(Shehryar Khan, )

Muzaffar Ahmed
The Indian rejection of the US offer of mediation for Pakistan-India peace talks is a clear indication of New Delhi’s intransigence as well as hegemonic designs. This is actually what has contributed in the last many decades in both countries’ wavering relations – from bad to worse and moderate to bad.

Although the eras of unipolar world and bipolar or multipolar world have significantly influenced the Pakistan-India conflicts, yet what has remained constant is the stalemate. This all has not been by default but mostly by design. Pakistan’s raising of voice for atrocities in Kashmir, Indian proxies in Balochistan, water issues and ceasefire violations, etc – either in the United Nations or at other world forums – mostly remains an echo. Contrarily, the Indian calls and concocted narratives seem to have comparatively gained attention.

The Indian propaganda revolves around following ‘forged realities’: (a) Pakistan is supporting non-state actors like Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkatul Mujahideen to create instability in Kashmir. (b) Pakistan’s war against terror is an eyewash (despite the fact that the country has lost over 70,000 lives and properties worth billions of dollars). (c) Pakistan is playing double game in Afghanistan; on one hand it promotes peace and at the same time destabilizes the incumbent setup of the government by instigating the Taliban. (d) Establishment is the hurdle in Pakistan-India relations. Its policies have forced India to revisit the ‘No First Use’ and the Cold Start doctrine. (e) CPEC is not acceptable to India as the corridor line passes through contentious areas.

The above notions, no matter how forged or concocted, outweigh Islamabad’s just claims in the eyes of international community due to India’s economic market, expat lobbyists and socially acceptable clouts. The $67.7 billion US-India trade volume that makes them the ninth largest trade partners, against the $6 billion US trade volume with Pakistan that ranks it 62nd is the testimony of the fact that Pakistan is far behind both economically and at diplomatic levels.

Consequently, big powers like the United States, credible international organizations and jurists become silent and leave Pakistan-India issues to the logic of their vested interests. Should a nation that has rendered sacrifices of over 70,000 lives and billions of dollar losses in the ongoing GWOT merit such a discriminatory treatment?

The irony however doesn’t stop here. We, the victims, probably remain short of formulating a suitable foreign policy that we couldn’t stay either proactive or assertive; rather we have been toeing a defensive or reactive approach. Questions remain as if we are firm and prudent in effectively countering the Indian propagandists so as to uphold our national stature, credibility and sovereignty? Have we strategized our course of action, once the world has shown reluctance towards our condemnations of the Indian atrocities in Held Kashmir, or regarding the other bilateral disputes between the two nuclear neighbours? Why have we been resting on just the Kulbhushan-like cases, despite presenting what we call ‘credible’ evidence (dossiers) at the Sharm el-Sheikh moot, or other international forums, didn’t work?

The reaction by the Trump administration has yet to come over the rejection of America’s mediatory role in the Pakistan-India peace talks, however, given the Indian defensiveness over Kulbhushan and world condemnation over use of brutal forces against innocent Kashmiris, the time is appropriate to further expose India before the eyes of international community, through effectively using diplomatic and media channels. We must expose the ongoing Indian army’s brutalities in the held Kashmir and the atrocities being meted out to minorities (Sikhs, Muslims and Dalits) in a number of Indian states.

The recent 6 percent by-poll turnout, and the Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s warning to New Delhi that “India may lose Kashmir Valley” and that “dialogue is the only solution” to resolve the Kashmir problem is considered to be another setback to the Indian claims.
Cow vigilante groups and Hindu hard line activists have made miserable the lives of Muslims as they are carrying out their planned murders and targeted massacres. A day after Pakistan handed down death penalty to the apprehended Indian spy, India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Sawraj threatened that New Delhi would go “out of the way” to save the life of Kulbhushan Yadev. Obviously New Delhi stands exposed and goes on defensive.

Disrespecting other countries’ sovereignty is not new for India; supporting and fomenting acts of terror while ing and legitimizing it through ‘forged realities’ has become a fashion. India can cross all limits of ethical lines using military means or political pressures, subversive or terrorist activities, diplomacy and media, or forging an equal case of espionage (a retired Pakistan army officer has already been trapped in Nepal).

The election of hardliner Adiyanath Jogi withers away the Indian claims of a secular stature, which the world must notice. Moreover, the Indian refusal to US offer is no less than a sabotaging bid to world community’s peace efforts.

Exposing real face of Indians may not fetch us much unless we convince the world community of our gains and losses, sacrifices and ongoing efforts in the war against terrorism. Thinking it as such, we don’t have a choice to follow the paths of disengagement or neglect from US or other international community. Trumps’ recent military ventures in Yemen, Mosul and Syria are an eye opener regarding the policy towards the Middle East. Similarly, the US plan for sending 8,000 more troops to Afghanistan has rung alarm bells.

While the US is heavily engaged with India in economic and defence fields, all eyes are on the Trump administration as to what course it takes as regards to Pakistan and India. Our ongoing engagements with Russia and China, in the face of forthcoming US moves will likely put our diplomatic champions in test. There is a need of calculated response keeping in view national interest, Indian ambitions and the Afghan imbroglio.

We keep sending messages of peace and dialogue to India, but this we can’t afford from position of weakness. At the same time, besides blaming for own faults on international arena, we need to stress more on putting our house in order by following multi-pronged approach. Better raise our own compatible economic market, remove internal differences, promote own expat lobbyists for projecting our positive image, improve literacy standards, foster ethnic harmonies and radiate real essence of ideology to wash away the blots of radicalism, fundamentalism and terrorism. If we enshrine such facets, then it may turn a ray of hope that the so called “forged realities” of the enemies will not outweigh our just efforts and claims.
(The author is a freelance columnist from Bhera, Sargodha)

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