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One, two, three

Published Nov 06, 2016 01:25am


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ULTIMATELY, they’re going to have to do it. They know it, we know it and the targets do too: decommission the favourites; defang the good ones.

Get rid of militancy.

Think of it as an arc: from Musharraf to Kayani to Raheel to the next chief, a progressive clampdown against groups that had to be taken on.

Think of it as an arc: from Musharraf to Kayani to Raheel to the next chief, a progressive clampdown against groups that had to be taken on.

With Musharraf, it was Al Qaeda — 9/11 changed the world and the world changed how we did business.

From Kayani to Raheel, a second purge — the anti-Pakistan lot. They came after us, so we had to go after them.

And soon the next chief — confronted with the spectre of a roiling Kashmir and the long-term presence of a right-winger in Delhi causing the last line standing to go into agitated motion.

Something will have to be done before they do us in.

One, two, three — is there an arc of inevitability to it? Each successive chief having to go incrementally further than the last, not necessarily because he wanted to, but because he had to.

Lost in the warfare of the last month was an important consensus: the civilians said something needed to be done and the boys agreed — though, tellingly, the civilians resisted other actions in Punjab.

But the path to recognising that something has to be done about the anti-India lot has begun to be trodden.

It is the logic of utility, institutional self-preservation and the mechanism of jihad: if the groups exist, they occasionally have to go into action; and when they do, the outside world has a reaction.

Once, twice, thrice — from Mumbai to Pathankot to Uri, the future is being written for us.

Uri was perhaps the least significant and so the reaction the most telling. Pathankot was really the bigger deal, but it came a week after Modi’s Christmas Day Lahore surprise.

He couldn’t react as angrily because he had just pushed open the door to normalisation. So India swallowed its rage and the world kept quiet.

When Uri happened, there was no such luck. India went into a rage and the world sympathised, even before the facts were known.

On India, we don’t have the advantage we have with the Afghan-centric lot. There we can always nudge them across the border — go home to where you belong, we can tell them when the time comes.

With the anti-India lot, this is home. They’re from here and this is where the fallout will be suffered.

And so this is where they’ll have to be dealt with.

The past offers some clues about what the future could look like. With Al Qaeda there was an opening wallop followed by sustained action.

The wallop came because 9/11 was momentous. It is how history will be measured, time before 9/11 and time after.

The sustained, years-long pursuit of Al Qaeda, in Fata and the cities, came because America insisted and America had the resources to make sure we listened.

But then came the Osama anomaly — what the hell was he doing here for those long years in plain sight?

The lesson: we’re like the kid who hates homework. We’ll make a show of it in the beginning and then find reason to go slow or switch off.

Phase three, the push against the anti-India lot, will be a root canal — when we get around to it, we sure won’t like it and will find plenty of reason not to until it threatens to kill us.

From the push against the anti-Pakistan lot, a different lesson: the need to create a national narrative first, the fabled public consensus that the boys demand as the starting point.

The boys have already hinted at it in private: telling the civilians to get a parliamentary resolution; arguing that public opinion needs to be kept onside; cautioning against moving too fast and under a perception of Indian pressure.

It can seem a ruse and a delaying mechanism, but the experience of getting to the point of saying no more on the anti-Pakistan lot is mirroring the talking points on the anti-India lot — the boys won’t do it until they’re sure they have the public onside.

But let’s not kid ourselves — the anti-India lot are fundamentally a different challenge.

It’s not like that they’re hard to find — their power is derived from the ability to thrive in plain sight. When we do decide to go after them, the core networks can be shut down relatively quickly.

The challenge, then, is something else: separating them from the anti-India narrative.

We’ll have to find a way to shut down the anti-India lot without tampering with the story of India being Enemy No 1.

Because, as has become evident, India being Enemy No 1 is an unalterable truth, an inalienable position that the boys will never give up.

The logic of utility, institutional self-preservation and the mechanism of jihad means the boys can and will turn on the anti-India lot. What the boys will never do is give up on India being the enemy.

So how to do it? And can it happen as soon as the next chief?

It won’t happen when India is demanding furiously — this much we can see. And it won’t happen when the civilians try to make themselves look good.

