Now, this was expected, sooner or later, and it came sooner this time, within three days. Political establishment of Pakistan could not withstand Pakistan’s Army’s pressure and within 72 hours, issued a strongly worded statement against India, contradicting all that Nawaz Sharif had spoken about at Ufa, in Russia, during.
Let’s see what Sartaz Aziz, adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, said today:
And we all know which are those outstanding issues. Kashmir of course tops the list of outstanding issues, but there are also other important issues like Siachen, Sir Creek, Interference and Water. Kashmiris have suffered for three generations now. Their right to self determine their destiny has not been granted. Pakistan has stood by the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif affirmed our principled position in clear and unequivocal terms during his annual speech at the UN General Assembly. We would continue to extend political, moral, and diplomatic support to our Kashmiri brethren.
Pakistan has been deeply concerned, not only about hostile statements from Indian Ministers but also about Indian interference in Pakistan, including continuing support for insurgency in Balochistan. India on the other hand has been repeating its traditional accusations of cross border terrorism while overlooking the decisive counter terrorism campaign launched by Pakistan in the past 2 years. To address these acrimonious concerns the two sides agreed that the National Security Advisers of the two countries would meet, first in New Delhi and then in Islamabad.
On Mumbai trial case, our view has been, and was so in this meeting as well, that we need more evidence and information to conclude the trial. The reference to ‘additional information’ is a recognition of the need that more information is needed to expedite the trial. Mr. Nawaz Sharif also sought information on the progress made on the trial of Samjhauta express terrorist incident.
Now read the joint statement issued on June 10 after bilateral meeting between Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif:
The Prime Ministers of Pakistan and India met today on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Ufa. The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere. The two leaders exchanged views on issues of bilateral and regional interest. They agreed that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues. Both leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menace from South Asia.
They also agreed on the following steps to be taken by the two sides:
1. A meeting in New Delhi between the two NSAs to discuss all issues connected to terrorism.
2. Early meetings of DG BSF and DG Pakistan Rangers followed by that of DGMOs.
3. Decision for release of fishermen in each other’s custody, along with their boats, within a period of 15 days.
4. Mechanism for facilitating religious tourism.
5. Both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.
See the marked difference between a diplomatic statement by political establishments and the one issued by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs today.
The joint statement doesn’t mention Kashmir and emphasizes on the need of speedy 26/11 probe trial – including the voice samples. What Sartaz Aziz said today looked from a different planet when we see the same in the context of his joint statement. In fact, his live address was more off-track than the release issued by the ministry.
Sartaz Aziz’s address today that was live on news channels in India and Pakistan looked more of a response under direct pressure of Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistan Army, and was interpreted in the ways Rawalpindi would have desired.
And his tone and his selection of words were equally perfect – corresponding to the essence. The message that went in Indian media, and thus among Indian masses, who care for it, was that Pakistan was again back to betraying India. And so soon. Pakistani media, too, picked up the line, but in a way that would be positive to their interests.
So, Pakistani media interpreted that Pakistan had shown its dignity, sovereignty, stature and strength by telling India in unequivocal terms that there would be no talks ‘until Kashmir is on agenda’; that evidence given by India in 26/11 case was not enough; that India was habitual of making allegations against Pakistan of creating unrest in India; that India was behind the separatist movements in Pakistan; that Pakistan would talk to India on its own terms; and that Pakistan was not going to initiate and it was up to India to create atmosphere for talks.
Intentions that Rawalpindi wanted to convey – and Sartaz Aziz excelled at that. Pakistan’s political establishment and Nawaz Sharif are secondary to popularity and credibility in Pakistan where Pakistani Army or Army generals have ruled the country during most of its independence years.
And Army in Pakistan, the most powerful institution there, though certainly not comparable to the Indian defence establishment in the same way as Pakistan’s economy is not comparable to the Indian one, draw its survival sanctity from anti-India rhetoric and actions.
Though Sartaz Aziz says that all pending issues will ‘be followed up through different channels’, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi’s lawyer has clearly said that his client would not provide his voice sample, and Pakistan has not reacted to it.
Whatever Pakistan’s politicians say during bilateral talks or at multi-lateral platforms like the SCO Summit, back home, they have to toe the line Pakistan’s Army dictates. And that is what happened today.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/