It shall not be an overstatement that India is at the focal point of Pakistan’s foreign policy. And it shall remain so unless the chassis of theocratic-jihadi complex which propels the anarchical Islamic Republic is not dismantled.
In fact, Pakistan feeds on the ‘apparition’ called India. Be it through the concept of strategic depth in Afghanistan and by logical extension to Central Asia or by the instrument of human rights violations in Kashmir.
Since inception, the civil-military dispensation of Pakistan has been playing the “Indian Threat Perception (ITP) Diplomacy” to a degree of exploitation”¦
However, to proceed towards the demise of the “theocracy encouraged politico-military establishment”; at least for India, the means seem to be out of bounds and the efforts needed, gargantuan.
Since inception, the civil-military dispensation of Pakistan has been playing the “Indian Threat Perception (ITP) Diplomacy” to a degree of exploitation which extracted for them both political mileage in the international rostrum as well as financial benefits in times of distress.
Nevertheless, recently, there have emerged palpable reasons for Islamabad and concurrently for Rawalpindi (headquarters of its Army) to relinquish (albeit for the time being), the afore-mentioned ITP Diplomacy. Rather, hide the ever prevailing irredentism under the garb of an official stance. And suppress the anti-India vitriol with the aid of a rhetorical cloak.
The indictment of the ISI in the ‘war on terror’ made life difficult for the civil-military combo. In fact, Pakistan somehow had come out, ‘not purely unscathed though’, from the past deeds of being guilty of nuclear proliferation. A scapegoat in the form of an A Q Khan could just relieve them. In addition to that, 9/11 and consequently America’s search for the elusive Osama exalted Pakistan’s position in the world podium.
The ISI became invaluable to CIA as well as to the military intelligence of the NATO forces in hounding the Taliban and the Haqqanis. However, the ISI kept on playing the ‘double game’ with the Americans. The jihadis whom the ISI had nurtured till 9/11 had become the monstrous Frankenstein for itself and hence extrication was not only difficult, but also was defying wisdom. What would happen to the ‘Strategic Depth’ in Afghanistan once the US vacated it?
The ISI kept on playing the “˜double game with the Americans. The jihadis whom the ISI had nurtured till 9/11 had become the monstrous.
Any retributive measure against the terrorists meant more fidayeen attacks on Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi et al. and hence consequent destabilization. Thus, it was not the hubris of a nation-state which coerced it to ‘hunt with the hounds and run with the hares’. Rather it was an existential compulsion plus the ITP-folio which forced Pakistan to act as a ‘double-agent’ in the ‘war on terror’.
But as Providence goes berserk, things actually go out of human control. That is what happened when floods inundated areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sind, and displaced millions of innocent civilians. The Pakistani establishment was forced to abandon the ITP Diplomacy in public because it needed foreign aid and goodwill. It even accepted the aid from the Indian side, albeit reluctantly.
The American pressure was distinctly visible and interestingly, Islamabad chose an American economic daily to universally proclaim its ‘change in stance’. On August 16, the Wall Street Journal carried a no less than sensational “scoop” that the ISI had relegated India from the position of Pakistan’s top ‘enemy’ and the home-grown terrorists have been accorded that position instead.
As if that was not enough; for further corroboration, President Zardari, on the occasion of Pakistan’s ‘Defence Day’ on September 6, expressed fears of an ‘existential threat’ due to the twin problems of ‘terrorism’ and ‘natural disaster’. It is a matter of profound significance that Zardari passed such an assertion on a day which the Pakistanis commemorate as their defence of Lahore against the Indian attack in the 1965 war.
President Zardari, on the occasion of Pakistans “˜Defence Day on September 6, expressed fears of an “˜existential threat due to the twin problems of “˜terrorism and “˜natural disaster.
The macro-economic fundamentals of the country on the western side of the Indus are clearly in jeopardy due to the floods. To compound that, a persistent insurgency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the spill-over in the Punjab province in the form of anti-Shia and anti-Ahmadi backlashes further aggravate the situation.
These events made it crystal clear for the civil-military combo that they needed to abjure diplomatic shenanigans vis-à-vis India.
Indubitably, South Block too deserves accolades in this regard as far as reining in Rawalpindi is concerned. It seems to have performed the ‘Back Channel Diplomacy’ quite well.
The international response as against aid appeals so far has been less than adequate. It has been reported by the prestigious Brookings Institution that Pakistan needs loads of further assistance in order to alleviate the sufferings of its denizens.
In fact, on October 19, UN spokeswoman Stacey Winston told a news conference in Islamabad; “At least seven million people are currently without shelter in the flood-affected areas”. In fact, the UN has issued a record two-billion-dollar appeal for funds to cope with the disaster.
Actually, the Pakistani authorities have lost credibility. Misgivings regarding the Pakistani establishment have been bolstered due to allegations that they even squandered aids granted by the foreign sources during the 2005 earthquake. Probably, that is one of the prime reasons why on October 14, at the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels, Hillary Clinton asked Pakistan to mop up funds ‘internally’ by expanding their tax base.
if Pakistan does not mend its duplicity, then neither the emotions of Ban Ki Moon nor the pulchritude of Angelina Jolie can save it from the wrath of the global community, sans Islamist fundamentalists.
Thus it is not only political skullduggery that spells doom for Pakistan but also jobbery and rampant corruption in the upper echelons which pushes it towards the abyss.
All said, it is close to a political impossibility that the theocratic-jihadi complex shall allow a permanent appeasement with India. The reactionary regime of Pakistan has merely kept the ‘Indian bogey’ in reserve. For instance, the moment they would be pushed harder to move into North Waziristan, the ITP Diplomacy may come into vogue.
In sum, if the recent situation entails a further internal civilian unrest, which is not unlikely, then an ‘uncivil’ attack on India would be the natural fallout.
And this has been the basic foreign policy precept of ‘the land of the Quaid’.
Can the revelations by the Wall Street Journal pertaining to the ISI’s softening of stance towards India or even Zardari’s orotund speech attracting international attention mitigate the present problems for Pakistan? May be for the time being.
In the long run though, if Pakistan does not mend its duplicity, then neither the emotions of Ban Ki Moon nor the pulchritude of Angelina Jolie can save it from the wrath of the global community, sans Islamist fundamentalists.
Pakistan must impregnate in its mind that international politics is no zero-sum game, not always.