"Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity".
(surah Al-Imran,ayat-104)
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User Name: Usman_Khalid
Full Name: Brig (R) Usman Khalid
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Is there an Alternative to Talks? Yes, there is!


By Usman Khalid


Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan meet in New York with different agenda and no agreement



Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, at long last, met the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  After having failed to get him to attend his inauguration as PM and being spurned in his desire to visit India even without an invitation that must be viewed as a success. But India has an agenda and an attitude. No leader in Pakistan can govern effectively and be popular unless he understands both. India’s agenda is to present Pakistan in a bad light – as product of Islamic fanaticism; politically unstable and economically failing state; ultimately to challenge its legitimacy as well as viability as a state. The Indian attitude is to insult offend against the people of Pakistan and the state of Pakistan and “get away with it.”  Since hostile countries often use vile language for each other, that is neither exceptional nor even undesirable. The important thing in the case of India is to “get away with it”.


The expected breakfast with the meeting of the two PMs was cancelled. How could a self respecting Sikh have breakfast with a ‘maleech’? That would be the violation of Hindu religious edicts which would have given the champions of hindutva in the BJP to castigate Manmohan. But to add insult to injury, there was no joint communiqué, not even a joint press conference. The two leaders agreed only on one thing – violation of the LoC by the two sides was unacceptable. The fact is that the troops deployed on both sides of the LoC are under orders to give a ‘robust response’ to any violation. The fact also is that there is an active resistance movement against the occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian Army which uses force including resort to wanton murder and rape to quell the resistance. The Indian Army blames every incident of resistance on ‘cross border terrorism’ by Pakistan. By accepting responsibility to stop violation of the LoC, Pakistan accepted the charge of ‘cross border terrorism’. India want further in its war of words and called Pakistan an ‘epicentre of terrorism’ without any response from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.   


India got away with sending troops into Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 without formal accession of the state to India. India got away with the invasion of Hyderabad State which had opted to stay independent as provided for in the Independence of India Act of the British Parliament that is the legal instrument that created India and Pakistan. India got away with invasion and annexation of Portuguese Colony of Goa. India got away with invasion of East Pakistan and making it Bangladesh in 1971. India got away with “Peelkhana Massacre” of officers and wives of Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) in 2009 in which the present Hasina Administration was complicit. Bangladesh is now a vassal state of India, which is at a lower status than a province of India, where the Indian High Commissioner rules like the erstwhile Viceroy. Bangladesh has sentenced many political leaders to death forty years after the so called ‘war of liberation’ in which they are accused of helping the Pakistan Army – the legitimate defenders of the legitimate state of Pakistan. The fact is that Bangladeshi war of liberation was treason far more horrendous than the treachery of Mir Jaffer in the Battle of Plessey. And the protégés of India ruling Bangladesh get away with that too.


On his way back from New York, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked the pressmen, “Is there an alternative to talks”? He probably meant that ‘war’ would result if there were no talks with India. He could not be more wrong. At the present moment neither India nor Pakistan are ready for war; the game in which they are engaged is diplomacy. This game is played in an environment of ambiguity; the two sides send messages short of war and try to hurt each other and improve their international standing. Getting away with Pakistan putting up with humiliation, insults and hurt underlines that Pakistan gets what it deserves. More of the same or much worse follows and the world looks on perplexed as Pakistan appears unable even to protest properly. Such inability to respond characterises defeat or utterly incompetent leadership. Since Pakistan has brave people and many sincere friends ‘no alternative to talks’ means the first or the latter – most likely the latter.


The alternative to allowing India to get away with every excess and insult is to speak through actions that deliver the message to India and the world that Pakistan would not put up with the agenda or the attitude of India. The thing to do is not to get mad but get even:


  1. Denounce SAARC as an instrument of Indian hegemony, renounce its membership and establish bilateral (or multilateral if possible) friendship and defence treaties with members other than India.
  2. Order a judicial inquiry into the Agartalla Conspiracy and other anti-state activities leading up to and during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War. 
  3. Withdraw the High Commissioner in Bangladesh in protest against death sentences awarded for helping the Pakistan Army in 1971 Indo-Pakistan war.
  4. Stop PIA flights to Dhaka.
  5. Stop bus and train service and PIA flights between India and Pakistan.  
  6. Stop giving visas to Indian nationals except diplomats and officials.
  7. Stop Indian aircraft flying over Pakistan territory until a plebiscite is held in Jammu and Kashmir.
  8. Amend the Constitution of Pakistan to include the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as part of Pakistan on the grounds that India has gone back on its agreement at the UN to allow the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their future in a plebiscite, which shows that India concedes that the people of the state want to join Pakistan.
  9. To warn India that Pakistan would take any action necessary to stop India for building dams on River Indus, Jhelum and Chenab in compliance with the Indus Basin Treaty.
  10. End the composite dialogue until the disputes over Jammu and Kashmir and River Water is resolved.


In all the above Pakistan stands to lose little, certainly less than India. India has much more to lose by its policy of bullying neighbours and asserting its hegemony by a show of “getting away with” every excess and injury. Pakistan is the largest and most powerful among the neighbours of India except China. All of them expect Pakistan to stand up to the bullying by India. That Pakistan has remained silent in the face of demonization of Pakistan by Bangladesh and wanton massacre of Muslims in Myanmar. Surely Pakistan could co-ordinate diplomatic efforts with Indonesia and Malaysia to stop the genocide of hapless Muslims of Myanmar. Surely there is an alternative to talks, which includes ‘no talks’ and the ten measures listed above. ++                        


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