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.