Nawaz Sharif gets it right on India

Published: August 15, 2011

People stand while the national anthem is played at a Safma seminar. PHOTO: APP

Addressing a seminar organised by the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) in Lahore over the weekend, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif surprisingly said some very laudable and perhaps remarkable things on relations between Pakistan and India. In fact, if one analyses his remarks, one will find things said that most politicians would be afraid to say in public, perhaps out of fear from hawks, conservatives and the strong anti-India lobby that is found in many sections of society, in particular in the civil-military establishment and the media.

Mr Sharif said that India and Pakistan had a common heritage of culture, that even their language and eating habits are similar. He said India should have built a motorway from the Wagha border-crossing to Calcutta and the two countries should have traded. When he constructed the motorway it was his plan to take it to Kabul via Peshawar as well as to Gwadar and Tashkent. He told the audience that Atal Behari Vajpayee had suggested announcing 1999 as the year for resolving the Kashmir dispute but his government was toppled that year. As for Kargil, he hoped that someday an independent and impartial inquiry would decide the truth about what had happened. Mr Sharif also said that instead of competing in the manufacture and acquisition of weapons, Pakistan and India should compete economically. If India buys a tank, Pakistan does the same and this comes at the expense of our social sector and infrastructure, he said.

On the issue of culture between Pakistan and India, Mr Sharif said that hating a community which had a culture similar to ours meant in effect hating a part of ourself. To this we would say that those who think of Pakistan from the outside know that the current crises faced by the country stem from its persistence in the ‘ideologically’ ingrained but unrealistic policy towards India. Pakistan’s obsession with Afghanistan — the pathology of having a ‘friendly’ government there — is nothing but a corollary of the policy of  ‘strategic depth’.

The dwindling capacity of the state to cope with terrorism is owed to Pakistan’s ‘vigilance’ on the eastern border from where Pakistan’s static ‘threat matrix’ expects India to attack and occupy Pakistan because it never accepted the creation of Pakistan. The equally shocking tendency to view the Taliban and al Qaeda as ‘reconcilable’ friends of Pakistan emanates from the irreducible theory of opposition to India. Experts in the United States know that 90 per cent of anti-Americanism in Pakistan is constructed on the supposition that America has joined hands with India to subjugate or subordinate Pakistan to India’s ‘hegemonic’ drive.

When policies don’t work and strategies end in defeat or indirect reversals like an economic meltdown, it is time to change them. Darwin held that it was not survival of the fittest that defeated the less fit but the inability of the less fit to mutate. Erroneously thinking that ideology means refusal to make changes in policy, Pakistan has reached a point where it needs to change itself drastically from a warrior nation to a market state, or fade away like a failed African state. It needs a leader who commands popular support and is willing to lead without being led by cheap populism. Nawaz Sharif, usually, is not this to his followers and on TV channels, when he is rated ‘friendly in opposition’ as if a normal leader is supposed to be a pathological fire-breather. He sounds unfamiliar again when talking about relations with India, but he is the leader who has the answer to what looks like Pakistan’s terminal crisis. He realises that Pakistan’s undoing has started because of its ‘path dependency’ on the ‘security state’ model which has forgotten to live as a normal economic entity.

On this anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, the only good news has come from Punjab simply because a leader has correctly diagnosed the unease from which Pakistan has suffered for a long time. What he is recommending is not capitulation to an enemy but a normal adjustment to today’s globalised world where economic growth is the only way to survive and where there are no free lunches from superpowers needing surrogates to fight their wars.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.

Reader Comments (78)

  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 15, 2011 - 9:16PM

    Very commendable and sensible thing coming out from Nawaz Sharif not known for talking sense

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  • john
    Aug 15, 2011 - 9:30PM

    so there are still some sane politicians left out in pakistan..

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  • Incredible
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:10PM

    ‘He told the audience that Atal Behari Vajpayee had suggested announcing 1999 as the year for resolving the Kashmir dispute but his government was toppled that year’.

    So it was the Pakaistanis who did not want a solution in Kashmir. Kashmiri people please note this as they were let down by Pakistan.

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  • Mastishhk
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:24PM

    If we know Nawaz Sharif better..I expect him to disown these comments at a suitable time.

    And what exactly do need to known about our Kargil Misadventure. Our Beloved General Musharaff has been Globe trotting and telling every audience that he was the architect of Kargil.Its in his book as well..General public knows about it…So we don’t need to waste our resources on any commission to probe Kargil.We already know wat we need to know. We messed it up once again !!!

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  • sobriquet
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:41PM

    When Nawaz Sharif says “…India should have built a motorway from the Wagha border-crossing to Calcutta…,” what is he implying?

