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  Asia-Pacific
A Case for Continuing Talks
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Indian FSec Nirupma Rao & Pak Forsec Salman Basheer

The much awaited foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan concluded on 25th February at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. Though different people have different views about these high level talks but political analysts are of the view that the coming together of foreign secretaries of both the countries is itself a proof that both India and Pakistan are willing to establish peace and more such talks will follow in future. India’s main opposition party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not in favour of these talks. They even accused the Indian government of acting under the US pressure to carry out talks. The opposition is seeing the Indo-Pak talks by linking them with the continuously deteriorating image of America in Afghanistan and Obama’s future strategy vis-a-vis Afghanistan. But, indeed, India being the largest and the most powerful nation of South Asia, is trying to tell the world that it is a responsible nation, which follows the ideals of truth and non-violence of Gandhiji and believes in maintaining friendly relations with the neighbours.

In the recently concluded foreign secretary talks, it was accepted that there is an atmosphere of mistrust between the two countries, which is restraining both the countries to establish peaceful, strong and friendly relations. No doubt the people of Pakistan, like the people of India, have also become bored of terrorist activities, killing of innocents in such attacks and resultant insult of Pakistan in international community. Despite this, there is a considerably strong set of people who always try to create an anti-India atmosphere in Pakistan in the name of Kashmir. As I have written many times earlier also, there are many power centres in Pakistan. For instance, if both India and Pakistan arrive at a decision taken after consultation with the elected government of Pakistan, it is not necessary that the decision is accepted by the Pak army also. Similarly if a Pakistan Army General takes a decision, its acceptance by the ISI is not guaranteed. And the Pakistani judiciary can’t be taken as granted by all these power centres with regard to their decisions. At last, it is not necessary that the anti-Indian extremist Jehadis and Mullahs agree with the above institutions.

Pakistan, partitioned from India in the name of an ‘Islamic State’, is finding difficult to come out of the trap of its own contradictions. Though the people of India are always excited and optimistic regarding good relations between these two nuclear armed states, but slowly the common people of India have started believing that Pakistan is deliberately trying to disturb peace and harmony in India by taking undue ‘advantage’ of India’s mature and peaceful policies. Besides the 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, India has many such proofs which it shares with Pakistan from time to time. A new proof has been added to this list. Recently, Hafiz Sayeed, the chief of the banned Jamaat-Ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba, organised an anti-India rally in Lahore. In his evocative speech, he talked about spreading ‘Jihad’ in India and called on the Muslims of the world to participate in this and capture Kashmir from India. In the rally, not only many most wanted banned leaders and organisations were active, besides hundreds of people were seen wandering with dangerous prohibited arms.

What can such rallies are termed. If we go by the Pakistani logics regarding terrorism, it says that Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and thus needs sympathy rather than criticism from the entire world including India. Regarding Hafiz Sayeed, Pakistan’s logic is that he doesn’t represent the government of Pakistan; therefore the government has nothing to do with his statements. The question is then why the Pakistani government or Pak Army is not stopping Hafiz Sayeed from making anti-India statements? Two possibilities are there- either this anti-India open game is directed or patronised by one or more power centres of Pakistan OR Pakistani government has bowed down to such small number of extremist and poisonous leaders and organisations. The increasing strength of terrorist organisations in Pakistan is a clear proof of this.

Now the question is for how long the atmosphere of mistrust between India and Pakistan will prevail and for how long such meaningless and inconclusive talks would continue? There is need to know the nature of the ISI besides that of the people of Pakistan. While both the democratic government and Army are always in perfect competition for capturing power in Pakistan, the ISI has emerged as a shadow organisation of the Pak army. This is the reason that there is an exchange of officers between the army and the ISI. Pakistan’s many high ranking army officers have worked on key posts in the ISI. Now the question is what the Pak army and the ISI are trying to get by creating disturbance in India.

Even though the new generation of Pakistan may have forgot the 1971 Pak-Bangladesh partition but there are still many officers in the Pakistan army and the ISI who had faced the insult from the Indian army or Mukti Vahini. Those officers are also fully conscious who had witnessed or were themselves involved in the biggest ever surrender. This surrender was by the Pakistani army in front of the Indian army in the India-Pak-Bangladesh war of 1971. The same Pak army and the ISI has not forgotten or is not willing to forget that ‘insult’. This is the reason that the extremist forces and the ISI are trying to replicate in Kashmir, the communal model used by the Pakistani leadership in 1947. It is the duty of the peace loving people of Pakistan, its democratic government, intellectuals, journalists and educated class to tell their people that the way in which the religion based 1947 partition failed in 1971 partition, which was not religion based, similarly to talk about ‘jihad’ in Kashmir is useless. The Pak army/ISI sponsored jihad in Kashmir is proving detrimental to the relations between the two nations. Therefore, there is need of complete transparency and trust building between the two nations. Quoting a famous Indian poet, Nida Fazili - Dushmani laakh sahi, khatm na kije rishta. Dil mile ya na mile, haath milate rahiye. (Even during enmity, don’t end the relation. Either hearts meet or not, hands should meet).



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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