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Anti-India Sentiments Serve Pakistan’s Interests – OpEd

Politics makes strange bedfellows while destiny imposes difficult neighborhoods. The two nation theory being followed by Pakistan survives on spewing venom at its secular, democratic and economically stronger eastern neighbour-India. Two people of similar socio-cultural backgrounds, who otherwise would make the best of friends, have become enemies within the confines of their national boundaries. Even such Pakistani politicians who are considerably liberal are compelled to breathe hatred towards India to ensure their political survival.

While most Nations run on policies, Pakistan runs on diktats of a fundamentalist Mujahedeen-military nexus. Here, even eminent non-Muslim personalities are discriminated against and denied opportunities to rise. The foreign and domestic policies are mostly formulated in the GHQ or ISI headquarters and passed down to the legislature or non-state actors for implementation.

Although Pakistan extends lavish receptions to visiting Indian delegations, its actions on borders and diplomacy leave much to be desired for achieving the ‘Aman’ (peace) envisaged. The reasons for hatred are manifold but the main is the failure in military misadventures in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947and 1965 and dismemberment of the nation in Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. These events led to the creation of the policy of a thousand cuts. Under this policy, Pakistan diverted US aid for Afghan mujahedeen to create unrest in Punjab in late ’70s. The policy fanned the embers of discontent amongst gullible youth and disgruntled elements of Punjab. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and the evil plan fell flat with time.

A bigger impact was witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Kashmir Valley. Having created unrest in the valley, Pakistan realised the idea of its amalgamation with itself was most appealing. It started sending its unemployed, religious indoctrinated and Madrassa educated youth to spread greater degree of violence and unrest and also propped up a local element named Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) for terrorist activities in the name of Jihad (Holy war).

HM became the biggest militant group in the valley with Kashmiri leadership and foreign following. Soon, the battle hardened guest Mujahedeen refused to play the second fiddle to the soft Kashmiris. During this period the HM had several turf skirmishes with other smaller local militant organisations which were decimated by HM overwhelming ferocity of firepower. A worried Pakistan propped up several foreign militant dominated organizations with ‘pan–Islamic or Islam sans frontiers’ agenda. These organizations had no connection with Kashmiris. The locals suffered their wrath but resolutely rejected their Wahhabi-Salafi diktats to their Sufi ideals. Foreign sponsored terrorism thus weakened with time.

The Pakistani agenda has been challenged strongly by India. Though, we may not be in a position to say that the terrorism/insurgency has ended altogether, it can be said that the fish is not getting water to swim. We cannot, though, let our guard down because of the fact that Pakistan is still providing moral, material and monetary support to the militant outfits like JuD, JeM while attempting to prop up HM yet again.

In order to win the battle of wills India, first and foremost, needs to become economically sound and militarily more powerful. Economic strength will lead to development and eradication of poverty and military strength will be a deterrent for others to meddle in our affairs with impunity. Bother these elements, combined with the political will must exhibit the nation’s intent towards not accepting the nonsense perpetrated by Pakistan.

Pakistani supported separatist jihadist propaganda needs to be countered tooth and nail and in a timely manner, supported by truth, right values and character. Pakistan may refute our cries for action but the world by now has a clear picture of what goes on in the dark alleys of Islamabad. If pressure is put, Pakistan may recoil under shame or international pressure.

Indian policy makers have to ensure that all actions taken by other nations are aligned to our national interest. The most important clog in the wheel in this regard is Afghanistan. The US will soon exit Afghanistan leaving us to deal with Pak sponsored mujahedeen and other mercenaries who are engaged in Afghanistan now. The sooner we realise this and prepare for contingencies likely to befall on us after envisaged US pull out the better. The Pakistan based militant warlords aligned against India like Syed Salahuddin, Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azar are already preparing to revive terrorism/militancy in Kashmir. These developments should be considered seriously and seen in the light of likely ISI promises of enhanced weapon and narco-dollars support to mullah-militant nexus.

Historical perspective indicates military control of civilian institutions in Pakistan. Most of the military dictators there have, at some point in time, been protégés of the government of the day. Power corrupts and complete power corrupts completely. Since independence, Pakistan has endured more than half of the period under military dictators. India needs to remain sensitive of this reality and prepared for any misadventure that the Pakistan Army, if cornered, will chance upon.

We have to guard against petty internal issues taking larger form and vote bank politics in the backdrop of emerging security threats to democracy and larger national interest. Call for plebiscite in the historical and present perspective is inconsequential and airing such thoughts will not bring about conditions for the same.

Mere trite for repeal of AFSPA when the same is not in democracy and national interests would be a waste of energy. Repeal will force Army and paramilitaries to barracks giving free run to jihadists to enter porous hilly forested line of control through their training camps in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) from 100 reported launch pads. Had the State forces, with due regards to them, been able to handle such situation in 1989, Kashmir would have been a real paradise which the peopleseek today. Unfortunately, coping with crime is different ballgame from combating militancy.

The ‘Aawam’ (people) of Kashmir is hungry for security, peace, development, good governance, corruption free society, two square meals, freedom from daily worries and equality of all. Society and nation should draw its strength from patriotism, articulate values and character.

(Farooq Wani is a Kashmir senior journalist, columnist and political commentator.)

(Border personnel from India and Pakistan during the Wagah Border ceremony. Photo by Therealhiddenace, Wikipedia Commons.)

Published Date: Friday, March 15th, 2019 | 09:21 PM

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