Since few months now, there is peace across the LOC as the guns have fallen silent from both sides of the divide. It is reprieve time for those unfortunate ones who live within a radius of few kilometres from LOC on both the sides as they no longer need fear for their lives and properties. How short/ long lived will this scenario be? Why did Pakistan go in for ceasefire? What can be expected of Pakistan in near and distant future, given its past misdemeanours? If an answer is to be sought for the stated questions then one needs to understand the psyche of Pakistan as a Nation, with regard to India.
The Existential Problem:
Who Am I, is a philosophical question that an individual may ask? At the highest level it tries to establish a relationship between this individual and the Ultimate Reality, but at a very mundane level it tries to establish one’s roots. Roots that fundamentally emanate from one’s parents and further relate to certain ethnic and cultural affinities- the Heritage, as one would like to call it. Roots allocate a kind of coordinates for an individual in a multi dimensional plane of ethnicity, culture and, if one pleases, religion. That unique position in that Space gives this individual immense strength and confidence to interact with the internal and external world.
Pakistan has an existential problem because it chose to deny its Heritage only to adopt a totally alien one that led it to a chaotic situation it finds itself in, but continues to be in denial mode.
The Denial of Heritage:
Pakistan was created on religious grounds, but that basis for its creation cannot obliviate its heritage. Pakistan’s heritage is Sindhu Desh (as is Indian) and it cannot get rid of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations; cannot wish away the fact that the city of Lahore was named after Luv- the son of Lord Ram, for example. Pakistan’s leaders forgot a basic fact that ethnicity and culture bond people together, while some from among them may adopt a different religion down the line of their existence. Its leaders could have taken a leaf from Indonesia, but chose not to because the leadership chose to convert this multidimensional human being into a single dimension one and that dimension was to be Religion.
So, now since the Indian heritage had to be effaced from the very psyche of the Nation and owing its creation to affiliation to Islam the leaders chose the Arab World as its Root. So, everything that Pakistan was about had its roots in the Arab world. The very conscientious decision to negate its historical roots and adopt the new one had to logically lead into culmination of the Islamic State of Pakistan and which had its own requirements and compulsions.
Therefore in an Islamic State with roots in the Arab land, the non Muslims were bound to lose their dignity and honour as they essentially represented what was indeed Indian and hence they had to choose between the Arabic and Indian roots; on their refusal to let go of their Indian heritage they were/are being persecuted and have been reduced to a wafer thin minority and in the process their womenfolk have been subject to barbaric treatment by the claimants of Arabic heritage. The Punjabi, Sindhi, Bengali and Pashto languages were banned from being official languages in their respective provinces, associating them with Indian heritage. Ironically enough Urdu was made the official language across all the provinces of Pakistan, forgetting that Urdu was born in India. The local languages and dialects were declared inferior and nothing brings it out more than the fact that the great poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz never wrote a couplet in his mother tongue, Punjabi!
When local languages and dialects no longer find center place in their respective communities, then it is uprooting the heritage at a very massive scale. Now it is planned to make learning of Arabic compulsory for all!
While Pakistani leadership opted for Arab land as their roots, very incongruously the so called Syeds of Kashmir (Geelanis, Shahs etc.) claimed to be the direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad thereby forging a far stronger bond with the Arab land than the Pakistanis. This very absurd identification unsupported by any scientific/historic evidence became the root cause for traumatizing Kashmiri society and robbing it of its multi ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.
The Attitude towards India:
The Mother (Sindhu Desh: India) from the womb of which multiple cultures and ethnicities including religions were born She stood like a towering giant; like an everlasting reminder of the heritage of those who had adopted an alien one – that of the Arabs and was perceived as a threat to the very existence of newly born state of Pakistan as her mere presence could reignite the passion/quest among the people of Pakistan forgoing back to the coordinates where they belonged. Hence a strategy to balkanize India was evolved and passionately propagated down the generations to ingrain them with utmost hatred for everything that was/is Indian so that they could be motivated to launch Jihad against the apostate Nation. It became an imperative to annihilate and efface the true heritage of Pakistanis because only then the adopted one would survive; was the mantra of those who claimed Arab lineage.