But it can if — if — someone can figure out how to get the boys to do it without making it look like it was someone else’s idea and without the boys looking bad.

One, two, three — at least the logic is in place.

The writer is a member of staff.

Twitter: @cyalm

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2016


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The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (110) Closed

Roshan mahessar Nov 06, 2016 01:56am

The logical surely is in place and the boys really knows the way of doing it and i am sure they will do it right .

qwells Nov 06, 2016 02:24am

Boys are paid to do their job. So be on it...

adeeb Nov 06, 2016 02:34am

This article is tilted on one side very clearly due to one of the many factors the writer had to go through recently. We should keep our perspective on table not always follow what others are pursue.

Flybouy Nov 06, 2016 02:58am

Your writing just gets better and better. Nail hammer head. One two three.

IK Nov 06, 2016 05:34am

Sir, Hats off to you on brilliant analysis. Be safe. I am praying for your safety.

NO-OnE Nov 06, 2016 06:34am

Everything in this article makes sense. I hope Indian establishment takes note. Both countries need to uplift their people from poverty.

Proud pakistani Nov 06, 2016 07:38am

Bravo!!!geo almeida

Fareed.hussain Nov 06, 2016 08:14am

Another excellent analysis, Cyril.

Citizen Nov 06, 2016 09:09am

Cyril you are brave and brutally honest. Very rare in South Asia

Raiz Khan- Brisbane Nov 06, 2016 09:19am

This article, as compared to the one which shook the foundation of the land of pure, is a like a very mild coffee.

For me it will take sometime to get over with the master piece. The master pieces are usually created, when the creator is in some sort of trance.

All the best.

Desi Soch Nov 06, 2016 09:32am

Wonderfully articulated and factually correct interpretation by Mr, Cyril. Hats off.

Muhammad Nov 06, 2016 09:42am

Best article i have ever read in dawn. . KUDOS

Jack Nov 06, 2016 10:16am

Great piece. lets see what happens in the next month or so.

Nomad Nov 06, 2016 11:29am

What a pleasure to read this analysis! Mr. Almeida will always tease your brains. But an impeccable write-up. Please keep more of them coming. It's like an Oasis in the desert on one hand and a beloved Sunday morning crossword puzzle on the other. Thank you!

Shalone Nov 06, 2016 11:49am

Good analysis.

Random Nov 06, 2016 12:02pm

Great stuff, I admire Cyril.

nnnn Nov 06, 2016 12:04pm

@Muhammad what is so best and excellent about it?

M S Nov 06, 2016 12:31pm


Shaukat H. Nizamani Nov 06, 2016 01:18pm

@nnnn, Best is the courage to write such an article and excellent, is the beauty of central idea of this article.

A Shah Nov 06, 2016 01:27pm

Very well balanced piece.

Dr. Azam Gill Nov 06, 2016 01:40pm

Very strongly argued with no sand between the words, no ambiguity and a powerful sub-text.

Dr. Ashraf KHAN Nov 06, 2016 02:00pm

Brilliant, bravo, keep writing...You are true honest voice of millions of us

Saeed malik Nov 06, 2016 02:51pm

@NO-OnE Indians will certainly take note as such thought and elements are desirable to them.

Haider Nov 06, 2016 02:59pm

Is it not reasonable to expect some movement in resolving the Kashmir dispute from the Occupiers?

For the sake of peace and progress.

Shahid Nov 06, 2016 03:13pm

cyril u r the best.

Mayor Nov 06, 2016 03:31pm

@adeeb I'm sorry, and I think you have never read Cyril's article ever before.

alok Nov 06, 2016 04:00pm

Good Article. God bless.

Iaj Nov 06, 2016 04:12pm

Bravo!what an article! Hats off to Dawn for its persistent high standard. Best in the subcontinent.

hnr Nov 06, 2016 04:16pm

Nothing is more important than the uplift of the poor who have been neglected over the last 70 years in both countries all because both nations are infatuated with Kashmir,Kashmir,Kashmir.Why not set it aside for sometime and focus on the real issue of welfare,development,growth,employment and there a host of issues that needs immediate attention.