    Up to 1947 the trade route was the famous Grand Trunk Road, which traces its origins to the route used by Sher Shah Suri, which, in turn, was built on Uttr-Path (Uttarapatha), a thousands of years old trade route that ran from Bengal to Bactria (in Central Asia) though Punjab and Taxila, and was used by the Mauryans to administer their empire.

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  • My Name is Khan
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:57PM

    Unexpected but very positive news from Mr. Sharif. While I have not previously supported PML-N, it will be interesting to see how the next election plays out. If they continue to build real credible ideas around the future of a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan, I hope they are able to gather the support to make it come to fruition.

    We MUST make sure the Armed Forces and ISI stay out of the elections. They MUST be answerable to the democratically elected leaders of Pakistan. We simply cannot let them guide our Foreign and Economic Policy as they have for the past 64 years.

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  • billo
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:59PM

    An astounding bout of good sense. Lets hope the mainstream parties are able to successfully transform these views into workable policies that will lead to peace and progress. Lets also hope that the smaller political parties are not able to throw a wrench in this. These parties never have any popular mandate, but their establishment mandate makes them potent spoilers.

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  • Manzar sarfraz
    Aug 15, 2011 - 11:00PM

    Finally! Mr sharif has grown up at last. I wish he could put actions where his mouth isRecommend

  • Rahul
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:05AM

    There is already a motorway in place between Amritsar and Kolkata. Big chunk of it is on the golden quadrilateral. So, probably its time to update facts.

    http://www.nhai.org/gqmain_english.htm

    Secondly, I feel its time to stop misleading people using bogus “Cultural Similarity” punchline. India is culturally so diverse that sometimes even Indians themselves have very little in common. A north Indian is very different from South Indian. Food, clothing, language, rituals etc etc varies from province to province. I am not sure how a person in Lahore is culturally similar to someone in Chennai or Bangalore? Yes, there could be some similarities between the two Punjabs but that should not be equated to every region in India. So cultural similarily between India and Pakistan is out of question.

    Its time to hunt for peace on credible grounds that are factually accurate.

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  • murtaza
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:10AM

    well that is very rich coming from a man who has amassed 100′s of millions of dollars in foriegn banks and spends more time abroad than in pakistan. the tuth of the matter is that there is not one single honest politician left in pakistan who can be trusted with pakistans interests in their hearts. i think we should let Imran Khan and his TI take the centre stage and to save pakistan.

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  • Kaiser
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:13AM

    I salute your guts Mr.Sharif. I never liked you Janaab. But you make me rethink that all hope is not yet lost for us. Way to go. Just stick by your comments and Insha Allah we will rise once again as a global Superpower shoulder to shoulder with Hind.

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  • Hedgefunder
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:27AM

    Yes, perhaps but his actions during his watch were not played to the same script!!
    In meantime India’s economic clout has grown to the tune of being classed as Global Player, while Pakistan’s has been reduced to listing on Failed States !!!
    That should tell the actual story and with upcoming elections next year, its rather important to acknowledge one’s neighbour’s progress, while staring at one’s own dismal state!!!

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  • Mirza
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:22AM

    Nawaz Sharif is trying to create a niche in rightwing politics of Pakistan, to be different from JI, JUP and TI of IK. This is a good way to separate himself from the crowded rightwing politicians. I would take him on his words, even though it is easy to talk anything when not in power. Sharif knows fully well that he has the complete support of “independent” judiciary and he is not in power. So what can army/ISI do, overthrow him? When PPP is not in power they also make these kinds of statements.
    The fact is that army/ISI has to go along with this new mindset. We have too much hate and not enough education, healthcare, trade, prosperity, and self reliance. More and more people are dying of Hepatitis and Dengue fever than anything else. We have to wage jihad against these social evils and not human beings.

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  • Realist.
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:26AM

    Foreign Policy Being Defined!!
    Good Job Mian Nawaz Shareef!
    All Alone Standing Against Establishment!

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  • mirza's dad
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:33AM

    aww how convenient for Nawaz sharif he toppled in the very year he planned to bring peace to India…what a liar
    India is hostile to pakistan.Blocks water,promotes Terrorism in pak, isolates us at UN,BCCI was reason pak lost world cup hosting rights(we wanted to move matches to UAE) , India tried to block Sri Lanka pak tour, India blocked PAK-EU trade deal,India worlds largest arm importer, India takes advantage of pak-us tension to promote its BS,India occupies Kashmir,Jundagh and Hyderabad(osmanistan).

    Pak and N.India have similar culture so what ? Ireland and england have similar culture doenst mean they should become one country.Germany and Austria have similar culture , so what ?.

