Dr Raja Muhammad Khan
Trust deficit has been the biggest problem facing Pak and India in their entire history of sity four years. Would this gulf would ever be bridged is an incredible question. Starting from the unjust border demarcation to inequitable distribution of assets upon the partion of the Sub-continent in 1947, to Indian invasion in Kashmir, the two neighbours could not reconcile their bilateral relationship. This unremitting distrust became the cause of three major wars and a limited conflict between India and Pakistan. Beside wars, never ever in their history there existed a pleasent decade of relationship between these neighbours.
Not that, they were nver on table, rather, there have many rounds of bi-lateral talks between India and Pakistan for the resolution of the out-standing issues in the last six decades. However, there has not been any substantive outcome from any of these. The result is that, today South Asia stands least integrated, compared to other regions like Southeast Asia or European Union. Owing to this mutual antagonistic approach, the worst sufferers have been the people of the region. Despite of Indian economic growth, today 72% Indian are below the poverty line, if universal standard of the poverty are applied to this world second most populous country. Somehow, the people in Pakistan are facing a similar situation in the poverty level.
One thing is for sure that confrontations and wars have not brought solutions to the issues, prevalent between two neighbours. Rather, conflicts and mutual suspecisions have given rise to many more differences. These qualms and bitternesses have brought both countries to the brink of nuclear confrontation. Apart from this, there have been huge sum spending by both countries for the procurement of conventional weapons, thus saving the war industries of the world’s most advance countries from dying and giving way to an unending arms-race in South Asia.
The arm-race compelled both countries to neglect social development of their respective people, who are meeting the fate of worst poverty. Today, despite of its claims of enormous economic development and being the world biggest democracy with apparent secular face, India alone has 42% of the world poorest people. Interestingly, India has biggest number of world’s richest and highest number of world’s poorest. This indeed, bring a sharp contrast in Indian social setup, which otherwise has divided socities based on caste system, Dalit class being treated callously.
In it’s so far history of over six-decades, the South Asian politics has been hostage of the Indo-Pak antagonism. Without any misgivings the onus of the responsibility lies on India, the successor state of the British India, otherwise biggest in the region. Rather facilitating the integration, it followed the discriminatory policies towards the newly state of Pakistan and other regional countries. From its very inception, it tried to prevail on the South Asian politics through political and economic domination and exploitation in its favour.
The process of the Composite Dialogue between India and Pakistan started in 1997. After passing through the unfortunate incidents of Kargil conflict-1999, and military mobilization-2002, both countries resumed the process in 2004. Thereafter, it was expected that, peace would prevail in the South Asian region. Nevertheless, the individual incident like Mumbai terror attack of November 2008, once again, brought both countries back to the confrontational path. Since the incident, India decided to bring an end to the dialogue process, knowing fully that it was a sporadic occurrence, has nothing do do with the Government of Pakistan. After all, amid a smooth dialogue process, started after its hectic pursuance, how Pakistan could have sabotaged these?
Now, it has been once again agreed to resume the dialogue process, during the Secretary level talks in Thimphu, Bhuton, it is the joint responosibility of the two nuclear neighbours to have a clariety of mind and sincerity for their subsequent success. The joint statement issued, after the meeting of the foreign secretaries in Thimphu, Bhutan in February, 2011, clearly says that, “[The foreign secretaries] agreed on the need for a constructive dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve all outstanding issues. They affirmed the need to carry forward the dialogue process.”
The first round of the talks between the Foreign Ministers of both countries is scheduled to be held in July 2011. As far as Pakistan is concern, we expect from this wholesome process, “a meaningful and sustained process of engagement to bridge the trust deficit, resolve all outstanding issues, notably the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and for creating an enabling environment for promoting peace and prosperity in the region as a whole.”
The interior/ home secretary level talks would be held from March 28 to 29, 2011. As agreed, both sides would concentrate on issues like; counter terrorism, narcotics control and humanitarian problems during the dialogue. On the issue of terrorism, Pakistan feels that, owing to its global and regional scope, it requires an immediate attention. So far, Pakistan is the worst sufferer, because of the terrorism.
It has fallen prey of both the regional and global conspiracies in spreading this menace in its geographical boundaries. Pakistan would like that, all those countries and spying networks, associated with the spread of terrorism in Pakistan, should sincerely dismantle those. The menace has seriously damaged the most peace loving society of Pakistan. On its part, Pakistan would never like that its soil to be used against any other country. However, Pakistan would expect that, all those countries sponsoring the sub-nationalism and terrorism in Balochistan and FATA, must take effective steps to dismantle their spying/ terrorist networks and stop arming and funding the sub-nationalista and so-called religious militants. This indeed, would be in the best interest of those countries too, as eventually terrorist have no religion or a particular state to house in.
Pakistan has been driving a very focu campaign against the narcotics since 1970s. It has a well established and institutionalized setup (Aniti Narcotic Force) to fight against this menace. Over the years, Pakistan has gained marvellous success in controlling the narcotic from Pakistan. Pakistan expects that, neighbouring countries, especially Afghanistan should put a ban over this menace. The occupying powers and those involved there in any capacity should help that country to put an end to its production and trafficking over to Pakistani borders.
On humanitarian issues, Pakistan has a very principled stance that, all those languishing in the Indian jails for so many years for minor border violations, must be freed on priority. On its part, Pakistan has set free, people like Kashmir Singh, involved in heinous crimes of spying and terrorisist activities in Pakistan. It has released thousands of Indian fishermen deliberately or incidently entered Pakistani territory. Should not India, reciprocate to this Pakistani unconditional good will? In the so far history of the exchange of the prisoners, those incidently crossed over Indian border, India has released only a few. Remaing people have been put through tortures, killed or subsequently made spies, or else terrorists like Ajmal Kasab. Indeed, India needs to be more human on the humanitarian issues.
—The writer is an analyst of International Relations.