Mohajir Nov 06, 2016 04:40pm

Cyril you are the best. If someone read between the lines, you have boldly stated everything factually.

Please stay safe and never let the fearless journalism in you temper down under pressure from anyone. Salute to you.

Bluearth Nov 06, 2016 04:51pm

Gem of an article. You rock!!

Sandy Nov 06, 2016 05:26pm

Excellent article.

Amtiaz Ahmed Cheema Nov 06, 2016 05:30pm

What an irony, we catch an idea and then become blind after it, What anti India? And if there is then what about Anti Pakistan? Who's not working for poor? Boys or politicians? From above comments, I can understand one thing, few are impressed by twisted English, few want to make the poor, rich (even if they don't give a penny to them), few still believe in Aman ki Asha and few, they love it once its against their own military, have a heart people! Have a heart!

HARI BHATT Nov 06, 2016 06:21pm

Cyril, you are one of the best journalist I have come across. great job and excellent analysis.

Mariyam Nov 06, 2016 06:32pm

Beautiful article..... if only..... be careful and God bless you. More such articles expected thanks Dawn

kar Nov 06, 2016 06:57pm

good balanced article

nair Nov 06, 2016 07:25pm

Well written as we need peace to progress and better our peoples lives.

Hari Nov 06, 2016 07:27pm

@Haider Answer is within. Please read again and again. Then you will find the answer.

Jalbani Baloch Nov 06, 2016 07:38pm

We must hail the decision of the Army Chief to retire honorably and leave a legacy and lessons to other army generals that Army is to safeguard borders and not to rule the country, which is a right vested with Civilians. The nature of people of Pakistan is changing with time, who first invite Generals to takeover, and then turn against them, and make them from hero to zero. The examples of your predecessors namely General Ayoub Khan, General Zia and General Mushraff, are best to quote. So, after retirement, please go and spend your peaceful life with your family and friends.

ibm Nov 06, 2016 08:03pm

article does give a hint to most players , see how many take and heed! Good Luck.

Rehman Nov 06, 2016 08:09pm

If militancy is wiped out from Pakistan (regardless of whether they are anti-India or not), the biggest beneficiaries will not be India. The biggest beneficiaries will actually be Pakistan. Why? Because once terrorism is wiped out, it will change the perception of Pakistan in the world, and our economic and social potential will be fully realized. A favourable economic climate will be created, and the world will again invest in Pakistan. We could potentially overtake India in economic growth rate and become leader of the region, just as we were in the 1960s. I hope the boys recognize this.

Ayub Nov 06, 2016 08:21pm

The anti-India mentality is created in the nation from the very start. The history taught to the children in schools is replete with anti-India sentiments. If we really want to change the course we have to start from the beginning. The history books and other lessons containing anti-Indian materials should be phased out systematically.

mere khwaja Nov 06, 2016 08:24pm

Someone in Pakistan, please give this smart guy a top award quick.

Temo Shanko Nov 06, 2016 08:23pm

Cyril, I allways read your write ups. This is one of the best. Be safe. God bless

RN Nov 06, 2016 08:28pm

The realization that the cost of maintaining the anti-India lot is not worth the benefits need to permeate down.

THanKyou Nov 06, 2016 08:32pm

Beautifully written. I pray the "boys" go after the third lot.. Save the region and the world . Thank you.

Ali Gohar Nov 06, 2016 08:54pm

The story of "India being enemy number one" is not a figment of imagination as you would want us to believe; the persistent hostility of India towards Pakistan from 1947 onward lends credence to this notion. If we do not dub a country, that was instrumental in dismembering Pakistan in 1971, as our enemy number one, then we certainly are the worst victim of self-delusion.

Zak Nov 06, 2016 09:21pm

@NO-OnE Is that what you understood from this article?

sayyad1988 Nov 06, 2016 09:23pm

These terrorists are dangerous for Pakistan as well as India.

sam Nov 06, 2016 09:28pm

You could not even dare write such stuff only a few years back.

