Pak’s own sin!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 22 Sep 2018 11:21:26

EVEN as India was game to a meeting of Minister of External Affairs Mrs. Sushma Swaraj with her Pakistani counterpart Mr. Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines on the United National General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Pakistan’s sin of sponsorship of purposeful mischief spoiled the show. At the last minute, knowing that Pakistani troops, on Friday, killed three Indian soldiers after abducting them and later mutilitated their bodies, India called off the meeting.

Another point cited as a reason to call off the meeting is that Pakistan also released a postal stamp on terrorist Burhan Wani who was eliminated by the Indian troops in Kashmir about two years ago. Even though India was cautious not to call the meeting a diplomatic engagement, much importance was being attached to it as it could be a forerunner of an effort by Pakistan to reopen bilateral talks between the two estranged neighbours. Pakistan’s own sin, however, has now become a cause for busting its own initiative, so to say.

In fact, the New York meeting had its origin in a letter Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan wrote to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi about a week ago, suggesting that Foreign Ministers of the two countries meet on the sidelines of the UNGA. India had responded cautiously, agreeing for the meeting, but being careful to insist that it could not be termed as a resumption of a diplomatic dialogue. India’s apprehensions about the Pakistani intentions proved correct, leading to cancellation of the proposed meet between the two Foreign Ministers.

There is no doubt that Pakistan would get a lot of flak for this development. Let alone the flak from the world, Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan, too, would find things absolutely reprehensible as his own initiative has got busted, thanks to Paistani overtures in the past couple of days. If Mr. Imran Khan were to be a man of substance, he would find things very frustrating in Pakistan’s internal situation. Internationally, he would find his country getting isolated as the world’s frustrated response to Pakistan’s defiance to listen to voice of reason. Only a day earlier, the United States had said unequivocally that Pakistan had not tackled terror with an iron hand, terming it as a deliberate act to ignore the global pressure to act wisely. With India’s cancellation of the meeting between two Foreign Ministers, Pakistan has received perhaps the biggest snub in recent years.

A couple of days ago, Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd) V.K. Singh had said unequivocally that Mr. Imran Khan was a military stooge and did not have an independent opinion unhampered by the military view. This expression by General Singh has its own importance in the current diplomatic scenario. Obviously, the General is speaking the Government opinion but in his own behalf, indicating clearly to the world what India thinks of the domestic situation in Pakistan.

Facts indicate how difficult the task is before Mr. Imran Khan. He is struggling to tackle the challenge of a sagging economy by resorting to selling off luxury cars and even the buffaloes in deposed Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif’s backyard. He appears to be the first Pakistani Prime Minister to agree that his country’s economy is in terrible state and needs to be spruced up by any means. In such a situation, it is not likely that Pakistan would venture into a war with India.

Yet, given the method and manner of the Pakistani military junta, it could be possible that Islamabad may feel an itch to open a confrontation with India, though on a minor scale. But before that could ever take place, Pakistan obviously wanted to create an impression that it was ready to reopen dialogue with India. It is because of such possibilities that India has been wary of extending a hand of cooperation to Pakistan.

India had officially snapped bilateral talks following the terror strike in 2016 at Pathankot Airbase. In the intervening period, it has found no reason to resume any talks since there are no clear-cut indications of a changed Pakistani attitude.