With friends like these

Feisal H. Naqvi in the Express Tribune:

ScreenHunter_23 Jul. 26 16.06 Till recently, I had nothing but respect for Mr Shashi Tharoor. He is not only an accomplished writer and a former under-secretary-general of the UN, but a popularly elected member of India’s parliament. All these are substantial achievements. At the same time, Mr Tharoor’s recent column “Delusional liberals” (Deccan Chronicles, July 21) left me greatly disappointed.

Since Mr Tharoor’s column was but the latest in a series of cross-boundary literary salvos, some background is necessary. This latest border incident began with an examination by Aatish Taseer of Pakistan’s so-called ‘obsession’ with India and, more specifically, the fact that even ‘liberals’ like his late father took much pleasure in any travails which happened to come India’s way. In terms of content, what Taseer Jr had to say was not entirely incorrect, though grossly overstated. However, the references to his father were entirely gratuitous as seen by some Pakistanis, which combined with the tenuous nature of his conclusions, inspired one Ejaz Haider to pen a response (titled “Aatish’s personal fire” and published on these pages on July 19).

Ejaz’s reply to Aatish Taseer made, in essence, two points. The first was that the article was massively simplistic. The second was that our apparent obsession with India was partly justified given the Pakistan-specific nature of India’s military preparations.

Tharoor sahib’s response to Ejaz, in turn, also had two things to say. The first was that Ejaz had missed the apparently evident point that India is a peace-loving nation whose military capabilities are all non-violent and defensive in nature. The second was that, like other Pakistani liberals, Ejaz’s commitment to critical thinking was liable to be overwhelmed by atavistic nationalistic impulses.

More here.