India-Pakistan relationship – are we wishing for the stars?

Pakistan’s blind side” is the title of the editorial piece from Mr. Shashi Tharoor’s desk, arguably the most famous Indian diplomat, owing his reputation to years of service in the U.N. He is now an M.P. representing a constituency of Kerala.

The piece does not shed any new light on the state of affairs between the two neighbours, neither does it offer any innovative proposals. All opinions were paraded as if it were an imaginary line-up of the usual suspects. It would paint an even wry picture if you could conjure up the expressions on the faces of the characters in the line up of the poster for “The Usual Suspects”. India’s impotence at pressing it’s advantage of being powerful among the two can be very easily identified as a character in this line up. Pakistan’s suppressed acceptance of Jinnah’s failed dream but defiance against admitting so could be another. The list would go on.

The opinions among most of the Indian intellectuals and statesmen, which also resembles the current policy of the UPA government, is critically hinging on two essential demands. That Pakistan bring the conspirators and perpetrators of all the terrorist activities carried out against India to justice. And the other demand is that Pakistan formulate a clear plan and intentfully execute it to dismantle it’s organized and well entrenched apparatus of terrorism.

Both demands seem quite reasonable considering all that India had to endure during the tumultous relationship. Indisputable proof of Pakistan’s involvement in destabilizing India by means of exporting terror was hard to come by until the last decade. That this was a failure on the part of each successive Indian government doesn’t matter now. Not until the previous decade did the Indian leaders accept the importance of an effective information gathering agency. Days prior to that India’s only defense would be the same as a school kid after being beaten by a bully. Both expected that the truth should be evident from their soul-rending wails and that some guardian would come to their rescue.

The second demand seems even more sanctimonious since this would not just be a favour to India, but to the entire world. The brownie points to be had in the event of India’s success are even more with this demand.

Both demands seem reasonable, but only from the surface. To understand the true futility behind any peace using these means one has to think little differently. Slightly creatively.

Imagine for a minute that it were India, with it’s halo of the “largest democracy”, and it’s current crop of leaders at the helm who had to implement such a demand. Well, maybe it’s slightly difficult to imagine that India could have nurtured organized terrorism and also that it could have exported terror. Instead, why not imagine two similar beasts currently devouring our nation? Naxalism and corruption.

Imagine the demand from a neighbouring nation, say Bhutan, that organized groups within India peddling their wares is affecting it’s happiness quotient. How much faith do we have in the current crop of individually unimpeachable leaders to bring the matter to a halt? Few would even venture a guess in jest.

India has been nurturing corruption in the very same manner that our statesmen claims that Pakistan has been nurturing terrorism. Maybe even more so. The tentacles of this beast has by now infiltrated most government organizations. What plans can we make to slay this demon? Can we even imagine a leader who can take on this task? Even if the leader can be conjured, can we imagine a timeline by when this beast can be laid to bed by? Why then are we expecting Pakistan’s leaders to be able to successfully dismantle their apparatus of terrorism? Imagine if they succeed, that would be bigger shame to our politicians then anything. This would mean that the leaders of Pakistan have more resolve in dealing with difficult issues than our Indian ones. When we come to realize this day, maybe the Indians will want the Pakistani leaders to make themselves available for contesting elections in India.

Now, getting back to the first demand, that Pakistan bring the perpetrators of all terrorist acts against the Indian state to justice. Being a nation proud of it’s history of upholding the noble institition of democracy in Asia, we Indians would certainly want this to come about using the machinery of state justice. In order to imagine the timeline for completion of such a demand, let’s look at another historic and shameful scar on our state caused by terrorism. The 1993 serial bomb blasts that ripped through not just Mumbai, but the psyche of innocent times among all Indians cannot be erased anytime soon. This event was partially orchestrated by elements within the same Pakistani apparatus of terrorism, but not without a lot of help from elements within India. The onus of investigating and bringing the perpetrators (at least the Indian ones) to justice was well withing our realm of jurisdiction. And yet, how long did it take to finally close this chapter? 17 years! This despite the fact that the investigation and prosecution of this case was undertaken under the TADA (Terrorist And Disruptive Activities) law which was expressly borne to try such incidents. Even then, not all were booked. Dawood Ibrahim is now spending his retirement under “house arrest” in Karachi. If only most of us could be as lucky to be under “house arrest” like that. If a bumbling Indian law and order machinery takes this long then surely our democracy-now-dictorial-next neighbour couldn’t secure convictions and close the chapter to India’s satisfaction under that. If they did, wouldn’t that be another shaming incident to our nation? Now we would have to import even Pakistan’s law and order machinery, wouldn’t we?

Continued in Outbreak of peace aborted

7th August, 2010, Mumbai.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *