Having assumed that the US is now mellowing towards it (reportedly ready to offer a civil nuclear deal) and with the full backing of its all- weather friend, China, Pakistan has mounted an offensive against India at the United Nations. But like many other anti-India moves it regularly makes at international fora, this one may also fail to achieve its objective. The UN simply can’t help Pakistan realise its long cherished dream of taking over Jammu and Kashmir.
There is another anti-India ploy that Pakistan has started to use. It has prepared a three-volume ‘dossier’ on India’s alleged involvement in terror activitiesinside Pakistan. Neither the UN nor the rest of the world seems to have taken much notice of it. Pakistan is under the mistaken notion that levelling baseless counter charges against India will erase its infamy as a sponsor of terror in India, Afghanistan and many other parts of the world, including the US.
It may be mentioned in passing that after valiantly trying to befriend Pakistan by overlooking its record of exporting terror to the country, President Ghani of Afghanistan has felt deeply betrayed by his neighbour. Old habits, they say, die hard and Pakistan cannot get over its policy of using terror as an instrument of state policy. And yet it tries to fool the world by talking of ‘peace’!
Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, dutifully read out at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) the script written by his military HQ, proposing a four-point ‘peace initiative’ that he thought could reactivate the suspended dialogue with Delhi.
It is amusing that the Pakistanis have dubbed the UN speech of Nawaz Sharif as an act of ‘statesmanship’ when it is clearly an attempt to draw world attention on Kashmir. It represents the unrealistic hope that the international community would be able to press India to gift Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan.
At the Pakistani military HQ, peace with India is a strict no-no. That will immediately downgrade its supreme status, built around paranoia about India. The Pakistanis in Khaki, who are the effective rulers of the country, are dead against their civilian leadership building good relations with India. What ‘statesmanship’ can one expect from an army-controlled Sharif when he offers ‘peace initiatives’ to India to settle ‘disputes’?
The Indian external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, responded to the Sharif ‘peace initiative’ tersely a day later at the same forum: ‘We don’t need four points, just one point: end terror’.
The spokesman of the external affairs ministry had earlier said in his response that the first and foremost need is to ‘de-terrorise’ Pakistan. It was summary rejection of the Pakistan charge about India’s alleged attempts to destabilise Pakistan, a country where deep sectarian divide has proved the hollowness of its religion-based foundation.
If the Modi government has to maintain its ‘tough’ stance against Pakistan, it must bring to the notice of the world how Islamabad represses its own people while crowing about ‘human rights violations’ in Kashmir. Using jet fighters, gunships, helicopters, missiles, heavy artillery and what not, the Pakistani army has been systematically killing people in the tribal areas on the Afghan borders, Baluchistan and the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
The people of Baluchistan have long been clamouring for independence from Pakistan. It has been reported that a representative of the Baloch nationalists has been living in exile in India. Let Pakistan see it as an instance of Indian ‘interference’ when their visiting officials insist on talking to their puppets in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government of India, instead of trying to ‘hide’ him, should encourage him to speak up in public and mobilise support for the Baloch nationalists. Likewise, the people of PoK need to be heard outside the large prison in which they live. The Pakistani army has a firm control over the territory and outsiders are not allowed easy access.
The so-called ‘peace initiative’ proposed by Sharif is basically all about Kashmir in keeping with the Pakistani propaganda that Kashmir alone keeps relations between the two countries tense. Pakistan absolutely refuses to address India’s concern about terror that is bred and exported from territories under its occupation. When India asks Pakistan to discuss terror it says India is putting ‘pre-conditions’, but it is not a ‘pre-condition’ when Pakistan says that it will discuss with India nothing but Kashmir.
Under a mistaken notion that it has come out of the dog house, Pakistan riddled with many internal conflicts, has stepped up a tirade against India that it is involved in terror activities on its soil. From Pakistan’s point of view it has probably become necessary because nothing but a ceaseless diatribe against India keeps its people united. The Pakistanis have been programmed to believe whatever their establishment says against India—no questions asked.
Pakistan has yet to outlive its reputation as the epicenter of global terror. It is not going to be an easy task, given the large scale radicalisation of the country. The masterminds of the 28/11 Mumbai attacks roam freely in Pakistan, preaching hatred against India. The Pakistani government treats them as VIPs when both the UN and the US have declared these Pakistanis and their organisations as terror outfits.
In his UN speech, Sharif asked for demilitarization of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. What he means is that India should withdraw its army from J&K but Pakistan will under no circumstances pull back its army from the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. An important proviso in the UN resolution of 1948 that talks of plebiscite in J&K is the withdrawal of the armies of the two countries from the state. Pakistan wants India to withdraw its army from J&K so that it is free to grab the whole of state. Before the Indian army responded to a request from the then ruler of J&K, Pakistan army had invaded and occupied about a third of J&K in 1948.
The suggestion for ‘formalising’ the 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan is a ploy to facilitate movement of terrorists trained by the Pakistan’s ISI and its surrogate terror outfits into India. The Pakistani army provides fire cover to terrorists who are pushed through the LoC and the international border and when India retaliates it leads to charges of ceasefire violations.
India cannot be enthusiastic about expansion of the UN Military Observers’ Group in India and Pakistan, another point in Sharif’s UN speech. Pakistan clearly wants to use that agency for propaganda purposes. Pakistan is desperate to get UN members take interest in the Kashmir issue because most of them see it as a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan.
After the Kargil experience it will be impossible for India to ‘unconditionally’ withdraw its forces, as Sharif demanded in his speech, from the Siachin Glacier. The Pakistanis can go on talking about Siachin as a ‘low hanging fruit’; India cannot offer it to them.