Turning the other cheek to the Indians
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at present appears to be following the above advice to the maximum possible extent when it comes to India. The current round of skirmishes started when five Indian soldiers were killed on August 6 near the LOC; India says that they were killed by the Pakistani troops while Pakistan denies its involvement. However, someone must have done it and the fact that it was done close the LOC points the finger towards us.
We would never find out as to who did it. But PM Sharif should at least try to find out if the killing was undertaken by the Pakistan Army or done by the Mujihideen operating from Azad Kashmir; and whether the Mujihideen operated independently or with official military sanction. India believes that Mujihideen do not undertake any mission without a green light from the ISI. However, one can only wish that ISI had so much clout and control over the Mujihideen as the ISI itself is constantly being attacked all over the country, along with the other sections of the armed forces.
Regardless of official involvement on Pakistan’s part, it is legally not permissible for any country under international law, including the United Nations Charter, to allow its territory to be used for attacking other countries. If allowed to do so, the international system would become chaotic and one would be coming across one world war after another.
Pakistan has a serious problem in this regard as its western border is being used by the Taliban to launch attacks in Afghanistan; eastern border to liberate Kashmir and a few Muslim Chinese militants sit in the Northern Areas. This is a sad situation and a nuisance for our neighboring countries. Come to think of it, is it really their problem if our civilian rulers when in power fail to control the military part of our establishment?
Nawaz Sharif is constantly turning his other cheek to the Indians despite their constant shelling at the LOC which has so far killed five Pakistani troops and one can only hope that the figure will remain static by the time this column is published. In the midst of this tension, the Sharif Government of Pakistan on August 23 released 340 Indian prisoners, mostly the fishermen. The gesture no doubt is commendable and will be appreciated internationally if not in India.
But the current tension is intolerable. The Indian and Pakistani governments are not handling it right. Many justify the belligerent Indian stance to the coming Lok Sabha elections. If this is true, then it is even more sad and goes to show that unlike the people in Pakistan, Indians want war. Instead of the Foreign Office daily summoning the Deputy Indian High Commissioner, Nawaz Sharif should pick-up his phone and talk to his counterpart in New Delhi and explain his country’s position regarding the August 6 killings and ask India not to become a hostage to its media and the fanatic sections of the populace.