Nawaz Sharif set media wires buzzing when he proclaimed soon after the results of Pakistan’s elections were announced last month that he aims to (a) make peace with the terrorist outfits in Pakistan and (b) make peace with India. The two statements are inherently contradictory for India and immensely illogical from the Indian perspective.
…it is impossible for India to be friends with a nation that covertly supports those who would attack India’s Parliament, upset the peace in Indian states, launch attacks such as 26/11, and so on, uninterruptedly for 66 years.
While Sharif may well make peace with the terrorists, the trouble is that the terrorists are unlikely to make peace with India. Thus, India would supposedly be at peace with a neighbor whose sentiments are absolutely anti-Indian, and which, in turn, has a filial relationship with the terrorist outfits that haunt India.
There was truth to the statement when George Bush informed the whole world in 2001 that they were either with the USA in their fight against terrorists or against the USA. It is difficult to be friendly with a person or nation that is friendly with your arch enemy. Check this in your daily relationships in life. How easy do you feel being close to a person who is closely chummy with your mortal enemy?
Similarly, it is impossible for India to be friends with a nation that covertly supports those who would attack India’s Parliament, upset the peace in Indian states, launch attacks such as 26/11, and so on, uninterruptedly for 66 years.
The support to multiple jihadi outfits was palpable from the last time that Nawaz Sharif was prime minister, 1997-99. While from the front he engaged in bus diplomacy with Atal Vajpayee, he aided and abetted the various terrorist outfits on the side. He gave them funds, granted land to them for building their establishments, and in every other way greased the wheels for them in government paperwork. It is also likely that he funneled small arms to them via the ISI that were secretly procured for them from the Peshawar arms bazaar. How can all this bode well for India? It is also difficult to believe that Sharif is a changed person who has suddenly found religion. However, there are many in the Indian establishment who would believe this and parley in negotiations for the sake of advancing their diplomatic careers, notwithstanding that India could suffer in the process.
There is inherent double-speak in any Pakistani overture to India. Pakistan was born out of hatred for India, and till today harbors intense hatred. How can anyone expect India not to take cognizance of this, or to trust Pakistan when it spews hatred for Indians on a daily basis?
Every day, the Pakistani army justifies its existence to the Pakistani public because of an Indian military threat at their border. They conveniently forget that they, too, threaten India. However, this actually feeds very well into the mindset of the Pakistani military which feels morally guilty about its past actions against India, and so is rightfully already paranoid about a possible Indian invasion in revenge. They probably don’t realize they are likely to get what they fear most. In essence, the Pakistan military has maneuvered successfully to gain a place in the Pakistani psyche, with fear and hatred of India being the sole rallying point. At every turn, they make their Pakistani people feel more and more victimized at the hand of secular India. The Pakistani military doesn’t want to let that wound heal among their Pakistani public, because if they do, it will be their end, for they fear loss of respect on that count. In other words, they want India to sound and act belligerent. But, this should not silence India into doing what is morally just and right – defending itself and its interests and honor – and arming itself against what is a truthful and corporeal, de facto threat to India.
Every day, the Pakistani army justifies its existence to the Pakistani public because of an Indian military threat at their border. They conveniently forget that they, too, threaten India.
Though it is fully true that there is a possible Indian threat to Pakistan, the Pakistani military just loves it. It is not that India need mind that because it is usually better to catch the bull by the horns than let it trample you. Pakistan needs to know that it has angered India much too much, and very importantly, India need make no bones or excuses about that, else India’s own interests will stand compromised. India must stand tall and firm.
And while Nawaz Sharif talked — and talks — of peace, he did and still continues to want to enhance Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. How can that be construed as a sign of friendship when the main target of that arsenal is India, with only 10% or so of it being designed for Saudi Arabia for use against Shia Iran, and another approximate 10% that goes to help North Korea. It is widely believed that the sixth nuclear explosion at Chagai in 1998 was a North Korean bomb. Again, the schism in Sharif’s intentions is loud and clear.
