Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan created somewhat of a political storm in India, and to a lesser extent in Pakistan with a bit of a cheeky statement that re-election of Narendra Modi as a Hindu nationalist prime minister of India may prove beneficial for chances of peace in the region, and that indian opposition parties may prove too weak to negotiate a political settlement of the Kashmir dispute. When looked at with an historical perspective prime minister Khan’s statement carries some weight. Since the independence of both nations in 1947, strategic thinkers in Pakistan have found an adversary in India, and have continuously had to face the uniquely duplicitous acumen of Congress leaders; who behaved as cut throat diplomats towards Pakistan bilaterally, while masquerading as peace loving leaders of the Non-Alingned Movement, and not interested in domination of South Asia. Pakistani policy makers have seen a long line of Congress led Indian governments taking advantage of every geo-political opportunity to dominate, invade and dismember Pakistan over the years, while professing a policy of Westphalian sovereignty among nations at the international forums.
In Pakistan, a realization has dawned for some time now that while Congress politicians have been strong enough to lead India in aggression against Pakistan, they always prove too politically weak to agree to any diplomatic concession, as a way to settle long standing disputes between the two nations. Whereas, hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party BJP politicians while being politically hostile to Pakistani interests, seem to possess enough political capital among hardliners in India, to take bold decisions, when solutions are desired in negotiations with Pakistan. BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s balanced conduct during the Kargil War, as well as during the Agra Summit is a testament to this belief. Therefore, let us try to view Pakistan’s dealings with India with history in mind, to understand why Modi’s hindu supremacist government may be perceived in Pakistan as a blessing in disguise, especially since the secular leadership of the Indian National Congress has behaved as a wolf in sheep’s clothing over the last seventy years.
“When history is written,
the day of Modi’s election
as the prime minister of India,
would be recognized as the day,
Jinnah’s Two Nation Theory
ultimately attained legitimacy.”
Pakistani populace belonging to the generation that won independence from British colonialism, as well as Hindu majoritarianism were clear in their concepts. They had followed a campaign for independence based on Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s Two Nation Theory that, foresaw persecution of the muslim minority in an independent democratic India by the dominant Hindu majority. They resolutely believed in the tenets of this theory, as proclaimed during a speech in 1944 by Jinnah, when he said “We maintain and hold that Muslims and Hindus are two major nations by any definition or test of a nation. We are a nation of hundred million and what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportions, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions, and aptitude. And ambitions. In short, we have our own outlook on life and of life.”
Early generations of Pakistanis were politically empowered enough to realize that, only gaining independence would save them from the potential dominance of Hindu supremacist political movements, such as the Hindu Mahasabha, the Shiromani Akali Dal, and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh RSS. Their belief in an independent Pakistan was reinforced when they saw first hand, how an Indian National Congress led government in India, in november of 1947 used the pretext of a Hindu majority to forcibly annex the princely state of Junagadh, despite Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khanji having already signed the instrument of accession with Pakistan on 15 September 1947. They also saw the Congress prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, one of the leaders of Gandhi’s Non Violence Movement, order Indian troops to land in Srinagar on 27 October 1947 to militarily annex the state of Jammu and Kashmir, despite it’s Muslim majority, in complete disregard of the wishes of the state’s overwhelming Muslim population. They saw the Indian military invasion of Hyderabad Deccan in ‘Operation Polo,’ whose ruler Nizam Osman Ali Khan was a friend to Pakistan, and who had tried to resist acceding to India, but was brutally subjugated with killings of between 40,000-200,000 civilians, and forced to accept annexation to India in September of 1948.
This generation of Pakistanis witnessed the horrors of partition, when up to two million people were massacred in a wave of communal killings, and many of them saw train loads of slaughtered corpses arrive at railway stations in the newly independent homeland for the Muslims of India. They also saw the Congress government refuse to transfer the agreed shares of funds and resources to Pakistan, and they saw the public murder of Mohandas K. Gandhi by a Hindu supremacist, after he had publicly called on the government of India to pay Pakistan’s due shares as per the agreements.
