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'Jihadis cannot take over Pakistan'

Last updated on: March 09, 2006 20:14 IST
Moeed Yusuf is a Pakistani strategic analyst with a particular focus on South Asia and a 'specific functional interest' in nuclear weapons. A consultant with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, he is also a regular columnist for The Friday Times, the Pakistani English weekly. He has previously worked at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC.

In an exclusive chat with rediff readers, Yusuf examines the implications of US President George Bush's visit to the subcontinent, the impact of the nuclear deal, and what it means for the peace process.

The transcript:
sundeep asked, so why do u think US is shifting its support from pak to india? any specfic reason for giving Nuclear deal to India, and not giving to Pak?
Moeed Yusuf answers, The answer is very clear. The Indo-US complementarities are far greater and broader than the Pak-US complementarities. The former is a strategic partnership in the true sense. And I dont think its a shift away from Pakistan, the two are now being dealt on different levels.
nuclearwinter asked, Do you think Musharraf has wrangled a similar deal to the one offered to India by the US from the Chinese during his last visit there?
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think it is too premature to have a similar deal sealed with China. However, this is an association one needs to keep an eye on in the future.
ramananda asked, How has Islamabad officially reacted to Bush's rejection of a similar deal for Pakistan?
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think it was always clear to Islamabad that the US would not be as forthcoming. So the decision has not shocked anyone here. What Islamabad has managed though is to soften Bush' stance on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, as a compromise.
Indianpatriot asked, Mr Yusuf, do you think this deal will have any impact on the India-pakistan peace process?
Moeed Yusuf answers, No, I think the compulsions for the two sides to continue talking remain. And they are not solely reliant on any one single factor. That's the reason the peace process has lasted as long as it has.
arvind asked, Mr Yusuf, Do you think Musharaf can deliver on ending cross-border terrorism, or is the monster out of control and theres nothing musharaf can do about it?
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think it is extremely naive for anyone to think that terrorism can be completely eliminated anywhere in the world. However, as far as cross-border terrorism specific to Ind-Pak goes, Musharraf has made a difference.
proudindian asked, Dont you think India and pakistan should both look into there energy needs , leaving the path and support to terrorism pak should look more into building its econony
Moeed Yusuf answers, I completely agree that both should mutually look at their problems. Economic development should be the focus of both countries.
ramananda asked, What does 'soften' mean here? Do you think Washington will drop its objections to the pipeline?
Moeed Yusuf answers, It basically implies that unless Washington can provide another viable alternative to Pakistan, it will have to allow Pakistan to proceed, with or without India. The US Energy Secretary upcoming visit to Pakistan is important in this regard.
Varun asked, What do you think will be Pakistan's stand on NPT in light of the Indo-US nuclear deal?
Moeed Yusuf answers, It will remain unchanged.
bhavesh asked, Musharraf has said it is no point being Indocentric , how do you analyse this ????
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think its a welcome development from Islamabad's perspective. Both countries have wasted considerable energies in one-manship over their history. Its time to find complementarities and think outside the box
Vien asked, There is a talk of "fail safe mechanism" for Pakistan's nuclear facilities and bomb in particular. Do you feel that the threat of fundamentalist terrorists taking over the bomb in Pakistan are justified?
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think its more hype than anything. There are no empirics that suggest anything like that. One ought to look at the technical side of it to realize the virtual impossibility of such a development
aman asked, Hi, I asked this question earlier, but you skipped. Please answer. Shift in US policy, isnt that due to US understanding the growing Islamic findamentalism in Pakistan and terrorist activities from pakistan?
Moeed Yusuf answers, No, don't think so. In fact the US is simultaneoulsy trying to reach out to the Islamic world. It understands the importance of this aspect in its foreign policy. The US-India drive is due to the existing strategic, economic and military complementarities.
amitgawade asked, sir, u dont think that US wants India a better partner in South Asia than Pakistan?
Moeed Yusuf answers, 'Better' is subjective. I think the relationship surely will be broader.
Pankaj asked, Do you feel that Karzai's briefing has pulled down Musharrafs credibility?? Is it appropriate to say that US-Pakistan relationship is at the lowest ebb in recent times, whereas Indo-US relationship is strengthening with every passing day...In this perspective 'Do you think is it appropriate for Pakistan to highlight Kashmir issue??
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think you are reading too much into the Karzai allegations. It was meant to send a message to Pakistan, and that too originated from Washington, not Kabul. Sure, Kashmir remains a key concern for Pakistan and it will continue to highlight that. And no, I don't think there is any consequential change in the Pak-US relationship because of this episode.
