Saqib Tanveer pic

Muhammad Saqib Tanveer

Writer is a political commentator, blogger and tweets @SaqibTanveer

Many of us have been getting very romantic all over again when we think about rekindling our relations with India back on track. Definitely, it is good to have a neighbour that is not hostile and can lend us a helping hand in our economic woes. Icing on the cake when that same neighbour starts playing cricket with us again. May be out of pity or some other agenda, who knows?

This cuddling with India is not something of a sudden. It all started in the latter half of 2011 after Hilary Clinton’s pilgrimage to Pakistan. Soon after her visit, some cordial events between the two arch rivals were witnessed. To quote a few, failed talks of a cricket series, Pakistani Kabbadi team went to India for the world cup, volleyball series between the two, cross-LoC trade negotiations and above all the whole episode of MFN status were the highlights to notice.

And another instalment of this cuddling between the two has already begun. Instances this time around are more or less the same. India has agreed to play cricket series with Pakistan in India, India Foreign Minister is due in Pakistan some time in September and above all the recent statement of S. M. Krishna that Indo-Pak friendship is inevitable testifies to the fact that the ‘temporary’ reunion is once again on the cards between India and Pakistan.

My start to this article may seem sceptical of this friendship because IT REALLY IS. I do not have any problem if Pakistan cuddles with India or any other neighbour for that matter. In fact, it is always better to have a neighbour, who is not hostile, especially when you are fighting a war on the other side of border. But let me be the devil’s advocate when everyone else is anxiously waiting to hug their neighbours.

First, let’s focus on the immediate picture at hand. Pakistan and India having good relations is good for everyone, I guess or it may seem that way but is it inevitable? I doubt so. We are poles apart. Agony of occupation of Kashmir in 1948, war of 1965, partition of Pakistan in 1971 sponsored by India, atomic explosions, arms race, Pakistan’s vigilance in Kargil and India’s full throttle response, hydropolitics and India sucking up Pakistan’s water, bombing of Indian parliament in 2001 and 26/11 Mumbai are just some of grudges both countries have with each other. And it will take a lot more than romantic/intimate diplomacy to get over these grudges.

The above mentioned hurdles may be brushed aside when we say that we should forget the past and move on but they are not that easy to be forgotten. And hypothetically, if we somehow forget all, then still there are couple of issues that can never be neglected, one, Kashmir issue and the second is Indian interference in Balochistan.

The first issue is the abandoned Kashmir cause. To fulfil the wishes of US (I am coming to the role of US ahead) and India, we abandoned our Kashmiri brothers and Musharraf came up with his infamous six-points for Kashmir and Khurshid Kasuri, now PTI’s brain on foreign affairs, ran the backdoor channel to keep negotiating on the six-point surrender for Kashmir. Even the so-called right-leaning ‘Taliban Khan’ (Imran Khan) has asked to put the Kashmir issue in the backburner and leave it for the future generations to resolve while the innocent Kashmiris are butchered all that while. We withdrew all our support to the Kashmir cause. We have virtually forgotten that Kashmir was once an issue in the top drawer of Pakistan’s problems. Even the mainstream media is all silent and PTV, well they used to dedicate 5 minutes to Kashmir a decade ago after the 6 PM English bulletin, don’t know if they still do. How can we just forget Kashmir and move ahead with India? I still remember the information that was fed to us through our curriculum and state TV that Kashmir is Pakistan’s and Indian soldiers are butchering our brothers and raping our sisters in Kashmir. Anyone remember the drama series Angaarwadi and Laag on PTV. May be many of us have forgotten all that but my heart still aches for our Kashmiri brethren.

Then there is this even preposterous activity of India in Balochistan. India is supporting the insurgents in Balochistan through its several consulates along the Af-Pak border in Afghanistan. Our government ministers have come on record several times. India is inflicting heavy damage on us and we are ready to move ahead with India on the command of our masters, US. I mean, after all this how can we cheer the genius flick of wrists by Sachin Tendulkar, come the series in December.