The next generation of Pakistanis grew up in an independent country, however they saw how a Congress government in India during the sixties, tried to use it’s military occupation of Jammu and Kashmir to attempt to divert waters from Pakistani rivers flowing out of Kashmir, leading to military tensions. They saw how the use of three rivers Ravi, Sutlej and Beas was negotiated away from Pakistan, as a cost of peace between the two newly independent countries, with signing of the Indus Water Treaty in 1960. Though military tensions in Jammu and Kashmir remained, and ceasefire violations continued along the Line of Control LOC. They saw how the following Congress government, headed by the unassuming Lal Bahadur Shastri, used one of these skirmishes over the control of Kashmir as a pretext for imposing a full scale war on Pakistan in 1965. Then they saw the Congress government of the young & progressive Indira Gandhi, systematically instigate a refugee crisis in East Pakistan, with training and covert infiltration of Indian trained and funded ‘Mukti Bahini’ militants, and subsequently use the pretext of the refugee crisis; to impose a naval blockade of East Pakistan, to prohibit the use of Indian airspace for Pakistan, and to ultimately carry out a naked invasion of East Pakistan
This generation also saw, how a peace loving Congress government in India carried out nuclear tests in 1974, and ironically announced it to the world as a ‘peaceful nuclear explosion.’ Pakistani policy makers knew better, and expected an overwhelming military invasion as soon as Indian nuclear capability was weaponized. They were able to enjoy a brief absence of aggression from the eastern neighbour. Especially during internal political troubles for Indira Gandhi’s government in late seventies, and during the Janata Alliance led Indian government with Morarji Desai as prime minister of India between 1977 and 1980.
The invasion did come with the return of a Congress government, again led by Indira Gandhi in 1980, in the shape of the Siachen invasion. It was a violation of the spirit of the 1949 Karachi Agreement signed and ratified between Pakistan, India and the United Nations Military Observer Group. By 1958 the parties had delineated the entire Cease Fire Line between the two countries in Kashmir, and mapped by the United States National Geospatial Intelligence Agency in 196. US maps showed Siachen as part of Pakistan, and government of Pakistan’s awarded several uncontested permits to mountaineering expeditions between 1957 to 1982. Successive Indian Congress led governments ordered five major military operations to invade Siachen between 1982-1987. To infiltrate and occupy a large swath of land, rightfully belonging to the state of Pakistan, due to a lack of Pakistani military presence, in such an inhospitable region at the height of 20,000 feet. Successive Congress led governments ordered armed forces of India, to carry out Operation Meghdoot in 1984, Operation Rajiv in 1987, Operation Vjrashakti in 1987, Operation Ibex in 1989, and Operation Trishul Shakti in 1992, to brazenly steal two thousand and three hundred square kilometers of Pakistani territory. These military incursions were resisted by armed forces of Pakistan, however in absence of the nuclear capability Pakistan’s leaders weren’t able to successfully safeguard Pakistan’s claim to Siachen by further escalating the conflict, and ended up ceding strategic heights to a continued Indian occupation.
Only the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and resulting American alliance with Pakistan, delayed a decisive full scale Indian invasion. This generation saw a young and popular Congress prime minister Rajiv Gandhi take over after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and eventually order a provocative deployment of six hundred thousand Indian troops along the border with Pakistan in 1987, under the cover of a massive military exercise called Operation Brasstacks. Drums of a decisive war against Pakistan began being beaten in India. I was a little kid at the time, going to a school in the military cantonment of Quetta. I remember the tension prevalent in the air at the time, as if this was to be the final showdown, between an expansionist aggressive nuclear India, and a vulnerable but resilient Pakistan, not yet equipped with the nuclear capability. But then suddenly, the clouds of war cleared and armies on both sides of the border demobilized. We were to learn in time, that it was Pakistan’s breakthrough in the development of nuclear capability that, helped knock sense into the war hungry Indian leadership, and only the potential of a mutual assured destruction helped deescalate a catastrophic conflict.
“Most acts of war and aggression
inflicted on Pakistan
came not from Hindu supremacists,
but resulted from the policies of secularist
Congress led governments in India.”
