Dr Muhammad Khan
There cannot be a disagreement with the opinion of S. Akbar Zaidi, who strongly believes that, in the bilateral relationship of Pakistan and India, “the exchange of allegations is more gesture than substance, and meant for domestic constituencies.” Indian relationship with Pakistan has always played a key role in the domestic politics of India. As observed during the election campaigns and formation of governments, the political party that has been top scorer in its enmity with Pakistan, won the election. Whereas this aspect speaks juvenile behavior of Indian masses, the political leadership of the India has been more smart and opportunist to get the benefit. One aspect has been more distinguished and important about the Indian political elites that, they have been safeguarding and protecting the national interests of India.
Indian political leaders would go to any extent for securing the Indian interests may be false accusations or allegation against its neighboring states especially Pakistan. In most of the cases, Indian political leadership has been conspiring against the Pakistan, just based on enmity rather having some substance. Indian political leadership, its armed forces, Indian masses and the mastermind of all, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) have acted in unison against Pakistan. In its anti-Pakistan campaign, now a days, the Indian media has taken the lead role alongside other actors. So much so, Pakistan is blamed for those acts and activities undertaken by various militant groups of India, having grievances against the state policies. In fact, in India there is a national narrative, irrespective of political or religious affiliations. Over the years, this narrative has played a key role in the political and religious union of India.
Contrary to the attitude of Indian political elites, there has been an inexplicable silence of Pakistani political leadership over the growing Indian interference for the destabilisation of Pakistan. So much so, over the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a serving Indian officer of RAW, there has been calm quietness among the political circle; the Information Ministry and even Interior Ministry did not comment on it. The Foreign Office spokesperson just issued a brief statement of condemnation. Even during the press conference of DG ISPR, the Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid did not say anything about Indian terrorist activities on the Pakistani soil. Rather, his body languages clearly indicated that he has been forced to become part of press conference on the issue of Kulbhushan Jadhav. The people of Pakistan and those laying their lives for the security of the state and masses in difficult boarder areas noted this silence with concern. In fact, the unremitting Indian interference in Pakistan has promoted extremism and terrorism in Pakistan. These trends of radicalization have created a fear and unrest among the masses and state has been threatened and terrorized.
The narrative of silence by the Pakistan is being questioned by masses now. Senator Rehman Malik, the current Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Narcotics Control, has even noted the passive response of the ruling political elites. He emphasized the Prime Minister, for taking all a strong initiative at diplomatic and political levels against India for fomenting aggression in different parts of country through its top spy agency RAW. In this regard, the Senator has written a letter to Prime Minister, indicating Indian activities against Pakistan in the form of interferences, harboring and killing of innocent people and in Balochistan, tribal areas and other parts of the country. There is need that, political elites of Pakistan and diplomatic core should take on the issues of Indian interference in Pakistan at the global level; the UNO, international community like EU, ASEAN, OIC and human rights organizations. The Indian bold acceptance of 1971 debacle of Pakistan and other spying activities must be made public, rather being defensive and remorseful.
On the issue of Indo-Pak relationship, the narrative of the Pakistani political elites generally runs counter to the narrative of the masses and security establishment, indeed, at times against the national interest of Pakistan. However, the political elites have been portraying the security establishment as an obstacle in the bilateral relationship with India. This indeed is incorrect narrative. The fact of the matter is that, the Zia and Musharaff regimes had better Indo-Pak bilateral relationship than the political governments of Nawaz Sharif and People’s Party without comprising the national interest.
During the period of high tension in 1984 and 1987, General Zia-ul-Haq played key diplomatic role in the normalization of Indo-Pakistan relations through famous Cricket Diplomacy. Being mastermind of Kargil Conflcit-1999, General Pervaiz Musharraf persuaded India, visited Agra, and later was able restart the Composite Dialogue process. On the core issue of Kashmir and other issues, it is said that, both countries had reached to permanent resolution, had there been no internal crisis in Pakistan on the issue of Chief Justice, Iftikar Choudhar in March 2007.
Over the years, there has been better and equitable bilateral relationship between Pakistan and India during these two military rulers, which political elites could not maintain. Analysts believe that, some of the political elites of Pakistan have their trade and commerce interest in India, thus inclined more towards better relationship, despite Indian xenophobia. Business interests should not overtake or compromise the national interests. Indeed, national interests run supreme in the bilateral or multi-lateral relationship of nations.
At the political and diplomatic level, there is need that, Pakistan should highlight the covert Indian activities against the state and society of Pakistan. Indian interference in Pakistan is against the international norms and UN Charter. Indian harboring and funding of sub-nationalists in Balochistan and TTP and other terrorists outfits in Pakistan, results into killing of innocent masses are aggressive Indian acts and human rights violations, need global attention. Besides, there is a need to develop and promote national narratives to counter the Indian propaganda and securing the national interests of Pakistan.
— The writer is International Relations analyst based in Islamabad.