When Nawaz Sharif yesterday said that any talks with India ‘sans Kashmir’ were futile, he was only summing up the line of ongoing verbal volleys – by his other ministers.
After (naturally) expecting it – as we are hearing Pakistani leaders of different hues, including Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz – Sharif’s version was only a symbolic summation of how the political establishment of Pakistan once again surrendered before its all powerful army (and therefore its real ruler, the army chief there).
And it is good that we, in India, didn’t reach much into it and decided to stick to our position this time – that the whole Jammu and Kashmir (including Pakistan occupied Kashmir) is our integral part and its society and politics will be governed according to the Indian Constitution – and not what some sidelined separatist leaders like the Hurriyat ones say.
It is good, that, we, as a nation, are finally shedding its Pakistan obsession.
Yes, it is political pragmatism that every nation wants a peaceful neighbourhood, especially with democracies. And, irrespective of intelligence claims and counterclaims, we have valid and worldly reasons to believe that India is not orchestrating unrest in Pakistan. Terrorism and other internal rifts in Pakistan are its own making and Pakistan is paying a heavy price for that – now.
We need to see Pakistan at best as a small country in our neighbourhood that shares common cultural elements with us. If any reality, in any comparison of India vis-à-vis Pakistan exists, it ends here, at this cultural context.
India had 17.22 crore Muslims according to figures from Census 2011 and Pakistan’s overall population that year was 17.62 crore. And Muslims are just 14.2% of our population.
Sovereign India and Pakistan started their journeys the same day – two countries that shared a joint geographical patch and culture until then.
India remained a democracy, and with time, in fact, strengthened its institutions and processes. Its security establishment proudly built on its own. Its economy grew. Its middle class swelled. And today, it has become as imperative a market for the global economy as China is. And as China is slowing down, the world is looking to India – the world’s fastest economy – the world’s third largest economy – and the world’s youngest country demographically – with projections to have the world’s largest middle class by 2030.
Yes, India’s democracy has had its internal flaws but in spite of that, we have a healthy electoral system that makes our democratic set-up robustly functional.
But, Pakistan started faltering very early on its sovereign journey. During 68 years of existence, the country has been ruled by its army most of the time. Pakistan’s political establishment could never stand on its own. Military effectively entrenched itself into every aspect of Pakistan’s socio-political milieu – killing democracy in the process.
Pakistan has historically been anti-India, fighting and losing wars since 1948. Pakistan’s Army, in order to remain the most powerful institution in the country, has always resorted to anti-India propaganda to suppress and sideline political voices. The violence in the aftermath of the India-Pakistan partition gave Army a powerful tool to instil fear in Pakistani masses by name-calling India.
Yes, in India, every aspect of society has corruption as malaise, but here, we can raises voices and push for remedies. Pakistan’s military establishment doesn’t allow that – acting on cases based on its self-interest.
Pakistan of the day is failing to handle its internal mess, something that is its own creation, including terrorism, anarchy in tribal areas and separatist movements but the ego (or the compulsion) of its ruling/military dispensations is forcing them to still engage in anti-India activities and propaganda – primarily in Jammu and Kashmir – and in India wherever possible – trying to provoke Muslims in the name of religion – even if India has more Muslims than Pakistan – even if the Muslims of India have registered maximum decadal population growth rate (as the Census 2011 data on growth rate of different religious communities released today says). They are our equal brothers and complete the arch of India’s diverse cultural landscape.
India and Pakistan started their journeys as independent countries in similar circumstances. India is a global player now – on its way to become a global power in a multi-polar world – and Pakistan is not even a regional player.
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/