Tuesday 23 March 2021

Pride and Prejudice

Much has been written about Indo-Pak relations, but this blog touches on the other aspects of Indo-Pak relations in the present context. India and Pakistan relations over the years have been blow hot blow cold. It’s more of neighbor’s envy, and owner’s pride. In 1947, India was partitioned into a Hindu majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan. India became a secular country and Pakistan, an Islamic country. The irony is India has more Muslims than Pakistan. In fact, after Indonesiaand maybe Bangladesh India has the largest Muslim population in the world. Since independence, India has progressed and has become a strong economic power and Pakistan is embroiled in various problems at home and has stagnated.

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Since 1947 both the nations have gone their way. And today, one can see where India and Pakistan stand in the global stage. India is fast becoming the third largest economy in the world. And Pakistan has stagnated and is known for all the wrong reasons and stands isolated in the world. The world listens to India’s point of view on different aspects. In the last seventy years, India has grown drastically and is a strong nation - economically and militarily. And the world respects strength.

Though India and Pakistan criticize and blame one another, I am sure Indians always wish well for Pakistan, as many Indians especially north Indians still have a soft corner for their place of origin and birth places now in Pakistan. They have fond memories about the neighbor’s and families they shared their happiness and sorrow. The new generations have grown up hearing stories of their parents and elders about life in their birth places. The partition undid all the good.

Pakistan government and media blame India for everything bad that happens in their country. And this hatred is spread amongst the Pakistanis who are fed with fake news and false propaganda that India has not accepted the existence of Pakistan and will do everything to destroy them. They are told India is busy manipulating and working on ways to destroy Pakistan. But now with better communication and social media reach, educated Pakistanis have been exposed to the reality.

The day Pakistan starts to look inwards into their own problems; they will be able to solve most of their problems and clear the mess they have created in administration, governance, business and economical condition. If Pakistan wants to truly progress and develop as other countries in the region, they should follow these four steps –

Firstly, stop comparing itself with India. They should realize India is almost six times larger than Pakistan and much more advanced in economics, science, technology, education and industries. Indians are occupying top positions the world over in business, industry, corporate world and foreign governments.

Secondly, they should forget Kashmir. In the last seventy years, I am yet to meet a Pakistani who can convince how Kashmir belongs to Pakistan. Hassan Nissar, one of the reputed intellectuals and political commentator in Pakistan has said – How does Kashmir belong to Pakistan? If religion is the only criteria, Then Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan. Why did it separate from Pakistan and become a separate nation. And today it is doing well and the growth of Bangladesh is much more than that of Pakistan. Bangladesh was with you and you lost it and Kashmir is yet to be taken. The government is unable to govern Pakistan and facing many serious issues at home, but keep on harping on Kashmir all these years.

Thirdly, stop blaming India for all the ills in Pakistan. Anything bad happening in Pakistan or anywhere else is immediately blamed on India by the Pakistan government and media, irrespective of any evidence. Recently Turkey who assured Pakistan of supplying attack helicopters, backed out due to American pressure as the Turkish helicopter is fitted with American engines. And America stopped the deal. Pakistanis were quick to blame India, saying it was due to India’s intervention that the deal was scrapped.

Fourthly, Pakistan should stop pretending to be the leader of the Muslim world, as nobody listens or even treats them as one. Most of the countries in the Arab world ignore Pakistan. And they are left with only two Muslim countries, Turkey and Malaysia, who too are not totally convinced about Pakistan. Earlier Turkey sent a representative to Israel to mend their relations. And Malaysia seized a Pakistan plane for default in payment on the order of the court. Pakistan was aghast that the Muslim brotherhood countries let them down.

Pakistan projects as if they are they are pressurized by all the countries to recognize Israel. But the truth is none of the countries are least bothered if Pakistan recognizes Israel or not. And Israel too doesn’t care much. What difference would it make?

Pakistan’s relations with China is, as if Pakistan has literally fallen into their lap and this has complicated matters for Pakistan. The sooner Pakistan realizes China is using Pakistan for its own benefit, the better it will be for Pakistan. China has an interest here, CEPEC.

My friends in Europe and USA tell me, they have educated and broad-minded Pakistani friends. And whenever they are asked about their nationality, they invariably say they are Indians. The reason being, if they say Pakistani, they are looked at with suspicion. And on saying Indian, they look at them with respect. This tells the true story.

In one of the Pakistan channels, children are asked about India. And most of them repeat – Hind banega Pakistan. This is the hatred filled into the young minds when they should be taught about peace, friendship, great men, science and general knowledge. This is bound to create another generation of Pakistanis who are taught to believe India is their enemy.

The hatred spread amongst the masses over the years for India, is a tool for the government and the army to keep going and garner support and funds by projecting that the survival of Pakistan is in grave danger. India, the enemy is bound to attack them. But the fact is India or its media have no time for Pakistan. It’s only during cross border terrorism or firing by the Pakistan army, the Indian media reports and talks of Pakistan.

Pakistan government and media have a tendency to blame everything on India, right from internal political rift, unrest in Sind and Baluchistan or Pakistan getting into the grey list of FATF or Malaysia seizing their plane for default of payment or Turkey refusing to supply the attack helicopters. Some even see with suspicion the Indian vaccine being sent to Pakistan through an international body to countries not in a position to buy them for their citizens.

