Military and Terrorism reign - Pakistan’s curse!

The clinical strikes by India across the LOC busting the terrorist launch pads have titled the equations. India has shown that its patience cannot be tested any more. The level of tolerance has been breached. The recent strike leaves no cavil that India is prepared to take it heads on.

Notwithstanding the denial on the other side of the border, it cannot be seriously gainsaid that the issue has sent the Pakistani establishment into a jittery. It has already come out in the media in Pakistan that all is not well between the Government and Army. Given the influence of the clergy and the operation of the terrorists at will inside the country, the balance in Pakistan is getting delicate than even before. Pakistan is verily sitting on a volcano. More than the matter of taking a stance vis a vis India, there is a lot of lost ground to be recovered to make the internal situation intact. Pakistan has managed to scout the support of its big neighbor. But that by itself is not going to come to the aid of the country in the long run.

The issue in Pakistan is three fold. First is the open secret that the Army retains stranglehold over the democratic Government.  It is the Government that has to face the International community and not the military establishment. Unless and otherwise the Government is able to take control of things or at the least take the Army into confidence, there is little chance of Pakistan not getting isolated internationally. Second is the menace of terrorism that is erupting from within. Not germane is the reason for the situation but what is pertinent is the fact that the fundamentalists have spread their tentacles so wide that they are in a position to take a defiant position even as regards the Government. Finally, the lurking danger is the continued anti India patronage by the fundamentalist groups, which it is widely perceived has the blessings of the Pakistan Army if not of the establishment.

Be that as it may, it is time for Pakistan to have a serious revisit of its approach towards India. India’s perception as a soft stand now stands altered. India has been stepping up the ante at the diplomatic level across the International community seeking to corner Pakistan as a terrorist state. The decision to review the Indus Water Treaty is a clear pointer that India will not hesitate when it comes to taking drastic positions.

What does this mean for Pakistan? How long can it let Kashmir let its strained relationship from deteriorating further? Given the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear State, how much danger is in store?

Both the countries have gone ahead with their strained relationship for more than six decades. However the relative strength of both the countries show a vast difference. There cannot be any serious dispute that India is a far stronger economy than Pakistan. India has surged its way up leaving a firm footprint on the economic front whereas Pakistan is still struggling to utilize its resources. It is high time that Pakistan realizes that anti India agenda is not going to take them forward any more. It has not yielded any tangible gain but has only caused harm to Pakistan as a State. As a country, it should be looking forward to rest on its own progress than continuing to hoodwink resorting to anti India rhetoric.

The underlying problem appears to be weakness of the democratic Governments in Pakistan. History shows that the ballot has always been meek as against the bullet. Governments in Pakistan from time to time have fluttered or surrendered or have been thrown over. Though unfortunate, the fact is that it speaks of an institutional failure. On the other hand, it is the survival of democratic principles notwithstanding all the issues that has helped India in reaching where it is today.

Majority of the population in Pakistan want peace and prosperity. The anti India rhetoric neither brings cheer nor brings them any prosperity. The excessive dabbling in Kashmir which of late has shown alarming reactions leading to strong response from India is showing ominous signs of more trouble for Pakistan. It would only be facile to still continue to nurse the belief that Kashmir can be won over by the proxy war. The will of the people of Kashmir and its status is an issue that has to be necessarily delinked and delineated by Pakistan while drawing its India policy. A war over Kashmir is only disaster for both the countries.

Having said so, it is also a fact that a military solution to the Kashmir imbroglio is only a mirage. Apart from escalating the tensions between the two countries, stepping up the ante over Kashmir is not going to result in any benefit to Pakistan. Kashmir is an issue that has to be talked out and on a totally different platform so as to try and see whether a solution emerges. Vested interests so long as they continue to call the shots in Kashmir has not and will not go well among the Indian establishment.

Pakistan should reckon that it is now a nuclear State. Unlike India, its control are not always in safe hands. The Government has no strict control over the defence establishment and with en number of entities calling the shots in Pakistan, the situation is really alarming. It is too late for a disarmament but it is nevertheless not late before the Government brings matters under its control.

There has to be a paradigm shift in the approach of the Army. Yes, it is the Army that guards the borders  but it is for the protection of the subjects and not for their detriment. Keeping the borders intact does not mean confrontation and more particularly on Kashmir by supporting a proxy war. Memories of Kargil have not yet faded!

Equations are going to be certainly different in view of the belligerent stand that India has been compelled to take. Pakistan should not move unmindful of the fact that the government in India enjoys absolute majority and unlike the previous governments, the pressure of coalition politics is not going to hamper the present disposition. On the contrary, the government in Pakistan is finding it extremely difficult to establish it's control both over the army as also over the outfits that have wrecked the image of the country. As long as democracy remains subdued, the will of the people is not going to reflect in the governance and as long as matters of national interest require concurrence of multi partners having diametrically opposite perspectives, a sound policy remains a distant dream.

More than the government, it is for the civil society to come out of the shell and assert their might. Violence by a minority of the terrorist outfits will not and cannot survive the resistance of the people. It will isolate the retrograde elements whereby facilitating the government to move ahead with the right policies.

Pakistan may and can have its stand on Kashmir. Kashmiris are adept and competent to address their concerns and it would only be in the best interest of Pakistan not to aid and encourage violence, lest the nation is to be doomed. At the appropriate time, it could step in and in a manner consistent with democratic prniciples. If Pakistan does not realize the lurking danger of letting terror to rein on its soil, it will soon plunge into an irredeemable anarchy.


Joemon Joseph Edathala

Joemon Joseph Edatha |Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka |Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka |Honorary Consulate of Sri Lanka in Kerala|Joemon Joseph
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