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How to deal with Pakistan?

Submitted by on December 16, 2008 – 2:52 am

Pakistan’s role in Islamic terrorism is well known. It is simply a misfortune that India happens to be its neighbor. I have read many arguements in favor of containing Pakistan, but none is more powerful and convincing than the one made by Mr. Prem Prakash in this Op-Ed published in The Tribune Dec. 16, 2008. I have no hesitation in saying that India is not serious in dealing with Pakistan. Indian PM Mr. Manmohan Singh has reduced himself to a pitiable situation when he deals with this issue. India as a state does not want todefend itself, that is the impression everyone is gaining! I reproduce the whole piece of article here. Enjoy and think what could be against this arguement! Nothing, I bet!

It is the army that owns Pakistan
by Prem Prakash
It won’t be long before a large group of people march to Wagah on the India-Pakistan border carrying lit candles in their hands, seeking friendship with that country. Makes for great pictures, gives them all the publicity, but where does it take the relations between India and Pakistan?
It is high time that we learn to be realistic about our neighbour. There is far too much talk about the cultural affinity between India and Pakistan and the fact that we were one country at one time.
Yes, we were one at one time. They sought separation and got it. It is a different matter that they do not know what to do with the country that they got.
The founders of Pakistan failed to give that country a stable constitution. The present rulers have totally forgotten what their founder Mohammad Jinnah wanted the country to be like.
The country has become a fiefdom of its army ever since Gen. Ayub Khan staged a coup in 1958. It is not a country that has an army, but it is an army that owns the country.
The army in Pakistan can continue to control and own that country so long as it can project that it faces a threat from India. Take away that threat perception and the Pakistan army will lose all its clout.
This is clear like daylight to anyone who wishes to see it, yet there are people in India who keep making noises about “people-to-people relations”, “one culture” and so on as though the other side is waiting with open arms to befriend Indians.
Whatever cultural affinity existed between the two people has been destroyed. Pakistan today is an altogether a different kind of nation and people.
There may be a miniscule minority having values similar to the Indian middle class, but the large majority of the ruling class has been converted to ‘Wahabi’ Islam. Efforts have been made to indoctrinate Muslims in India as well.
The Pakistan army, which took over the country in the sixties, sought to legitimise itself by telling its people that India is its greatest enemy, and legitimately the ‘Moslems’ should have been ruling in the Red Fort. School books were rewritten and officers and soldiers in the armed forces were indoctrinated with that message.
So, how does India deal with a country with such a fragmented polity? One answer would be to deal with the army. Here again, it is a no-win scenario. Why should Pakistan’s army befriend India and destroy its legitimacy and necessity for that country?
Therefore, let us take a hard look. First, it is just too bad that we have a neighbour like Pakistan, which is hostile. The first and foremost thing to be done is to secure your own house.
The recent terror attack in Mumbai has exposed the fact that India has neither fully secured its land frontiers nor its coastline. We need to get that done.
The whole idea of these trains and buses travelling between the two countries needs a fresh look. We need to study the rise in the number of terror attacks on India ever since these so-called “people-to-people” contacts became too open. There has been a quantitative rise in these attacks as the enemy has been able to use these services for frequent incognito visits.
Yes, let trade relations grow, but strictly on a reciprocal basis. We have serious differences with China, yet trade between the two countries is multiplying. Surely we can do some thing similar with Pakistan if that is workable.
If the government in Pakistan is seen as trying to respond to Indian concerns following the Mumbai commando attack by elements from that country, it is because of international pressure on Pakistan, which is today on the brink of bankruptcy.
If Pakistan fails to get the second instalment of funds from the IMF this month, it won’t have funds in its treasury to pay for the salaries of its staff, and that perhaps includes the army as well.
Let us also not forget that the army there has received well over US $10 billion from the US to fund the so-called war against terror. Further income from this source could dry up too.
Let us deal with Pakistan realistically and without nostalgia. Let us deal with them as a country that is home to the world’s most wanted terrorists, a country that created the “mujahadeen” and “Taliban” as pawns to extend its reach into neighbouring territories.
Let us also remember that it was the so-called “Taliban” who overran Afghanistan, three years after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops. They publicly hanged the President of Afghanistan Najibullah.
Even since the murder of President Najibullah, Pakistan has pushed Afghanistan into the stone age with the help of the “Taliban”. Pakistan has always wanted to create a strategic depth for itself. Afghanistan had to lose its individuality.
India must be realistic about the situation that exists on the ground. Yes, we want a civilian government in Pakistan. Yes, we want the army of that country and its ISI to be brought under civilian control. But, then Americans too have their interests in the region. They want the Pakistan army to fight their war on terror.
For India, the choice is clear. We have had enough of this nonsense of one-way goodwill. It is time to deal with Pakistan as it is. Let us not expect that they will respond to any of our demands about closing down the terror camps or handing over the criminals wanted by India. We have to evolve our own options.
The world today respects the rich and powerful. India today is seen as an emerging power.
Let us strengthen our borders and our coastlines so that the enemy dare not attempt to come in again. Ignore your adversaries and isolate them for what they are doing to the world. Stop the candle light marches to the Wagah border, to shake hands with a neighbour who still dreams of marching into India. — ANI

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