It is important to point out here, that every generation up till that point in Pakistan’s history, had seen first hand the effects of Indian expansionism: suffering from the psychological scars, of the a so called thousand year subjugation under Muslim rule, while hiding behind a facade of democratic values, secularism and policy of international peace. However, Pakistanis had always been unable to successfully communicate these concerns to international players who remained infatuated with a hippie utopia called India. Pakistanis on the other hand, became known as a nation of brash and emotional policy makers.
The nineties brought parliamentary democracy back to Pakistan, and along with it a lethargic approach towards the development of any national cohesion or cultural growth policy. Power struggles, and rampant corruption began to overshadow the political discourse among Pakistani elites, and security of the nuclear umbrella pushed fears of an Indian invasion to the background. Voices began to be raised for a reduction in Pakistan’s defense expenditure, leading to increasing tensions between civilian governments and military leadership. It was during this time period, the Indian government led by a dynamic Congress prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao that, India succeeded in selling a democratic, peaceful, and rapidly developing India to the world, smartly opening their socialist economy to capitalist reforms, escalating industrialization, and growing the Indian economy in leaps and bounds. While Pakistan was left to deal with the after-effects of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, three million Afghan refugees, and a thousand mile open border with a country drowning in a vicious civil war.
At the turn of the millennium, with internal political instability and troubles at the western borders, Pakistani national consciousness began to let go of the dispute in Kashmir. While youth in Indian occupied Kashmir began to take advantage of India’s economic rise, with a receding interest in accession to Pakistan. The millennial generation of Pakistanis began to share this disinterest in a constant state of conflict with the eastern neighbour.
Strategic thinkers in Pakistan viewed this tectonic shift in the worldview of Pakistan’s coming generation with horror. This generation was growing up under the influence of India’s soft power, idolizing bollywood celebrities, celebrating cricketing ties, fomenting literary ties, collaborating in artistic exchanges, and enjoying the fruits of the so called ‘people to people contacts.’ Even policy makers, government officials, and a large section of Pakistani intelligentsia began to fall for this clever strategic ploy by consecutive Congress led governments of India. It largely succeeded in selling the idea of, placing Pakistani geostrategic interests on the back burner, and working on developing the cultural and economic ties, as a way to generate goodwill among the populace of both nations; before eventual negotiations towards a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Indian government paid campaigns such as ‘Aman Ki Asha,’ and ‘South Asian Free Media Association SAFMA, were launched in Pakistan, in an absence of reciprocal Pakistani campaigns in India, due to a paucity of funds. Pakistani journalists began touring India, Pakistani musicians, actors, and comedians, began working in India. Pakistani cricketers started playing for Indian teams, Pakistani writers began publishing in India, and Pakistani patients began flying across the border to receive medical treatment in Indian hospitals.
These steps began to benefit the people of Pakistan on an individual level, and resulted in the accumulation of a few big fortunes for highly talented individuals, but the cumulative effect of these step: proved to be a cultural invasion by India, into the homes and hearts of the Pakistani population. Pakistani musicians began singing Hindi songs, Pakistani actors began acting in Hindi movies, Pakistani fashion designers began launching their collections in India, Pakistani journalists began working for Indian media outlets, and Hindi movies began screened in Pakistani cinemas, despite not a single Pakistani film ever being screened at cinemas in India. Pakistani children began growing up watching hindu mythology cartoons, Pakistani teenagers began rooting for Indian sports teams, and Indian models began appearing on billboards along Pakistani roads. Indian advertisements began dominating marketing campaigns across the Pakistani print and electronic media, Indian textiles began to flood Pakistani markets, and Pakistani youth began aspiring for careers in the Indian entertainment industry. All, at the cost of the development of urdu children’s cartoons, losses to the Pakistani marketing and modeling agencies, lack of resources allocated towards Pakistan’s domestic cricket teams, bankruptcy of Pakistan’s textile industry, and as a setback for the development of Pakistani entertainment industry.
