In introspection


The tough language employed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to exhort Pakistan to take action against terrorists was in fact a repetition of what David Cameron, followed by President Sarkozy, had already said in a similar tone. Identical views, albeit couched in a less abrasive language, have been expressed by several US officials in the past. Pakistans European allies have, however, often chosen words that would please New Delhi while giving umbrage to Pakistan leading to protests that have failed to produce the desired results.

When one ally after another criticises Islamabads policy on terror, there is perhaps a need to undertake an exercise in introspection. An easy way out would be to reject the criticism for being politically motivated. A section of the establishment and media maintain that with India offering the industrialised West the largest market in the region, this leads the US and Europe to close ranks with New Delhi over the issue. There are others who condemn Foreign Office for its supposed failure to project the countrys policies more effectively. Why cant these countries be made to realize that Pakistan has made more sacrifices that any one of them in the fight terrorism, they ask? The stand might provide some solace to its advocates but is not likely to change the situation on the ground.

There is a consensus among Pakistans allies that terror cannot be a means to any political end whatsoever. Islamabad has supported the Kashmir cause for over 60 years and fought wars with India over it. Many in the country think the cause is justified and Pakistan cannot simply go back on its support to the Kashmiris right of self determination. But cant it stop the terrorist organisations from collecting funds or making recruitments from inside the country while maintaining its principled position over Kashmir and providing political and moral support to the cause? Again, Pakistan has genuine concerns about the vacuum that is likely to be created after the departure of the US led troops from Afghanistan. But isnt it more realistic to clear the tribal Agencies bordering Afghanistan of militants who are likely to pose an existential threat to Pakistan after the foreign troops move out? What is needed is a paradigm shift. The question is whether the establishment is willing to undertake it.