    Nawaz sharif,Altaf hussien are enemies of pakistan.Sharif is a buisnessman, he just wants to make money. No Trade with India, ever

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  • zia ur rehman
    Aug 16, 2011 - 3:02AM

    good very good, but first explain ur discussions with americans that wiki-leaks has revealed and then talk about pakistan!!!! thanks!!! :)

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  • Mir Agha
    Aug 16, 2011 - 4:11AM

    Conspiratorial thinking by the leftist editorialists at ET ignoring the reality of anti-Pak actions by India. Strategic depth is necessary and valid. Helping a country invade your neighbor, Pak is getting exactly what it deserves. Soon the Afghans will be back in power, kicking out the stooges. Pak will have to explain to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan why it supported its invasion and occupation. The easy way out would be indict the “liberals” and the present “democratic” government.

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  • ks
    Aug 16, 2011 - 5:13AM

    @Rahul:
    There may be difference between South India and North India but What Mr. Nawab is saying is Pakistan culture is same as North India. If you see Pakistani in New Delhi, you won’t know he is from Pakistan. Their way of thinking and behavior is same as any Indian including south indian.

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  • abrar
    Aug 16, 2011 - 5:35AM

    Mr Sharif spoke of the similarities btween the cultures on the opposite sides of the punjab border,he also spoke of some dishes but not sure in what context.All these “similarities’ when highlighted by a politician sound good upto a point.

    After all arabs speak the same language and have quite similar culture but are divided into dozens of nations even though they mostly share the same religion. The scots and the Irish also speak english with some difference in dialect or acsent.However these groups ahve gone to war with the english on many occasions,

    Pakistans existence came into being on the basis of two nation theory and it’s leaders concluded muslims will not get fair opportunities under a majority hindu India.It was going to be a land of opportunity for all including non muslims.

    When Mr Sharif keeps harping on the similarities of the two countries he should not forget that the kashmiris are denied basic rights living under Indian occupation.There have been many vicious anti muslim and anti sikh riots riots in India even though there are some cultural similarities between these three groups.

    While the job of a politician is to strive for peace,security and give a vison Mr Sharif’s sudden burst of cultural bahoomy raise some eye brows that given power again he will give preference to the cultural links then the issue of kashmir and water issues with India.

    India opposes Pakistan’s efforts to boost trade and break trade barriers with Europe,it opposes pakistan efforts to strengthen its relations with China,it defames Pakistan on every forum and tries to potray it as a threat rathen then a solution to the afghan issue and other security matters.

    Mr Sharif you are welcome to open shop in Amritsar and boost trade with India that is good for both countries however please dont rub the cultural link too much.1947 still means some thing to many Pakistanis.The biggest bloodshed happened in Punjab when communities with quite similar cultures tore each other apart..Why your ancestors left Amritsar?.

    While the bitterness of 1947 has given way to hope and most want peace with india with a fair kashmir resolution, the work of Jinnah and Iqbal cannot be undone.

    .

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  • billo
    Aug 16, 2011 - 6:31AM

    @mirza’s dad – despite yourself, you have given a great example. Nobody said anything about becoming one country with India just as Ireland and England will remain separate states. But they don’t deny their cultural similarities and enjoy thriving trade and human exchanges. So should Pakistan and India.

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  • Vicram Singh
    Aug 16, 2011 - 6:54AM

    @Rahul: ” … A north Indian is very different from South Indian. … “

    I consider that an ABSOLUTE myth. Thought processes at a civilizational level ( I am talking thousands of years ) bind us and make us the same really.

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  • Sanjoy Das
    Aug 16, 2011 - 7:10AM

    @Mir Agha:

    Your thinking is precisely what is wrong with both India and Pakistan. FYI, India considers China as its main adversary. It indulges in no more “anti-Pak” activities than Pakistan indulges in “Anti-India” activities. Both sides of the border crave for peace.

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  • Babloo
    Aug 16, 2011 - 7:55AM

    What Mr Nawaz Sharif is saying is that Pakistan has to undo 60 years of establsihment taught and manufactured view of India. He can stick to his position only as long as he does not depend on Pak army and ISI for his power.

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  • Frank
    Aug 16, 2011 - 8:25AM

    Sanjay Das, no one in Pakistan is ‘craving for peace’ except the looney leftists. Actions speak louder than words and India fully deserves Pakistan’s enmity. No other newspaper has yet reported this story. The Express Tribune seems to be able to find the ‘news’ it likes. If he did say all this Nawaz Sharif is politically doomed.

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  • M.Akthar
    Aug 16, 2011 - 9:44AM

    Why is a proper enquiry not conducted so far for the kargil defeat? All of our defeats including loss of bangladesh needs to be investigated! & thos responsible be punished! P

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  • Boota Gujjar
    Aug 16, 2011 - 10:02AM

    I applaud Express Tribune for a balanced editorial. It seems Nawaz Sharif is being realists, and should be appreciated for that.

