Pakistan guns for peace amid Indian tirade

Envoys ask govt to stick to ‘peaceful neighbourhood’ stance despite provocations.


Kamran Yousaf June 14, 2015
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Top foreign policy wizards have recommended that the government stick with its ‘peaceful neighbourhood’ policy instead of getting distracted by the constant anti-Pakistan hysteria whipped up by the Indian leadership.

While the civil and military leadership have reacted sharply to the tirade from across the border, more than a dozen Pakistani ambassadors serving in different countries have cautioned the ruling party’s politicians not to fall into the “trap” laid by the administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The ambassadors posted in Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) and ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation) regions met last week at the Foreign Office to review a host of regional issues, including the current stalemate in Pakistan-India ties.

After three days of closed-door deliberations, the envoys presented their recommendations to the government.

A source familiar with the behind-the-scene consultations told The Express Tribune that while the envoys took strong exception to a series of controversial statements made by the Indian leadership, they cautioned the Pakistani government not to fall in the “trap” of the Narendra Modi-led administration.

The ambassadors, the official said, are of the view that New Delhi is increasingly uncomfortable about the recent agreement between Pakistan and China on the multibillion-dollar economic corridor. And in order to frustrate and undermine Pakistan’s plan, India was apparently resorting to such rhetoric.

In an unprecedented outburst against Pakistan, Indian PM Modi during his recent trip to Bangladesh had not only accused Islamabad of sponsoring terrorism, but also acknowledged the Indian government’s role in the break-up of Pakistan in 1971. His cabinet members were more vocal and suggested that India should support terrorists to neutralise terrorists. Some even threatened carrying out ‘surgical strikes’ against terrorists inside Pakistan.

On his recent visit to China also, the Indian premier had reportedly opposed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, fearing the project might be used in future for military purposes.

Despite the unending Indian diatribe, the envoys believed Pakistan must not get distracted by all this. “We need to stick with our plans and vision of regional connectivity and economic development, no matter what India says,” the official said, quoting the ambassadors. “It will only benefit India and serve its purpose if we get embroiled in the war of words,” he added.

The envoys also agreed that Pakistan should also develop a “counter narrative to pre-empt Indian propaganda” about maligning Islamabad with allegations of cross-border terrorism.

The recommendations were presented to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who addressed the concluding session of the conference, where he said Pakistan would not abandon its quest for a “peaceful neighbourhood” and its overtures needed to be acknowledged and reciprocated by the other side.

Although the recommendations were not made public, Foreign Office spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah in his weekly briefing last Friday also said that Pakistan was committed to the Prime Minister’s vision of regional peace and wished enhancing bilateral relations with all neighbouring countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2015. 

COMMENTS (66)

Ram Dargad | 6 years ago | Reply @AA: I think there is more to the data presented by you. Till 1971, West Pakistan grew quite well (at the cost of East). In 1971, per capita income of west Pakistanis was 125% of Indian's, In 2014 it is 80%. India always had lot more poverty than Pakistan but the situation is improving. Moreover Indian government has been spending enormous amounts in subsidies for these poor on grains, kerosene & electricity,healthcare etc. Pakistan has some inherent advantages over India. Its population density is half of India's putting less stress on land, water, natural resources. Punjabis & Sindhis are hard working enterprising people not only in Pakistan but also in India & elsewhere. India's diversity & complexity makes decision making slow.
AA | 6 years ago | Reply @ravi: It is not necessarily true that, 'The road for pakistan’s prosperity flows through India." There is another way to look at it. In fact Pakistan has done pretty well over the past 68 years vis a vee India. Even with most recent economic upheavals and natural disasters, Pakistan's average GDP growth rate calculated from the World Bank data for 68 years is 5.2 percent which is interestingly exact for India At a glance it might seem like India is recently doing better as per capita GDP for Pakistan is 1,343 for 2014-15 while for India it is 1,627, however, India has higher income disparities, which in fact present a real picture for Pakistan better than India. The 20 percent lowest income people in India have 5.6 times less income than 20 percent of the highest income. This difference widen for 10 percent of the lowest income to the 10 percent highest income to 8.6 percent. For Pakistan the 20 percent lowest income people makes 4.3 times less than 20% highest income people. The 10 % of the lowest income people in Pakistan make 6.5 times less than highest 10 percent income people. It means the GDP is reflecting more income of rich people in India while majority of the people there are poorer compare to majority of people in Pakistan. For example, the proportion of people making less than one dollar a day is 23.7 percent in India while 12.7 percent in Pakistan. If you calculate the number of people who make less than one dollar in India it comes to 300 million, a lot more than even the total population of Pakistan which is 188 million right now. So my dear the road to progress does not go through India, it goes through a conflict that fuels competition. For Pakistan foe India is better than a friend.
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