Rex asked, Hello Mr. Moeed Yusuf, We are talking about the Indo-US Nuclear deal. How this will affect the regional balance in South Asian region?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Good Q. Strictly from the strategic perspective, I dont see any implications in the short run. However, over the long term it does give India the capability (perhaps) of developing a counter-force capability. Pakistan then wpould necessarily have to upgrade its capability and maintain a robust 2nd strike capability
anil asked, As history says,USA will never make friendship for long time with any one.Is it the case with India also?
Moeed Yusuf answers, No. The US is desperate to establish a long term, sustainable relationship with a South Asian power. The US-Ind relation is all set to be an enduring one.
rajeevdeshpande asked, Did Mr Bush advise Musharraf on a quick resolution of the Baluchistan issue? Will there be withdrawal of troops from the disputed territory of Baluchistan?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Sure, they would have discussed it. Though I think the issue is being hyped, especially in India. From Pakistan's end the worry is external support to the anti-state actors.
INdianBoys asked,  Mr.Yusuf, US has a history of friend-turned-foes be it Laden or Saddam. How long do you think Bush and his buddy will continue to be friends, what after Laden is caught?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Good point; totally agree. How long is difficult to answer. Pakistan will try and delay it as much as possible. The US while wanting to wrap this up wants a long term solution and is thus likely to stick with Pakistan for a while. Also, the nuclear umbrella will compel the US not to dump either side as it did in the past.
ramananda asked, The peace talks are still stuck with Pakistani insistence on Kashmir first, and the Indian's saying terrorism has to stop...what is the way out of this gridlock?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Slow and steady wins the race in this case. One element that is crucial but still missing is to change the perceptions on ground. Much of what is happening is between state functionaries. There is no mass awareness among people to build a constituency for support to major shifts in policy. Until that happens, neither side can make landmark alterations to long standing stances. And mass awareness is certainly not achieved through cricket matches and bollywood shoes.....it has to be a concerted state level effort from both sides.
ashish asked, hello sir my name is ashish . Q: how do you see the subcontinent shaping up in the coming 10 years ie as per nuclear growth ? how will it effect economies ?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Both Pakistan and India will continue to upgrade. Mind you that would have happened irrespective of the nuclear deal. The linkage between nuclear development and resource diversion is problematic. There is not enough work to say either way. However, the US experience shows that higher levels of development (deployment etc) cost much more. In that sense, the programs will be costly.
bush asked, How can US blance its reltions with both india and pak???
Moeed Yusuf answers, The question is not of balancing. It is of treating the two on different plains,as much as possible. The US is doing a good job at the moment.
ashish asked, do you see that nuke power as pollution free and a reliable power source ? with the fbr in picture ?
Moeed Yusuf answers, It surely is a cleaner version. FBR, from what I know has not really taken off, but am not sure of its environmental consequences.
Indianpatriot asked, What do you think of theory that the nuclear tests have actually levelled the military filed, and hence the two sides cannot really declare a full-scalewar on each other again? (kargil being the exception?)
Moeed Yusuf answers, I suscribe to this theory. And Kargill was not an exception. Deterrence is not an all-encompassing, all weather concept. There are limits to it, and one of them is limited conflict under the umbrella. That is what Kargil was.
neutral asked, dont you think *only* practical solution to kashmir is that keeping what we have instead of risking nuclear war. Also will it solve problems that Pakistan has with India i.e. things like 1000 years war ?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Kashmir is definitely THE key issue and will alleviate a lot of the 'by-product' problems. And the solution you mention is one that Pakistan has rejected time and again. I dont think Pakistan will agree to it any time soon.
proudindian asked, Dont you think india should take baluchistan issue to human right comissionas well as to UN so that free dom is given to that part
Moeed Yusuf answers, I dont think that is possible. Balochistan remains an internal affair and India would risk staunch opposition and perhaps international condemnation for open interference. I dont think anyone in New Delhi can contemplate this seriously
neutral asked, refernce to my earlier question - question is much bigger than Kashmir itself it is basically acceptance of partition idealogy which is not acceptable to India but is sole basis of existence of Pakistan. I do not see any solution unless each makes this concession atleast. Problem on Indian side is not Military but corrupt leaders in Kashmir( Hurriyat is one of most corrupt parties around and does not represent common people )
Moeed Yusuf answers, Disappointed to see your statement. Frankly, this obsession with partition the two-nation theory is India specific. Pakistan has moved on, two nation theory is something we read in text books, but are not looking at it as what it meant then. India would do well to move on as well as there is no turning back for Pakistan. It only creates further suspicions. The problem in Kashmir surely is political. But the Indian military response has played a huge role in the current resentment.
ashish asked, pakistan has been very much rheotic centric mainly islamic jihad stuff will that be changing in the future ? what do feel this effects the safety of the pakistani nuclear arsenal
Moeed Yusuf answers, Dont quite get the first part of your question. But Islamists (for lack of a better work) have no impact on the security of Pak's nuclear arsenal.
ramananda asked, How powerful are the Jihadi elements in Pakistan really? Is there really a possibility of a jihadi takeover of the country?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Almost all analysts in Pakistan
and the West converge on this. There is no such possibility.