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  • Rabia
    Aug 16, 2011 - 10:22AM

    Similar language and eating habbits??? Please have beef in dinner with hindus next time and they’ll tell you what’s common between you and them :-)

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  • R S JOHAR
    Aug 16, 2011 - 11:53AM

    Nawaz Sharif comments about India shows his statesman-ship and mature political thinking. Those who are criticising him must understand that Pakistan is lagging behind India since it always wanted to compete in military infrastructure and hurt India by sending terrorists but both of which backfired on Pakistan in terms of failing economy and endless violence there. Therefore, the former PM of Pakistan is talking with absolute sense and logical in his thinking to make peace with India which will benefit both countries especially Pakistan to regain economic stability and peace within the country.

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  • bashir
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:10PM

    For a change, this time , NS is right. Lets forget the past and move forward towards Jinnah’s Pakistan.

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  • Khalid Ahmed
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:22PM

    @Rabia

    How typical. Was expecting this comment. For your information, beef is available in hotels all over India and many sections of Hindus actually eat it. Also many Hindus eat pork.

    But this doesn’t prove that Indians and Pakistanis are completely different. Pakistanis are more similar to Indians than any other nationals. From genes to languages to foods to costumes to family-values to…you name it.

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  • chandran
    Aug 16, 2011 - 12:48PM

    the real pathetic population is 150-160 million indian muslims both pakisthan and India dont talk about their welfare.

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  • Frank
    Aug 16, 2011 - 1:05PM

    Khalid Ahmed

    But this doesn’t prove that Indians
    and Pakistanis are completely
    different. Pakistanis are more similar
    to Indians than any other nationals.

    Are Pashtuns more similar to South Indians than any other nations? I doubt if even Punjabis and Sindhis are. Beside ,why do leftists keep harping on about this? All nations are related to other nations and geographically closer nations are usually more closely related. But this hardly means a thing. The British Empire and the British Colonists in America were exactly the same people but that didn’t stop a parting of the ways. Germans and Britons are much closer to each other than Pakistanis and Indians but that didn’t prevent them from fighting two devastating world wars against each other.

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  • FARHAN
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:36PM

    Nawaz Sharif is right in calling for greater cooperation with India. Experts say Pakistan’s GDP growth will immediately improve by at least 2 percent, if we start full fledge trade with India. That is from present 3 per cent to 5 per cent. And, definately India will also benefit from good relations.

    There is no question of pro-india left liberals or anti-india conservatives, the question is how we can give better future to this region and its people. Full stop.

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  • omar.quraishi
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:43PM

    Frank — The Nation, Daily Times and the Pakistan Observer all reported his speech, in addition to The Express Tribune

    Omar R Quraishi
    Editorial Pages Editor
    The Express Tribune

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  • Menon
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:58PM

    @Rahul:

    You are myopic and relly does not know cultural similarities. It looks like, you have never gotten out of the Northern parts of India. May be you shaould start getting out a bit and observe and you will find more similarities than you thinlk.

    “north Indian is very different from South Indian. Food, clothing, language, rituals etc etc varies from province to province”.

    I live in the USA, I eat Western Food, dress, go to church (occassionally when my friends invite me) and speak English at home, does that make me not Indian? None of it has anything to do woth culture and I am sure you think I am dumb “mallu” or do you still consider everyone from the south a “Madrasi”?

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  • Khalid Ahmed
    Aug 16, 2011 - 2:58PM

    @Frank

    First of all, Pashtuns (from KP) and Baluchis can’t be considered as Desi (in genetic sense). That also means they’re fundamentally different from rest of Pakistanis who are Desi. Apart from them, Punjabis, Kashmiris, Mohajirs and Sindhis (Hindu Sindhis are spread across India) tightly link India and Pakistan. (keep religion aside)

    Germans and Britons differed in their languages and culture, but they fought wars because of ambitions of one madman called Hitler. Does that mean India and Pakistan should fight a full scale war before embracing one another?

    We’re not questioning why Pakistan was created but why Pakistanis need to pretend to be different from Indians to justify their hatred.

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  • N
    Aug 16, 2011 - 3:41PM

    There is much in common between Indians from all parts despite their maddening diversity and imperfections. They rather sit in each other’s company and build their country than celebrate commonality with us – we are taught to hate them – no matter the facts and costs. They know this and so do we. Hopefully, we are listening to Nawaz Sharif and above all to ourselves.

