Only a weak host gets hostility in return. While India serves bread, Pakistan responds with bullets. These were Pakistan’s main course in return for the warm and sumptuous lunch served to the outgoing Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf when he came to India for a pilgrimage last week. India’s erudite and affable External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was led more by the euphoria of Stephanian-Oxford fake liberalism than by the earthy political instincts of Farrukhabad. Ignoring the political fallout, Khurshid travelled all the way to Jaipur to make Ashraf’s visit to Ajmer Sharif a peaceful and rewarding event. Little did he know that he was hosting a political leader who was invoking divine blessings for dangerous games. Three days afterwards, Ashraf was leading his Parliament in a venomous attack on his gracious host for hanging a criminal who led the murderous assault on Indian Parliament. Ashraf even chose to forget that Afzal Guru was the creation of the part of the Pakistani mindset that preaches bloody jihad and intolerance. Ironically, the Pakistan assembly—its symbol of democracy—was engaged in justifying an attempt to destroy the Indian Parliament, which is a powerful and vibrant symbol of true democracy.
It is well known that Pakistan is part and parcel of the global terror machine. But its belligerence and gall to directly interfere and condemn India’s democratic structure was blatantly shocking to those who continued to hope that normalcy could be restored through seven-course dinner conclaves in Lahore, London and New Delhi. Last week’s action by Pakistan’s Parliament has proved that India’s diplomatic adventurism has failed to tame or silence the AK-47s that keep targeting innocent Kashmiris in Jammu and Kashmir and people living in India’s cities. Despite over 500 incidents of ceasefire violations and deaths of over 100 Indian soldiers and officers during the past few months, our diplomats still carry white flags and file-folders, waiting for their Pakistani counterparts to reciprocate. From Sharm-el-Sheikh to Jaipur, Indo-Pak dialogue is a sordid saga of deceit, deception and decadence.
During the past few months, India has moved heaven and earth to ensure cordiality between the two nations. It agreed to open trade, grant bulk visas and facilitate Pak business with visas on arrival; permitted Pakistani cricketers to play in India and earn dollars; facilitated the Pakistan women hockey team to practice in India; and encourages Pakistani artists to stay in Delhi and Mumbai to earn huge money. But all these gestures have been contemptuously ignored by Pakistan. Yet, Indian peaceniks holding flags and candles are conspicuous by their absence at venues of tele-opportunities to protest the uncivilised conduct of Pakistan’s political hierarchy. They would have been beating their chests if such a resolution aimed at interfering in the internal politics of Pakistan was adopted in India. Even the leaders of all Indian political parties were subdued in their retaliatory speeches against Pakistan. Taking advantage of India’s liberal establishment firing from the lip, terrorists aided by Pakistan continue to fire at will at our jawans in Jammu and Kashmir. Others are busy selecting future targets for bomb attacks in various parts of India.
For the past two decades, India hasn’t shown any steely resolve to teach Pakistan a lesson in civilised conduct. It has been mostly engaged in dialogue and discussion in the hope that Pakistan would see some reason in reining in the terror camps. Pakistan’s leaders have received red-carpet welcomes in India, soon after its forces and rebels maimed our soldiers and violated ceasefire restrictions. Even the brutal beheadings of Indian soldiers were forgotten after throwing a couple of paper bombs at the Pakistani leadership. Never before since Independence has the nation’s diplomatic fraternity pleaded to place such deep trust in an enemy that considers civility as India’s weakness.
From the Prime Minister downwards, the Indian establishment has supported and encouraged numerous known and unknown Track-II rendezvous. The UPA has allowed the home minister, foreign minister, commerce minister and prominent businessmen and politicians to visit Pakistan and humour them with concessions, and invited them to India for less work and more leisure. During UPA’s nine years, Pakistan has regained its credibility on the global stage. Earlier, India was able to isolate it through sustained efforts by mounting pressure on the international community to act against the nefarious activities of ISI-led terror operations. Hardly any democratic country did business with the rogue nation. No cricket-playing country has withdrawn its ban on team visits to Pakistan. Earlier, Pakistan was seen as a failed state, which was divided into various regions and sectional interests. In reality, Pakistan’s poor have fallen into the hands of extremist elements while its elite enjoy a global lifestyle. It is the coalition of wealthy leaders from both India and Pakistan who are promoting dialogue, because it makes them acceptable to the West and the US. Since America needs the Pakistani army to contain the Taliban to save Western troops in Afghanistan, India has been under US pressure not to escalate diplomatic and strategic crises by pushing Pakistan into a corner. But after its recent act of defiance, even the doves in India are running for dignified shelter. Pakistan understands only one language. It has to be turned into a social and economic pariah. For Manmohan Singh, the time has come to prove that when he says it is “not acceptable”, he means it. After all he has everything to gain and nothing to lose if he strikes back. As they say, a leader is measured not by his words but by his deeds.
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