes its theme, although the book also contains some discussion of the US strategy in its war against terror and possible alternatives. (THE ECONOMIC TIMES, MUMBAI, SUNDAY 26 JANUARY 2003).



The problem and its solution
Reviewed by Mohammad Shehzad
(DAWN, KARACHI, Sunday 02 February 2003)

The author of this book, Vinod Saighal, a retired Indian army officer, feels there is much in Pakistan that needs to be restructured if it is to emerge as a factor for peace in the region. He believes that Pakistan's folly of seeking 'strategic depth' in Afghanistan has led to the global turmoil. Its strategic misadventures are responsible for the sufferings of the Afghans, and the spread of jihad and global terrorism.

Then there is the military regime which is suppressing the democratic forces and strengthening the religious bigots. There is also the subjugation of the silent majority through a proxy force i.e. radical Islamists under the cover of religion. 9/11 has proved Pakistan's links with the origin and hub of terrorism. The planes collide with the towers of New York and the Pentagon building and the terrorists' links are found in Pakistan!

Why is the country in such a mess? This is attributed to the predominance of the military in the country's government. Since the start Pakistan has been under the control of a rogue army. This country needs to resort to a bit of introspection. If it fails to change its course, it is destined to be buried in its own 'strategic depth'.

Pakistan needs to be emancipated from military bondage. This lies at the root of the evil which is undermining it. If left unaccountable the army would ultimately weaken the country's foundation. There is need for the liberal and progressive forces to respond to the crisis and struggle for a solution which lies in democracy. In order to democratize the system the political and social forces must resist dictatorship and prevent the talibanization of Pakistan and the spread of state-sponsored terrorism.

The experience of the military's rule has not been a positive one. It has supported extremists to weaken the liberal forces that are capable of challenging its highhandedness. As a result the country is in a state of despondency. Most young people are not proud to be identified as 'Pakistanis'. A very large number of them want to leave because this is a society where just a handful of zealots are able to terrorize large chunks of population which feel helpless before them.

At present, the alternative to army rule is radical Islam. The prospect of this also dismays many people. Pakistan can still opt for controlled reconstruction or await a civil war and a subsequent break-up. Meanwhile, should the menace of radical Islam grow it will invite retaliation from outside. Hence rather than serve as a tool in the hands of the great powers for their ulterior motives, Pakistan should strengthen its economy and democracy to become an influential state in the region. Its real asset is its civil society that has unfortunately been made hostage to a narrow extremist minority.

Many readers would refuse to buy the author's arguments, regarding his 'overly exaggerated fears' as venom against Pakistan in the light of his past association with the Indian Army which casts doubts on his credibility as an objective analyst. His detractors would even pose counter questions with reference to the Indian atrocities in Kashmir, sati, etc.

Restructuring Pakistan would be vulnerable to such demurs from Pakistani readers. The hawks would dismiss it as RAW propaganda. However, the doves should be able to read it dispassionately and concede many of its assertions as being valid.

Manas Publications. (New Delhi).

Distributed in Pakistan by Mr Books, 10-D Super Market, Islamabad
Tel: 051-2278843-5.
ISBN 81-7049-134-7
244pp. Rs. 595

Maj. Gen. (Retd) Vinod Saighal

Terror and Pakistan
The Economic Times,
Mumbai Sunday 26, January 2003

Major General Vinod Saighal has written an absorbing book on a theme that is of urgent relevance to India and the subcontinent in ways that the author himself did not probably fully comprehend at the time of writing. The book’s title effectively describes its theme, although the book also contains some discussion of the US strategy in its war against terror and possible alternatives. Restructuring naturally has to take into account both the present state of affairs and the desired reconfiguration, along with the mechanics and logistics of effecting change.

Gen. Musharraf referred to Pakistan as the fortress of Islam. Maj. General Saighal argues that Pakistan has converted itself, with historical British and proximate American help and Saudi Arabian funding into a fortress of radical Islam with pan-Islamic ambitions. It oppresses ordinary people, suborns the youth, erodes state authority and civil society, terrorizes women and blackmails the world with the horrendous possibility of an Islamic nuclear bomb. The Taliban were created, trained and armed by Pakistan.

The Al Qaeda is inextricably linked to Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence: The Pakistani army has a substantial influence of radical Islam. The civilian administrations of that country have kowtowed to the army and the ISI, and sought to manipulate the Islamist forces to their own sectarian advantage, in the process feeding their growth to power and influence.

After the covert disbanding of the Taliban, in the wake of the US offensive against Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the term Talibanisation might seem an obsolete piece of journalese but there is no mistaking the gruesome horror of the process. “Nobody would be willing to call the state of Pakistan a civilised society any more. In Pakistan, the proponents of terror and their supporters talk of the strengthening of religion. It is irreligion that is flourishing”. Peace and economic cooperation with India are premised on-retention of Pakistan’s separate identity as a nation. The book is well written, makes sense and deserves to be read.

Pub: Manas Publications. (New Delhi).
Pages: 244. Price. Rs.595/-


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