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A Case for Continuing India Pakistan Talks

The much awaited foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan concluded on the 25th of February at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi. Though different people have different views about these high level talks, political analysts are of the view that the coming together of foreign secretaries of both countries is itself a proof that both India and Pakistan are willing to establish peace and more of such talks will follow in the future.

India’s main opposition party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not in favour of these talks. They even accused the Indian government of acting under US pressure to carry out talks. The opposition sees the Indo-Pak talks by linking them with the continuously deteriorating image of America in Afghanistan and Obama’s future strategy vis-a-vis Afghanistan.

But India, being the largest and the most powerful nation in South Asia, is trying to tell the world that it is a responsible nation, which follows the ideals of truth and non-violence of Gandhiji and believes in maintaining friendly relations with it’s neighbours.

In the recently concluded foreign secretary talks, it was accepted that there is an atmosphere of mistrust between the two countries, which is restraining both countries from establish peaceful, strong and friendly relations. No doubt the people of Pakistan, like the people of India, have also become bored with terrorist activities, killing of innocents in such attacks and resultant insult of Pakistan in the international community.

Despite this, there is a considerably strong set of people who always try to create an anti-India atmosphere in Pakistan in the name of Kashmir. As I have written many times earlier, there are many power centres in Pakistan. For instance, if both India and Pakistan arrive at a decision taken after consultation with the elected government of Pakistan, it is possible the decision may not be accepted by the Pakistan army.

Similarly if a Pakistan Army General takes a decision, its acceptance by the ISI is not guaranteed. And the Pakistani judiciary can’t be taken as granted by all these power centres with regard to their decisions. And last, the anti-Indian extremist Jehadis and Mullahs will probably not agree with the above institutions.

Pakistan, partitioned from India in the name of an ‘Islamic State’, is finding it difficult to come out of the trap of its own contradictions. Though the people of India are always excited and optimistic regarding good relations between these two nuclear armed states, slowly, the common people of India have started believing that Pakistan is deliberately trying to disturb peace and harmony in India by taking undue ‘advantage’ of India’s mature and peaceful policies. Besides the 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab, India has many such proofs which it shares with Pakistan from time to time.

A new proof has been added to this list. Recently, Hafiz Sayeed, the chief of the banned Jamaat-Ud-Dawa and Lashkar-e-Taiba, organised an anti-India rally in Lahore. In his evocative speech, he talked about spreading ‘Jihad’ in India and called on the Muslims of the world to participate in this and capture Kashmir from India. In the rally, not only were many of the most wanted banned leaders and organisations active, but hundreds of people were seen wandering around with dangerous prohibited arms.

What can such rallies be termed? If we go by the Pakistani logic regarding terrorism, it says that Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and thus needs sympathy rather than criticism from the entire world including India. Regarding Hafiz Sayeed, Pakistan’s logic is that he doesn’t represent the government of Pakistan; therefore the government has nothing to do with his statements.

The question is then why is the Pakistani government or Pak Army not stopping Hafiz Sayeed from making anti-India statements? There are two possibilities – either this anti-India open game is directed or patronised by one or more power centres in Pakistan OR the Pakistani government has bowed down to a small number of extremist and poisonous leaders and organisations. The increasing strength of terrorist organisations in Pakistan appears to be a clear proof of this.

Now the question is for how long will the atmosphere of mistrust between India and Pakistan prevail, and for how long will meaningless and inconclusive talks continue? There is a need to know the nature of the ISI besides that of the people of Pakistan. While both the democratic government and Army are always in perfect competition for capturing power in Pakistan, the ISI has emerged as a shadow organisation of the Pak army.

This is the reason that there is an exchange of officers between the army and the ISI. Pakistan’s many high ranking army officers have worked in key posts in the ISI. Now the question is what are the Pak army and ISI trying to get by creating disturbances in India.

Even though the new generation of Pakistan may have forgot the 1971 Pak-Bangladesh partition, there are still many officers in the Pakistan army and the ISI who faced the insult from the Indian army or Mukti Vahini. Those officers are also fully conscious who witnessed or were themselves involved in the biggest ever surrender. This surrender was by the Pakistani army in front of the Indian army in the India-Pak-Bangladesh war of 1971.

The same Pak army and the ISI has not forgotten or is not willing to forget that ‘insult’. This is the reason that the extremist forces and the ISI are trying to replicate in Kashmir, the communal model used by the Pakistani leadership in 1947. It is the duty of the peace loving people of Pakistan, its democratic government, intellectuals, journalists and educated class to tell their people that the way in which the religion based 1947 partition failed in the 1971 partition, which was not religion based, similarly to talk about ‘jihad’ in Kashmir is useless.

The Pak army/ISI sponsored jihad in Kashmir is proving detrimental to the relations between the two nations. Therefore, there is a need for complete transparency and trust building between the two nations. Quoting a famous Indian poet, Nida Fazili – *Dushmani laakh sahi, khatm na kije rishta. Dil mile ya na mile, haath milate rahiye.* (Even during enmity, don’t end the relation. Either hearts meet or not, hands should meet).

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