Pakistan: A Sore in South Asia

Nadeem Qadir

24 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Pakistan:  A Sore 
in South Asia

Nadeem Qadir

India is bleeding and mourning the death of more than 40 soldiers who were mindlessly killed by terrorists over the Kashmir issue in Pulwama area. The mindless killing, not the first of its kind, has never achieved anything for these terrorists, rather made South Asia a conflict-prone region.

A Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack.

I was in Kolkata when the Pakistani terrorists attacked Bombay and the uneasy situation that followed across India was so tensed that most foreigners stayed indoors. I was told by my employer not to go around as usual and observe the developments for security concerns.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was among the world leaders who condemned this mindless killing of India’s brave sons ever ready to sacrifice their lives to protect their country’s independence just like our armed forces. That is a pride for all the countries. But, the case for Pakistan is different.

“We stand by the people and the government of India. We offer our condolences to the members of the families who lost their dear ones. Our thoughts and prayers are for speedy recovery of those who got injured," said the Bangladesh prime minister in a message to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Bangladesh is steadfast in its stance against terrorism and maintains a zero tolerance policy against all such activities, she said.

Sheikh Hasina added: “Bangladesh would continue to work and cooperate with international community including India to eradicate the menace of terrorism.”

Bangladesh and India had resolved soon after Sheikh Hasina came to power 2009 for her second term in office that they would not allow their soil to be used by any group to be used against the other.

Among the anti-India groups which were funded by Pakistan, more specifically its intelligence outfit the – Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) – were ousted from the soil of Bangladesh, which New Delhi reciprocated.

Yes, these two countries do not have an issue like Kashmir, but they solved the crucial Ganges River water sharing and the land boundary demarcation. The two neighbours are working to find a solution to the sharing of water of the Teesta River, with Dhaka awaiting a reply to its proposal.

Thus, peaceful resolution of bilateral problems is possible and Sheikh Hasina has showed that to the world. Narendra Modi has said the bilateral ties were something to showcase to the world. But, Pakistan keeps a blind eye to such developments so close its borders and resorts to violence.

Such mindless killings have a humanitarian side, which never makes to the newspapers. The soldiers are declared “martyrs” and buried with state honours. A period of mourning, messages of condemnation and a war-of-words follow, but for some the pain of loss of a dear one is never over – they are families of the soldiers.

My father was martyred fighting for the independence of his country – Bangladesh – from the clutches of (West) Pakistanis. My pain is overlapped with pride because he gave his life for a cause that eventually gave birth to a new nation called Bangladesh.

However, Kashmir has a different dimension since the partition of the sub-continent in 1947 and Lord Radcliffe could not have done a better job to leave behind a permanent dispute that would rage on for decades in South Asia.

Together Indians and Pakistanis had fought to drive the British away, but fell prey to this British politics leading to continued loss of lives of innocent people as well as security personnel. These are useless deaths and are condemnable.

Imagine the families of over 40 young Indian soldiers who are in permanent mourning and for most the life would not be the same any more. I know that from my own experience. I had to be the man of the family at the age of 10 to stand by my widowed mother. My father too was fighting the Pakistanis in 1971 and was killed by them. My heart goes out to the families of these unfortunate soldiers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pledged tough measures and despite the demand by the Indian people to attack Pakistan militarily, he has taken other measures which are equally tough but peaceful.

India’s Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari tweeted a few days ago that India will stop its share of un-utilised waters of three rivers that flow into Pakistan and instead the water will be diverted to the people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab states. The rivers that flow into Pakistan from India are Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, three tributaries of the Indus, an official said.

Under the World Bank-brokered Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, the waters flowing in the three Indus tributaries have been allotted to India while the waters of the Chenab, Jhelum and Indus to Pakistan. The rivers that flow into Pakistan from India are Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, three tributaries of the Indus, an official said.

India earlier announced withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan in trade and hiked duty on imports from that country to 200 per cent in retaliation to the Pulwama attack.

Pakistan cannot accept that it has lost East Pakistan which has been independent Bangladesh since 1971. It has distorted history for its younger generation to begin with and then never left a stone unturned to interfere in Bangladesh’s internal matters including during the war crimes tribunal. Islamabad condoled the executions of war criminals, saying they were “heroes.”

Then Pakistan in collaboration with the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of Khaleda Zia had backed Islamic terrorist who were trying to assassinate Sheikh Hasina. It is no secret that they had a hand in the killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975 and harboured his killers.

Pakistani diplomats in Dhaka have been caught working against Bangladesh by supporting Islamist terrorists.

Pakistan’s ISI in collaboration with BNP’s self-exiled leader Tarique Rahman reportedly organised the killings of officers in the Border Guard Bangladesh’s Peelkhana headquarters in 2009 to oust Sheikh Hasina days after she returned to power for the second time. It failed in its mission.

In the 30 December 2018 elections, Pakistan once again in collaboration with Tarique tried to derail the process and stop Sheikh Hasina’s return to power. It failed again, thank God.

Thus Islamabad continuously worked against the elected government and the state called Bangladesh, pushing bilateral relations to its lowest ever level with the high commissions in the two capitals have become irrelevant.

Thus it is clear that Pakistan does not know how to work in peace with its military ruling from behind the scenes, but not a secret, and has resorted to activities that cannot be called friendly at the least. Warming of bilateral ties is a far cry.

Thus the other countries of South Asia and the world at large should force Pakistan not to use violent methods while trying to achieve its objectives in the region, which also includes Afghanistan.

Pakistan must end its violent acts which have brought no fruit till to death, but should sit across the table with India to find a solution to the Kashmir issue and uproot terrorist camps on its soil.

The two neighbours must solve the issue for using the potentials to its maximum that South Asia can offer to improve the lives of millions who seek nothing but peace.

As I write this, one question lingers in my mind which is – if Islamabad will come out of their insane politics of violence as it seems to be friendless. Will politicians rule or the adventure-loving military continue to dictate Pakistan’s policies? Ask who is Pakistan’s regional friend and the answer is none.

Thus until Pakistan changes its modus operandi it would remain a sore in South Asia.


The writer is the Consulting Editor of daily sun.