Relations between Indian and Pakistan have touched a nadir due to some unsavoury and nasty activities on the part of the latter country in recent times. The attack by terrorists of Pakistan origin in Bemina, Srinagar on Mar, 13, 2013 caused considerable consternation in India. The last straw was the resolution passed by the National Assembly of Pakistan on March, 14, 2013, condemning the hanging of Afsal Guru and demanding that his body be returned to his family. Both houses of the Indian parliament gave a strong riposte the very next day by, “calling upon the National Assembly of Pakistan to desist from such acts of support for extremist and terrorist elements.”
The beauty is that India is, at the moment, the least of Pakistan’s worries. As Pakistan completes the first ever full term of its parliament and heads for an election, the report card over the last five years presents a dismal picture. Poor governance, lack of security, failure to stem ethnic and sectarian conflicts, corruption, polarised politics etc is what marked the political landscape of the country in the last five years. This description of the state of affairs comes from a Pakistani journalist of repute. None of these problems were created by India
So far as its security is concerned, Pakistan’s abiding worry stems from its western border with Afghanistan rather than the eastern border with India. It is on the western border that the country has to contend with a security nightmare that seems to be beyond the capacity of its discredited army. The insurgents from Afghanistan as also the inbred Pakistani militia, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, kidnap, mutilate and kill Pakistani soldiers with impunity. The US forces in Afghanistan have no qualms in launching drone attacks deep into Pakistan territory and targeting some militant but mostly civilian people. The critical internal security situation in Balochistan, Karachi, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan etc needs no elaboration, bomb blasts that kill and maim innocent civilians are an everyday occurrence in all of these places. India has no role to play in the security mess that Pakistan is enveloped in.
India has, on the other hand, exhibited exemplary restraint by not exploiting the tenuous conditions in Pakistan with military or political intervention as it could have done quite easily. Yet Pakistan is not relenting from its diabolic machinations to create unrest and turmoil in India. For a moment let us assume that Pakistan has a very genuine concern for Afsal Guru and his family. If such is the high moral threshold being adopted by the government of Pakistan then why was a similar resolution not passed when Ajmal Kasab, a citizen of Pakistan, was executed by India? Before this, why were the bodies of the Northern Light Infantry soldiers of the Pakistan army not even acknowledged let alone accepted in the aftermath of the Kargil war? Clearly, Pakistan plays politics of opportunism designed to discredit India; there is not even an ounce of righteousness in its actions.
There can be a number of other reasons leading to the anti-India posture adopted by Pakistan in recent times. The acts could well be part of a grand design of the political leadership of Pakistan to garner some brownie points in view of the forthcoming elections since Pakistani political leaders traditionally harbour a misperception that anti-India rhetoric provides the best route to electoral victory. The posture could also be an off shoot of the perceived humiliation suffered by the Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf during his recent visit to the Sufi shrine Ajmer Sharif in India. The Darhgah Diwan, Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, refused to welcome him as a protest against the beheading of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistani army on the line of control. For a politician with a feudal mindset this would constitute a considerable loss of face, especially so, when elections are around the corner.
While maintaining this highly noticeable anti-India posture, Pakistan does not hesitate from indulging in its time tested diplomatic double game. During a recent visit to the United Kingdom the Prime Minister of Pakistan took great pains to impress upon the British parliamentarians that his country has taken a “leap forward” to improve ties with India and that bilateral relations are moving in the right direction. On ground the “leap forward” is translating into a step up in proliferation of terror in India and issuing of provocative statements whenever an opportunity presents itself.
The end result of these parochial policies and political tomfoolery is that Pakistan is losing out on support from where it is most needed. The Pakistani Foreign Minister keeps talking about a “trust deficit” coming in the way of improving ties between the two nations. How can trust between two parties be built when the whole relationship is viewed with extreme malevolence by one of them? The Indian Prime Minsiter Dr Manmohan Singh has, on many occasions, gone public with his intention of walking the extra mile so far as Pakistan is concerned; he has extended himself to this end a number of times. Now a situation has come by when he has been compelled by the negative circumstances to state that, “India cannot have normal ties with Pakistan unless and until the terror machine which is still active in Pakistan is brought under control.” Things cannot get more dismal then this.
The end result is that there is minimal trade, strained diplomatic relations, tenuous people to people contact and social strife between the two countries; even the Hockey series to be played in April this year have been postponed. If only someone could make Pakistan realise that targeting India is not in its interest. One can only hope and pray that the next government in Pakistan will exhibit more maturity and understanding of what is good for the country and what is not.