Thus, India would be naive to trust any leader of Pakistan. But, one thing India can surely trust in is in the naivety of the Indian government for more times than not. Any Indian government or bureaucrat or group of people that wants India to pull back from Siachen, for instance, are simply out of their real mind!
Many a Pakistani leader from Jinnah onwards has stoked the feathers of the Islamists, the extremists, the terrorists, the fundamentalists, and the Taliban. Jinnah used irregular militia in 1947-48 to cover their invasion of Kashmir; Ayub Khan used “regular irregulars” to plan Operation Gibraltar that infiltrated into Kashmir in 1965 alongside Pakistani forces; Yahya Khan followed in the policies of his predecessor, and infiltrated the regular irregulars into Kashmir in 1971, though not to much avail because of the drubbing they had received at the hands of India in 1965; Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did everything he could to raise the terrorists in order to one day serve their purpose against India, giving them money and moral support. Z Bhutto further vowed to “eat grass” if he had to build a nuclear weapon to balance India’s Pokhran explosion in 1974. Such was his animosity towards India after signing a peace agreement with India in 1972.
Pakistan launched the limited war in Kargil and then lied through its teeth to claim that the forces occupying the mountain tops were not its own military but irregular militia acting as freedom fighters. By now, the world knows that Pakistan is duplicitous, unbelievable, and unreliable.
Zia ul-Haq built hundreds of madrasas with Saudi money to teach fundamentalism to children, brought in fundamental Islamists into the army, and was the first President to Islamicize the military; it was during Zia ul-Haq’s watch that the Kashmir problem exploded in late 1987, and he sent in regular irregulars into Kashmir.
This policy was followed by Benazir Bhutto during her first tenure in 1988-90, and by Nawaz Sharif during his first tenure from 1990-93, when the Kashmir problem magnified, resulting in India sending up to 500,000 soldiers and para-military into Kashmir to protect and defend the region. Benazir Bhutto didn’t do a thing to stop the fundamentalists and terrorists, but instead bartered nuclear technology with North Korea in exchange for missile technology, thereby proliferating nuclear weapons and destabilizing the Korean peninsula; then Nawaz Sharif pampered the Taliban in the run up to the Afghan civil war that saw the Taliban gain power in Kabul in 1996; Musharraf further expanded on the madrasas, planned the Kargil invasion (before overthrowing Nawaz Sharif), spoke double-speak with India at every turn, and even walked stylishly across the vast and stretched-out meeting hall to initiate and shake hands with a stunned Vajpayee at the SAARC meeting in Kathmandu, 2002.
But at the same meeting, Musharraf gave a license to Pak-originated terrorists in Kashmir by referring to them as freedom-fighters. Musharraf further incited the regular irregulars over the past decade to continue with their creation of disturbance in Kashmir.
The chains of Pakistani provocations are a long list of events. Who can forget that Pakistan launched aggression in 1947-48 over Kashmir, even though the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir used Sikh troops to quell a rebellion of former Moslem soldiers in Poonch who had been honorably discharged after World War II, which caused the militia rebels from Pakistan to illegitimately intervene in the internal affairs of a foreign power at the encouragement of the Government of Pakistan? Who can forget that Pakistan launched strong and unprovoked military action in 1965, first in the Rann of Kutch, and then in Kashmir, that was only stalled when India crossed the Line of Control on all fronts in September that year?
And who can forget that Pakistani actions in Bangladesh resulted in millions of East Pakistani refugees to pour into India, or that it was Pakistan that launched the first airstrike on December 3, 1971 on airfields in Western India? In the same vein, Pakistan launched the limited war in Kargil and then lied through its teeth to claim that the forces occupying the mountain tops were not its own military but irregular militia acting as freedom fighters. By now, the world knows that Pakistan is duplicitous, unbelievable, and unreliable. Pakistan is not behaving responsibly, and especially not with A Q Khan having proliferated nuclear technology to more than 15 Islamic countries – and only Islamic countries — which calls into question the Islamic agenda in the world.