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Indian fits of brinkmanship

Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, he has been blowing hot and cold about his country’s relations with Pakistan.  Likelihood of current noises between India and Pakistan heading anywhere close to a war are realy far-fetched. Ever since Operation Parakaram (Sanskrit: Valor), India has come to a conclusion that fighting with Pakistan is no longer an option; hence it has mastered the art of howling as a substitute to prudent statecraft. Visits of American NSA and German foreign minister  had been planned in advance had nothing to do with the current tension between India and Pakistan. Nevertheless, prevailing situation was discussed with both these visitors.  Notwithstanding, it would be unrealistic to harbour expectations regarding a meaningful US role in Pakistan-India relations. Notwithstanding, trails of Indian arrogance lead towards undue India coddling by America and it allies.

India has to realize that the only way to bring an end to human misery on both sides of the border is to hold talks—especially on Kashmir.  Modi’s frustration is understandable, due to childish approach, he has gathered phenomenal political baggage on personal, domestic and foreign policy counts. Tainted with his terrorist background, Modi lacks civility, patience and diplomatic skills. BJP needs to reconsider its prime ministerial choice lest all gained during Vajpayee era in India Pakistan bilateral context is reduced to ashes.
On personal count Modi’s biggest failure has been his complicity in a spate of organised killings during his stint as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, which took around a thousand lives—mostly Muslims. An Indian human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, has spent fairly long time in collecting evidence of Modi’s involvement in the riots. She is the recipient of the Padma Shri Award. It’s a Hindu woman investigating a Hindu prime minister for alleged wrongdoing in a state where the majority of victims of the butchery were Muslims! On the eve of court proceedings that could have Modi facing criminal charges for the riots, members of the Central Bureau of Investigation, who have gained notoriety for carrying out the wishes of its political masters, conducted a 24-hour long raid on the Setalvad’s home to harass her family. Notwithstanding, the seeds Modi had sown during Gujarat pogrom of 2002 in the form of government sponsored three days long massacre of Muslims, have now graduated to sub-communal intra-Hindu violence in August 2015. Though it may take considerable time to bring Modi to book for his crimes against humanity; eventually, he shall face the trial by an international tribunal.
Modi is also making futile effort in rewriting the history; what could be more obscurant than declaring victory celebration for 1965 war which was an utter defeat for Indian military as well as political leadership. Recent Confession by a former Indian Air Marshal Bharat Kumar indicate how a numerically superior India met humiliating defeat in the hands of Pakistani military. Indian military pensioners of 1965 era have declined to participate in so called ‘Victory celebrations’ unless their pensions are increased many times over—what a bargain!
India is, since long, following an odious plan to ensure that Kashmir is formally integrated into India. Recent cancellation of NSA level talks on the issue of Pakistan’s preparatory meeting with true representatives of IHK—the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leadership— alongside persistent Indian violations of Line of Control has brought Kashmir back under international focus. Besides numerous statements of the UNSG, Mr Peter Lavoy, Special Assistant to the President Obama on South Asian Affairs said on August 20, 2015 that “Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory. I think, it’s up to them to address these issues together. I expect that they probably will.” Time has come for the world powers and in particular the United States to recognize the people of Jammu & Kashmir as the central party to the dispute.
To take the Kashmir cause to higher pedestals, Kashmiri diaspora has announced another Million-Man-March (MMM); this time in America. March will focus on the political climate of the region of South Asia and the role of the United Nations & the United States in facilitating a lasting peace and stability in the region that could provide an opportunity for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. March shall take place on October 25, 2015, in front of the UN head office, New York. It will be a joint platform of all Kashmiri American expatriates and friends of Kashmir, irrespective of their political beliefs, religious affiliations and linguistic limitations. APHC leaders from IHK have been invited to participate in the march. Hopefully Indian will not place travel restrictions on Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik and Shabbir Ahmed Shah. Marchers want the UN and the US to know that a political leadership exists in Jammu & Kashmir, with broad popular support, which seeks a peaceful and negotiated settlement; and this leadership is APHC. The Government of Pakistan has shown eagerness to accept APHC as an equal partner. The only question is whether the Government of India will join them at the negotiations table or opt for continued repression over dialogue. The only way to achieve a peaceful and lasting solution to the Kashmir crisis is through focused dialogue and negotiations between the three stake holders—Pakistan, India and the Kashmiris. Such talks should focus at devising ways and means to hold UN supervised plebiscite.
Modi and his NSA Ajit Doval have been conspiring to put impediments in the path of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (COEC) by active intervention through proxies. India has since long been encouraging the separatist elements in Balochistan through financing, travel facilitation and provision of platforms in India and abroad to air their unfounded anti-Pakistan narratives. The effort has failed. Province went through peaceful national, provincial and local bodies’ election. The federal and provincial governments have ever since demonstrated their reconciliatory gestures towards disgruntled groups. Now founder of the defunct Baloch Republican Party Brahamdagh Bugti has also joined the growing list of key Baloch leaders, led by Khan of Qallat, who stand convinced about the futility of their disruptive trajectory and are now adopting reasonable stance for their political mainstreaming and to come to the negotiation table. Bugti’s conciliatory words are rooted in pragmatism; his willingness to join the mainstream politics would also discourage other separatist groups. Situation in Balochistan is improving. Fararis are laying down their weapons in numbers.
After getting an unfavourable award from independent arbitrator on Kishanganga Hydroelectric project, Modi has offered Pakistan to hold talks on other controversial hydro power projects. Pakistan saw through the trap by which New Delhi was trying to buy time for completing the projects. Pakistan has raised objection on the design of various projects because their structures would obstruct the flow of water, into Pakistan, to a degree that violates the Indus Water Treaty. Pakistan has decided to approach the World Bank, the guarantor of the IWT to appoint an expert to decide the matter.
At the SAARC level, Modi’s obsessions to install pro-India governments in some of the countries and to gang up with them in an anti-Pakistan coalition is resulting in region’s lost opportunity in terms of connectivity and commerce. As Modi’s efforts to marginalize Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan have come to a naught; he is desperately trying to set-up his anti-Pakistan shops in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries—albeit failing everywhere.
Modi’s obsession to cage Pakistan is firing back. During his recent visit to UAE, Modi tried to woo the Arab countries towards India, with a condition that they ditch Pakistan enbloc and comprehensively. He offered them defence cooperation in lieu of Pakistan’s constraints regarding sending its forces to quell the Yemen insurgency if Arab countries withdrew hand of assistance to Pakistan and show indifferent attitude to Pakistan on defence and economic matters. Again, Modi underestimated the depth of the relationship between Pakistan and Arab countries. King of Saudi Arabia made it clear in categorical terms that Saudi Arabia would never allow any Modi-led conspiracy against Pakistan to succeed.

