Friday, June 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Will Pakistan come out of its old mindset?

The article “Will Pak come out of its old mindset?” by Hari Jaisingh (June 21) has raised some very topical and pertinent questions. The multi-pronged strategy propounded by the author is that Pakistan must be pressurised to stop cross-border terrorism by ensuring that Indian diplomacy goes into a high gear to convince America and Europe to abandon their ambivalent stand on malevolent terrorist barbarity in Kashmir instigated and supported by Pakistan and hammer home the fact that the killing of Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and Buddhists should also be taken cognizance of as human rights violations. This hypothesis of thought process is admirable at the academic level but on taking stock of ground realities it appears to be unsustainable.

Now the biggest stumbling block in this process has been the ossified mindset of the religious fundamentalists and the militarists of Pakistan driven by animosity against India by their convoluted grammar of politics. After burning their fingers by sending raiders to Kashmir immediately after its accession to India and suffering two humiliating defeats at the Indian hands one of which resulted in the shrinkage of its territory, the psychopathic hardliners have gone berserk in impotent rage to settle scores with abominable concept of ends justify means. It has been a sadly tragic fact that any Pakistan ruler who started any meaningful dialogue with India or reached an agreement which was perceived as conciliatory towards India was either put to death (Z.A. Bhutto) or exiled (Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif) or dragged over coals (all those Generals after their surrender before General Aurora). It would, therefore, be nothing short of wishful thinking to expect Gen. Musharraf to commit harakiri, particularly now, after the body politic of Pakistan has been injected with steroids of jihad.


During days of SEATO to combat communism in Asia, Pakistan jumped on the American bandwagon with unabashed alacrity to thumb its nose at India with Americans looking fondly at their prodigal ally which was showered with all kinds of deadly toys to keep it in good homour. After the collapse of communism, Pakistan had the diabolic foresight of using the Russian intervention in Afghanistan as a pretext to convert the latter into a political laboratory for mutating the Frankenstein of the Taliban and jihadis. After the carnage of September 11, Pakistan quickly and conveniently went on to play the role of Dr Jekyll for America promising it a rose garden free from terrorists and changing into Mr Hyde for Al-Qaeda and their fellow travellers. If it were not true, then how could Osama bin Laden, Mulla Omar and their big players could do a Houdini act of disappearing into thin air? So the bitter truth is that so long as the spectre of Islamic terrorism is hovering over America and Europe, killings in Kashmir are just a collateral damage in their eyes to be borne by India.

Therefore, the bottomline now is that till such time as the marriage of convenience between America and Pakistan comes to an end, we in India have to face the unbearable pain of cross-border terrorism by accepting it as our problem to be tackled by us alone by military and diplomatic means available to us after discounting the crocodile tears on the face of American diplomats, who can easily be suspected of having their own agenda of priorities.

R.C. KHANNA, Amritsar

Rational approach: While discussing India’s relations with its neighbours a reference to Pakistan is inevitable as also to the Kashmir issue where the two countries get stuck. Mr Hari Jaisingh’s article (June 21) presents a rational and realistic approach to the solution of Kashmir and other outstanding issues hanging fire for the past over 50 years; provided Pakistan changes its “old mindset”.

The current developments show that Musharraf is treading the path in no way different from his predecessors by flogging the dead horse — harking back to the old UN resolutions of 1948-49, conveniently ignoring the fact that the conditions required for a plebiscite in the resolutions then cannot be recreated now. He also forgets that these included, among other conditions, the withdrawal of Pakistani forces from territories illegally occupied by it when the Maharaja of Kashmir acceded to India in accordance with the procedure laid down by the British government.

There are numerous instances round the world where different issues between neighbouring countries have been settled peacefully through bilateral negotiations. This is the commitment and the promise contained in the Simla agreement. But for any negotiation under the agreement the prerequisite will be the creation of a normal atmosphere with the understanding in this case that infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC) will be stopped and ultras’ camps shut.

This should be followed by the two countries signing a no-war pact. The psychological effect it will make in the subcontinent may usher in a new chapter of positive thinking. Not only can the two countries then proportionately decrease the defence budget but also expand trade. A joint venture, as proposed by the author, will enable both countries to have a freer access to each other’s market. The impression that the two countries are enemies has come to the lowest ebb. So much so that they do not exchange even newspapers and books. A free flow of information and visitors should be the first step towards normalcy.


US role: Mr Hari Jaisingh is right in the assessment of Pakistan’s attitude towards India. India has no options but to normalise relations with its neighbours.

General Pervez Musharraf’s sole aim is to humiliate India in the international community which keeps on haunting the Pakistani rulers. J & K is just an excuse. They are fully aware that the idea of grabbing Kashmir is only a dream. The USA can play a major role for peace in the area by abandoning its dual policies towards the two countries.

The international community knows about the supply of missiles, sophisticated arms and nuclear weapons to Pakistan by certain countries for their vested interests.


War clouds: It’s a matter of some relief not only for the people of this region but also for the entire world that the clouds of war have at long last started thinning down, thanks to the sagacious moves and aggressive diplomacy of Indian leaders in the face of grave crises confronting the nation.

In fact we had moved closer to the precipice of a nuclear war provoked by a relentless proxy war engineered against us from across the border. The gravity of the situation accentuated by a massive build-up on the border posed a serious threat to peace and had the potential to escalate. The Western and world powers felt concerned about the emerging scenario and helped save the situation, telling Pakistan to behave and by securing from the wily General the assurance for a crackdown on jehadis and a commitment to stop cross-border terrorism. This pledge had the effect of at least easing the mounting tension. The situation is likely to further improve with the promises being kept and honoured in their right spirit.

M. R. GUPTA, Lehragaga

Sahijdharis & SGPC

The deletion of the word “Sahijdhari” from the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, to deprive the Sahijdharis the right to vote during the SGPC elections is a retrograde step. The Sahijdharis are an inseparable part of Sikhism. It is they who kept the faith alive when the Sikhs were engaged in life and death struggle against the Mughals to maintain their identity, endeavouring to stem the tides of invasions into India across the north-western frontier and busy in establishing an indigenous rule after nearly six centuries of foreign occupation.

Guru Gobind Singh had not allowed Bhai Nand Lal and Bhai Kanihya’s entry into the Khalsa fold and had asked them instead to continue with their respective noble pursuits of spiritual writing and service of mankind. When the Guru vacated Anandpur Sahib in 1704, he entrusted the care of the shrines to Baba Gurbux Rai, a Sahijdhari Sikh and this practice of having Sahijdharis as gurdwaras’ custodians continued in diminishing numbers till the Akali movement of the 1920s. The Sahijdharis constitute a sizable section of the Sikh population in India and abroad and their devoted interest in the faith and aspirations cannot be ignored. To prevent the entry of undesirable elements into the SGPC, the right course is to scrutinise the credentials and true Sikh-like qualities of the persons who stand for elections to become members of the SGPC.

BRIG HARDIT SINGH (retd), Chandigarh


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