Therefore it was not Kashmir that Pakistan wanted, but to ensure an Indian Nation fragmented by multiple Princely States. The game was on since the day Jinnah was assured of Pakistan. The intentions of the leaders of Pakistan were clear from the historical fact that when Louis Mountbatten met Liaquat Ali Khan, the PM of Pakistan, to convey to him the message from India that Pakistan take Kashmir and not meddle in the affairs of princely states like Junagadh. Liaquat refused the offer!
So, before even Pakistan was formally created and before it could settle down as a Nation State, the plans of Indian balkanization and takeover of Red Fort were in the process of being rolled out. The first in the sequence was Tribal and Pak army raid in 1947 to forcibly annex Kashmir. Four wars including proxy wars in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir were in accordance with the political aim of disintegrating India because it reminded them of their cultural heritage. India was declared as the sworn enemy; the nomenclature one finds even today being used whenever a reference is made to India. Even while the respectable people like Air Marshall Asgar Ali Khan and numerous political commentators kept stating publicly that all wars were started by Pakistan yet India was declared as a threat as per their national foreign policy manifesto.
The existential problem got aggravated for the fact that the founder of Pakistan was Sufi Shia who never practiced Islam and was more English than the Englishman. Shia – a Kafir! Founder of Islamic State of Pakistan! The founder too had roots in Indian culture which he could never get rid of. That’s, in short, the absurdity of the very existence of Pakistan. There is no way Pakistan can be friends with India.
Why Then Pakistan Endorses Ceasefire?
Endorsement does not imply stopping of nefarious activities in the Indian Territory by what they define as “Non State Actors”. The innumerable venomous public speeches by the leaders of Islamic Conglomerations in Pakistan calling for Jihad against India and hoisting of Islamic Flag on the Red Fort, while security continued to be provided by the government of the day; the routine threat by the Minister of Imran Khan Cabinet of exploding 1/4th Kg. Nuclear Bombs as per will & choice, anywhere in India combined with the oft repeated statements of providing moral support to separatists in Kashmir and Punjab plus much more, every Indian is a witness to by ear & eye including first hand experiences of bomb blasts and shoot outs.
Pakistan’s Establishment realized the futility of providing gunfire cover to migrating terrorists as immediately after their entry into India they got eliminated, in recently bygone years. When seen in combination with surgical & air strikes conducted by India, Pakistan leadership was convinced about the huge costs they paid in return for no tangible damages done on the Indian side. Therefore LOC had to be taken to sleep and if possible put in a state of coma. Pakistan realized as do the Indian counterparts that LOC was not the only infiltrating point as there was the entire Punjab and Rajasthan border – including the NE region and not to forget Nepal – through which terrorists could be pushed through to keep up the political aim of breaking India into pieces.
Pakistan seemed to have already opened a new center for recruiting terrorists and dispatching back to Kashmir. Turkey. Yes Turkey. Huge billboards suddenly appeared at conspicuous places in Srinagar city asking youth to enroll for jobs and business ventures including higher studies. The local administration drew a blank ostensibly while the connivance was too evident to be denied. The Turkey trained youth would execute the missions which the terrorists across the LOC did on crossing over to Indian side.
Post meeting with the foreign minister of India in UAE, the foreign minister of Pakistan in a press briefing stated that there could be no talks with India unless India undid Aug 05 2019 promulgation! Who was he addressing through his press briefing? That section of populace in Jammu and Kashmir who remain not reconciled to the abrogation of Art 370 and 35A; it was a clear cut method of instigating the people and recreating unrest in an already traumatized region.
It can be easily said that ceasefire agreement is not material when it comes to furthering political aims of Pakistan against Indian Union. Therefore nothing absolutely nothing positive is going to come out of this ceasefire.
