By Vijay Darda | 03-10-2016
“What could we give to the country in the last 60-65 years? We could not remove poverty, could not provide healthcare, water, electricity, education, employment to our people. We could not do anything that could put the country on the path of progress. We have done just one thing- spread hatred and enmity. But while doing that we forgot one thing that Islam does not permit hatred; on the contrary Islam teaches that those who indulge in hatred are not Muslims. Just look at India, what a progress that country has made over the period of time.” This speech which analyses the condition of Pakistan and the direction it has taken has come from none other than Fozia Ejaz Khan, a Pakistani MP. She delivered this objective and hard-hitting analysis of the current situation in Pakistan, in country’s parliament.
Overwhelmed with the state of utter disorder in Pakistan, the MP gave vent to her pent up emotions and broke down in the House. The reason why the speech of a Pakistani MP has been reproduced here is that though they are in a minority, Pakistan too has sane voices. Not all are madcaps. But this is the misfortune of India and the rest of mankind that sane voices are suppressed before they are expressed or they are simply ignored. The Pakistan-sponsored terror attack on the Indian Army base in Uri sector in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 19 Indian jawans, was one more attack on the sovereignty of India. So far many such attacks took place but India hoped that the situation would improve. But there were no indications that Pakistan would ever mend its ways and therefore, Indian Army very skillfully crossed the LoC and entered the Pakistan occupied Kashmir to kill the terrorists and destroyed seven terror launch pads. Pakistan must never have anticipated the intensity of reaction and that is why the joint sitting of parliament was convened by it to discuss the situation in the aftermath of the surgical strikes by India. Against this background, the speech of Fozia Khan is quite relevant though that speech was delivered in the month of August.
But we can not hope that such a sane voice will have any effect on the government there. The reason is that we assume that the Nawaz Sharif government is the government of Pakistan because the people of Pakistan elected it. But all the elected governments in that country so far were inconsequential and the real powers rest in the hands of the army and the ISI, the intelligence agency. Sharif is no exception to this tradition. It was never his intention to serve the people by running the government. He just wants to stick to power somehow and make money. This is his singular purpose. During 1999 when the Kargil misadventure was staged by Pakistan’s then army chief general Pervez Musharraf, Sharif was the prime minister, but the former took the decision of war bypassing Sharif and burnt his own fingers.
Later, Musharraf deposed Sharif and exiled him to Saudi Arabia and took over the reins of Pakistan. Therefore, though as a person and a politician Sharif may not want conflict with India, and may want to forge ties of friendship with India, it does not carry any meaning. On the other hand, the current Indian Prime Minister has maintained good relationships with all the countries of the world, particularly the neighbouring nations and it began with his oath-taking ceremony when he invited the heads of states of the neighbouring countries. He toured many countries and built personal relationships with the heads of the countries he visited. He also highlighted during his overseas visits how India has been the victim of terrorism. He also reminded Pakistan and its PM Nawaz Sharif how terrorism has been the biggest challenge and that it should be met squarely. But his efforts did not evoke the favourable response from the neighbouring country.
The terror attack on Pathankot Air Force Base was serious and hurt the pride of the country. Still, Modi let the Pakistani investigating team come to the Pathankot base for investigation. Modi who had spoken of teaching a lesson to Pakistan during his election campaign remained silent and his reticence attracted a barrage of criticism. But he bore it with silence and then started making efforts to build a favourable opinion for the country the world over. But the Uri attack proved to be the last straw that broke the camel’s back. His critics started speaking with vehemence. However, Modi government started using diplomacy to isolate Pakistan and ended up performing the ‘surgery’ with a soft hand. All his critics became his supporters overnight. But the surgical strike is not the end; if anything it is the beginning of the end.
Prime Minister visited many countries in the last 28 months and built a favourable image of himself and that of India. He built relationships of faith and trust even with the Islamic nations. That is why the Wednesday’s military action by the Indian Army did not evoke any adverse reaction. None of the countries of the world blamed India or supported Pakistan. On the other hand, many big countries reprimanded Pakistan. But it is equally true that the US still continues to supply arms and ammunition to Pakistan and it is still giving credit to that country and subsequently waiving off that debt. Russia too went ahead with the joint military drill. Still India undertook a direct action. Even China did not flay India in the context of surgical strikes. But China has once again used its veto power in the UN to disallow the motion to declare Masood Azhar as the international terrorist. Whether China or the US, all countries have now become traders. For them business interests are paramount. Under these circumstances we can certainly do one thing- boycott Chinese goods! But how far would that work can not be judged for sure.
In Pakistan, four factors that pose great threat not just to India but the entire world are at work. They are the Army, ISI, anti-India sentiment and madrasas that keep churning out terrorists. As for the people in Pakistan, they bestow love and affection on the Indian people. But they do not have freedom. I have experienced this myself during my every visit to that country. While speaking to the media there, I was asked to compare the two countries. I told them that India has democracy and there is respect for all religions with no bigotry, whatsoever. Buddha, Mahavir and Bapu Gandhi and freedom of press too are there.
Before I conclude…
The Bollywood is wrestling with the challenge of what to do with the Pakistani artists: Whether to let them work here or tell them to leave the country. None can deny the importance of mutual interaction and people-to-people contact. But such solutions are out of context in the present warlike situation. Had Salman Khan spoken to his father before shooting his mouth off on this subject, it would have helped him a lot. He would not have said things like Pakistani artistes are not terrorists; on the other hand he would have condemned terrorism. Had he asked the Pakistani artistes to condemn the Uri attack and expressed respect and solidarity towards the soldiers who died in that attack, Salman would have become a hero rather than a villain in the eye of the Indian people.