Ekram Nov 06, 2016 09:32pm

Why? Has India gotten rid of the anti-Pakistan lot?


saeed ullah khan wazir Nov 06, 2016 09:48pm

Extremely loaded and difficult to it only for Miltons of the average lot which can hardly digest such substance and style??

Arnold W Bush Nov 06, 2016 09:55pm

@qwells No reasoning can be done with the man with a gun.

Pasha Nov 06, 2016 10:00pm

Why can't ppl who think in similar lines in pakistan get together and make a plan.

Stay safe Cyril. And keep writing things that both country should understand easily.

Democrate1 Nov 06, 2016 10:00pm

Nice article Cyril yet can we swallow kalbhushan yadav's presence here with his noble mission as well?? Such steps from the neighbour does serialise precautionary measures by our security forces.

swAMY Nov 06, 2016 10:09pm

Just what if, I really mean, what If, nawaz sherif takes a flight to Delhi and do a bhai bhai.
Boys can blame NS if needed and NS gets credit perhaps. Q is what will happen to Imran khan

Irfan Baloch Nov 06, 2016 10:35pm

is the Indian media going to get rid of its anti Pakistan lot?

PakistaniGladiator Nov 06, 2016 11:01pm

We should ask the same question from India, whether they would like to get rid of their Pakistan-phobic extremists?

Sid Nov 06, 2016 11:14pm

Great article Cyril, hopefully the boys listen. At the same time I hope India too reins in it's right wing before they become real threat to secular fabric of India.

Sid Nov 06, 2016 11:18pm

@Saeed malik ... bhai this is desirable for both of us. And even though Cyril explained the situation using the anti-India lot in Pakistan, this applies to anti-Pakistan lot in India too. At some point we will have to put an end to this madness and start living for real.

Najib Khan Nov 06, 2016 11:23pm

@adeeb Good one!

Mirza Baig Nov 06, 2016 11:58pm

With eagerness to see boys do it, shouldn't the concerns also be to have India right its wrongs?

lubna Nov 07, 2016 12:06am

your heading should have been --can indian govt and army get rid of anti--pakistan lot which far more severe and detrimental to sub-continent peace than pakistan side.If anti-pakistan lot in india is rid of then pakistan will ease up too

Khan Nov 07, 2016 12:07am

you are kind of forcing ur ideas as if these are ultimate are not aware of many details being not in the right place to know all....keep calm and concentrate on US elections

Javed Nov 07, 2016 12:10am

Abject Surrender,nothing more.

Syed Nov 07, 2016 12:49am

Unfortunately, this is a one sided assessment of the problem. The big picture issue is that the strong and the powerful ... and in contrast the weak and oppressed .... are both thinking they are standing on high moral ground. The strong are big bullies and the weak and oppressed are irrational. Both have adopted terrorism as a means to pursue their objectives. I am not endorsing any of those behaviors but that is a hard reality. And your assessment my friend is not balanced unless you talk about the root of the issue from a big picture view. Boys fixing anti India problem is not going to solve the problem. Infact it will come back with a vingence if the other side doesnt work hard on anti Pakistan issue. Peace.

wAJIH UDDIN qIDWAI Nov 07, 2016 01:25am

This is all about the incapability of our political governments to engage boys rightly, rather seeking their support in every single matter.

Umair Arshad Nov 07, 2016 02:00am

Bold again.

Mohammad Nov 07, 2016 02:32am

An ambiguous article. Not making any sense

Az Nov 07, 2016 03:01am

Why don't you discuss the anti-Pakistan rot in India?

himmat Nov 07, 2016 03:15am

"But it can if — if — someone can figure out how to get the boys to do it "

Without education, economic prosperity and justice I don't see positive sentiments brewing in people's hearts and mind. It is the job of "boys" in the government to work diligently to provide welfare to people . The "boys" in judiciary must give prompt and fair justice. The "boys" in police must maintain law and order in our cities and towns and the list goes on. Just one group of "boys" can not achieve the greater goal which is the prosperity of this nation.

Jaago Nov 07, 2016 03:28am

Cyril may be the only journalist on both sides of the border who has the fortitude to say what he thinks. There are holes in his argument for sure, but at least he has offered a logical thought process. Hassan Nisar is another brace person. On the Indian side, S. Vadarajan, Praveen Swami & Javed are voices of reason.

