A large number of violent incidents occurred through the length and breadth of Pakistan on July, 01. At least 40 persons were killed and 175 others injured when three suicide attackers blew themselves up inside the shrine of Lahore’s patron saint, Syed Ali Hajwairi. The incident took place when the compound was jam-packed for special prayers that are offered at the shrine every Thursday night. Ten militants were killed and six civilians sustained injuries when two groups of militants traded heavy fire in Neka Ziarat area of Kurram Agency. A Station House Officer and his guard were shot dead near German Chowk in Karachi when they were on their way back to the Police Station after a round of snap checking. Two young sisters were killed and another boy suffered multiple injuries in a grenade attack on their residence on Saryab Road in Quetta. A boy was killed while three officials of the Tribal Electric Supply Company and a passer-by sustained injuries in a hand-grenade attack on a vehicle near a Police check post in Bara Qaedim area of Peshawar.
Amidst all this the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was preparing the ground for the scheduled visit of the Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna to Pakistan on 15 July by pontificating on the issue of human rights violations in J&K, which he said would figure in his talks with the Indian Foreign Minister. A machocist and jingoistic statement of this nature coming from the Pakistani Foreign Minister is not a new phenomenon. Earlier in February this year, when India made a statesman like gesture of agreeing to resume talks with Pakistan, the esteemed Minister lost no time in collecting brownie political point for himself by stating in the hometown, Multan, that Pakistan had held its ground and forced India to the negotiating table. “India, which talked about breaking their relationship with us, which talked about turning their back on us, two days ago has approached us and said that we want to sit and talk to you, we want to resume our relationship with you. Pakistan did not kneel. Pakistan held its ground”, said our epitome of sophisticated diplomacy.
Qureshi is also a master in double speak. During his meeting with the Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao in Islamabad on June, 24, he stated that Pakistan desires friendly and cooperative relations with India. He went on to say that the Government of Pakistan would like to continue to work with the Government of India to resolve all outstanding issues peacefully and in a just manner. The Foreign Minister even emphasised the importance of a cooperative approach in addressing the common challenge of terrorism. Later during his meeting with the Indian Home Minister on June, 25, also at Islamabad, he once again reiterated his Nations desire to develop friendly, cooperative and good neighbourly relations between the two countries. Now within a span of a few days he has retracted his stance and chosen to attack India’s human rights record. One wonders what happened to his overwhelming desire to cooperate with India in fighting the menace of terrorism. How is it that he has, most conveniently, forgotten the human rights violation that terrorists are perpetrating on the innocent people of Kashmir. It leaves one wondering about the actual face of this devious and rather slippery character.
Qureshi has, like a vast number of other Pakistani politicians, a feudal background. His father, Makhdoom Sajjad Hussain Qureshi, was Governor of Punjab from 1985-1988. His received his early education in the elitist Aitchison College, Lahore, which is meant only for Princes and followed it up by a Masters’ Degree in law from the University of Cambridge. This feudal and elitist background, to an extent, explains his attitude of superiority, he thinks that he has the right to say anything, anywhere. The Indian leadership though quite exasperated by his wayward comments prefers to maintain a dignified silence.
A recent report prepared by the Rand Corporation, a leading US based think tank, says that the rise in the Pakistan linked terrorist plots “is partly a result of an unsuccessful strategy by Pakistan and the US to weaken the range of militant groups operating in Pakistan”. Examining counter insurgency efforts in Pakistan, the study finds that “militant groups persist in the nation because Pakistani leaders continue to provide support to some groups and have not yet developed an effective counter insurgency strategy that protects the local population. These groups continue to present a significant threat to not only Pakistan, but to the United States and a host of other countries (read India) as well,” said Seth G. Jones, the study’s co-author and a political scientist at Rand.
The Pakistani Foreign Minister should save his advice about human rights violations for the Army of his Nation, his political colleagues responsible for internal security and the government of which he is an intrinsic part. He requires to do this in order to contain State sponsored atrocities that are being committed on the people whom he represents. While dealing with India he would be well advised to tone down his rhetoric to maintain some semblance of dignity in his already ruptured stature. So far as India is concerned, one wonder why we, as a country, even make an effort to deal with such wily and unreliable individuals.