Effects of this soft power invasion by India began to shape diplomatic victories for India. Pakistani politicians stopped mentioning Kashmir in engagements with their Indian counterparts, and Pakistani diplomats stopped lobbying for Pakistani interests in Jammu and Kashmir during international engagements. When the president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, practically withdrew from Pakistan’s five decade old principled stand on the Kashmir dispute. He was the general who had led military operations resisting Indian occupation of Siachen, and had planned and executed Kargil incursions, as payback for India’s naked aggression in Siachen. In negotiations with India at the Agra Summit in July of 2001, he was reportedly willing to settle the Kashmir issue on terms which validated the status quo, in return for economic and cultural ties between the two nations.
Another public manifestation of this process was when Nawaz Sharif, a two time prime minister of Pakistan made the infamous ‘Aloo Gosht’ speech at a SAFMA event in Lahore on 13 August 2011. He publicly denounced Pakistani military incursions into Kargil as a “stab in the back” for India in spite of the eventual withdrawal. At the same time, ignoring to mention brazen Indian military incursions into Siachen, and the continued Indian occupation of two thousand three hundred square kilometers of Pakistani territory in Siachen. Having said that, he defined Pakistan’s relations with India, in terms championed for decades by the leaders of the Indian National Congress party, saying that ‘the only difference between India and Pakistan is a line, called the border between the two countries, that we have the same culture, the same heritage, the same background and that, we are members of the same society, so much so that that the culinary delight of “Aloo Gosht” is equally popular on the both sides of the border.’ He made these statements in total disregard of the entire thesis of the Two Nation Theory of the founding fathers of Pakistan. His comments that day, not only served as a public denunciation of Pakistan’s founding principles, but also struck at the very ideological foundations of Pakistan as a nation state.
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/KF0O1BS42fU
Nawaz Sharif Speech at SAFMA – 13 August 2011
The first BJP government led by India’s poet prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power in 1999. He joined Arya Kumar Sabha a youth branch of the RSS in 1939, and later became a full fledged member of the parent organization. But he was wise to keep the RSS at a distance, during his time in office. As the first BJP prime minister, partly being the leader of a coalition government, he chose to continue with the slick Congress policy: to maintain a progressive, non violent and peace loving front for the world, and work for the enforcement of a Hindu supremacist agenda in practical terms. He still ended up helping Pakistan take the decisive step towards becoming a nuclear power. Indians had already tested their nuclear capability in 1974 to attain a nuclear power status, however Pakistan had not done so. If the BJP led Indian government hadn’t taken this unnecessary step again in May 1998, Pakistan may never have been able to absorb international pressure, and resist its associated economic costs, in the case of a unilateral nuclear test. Hence, every Pakistani will always remember, that it was a Hindu supremacist BJP govt in India that, inadvertently helped Pakistan get recognized as, the first Islamic country to attain the status of a nuclear power, with testing of six nuclear explosive devices.
Pakistan’s support for the US war effort in Afghanistan reinvigorated Pakistan’s economic and defense ties with the west, and billions of dollars poured into Pakistan helping economic growth. This eased tensions with India at the turn of the millennium, especially after the disastrous pull back from Pakistan’s principled stand on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. Another Congress prime minister came to power in India, and he became known as more of an economic wizard than a consummate politician. There was no clear cause for conflict with the eastern neighbour. However, it was during his tenure in office between 2004 to 2014 that, highly aggressive policies were adopted by the Indians, when militant outfits began to receive covert funds and support, to hurt Pakistan’s economic and strategic interests. Insurgent groups such as Baloch terror gangs and Pakistani Taliban organizations, began mounting bomb and gun attacks at some of the most valuable military bases in Pakistan. International media may have found it surprising that, Baloch terrorists claimed responsibility for attacking Shia pilgrims, and Pakistani Taliban attacked Mehran Naval base in Karachi and Kamra Air Base in Attock targeting naval and military surveillance aircrafts. However, Pakistani officials clearly recognized that, India’s Congress led government has initiated a new era of vicious covert war against Pakistan. The tragic dilemma was that, despite mountains of intelligence linking India to terrorism in Pakistan, the world could not be convinced. This frustration peaked, when president of the United States Barack Obama during a White House press conference in April of 2009, described concerns of Pakistani establishment regarding Indian support for subversive activities in Pakistan as “misguided.”
