Home Editor's picks The flawed fantasy of a 'Friendly Pakistan': Indian liberals' absurd optimism

The flawed fantasy of a ‘Friendly Pakistan’: Indian liberals’ absurd optimism

The overwhelming fanaticism of Pakistan infected every arm of the nation

The aftermath of Pulwama Attack and Balakot revenge has left the forces in the opposition of Narendra Modi in total disarray. And when we say, opposition, it is not only limited to the political opposition. We have large opposition to what PM Narendra Modi is and what he represents, which comes from the elite, intellectual mob. This is the section which is often so excited to pull Modi, and, in the process, even India down that I believe, that they would even be distributing pamphlets and erecting election billboards if only they did not consider manual work beneath them.

Having hopped from one narrative to another amid the scenario which moved a dizzying pace, they have settled down now to become a chummy-chummy pal of Pakistan. There are people in the opposition party who began questioning our own army, asking the number of terrorists killed and even leaders like BK Hariprasad of the Congress going to the extent of suggesting that the martyrdom of almost fifty soldiers was staged.

Yo-yoing between discrediting the Balakot Airstrike within Pakistan to hit at Jaish terror training outfit, now with around 263 confirmed killing, Rahul Gandhi, now bereft of his favourite Rafale issue, came with a gem of the return of three terrorists during the Kandahar Plane Hijack. As is his wont, he safely ignored the lives of more than a hundred-fifty common Indians which were saved in the exchange, then supported by all political parties, including the Congress. He also forgets that two years after a hundred-plus Indians were killed in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Congress government released Twenty-Five dreaded terrorists to Pakistan as a goodwill gesture. There was no tangible advantage that this release offered to India as a nation. Who benefited is a question, Rahul Gandhi should answer, now that he raised the issue.

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Congress got an India to rule in 1947, with a huge amount of innocent trust from the people of India. So they did not question Nehru as he went around appointing his own people in critical positions, shrugging off open cases of corruption and nepotism. Rahul is used to such an unquestioning nation with unwavering loyalty and slavish sensibility. Alas, times have moved on. If you ask about Masood Azhar, you will be questioned on the terrorists you released without any national benefit in the picture. He possibly assumed that he will be able to further the Pakistani agenda, knowingly or unknowingly, which keeps on advocating business-as-usual, slowly with Say-No-To-War, Peace, Nobel-for-Imran and various online polls comparing the PM of a secular state with the PM of a proudly Islamist state. Unfortunately, again caught by vigilant nation, now Rahul Gandhi will move to another leg to do his piece with Pakistan dance.

Peace with Pakistan, though is a tantalizingly beautiful idea; it is hardly possible at this point of time. Those who are arguing of Business, as usual, are either on-board with Pakistan’s stated policy of using media and narrative to discredit democratically elected Government of India and return to business-as-usual so as to continue with their strategy of making India bleed with a thousand cuts. Nostalgia oftentimes makes people forget the painful aspects of the past.

It is all good for the Americans, who went to a war on the basis of fake news and the British, who swore revenge when two British soldiers were attacked in London, to preach peace to us over the martyrdom of 45 Indian soldiers. It is our war and we need to fight it. I am more surprised by the absurd optimism of some of our own people. They will arrange and re-arrange the whole structure of Pakistan to eventually find one person we have not yet spoken to and then invent the reason of unrest between India -Pak on the lack of dialogue between India and that particular person. As we find that, of all their undoings, Pakistanis largely stand together as one entity, the people and the politicians, solidly behind the Military. I have not heard any Pakistani politician making many runs after Imran Khan asking him to prove that no terrorist was killed in Pakistan. It is a country bound by hatred and insecurity and holds tightly to its centre.

It is high time we stop fooling ourselves from these outlandish notions that the Army doesn’t want peace, but political leadership does, or that both do not want peace with India, but people do. These three are not distinct separable entities. Pakistani military props that leadership which it finds aligned to its terror policies, and people elect those politicians, they agree with. The hatred and insecurity on which Pakistan is built keep it together. A huge amount of effort is made by the media, paid or unpaid, to establish the civilized image of a nation which has turned thoroughly rogue.

