Soon after Pakistan’s creation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah while walking with US Ambassador to newly created state, declared that: “Nothing was dearer to his heart than the close relation between India and Pakistan.” Just like the American arrangements with Canada, which allowed two neighbours to have largely unguarded borders, shared defence, and freedom of movement with several checkpoints. And here in India, Mahatma Gandhi wanted to spend his last days at Karachi. Neither Jinnah nor Gandhi ever wanted both the nations to become arch-rivals.
The violence that accompanied partition-partly fed by Hindu extremists, Muslim League and Sikh groups. However, none of the parties took responsibility for the chaos that was created. Women and children were kidnapped and raped from both the sides. And the war that accompanied independence also triggered for hatred within both the countries at large.
Seventy years and four wars later, it is very much evident that India and Pakistan cannot just survive as friends. For decades, We Indians have accused Pakistan of state-sponsored terrorism. And Pakistan has accused India of supporting ethnic separatism in its soil (mainly in Baluchistan and Sind Province)
India and Pakistan fought the first war in 1947-48 over the Princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, a state with the Muslim majority and ruled by a Hindu King, Raja Hari Singh. The war started after armed tribesmen from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province invaded Kashmir in October 1947. And the war ended on 1 January 1949 after both the parties agreed to a ceasefire arranged by the United Nations.
Years later, in 1965, India and Pakistan fought another bloody war, with both sides having severe loss and citizens having experienced bombing in their locality. The war of 1965 left India and Pakistan seeing each other as more than enemies. In 1970, Yahya Khan (Military General) organised Pakistan’s first direct election, only to find that East Bengalis voted overwhelmingly for Awami League and this was unacceptable to the Military. The leaders of Awami League were put under house arrest and this triggered the civil war in East Bengal.
Many refugees fled to India for shelter and thus Indira Gandhi ordered the Indian troops to attack the Eastern Wing of Pakistan’s Army. The result of the war was clear- a major victory for India. Pakistan lost half of its territory and also 93,000 Pakistanis were taken as POWs (Prisoner of War). Bangladesh was created. Simla Conference of 1972 was all about India and Indira. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sent to negotiate in Simla Conference.
Many experts claim till date that Indira had a better chance of resolving Kashmir issue during Simla Conference. After two major wars in 1965 and 1971, Pakistan’s populace and its army exacerbated Anti-India sentiments. Soon after Lahore Bus visit in February 1999, Pakistani troops crossed Line of control in Kargil to take control of Indian positions that were vacated during winter. However, to Pakistan Army, it seemed a big humiliation after India retaliated by sending its Air force to vacate the captured posts. Why is it that we hate each other so much? What makes both the countries enemies? And what are the possible solutions?
For Pakistan, Kashmir is an unresolved and unfinished business of Partition. In the words of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, while addressing to UNGA in September 2015 said, “Since 1947, the Kashmir dispute has remained unresolved.” And then he talked about the oppression of Kashmiri population. Frankly speaking, these words made headlines in Pakistan’s mainstream (nationalist) media. And it was hardly any mention elsewhere in the world. Kashmir has always been one of the main reasons for contention between both the countries. Over the years, India has gradually integrated the Kashmiri population into the Indian Union. Well! The Kashmiri language appears on Indian currency notes.
Pakistan has been sending infiltrators to Kashmir and creating tension in the valley. The proliferation of Kashmiri-oriented jihadi groups- such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, JeM, and their attacks on Indians has caused more harm to Pakistan than to India. The frequent infiltration of terrorists in their neighbourhood by Pakistan has allowed it to lose most of its cold war allies. Hillary Clinton warned, “You can’t keep snakes in your backyard and expect them only to bite your neighbours. Eventually, those snakes are going to turn on whoever has them in the backyard.
Terrorism has always been a matter of concern for India and to the rest of the world, if not for Pakistan. LeT’s attack on Indian Parliament in 2001 resulted in amassing of the troops by both India and Pakistan along with their border. And later in 2008, Mumbai attacks led to the killing of 166 people and thus causing worldwide condemnations of the terror attacks by Pak-based militant organisations.
Mujahadeen formed in Pakistan to drive the soviets out of Afghanistan in the 1980s and they succeeded in doing so in 1989. The Afghan Jihad, who came to Pakistan, brought substantial amounts of money, weapons fighters from the USA and other European nations, which were used to support the movement for Khalistan. The weapons supplied by the USA to fight the cold war were used by Pakistan to create instability in Indian Territory. At the height of the Jihad in Kashmir, groups like LeT advertised their telephone numbers in major cities of Pakistan, so that students during their summer breaks would come and join (part-time) Jihad.
Every Pakistani textbook insists and reiterates that Islam cannot coexist with Hinduism and also that Indians are evil and thus they wanted to dominate over Muslims, so Pakistan is created. At least, that is what a wrong perception is. After all, India has other better works to do than competing with Pakistan. One of the biggest troubles for Pakistan would be calling themselves as brothers with India. Pakistan is a country created on religious lines and one of the biggest questions is, “If we are not Muslims, then who we are?” Any kind of correlation between India and Pakistan seem to be a problem to the survival of Pakistan’s identity since India has the same number of the Muslim population.
Now, both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. And India has already signed Civil-Nuclear Treaty with the USA in an agreement in 2002. George W. Bush declared that the USA would not be signing the same with Pakistan. India’s nuclear program is not oriented to the regional rivalry, but from the argument that non-proliferation should be global. This meant, either nobody should possess the nuclear weapons or everyone should have access to them.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s nuclear policy is clearly based on the hypothetical threat of India’s nuclear power. After helping build Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb, A Q Khan went on to sell the designs to Libya, Iran and North Korea, which he said; he did it for personal financial gains. Another important figure in Pakistan’s Nuclear Programme, Dr S Mubarakmand, publically boasted of Pakistan’s ability to “wipe out India from the subcontinent in few seconds.” Without realising the fact that India has more sophisticated bombs and intercontinental range ballistic missiles in its arsenal.
Now that both the countries are Nuclear Powers, it is difficult to choose war as an option, unless we choose to wipe out the entire population. If India and Pakistan fought a war detaining 108 nuclear warheads, each equivalent to 15 kiloton Hiroshima Bomb, more than 21 million people will directly be killed and about half of the world’s protective ozone layer would be destroyed. The future of India-Pakistan relations is far from certain. The issues of Kashmir and cross-border terrorism will remain a major setback for the relations and will continue to hamper the relations with India.
(Note: This is my Youth Ki Awaaz column dated 25th Oct 2016)
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