‘Understand nothing, repeat everything’ has become hallmark of Pak-India relationship
What both nations realise but refuse to acknowledge is that in their bid of erecting empires of hatred they’ve reduced themselves to brats bragging about the bully they’ve befriended
Fighter jets flying over Islamabad releasing flares all over the starless night sky, reports of India moving heavy artillery guns closer to LoC, motorways being turned into emergency runways, regular flights being delayed due to ‘Highmark’ exercises by Pakistan’s aerial might, PM Nawaz Sharif addressing United Nation Security Council in New York and highlighting everything under the sun and reiterating what has already been reiterated countless times before, Eenam Gambhir, an Indian First Secretary to UN exercising her right to reply used the gathering to proclaim Pakistan as ‘terrorist state’.
Dearest sirs and ma’ams, behold the abysmal theatre of Pak-India relationship where 1.5 billion actors live to stage another show on same old script where things go right only to take a horribly, horribly wrong twist.
Recently our entire nation celebrated 6 September with zeal, zest and buying lots and lots of all things green and white. We commemorated the war we fought (all agree) and won (some dare to differ) back in 1965 against our perennial arch nemesis ie India. The after taste of celebrations was afresh that possibility of another September reared its ugly head. With fear palpable in every conversation, many ask in whispers; will we go to another war with India? Are we ploughing the field for another September? Will our children inherit another national holiday in remembrance of another war fought, braved, survived, won?
Meanwhile, our prime minister is in USA. His speech at United Nation General Assembly was a fine, comprehensive and well thought out piece of writing. It covered all the issues that Pakistan wanted to showcase before the comity of nations. From Kashmir to maintaining nuclear deterrence against India’s ever-increasing military expenditures, PM used the podium to offer neighbouring India dialogue on all outstanding issues. Pointing out the resolution of Kashmir conflict and presenting the dossiers to United Nation Secretary General on atrocities in IoK was the move he had to make in order to appease the masses at home. Presenting and posing as a strongman in control of situation is vital for his image back home as till date, friends and foes alike give him credit for the 1998 Nuclear Weapon Tests.
Coming back to all places New Delhi and Islamabad. With a Rajnath there and a Chaudhry here, we can surely get the whole picture of how internal affairs are handled, what agendas drive them and what motives are at play. Well, we can easily recall how Mr Rajnath left the venue abruptly during last SAARC interior ministers’ meeting in Islamabad. God save the lands that have such splendid gentlemen as interior ministers.
Such incidents happen only when ruthless reciprocity attains the reverence and stature of a religious ritual. The practice of returning in the same coin, the tit-for-every-tat, exchanging every this-that with that-this, has etched so deep in our minds that it has become the rule of thumb that trump all other modes and modalities. Thorough deliberation has given way to I’ll-teach-a-lesson-they’ll-always-remember mindset.
Journalists who cover beats of foreign affairs (as they are called in Pakistan) and external affairs (as they are referred to in India) on everyThursday listen to ‘Opening Remarks’ of Mr Nafees Zakaria, Spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan and ‘Couple of Announcement’ by Mr Vikas Swarup, Spokesperson Ministry of External Affairs, India before bombing them with questions of all hues and shades. Both learned, eloquent, grey-haired additional secretaries answer the queries with as little restraint as possible. It is the duty of both Mr Zakaria, an aeronautical engineer-turned-diplomat and Mr Vikas Swarup, a diplomat-turned-author of critically acclaimed novel Q&A, which was later adopted to Slumdog Millionaire — a splendid film to practice a little more restraint while answering loaded questions — as their answers not only get immediately reported on the tellies and make it to papers the next day. It gives birth to a narrative. And narratives, dearest sirs and ma’ams, alone decide fates of millions.
What both nations realise but refuse to acknowledge is that in their bid of erecting empires of hatred they’ve reduced themselves to brats bragging about the bully they’ve befriended.
USA, once Pakistan’s mentor and foremost ally, has been won over by Modi sarkar. Sensing the winds of change in maestro America’s mood and feeling abandoned, even betrayed, Pakistan found comfort, solace, support and economic promise in the mighty figure of the Chinese Dragon. For many it is an omen of prosperity, for others a mere change of lap.
India, once famed for not aligning itself in such shackles has recently found bonhomie in Americans. The former founding member of Non-Aligned Movement has finally realised that in our bad, bad world it is always good to have the sole hyper-power on your side. Never been comfortable with and around both China and Pakistan, India has made pals across seven seas (and has presence in almost all of them). Considering Pakistan a permanent nuisance and China as a competitor to reckon with, India aims to draw Afghanistan, the so-called graveyard of civilisations, and Iran, flag bearer of one of the most ancient civilisations, nearer. Bangladesh, the old East Pakistan, with the hanging of Jamaat Islami leader Mir Qasim still fresh, is definitely not a friend that Pakistan presently has in the region.
Things, at the time of filing this column, go something like this: We have Brother China, our neighbour has Shri America. Let the puppets practice the illusion of choice in hopes of eyeballing each other to perdition. Wish them luck!