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  • Joht Bolta
    Aug 16, 2011 - 4:41PM

    I my personal opinion, NS is most incompetent personality

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  • Khizar Hayat
    Aug 16, 2011 - 4:47PM

    This is a good move. We should build friendly relationship with India and take advantage of its prosperity. Economy is backbone of everything- when Pak economy is so fragile. Please think about it. Recommend

  • Nadeem Ahmed
    Aug 16, 2011 - 5:30PM

    Very sane, sensible and wise views expressed by Mian Sahib. Both Mian brothers are very sensible and visionary leaders. When JI opposes some wise views expressed by a leader and Imran Khan makes no comments, its always a right statement.

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  • Rahul
    Aug 16, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @Vicram Singh

    I referred to cultural similarity which is quite visible in everyday life. The way of thinking may not be all that apparent. Every person has a different different way of thinking and approach towards life which is a GOOD thing.

    @ks

    My impression is completely different. Indian middle class which finally has a voice does not want to be equated with Pakistanis. I do not mean to hurt any feeling but that is the underlying sentiment and should be kept in mind when we talk peace.

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  • Mustafa
    Aug 16, 2011 - 7:32PM

    @Incredible:
    If you believe Nawaz Sharif, who would probably blame the 1971 war of Musharraf as well if he could.

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  • Mustafa
    Aug 16, 2011 - 7:34PM

    @Mastishhk:
    Musharraf has never denied that he was in charge of Kargil, and the whole world knows it. But Nawaz Sharif denies having any knowledge of what was taking place in Kashmir, which is a blatant lie.

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  • Mustafa
    Aug 16, 2011 - 7:39PM

    @R S JOHAR:
    Let’s not forget that India has done the same, far more, than what Pakistan has done in India. Please don’t act like India has been an angel, and Pakistan is only completely India-centric. For the smaller and weaker nation, it is natural to be concerned and centre your decisions based on your hostile neighbour. That doesn’t explain India’s concern with everything that goes on in Pakistan, and their constant interference (not just in Pakistan but in many other countries, such as Nepal and Sri Lanka).

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  • Mustafa
    Aug 16, 2011 - 7:41PM

    @Mir Agha:
    Pakistan would not have to explain anything to Afghanistan, we are not answerable to Afghanistan.

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  • frank
    Aug 16, 2011 - 9:07PM

    Khalid Ahmed

    First of all, Pashtuns (from KP) and
    Baluchis can’t be considered as Desi
    (in genetic sense). That also means
    they’re fundamentally different from
    rest of Pakistanis who are Desi. Apart
    from them, Punjabis, Kashmiris,
    Mohajirs and Sindhis (Hindu Sindhis
    are spread across India) tightly link
    India and Pakistan. (keep religion
    aside)

    Desi is a vague and hence meaningless term. In a literal sense it means countryman. In that sense Pashtuns are desis. If it has a racial meaning then Sindhis and Punjabis are very closely related and hence desis but both are different, though related, to Western UPites and to Kashmiris. Bengalis. South Indians and North Indians outside of the North West are not genetically the same as Punjabis and Sindhis.

    We’re not questioning why Pakistan was
    created but why Pakistanis need to
    pretend to be different from Indians
    to justify their hatred.

    Firstly no one is pretending anything. I speak Punjabi, for instance, a language spoken by only 1% of Indians. That automatically makes me and mine different to them. Secondly, though you guys keep harping on about it, I hardly know a Pakistani who hates Indians.

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  • Mastishhk
    Aug 16, 2011 - 9:15PM

    @ Mustafa…When u allege that Nawaz Sharif denies knowing what was happening in Kashmir..u also need to mention wat was happening in Kashmir as per ur own understanding and knowledge. Though you do have a point when the PM of a country denies any kind of knowledge about wat they call “CORE ISSUE”.

    And yes..u just cannot say that Pakistan is not answerable to Afghanistan. Given the level of Pakistani involvement and starategic interest in Afghanistan, Pakistan is answerable to Afghanistan. Hope u will admit that we get rattled if Afghanistan cosies up to India !!!

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  • vickram
    Aug 16, 2011 - 9:54PM

    @Menon:

    I agree with Rahul 100 per cent.

    A Punjabi from Pakistan may have something in common with a guy from Punjab, with the language and food being the bonding factors. But, to say that the people of the two countries are like and share the same culture is stretching a bit too far.

    In what way, a guy from Lahore find similarities from someone from Calcutta?

    The fact is, we – barring a small percentage of people from North India – have nothing in common with Pakistan, or their folk. Let Nawaz Sharif spout some other reason for jettisoning the anti-India policies, but, not this one. This really is very annoying, to hear the gobbledygook about how we are all the same, same culture and so on…. We are not !Recommend

  • Khalid Ahmed
    Aug 16, 2011 - 10:14PM

    @frank

    I used the word Desi just to represent those ethnicities which are common to both India and Pakistan. If you know set theory, I’m talking about intersection of sets. Genetically speaking this set shows remarkable similarity whereas Pashtuns and Baluchis tend more towards Caucasian gene pool than South Asian one.

