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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2737

Post-Mumbai scenario: What does India talk to deaf, dumb, blind Pakistan?

By A Syndicate Features Special Correspondent

Undoubtedly, it will be better for both India and Pakistan to talk to each other instead of talking at each other as they have been doing now in the wake of Pakistan's Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) attacks on Mumbai. But who does India talk to a deaf neighbor? Also, what does India talk about?

Events since the dastardly Nov 26 attacks have established that the civilian government in Pakistan has totally surrendered before the country's Army, one of the three 'A's who in the popular conception have been the real rulers of the land of the pure: the other two being Allah and America.

The Asif Ali Zardari-led civil administration has created the impression after assuming power that it was genuinely interested in maintaining friendly relations with India. Many in India believed, rightly as it turned out, that the intention of the civilian government would count for nothing if it clashed with the view of the Army.

Pak Army's sole focus from August 1947 has been on India and its policy has been one of treating India as the perennial 'enemy'. It is an army where jihad (against India) forms part of the curriculum. The army's Inter Services Intelligence wing has been specially assigned the task of inflicting maximum damage on India through a 'thousand cuts', as would be evident from the way it has been supporting terrorism directed at India. Civilian leadership has tacitly accepted the Army's pernicious agenda against India by consistently refusing to even remotely accept the ownership of any act of terrorism against India in the last two decades.

The way the so-called civilian government has defended the Army and more especially the ISI in the past few days after Mumbai attacks is the proof if proof is necessary of the not-so-secret, unholy alliance between the civilian rulers and the men in uniform. Put differently, transition of Pakistan from the dictatorship of Gen Pervez Musharraf to the democratic rule Zardari and co has seen no change whatsoever in the military supremacy in Pakistan. The Zardari administration is doing its best to present itself as an Army puppet.

Funnily, despite succeeding in isolating Pakistan over its role in the Mumbai attacks India is now under pressure, particularly from the Americans to resume talks with Pakistan. Succumbing to the pressure will see the same cycle being repeated—after the hate phase of the present the two sides would become 'friends' only to go back to become antagonistic again. No matter what India does to appease or please Pakistan the latter would not give up its policy of 'bleeding' India because Pakistan has led itself into believing that its existence depends on weakening and sniping at India. Every Pakistani is taught to hate India from his/her childhood. If it sounds as exaggeration read some of the 'history' textbooks of Pakistan.

Class III books says Muhammad Ali (Jinnah) felt that the Hindus wanted to make the Muslims their slaves and since he hated slavery, he left the Congress. At another place, the text book says: The Muslims felt that after getting freedom the Hindus would make them their slaves.

Class V text book teaches students: "Previously India was part of Pakistan". About the 1971 war which resulted in East Pakistan becoming Bangladesh as an independent, sovereign country, this is what the book says: 'In the 1971 India-Pakistan war the Pakistan armed forces created new records of bravery and the Indian forces were defeated everywhere'.

Listen to Pak's Right and of 'Moderate' on India and relations with India. The line dividing them is blurred when it comes to India. The 'moderate' Pak voices are willing to concede vaguely that Pakistan has in the past trained some terrorists who then operate in India. Yet, they find fault with everything that India has said after the Mumbai attacks; they are also stingy when it comes to examining the jingoistic, absurd and sometimes abuse rhetoric of their own leaders. Nonetheless, these moderates claim to be 'doves' and talk about 'dialogue' being the best way to resolve mutual differences.

So, when the question of 'who' does India talk to remains unanswered, it is even more difficult to accept that there can be a meeting ground on 'what' should constitute the agenda of 'resumed' meeting.

It is not unreasonable to expect India to place the issue of terror on top of the agenda, just as Pakistan insists on giving that position to Kashmir. Fine. India has no problem discussing Kashmir with Pakistan, as has been clear in the last five years. Pakistan will also say that it has no problem discussing terror.

But the problem is on defining what constitutes terror. Pakistan sees terrorists in Kashmir as freedom fighters and views terrorism across India as an extension of the same spirit. All the same, Pakistan has been crying hoarse that it is the bigger victim of 'terror' than India and has even begun to blame India for its terror troubles.

That inanity is understandable from a country that has refused to accept that it has ever sent any terrorists to India and all those Pak national who were killed when carrying out acts of terrorism in India are 'stateless' or 'non-state' players and, hence, not citizens of Pakistan. Actually, Pakistan now says that all the dead terrorists were Indians, or 'Hindu Zionists'!

In the same breath Zardari and his aides are offering 'joint' investigations with India into Mumbai attacks. What help can be expected from Pakistan if it says that no Pakistani nationals or 'elements' within its territory were responsible for the 60-hour long siege of iconic hotel Taj and Oberai Trident on Colaba sea front?

It is a simple question. If Pakistan claims that it has nothing to do with the Mumbai attacks why should it be so eager to offer 'cooperation' for investigating that according to Islamabad was the handiwork of 'Hindu Zionists'?

Only two answers are possible. Either it is a tacit acceptance by Pakistan that it had a role in perpetrating the Mumbai terrorist attacks? Or it is making a noise over its offer to 'cooperate' or carry out 'joint investigations' with India for purely propaganda purposes. Likewise the readiness for dialogue voiced by President Zardari on the Boxing Day is a smokescreen. Sitting with Pakistan any time soon for resuming the so-called peace process under international (read American) pressure would be fruitless more so when Islamabad has gone into an overdrive with war hysteria. The talks will suit Pakistan because it will get another opportunity to accuse India of refusing to talk.

Any peace effort with Pakistan will always flounder after a while because the Pak mindset has remained frozen in 1947 when a separate nation was carved out of India on the very tenuous ground that Muslims cannot co-exist with 'idol worshippers'. More than half the Muslim population of Pakistan decided to secede from it in 1971 to lay at rest once and for all the two-nation theory that had led to the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan has to come out of its mental clot if it is serious in engaging India. Otherwise, talking to Pakistan will remain a dialogue with the deaf, dumb and the blind.

-Asian Tribune -

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