Need for clarity on India policy


IN a comprehensive statement in the Senate on Tuesday, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz elaborated steps being taken to address the challenge thrown by India’s aggressive posture. He told the house that a high-level committee, headed by Foreign Secretary and consisting of senior officials from ministries of defence, interior, information and representatives from ISI and IB has been formed to formulate a doable and sustainable India-Kashmir policy.
Formation of the committee would surely bring clarity and much-needed consistency to the country’s India policy, which has so far been reactive and not proactive. Since long, we have been looking towards India as to what it does and even then respond to its actions in a knee-jerk manner. This is reflective of a sorry state of affairs as relations with India, disputes with that country and regional security environment have been our fundamental concerns yet we have been addressing these issues in a whimsical manner. For decades, India has been extracting concessions from Pakistan on the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir and at certain stages in the past it appeared as if the country has abandoned its principled position on the conflict. Apart from lack of a cohesive policy by Islamabad, our missions abroad too are to be blamed for not taking due interest in projecting Pakistan’s point of view, the need for resolution of the dispute for sustainable peace in the region and plight of the Kashmiris who are being subjected to extreme sort of state terrorism. Similarly, Pakistan is in forefront of war against terrorism but it mostly gets negative projection in international media and public opinion in a number of countries on the issue is also not favourable. As against this, Indians succeed in their nefarious designs painting Pakistan black and even try to equate Pakistan’s principled support to the cause of Kashmir with terrorism. We have also not been able to effectively expose India’s blatant interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan especially terrorism in Balochistan, designs against developmental project of CPEC and sponsoring of acts of sabotage and subversion in Karachi. In this backdrop, formation of one-time committee would not serve the purpose and apart from internal input and brainstorming of ministries of foreign affairs and defence, there should be a proper mechanism and institutional arrangement for threadbare discussions and policy input. Appointment of information officers in missions abroad should be purely on merit and outreach of Radio Pakistan and PTV should be expanded to effectively counter Indian propaganda.