    It doesn’t matter what percentage of Punjabis are there in India but the fact that the largest ethnicity of Pakistan shares its ethnicity with India and not any other country proves my point of the tight cultural linking between India and Pakistan.

    Your definition of hatred might be different but I find hatred between Indians and Pakistanis on online-forums, social-networks, you tube, newspapers etc. all the time.Recommend

  • zafar bhatti
    Aug 16, 2011 - 11:30PM

    people of Pakistan have different issues my dear, Nawaz Shareef can’t solve them by making india an angel, he is speaking the tounge of his masters America who wants India to Play the major role in asia, he is simply denying the two nation theory, why can’t he see the atrocities of indian army in kashmir, he rather blamed the pakistan army for that in his kashmir campaign. Millions of pakistanis consider india as our enemies. the major difference between hindus and muslims is that we the muslims believe in one Allah and That the Prophet (pbuh) is his last messenger, and the believe in many Gods and they keep insulting the Prophet (pbuh). which is not acceptable

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  • Rahul
    Aug 16, 2011 - 11:39PM

    @Menon

    Just so that you are aware I have been to five continents and I am currently live in Toronto. So, your suggestion about me stepping outside north india is not valid. No pun intended.

    I am not sure what you second para meant. I do not consider anyone south Mumbai as “Madrasi”. Secondly, it is statistically insignificant what you eat or wear. Person living in US cannot be used to portray south indian life. Cultural difference exist among various regions in India and it is a unique selling point of India. Remember all those Incredible India billboards all over US/Canada!

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  • abrar
    Aug 17, 2011 - 4:58AM

    It is hilarious and rediculous to read some comments trying to justify why a particular ethnic group is “culturally different”.

    This whole “cultural affinity” talk that Nawaz sharif spoke about probably was meant for some Indian participants in a seminar he was attending. The reason why it got so much attention was the timing.This was around August 14th.

    N.S has to move on from the Vajpayee trip nostalgia (more then 12 years ago) and offer some concrete steps and vision of what a PML N goverment will do for the country moving forward.

    Culture is not the issue between India and Pakistan. Kashmir and water disputes are.

    Although N.S did mention the two in his speech, the cultural and diet part got the most media attention.The question is why ?

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  • Rana Asghar
    Aug 17, 2011 - 10:12AM

    Fully Agree with Nawaz Sharif! If Musharraf would not not have taken over we would had friendly relations with India. I support Nawaz Sharif. We stabbed Bajpai in his back after he came to Pakistan for true friendship. Establishment should give up meddling in foreign policy making & leave it to Foreign Affairs Office instead of GHQ.

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  • adnan
    Aug 17, 2011 - 10:39AM

    zafar bhatti what about china which didnt believ in any God.

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  • Frank
    Aug 17, 2011 - 10:47AM

    Khalid Ahmed

    It doesn’t matter what percentage of
    Punjabis are there in India but the
    fact that the largest ethnicity of
    Pakistan shares its ethnicity with
    India and not any other country proves
    my point of the tight cultural linking
    between India and Pakistan.

    So a tiny minority of Indians, the Sikhs, shares an ethnicity with the largest province in Pakistan and therefore there is tight cultural linking between the whole of India and Pakistan? Instead of teaching me set theory you yourself need to learn some logic. If you read the comments of Indians on this board even they don’t share your opinions on this. Within India itself there are huge North-South and East-West divides in ethnicity, culture and language.

    Your definition of hatred might be
    different but I find hatred between
    Indians and Pakistanis on
    online-forums, social-networks, you
    tube, newspapers etc. all the time.

    You’re being a little disingenuous here. What actually happens is that hordes of Pakistan-hating Indians invade Pakistani or American websites and start spitting venom at our country, which inevitably provokes a Pakistani reaction.

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  • Aug 17, 2011 - 11:46AM

    I wish that on the next Independence Day (14 August 2012) both our Heads of State inaugurate a Peace Park to be built and funded by both the Governments on Wagah Border on Pakistan soil in memory of those who lost their lives during the 1947 partition and all the peace loving people who died fighting a futile war till this date.In this park, people from India and Pakistan should be able to sit together and have a dialogue or organise joint cultural shows. How many of you support my views?

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  • Forever-Pakistani
    Aug 17, 2011 - 12:24PM

    @Khalid Ahmed: Desi is not a race. Des means country in Punjabi/Urdu and Desi means a person who belongs to the country, so Pashtuns and Baloch are also desi because they are Pakistani citizens and belong to this country, Pakistan. And Pashtuns are the 2nd largest ethnic group in Pakistan today. And Punjabis make less than 3% of India’s population, all of them being Sikh and Hindu and what about 97% of India’s population who we have no ethnic similarities with? And dont give nonsense stories about Sindhis in India, the only Sindhis in India are the hindu sindhis who migrated from Pakistan to India and they make less than 0.0001% of India’s population.

