Cart before the Horse

Indulging in peace dialogue with India under disparaging environment cannot be considered a prudent step until and unless Pakistan can emerge stronger from the current crises.

By Brig. Saleem Qamar Butt (R) | February 2023

The worst form of inequality, says Aristotle, is to try to make unequal things equal’. Is peace with India possible? The answer to this question depends on who is asking and who is answering. For academia or for a Westerner with disregard to the realpolitik, the answer may be a simple ‘yes’. However, for any neighbouring country of India, especially the member countries of SAARC despite its very noble charter, the response may be as tricky as probability of friendship between a hare and a hound.

The prospects of peace between Pakistan and India is even more complicated as both countries have already fought four wars since 1947, out of which three were fought over Kashmir issue. The Indian-sponsored 1971 war in former East Pakistan turned it into Bangladesh, the most tragic loss of half the country largely due to a tragedy of errors.

Left behind by the colonial British in 1947, the legacy of territorial disputes included the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K), non-demarcated boundary North of point NJ 9842 (the northernmost demarcated point of the India-Pakistan ceasefire line in Kashmir known as the Line of Control/LoC) and Sir Creek (a 96-km tidal estuary in the uninhabited marshlands of the Indus River Delta on the disputed border between India and Pakistan).

Besides, the grave violations of the Indus Water Treaty (signed on September 19, 1960, between India and Pakistan and brokered by the World Bank) by India causing desertification in Pakistan, media onslaught, unrelenting international defamation campaign against Pakistan through false flag operations (e.g. 2016 Pathankot attack, 2007 Samjhota Express bombings, 2001 Indian Parliament attack, and 2008 Mumbai attacks), ceaseless atrocities against Muslims and all other minorities in India and particularly in occupied Kashmir, misuse of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to hurt Pakistan economically, sustained subversion and sabotage activities in Pakistan from all three directions by the India’s RAW intelligence networks (e.g. Sarabjit Singh and Kulbhushan Jadhav networks), and by funding, equipping and supporting proscribed terrorists organisations, which have kept both the countries in “no war, no peace” situation for the last 75 years with poor impact on the economies, especially for Pakistan.

Interstate warfare is defined as a military conflict between separate states over a territory. This does not include civil wars and wars of independence, or smaller clashes with limited casualties (less than 100 combat deaths). In Asia, most of the armed conflicts in the region are fought over issues of territory, political control, and political rights.

Interstate conflicts in the region over the past decades included the 1962 China-India War, the 1979 China-Vietnam Border War, and 1948, 1965, 1971 and the 1999 (Kargil) wars between Pakistan and India. Not to forget the most consequential war against terrorism by invasion of Afghanistan involving whole of the US-led NATO and almost 60 countries in the conflict. According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) used by human resource (HR) professionals around the world, there are five major styles of conflict management — collaborating, competing, avoiding, accommodating, and compromising.

The history of conflicts in Asia and especially between Pakistan and India seems to miss all five instruments due to a host of reasons. The same has been further exacerbated since 2014 after Hindutva regime came into power under Narendra Modi, known as ‘Butcher of Gujarat’ due to government-sponsored massacre of Muslims in 2002 when he was the chief minister of Indian Gujarat.

Some significant developments during 2019, which were considered pivotal for Indian-occupied Kashmir and dispute resolution between India and Pakistan included: India’s August 5 decision to abrogate Articles 35-A and 370, division of the IIOJ&K (illegally Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir) into two parts and declaring it an integral part of India, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) specifically targeting Muslim majority in India, facilitating issuance of domicile to Indians to become citizen of IIOJ&K to change its demography, establishment of Sainak/retired Indian military personnel colonies, handing over economic control of Kashmir to Indian rich class by giving away industrial zones in Kashmir, and putting valley under complete lockdown with heightened atrocities unleashed to suppress freedom struggle.

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