By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.
If there are any two nations with enriched common interests overriding the gruesome perpetuated animosity cluster that is Pakistan and India – the outgrowth of British imperialism? What went wrong with these poverty stricken emerging nations that they could not cleansed glued hatred of the past and fear of the unknown future? The problem rests with breaking the past and opening up new avenues for creative manifestation and encouraging people of new and educated generations on both sides to assume leadership with new imagination and vision for a conducive and sustainable future. India by virtue of its ancient history had the political capacity to enhance its progressive image under stable leadership of Mr. Jawahar Lal Nehru and the Congress Party. Pakistanis were not fortunate to have the continuity after Jinnah’s death and subsequently, conspired killing of its first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. This overshadowed the continuity of political movement for change and development of the new nation. For over half of a century, the egoistic political monsters manufacturing Pakistan’s junk history have articulated a favorite perversion discarding the originality of progressive nationalism to instill an underdeveloped sense of purpose to the succeeding generations of Pakistanis. They are boxed-in to face the problems which are not of their own origin except the outcomes of naïve and corrupt political culture of the few. The net outcome of such a scheme of things continues to emerge in shape of individualistic absolutism as the powerhouse to conduct on-going disdained moral, social, political and intellectual cultural paralysis across the mainstream of Pakistani nation. The people who willfully undermined the progressive interests and aspirations for change and development were the few Generals and complacent feudal lords of the neo-colonial age to misguide and betray the futuristic interests of the nation. The doctrine of newly emerged nationalism was not a transitory credence but a sacred flourishing symbol of norm for future-making – a progressive democratic nation of Pakistan to encompass a brilliant future with new public institutions to serve the people, new proactive political imagination and new educated visionary leaders for the majority of the Muslims in the sub-continent. National freedom was not just claimed by the Muslim League under Mohammad Ali Jinnah- Qauid-e-Azam, but earned with passion and commitment to ensure sanctity of human rights and obligations to protect the citizenry from manipulation and mismanagement and equality before law to all people wanting to be part of Pakistan. The tragic disconnect with the movement of Pakistan’s national freedom lingers-on to this day as none of the political rulers could ever face the reality check and ultimate accountability as to how they have dismantled the fabric of a progressive democratic nation by political conspiracies, backdoor intrigues and criminal political enterprises to enforce personal agendas and darkened the future of the nation.
The contemporary history identifies them as “hangmen” of the Pakistani new generations aspiring for change and development to evolve a sustainable future. Most were political gangsters with no sense of moral, intellectual and political enlightenment for making the progressive nation. The indoctrination of collective sense of values giving birth to Pakistan’s national independence from the yoke of British imperialism itself gained logical recognition across the globe in 1947. But those who chased the narrow self-geared follies to enter political powerhouses hardly knew what made Pakistan a reality out of the unthinkable regional and international affairs at a critical moment in modern history – the changing metaphor of historical developments shortly after the end of the WW2. British colonialism was ending on its own and the end of the WW2 embolden it to end its more than century old occupation and exploitation removing sense of political accountability and hurriedly agreeing to partition of the Indian sub-continent without taking appropriate security measures to ensure transfer of political power in peace and harmony. This was not unusual but reflects a historical pattern how foreigners come to rule when faced with formidable challenges; leave the occupied nations in ruins and unending bloodbaths for generations to come.
Those who had little knowledge and intellectual foresight used the same strategy of animosity to conduct relations between the newly emerging dominions of India and Pakistan within the scope of the British Commonwealth of Nations. How much time, resources and opportunities were lost in this fluid struggle for survival of the fittest? Take a moment and reflect on how many leaders of besieged mentality have ignored the enlightened interests of the people of the India and Pakistan for reconciliation and rapprochement to articulate harmonious and friendly future-making geography as linkage and history to follow for change and good neighborly relations. People of the new and educated generation on both sides do possess individual conscience as a powerful weapon to be forward looking but lack force for political maneuverability and capacity to influence the political governance. Pakistan and India both appear to be victims of their own weaknesses and strengths and continue to operate from a position of domestic policy agenda, not necessarily impacting the future-making in any rational sense of political manifestation. While both have manufactured nuclear arsenals and gained nuclear power status to ensure mutual destruction, the need is of utmost importance to rethink and redraw the strategic priorities to envisage preference for peacemaking and conflict resolution, and not a confrontational strategy in dealing with the future.