Pakistan: Who is In Charge?
Pakistan is the only democracy in the world where its Prime Minister is always escorted by the Army Chief so regularly and passionately that even a husband-wife pair or love birds would envy. The peace offer to India was given by Army Chief with a reprimand that India must rectify her past mistakes (!). Who is Army Chief to give such an offer to another Nation State? What’s the government in command doing? However, simultaneously the PM of Pakistan gives out a public statement that there can be no peace with India unless Kashmir issue is resolved! Was Kashmir ever the issue? No, because the UN was dealing with the entire erstwhile Princely State of Maharaja Hari Singh. Pakistan defied UN resolutions including its own amendments, but it brazenly states in international forums that India must honour the UN resolutions! This has been/continues to be the political chicanery of Pakistan.
Recently the Tehreek e Labaik Pakistan (TLP) held their government to ransom and the government buckled under pressure twice only to go back on their word as many times. Similarly the Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is calling shots and is beyond control of the government. The opposition parties are up and against the rule of the incumbent PM. The PM has been exposed of tirelessly trying to fix a Supreme Court Judge on the fabricated charges of money laundering and which eventually the SC struck down in favour of the framed judge.
Pakistan is in such a state of flux that nobody knows who is in command of things in Pakistan and whose writ runs. There can be many permutations and combinations brewing up. In the above context, what value any agreement, signed between India and Pakistan, could be of?
The Double Game:
Pakistan is good at it. They did it with the US when they funneled part of the funds (for fighting terrorism in Afghanistan) to stimulating insurgency and terrorism in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. They have Afghan issue at hand, post withdrawal of the US troops from the region. Pakistan’s baby is Taliban, but India has huge stakes in the region having invested nearly 3 billion dollars for infrastructure development. The US recognizes India as a major player in the peace process as India has been advocating for an internally evolved solution for Afghanistan and not the one imposed from outside. Since India is recognized as a player in the region, Pakistan’s ostensible requirement, for consumption of Americans, is peace with her. Other countries in the region bordering Afghanistan have no issues with India and are quite friendly with her. So, while Pakistan may reconcile to the emerging fact of India being a stake holder in Afghanistan She cannot divorce supporting terrorist organizations operating from her soil since the government has no control over them as was abundantly proved by the TLP’s agitation. So, covertly Mission Kashmir will be ON.
Wherein lays the Hope?
The adopted Root of Pakistan is changing; it is transforming itself into a more liberal society encouraging role of women in their society; signing peace treaties with Israel. Most importantly the Saudi Arabia has changed its syllabus for school going children to include learning about Ramayana and Mahabharata- the most dominating Epics of Indian culture and heritage. What does Pakistan do now? From here, where does it go? The problem is fundamental as her roots seem to be accommodating other faiths in their set up. That Pakistan can’t dictate to Saudi Arabia including the member countries of Arab world, was abundantly clear from the response they got on Kashmir from the OIC. Pakistan paid a heavy price politically as also economically. Pakistan is not as powerful a Nation as to create her own block of Islamic countries and stay intact in her adopted roots. So, the only option Pakistan has is to be in synch with her adopted roots and if she does that it brings her closer to her original roots. For, if Saudi Arabia – the original land of Islam- could include Ramayana and Mahabharata in their academic curriculum what objections could Pakistan have? The Pakistanis may ask the question in some time to come.
With the revolutionary step taken by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan once again has problem of finding its roots. It has no option but to find a point of equilibrium between Saudi Arabia and India. The more Pakistan gravitates towards her original roots more the chances for her to become a civilized Nation State that shuns terrorism.
Until then invoking Ceasefire Agreement 2003 is immaterial.
Mir Junaid is an alumnus of the Law School of Kashmir University. He is a writer, a social activist and the President of Jammu Kashmir Workers Party. He can be reached on Twitter @MirJunaidJKWP