India and Pakistan’s Dialogue of the Deaf

Mohammed Hanif in the New York Times:

ScreenHunter_1352 Sep. 04 17.10We are at it again. India and Pakistan are talking a lot these days, mostly about why they don’t want to talk to each other. Our national security advisers were supposed to meet last week. And they were supposed to talk about terrorism. Instead, they did what they do best: They hurled accusations at each other about how the other side doesn’t really know how to talk, and the meeting was canceled.

India accuses Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism in India. Pakistan accuses India of sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan, and of having bad manners. To India, it seems obvious that Pakistani militants were behind the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, and it is exasperated that the world won’t punish Pakistan for that. It is upset that the man accused in the attacks, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, was released on bail after a leisurely trial in Pakistan, and was able to produce a baby while in prison. India is also upset that the plot’s alleged mastermind, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, is allowed to roam freely, addressing rallies despite the bounty the American government has placed on his head.

In its own defense Pakistan points to all the hundreds of suspected terrorists it has killed in the last year and a half. It reminds India that some 60,000 Pakistanis have been killed by terrorists. India responds by saying: You are only killing the terrorists who kill Pakistanis while protecting the terrorists who kill Indians.

Lurking under this neighborly rage are stereotypes that refuse to fade.

More here.