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circular conspiracy theory

Curse of circular conspiracy theory

The way this avoidable 21-day siege evolved and ended has raised many questions, which need collective answers from the national leadership. There was a nation-wide sigh of relief when Faizabad sit-in ended peacefully, thanks to good offices of Pakistan Army. This wasn’t the first time when Army played such a role and burnt its fingers. A number of times fingers have been pointed towards Army for first constructing such sit-ins and then deconstructing them in a power barter with the executive branch of the government. Like wise the incumbent government is often blamed for trucking with religious extremists for political gains. For their credibility, both need to come clean on these public perceptions. As the post mortem of Faizabad fiasco is in progress, all the guilty have dug-in their heels to justify their follies, stupidities, acts of omission and commission as well as comics. They are hoping that soon there would be a divine intervention in the form of yet another bigger catastrophe, turning the national focus away from this one. A candid estimate has it that the incident could cost the ruling party around 20-30 national assembly seats in the upcoming elections alongside erosion of mandate in all provinces. Those with higher stakes like the ruling party are trying to wriggle out of it by rolling of a couple of dispensable heads. The planning and execution of the controversial law ran much broader and deeper than the single ministry’s purview. Then allowing the matter to hang-on to ferment a crisis was indeed a national crime for which responsibility must be fixed and punishment meted out. However, one wonders whether our fragile system would have the strength to undertake this enterprise; or, as per track record, push the matter under the carpet.

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