“It is as if, the Indian wolf’s sheep clothing has been ripped apart, and that the world would now be able to view India, the way Pakistan has always known it to be. An aggressive, expansionist, militaristic, theocratic polity, suffering the so called psychological scars of a thousand year domination by Muslim rulers, ready to return to Hindutva’s glory days.”
What the analysis so far tells us is that, most acts of war and aggression inflicted on Pakistan came not from Hindu supremacists, but resulted from the policies of secularist Congress led governments in India. Meanwhile, the absence of an all powerful Hindu nationalist government as predicted by the founding fathers, was indeed preventing the people of Pakistan, from appreciating the very nature of our nation’s existence. A nation that was founded to protect the democratic, social and political rights of a Muslim minority, from the potential hegemony of a majoritarian Hindu democracy, dominated by fascistic, nationalistic, extremist Hindu supremacists.
It was in these dark times for nationhood in Pakistan, in times of economic misery, cultural drought, violent terrorism, and national disillusionment with the ideological foundations of the state that, in 2013 Narendra Modi appeared on the national scene of Indian politics. There was no one else in India, who could have made a better representation of the Hindu majoritarian fascism to the world. Not only was he a lifelong member of the infamous RSS, that he joined at the tender age of eight, but he was also world famous as the ‘butcher of Gujarat’. He was banned from US travel, for allegedly being involved in mass killings of more that two thousand people in Ahmedabad Gujarat in March 2002. This man didn’t repeat the considered policies of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, of keeping RSS at a distance when in office, and of maintaining a public facade of secularism. Instead, became known as the first RSS man in the Indian prime minister’s office. During his tenure, it became difficult to differentiate between BJP and RSS appointees. He supported a genocidal maniac Yogi Aditya Nath, who was accused of condoning rape of dead Muslim women, for the office of chief minister of the most populated state in India. He appointed Ram Madhav the official spokesperson for the RSS as the national general secretary of the BJP, and helped initiate a campaign of violent repression against Dalits, Christitans, Sikhs, and Muslims across India, especially in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. During his tenure, incidents of cow lynchings became prevalent, and graphic videos involving brutal murder of Muslims, spread like wildfire across the world through social media. His party officials began campaigning for change of muslim sounding city names, muslim boys accompanying Hindu girls began to face increasing harassment on Indian streets by hindutva thugs, and even Dalits began to face greater persecution. Reported cases of public lynchings by upper caste Hindutva thugs called ‘Bakhts’, became a norm.
When history is written, the day of Modi’s election as prime minister of India, would be recognized as the day, Jinnah’s Two Nation Theory ultimately attained legitimacy. Instant dissemination of information through social media has finally exposed Hindu extremism of Indian politics, and it has provided immense legitimacy to the ideological foundation of Pakistan as a nation. It is as if, the Indian wolf’s sheep clothing has been ripped apart, and that the world would now be able to view India, the way Pakistan has always known it to be. An aggressive, expansionist, militaristic, theocratic polity, suffering the so called psychological scars of a thousand year domination by Muslim rulers, ready to return to Hindutva’s glory days. To be able to claim India as a mighty Hindu power, where Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Parsis and Buddhists would have to live a life of subservience to the Hindu will.
True to expectations, Modi’s hindu supremacist government, embarked upon a string of step by step actions, which would deconstruct the entire edifice of Indian non-violent, democratic, international reputation. Consequently, in Pakistan the process of cultural awakening began to be taken seriously, the importance of self sufficiency began to be realized in Pakistani social, political, artistic, diplomatic, and military circles. Pakistani could easily put themselves, or their loved one in the position of a lynched muslim in India, accused of consuming cow meat. The realization eventually dawned that, had it not been for Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Two Nation Theory, it could have been one of us, in those videos, getting lynched at the hand of blood thirsty hindu extremists. Incredibly, the Modi led Indian government showed the world their vehement endorsement of these acts of blood lust, by not prosecuting a single case of cow lynchings in India.
