Head of PPP Media Cell
War mongering in India is running high and its government reportedly is considering localised military action to teach Pakistan a befitting lesson for its alleged cross-border terrorism.
Pakistan is bound to respond in equal measure and according to Stephen Cohen as reported in New York Times recently, ‘the conflict could skid into a nuclear conflict,’ adding it would be devastating for both the countries. War hysteria in India this time is fuming with vengeance enough to cross the red-lines. Its probable eventuality gets credence in the wake of recent Uri attack in IHK, earlier Pathankot terrorist attack and Mumbai carnage, and Pakistan government’s inordinate delay to bring the culprits to justice.
It is hoped that better sense will prevail on Indian government led by Prime Minister Modi that has been desperately trying to build up its leadership mettles by bringing in economic prosperity in the country. They must not be carried away under the pressure of hawks who have increasingly taken the central stage in the corridors of power of India and in the country’s media alike.
Surprisingly, Indian prime minister’s last week’s Saturday public address opting for isolating Pakistan globally rather than crossing the swords, was a positive development to stem the tide of the possibility of the armed conflict between the two countries.
Overwhelming majority of people in Pakistan and India as well took the sigh of relief over the resultant shattering of war clouds as the unleashing of the of war instruments could have inevitably left the two countries crying mutual havoc afterwards exemplifying all pains no gains.
In this backdrop generated by India, Pakistan prime minister should immediately give heed to the sane proposal of ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali suggesting him to summon the joint session of Parliament to discuss the state of deteriorating relations, to the lowest ebb, between two neighbours for the formulation of a national response to ward off imminent threat that may lead to armed conflict.
Its indispensability cannot be overemphasised at a time when possibility of Indian retaliatory military action inside Pakistan is flying thick and fast.
The joint session of the Parliament will send a powerful and detrimental message to the bellicosity of India, and to the world community of Pakistan’s endeavours of averting the conflict in the face of India’s jingoism. Such message emanating from the Pakistan Parliament is bound to have desirable impact qualitatively both on India and the world at large.
The proposed session of the Parliament will also suggest to the government the road map of de-escalation of prevailing tension between the two countries leading to renewed efforts for normalisation. For this, an all parties’ parliamentary delegation may be constituted to activate diplomatic efforts assuring India of Pakistan’s commitment to bring terrorists of all hues to justice as a shared priority.
The Indian government should welcome such initiative. Its reluctance will be construed as having aggressive designs against Pakistan. The delegation should also urge the Indian government to resolve the outstanding issue of Kashmir as per commitment of India and Pakistan made before the UN Security Council. The security establishment must take the back seat because ‘it is too serious business.’
Pakistan’s crying horse as victim of terrorism has been increasingly losing its appeal in the world. Its incredible successes against terrorism are also subjected to the diminishing return because of the widely held perception that Pakistan’s ubiquitous security establishment has been playing on the both sides of the street so far as good and bad terrorists are concerned. It is no more plausible because the international community’s patience is brimming out with frustration as Haqqani network’s presence on Pakistani soil glaringly runs counter to the stated policy of Pakistan. This contradiction had invited all out opprobrium. Its fight to defeat terrorism in its all forms and manifestations is deemed as flawed. It is hard to find any taker of this covert policy of Pakistan notwithstanding colossal losses, both in blood and treasure, in the war of terror. It is ironical because the world is skeptical.
Two big and prominent proscribed outfits, also on the UN terrorist list, are big source of embarrassment for Pakistan as they take out processions in major cities in the full glare of media. The government’s inaction under NAP speaks volumes of its either double speak or lying in spine before them intimidated and terrified having no audacity to control them.
This display of outlawed organisations is under the scrutiny of the international organisations and the media. The state of affairs also explicitly points to the civil-military disparate because civilians consider them as delinquent liability and the military as its Trojan horse. It also purportedly implies that elected government cannot take them on in favour of paradigm shift fearing reprisal from their patron leading to destabilisation enough to endanger the longevity of the government of the day. The credibility of the government and its institution will not be restored till the bull is not taken by horns in front of the full gaze of the world.