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  • Forever-Pakistani
    Aug 17, 2011 - 12:41PM

    @adnan: China also has more than 50 million Muslims, most of them being Han Chinese. And this friendship with China just proves that you dont need shared culture or shared language to be friends. China just launched a satellite for Pakistan, can India offer us that? China and Pakistan share the same interests in the region while India and Pakistan have conflicting interest wherever we go be it in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, or Afghanistan.

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  • Pakistan is the best
    Aug 17, 2011 - 12:42PM

    Click on the link to see what India wants. India will do whatever possible to destroy Pakistan. The talk of same heritage, culture etc. is nothing but nonsense.
    http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/17-Aug-2011/Indianspilled-water-sinks-villages-in-Kasur

    I hope pro-Indian Tribune publishes the link.

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  • Faraz Ghani (Bangalore)
    Aug 17, 2011 - 3:23PM

    @Pakistan is the best: Citing an article from ‘The Nation’ is akin to producing Narendra Modi’s testimony for Gujrat riots. Will you believe that? Not only the news published by ‘The Nation’ are always biased, uncredible, with malice and propaganda, its articles don’t even conform to basic rules and guidlines of journalism. Its only objective has always been to play on anti-India sentiments in Pakistan and publish white lies as news. They not only twist the facts, they are the only newpaper probably in the world which reports the events which actually never occur. Pathalogical liers albeit funny, they are. In nutshell, it represents everything which is wrong with Pakistan currently. You should be proud of having newspapers like ET and Dawn.

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 17, 2011 - 3:38PM

    Mirza’s dad says “India is hostile to pakistan.”

    Come on sir, India never waged a war against you.

    “Blocks water”

    So far Pakistani experts believe that Indus water treaty has not been violated.

    “promotes Terrorism in pak,”

    That’s untrue. Perhaps (maybe), Balochistan seperatism is supported, I don’t know. But that is only in retaliation to Kashmir seperatism. TTP is not connected to India. TTP is India’s enemy.

    “isolates us at UN,”

    Yes. How else do you deal with an intransigent FRIEND? Better than waging a war, right?

    “BCCI was reason pak lost world cup hosting rights(we wanted to move matches to UAE)”

    That is untrue. Now you will say that BCCI is the reason why the Olympic torch is missing Pakistan.

    “India tried to block Sri Lanka pak tour”,

    That maybe.

    “India blocked PAK-EU trade deal”

    Read today’s news. Manmohan Singh has asked to not block the trade deal.

    “India worlds largest arm importer, India takes advantage of pak-us tension to promote its BS,”

    In fact, the only one taking advantage of everything is China.

    “India occupies Kashmir,Jundagh and Hyderabad(osmanistan).”

    In that sense, Pakistan has occupied Kashmir, Pakhtoonkhwa and Balochistan.

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 17, 2011 - 3:46PM

    @Rabia,

    I thought women are supposed to be more compassionate towards everything (including animals). Why is it mandatory for a Pakistani to eat beef? Why is it mandatory for a Muslim to eat beef?

    Do you have any idea how cows are slaughtered. Unlike goats or chicket, cows are made to bleed for several minutes (upto 30 minutes). In the west, cows are stunned before being slaughtered, so they don’t feel pain.

    Perhaps, you will give up beef, if you ever watched a cow being slaughtered. Perhaps not (maybe you don’t care about others’ pain).

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 17, 2011 - 3:58PM

    @Zafar Bhatti, who says “the major difference between hindus and muslims is that we the muslims believe in one Allah and That the Prophet (pbuh) is his last messenger, and the believe in many Gods and they keep insulting the Prophet (pbuh). which is not acceptable.”

    Wow! That is unbelievably ignorant of you. Staggering ignorance.

    How do you explain the diminishing population of Hindus/Sikhs/Christians in Pakistan?

    How do you explain the fact that Muslims have the highest growth rate in India (more than Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, zorostrians, Jews, Jains, Buddhists)?

    Who persecutes whom? Who insults who? Who has blasphemy laws?

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 17, 2011 - 4:01PM

    @Rahul who says “Just so that you are aware I have been to five continents and I am currently live in Toronto. So, your suggestion about me stepping outside north india is not valid. No pun intended.”

    You live in an English speaking country and write such atrocious English. By the way, there’s no PUN in your writing, so the question of intending doesn’t arise. Do you know ‘pun’?