Modi publicly stated in a speech at Dhaka university on 7 June 2015, that “history will bear witness that it was us, who shed our blood with the Mukti Bahini in 1971,” referring to his own service with the Hindu supremacist group ‘Jana Sangha’ that illegally provided recruits and resources for militants along the eastern borders of India, who carried out terrorist activities and promoted separatism in cities and town of East Pakistan. Modi’s public sneers at Pakistan’s lack of economic growth and pace of development, helped generate a popular call for political reform, economic growth, and good governance in Pakistan. This popular feeling became acute, when the then prime minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif continuously refused to respond to Modi’s undiplomatic insults thrown at Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif’s insistence on a policy of peace overtures, despite Indian provocations, the horrific treatment of Kashmiris, and increasing persecution of Indian Muslims made him greatly unpopular. When Nawaz Sharif refused to publicly claim the capture of a serving Indian naval officer Commander Kulbhushan Yadav, caught on 3rd March 2016 in a counter terror operation deep in the mountains of Balochistan, howled up in a compound along with other baloch separatist militants, it made his position as the leader of the country highly precarious. Nawaz Sharif’s cordial personal meetings with Narendra Modi and a docile diplomatic behavior of the Pakistani prime minister helped increase public resentment for him. In a speech to the UN on 23 September 2017 Modi described as “incredible” his external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said “What has Pakistan offered to the world?.. We produced scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced?”
“It wouldn’t be far fetched to imagine that,
had it not been for Modi coming to power in India,
Imran Khan may have found it extremely difficult
to be elected as the prime the minister of Pakistan.”
This jingoistic public posture of Modi’s government officials generated an intense public debate in Pakistan, on the need for a political leader who would be able to return Modi’s retorts with a retort of his own. It was, in part due to such public sentiments in Pakistan that, Imran Khan became popular leader. His habit of never leaving a public retort going unanswered, being upfront and bold, endeared him to the public. Modi’s government has successfully harmed every variable of Indian secularist leadership’s thirty years of influence operations in Pakistan, to deflect hearts and minds of the public away from Kashmir, and to develop superficial bilateral ties dominated by an overwhelming Indian worldview. Modi and his henchmen have struck at the roots of these very ties, and provided Pakistanis with an opportunity to escape from this soft power invasion of our dominating eastern neighbour. Modi’s policies have in effect allowed Pakistani strategic thinkers room to develop, the levers of Pakistani soft power within the country and beyond.
This Indian government has stopped playing cricket in Pakistani stadiums, and Pakistanis have stopped relying on Indian cricket revenues and sports marketing infrastructure. This Indian government has banned Pakistani players from playing in the Indian Premier League, and Pakistan Cricket Board has begun to focus its energies on organizing and promoting the Pakistan Super League. Indian comedy shows have stopped inviting Pakistani comedians, and Pakistani channels have found an opportunity to launched a slew of elaborate and successful comedy shows. Indian producers have banned Pakistani actors from acting in bollywood movies, and Pakistani film producers have begun looking forward to working with more of top list Pakistani actors. Indian music directors have stopped hiring Pakistani singers, and Pakistani world class singers have started to appear on the Pakistani music scene. Indian cable operator have banned Pakistani TV shows, and Pakistan’s entertainment industry has begun building ties with other lucrative markets such as Saudi Arabia, China, UAE and Turkey.
Modi’s fascist policies have been increasingly getting noticed by global audiences. Indian government’s lack of attention to communal lynchings and military oppression in Kashmir has begun receiving greater coverage in the international media. Without a doubt, Modi government has helped bring world attention to the need for a permanent solution of the Kashmir dispute after a very long time. A feat that, could never have been achieved by any Pakistani government, despite its best efforts. The vicious Indian repression of Kashmiri protesters, reports of extra judicial killings, and the largest military deployment in the world to suppress political rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, has greatly alienated Kashmir’s youth. Modi’s policies of total military control of Kashmiri streets, has made the Kashmiris realize, the futility of being a productive member of the Indian society. For the first time in Kashmir’s history, even university students hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, have begun joining the armed struggle to resist Indian occupation. Modi’s unnecessarily harsh repression of Kashmiri political rights, has done an exemplary job of raising Kashmiri public opinion against the Indian occupation, better than seventy years of Pakistani public relations efforts could have accomplished. On the international front, Modi’s policies in Kashmir have done more damage to the reputation of Indian occupation of Kashmir, than the combined efforts of the entire diplomatic corps of the government of Pakistan in the last thirty years. The first ever ‘United Nations Human Rights Report of on Kashmir’ was issued by the UN, the forty nine page report called for an international inquiry into human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, and condemned Indian army’s use of pellet guns on unarmed civilian protests. “Impunity for human rights violations and lack of access to justice are key human rights challenges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the report said, while detailing how the Indian special power acts 1990 AFSPA, and 1978 PSA have “created structures that jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.”