SSB asked, Hi Musuf, I would like to know just one thing ...If i take it that Kashmir is key issue for pakistan, dont you think you should take good lession from your best friend CHINA.The way china has handled taiwan issue is commendable.China is having all economic realtions with Taiwan and US and maintaining status quo.Despite whole world recognising one-china, it has almost sidelined this unification issue and doing well economically and when u r well in that, whole world will listen u.
Moeed Yusuf answers, I wish the argument was that simple. The underpinnings of the two relationships are entirely different. You are looking at the reverse in China's case, the stronger party giving in, albeit temporarily.
ramganesh asked, moeed, why are Pakistani papers inlcuding the one you write for, unwilling to talk openly about Taliban leaders operating from Quetta? Plausibile deniability is one thing but this is too much isn't it?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Well do send us any information you have on it since we have no evidence to support that. Presence of Taliban is quite different from operating. And presence is what ISlamabad is trying to eliminate (mind you, we are only talking of extremist elements).
doctor asked, Mr.Yusuf, My question to you is that why isn't the Pakistan government cracking down hard on Islamic Terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed why openly call for destruction of India and Hindus?
Moeed Yusuf answers, No magic wand can make terrorism disappear overnight. Substantial efforts are being made and have been acknowledged by the US. India itself has acknowledged decrease in infiltration in the past.
nehuljagdish asked, I what ways the US-Indo nuclear deal helps india
Moeed Yusuf answers, It sure does. Whether it ends up making bombs or producing electricity, or both is now India's call.
kartik asked, The primary objections of those opposing the indo-us nukes in America is that, they will have to then make similar concessions to islamist Pak. Dont you think pak has really created a bad image of itself.
Moeed Yusuf answers, Thats one card the opposition camp is playing to strengthen its argument. The real issue is that there are not enough complementarities in the US-PAk relationship for US to be forced to reciprocate
ranimerijaan asked, Do you feel now that US is tied up in iraq and china threat becoming bigger , US and Europe will start depending on INDIA as their trump card
Moeed Yusuf answers, I dont know about 'trump card'. India is not there just yet. But as I said, there are multiple factors for them to reach out to India
JIGAR asked, dear mr yusuf,my question is recent bush's visit can play an important role in nuclear power play for south asia specifically to india and pakistan
Moeed Yusuf answers, As I mentioned earlier, in the long run it may well do so.
nehuljagdish asked, Any rich pakistani going in madrrasa for his career, Kind count them if you can
Moeed Yusuf answers, Refer to a very interesting recent study by the World Bank. The answer is scores of them. There needs to be a clearer understanding of Madrassas are. Many of them impart better education that your whos who schools.
AlwaysIndian asked, why pakistan can't stop cross-border terrorism and concentrate on cross-border business instead?  India & Pakistan has lot of thing in common and they can be a good business parter for each other. I believe at the end of the day you are responsible for feeding your family. Killing of innocent civilians won't bring you a food for your family. So, why chose path of killing others? why can't concentrate on businesses rather?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Pakistan claims it has. I am not sure why India does not agree to independent UN monitors on the border to confirm this.
ashish asked, how is india percieved in the Islamic world ? what can be one to enhance relations and can we commit our faith ?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Good question. I think what really hurts India is the on-again/off-again episodes of Hindu-Muslim clashes, some of them extremely severe. Thats something that definitely goes against India. But not to say that India is perceived as a villian in the Muslim world. Thats not true at all
pprasanthnair@rediffmail.com asked, How can Pakistahn claim to be a responsible Nuke power , while Dr.Khan was running a Nuke supermarket? So dont you think that Mushraff was wrong in demanding the same deal for Pakisthan also
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think the Dr. Khan epiosde was clearly something Pakistan could have done without. However, as GOP has been insisting stringent measures have been taken to ensure that anything like this cannot be repeated. The problem is you cannot make such measures transparent so its difficult to sell your story.
yogi asked, sir dont you think that the issue of your chief scientist leaking the nuclear secrets should be tackeled first before expecting nuclear cooperation form the US? do you think anyone in the world will believe you and hand over the nuclear technology?
