Current mass euphoria in Indo-Pak sentiments, brought by the current cricket series and some recent political developments, is destined to dissipate as certain abiding realities of the Pakistani scene have over time frozen as if into granite.
The best illustration of the phenomenon is revealed by the recent disclosures about Pakistani proliferation. The exercise was intended to aid acknowledged enemies of the US to acquire nuclear wherewithal. How can a country that has been a direct beneficiary of US economic, military and political aid strike at the roots of US interests? Such cynical opportunism lends itself to only one interpretation. Much as the US may wish to include Pakistan into its strategic frontiers, the Pakistani Establishment has contrary perceptions. It would rather want Pakistan to be a part of other areas of strategic influence viz. China and the Muslim World, which are both at loggerheads with the US. The long-term dividends, which Pakistan expects from such alignment, outweigh any that US can offer.
Terrorism in Kashmir continues to be regarded as freedom struggle. There is yet no sufficient reason to believe that Pakistani support to it will end in the near future. Pakistan also seems to be growing ambivalent on its responses towards the Taliban over which the US has already recently expressed its concerns.
Another critical clue is available from Pakistani behaviour vis-à-vis terrorism. While it is evident that US has forced Pakistan to move against Al Qaeda terrorism which the US, apart from proliferation, perceives as a great challenge to its security, it has not succeeded in coercing Pakistan to accept that all other forms of terrorism are manifestation of the same core phenomenon. Terrorism in Kashmir continues to be regarded as freedom struggle. There is yet no sufficient reason to believe that Pakistani support to it will end in the near future. Pakistan also seems to be growing ambivalent on its responses towards the Taliban over which the US has already recently expressed its concerns.
The US has sought to overcome such natural Pakistani resistance through carrots and embellishments. The offer of non-NATO military ally status to Pakistan is the latest trick from its bag but will it make any difference to the basic Pakistani policy goals?
The Chinese have been firm allies of Pakistan since a long time unlike the US whose interests in Pakistan have waxed and waned at different times. The Chinese can never be accused of ever stabbing Pakistan in the back. It is they who have helped Pakistan rise to the status of a nuclear power. What has the US given to Pakistan in comparison? No wonder the Pakistani Establishment knows which side its bread is buttered. The US hopes of keeping Pakistan in its sphere of influence will perhaps ultimately prove to be futile.
The world is now becoming alive to another disturbing phenomenon, the rise of cultural antagonisms. This development is not to be confused with the controversial theory of clash of civilizations, propounded by Samuel Huntington.
There is little to suggest that civilizations are clashing but there is already enough evidence that search for identities is accentuating cultural antagonisms everywhere, intra-national as well as international.
The principle of sovereignty of Allah over all matters temporal and spiritual run contrary to the belief in democracies that peoples will is supreme and the constitution is the supreme law. The Western concept of freedom of expression is anathema to Islam “¦
Islam is not a religion, which welcomes reforms. It enshrines values on which its adherents can tolerate no compromise. Yet, those values are such that practitioners of other religions or ideologies could have fundamental differences with. Any effort to bring about changes will be treated as cultural onslaught and hence to be resisted tooth and nail.
The principle of sovereignty of Allah over all matters temporal and spiritual run contrary to the belief in democracies that people’s will is supreme and the constitution is the supreme law. The Western concept of freedom of expression is anathema to Islam because it prohibits any challenge to certain doctrinal positions in Koran. Islam also frowns on gender equality. On these issues formidable obstacles have been encountered in the constitution drafting processes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Strategic realities and cultural affiliations restrict the US power to influence Pakistan beyond a degree. If US forces its power beyond a point, the result may be counter productive. It is, therefore, quite likely that the US may not be able to place its controlling finger on the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
Similarly, the Pakistani posture on Indo Pak questions have embedded inflexibilities which come in the way of hopes for a real breakthrough in Indo Pak relations in the near future. Kashmir has become an article of faith with vast sections of influential opinion in Pakistan. A compromise seems impossible.
Foreign Minister Kasuri has stated that no military solution of Kashmir is possible. Such thoughts do not seem to enjoy the support of large constituencies.
Some recent voices from Pakistan do suggest that rational thinking is surfacing. Prime Minister Jamali has said that the two-nation theory has no current utility. Foreign Minister Kasuri has stated that no military solution of Kashmir is possible. Such thoughts do not seem to enjoy the support of large constituencies. Kashmir is not ceasing to be the central issue for Pakistan, which it should if the two-nation theory is to be buried. Keeping Kashmir central blocks any key forward movement elsewhere.
A solution on Kashmir will not emerge through dialogue. Perhaps, the evolutionary process will provide a way out. Until that happens, extraneous factors like the cricket series can bring about changes in the mood alone but not in substance.