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/_0FEWFQEILc
First ever UN Human Rights Report on Kashmir
Another historically brilliant policy of Congress led Indian governments had been, to adopt a consistent tactic of covert interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs, and exploitation of any available political fault lines in the Pakistani society. Such as, the training of MQM activists in urban warfare tactics, in Research and Analysis Wing training facilities in India, and to ensure their return back in to Karachi’s underworld, as a way to maintain lawlessness in the financial centre of Pakistan. To coordinate with ethnic and sectarian militant outfits in Pakistan, and fund their sectarian activities to create civil disorder in a cross sections of rural towns in Pakistan. Most of all, to directly fund and train baloch political activists, and push them towards separatist militancy as a way to instigate instability in Pakistan’s western provinces. Over the years, this not only created diplomatic tensions between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, but also carried the potential to hurt Chinese investments in Balochistan, and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. But congress politicians, always denied any policy of interference in the internal affairs of India’s neighbours, emphatically labeling Pakistan objections to this effect, as transferring blame of internal tensions to India. Confessions of arrested MQM, sectarian and baloch militants, with detailed admissions of funding and patronage provided by indian intelligence agencies, was always denied as manufactured disinformation. It had always proved an uphill task for Pakistani diplomats to convince world bodies, and international players of India’s complicity in stoking instability in Pakistan. Then on the 15th of August 2016, Narendra Modi made a startling admission. He became the first ever Indian prime minister to stand on the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort, and publicly mentioned indian involvement and pledged support, for groups involved in militancy in Balochistan. He proudly stated, “If people of Balochistan thanks me, they are thanking the hundred and twenty five crore Indians.” This provided a desperately needed solution to Pakistan’s policy makers and diplomats, in establishing the links between Indian policy makers, directly with militancy, political violence and terrorism in Pakistan.
During the later part of Narendra Modi’s term as prime minister of India, the voting public, a large section of intelligentsia, establishment and judicial activists in Pakistan became part of a universal consensus that, Pakistan’s political leadership must got to someone who could stand up to the phenomenon of Modi in India. This helped push Pakistan towards the election of a strong political leadership, able to take bold decisions for across the board reforms. It also provided an opportunity for Pakistanis to rise above petty political interests, and vote out highly influential, politically entrenched, financially corrupt, and nepotistic political forces. Imran Khan’s public conduct as prime minister of Pakistan during the Balakot stand-off against India, fulfilled public expectations of him, when he remained on the forefront, with multiple addresses to the media, speeches to the parliament, and became universally hailed for handling the crisis as a statesman. This has reinforced the general belief in Pakistan, that an assertive leader is best suited in dealings with Pakistan’s larger aggressive neighbor. This belief pushed the electorate in Pakistan to choose a leader that can fight against the vested interests, whose only ambition is to make a mark on history, and leave a legacy of transformative change for the coming generation in Pakistan.
It wouldn’t be far fetched to imagine that, had it not been for Modi coming to power in India, Imran Khan may have found it extremely difficult to be elected as the prime the minister of Pakistan. Therefore, when Imran Khan says that, a Modi government in India may prove easier for the government of Pakistan to deal with, then his statement should not be hastily dismissed as diplomatic rhetoric. This eventually leads us to a compelling conclusion that; while Narendra Modi as prime minister of India, has successfully thrown across a myriad of tactical challenges for Pakistani policy makers, strategically however, Modi has been nothing but good for Pakistan.