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"Ban Masood" Circus and Afghan Peace Process - Arindam Mukherjee

Technically what happens when you slap a UN 1267 ban? Wiki says there are some sanctions, asset freeze, weapons freeze, travel ban, etc that follows. Now, can someone manage to wriggle out of that ban? After all this is not some trade sanction that’s being put on this or that country, isn’t it?

Of course! Ask Hafeez Saeed. He is the author of the book titled “How I fucked UN 1267” – it is available in Urdu and Punjabi. You see, this man is banned by India, banned by UK, banned by USA, banned by France, banned by UN (1267); perhaps Timbuktu too has banned his ass. But…? He is in Pakistan, with no need to travel anywhere. He is contesting elections, speaking in rallies, sending irregulars for explosive adventures… basically having a very good time.  

1267 is fun. Take it from him.

I wish someone told the Indian media this. They would probably stop shouting and the country would be slightly quieter. I have a SITI Cable connection. When you switch on your TV, the first thing that you see is some news channel (whoever is running the promo campaign with SITI for that month) that has its Anchor Ali Baba/Ma and 40 thieves hollering at each other. Masood Azhar must be banned. And that’s half the pain. The other half is that the set-top box is programmed to NOT TAKE remote command for the first minute: you can’t even ‘mute’ that damn thing. I switch the TV, run to the balcony, stand for a while, and return when I am sure the remote would work.

Anyway: Masood Whatshisname isn’t being banned because China is not letting that happen so come one come all in my TV newsroom and lets shout Fuck China among each other so that the Desi Chomus that are miserable enough to watch these channels because they ain’t got nickel worth anything else in their lives get confused to fuck and take to shouting Fuck China the same way through those social media accounts of theirs and then we can pat each other on the back for creating some news-waves. Phew!  

People are actually getting on to Facebook and blaming Nehru for allowing China to the UNSC so that China could stop this banning of Masood Azhar. And others are pointing out that Nehru had little role to play in China’s ascent to UNSC. I mean, seriously!!? Is everyone snorting something or the other these days??

Okay. So here’s to the downright boring guys out there who want insights. In the short historical cycle of Southwest Asia, the Taliban has gone from being the moral equivalent of the ‘US Founding Fathers’ to being ‘Terrorists’ to being ‘Bona fide stakeholders in Afghan Peace Process.’ Those who don’t see that or don’t know about that are Neanderthals. You’d be wasting your time engaging with them about Masood, Nehru, sunspots, machine elements, or cats… In short: pretty much anything.

Next, Pakistan. Has gone back to being the ‘best bet’ in Afghan stabilization. Hot shots from Germany, USA, UK, Russia, China, are all clocking frequent flier miles and Islamabad is one busy airport these days. Pindi was pivotal to this recently concluded 16 days (!!) conference between Taliban and Zalmay Khaleelzad (yes, he is still alive and kicking ass thanks for asking; while that goat Khashoggi is very dead) and a mixed gang that represented Western interests.

Want to hear more? Pakistan has convinced Taliban to agree to minimal Uncle presence in Afghanistan. And Russia has also made some contributions here, one that Uncle is apparently happy with.

Can you even begin to hazard about the levels of negotiation skills required to reason out with stone cold Pashtuns with that kind of a past, that have constantly made their hatred for Uncle crystal clear, and who are now within an inch of running a nation? Add to that the taking of Russia and Uncle together and trying to bring them on one page about Afghanistan? I can’t. But one thing I do understand: There is no individual/institution in India that can come within a mile of the realpolitik/diplomatic achievements of Pindi.

Under these circumstances, Iran, or India, can only make noises – that too for their domestic consumption. And while Iran is under no compulsion to play to any audience (as is evident from jailing women whenever anyone from their government doesn’t get his sleep pattern right – which happens too often), India has an election year and this kind of a noise – since most Indians are stoned/ gassed/ hammered or are apparently plain stupid – makes sense. Ironically, that is where our FP imperatives have landed. To be used for vote-bank posturing. The result is going to haunt us for a long time if we don’t urgently get our shit sorted. There is a Chabahar of course – that would be a good place to begin. But don’t get your hopes up. International relations is about continuous engagement. “Continuous” is a confounding word – for New Delhi.

Guess whoever among you thought I was being harsh on the average Indian for being an ass, realize now that I wasn’t overreacting. Anyway, that’s all guys. I have a busy few days coming up, so I will be irregular. Besides, I have this to think every time I switch on my TV: That moving in this fashion, we would soon run out of nations to fuck.

Wouldn’t that be a worry.

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