The response was overwhelming. Everyone agreed with the fundamental premise of the above assertion. However, different reasons were cited for insidious treachery that afflicts our character. There was no unanimity. Whereas the puzzle continues to defy resolution, the gravity of the issue got highlighted once again recently.
While addressing the All Party Meet on Jammu & Kashmir on 12 August 2016, Prime Minister Modi reminded Pakistan that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. “The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Balochistan and PoK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir),” he added.
The real clincher came during Modi’s Independence Day speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. "I want to speak a bit about the people in Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan, and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," he said. He went on to reveal that the people of Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK had thanked him a lot in the previous few days.
The reaction of Pakistani establishment on reference to Balochistan was on the expected lines. It accused India of crossing the ‘red line’ and threatened to raise the issue of Kashmir at the next UN General Assembly session more forcefully. In addition, it registered police cases against the Baloch leaders Brahamdagh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri and Banuk Karima Baloch for supporting Modi's statements on Balochistan.
Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s former President commended Modi for his comments and asked Pakistan to see the gravity of the situation. “In Balochistan, there is extreme suffering at the hands of extremists promoted by state structures in Pakistan,” he said. Similarly, Bangladesh has supported India’s stand on human rights abuses by Pakistan in Balochistan and hailed Modi for his Independence Day speech.
As regards the US government, it declined to comment on Modi’s Balochistan reference. However, the remarks of Lisa Curtis of the Washington-based ‘The Heritage Foundation’ are noteworthy. ‘The Heritage Foundation’ is a highly influential think tank, considered close to the Republican Party.
Lisa feels that the reference signals a change in the Modi government's Pakistan policy. She is of the view that Pathankot airfield attack appears to have convinced Modi that forbearance paid few dividends for India. According to her, by referring to Balochistan, Modi has laid down a marker that his government would be less patient than its predecessors when it comes to Pakistani terrorist provocations.
Expectedly, the world at large has displayed great understanding of India’s stand. Not a single country has faulted India for its statement on Balochistan. The world knows that Pakistan has been waging an intense asymmetric war through the export of terrorism to fuel turmoil and chaos. It is also aware of India’s repeated efforts to improve relations with Pakistan through talks.
As has been our wont, every stand in favour of the national interests is opposed by the fifth columnists. In the case of our relations with Pakistan, there is a small but vociferous assemblage of anti-national elements who are more loyal to Pakistan than India. The Paki-Lackeys oppose reference to Balochistan on ignobly invented grounds.
One, it is said that reference to Balochistan would amount to an admission of Indian meddling in the region. It is conveniently forgotten that Pakistan has always been blaming India for its troubles in Balochistan. Further, the maximum damage to India’s stand of non-interference was done at the Indo-Pak Prime Ministers’ meet at Sharm-el-Sheikh in 2009. On Pak insistence, India agreed to include the sentence – ‘Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas’ – in the joint statement.
Two, some lackeys are sounding a warning about likely increased aggression by Pakistan in Kashmir through disregarding ceasefire, destroying LOC fencing and inducting more infiltrators. Pakistan has been exporting terror in every possible manner. Since the start of terrorist activities in 1989-90, Indian security forces have captured a huge cache of Pak-supplied weapons from the terrorists. It includes more than 34,000 AK 47 rifles, 5000 grenade launchers, 90 machine guns, 12,000 revolvers, 350 missile launchers, 100,000 grenades and 63,000 kg explosive. Even anti-tank and anti-aircraft guns have also been seized. One wonders as to what more, short of a military attack, can Pakistan do.
Three, it is alleged that India’s concern for human rights in Balochistan will give a handle to the separatists in Kashmir to raise similar issues. It is an absurd logic. For using young children and women as a shield to attack security forces, Kashmiri radicals are guilty of luring the gullible through monetary enticements. It is they who deserve condemnation. Despite thousands of them getting injured by stones pelted at them, Indian security forces have been exercising exemplary restraint.
Four, reference to Balochistan is being opposed on moral grounds. Stoking of unrest in Pakistan is being termed as ‘an unholy tit-for-tat’. It is, perhaps, the most decadent argument. Editorial in a leading Indian daily read, “Since 1990 India has had a consistent policy towards Pakistan: ‘Let them hit us with whatever they can, we will harden our defences but not retaliate in kind’.” The shameless editor had the audacity to term the said policy to be ‘remarkably successful’.