It really is time to put enmity aside. What is wrong with us? I don't live in India or Pakistan, and here, in the west, Indians and Pakistanis are friends, co-workers & business partners. Why can't we live like cordial neighbors?

Osman Nov 07, 2016 03:33am

It's up to India. If India will misbehave, I doubt things will change.

peaceful Nov 07, 2016 03:46am


You nailed it sir. If only few more people from both the countries had your wisdom.

Muslim Nov 07, 2016 03:53am

@Amtiaz Ahmed Cheema "what about Anti Pakistan?"

So True!! What about each and every anti-Pakistani and their home? It is time to discuss that first!!!

Muslim Nov 07, 2016 03:56am

"But then came the Osama anomaly — what the hell was he doing here for those long years in plain sight?"

There is a clip of Benazir Bhutto claiming Osama was killed long before this "Osama anomaly". I wonder why this point has never been discussed !

Lahori Kid Nov 07, 2016 04:30am

Ragardless of who the new chief is, I pray he used the same advisers as General Raheel, that is the difference today.

Chandru Nov 07, 2016 05:05am

Excellent article

critic Nov 07, 2016 05:11am

Excellent analysis. Cyril, you are inviting trouble again!

Ammyjd Nov 07, 2016 05:30am

Crisp, to the point .... Point blanc ....... The best choice should be picked up. Enough of excuses , sooner this anti India crackdown is delivered , it's good for Pakistan's prosperity . An all round real development work should follow after this, but not a hogwash.this will bring world support back to Pakistan. Great article Cyril as per your reputation . Kudos to you ! I am sure global journalist community is taking a note.

imp3 Nov 07, 2016 05:36am

keep going Cyril,use the pen for truth and truth only,God is with you even if no body is with you.

Khan Nov 07, 2016 06:10am

Pakistan fought America's war against the Soviet in Afghanistan for short term gains and long term losses that we still suffer . Next Pakistan is getting ready to used by the China vs India equation thinking its a great strategy . Truth is these two countries are more interested in development than Pakistan . Ultimately this is going to be a multipolar world and gone are the eras of superpowers . Economic influence and social factors will define the future powers. China is yet to truly democratize and their lies the challenge . The transparency of the government and the trust of the people may completely reshape the future policy of China in 20 years .When China elects an opposition they will surely question why not gain by being peaceful with India and counter the Pakistan position .Pakistan should not be in the forefront of bidding other people's wars as there is nothing to gain in any war.

Azhar Hussain Nov 07, 2016 06:31am

The boys have to clear the terrorists, they have to go after the corrupt, they have to make sure the bad guys in jail are hanged because our courts won't do it. The boys have to make roads and highways; they boys have to go clear bhatta khore in urban areas of Sindh. If the incompetent political leaders were so competent then boys would take care of the enemy on our borders.

Halo Nov 07, 2016 06:47am

Hats off to the writer...and a position that all Pakistani's who love the nation needs to take and make the govt and boys listen. The truth pill is bitter but needs to be taken to avoid costly and dangerous surgery...take the action, clean up the slate, makes friends with the neighbors is a truth that has to come some day. So why not save all the blood and do it now ?????

Halo Nov 07, 2016 06:50am

@hnr I agree....Kashmir has split it for far too long and it is sad when both nations do have some part of why not move on ? what will change even if Kashmir is resolved to the satisfaction of one party ? Nothing on the ground. It is a euphoria and a mirage of ego and self satisfaction...nothing more than that.

Halo Nov 07, 2016 06:54am

The history has all the pointers. If it was just the boys, it may have been resolved. There are players beyond our region and border who are interested in this nations to stay in perpetual conflict. the hidden hand is in full display here.

Syed Nov 07, 2016 07:34am

This is one sided analysis ; does he have anything for the boys on the Indian side and anti-Pakistan narrative of India

Tariq Nov 07, 2016 07:36am

Pakistan need pro Indians to be purged from the root.

Moin Khan Nov 07, 2016 07:53am

Comment about what ? So much is crystal clear in his camouflaged phrasing. But who is he driven by ?

