PEACE IN THE SUBCONTINENT: CHASING A RAINBOW!

BY

Anil Athale,

Coordinator

So the Jihadis have struck again! Massacre of 27 labourers in Jammu on 14 July 2002 need surprise no one except the Americans. More is in store as the country braces itself to attacks on the Amarnath pilgrims. Is peace possible in these circumstances? The regrettable answer to that is a resounding NO.

 

Vicious Propaganda.

It is the melancholy duty of security analyst to read Pakistani newspapers and watch PTV. While Musharraf made promises to end cross border infiltration the PTV continues to beam anti India and anti Hindu (both are synonymous for most Pakistanis) propaganda day in and day out. Every news bulletin devotes half the time to show clips of Kashmir scene from archives- with no hint that these are archives! Five times a day a Mullah come on the screen and gives a dose of Islam. Phrases like “ Genocide of Muslims continues in India” are sprouted liberally by the newscasters!

 

The so called sober English newspapers carry views like the one in ‘Dawn’ wherein a retired Colonel opines that the Kaluchak massacre of soldiers families was carried out by Indians themselves, for what else but to defame Pakistan! One can only imagine what the Urdu press must be writing.

 

Thus while Musharraf promises on one hand to curb Jihadis, the entire Pakistani establishment goes on to give birth to more and more terrorists with their daily dose of anti India propaganda.

 

This mindset is being built for last 50 years there appears no effort to stop it. Islamist religious schools as the breeding ground of Taliban have been much in news. What has been ignored is that even the main stream Pakistani schools run by the government have been indoctrinating the school children with Anti India and anti Hindu poison. Even a cursory study of text books for middle school level prepared by the Lahore text book board is enough. A Pakistani Scholar  Dr Farrukh Saleem, writing in ‘The News’ of 16 June says  “To top it all, indoctrination runs deep on both sides of the LoC (more so on our side than theirs). When I sit to explain the prescribed history book to my 14-year-old daughter I find it full of half-truths mostly directed at India’s leaders and the people that they lead. Military cadets at our military academies learn that the very reason for Pakistan’s existence is the “liberation of Kashmir”. To spice it up, we began erecting replicas of Ghauris, Abdalis and Ghaznavis at major street intersections (named after Muslim invaders from Afghan provinces of Ghowr, Kandahar and Ghazni). Then there is PTV’s “Kashmir file”. Put frenzy and indoctrination on to a sizzling pot and present it the way you like. The turnout is bound to be deadly.” On 18 July 1987 a Pakistani school boy wrote to the Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi asking him why India threatens Pakistan. The key phrase in the letter was ‘India is prejudiced Hindu state.’

Add to this the dismal economic scene, literacy rate of 40%, population growth of 2.6 % and you have perfect recipe for disaster.

America’s Blind Spot.

There was much premature celebrations after the 9/11 events in MEA in New Delhi. Since the Al Quaida, Taiban and other Jihadis were seen as one entity, Indians expected that at least now the American would be wise to the danger emanating from Pakistan.

This has proved to be false. In first week of July Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, signed a deal to build a pipe line to carry Turkmenistan’s oil and gas. Obviously the American oil interests have asserted themselves.

As a test case to gauge American sincerity, the Indians proposed holding of joint military exercises in Gulf area. The Americans flatly refused and instead intend to carry out joint exercises with Pakistan army.

The two events together clearly indicate the limits of American support to fight Pakistani terrorism.

Indians seem to have under estimated the strength of US-Pak nexus at bureaucratic level that goes back to 1942 and the WW II days. Indians also failed to realize that Pakistan is almost an ‘ideal’ client state! Witness how the FBI, CIA and US forces have a free hand inside that country!

The American bureaucracy has a soft corner for the cringing Pakistanis over the haughty and independent minded Indians. In the current phase when the Senate is split down the middle, Bush Jr is a weak President. In this situation the bureaucracy has assumed policy making functions. Bureaucracies hate change-so the continuation of cozy Cold War relationship with  Pakistani ruling establishment continues.

 

Right since Benazir Bhutto’s days as PM, Indians have been urged to show restraint on the scare of a more fundamentalist coming to power. The leaders themselves from Zulfikar Bhutto  to Musharraf, (in private,) have been pleading that India must understand their difficulty in controlling the domestic audience! The view enthusiastically seconded by the Americans.

 

What Can India Do?

 

A Bombay based think tank ‘International Peace Initiatives’ has come to a conclusion that due to economic collapse in the coming 3/5 years Pakistan is bound to go to war with India- the basic strategy of ‘Sinking together’. As the poverty levels increase there, there is bound to be mass exodus of impoverished people into India, like the Bangladeshi influx. Any conflict would begin with surprise nuclear attack on Indian cities. The hope of Pakistanis would be that India would then succumb to international pressure and would be restrained from nuclear retaliation.

 

India has no choice but to change its age old approach of working for a stable and peaceful Pakistan. India has to reorient its policy to isolate, contain and ultimately help in implosion of the failed state of Pakistan. If that results in an independent Sindh, Baluchistan and absorption of Frontier Province into Afghanistan, so be it. The new geo political realities cannot be worse than the present.

 

India must NOT de-escalate its military presence as that would be an invitation for a surprise nuclear attack. For each incident like the one at Jammu, India must at least launch an artillery assault and destroy known terrorist hide outs.

 

This is war that we have to fight on our own and internal peace and cohesion is must. Indian Muslims must feel fully secure and Hindu Taliban like VHP and Bajarang Dal must be dealt with ruthlessly.