Since 1990, Kashmir has seen a loss of nearly 50,000 lives, including terrorists, civilians and security/police personnel. Sitting in his air-conditioned office in Delhi, the insensitive editor had the cheek to state that the policy of no retaliation has been successful. One wonders as to how people of such low calibre and anti-national outlook get to occupy editorial chairs.
Appalling quality of political leaders has been India’s bane. They can stoop to any level – even seeking help from an antagonistic country to unseat duly elected Modi. Hence, it did not come as a surprise when a senior left leader faulted Modi on two counts – it will give an opportunity to Pakistan to internationalise Kashmir issue and it amounts to interfering in Pakistan’s internal affairs. Sounds like the statement of a Pakistani spokesman.
Another set of politicians and media personalities keep harping on talks with Pakistan. An editor has blamed Modi for ‘lacking the stamina that is so vital in dealing with Pakistan’, implying thereby that Pak unresponsiveness is also Modi’s fault. No one suggests as to how to engage an intractable and devious neighbour in dialogue.
Pak apologists in India are of two kinds. The first assortment consists of political leaders, intelligentsia and media personnel whose dislike for Modi and BJP borders on pathological hatred. It is not their love for Pakistan that influences their response: they have to compulsorily oppose every policy of Modi, even at the risk of harming Indian interests. They do not want Modi to succeed.
The second variety is far more insidious and dangerous. It consists of participants of so-called Track-II diplomacy and discussion groups. They enjoy Pak hospitality – first class air travel, grand hotels at exotic locations, lavish looking-after and generous gifts. As a result, they suffer from what is derisively referred to as ‘Biryani Loyalty Syndrome’. For pay-back, they parrot Pak perspective.
Ghulam Nabi Fai was the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, a Washington based front of ISI. He received millions of dollars from ISI to manipulate Indian public figures. Important celebrities, selected by ISI, were regularly invited for ‘brain-storming on Kashmir issue’ and given royal treatment. Fai was arrested in 2011 and sentenced to two years of imprisonment by a US court. It was only then that the perfidy of biryani-fed Indian invitees got exposed.
Extent of brainwashing of Indian media can be gauged from the fact that an Indian columnist has been advising India not to focus only on Pakistani support to the Kashmir insurgency. Another writer has been chiding India for throwing its weight around in the neighbourhood. Anti-nationalism at its worst!
In a recent article in the Express Tribune of Pakistan, noted Pak writer Yaqoob Khan Bangash has opined that India’s intent to highlight Balochistan does not augur well for Pakistan. “India’s public relations are far better than Pakistan’s and with our international image, Balochistan might become a millstone around our neck on the international stage too,” he cautions. Does it not prove effectiveness of Modi’s Balochistan riposte?
For Paki apologists, it is right for Pakistan to cause turmoil in India and attempt its breakup, but not the other way round. It must not be forgotten that nations born out of hatred can never rid themselves of bitterness of history. Hence, Pakistan will never shed its antagonism towards India. Its break-up is the only way out and India must encourage that in its own security interests. It is time that all that nonsense about a united Pakistan being in India’s interests is stopped. There cannot be a more blinkered view.
Raising the Balochistan issue was a master stroke and a game changer. If Pakistan can cultivate a Kashmiri separatist constituency within India, India can cultivate a separatist Baloch constituency in Pakistan. If Pakistan can dedicate its Independence Day to Kashmir, India can dedicate its Independence Day to Balochistan, Gilgit, Baltistan, and PoK. In world affairs, timidity is considered a sign of impotence and not sagacity.
Counsel of Roman philosopher Cicero must not be ignored by India – “An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.”
India should remain wary of Pak stooges who are on the payrolls of Pakistan. As they fan unrest through their seditious utterances, writings and activities; they need to be exposed and shamed.
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Major General Mrinal Suman, AVSM, VSM, PhD, commanded an Engineer Regiment on the Siachen Glacier, the most hostile battlefield in the world. A highly qualified officer (B Tech, MA (Public Administration), MSc (Defence Studies) and a Doctorate in Public Administration) he was also the Task Force Commander at Pokhran and was responsible for designing and sinking shafts for the nuclear tests of May 1998.
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