‘Yeah yeaah yeaaahh…….let’s not politicize sport, sport should be taken as sport’. I know this rhetoric. But when you take the sport to another level to reinvigorate the relations between the two countries, then you DO make the sport political.

Now, to the role of United States in all this reunion of lost brothers. I may sound as a conspiracy theorist in my analysis here but this is the opinion that I have developed over the years. Call me a hardline rightist or extremist, doesn’t matter. Fact of the matter is that we have bigger problems right now on our plate other than India.

We all know that United States wants a counter to Chinese threat in South Asia. Who better than India? India, an ‘I’ in the BRICS, large economy, already at war with China once, good military arsenal and nuclear capability gives India all the credentials to stand up to China. And United States want to cash in on that. Remember the civil nuclear deal, Obama’s visit to India and shunning Pakistan and announcement of support for India’s bid to become a member of Security Council.

India cannot extend its hegemony in the region without the nod of Pakistan and for this very reason, Pakistan comes into play. Granting MFN status to India will do just fine for India as it will allow India to use Pakistan’s land for logistics and can exploit the silk-route and all the precious mouth-watering resources Caspian Sea has to offer to India. India having good relations with Pakistan means less Indian army concentration on India’s western border and it can readjust its military compass towards Tibet, Nepal and China. I hope you all didn’t miss the recent commending by US over the recent cricket-diplomacy between India and Pakistan. Tells us their intentions.

Crux is that this whole saga of India and Pakistan coming closer benefits more to India & US rather than Pakistan. And before moving ahead with an exotic honeymoon with India, Pakistan has to ensure that its own stakes are not compromised and it is not leaving its principle stands in a bid to marry India.

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  1. Rubab says:

    Too long article…very emotional language used at times….no solution presented, to me it seems emotions than logic…
    We all know things with India are not so simple…we can not and we never want to have brotherly relation with india but the minimum criteria for good neighbors can be defined..How can pakistan live in its four walls closing its eyes to any country that is doing harm to any other region in the world???
    if india is supported by US and other foreign forces then what pakistan needs is sense and logic…we lack vision, and right moves for forward relations..
    i do not agree that till kashmir is not solved one should not play cricket with them…its illogical..
    Nobody can interfere in your country and its affair unless you want so…instead of running after other countries and blaming others , we should find blacksheeps within us…accept mistakes and then correct them…
    India is harming kashmir…..who is killing innocents in karachi? baluchistan? waziristan? and even in punjab? can we put blame for all this on others and just flame anger in ourself??
    whatever india is doing its progressing economically, its world image is better…we lack in everything..which is because of ourself not india not US

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  2. Saqib says:

    I understand your point……

    Too long article and you expected me to include detailed solution as well? 😀

    I think i explained that IndoPak cricket is not just sport, it is always political…..People see a chance in cricket to amend the political tensions….Cricket-diplomacy and all that….

    Why we should not move ahead with cricket? Because India is not only killing muslims in Kashmir but also increasingly interfering in Balochistan and FATA as well…..

    How can you expect to amend relations after knowing that India is not sincere from within….

    Another point that i missed is that our armies are both apprehensive of each other….PakArmy is typically India-centric.

    Yes we are the ones who should be blamed for all the problems because it was we who allowed India to open consulates in Afghanistan to exploit the TTP and use them against us….Who do you think is responsible for insurgency in Balochistan and Waziristan?

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  3. . says:

    whatever India does that’s its prerogative. but one thing we can all agree on is that they are pretty much protecting their national interests. Are we doing the same for ours?