Pakistan ushers its own weaknesses, both in strategic domains and political and intellectual leadership to maintain a rational perspective in its outlook for relations on equal terms with India. There appears to be a deep suspicion of mistrust and frightening trend what if there is another war between the two rivals and nuclear options is used to manage political madness and cruelty to the larger interests of the people of the sub-continent? One wonders, if intelligent policy makers and politicians ever consider people’s interest as the supreme value in global relationships? While India had progressed enormously in developing public institutions, educational development, self-sustenance in commerce, trade and military-industrial growth and advancements, and all without any military coup or intervention, Pakistan is plagued with its own political gangsterism, jumping from one casual allusion to another political blunder under continuous military dictatorships incapacitating its political ideology and strength for change and goodness of the common people. Progressive nations are not the outcome of the thinking of military Generals or sadistic politicians but of those who are educated and possess proactive vision for change and share moral and intellectual foresights and strive to make it happen. India developed its new educational policies and institutions in early 1950’s to enhance the societal aims and encouraged new generation to engage in research and productivity. Pakistanis got derailed by ignorant rulers and military dictators to lose strategic direction for change and human development. What a catastrophic loss that young educated Pakistanis migrate to the Western world and never come back to contribute to their own society. Often they are discouraged by the ruling elite for political reasons and find no place to return to their homeland. To naïve politicians, temptation of and compulsion of evil compliments the failure of perception and insight that educated people are the core values of society for change and future-making.
Across the global horizon of relationships between the two nations, animosity syndrome has darkened the obvious confrontational image of both societies to the point of becoming hotbeds for external impulse, weapons trades and rivalries to degenerate the ancient ethics and values of the nations. Such sadistic and incorporated trends serve as a device – a mental microscope for lack of proactive imagination for the future and to overwhelm a sense of unreality that people of reason could make the difference on both sides of the political spectrums. No wonder for more than six decades how political tensions, communal violence and unwanted upheaval of wars have drained out positive thinking, proactive energies and commitment to change and good neighborly relationships between India and Pakistan. Both countries seem to enjoin self-subsisting instinctual human disposition of mistrust and disdained outlook that embodies the impediment to normalization of friendly relations. Strategic equilibrium is not the issue between India and Pakistan but enhancement of rational understanding for peace and good neighborly relations are vital to facilitate a sustainable future. None can afford to invest in continuing belligerency and hostilities as the policy aims of the future. Adaptation to the world of REASON and reality must necessitate RETHINKING and lead to objective political goals and values for change – political change aspired by people of new ideas and ideals to represent the common interests of the masses on both sides.
What needs to be done to break with the historical impasse? Foremost, to realize the NEED for change – from hostility to understanding being different in psyche, moral and cultural values and tolerance for difference in perspectives and forward looking aims of normalization and optimism to make it happen. Often different impulse is a source of healthy force to balance the competing challenges. Be it the war in Afghanistan or the Middle East or international affairs of the industrialized West, India and Pakistan will not be speaking the same language of political unanimity of their respective interests and standing in global affairs. The essence of normalization of relations requires open-mindedness and new rational stance – away from the tragic and violent history to imagine a new beginning for the best interests of the people, entrepreneurship and creativity of the new innovative generation of educated people to bridge the gaps and courageous initiatives by people of new ideas to solve problems which obsessed the two nations to make wars and not peace. If India allows the people of Jammu and Kashmir to exercise their right of self-determination to decide their own future, it will be a history-making development honoring its own global commitment and to boost its stability and image as a democratic nation. Whether the people of Jammu and Kashmir are to join India or Pakistan or come up with their own solution, it should be their choice, not the continued occupation of Jammu and Kashmir. Egoistic Pakistani politicians have used the Kashmir issue to mislead the nation without having the capacity to deal with India. Intellectually and politically decadent Pakistani rulers (military and complacent feudal lords) had no sense or capacity to deal with India on problem solving or normalization of bilateral relations. In truth, for more than forty years, all Pakistani rulers were the wrong people with wrong thinking and doing the wrong things against the national interests. They manufactured a self-centered culture of naïve thinking, complete disconnect with the prevalent realities of the world and imposed moral and intellectual curse over the nation. There were no leaders of political foresight and intellectual values except imposters phasing-in and phasing-out for almost half of a century. This political curse continued to this day under Bhuttos, Yahya Khan, Zardari, Sharif and Musharaf to make Pakistan vulnerable to disastrous social upheavals, loss of trade and commerce, unpaid IMF foreign debts and incapacitated political governance. The people in Pakistan must THINK of a Navigational Change as did the people of Ukraine recently to oust corrupt leaders or they stand no chance to avoid more fragmentation and loss of time and opportunities for change and to the future-making. To undo the scandalous curse, Pakistan needs people of new age, educated and intelligent to inspire the masses for change and new political visions for global harmony and peaceful relations.
When natural disasters, wars and political misfortunes hit one or another they find readily and conveniently available blame games to undermine the prospects for improved relationships. Often cricket is used to bridge the widening political gaps in returning to what is most entertaining between the two nations.
Once poet and philosopher Schiller observed: “Hunger and love are what moves the world.” India and Pakistan both share common miseries of hunger, stricken natural disasters, flooding and starvation but both hubs of the thinking people have inborn love of humanity and must aspire to move beyond the animosity and hostility syndromes and naïve imagination of survival of the fittest, onward to an enlightened outlook for problem solving, friendly relations, free trade, free movement of people, goods and services to the deprived masses and to facilitate plausible future-making as an optimistic attainable aim.