Pakistan sees red in the Afghanistan talks where America invited India for the talks to work out a peace plan in the region. Pakistan feels they are an important player who is being ignored. They are now realizing that they are being isolated and nobody is interested in involving Pakistan in any talks.

With the onslaught of social media and You Tube channel, many Pakistanis are now exposed to the truth and realize the false propaganda dished out by the Pakistan media. Pakistanis are now realizing the progress India has made in various fields and the country’s true standing in the world stage. And the goodwill earned by India with the covid vaccine exports around the world being one of them.

For sometime Pakistan TV and You tube channels have been inviting Indians experts, defense analysts, political commentators and intellectuals for debates and talks. The Pakistani anchors invariably ask questions about India and end up being exposed about the happenings in Pakistan which normally the local population is not aware about. Pakistani masses are now being exposed to the many truths that were hidden from them, like Pakistan won all the wars with India – the 1965 war, the 1971 war, the Kargil war. That Kashmir belongs to Pakistan, that India is a poor and weak country with no guts to fight and Pakistan is ahead in many fields than India, including IT.

There are contradicting signals coming from Pakistan. On the one hand Imran Khan is talking of peace and progress. Recently General Bajwa stated – let’s forget the past and start a new chapter of friendship. It’s difficult to understand if they are really serious about it. What about Kashmir? If you take away Kashmir, India and Pakistan have no major issues, except maybe ego!

On the one side you see on some Pakistan channels, the people thanking and praising India for the covid vaccine and hoping for early friendship between the two countries. On another channel, an ex-Pak army officer says – India’s progress need to be stopped. He suggests Pakistan should disrupt India’s oil supply tankers coming from the gulf and middle-east. And on another channel, another ex-army officer, the bald Peerzada says – it is high time India is taught a lesson for the demolition of Babri Masjid and the atrocities committed in Indian Kashmir. These ex-army men must surely be able to gauge the consequences and retaliation from India would push Pakistan back by decades. It appears they are still unable to digest the loss of East Pakistan and the surrender of over 93,000 troops.

They surely must be knowing, the strength and weaknesses of the Pakistan army and the economic standing of their country before venturing into such foolish adventure. These men talk bravado while their Prime Minister is facing insurmountable problems at home and abroad, and with UAE asking them to return the loan of two billion. The World Bank too has reminded Pakistan, about the loan and repayment.

Dr Fiza, who’s known to be anti-India and spins fake news and highlights things happening in India in her own unique way, is often targeted by the invited Indian experts and she has a habit of interrupting the Indians when it gets hot for her. Another Pakistani, Zahid Hamid, also known as Lal Topi is famous for his weird doctrines and conspiracy theories and feels the world is scared of Pakistan. He appears to be living in a time-wrap. These two and many others like Cheema are seen on the Pakistan TV and You Tube channels talking about India, it’s policies, the achievements, about foreign dignitaries visiting India and ignoring Pakistan. They are bent on comparing Pakistan with India without knowing that Pakistan is behind India by many years in most of the different areas. But their anchors and experts talking of Pakistan as equal or rather better than India in various fields is amusing and akin to a comedy show. It seems they are still not aware of the present strength, influence and power of India in the world.

There are some sane voices too, like Hassan Nissar, Arzoo Kazmi, Tarek Fateh, Bhashir, Tahir Gora, who are proud of their Indian roots. They speak the truth based on facts. But the Pakistan hawks and guardians of islam shout them down. 

Pakistan is confused about its history. They donot wish to be connected to their original Indian roots and talk about Arab land, trying to project themselves as Arabs. The Arabs care a damn for Pakistan as the recent events have shown from the reaction of some of the countries in the Gulf and Middle-east . To appease the Arabs, Imran Khan has introduced Arabic as a language for learning. The students would further be confused whether to study Urdu or Arabic. And what will they acheive by learning Arabic instead of their national language Urdu.

They even end up naming their missiles, like Gazi, Gaznavi, after foreign invaders who attacked, looted and raped women in Punjab and other regions when this areas were part of undivided India. What more can you expect!

Pakistan is an Islamic country, which from a welfare state has become a security state in a constant state of denial. They are in a denial mode on any event. But after every incident, a few days later, their motor-mouth politicians shout out about the happenings to score brownie points. Their lies stand exposed among their people and the world.

The fact is India and Pakistan are neighbors and we cannot shy away from this fact. We have to live with it. And India would like to see a stable Pakistan in its neighborhood. And stability brings peace, progress and positivity. And this in turn encourages a positive change. Hope this happens soon and Pakistan is back on the road to progress. This in turn could lead to a positive change in India Pakistan relations.

In a sudden and surprising move, the latest news being a delegation from Pakistan is visiting India to discuss water, may be trade and economic relations. The buzz going round, a prince from the royal family from UAE initiated this move through back channels. Such talks have happened earlier too, but then the Kashmir issue is raised by Pakistani hawks and it is back to square. Hope this time I am proved wrong and something positive comes from this exchange between the two countries.

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Pune in Maharashtra, India

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