    All of our foreign policies are mainly US-centric. We leave no stone unturned just to show that somehow we are/can-be more helpful to US than India no matter what. with a self delusion that if we wont do that then India will do it and take the lead in sycophantic race. That’s plain BS. it’s insanity not diplomacy or may be suicidal diplomacy. no country has FP like that but Pakistan and i don’t think diplomacy has anything to do with sincerity at all.

    our approach was good till 20th century i.e that was the theory of one super power, which is gone now it’s new era where there are multiple power centres on map, each one equally important. It seems to me India is one of the power centres it might be hard to sallow for us but its the bitter truth. Its matter of realizing that n working on those lines. You’ve got to put aside your sentiments and watch out for your own interests. One recent example for that can be the episode of reopening of Nato supply routes where we got so carried away in emotional diplomacy that all we wanted to hear was “sorry”. we could have got much more out of that like we demanded USD 2500 per vehicle they were willing to pay the money not that much but it could have been better than getting nothing at all, depending on our negotiations. I mean US wasn’t much reluctant to say sorry at very first place as it was getting everything for free.

    As far as cricket goes, I personally think if India agrees on playing in Pakistan then we can get so much more out of it keeping in mind our international cricket scene these days but again it all boils down to how we negotiate.

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  4. RUbab says:

    Ok i’ll try to make my point clear..i said a long article because i felt it too long to read..and too much info in one place…rest its good
    Countries do not have sister sister relationships..its all like this everywhere around..everyone playing for the benefit..its neither US who have to protect our concerns and not india…they are killing in kashmir, yes, but do we want to solve kashmir issue?our army from past 60 years is getting 65% of budget by keeping kashmir issue alive..otherwise there is no point for such a heavy budget…Baluchistan, waziristan insurgency…well if its true, why govt of pak is not trying to highlight and solve it internationally?? its OUR ineligibility…you are right that our diplomacy is bad and so is foreign policy but its OUR fault, we are ineligible, its not because of india..what INDIA is doing is for their own benefit they are not responsible for our benefits…we have not only failed to handle america and india but within pakistan we have failed on everything actually….we have most ineligible govt in the world..and army seems not much different…we are getting fruits of what we did for 60 years…its a combination of 60years blunders..
    As far as cricket is concerned there again we have no policy…kabi match ker lia kabhi wo kick ker detey hen..we have no one to make policy or manage situation..
    Now if you think india exploited Taliban against us..i would say we were wrong in making Taliban on first hand…they were used because we made them…it was our blunder again…This miuse of religion in hypocracy has actually made a common man confused of religion, life, politics and everything..
    I am saying repetedly our mistake because blaming other (even if others share a blame) is not going to help us..US is not going to shape our foreign policy in our favor, india is not presenting kashmir as a gift to us,its WE, OURSELF who have to learn from our mistakes..
    rest this cricket match, exchange of artists, aman ki asha etc is all drama and there is no harm in these little drams to continue at least to make a soft image of the country

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    • Saqib says:

      Rubab I am not disagreeing to what you are saying….

      You are right when you say that the problems lie within, there is no denying that…..we have killed ourselves for these 65 long years….

      However one thing is that when it comes to India-Pakistan diplomacy and talks, the fundamental principles of diplomacy go out of the window…..Usually diplomacy is about give and take but in our case, one’s gain also leads to other’s gain and does not put each other’s existence at stake……With India and Pakistan, Pakistan’s existence at stake……In this particular episode of giving India an upper edge in the continent by granting MFN and other privileges, Pakistan will gain temporary relief but India will achieve so much success that Pakistan will be like Nepal and Tibet in front of India….. This is what we never want……

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  5. Rubab says:

    Just a question…Dunt you think its better to write on situation and problems within our country?? why dunt you write on Karachi, Baluchistan, Waziristan, or mismanagements in NWFP, Punjab…..or social issues?Issues of pakistani young generation?
    i mean its good to write on global issues but isn’t the internal issues our first hand problem?? or are we concerned for our neighbors more than within us??
    if you make a list of problems then within problems are much much higher than the outside ones…i understand that they are linked…but why dunt we focus on something in our hand than looking for other’s help and mercy….

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