A confused state The Excelsior 10 Nov 2021 Maj Gen Harsha Kakar

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A confused state

A confused state The Excelsior 10 Nov 2021

          The Pakistan National Security Advisor (NSA), Moeed Yusuf, turned down the Indian invitation to attend NSA level talks hosted by his counterpart in Delhi, Ajit Doval. Yusuf stated in a press interaction, ‘A spoiler cannot try to be a peacemaker.’ In the same press conference when questioned about talks with India he stated, ‘Pakistan has said repeatedly that if India is prepared to move forward, then we will also be ready. But there are some prerequisites and an enabling environment for moving forward.’ When an opportunity arises for discussing Indo-Pak relations, especially when India is the host, Pak turns it down. Pak is confused in what it desires.

          It continues to hurt Pakistan’s ego that based on calls from India, nations are willing to support Afghanistan with food aid but not recognize it as those who were the face of talks in Doha were sidelined to accommodate the more militant pro-Pakistan Haqqani’s. Pak’s words being ignored is because it acted unilaterally without considering global views a fact which this confused state refuses to accept.

          Understanding the suffering of Afghans as it faces a shortage of food stocks, India offered to send 50,000 tons of wheat to the country. For India, the easiest means of dispatch is by road through Pakistan. India made an offer to Pakistan last month, which it has yet to clear. In case Afghanistan desperately needs food grains, then not permitting its movement through the country implies that Pakistan does not seek the welfare of the Afghan people and would prefer them starving.

Or possibly Pakistan fears that this would enhance Indian soft power which would be detrimental to it. The approach of Afghans when playing cricket versus India or Pakistan displays their attitude to both nations. They consider Pak an arch-rival and India a friend. The Afghan captain resigned in disgust after their loss to Pakistan. A confused Pak is adding to Afghanistan’s suffering leading to it losing its standing amongst Afghans.

          Pakistan, which backed the Taliban and imposed the Haqqani’s in Afghanistan was seeking global appreciation for facilitating peace talks between the US and the Taliban. On multiple occasions, Imran and his cronies in the government have demanded that Biden calls Imran out of gratitude for resolving the Afghan embroil go and enabling their citizens to leave, without realizing that the US had to bear with Pakistan’s double game, for two decades, out of limited choice as they needed facilities in Pakistan to operate in Afghanistan. Why is Pakistan always confused.    

          For years Pakistan had been harping on Indian support to the TTP (Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan) and the Baloch freedom fighters. These groups have been targeting Pakistan’s security forces. Pakistan had even published and announced with much fanfare a collection of dossiers all containing fake proof of Indian involvement in terrorist activities on Pak soil. The Taliban took over Kabul on 15th August, prior to which all Indian diplomatic staff was withdrawn, and support if any would have ceased. Since then, attacks on Pak troops by both, the Baloch and TTP, have been on the rise.

          Pak Foreign Minister, SM Qureshi, and ISI Chief visited Kabul and requested the Taliban not to permit the TTP and Baloch groups from utilizing their soil. The result was an increase in attacks. Since the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, Pakistan’s release of dossiers, listing involvement of India have come to a standstill. It cannot accuse the Taliban government it established in Kabul and now remains at a loss on whom to blame. In an abject surrender, Pak has commenced talks with the TTP, a group supposedly supported by India. Confusion reigns supreme in Pakistan.

Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) was recently on a rampage march to Islamabad. This was the seventh time it had done so. Every time it brings Pakistan to a standstill. Roadblocks are placed, towns locked up and Rawalpindi and Islamabad cut off from the rest of the country. The Pak polity took the easiest route and claimed that the TLP is funded by Indian RAW, hoping to build national consensus against the group. Their Punjab government even announced that Indians were remitting funds into TLP accounts. This only infuriated the leadership of the TLP resulting in increased violence.

The Imran Khan government capitulated and signed a deal with the TLP, details of which remain hidden from public view. How can Pakistan sign a peace accord with an organization it claims is funded by India. The final deal included release of TLP cadres and permitting them to fight elections. It is also reported to include a statement by the government admitting that the TLP is not funded by India. A confused government now has no one to blame.

Pakistan refused air space for the Sharjah-Srinagar flight. It forgets that those who utilize this service are Kashmiri’s whose freedom it claims to demand. It releases songs and marks Black days in their support but when it comes to proving its intent, it backtracks. How would Kashmiri’s feel when they have to spend extra to travel, only because Pakistan which claims Kashmir, acts against them. As usual, Pakistan is confused between what it announces and how it acts.

Pakistan has always blamed India for all its ills. Comments by the Pak polity included that the FATF is influenced by India. Its former interior minister, Rehman Malik even wrote to the FATF on investigating India’s role in placing Pak on the Grey list. The FATF President Marcus Pleyer stated in a press conference that the organization works on the ‘basis of technical arguments,’ and is not impacted by political interference proving Pak’s allegations wrong. Pakistan has never looked inwards but only externally at India for all its internal ills. Rather than handling its economic shortfalls and breaking of its national fabric by rising fundamentalism, it blames India, and expends large sums on maintaining an army it can easily avoid.

Pakistan has hurt itself, its people, its economy and its global standing only because of its confused political beliefs and a one-way-ticket of blaming India for every failure within and outside.