Zardari’s visit to India a great initiative
General Ziaul Haq may have been a rogue, or may have earned many discredits during the time, he was in authority from 1977 to 1988, but his cricket diplomacy to be in east Punjab for the Pak-India test match, could well have embrassed the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, but it did surely hit the headlines and became an immediate media attraction. That reminds us of the ping pong diplomacy which not only helped break the ice, but set in motion a process to end decades of hostility between USA and China. Soon after that, came the high secret visit to Beijing by the then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1971 summer which paved the way for Nixon’s historic sojourn to a country, treated taboo until then. Today American investment in China is in trillions of dollars. China recorded an unprecedented growth and from an iron-curtain country, is now an economic super power. Who knows if it becomes a genuine super power also. Such an eventuality may appear a dream today, but looks like turning into reality sooner than anticipated.
Pakistan committed a blunder, wittingly or unwittingly, by siding with the Americans on Syria, rather than being on the Chinese side at the recent world body’s session. That may have hurt the Chinese and in sheer anger they cancelled the financing for the Pak-Iran gas pipeline. Even if they did that under American pressure, Islamabad should do some soul searching as to why China backed out from its commitment. This was the first time the Chinese had acted like that. Since the 60s, when Pakistan provided them the window to the outside world, they stood by Pakistan and often saved it from situations ranging from being embarrassing or having potential of being explosive and disastrous.
India-Pakistan ties, stung by the Mumbai blast, is now on the road to recovery. Ministerial, officials, and cultural levels delegations have been exchanged. Hina Rabbani Khar visited India and Pakistan agreed to concede them the most favoured nations treatment in trade from December 2012. All these are welcome developments .Pakistan’s ambassador to India, Shahid Malik(now returning after completing his assignment in New Delhi) has been active in building relationship with leaders of Indian public opinion, but let me admit here in all honesty that the Indian high commissioner here Agarwal, too had been keen to help remove misgivings between his country and Pakistan. He keeps visiting Lahore and Karachi to be in touch with opinion makers. That is what is required from an efficient ambassador, and that is what Malik and Agarwal have been doing to the best of their ability, and within the limitations or constraints on them. I have has occasions of meeting Agarwal during his visits to Karachi. He is very hospitable, and amenable person.
President Zardari, by nature is an optimist, and go-getter. In the pursuit of his objectives, he often bypasses the rules, but as long as the intentions are correct, such tendencies need to be overlooked. Imran Khan, as Pakistan cricket captain, was known as dictator like late Hafeez Kardar, but Imran, now a political leader, invariably produced the result. He chose his own team, over-ruling the selectors or often dominating them, but no one can forget that as skipper he won the World Cup for Pakistan in 1992, and led Pakistan to series victory in England and India on their home grounds. All these were great achievements. Zardari too has surprised not only his own countrymen with his sudden announcement to be in India for a day, but may as well have caused considerable embarrassment to the Indians. The Indian media , I am sure, will be chasing him. His visit to New Delhi or to Ajmer(perhaps by a helicopter from Delhi and back) is bound to create the kind of hype that will not be easy for the Indian political leadership to digest.
AZ, as he is known among friends, has played a marvelous stroke and should return with something in his pocket. Even if he comes back empty handed, because the Indians are pretty clever in dealing with an unforeseen situation, and the luncheon in the Indian capital, may turn out to be just a social get-together, but it does posses potential of being the harbinger of bettering the ties and the peace in region. One has to look now much more deeply at the President’s private visit to London for four days, straight from summit at the central Asian republic. Now it seems that his airdash to London may not have been without reason. It will not be out of place to refresh the public memory here that the Tashkent summit between Ayub Khan and premier Shastri after the 1965 war, was decided at Washington. Whether the British have anything to do with the visit to India of President Zardari, is not yet known, but curtain will lift one day——firstname.lastname@example.org