Stop Saw­ing Dust

Southasia - - THE LAST STOP - By Anees Jil­lani Anees Jil­lani is an ad­vo­cate of the Supreme Court of Pak­istan and a mem­ber of the Wash­ing­ton, DC Bar. He has been writ­ing for var­i­ous pub­li­ca­tions for more than 20 years and has au­thored sev­eral books.

Soon af­ter win­ning the 2013 gen­eral elec­tions, Nawaz Sharif ex­pressed his de­sire for the In­dian Pre­mier to at­tend the in­au­gu­ra­tion cer­e­mony. His wish was re­cip­ro­cated by the beat­ing up of Pak­istan’s First Sec­re­tary Trade at the High Com­mis­sion in New Delhi. The In­dian Govern­ment im­me­di­ately de­nied its in­volve­ment at­tribut­ing it to a scuf­fle be­tween the diplo­mat and his driver with a cou­ple on the bike that their car had hit. The only pos­i­tive side is that Pak­istan, un­like the past, did not re­tal­i­ate by beat­ing up an In­dian diplo­mat in Is­lam­abad. I am not in a po­si­tion to say as to whether the diplo­mat was beaten up by the In­dian in­tel­li­gence agen­cies or it was a gen­uine con­se­quence of a road ac­ci­dent. In the case of the lat­ter, what ac­tions have the In­dian Govern­ment taken so far against the cou­ple who had beaten up the diplo­mat?

As if the above was not enough, on the morn­ing of June 11, two In­dian Air Force air­crafts vi­o­lated Pak­istan’s airspace for about two min­utes, which an In­dian state­ment later called a tech­ni­cal vi­o­la­tion. If such a vi­o­la­tion had been com­mit­ted by PAF planes, some of the In­dian politi­cians and a sec­tion of the In­dian me­dia by now would have been ask­ing the govern­ment in New Delhi to at­tack Pak­istan with nu­clear mis­siles.

Luck­ily, we can now claim Pak­istan to be a democ­racy, even a nascent one, while In­dia is proud of be­ing the largest democ­racy in the world. In­dia is also a huge coun­try with much more es­tab­lished and ad­vanced in­sti­tu­tions than Pak­istan. One thus ex­pects the coun­try and its cit­i­zenry, par­tic­u­larly the ed­u­cated and in­tel­lec­tual lot, to show a higher de­gree of ma­tu­rity in its at­ti­tude to­wards Pak­istan. How­ever, it is sad to say that In­dia has re­peat­edly failed to show such an at­ti­tude.

Pak­istan came into ex­is­tence as a re­sult of In­dia’s breakup and the In­dian bit­ter­ness to­wards this newly formed Mus­lim state is un­der­stand­able just as some of us may feel to­wards Bangladesh. How­ever, this hos­til­ity would have re­ceded if In­dia had not usurped Kash­mir, Hyderabad and Ju­na­gadh. The other dis­putes like dis­tri­bu­tion of as­sets were mi­nor as com­pared to the sta­tus of th­ese three states. Pak­istan did not han­dle it ap­pro­pri­ately at its in­cep­tion and lost all three states. In­dia then re­ferred the Kash­mir dis­pute to the United Na­tions but now re­fuses to im­ple­ment the res­o­lu­tions passed by that very or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Re­sul­tantly, the re­sent­ment and en­mity shifted to Pak­istan and led to un­prece­dented strength­en­ing of the coun­try’s se­cu­rity ap­pa­ra­tus, in­clud­ing its in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, par­tic­u­larly the ISI. Pak­istan can­not mil­i­tar­ily de­feat In­dia due to the dif­fer­ence in sizes of the armed forces. It ac­cord­ingly de­cided to wage a clan­des­tine war of at­tri­tion by in­fil­trat­ing com­man­does into Kash­mir in the six­ties; by sup­port­ing the Sikh mil­i­tants in the In­dian Pun­jab dur­ing the eight­ies; and the Kash­miri mil­i­tants in the nineties. Th­ese moves def­i­nitely bled In­dia but Pak­istan has also paid a heavy price, most promi­nently in the shape of the mil­i­tary re­peat­edly tak­ing over the reins of power.

Af­ter six decades of ac­ri­mony, the peo­ple of Pak­istan have re­al­ized the fu­til­ity of this whole rig­ma­role and Nawaz Sharif’s pub­lic peace over­tures to pla­cate In­dia proves it. It is now for the peo­ple of In­dia to re­al­ize this golden op­por­tu­nity and to avail it to achieve peace. Fail­ure to re­cip­ro­cate and con­tin­u­ing to take a hard-line will not serve the in­ter­ests of ei­ther coun­try. Both have made mis­takes in the past. States­man­ship de­mands to not dwell on the past, saw­ing saw dust, but to move for­ward with a vi­sion to achieve some­thing pos­i­tive.

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