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  • Long Standing
    Aug 17, 2011 - 4:17PM

    @Rahul: I am strongly against your comment.. there are much more to culture than food an language.. read our history books and thou shall understand… There is a lot of similarity between all subculture in India….. Read your books before you make swaying statements

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  • Observer
    Aug 17, 2011 - 4:51PM

    @Rabia:
    Hindus don’t like to kill any animal, cows have a special place. However to say that Hindus will react strongly against beef eaters is wrong. There are many similarities in eating habits. I stll buy many Pakistani products from grocery store. The similarity is seen at 50-60% levels, in shared history, in looks, in dress, etc. Even our politics and streets look similar. We understand the same language and if we choose to we can talk the same language. When we meet in foreign lands both feel that our culture is similar and we feel more aligned and closer than with others.

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  • Tony Singh
    Aug 17, 2011 - 4:53PM

    @Frank:
    The fact Mr. Frank is you are not worth our enimity. You have not reached that status yet.
    @Pakistan is the best:
    Indians do not have to do any thing to distroy Pakistan. You are doing a commendable job yourself.

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  • Pakistan is the best
    Aug 17, 2011 - 6:58PM

    @narayana murthy:
    Why dont you ask the westerners or are you too afraid to question them?

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  • TANOLI.
    Aug 17, 2011 - 7:02PM

    @ A R Khan yousafzai
    I hope so man i am agreed to you on this point may allah hear our dua.

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  • TANOLI.
    Aug 17, 2011 - 7:06PM

    @ Tony sing
    what to say but every india did and doing against pakistan in last sixty four years then still u saying we dont worth your enimity.Recommend

  • Krishna
    Aug 17, 2011 - 7:09PM

    @Faraz Ghani (Bangalore):
    We Indians are so blinded by our hatred of Pakistan that our government will go to any extent to harm Pakistan and its innocent people. Whatever is written in the Nation is true.

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  • Cynical
    Aug 17, 2011 - 7:16PM

    Nawaz Sharif’s speech is encouraging in the context of improving bilatteral relation between these two nations.

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  • Aug 17, 2011 - 7:47PM

    Do not take him seriously.Recommend

  • Babloo
    Aug 17, 2011 - 8:22PM

    Who said Punjabi is spoken why 1% Indians ? Punjabi is spoken in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Jammu, of course main language in Delhi and every where from Mumbai to Calcutta where Punjabis have settled. Remember atleast 7 million punjabis migrated from WQest Pakistan to India in 1947 to join the Punjabis in India.
    Punjabi as a language culture has only grown in dominance over last 60 years in India.
    Also Hindu Punjabis are more numerous than Sikh Punjabis.Recommend

  • narayana murthy
    Aug 17, 2011 - 8:37PM

    Pakistan is the best asks me “Why dont you ask the westerners or are you too afraid to question them?”

    What are you talking about? I’m lost.

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  • narayana murthy
    Aug 17, 2011 - 9:20PM

    I want to Thank Express tribune for allowing honest and open discussions.

    Not often that we Indians and you Pakistanis discuss. people to people level discussions are very good in building any healthy relationship.

    I have learned through these discussion that, not all Pakistanis are extremists or fanatics. I’m sure Pakistanis have learned that Indians are more nationalistic than Pakistanis are :))

    It’s another thing that you do make good money through Indian advertisers, by showing huge numbers of Indians visiting this site, because of the open discussion you allow ;))

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  • Najeeb Ul Hassan
    Aug 18, 2011 - 4:39AM

    Good change of posture by ex PM but he need to throw light on the fundamental concept on which our beloved homeland was created. I think he is not pragmatic as he is unwilling to accept the failure of our leaders to curb their inbuilt tendency of corruption and desire of despotic rule. What kind of relations he want with India,doesn’t he knows the hegemonic design of Indians how they want to rule south east Asia, how they are violating Indus water treaty just to devoid us from water, but probably all this is illusion and Indians don’t mean what their action are depicting. I have advice for ex PM to stop acting like a pigeon who closes his eyes on seeing the cat and think in his heart that all is well . Instead of performing political acrobats he should focus on cleaning himself and other leaders from corruption. I have a question if he has so much of pain in his heart for the people of Pakistan and their future, then why they have luxurious houses abroad why they have mills over there is there something less in our country probably there is some thing less here because they have snatched every thing from government treasury when ever they have got the opportunity to cling to power. I think its time to change these two old political parties with a new one as we have heard enough of rhetoric, may Allah give us a true leader in next election Ameen.

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  • Zahid
    Aug 18, 2011 - 5:07AM

    Sense from Nawaz Sharif, but as someone mentioned earlier, we wouldn’t be surprised if he retracts his statement at some point in time when it suits his politics.

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