Omer Amir |
South Asia’s roundabout 2 billion population deserve a prosperous, opulent and vibrant future. They have been relegated to the sidelines of global development for far too superficial raison d’etre and held hostage by wavering War-Hawks and weak Doves. Despite the immense talent and heritage of the Civilizations spanning from Indus Valley, Gandhara, Ashoka and Mughal; Pakistan– itself part of the greater sub-continent civilization– has been deprived of its proper place in the Global comity of nation-states.
Since 1947, according to Professor Hassan Askari Rizvi, Afghan irredentism combined with India’s hegemonic designs have trapped Iqbal’s nation-state conception in an obsessed security paranoia that is unable to shed its’ baggage in order to take advantage of its ‘immensely important geo-economic, geo-strategic location’ (Robert Kaplan- ‘the Monsoon’). Its fears and suspicions came true in 1971 when the barbarism of that year took a toll on the country and led to the formation of two different states from mother country consigning Pakistan to trace its’ origins through Aitzaz Ahsan’s ‘The Indus Saga’.
The rebellion sapped precious resources and men of Pakistan Army and brought the country on brink of collapse.
To add to the wounds, one of Pakistan’s trusted allies ‘Raza Shah Pahlavi’- the Shah of Iran triggered a rebellion in Balochistan against the Pakistani state (Mirza Aslam Baig). The rebellion sapped precious resources and men of Pakistan Army and brought the country on brink of collapse. Only a few valuable allies like the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Nixon-Kissinger’s the USA stood firm by the country’s bent shoulders albeit fleetingly.
Bhutto was a God-sent messiah for the country then when he prophesized that the ‘country would eat grass but build the nuclear bomb’ (Brig Feroze Khan: Making of the Pakistani bomb). The bomb was an allusion to the overall security of the country that was to be bought and secured at any price by the people of Pakistan for their long-term sustenance in order to preserve their hard-fought, centuries-old culture brought down from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea.
In 1984, no condemnation followed from Pakistan’s supposedly Western ‘Muslim’ ally when Operation Meghdoot was launched by India capturing the strategic Siachen heights. In May 1989 balance of power was established with both countries showing their nuclear muscles. However, fast forwarding to Modi’s provocative strikes, a faltering economy, amateur leadership and a shaken Two-Nation ideology (blacklisting by U.S state department on charges of religious discrimination despite’s Asia Bibi’s acquittal) was to be tested in Pakistan.
On the other side, Modi was euphoric in delusions of magnificent, shining and powerful India. In that haste and electoral heist, Modi launched irrational and provocative attacks breaching Pakistan’s sovereignty under UN charter and other international conventions– Art (2.4) of UN Charter which calls for non-intervention by a foreign invader in the domestic affairs of an independent nation.
This chauvinism by India, though, traces its roots from 1990 since when India has defiantly proved that Nehruvian democracy was a façade and the country would be a hard place for minorities of any colour, race, ethnicity, class, and religion. Gujarat riots, Babri Masjid demolition, and Muslims’ living standards in a constant state of decline.
The bomb was an allusion to the overall security of the country that was to be bought and secured at any price by the people of Pakistan for their long-term sustenance in order to preserve their hard-fought.
2014 proved to be the final nail in the coffin for minorities of India as the Modi government resounded to electoral victory. They tried to borrow the ‘divide and rule’ British policy to fracture the approximately 180 million Muslims there internally alongside Sikhs and Christians (and even Dalits in Uttar Pradesh- what have been alluded to by Arundathi Roy as seen as ‘ Children of a Lesser God’ in Modi’s Brahmanic ideology). When that policy did not reap positive results, the Modi Sarkar turned its guns’ outwards towards its visibly weaker Western neighbour.
Pakistan defended its’ airspace effectively, professionally and rationally showing a much larger, economically powerful and aggressive adversary that the country stands as one in the threat from the ‘East’. Its JF-17 which downed an Iranian drone in 2016 once again proved its mettle in Air battle & aided in downing one of India’s most technologically advanced fighter i.e. Sukhoi-MKI 30. The precious trophy that Pakistan gained from the aerial victory was Wing Commander Abhinandan: A sharpshooter who went a bit too far in search of his target and ejected in hostile territory exposing Indian Air Force reality.
Nonetheless, the hospitality of the Pakistanis was on point as he was not only returned home within a couple of days but also served the ever famous ‘Army tea’ and taken care of well. The F-16’s and Mirages were also effective in providing Combat Air Patrols (CAP’s) during the entire episode and deterred the much larger Indian Air Force from launching Surgical Strikes across various vulnerable targets in Pakistan. These were prevented in Baltistan, settled Punjab areas as deep as Khushab, Bahawalpur and Multan Sector and much lower in Sindh & Hyderabad region.
