Charting Pakistan’s Peace with India
By Sobia Hanif
Peace is not a lop-sided affair. Of the many ingredients that are essential in the peace-making process, willingness is rudimentary and perhaps, the most essential also. It not only lays the plough-ground for harvesting a full grown, thriving relationship but also finds its way through the darkest alleys of power, compounded by the intricacies of state craft. The problem however, lies in probing for that willingness that is so often shrouded by ulterior motives, which ridicule peace and all those in favor of it. Establishing peaceful relations with India and associating Pakistan’s larger gains with the continuation and expansion of those relations may be a noble idea; but it is removed from reality.
One might think that the bitterness that ensued the partition of the sub-continent may have faded away after the lapse of more than six decades. Think again. Instead, subsequent bloody events, which need not be mentioned for repetition’s sake, only contributed in abrading the already hostile relationship.
Part of the problem is that each time an effort was made to restore relations or to advance the peace process; opponents surfaced and criticized their incumbent governments for showing weakness and undeserved leniency towards the other side. Expectantly, the hawks prevailed and the peace process was defeated.
History has repeated itself yet again. Pakistan’s new government has shown its willingness to reach out to India in order to remove negative perceptions about the other and to carve a better future for the lives of both peoples. Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef’s government realizes the magnitude of the daunting challenges it faces, and therefore feels the need to develop cordial relations on both its Eastern and Western flanks. However, in response to Pakistan’s peace initiative, what the Indian government and its military forces have done is outrageous and unacceptable.
The veracity, or to say, the lack of it, is evident from the contradicting accounts of the border violations and accusations of the killing of five Indian troops as stated by the Indian Defence Minister, AK Anthony. The twists and turns in his statements would be hilarious, if the matter were not so grave. Halting of the Delhi-Lahore bus by youth members of the Congress Party at Amritsar, inflammatory statements by both Congress and BJP leaders in parliament, burning Pakistan’s flag by BJP youth, attack on Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi and the insane drive to rebuke and debase Pakistan in Indian media is tantamount to creating a war hysteria against Pakistan.
With all this in the background, one is forced to knock at sanity’s door and ask, ‘If Pakistan were to have instigated the offensive along the LoC, what may it have wanted to achieve from all this?’ Of course, it can be answered by offering a lame excuse that the Pakistan Army detests peace with India, buts not good enough.
Perhaps we could find the answer on the other side of the fence. Indian Army’s efforts to derail any hope for peace between India and Pakistan so that its military remains over-stretched on both borders, with existential threats emanating from its Western borders after US drawdown next year; demonizing Pakistan for political point scoring ahead of Indian elections, disseminating propaganda internationally based on bogus and fabricated evidence; satisfying an over-bearing presumptuousness about military supremacy by castigating Pakistan for using under-hand tactics to undermine Indian interests and priorities seems to fit the case quite well.
In the given circumstances, Pakistan should categorically deny violating the LoC, and at the same time launch an effective counter-campaign against Indian authorities for leveling such baseless charges against Pakistan. For once, Pakistan needs to shed off its apologetic demeanor and demand that India provide evidence before issuing charges against it.