Moeed Yusuf answers, No. Completely agreed.
neutral asked, Mr. Yusuf, talking about nukes, I did not understand logic of selling tech to Iran, Libya etc. I mean Pakistan had no need - it should have kept it to itself for using it in case it needs it why did it export it ? I am not ready to believe that one scientist or team did it. There was definitely GOP hand in it
Moeed Yusuf answers, I disagree with such a sweeping statement that GOP was involved. GOP definitely had NO reason to do so, as you rightly pointed out. That should be a signal in itself.
ranimerijaan asked, Thanks for answering , My last question why is pakistan not following india's footsteps in terms of economic progress. India and china have both realized that they cannot win any war with nukes in each other's possession and have been developing themselves as economic power and solving problems with each other in a friendly manner. Why can't pakistan stop asking for kashmir and india as stop asking for Pok.
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think Pakistan is well on its way to developing its economy. Tremendous growth rates have been achieved in the recent path. However, economic progress does not imply giving up your strategic concerns. After all, the Sino-Indian dispute is still unresolved.
xtcy asked, Stringent measures by GOP!!! You are kidding right?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Precisely what both governemnts need to work on. Bringing the populous to alter their mistrust, which by the way in large part if artifically instilled through text books etc.
whatsthefuss asked, Dr Yusuf, how true is the fear that without Musharraf, Pakistan will fall into the hands of religious fundamentalists?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Completely unfounded.
Avnish asked, Dear Moeed, In your opinion how critical is the continuing disagreement between India and Pakistan for the survivival of Mr. Pervez Musharaf ? Should this be resolved the defacto 'Army rule' in Pakistan may loose steam with the public opinion on its need to be in power? Would love to get your thoughts on this. Thanks
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think this is an Indian argument that has slowly gained currency with some in pakistan. Remember, it is a military leader who is trying desperately to find a solution to Kashmir
ramananda asked, Moeed, where do you see the peace talks going? seriously? I've heard so many people talking about 'out of the box' solutions, but ultimately, we are stuck in the rut of terrorism and kashmir..with neither side refusing to budge..so where does one go from here?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Great question. I see it continuing (not STALLING) but I do not see any major breakthrough any time soon. I think neither side has done enough to be able to make significant policy departures from traditional stances. I am refering to building constituencies for such changes.
Pankajv asked, Will Pakistan look up to China, incase its aspiration for Nuclear energy is not met with US. What will be the implication of such deal be on the political front for Pakistan?
Moeed Yusuf answers, I think natural gas is currently the best option for Pakistan. Though, as I said China is a possible avenue for cooperation.
Sonia asked, Mr. Yusuf, Its always great to get another perspective on these on going issues. My question: Do you agree that Bush is playing Musharraf and Singh as puppets? Could it not be possible that he is really trying to help India with energy other issues?
Moeed Yusuf answers, No dont think so. Its about national interest and Bush needs both countries as allies, though India more than Pakistan over the long run.
proudindian asked, If Bush Need India more on long run as u said, so he has to lok more into inidan desires rather than pakistans desires,isnt here pakistan logo for kasmir will go and pakistan will fall in its own trap
Moeed Yusuf answers, No. I mentioned there is a need for him to work with both, albeit on different levels. And yes in some cases it will have to favor India.
kartik asked, Moeed: You say fears of religious fundos taking over without Musharraf are unfounded. But Sir Musharraf himself has said that when he refused to step down as promised
Moeed Yusuf answers, Great point. Not only Musharraf but all governments since the 1990s have used this as an official excuse to stay in or be backed in power. Even the civilian governments used this argument to get US' support. Thats about it.
age asked, RESUBMIT Why is pakistan treated as haven for terrorists and islamic fundmentalists?? Is this the reason why US is moving towards India???
Moeed Yusuf answers, As I said, US-Ind relationship is multi-pillared. Extremism in Pakistan is a result of a number of developments since the 1980s. Majority of them tie back to the Afghan Jihad and certain internal policies. A lot can be attributed to US policy in the 1980s.
ashish asked, Q:After all, the Sino-Indian dispute is still unresolved" sir i think EU i a model worth emulating for the subcontinent why not make a single economic entity ? Q: talking about Dr. khan its impossible to do what he did without military support and that leaves musharaf's creditibility no good ! what is your take on it ?
Moeed Yusuf answers, I dont think it was impossible to without military support. And the EU model, well all of us wish, but it is not going to happen any time soon.
india06 asked, Moeed Hi, a quick question. After Mushy, what?
Moeed Yusuf answers, This is the last since I liked this one. This is one of the biggest problems for Pakistan. No one has an answer. And this is the great failure of Pakistan's institutional functioning. For any country to have long term stability, there should be an automatic answer to this.
qwerty asked, dont you think china's inclination towards pakistan is to balance india ? or is china really a friend of pakistan ?
Moeed Yusuf answers, Last answer since I have to sign off. Well, the two have been together in thick in thin. But at the end of the day I agree, its all about national interest and given the US-INDO relationship now, there is all the more reason for the two to continue on their traditional path of friendship.
The Bush visit: Complete coverage | Chats | The nuclear deal