DREAMING FRIENDSHIP WITH INDIA IS LIVING IN A FOOL’S PARADISE
By Brig Asif Haroon Raja
The changing geo-political environment in the region with particular reference to Afghanistan saved Pakistan by the skin of the teeth from getting seriously harmed. However, loosening of the noose placed around the neck of Pakistan by the team of conspirators when the endgame was in sight has engulfed Indian leaders in a pool of dejection and depression. Their chief patron USA has begun to have second thoughts on its overdependence on India. It has realized that not only withdrawal of US-NATO troops from Afghanistan has become inevitable; their safe extrication without Pakistan’s help is not possible. No amount of persuasion has made Washington to change its mind to befriend Pakistan. Indians are lamenting and beating their chests for having missed a golden opportunity similar to the one they had got in 1971 to axe Pakistan.
Finding itself at a loss, India is nostalgically remembering former USSR that had gone all out to support India’s wicked game plan to dismember Pakistan. It feels the US has let down India by withdrawing its supportive hand in the final act to undo Pakistan or as a minimum to denuclearize it. Seeing that the US is no more interested in playing the evil game which had given so much pleasure to India, latter has decided to once again dupe Pakistan by pursuing its track-two diplomacy under the caption of Aman ki Asha (quest for peace). This exercise has become essential to keep Pakistan distracted and to be able to find a place for itself in the final conference on future of Afghanistan.
When a team of Indian intelligentsia visited Pakistan last month in connection with Aman-ki-Asha seminar jointly conducted by Jang Group and Times of India, to promote peace between India and Pakistan, I was reminded of the days when peace deal was inked by two archrivals in January 2004. The whole atmosphere was upbeat; liberals and seculars in Pakistan were in festive mood and submerged in the sea of euphoria. Stream of private and official delegations from all walks of life exchanged visits and expressed pleasantries. Film artists, singers, musicians and men and women of fashion world were over the moon. Whole lots of liberals were intoxicated with joy humming tunes of peace and harmony. They raised full throttled slogans that walls of antagonism had collapsed for good and two archrivals had finally decided to embark upon journey of friendship. Economic wizards from both sides of the divide gave their opinionated assessments about the benefits of economic cooperation and how whole of South Asia would take off and break the shackles of poverty. They blamed the politicians and Army for keeping the relations tense. Interestingly, not a single official or private visitor from India considered Kashmir as a dispute or talked against the Indian stated policies.
Such joyful and euphoric feelings remained in the offing till about 2006 after which slowly and gradually disappointment and disillusionment overtook exhilaration when the real intentions of India began to get exposed. Indian tall promises of resolving all longstanding disputes including Kashmir issue remained unfulfilled. Indian officials maintained their old policy of dillydallying, making false promises, cheating and deceiving, taking all and giving nothing in return. Not only India kept Pakistani leaders fully engaged in fruitless talks under the guise of confidence building, it took the heat out of Kashmir movement which till 2004 was in full steam and Indian security forces had become utterly helpless how to deal with resurgent freedom fighters in Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).
Having divided All Parties Hurriyat Conference in IHK by giving false hope of resolving Kashmir dispute through dialogue, resulting in rupture of momentum of freedom struggle, India then began to stab Pakistan in the back by abetting and aiding insurgencies in Balochistan and in FATA. To keep its activities hidden, it chose to use Afghan soil to destabilize Pakistan. All these years Indian political leaders and officials wore the masks of friendship, while RAW in connivance with other intelligence agencies inimical to Pakistan indulged in massive covert operations. They threw away their masks in November 2008 once they assessed that Pakistan had been sufficiently softened from within and time was ripe to use the military instrument to achieve all their sinister objectives.
Mumbai incident was turned into 9/11 like incident and entire blame put on Pakistan without a shred of evidence. In accordance with the devised charter of events, all hell was let loose on Pakistan. No amount of Pakistan’s gestures of goodwill and conciliation mellowed down their bellicosity. Almost one-and-half year has lapsed since Mumbai carnage took place in which 166 people lost their lives, but Indian leaders have still not forgotten and forgiven Pakistan for the uncommitted sin. But for sudden and dramatic turn of events in Afghanistan, India would have continued to breathe fire.
In order to beguile Pakistan, the ambassadors of peace from India played upon a theme similar to the one which Indian psychological operators have been selling to the youth of Pakistan that Hindus and Muslims were living in complete harmony in united India till the British came and sowed the seeds of dissension in line with their policy of divide and rule and created rift between the two communities. This theme has been played for a long time despite the fact that it is not based on truth. None can deny how hugely Hindus benefited from the British at the cost of Muslims. Latter were treated most shabbily by Hindu-Muslim combine throughout the British rule and given a raw deal at the time of partition.
