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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2612

Pakistan’s double faced diplomacy

By Allabaksh - Syndicate Features

Statements aimed at India wafting from Islamabad suggest that Pakistan has been pursuing a two-track policy towards India. One, driven by PR motives, is directed more at the US and other patrons of Pakistan rather than aiming a serious response by New Delhi. The periodic release of ‘formulas’ by Gen Pervez Musharraf to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio falls in this category as they appear to be clever permutations to meet the Pakistan desire to annexe the state.

The other affirmations often conveyed through the media and statements of Pakistani public figures are in conformity with their traditional approach towards India—one of unfriendliness, if not downright hostility. It acquires an official tone whenever Pakistan has the urge to reassure the Kashmiris of its support for their ‘freedom struggle’ against ‘Indian occupation’, which is to say continued export of terror into India.

Despite ‘discrepancies’ in official pronouncements on infiltration into India, the fact remains that Pakistan has no intention of closing the terror camps in its territory even as it shelters many Indian fugitives and dons accused of heinous acts. The ‘low intensity war’ against India that Pakistan had launched more than a decade ago remains firmly in place even as the two countries are engaged in a ‘peace process’ that is testing Pakistani patience more than Indian endurance to live with a troublesome neighbour.

Taking anti-India stance is a reflexive action of the Pakistan establishment as is the habit of asking India to instantly yield to Pakistan demands or face ‘tit-for-tat’ fury. If Pakistan diplomats in New Delhi—majority of them widely believed to be more adapt at activities not compatible with their status—need official permission to travel to Gurgaon and Noida, Pakistan must ban Indian diplomats from travelling to Rawalpindi and Murree.

The Indian diplomats might actually be relieved because venturing out of their homes in Islamabad is no pleasure for them being constantly shadowed by crude Pakistan intelligence officials who now and then like to flex their muscles on not only (male) Indian diplomats but even their families--women and children. There have also been instances when these ‘macho’ Pakistanis have actually invaded the privacy of homes of Indian diplomats or stopped their vehicles in the middle of a road and returned after breaking a few limbs in the name of safety and security of the land of the pure.

It is amusing to find that the Pakistanis are making a great virtue out of the fact that they had not taken any ‘tit-for-tat’ action when a staff member in their mission in Delhi was expelled about a month ago for spying. The ‘restraint’ would not have been voluntary or pleasing to the hawks in Islamabad who must have gnashed their teeth in frustration as they obviously failed to concoct a similar act by an Indian staff member for quick retaliation.

India ascending global heights being anathema to Islamabad it has become all the more necessary to carry on with anti-Indian diplomacy. The myopic Pakistan vision of India and Indians has frequently found Pakistan protesting appointment of not only Indian citizens but just about any person of Indian origin (the so-called Indian Diaspora) to any senior post in the UN and its agencies or the US administration. Pakistanis getting the same posts does not evoke a similar protest here.

Pakistan spent sleepless nights last year when India fielded Shashi Tharoor for the post of United Nation’s secretary general. Islamabad lobbied hard against him and worked for his defeat. Some time ago Pakistan had ‘objected’ to an ‘Indian’ from Kenya being sent on a UN assignment to Pakistan. Just recently, an unnamed official conveyed to Pakistani journalists his government’s ‘concern’ over the appointment of Vijay Nambiar as the chief of staff of the new secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon. Surely, the Pakistanis are not so ignorant to think that chief of staff runs the world body!

Only some guesses can be made as to the reasons why the Pakistan is not comfortable over the new UN assignment for Nambiar, a soft-spoken, Chinese-speaking career diplomat. He was the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad at the time relations between the two countries had touched another low that saw the recall of envoys from New Delhi and Islamabad. He could not have brought from Islamabad truck-full of sensitive information that he can now use as a UN functionary to harm Pakistan!

If it is something to do with the Pakistani position on the ancient UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir that called for a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, the fears in Islamabad are totally unfounded. It was the outgoing secretary general, Kofi Annan, who had said that the UN resolution had outlived its usefulness. In any case, Nambiar is not in a position to influence members of the Security Council or the resolutions that they may press.

Nambiar, who was transferred from Islamabad to the UN as India’s permanent representative in 2000, is said to have a good knowledge of the working of the world body. That cannot be something that the Pakistanis fear. He was actively associated with the task of preparing a UN convention on terrorism that did not reach the final stage. Pakistan and a few other countries sabotaged the convention because it would have unmasked their efforts to pass off gun-and-bomb totting terrorists as ‘freedom fighters’. Again, Nambiar alone can do nothing to revive the move that had so disconcerted Islamabad.

In the coming months India may see more such petty diplomatic antics by its neighbours when Gen Musharraf will be facing a rough ride in his attempt to seek another five-year term as President in uniform. The high hopes that have been aroused on the resolution of the Sir Creek and Siachen disputes, requiring a give and take, may flounder while he manipulates support in his favour. In Pakistan it always pays to be seen as hawkish on India—no ‘giving’, only ‘taking’ from India.

- Syndicate Features -

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