Source: The Hitavada      Date: 23 Aug 2018 11:31:52

TO PRIME Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s offer of a “constructive engagement” on Tuesday, Pakistan responded initially that India had not suggested any bilateral talks. Now, Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan has insisted that the two countries must engage first in talks to resolve differences. Obviously, Pakistan is back to its old word-play tactics that it used to adopt years ago, especially when Mrs. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. In those days, to Mrs. Gandhi’s ‘No First Strike’ proposal, the then Pakistan supremo General Zia Ul Haq had made ‘No War’ proposal. Pakistan under Mr. Imran Khan, too, is picking up similar tactics only to keep India cornered in battle of words than actual peace process. Obviously, Pakistan does not seem interested in actual efforts towards a sensible conciliation in mutual ties.

Such a word-play has been Pakistan’s habit in its tinsel diplomacy. Its rulers have often wanted to show to the world that even as they want to make all efforts, it was often India that scuttled peace-process. Now, as India may try to explain what Mr. Modi meant by “constructive engagement”, Pakistan would try to tell the world that it was ready for talks while India is talking a different language.

Of course, there was time when some people elsewhere in the world felt that Pakistan could be right. But much water has flowed under the bridge and by now the whole world knows that Pakistan has often faked its so-called peace efforts. One of the most critical gains of the patient Indian diplomacy is that over time, even the United States, a long-time Pakistan ally, has begun believing how fake and hollow Pakistan is and how it uses terror as continual hostility tool of its foreign policy, not just as regards India but in general.

When Mr. Imran Khan now insists upon talks or dialogue, the world will see how disinterested he is in the actual peace-process. For the past several decades, Pakistan has kept up only this highly illogical stance, refusing to realise its own limitations. Mr. Imran Khan may be interested in a similar approach to ties with India.

If only Mr. Imran Khan cares to read countless books written by Pakistani intellectuals about the ills dogging Pakistan, he may sense a silent undercurrent of logical thinking about the country’s actual conditions in socio-economic field. If only he studies carefully the intellectual outpouring of many a sane element in Pakistan, Mr. Imran Khan would start conducting himself more sensibly, more sensitively.

The main worry of Pakistan’s ruling class -- whether the military or the mullahs -- is that it does not have logical and convincing answers to the issues Indian has often raised, no matter which party rules the country. Consistently and constantly, India has raised very logically argued issues about various aspects of bilateral relations with Pakistan. India also has pointed to Pakistan and to the larger world that often its approach has been conciliatory in nature and that it has shown willingness to take a possible step back to accommodate Pakistan to an extent. Despite all this, Pakistan has refused all along to listen to logic and has continued to be obstinate.

The only hope now is that Mr. Imran Khan, a person who knows how international associations are enhanced, will start noticing the flaws in his own country’s uncalled for hard stance and may start listening to the Indian appeals to conscience. If the accommodative, and truly international personality of Mr. Imran Khan comes to fore and if he starts understanding what conciliation actually means in bilateral relations of two estranged neighbours, some hopeful signs may emerge on the Pakistani horizon. But if the new Prime Minister refuses to see and sense logic, then things may follow the old route full of pot-holes.