This theme has been subtly modified by replacing British with Americans. Indians are now trying to impress upon those who listen to them attentively in Pakistan that the Americans are creating dissensions between India and Pakistan particularly in context with Afghanistan and over other issues. Indian ambassadors said that the US influence has infringed Indo-Pakistan relations. Having remained tied to the aprons of USA since 1990 and drawn enormous benefits, Indian schemers are now innocently proposing that both India and Pakistan should work together to keep US influence out of South Asia. The visitors innocently suggested that India and Pakistan should chalk out a joint strategy to find a solution to Afghan tangle and other issues. They gave no explanation as to why Pakistan had been put in the dock by USA and India for nearly two decades and Af-Pak policy announced by Obama in March 2009 was meant to harm Pakistan.
Having made full use of Afghan base to encircle and destabilize Pakistan for over eight years, and having established its influence in all departments of Afghanistan, exponents of peace have now the audacity to say that India had nothing to do with Afghanistan as it doesn’t share border with it, but it was America that pressed India to undertake development works. Water issue was brushed aside as a propaganda. They blatantly said India was not stealing or blocking water. They said if Pakistan had proof, why it was not lodging a complaint. They flatly denied Indian involvement in Balochistan and tribal areas. In their view, Vajpayee was keen to settle Kashmir dispute but Kargil sabotaged the process. Likewise, Manmohan Singh in their opinion was very near solving Kashmir issue when Musharraf was in power. They wanted Pakistani propagandists particularly intelligence agencies to be checked and asked to stop spreading misinformation. About civil nuclear technology given to India by USA they said that India will certainly have concerns if US decides to give this to Pakistan.
Possibility of terrorist attack on India is being blown up out of all proportions. It is being sensationalized in a manner as if an attack by a group similar to Mumbai terrorist attack would breakup India. They perceive that it would be more devastating than water terrorism about which Pakistan is complaining. If this was the case, hardly a day has passed in Pakistan since 2007 when there hasn’t been a suicide or bomb attack, mostly organized by RAW.
Learning no lesson from past bitter experiences, the liberal and secular classes including pro-India lobbies in Pakistan are refusing to take any notice of Indian track record of doublespeak and pretense and are again in the same state of mind as they were in 2004-05. Certain newspapers are giving undue coverage to the farce of Aman-ki-Asha, not realizing that even the private citizens of India posing as harbingers of peace are not accepting any of the complaints Pakistan has against India.
Our so-called broad minded team representing Pakistan point of view were as usual more interested in keeping the visitors appeased than bringing forward real issues and highlighting the vast difference in attitudes of leaders of the two countries. As opposed to uncompromising attitude of Indian politicians our leaders have always been flexible, large-hearted and ever ready to give in even to unreasonable demands. Indian rulers have been going round in circles over the Kashmir dispute for over six decades and getting nowhere. None picked up courage to show mirror to the visitors to make them see two faces of India, one preaching peace and the other spewing venom. In a defensive mode they bleated that sections of establishment could be supporting terrorists at their own and not with government’s connivance.
Instead of arguing that an odd terrorist attack could not be termed more deadly than water terrorism, as resorted to by India, which poses existential threat to Pakistan, they readily agreed to whatever the visiting team said. They went a step ahead by adding that India was not stealing Pakistan’s water and that the issue was hyped by a certain lobby to perpetrate hostilities. Foreign Minister Qureshi who had earlier on declared infamous Kerry Lugar Bill as a historic document, again went bonkers when he gave a clean chit to India over water theft. In his bid to please India, he ignored series of dam building by India over Rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus, and diverting water with a view to dry up Pakistan by 2014, and emphatically stated that India was not stealing water. He put the blame upon Pakistan by saying, “Fault is ours; we are mismanaging our water resources”.
India is the sole villain of peace in South Asia. It has disputes with all its neighbors and infamous RAW has been deeply involved in espionage and subversive activities. India has not allowed SAARC to grow. It doesn’t want SAARC countries inter-state relations to be based on respect and equality, but wants to chalk out trade and investment policy suiting India only. It wants to become a big brother of all its neighbors but devoid of love and affection. It wants to keep wielding the stick and expects that none should protest or even cry out in pain. It wishes South Asian states to quietly tolerate its barbs and insults. It is even averse to any country getting closer to the other and keeps devising plans to keep them apart. India has disputes with all its neighbors and has not solved even one.
With such an attitude and fixated mindset, it will be like living in fool’s paradise to expect that India in real earnest want to bring peace in the subcontinent. Having grudgingly agreed to resume fruitless talks without conditions, India is now trying to convey that it has done a great favor to Pakistan. Resumption of dialogue means nothing if desire to resolve the dispute is absent and intentions are impious.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja is Member Board of Advisors, Opinion Maker. He is Msc war studies, and been a Directing Staff in Command and Staff College Quetta. He has been Defence Attache to Egypt and Sudan.