With a heavy heart, and a heavier mind, I confess that I find it almost impossible not to agree with the position taken by India’s government, its people at large and its media, generally over the recent ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC). Many of my countrymen would regard me as unpatriotic for even harbouring such a thought. Let me, however, hasten to add that I am not ruling out the possibility of mischief on part of a section of the Indian establishment pursuing a policy of keeping Pakistan perpetually on the defensive or on part of some misguided Indian border personnel because he was either not very happy with the ongoing normalisation process or because he was piqued by his team’s loss in the One-Day Internationals against Pakistan and who in a rush of blood, started shooting across the LoC, killing a Pakistani soldier.
Even so, how could I, if I were an Indian, believe Pakistan’s charge against my troops or Islamabad’s denial of New Delhi’s charge against its soldiers after having seen my country betrayed by Islamabad in Kargil and then ambushed in Mumbai? And how could an Indian forget and forgive the attack on its parliament or forget and forgive the ignominy of being blackmailed into releasing, from its prison, Pakistani jihadi leaders — like Maulana Masood Azhar and Ahmed Omar Sheikh, the killer of Daniel Pearl — by hijacking an Indian airliner when we cannot forget and forgive the ignominy of our Dhaka defeat at the hands of the Indian Army?
Knowing the peculiar mindset of a particular group of Pakistanis, I cannot bring myself not to suspect its hand in managing, once again, to cause what appears to be a serious setback to the normalisation process. This group, perhaps, sincerely believes that it is not in the national interest of Pakistan to have normal relations with India ever or at least not until New Delhi vacates ‘our’ Kashmir. The signature of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is clearly imprinted on the beheading episode of an Indian soldier, if that is what has actually happened. Just the other day, we witnessed the horrific spectacle of 21 beheaded bodies of our security personnel kidnapped earlier by the TTP. I cannot accept that either our army, or India’s, would ascend to such heights of brutality and inhuman conduct.
Kargil happened (May 1999) within three months of former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Lahore yatra, followed by the signing of the Lahore Declaration (February 1999), which promised to put the bitterness of Partition behind and establish good neighbourly relations. The hijacking, which occurred in December 1999, appeared as a kind of ‘notice’ served on India by the Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf. Another ‘notice’ was served through a daring attack on the Indian Parliament (December 2001) to impress upon the Indians that despite Afghanistan, Rawalpindi was still India-centric. Mumbai happened (November 26, 2008) within a week of President Asif Ali Zardari’s declaration on November 22, 2008 that Pakistan was ready to commit to no first use of nuclear weapons against India and that Pakistan’s economy would not be overwhelmed by the larger, more developed Indian economy if we accorded MFN status to India. And this month’s bloody LoC incident happened within a week of General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s realistic assertion that he saw the internal threat as a bigger one than the external threat.
It was General (retd) Musharraf who had shown this insane jihad brigade in Pakistan how to play the spoiler whenever it saw the normalisation process entering a decisive phase. With the First Use Option in hand, he ambushed India in Kargil, knowing very well that India would not dare cross the international border as it did in 1965 when we did not have the bomb. And since then, every adventurer worth the name has challenged the might of India with dirty tricks. But in the process, we have not only lost international support for our Kashmir case, but we have also nudged a frightened US, our friend number one, closer to our enemy number one — India. The two are cosying up and expanding their trade and economic relations, as well as joining hands on the nuclear front. On the other hand, today, we are friendless. Nobody believes us. And globally, everyone is worried about the Bomb falling in the hands of the likes of Musharraf.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2013.