Sayyar Khan Nov 07, 2016 08:23am

Indian army and govt are not clean also. Everything that happens in India is blamed on Pakistan. So this has to be both ways you can't just blame Pakistan army. Results we saw Uri , Quetta.

wellwisher Nov 07, 2016 08:28am

the BOYS ,thanks to internet, are not seen as savior, but as looters.This makes them realise that for their own good they have to change

wellwisher Nov 07, 2016 08:30am

@hnr --during her first prime ministership, Benazir told this to army generals, put Kashmir on back burner for five yrs.

osnsuckers Nov 07, 2016 08:33am

Those who think that the next COAS will be soft on India will be disappointed - no doubt about that. No way.

Muhammadtayyabqureshi Nov 07, 2016 09:04am

@hnr they are carrying out killings. Don't you see that

Muhammadtayyabqureshi Nov 07, 2016 09:07am

@Sid apply first to india on anti Pakistan

Amjad Nov 07, 2016 09:18am

Peace offers cannot be one sided.

yamir Nov 07, 2016 09:35am

It is unfortunate that this writer has allowed himself to get carried away again. Their is NO anti-Bharat lobby. Bharat has simply created a reaction to its consistent belligerencies. Bharat has and will remain against the sovereignty of Pakistan-that's a fact and can be easily observed if you happen to get the opportunity to stay there for some time and mingle......."Each successive chief having to go incrementally further than the last, not necessarily because he wanted to, but because he had to".... That's stretching it too far... It is these kind of statements that manipulate opinion......!

Gebde Nov 07, 2016 11:18am

Your forthright writing requires courage. Be safe.

Maverick Nov 07, 2016 12:13pm

"at least the logic is in place"

SAEED MASOOD Nov 07, 2016 01:58pm

Good article helps the interested to understand the real situation...The boys are not wrong, the deal with India has to be very equal no upper hand no lower hand ... one on one equal deal,Pakistan is now a powerful country, a bit difficult for India to digest, in the near future Pakistan will start showing the signs of being a power of this region. The good thing is that with Pakistan the Boys and the Civils both want peace and follow live and let live policies, if America gets out from here it will good for both Pakistan and India.

A Nov 07, 2016 03:41pm

@Khan completely agree

Aziz Nov 07, 2016 04:13pm


Mohsin javed Nov 07, 2016 08:25pm

Thank you Cyril, I fondly hope you read the comment section, though I doubt you can reply to it. I see a more compelling geo-strategic factor coming in to remove anti-India militants. China in partership with Russia, is setting up to be the regional hegemon of Asia, and coralling Pakistan into its orbit with CPEC is part of this. In consequence, the Chinese will not countenance any school-yard brawls between India and Pakistan, whether they involve anti-India militants on our side, or using economic platforms like BRICS to demonise Pakistan by the Indian side, like the recent summit in Goa. Can you reconcile thriving trade with unpredictable and potentially destabilising militancy, anti- India or anti-anything? Not I.

gabbar Nov 07, 2016 09:16pm

Dawn Journalists and Pakistani readers/commentators need to be complimented their maturity. This is seriously lacking in India.

JahanZeb Nov 07, 2016 10:12pm

Good luck to you.

IBM Nov 08, 2016 05:17am

@Ekram they have left some just for YOU! are the favorite.

Usman Nov 08, 2016 08:49am

@Amtiaz Ahmed Cheema Superb analysis bro!

Mustafa Nov 08, 2016 03:51pm

He suggests doing this because it is good for Pakistan!! Cyril...hit the nail on the head again. Wear the listing on ECL as a badge of honor! Keep up the honest writing

JMasood Nov 08, 2016 03:52pm

Good intelligent analysis !!!

Muhammad Bilal Nov 08, 2016 04:19pm

Dear Cyril, I appreciate your thoughts, courage and honesty. Here is a piece of advise from a well wisher, Plz try to put your thoughts in a simpler manner and words as i am sure that a considerable lot of people even after having good comprehending skills in English are not able to fully understand your articles. This will enable you to communicate/address a very wider and broader audience. Regards.