The biannual ritual of exchanging lists of prisoners between Pakistan and India has just been performed, but this time with high-pitch declaration by New Delhi that it ‘remained ready to work with Pakistan on humanitarian issues related to prisoners and fishermen in each other’s jails’.
But beyond that nothing else India would like to discuss ‘unless Pakistan moves forward on initiatives taken in terms of investigation regarding the Pathankot attack’.
Not that India has been overwhelmed by compassion for the prisoners quite a number of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails are missing from the exchanged list.
Its heart is oozing love for humanity for it wants the world, particularly the United States, to see how keen it is on improving relations with Pakistan.
Also, it helps it divert the eye of the world away from atrocities its troops commit on a day-to-day basis in Occupied Kashmir. And it would also like the world not to ask why Muslims in there are being forced fed cow urine.
“We want to restore dialogue process with Pakistan, however, a better environment is necessary in this regard,” says its high commissioner in Pakistan, Gautam Bambawala.
Does ‘better environment’ mean the people of Pakistan should look away from the killing fields in Occupied Kashmir, or will it obtain if Islamabad grants consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav? Quite understandably, New Delhi is keen on putting up a reconciliatory façade on the eve of visit here of a US congressional delegation headed by chairman of the Senate Armed Forces Committee Senator John McCain.
The Senator is said to be supportive of Pakistan’s position on the sale of F-16s, which India is doing its best to subvert. Bear in mind the chicanery permeating the Indian foreign ministry spokesperson’s claim that India never backed off insofar as talks with Pakistan were concerned.
A week before his prime minister, Narendra Modi, found ‘it hard to decide whom who to speak to in Pakistan for peace … military and civilian leaderships are not on the same page regarding talks with India’.
The rulers in New Delhi should not forget that Pakistan and India are born from the same womb and a peaceful coexistence is their best option.
Yes, it was Narendra Modi who invited his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to his inaugural function and also visited the latter in Lahore. But how come he says Pakistan’s civilian and military leaderships are not on the same page.
It was always India who ran away from scheduled meetings, invariably citing untenable reasons. Comprehensive dialogue on whole hog of conflicting positions taken by the two countries is the only way forward. Unless you talk you cannot resolve differences.
Given the nuclear equilibrium that has come to obtain in South Asia the perception that the conventional asymmetry lends India some kind of political pre-eminence is no more valid.
Narendra Modi may have to look tough with Pakistan for home consumption but this is hardly a justification for running away from talks with Pakistan.
One would hate to disagree with High Commissioner Bombawala that both countries should resume sports activities and also play hockey matches.
But given the history of Pak-India bilateralism such low-level interactions could never sustain ambience of harmony and coexistence when challenged by differences on hard issues.
Time has come the two countries should sit across the table and talk about the hard issues besetting their relationship.
It is one’s firm belief that should India and Pakistan succeed in reaching some kind of agreement on Kashmir all other issues will tend to get resolved in no time. -Business Recorder