Maybe Zaid Hamid is right. Let’s just have an all out war with India. Stop pretending like we want to get along. I’m sure the charade will get tiring at some point. Let’s save ourselves the exhaustion. No need to keep expending effort by walking across the aisle at international summits and extending a hand of friendship — that’s got to be an unnecessary calorie burner.
No more suffering through Mahesh Bhatt’s films every time he comes here. The Saarc summit is the perfect opportunity to kick things off too. When the highest expectation anyone has is ‘interaction’ of some kind, as Salman Bashir so wistfully puts it, then why not just have Gilani walk over and punch Manmohan Singh. It’s what everyone is secretly hoping for anyway, right? Right? After all, who has the energy to deal with another round of promises to keep in touch, waiting to see if Shah Mehmood Qureshi will add SM Krishna as a friend on Facebook or if Gilani and Singh will swap BlackBerry pins. We all know how it will play out.
One will politely nod at the other, then contact will be made which will be turned into a full blown conversation, chaperoned by a mutual friend. Then just as it starts looking like maybe this conversation is taking a deeper and more meaningful level, someone brings up Kashmir and before you know it, we’re back to square one. The point is, why bother? We all know how this will end, the script is already written and the audience got bored a while back. This time around though, the relationship is even more doomed than usual. In the past, ‘interaction’ happened in the momentary lull period between two crises.
The gap between the Kargil misadventure and the Mumbai attack was when we last tried establishing contact. It was a relatively long period of calm and decency towards one another, enough to establish surreptitious back-channel conversations about the ‘K-word’. But this time out, no chance. We are still flinging dossiers back and forth with a little too much passive-aggression and now there’s been a spy caught. Realistically though, we can’t even get angry at anyone in this story except the spy herself. Nations spy on each other; it’s just part of their function. If Israel can still be spying on America, then we can’t be expected to refrain from a little casual espionage ourselves.
In fact, it would be a failure on our part to not do so. After all, it’s actually a bit heartening to know the ISI is still involved in a bit of foreign spying. It keeps them in practice and I can rest better knowing that at least some of the taxes cut from my salary are being used productively. Maybe we can get angry at India for catching the spy at this inopportune moment. Wasn’t there enough awkwardness to be expected at the Saarc summit without this being thrown in as a possible conversation point? On the other hand, they might have saved us the time we would have wasted otherwise making friendly overtures.
So let’s just stop pretending this is going to work anymore than we expect Shoaib and Sania’s marriage to last — yes I said it, you know you were thinking it so stop looking at me that way. Call it quits, draw the lines. They can keep Adnan Sami Khan and we will take Katrina Kaif in return, followed by an all out war until the last person standing claims victory.
Maybe we can actually bomb each other back to a Moen jo Daro level of simplicity so we can make a fresh attempt at the Indus Valley Civilisation. At the very least no one will bring up Kashmir again for a while.
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