By Mohammad Jamil
With the weak Indian government gearing up to win forthcoming elections, its control on an over-ambitious coterie of war mongering Army Generals and hawkish political leaders is eroding fast. Continuation of hostility along LoC, especially when the new civilian government in Pakistan is at the helm seems intriguing.
Pakistan is confronting challenges to its economy, spectre of terrorism and militancy and law and order in Karachi. Balochistan is also in the throes of violence. Against this backdrop, India is also trying to take advantage of deployment of Pakistan army on Pak-Afghan border to check the movements of terrorists between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Their aim is to keep Pakistan embroiled in a security dilemma and incite it into arms race so that it could not revive its economy. The process of talks or the back door diplomacy is not being given a chance because Indian Army Generals are against reconciliation and friendly relationship as desired by the government of Pakistan. In January 2013 also, clashes between Indian and Pakistani soldiers on the LoC had stirred tension between the two countries.
More recently, Indian military not only martyred Pakistani soldiers but also propagated against Pakistan Army for having crossed the LoC and beheaded two Indian soldiers. However, the continued violations of ceasefire on LoC by the Indian Army and offensive overtures made by over-zealous media and government officials are deplorable.
But there is something sinister behind these events. After the US and the West realized that sidelining Pakistan in the post-drawdown Afghanistan is fraught, they brought Pakistan on board at least in regard to holding talks with the Taliban to have some semblance of peace in Afghanistan. But it irked India and Afghanistan; therefore Indian civil and military leadership as well as media started propaganda blitz against Pakistan.
Over more than a decade, Pakistan’s civil and military leaderships have shown restraint in the wake of provocative statements by Indian civil and military leaders. They balked at the negotiations to resolve the disputes between the two countries including the core issue of Kashmir. Indian political and military leadership resorted to jingoism and continued hurling threats.
However, Pakistan has been talking peace while Indian leaders continued to stir tension one way or another. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has many a time expressed his wish to have cordial relations with India, and is eager to settle all the disputes with India including Kashmir through dialogue.
There is also a perception that recent Indo-Pak tension has been stirred by India to influence voters to cast their votes for those political parties which abhor Pakistan and its military. Initially, India had claimed that terrorists attired in Pakistan military uniform killed Indian soldiers, but after pressure from BJP and other extremists, he retracted from this statement and blamed Pakistan military. Anti-Pakistan statements with provocative themes and jargons by India are deplorable, especially when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has gone extra mile to have good relations with India. Anyhow, the objective of the Congress government is to get Hindu majority votes by instigating negative feelings and emotions against Pakistan and its Army.
They also want to show to the world that the government of Pakistan and Pakistan Army are not on the same page, and that Pakistan Army killed 5 Indian soldiers to dissuade Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from pursuing peaceful agenda with India. Pakistan’s elected and military leaderships have showed tolerance and cool attitude, when the enemy is yelling for a possible confrontation. Indian politicians and top Generals must understand the implications of war-mongering, provocative statements and warnings to peaceful neighbor, who is equally equipped to respond effectively. Nevertheless, Pakistan should continue its policy of peace with the neighbors, but it should not be apologetic in the face of false allegations from Indian leaders and Generals. By unleashing propaganda against Pakistan military, India wants to prove that Pakistan military is against peace initiative with India. In India the jingoistic media have fanned outrage.
People of Kashmir have suffered death and destruction unparalleled in the history. When they are subjected to murder and rape, people of Kashmir retaliate in their way. Some 42 Indian soldiers have already been killed in Kashmir this year, compared with 17 in 2012. Indian hawks and nationalists say that talking to Pakistan would amount to appeasement, and some so-called experts have also asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to meet with Mian Nawaz Sharif in New York. On the other hand, Pakistan’s military is supporting the peace initiatives of Pakistan’s elected government, and does not create roadblocks in the way of peace in the region. India’s military top brass spew venom against Pakistan. Anyhow, apart from Congress government’s efforts to win next elections, the objective is to divert the attention of the world from the secessionist movements in India’s 11 states and also Indian military’s repression in Kashmir and elsewhere.
In Kashmir, military continues atrocities on the people of Kashmir unabatedly with the result that there are protests and agitation.
To make things worse, Hindu extremists also try to spoil the atmosphere on the eve of Muslim festivals especially in Jammu and Kashmir. On Eid-ul-Fitr, anti-Muslim violence erupted in Kishtwar town of Jammu region, when few motorcyclists (Hindu youth) tried to force their way in the procession moving form Banjwar area to Eidgah for prayers.
The situation turned violent when members of Village Defense Committees comprising ex-army men and communal Hindus opened fire and the activists of Hindu extremist organizations especially Bajrang Dal torched at least five shops belonging to Muslims.
Later, the clashes spread to other areas of Jammu region, and both Hindu and Muslims started attacking each other’s properties. Extremists with the support of military and agencies try to keep Muslim population in the state of fear, and force them to shift from Jammu to get advantage in elections-2014. India must understand that destabilizing Pakistan will not serve its purpose.
If Pakistan is destabilized, India will also implode from within, as upping the ante with Pakistan would not help create cohesion.
By Mohammad Jamil