Ironically, the establishment not presumably jettisoned, overt and covert, proclivity of controlling the security/foreign policy to the much exclusion of the civilians and their representatives, Parliament, notwithstanding the history of devastating denouements of this type of pursuit in the form of secession of the federation, sprawling of extremism and terrorism, Kargil debacle, Indian clandestine occupation of Siachin, privatisation of the security/foreign policy through proxies etc. Senator Farhatullha Babar has dwelled upon this self-defeating tendency at various public and parliamentary forums at number of times but no avail.
A combined article written by three former distinguished foreign secretaries and the security adviser, published on the front page in the local English daily, have blown the whistle urging the government to take immediate and bold initiatives to defuse the situation by improving relations with Afghanistan as its top priority followed by with other neighbours. Thanks for the immensely valuable and timely advice to the mandarins that should sink well with them. The opinion of such distinguished personalities should be taken with matching seriousness preceded by tangible steps in the direction as suggested by them.
Government in Kabul must be assured in absolute terms of not allowing Afghan Taliban in Pakistan to use its soil to perpetrate terrorism in the country. The drive against the Afghan Taliban network should not only be carried out by Pakistan but also be seen to be carried out. Pakistan has no choice but to abandon Taliban of all hues if it wants the world to believe in its commitment to defeat terrorism indiscriminately. The echoes of betrayal and duplicity, US Congress, are too loud now in the world capitals enough to shrill nation’s ears. The chances of getting benefit of doubt are almost nil, be aware.
Even man of ordinary prudence will conclude the grotesque aftermaths of proxy wars. The presence of Afghan Taliban on Pakistan soil gives credibility to the Indian allegations of the currency of cross-border terrorism. Afghanistan leadership blames Pakistan for all its predicaments attributed to this policy of good and bad terrorists.
Tragically, activities of the proscribed organisations under the open sky of Pakistan had also hurt the struggle of the Kashmiri people for independence as they flaunt their role in the uprising against the Indian occupation of the Valley. They were helping India who projected it as a terrorist movement rather than legitimate struggle focused to the right of self-determination. The Uri terrorist attack recently gave India much fodder to divert the attention of the international community at the expense of the freedom movement. It was enough to confuse the international community, and the Indian diplomacy was on the overdrive to put blame of cross-border terrorism on Pakistan. The incident overshadowed the Indian atrocities in held Kashmir at a time when UN General Assembly was in session.
No country can afford to endorse the presence of Afghan terrorists on Pakistani soil. The rest of the world is increasingly coming closer to tell Pakistan on its face ‘enough is enough.’ In the US, the Congressmen are raising their voice against Pakistan alleging the country has proved as unworthy ally and US money cannot be spent to reward ‘betrayal and duplicity’. President Obama had also candidly urged Pakistan, ‘to move pro-actively and sincerely to delegitimise and dismantle the Haqqani network.’ The US Security Adviser Susan Rice during her visit to Pakistan also made it quite clear that Haqqani network had to be dismantled if Pakistan wanted the US economic and military assistance. The rejection of US aid to Pakistan clearly suggested that there were no free lunches.
In the recent meeting of prime minister of Pakistan in New York with John Kerry, cross-border terrorism figured quite prominently. Pakistan stands no chance of standing on its feet in the diplomatic and economic fronts if US’ annoyance culminating into choking reprisal in myriad fronts. As such, the wheels of diplomacy should move swiftly based on paradigm shift and unflinching sincerity to turn the tide of looming disaster. The parliamentarians should display guts and take the charge of the foreign/a security domain which is their legitimate right conferred on them by the people of Pakistan. Their ambivalence in this regard will cast shadow of pusillanimous explicitly implying not worthy of representing the people. The imposition of institutional pontification in this regard should be relic of the past that is known for inflicting curdling nightmares.