Stop Sawing Dust

Written by Anees Jillani  •  June 2013 PDF Print E-mail

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. 

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.

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