We can not count much them to give the real picture. Those who never stood up for the harassment of the Press in the hinterland of India, cannot be expected to be honestly reporting something as vivid as the beating up of The Times reporter and writer of The Wrong Enemy,Carlotta Gall, as she wrote in her book in 2006, “When one of the muscle men grabbed my handbag from me, I protested. He punched me twice, hard, in the face and temple, knocking me over.” Those whose stomachs churned over jostling in Patiala Court will not feel a thing. They will keep on telling India that Pakistanis are just like us and continue attending Literature festivals there.

The premise that Pakistanis are just like us is inherently wrong. They were, possibly once, but not anymore. This is nothing but a dishonest attempt to hyphenate India-Pakistan. Economically, India is a Trillion Dollar economy as against Pakistan whose largest stock exchange, Karachi Stock Exchange stood at the market capitalization of 89 Billion USD as against Dhaka Stock Exchange Market Cap of $320 Bn and BSE at 1.4 Trillion USD (2016). Forget the Sherwani-class which gifts Pashminas to Indian intellectuals, the literacy rate of Pakistan is abysmal 59% against Indian 72%.

When partition happened in 1947, it had a different meaning for India and Pakistan. On Indian-side we had leadership which had been preparing for self-rule through the centuries. On Pakistan side, it was a set of unprepared men who suddenly found themselves sitting with the unexpected spoils of an unjust war. Pakistan keeps lamenting that they got on the wrong side of the bargain, but they have no one but themselves to be blamed. The British had proposed a neutral arbitrator in Both the dominions to facilitate the smooth transfer of legitimate treasury and to help the establishment of functioning Government.

Against all advise, Jinnah rejected the option of Lord Mountbatten as the Governor General for the initial years. As per British records, Jinnah could not accept any role less than that of Governor-General in the nation he believed to be his creation. This was further aggravated by their Military action in Kashmir. You cannot expect to attack a nation and then expect her to continue to fund you.

The elections which paved the way for Pakistan with an overwhelming win for the Muslim League and the foundation of Pakistan is based on Islam. It is not a benevolent version of Islam. It is a version of Islam which threatens to engulf everything which is, well, non-Islam- Language, culture, ethnicity. Pakistan came into being as a South Asian Nation attempting to become an Arabian nation. A 2009 British Council Survey mentions 72% young Pakistanis believe themselves to be a Muslim first and a Pakistani second. The fanatic element in Pakistani society has increased, not decreased over the years and there is a good reason for it. In 1947, Pakistan had 137 madrassas, by 1995, the number went up to 3900, 7000 in the year 2000 and exponentially increasing to 35000 by 2016. Students in these madrassas study Islamic philosophy and are trained on an outdated curriculum. Students passing out of madrassas are not trained for modern occupations and need more madrassas to be gainfully employed. One can only imagine the kind of citizens such bodies churn out.

The overwhelming fanaticism of Pakistan infected every arm of the nation. Where else you have top scientists talking about harnessing the power of Djinns to solve energy scarcity and a Judge of High court refusing to call Hafiz Saeed a criminal for killing Hindus since Hindus were occupying the Kashmir. The last democratic leader, with whom feverishly feminist Indian TV anchors some time back proudly posted pictures, ordered TV anchors in Pakistan to wear hijab. It is understandable that one cannot choose neighbours.

But let us remember, Pakistan is not the only neighbour India has, while it may be the most notorious. We have other neighbours. India would do way better to call out the nefarious designs of those setting the Aman Ki Aasha narrative, pulling out the Massod Azhar episode to corner the government. And keep the window on the North -West Frontier closed for some time. Maybe, someday, Pakistan will be able to come out of shadows of the blunders of the past. Maybe, someday, it might decide that it is a country which was never needed at all.

(Reference: ReImagining Pakistan- Hussain Haqqani; Partition- Barney White-Spunner)

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