The longest war: Pakistan’s perspective – by Qudrat Ullah

No other nation or any ethnic community, in the known world history, has ever been entrapped in the longest protracted conflict as the Hindus and Muslim of sub-continent are, since 712 AD, when the legendary Muslim general Muhammad Bin Qasim attacked India. Historically speaking, both the nations are prisoners of a zero sum game since then when earliest groups of Muslims set foot on this part of the world, where a rigid socio-cultural system of religious superiority of one ethnic class known as Brahmans was strictly imposed; and challenged the archaic Hindu mythology with a new and superior code of life, called Islam.

Non-Brahman communities were soon attracted by the puritan teachings of Islamic socio-religious equality, consummate love & tolerance and started converting to Islam in large numbers. As Islam always heralded a social change wherever it went, it so did in the sub-continent. Muslims challenged centuries old socio-religious exploitation of the human beings in guise of a rigid quasi-religion and gave the indigent strata much needed socio-cultural equality and hope, which was hitherto unknown to the majority of the population.

The subsequent history of South Asia is but a witness to a continuous struggle between the two leading communities, and the endless saga is still going on. The 9/11 imbroglio has given it an extended dimensions as India is trying its utmost to destabilize Pakistan by vilifying wheeling-dealing through newfound friends like USA & Israel.

While talking more specifically about the position of Pakistan vis-a-vis India, it should be safely understood that it has already
failed to design, develop and put into action a composite strategy against the arch enemy, known as India, because of its failure in institutionalization of policy formation. This is partly because of weak and not so infallible leadership.

On the other hand, Indians have successfully developed world class institutions in many sectors like policy study & research, defence and security, intelligence, economy, politics and education. Meanwhile, country specific Indian institutions are also paying to provide necessary background material to the Indian Establishment, army or the external affairs ministry for policy formation. In fact, Indian Establishment’s mantra of “Greater India” is a calculative move to reign in the divergent ethnicity and multiculturalism. Democracy and burgeoning film and IT industry are other wheels of fortune. Furthermore, Indian professionals are regrouping in world institutions like IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations and EU etc where they can manipulate international policies in favor of India.

Policy cohesion among Indians is what we should learn from and put into practice here too. Despite much acrimony between political parties, there is complete harmony on the core issue of Kashmir in India; while we have failed to develop composite Kashmir policy to sensitize the world in our favor. Meanwhile, the post 9/11 traumatized USA needed new allies in the South Asia and India provided her much needed support in shape of material and man power to entangle Pakistan from within. It also has succeeded in mobilizing world support against Kashmiri freedom movement and Pakistan’s policy stance on bilateral
issues. Today, Indian shenanigans carry more weightage in world fora because of West’s continuous government and the media support to the Indian policies vis-à-vis Pakistan.

On the other hand, regrettably, Pakistan’s response to Indian hegemonic designs is poor, inadequate and even not well calculated. At present, while Pakistan is facing ad-hocism in its policies, India, on the other hand, is working to dampen down neighboring Pakistan in multiple ways.

It has successfully blocked Pakistan’s legitimate share of water allowed under Indus Basin Agreement; not only that, it has also built as many as 62 illegal hydro-power plants/structures over the Pak waters to ensure that Pakistan did not get even a drop of river water for its agriculture. The response of the federal government in Pakistan is very poor; rather it’s totally mum and reluctant to lodge any protest at the international fora. India’s larger presence in American led Afghanistan is another blow to strategic interests of Pakistan. Indian engineers are working to build a large Dam over Kabul River to block its water’s passage to Pakistan. India’s hidden interest in Iran Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project is basically meant to delay this vital project as long as possible so that Pakistan could not get any new energy source for its energy-starved industry.

American future strategic supply lines from Central Asia will route through Balochistan to Gwadar; therefore India is also discreetly supporting irredentism in Balochistan. Emerging politico-military dimension of bilateral relation between India and USA is fervently against Pakistan. Similarly, growing Indo-Israeli military cooperation for advanced hi-tech military equipment and hardware is another looming threat for Pakistan’s security. By 2009, bilateral military trade has already touched US$9 billion. Currently, India is the largest customer of Israeli military hardware and second largest economic partner. Both are also undertaking joint military exercises/training programs and cooperating in space technology. India is enjoying the best of both worlds in shape of USA and Israel.

In this backdrop, Pakistan has little options; although it has successfully developed indigenous nuclear capability against India and China is a long-standing trustworthy friend, yet Pakistani Establishment should look for new options to defend the country
against any joint Indo-Israeli operation. Post cold-war scenario is economically dependent, nations are turning to economic self-reliance and Pakistan should vigorously pursue its share in the international markets as WTO regime has already set in new economic cold war. Pakistan should look towards other options like enhancing joint cooperation with South East Asian nations, earning from their experiences, especially from tiny Singapore would be good for us, where Lee Kwan Yew worked hard to make it world’s 9th biggest economy. New techniques should be employed to achieve food autarky and economic diplomacy should be proactively pursued by the political managers. Pakistan must also invest heavily in energy sector as no industry can
be developed without it. New hydel power plants should be developed on canals. It is all the more important that communication infrastructure should be developed across the country, inter-provincial issues should be handled politically and the Centre should sufficiently increase provinces’ share in federal divisible pool. There is need to decrease size and number of federal as well as provincial departments in the light of 18th amendment and abolishment of concurrent list.

Pakistan is standing at the cross-road of opportunity where it must stand-out to engage the nemesis in the immediate periphery. Otherwise, Indian sponsored spate of terrorism will make Pakistan an easy prey for the trio of USA-Israel and India.



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