However, in all this drama, Pakistan’s collective conscious must not forget the geo-strategic and geopolitical realities that have been brought to the fore in the preceding month with the simultaneous attacks by non-state actors across Pakistan’s North Eastern and South Western Fronts. The implications and effects will be felt not only in March of this year but beyond 2019 even. The future remains obscure as a ‘Rocky’ Iran looks to steer its ship in the tumultuous Middle Eastern waters while simultaneously devouring India’s investment in Chahbahar and oppressing its minority in Sistan-Balochistan (not to forget its suppressed Liberal Azeri Minority in the North East).
Azerbaijan itself is a precious ally of Pakistan and a potential petroleum source and a potential customer of Pakistan’s defence-industrial complex. Its support in the greater geo-strategic game cannot be lost to personal or institutional whims. Moreover, security can only be guaranteed for Sub-continent if India’s 2019 elections do not spurn forward another relapse of Modi’s belligerency. The new coalition that takes reins after April 2019 must build economic bridges, reduce the trust deficit and purposefully resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all (for the betterment of future generations).
2014 proved to be the final nail in the coffin for minorities of India as the Modi government resounded to electoral victory.
For this to happen, the Pervez Musharraf-Manmohan Singh formula can be used to liberate the Kashmiris from the ‘clutches of butchery that they are oppressed by presently’ (UNHCR report June 2018). A few Indian generals have proved a stumbling block in this ‘effective roadmap to peace’ for South Asia. However, through drowning the paranoia and hysteria of the hawks on both sides of the border, this plan can be given effective implementation. This will save lives in Kashmir and across the Sub-continent, save hard-bought finances from drainage and bring prosperity to the deprived region.
The Musharraf-Manmohan Formula is structured on the following points:
- The two states must allow free travel across the State of Jammu & Kashmir [in the restricted region of Pakistan Administered AJ&K and Indian Administered Kashmir valley] for the local Kashmiris as well as valid visa-holders.
- Simultaneously, it must allow unrestricted trade across this region without any tariffs, quotas, customs duties, etc for the local merchant and traders.
- However, the administration mechanism should be a joint one managed simultaneously by India and Pakistan in order to perpetuate lasting peace in the region.
- It should also be open to tourists from both sides of the border, however, external security should be managed by each state individually alongside internationally recognized borders in the incubated region.
Eventually, though it must be recognized that any final decision regarding Kashmir’s autonomy or integration should come from the people of Jammu & Kashmir and based on International resolutions that call for ‘self-willed self-determination’. No third party can subjugate or impose any solution on the state of Kashmir. (Kofi Annan speech in United Nations General Assembly in June 2006)
Nevertheless, Indian violation of Pakistani airspace should not be a foregone matter in the coming days. There are some suggestions to rectify the loopholes that allowed the Indian State to take advantage and undertake such an adventure. The following should help the Federation of Pakistan:
- Pakistan must build up an effective Aerial defense as said by the Quaid when he said: “A country without a strong Airforce is at the mercy of any aggression, Pakistan must build its Air force as quickly as possible……..” For this investment in domestic research & development plus procurement from foreign vendors such as Britain, France, Russia and China should be expedited. ‘Made in Pakistan’ should be effectively sold.
- Violation of aerial sovereignty case should be taken up with the International Court of Justice [ICJ] so that in future India is aware of legal consequences of such an impetuous action. Moreover, both countries have already accepted the jurisdiction of the international court. Therefore, it can be one of the forums to fight this legal battle.
- Simultaneously, Pakistan should launch an all-out diplomatic effort to make visible the legitimate Kashmiri intifada (Struggle) with the support of OIC. The solution lies in diplomatic and moral support so that the struggle in Kashmir remains indigenous and alive until the Indian Policy makers realize their inhumane treatment of a peace-loving people. Their over 700,000 Law Enforcement Personnel (LEPs) protected by the Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA) have successfully managed to wreak havoc in what was once called the ‘Paradise of the East’
- Nonetheless, that being said the economic ties with India need to be strengthened + corroborated. As current Indian Ambassador has stated ‘there is potential for $32 billion trade’ if both the countries are willing to use a Liberal economic model in their economic interaction rather than one based on Mercantilism.
Conclusively, it can be said that Pakistan and India have suffered for too long over a free hit that that can be resolved amicably and rationally and is long over-due to be solved. The war-hype and hormone-induced hawkism followed by depressive dualism; roller-coaster ride on which the people of Sub-continent have been taken by writers such as Asad Rahimmudin on the Pakistani side and Barkha Dutt on Indian side along with the politicizing campaign of Modi’s camp have spiralled the sub-continent on the brink of a nuclear winter.
The new coalition that takes reins after April 2019 must build economic bridges, reduce the trust deficit and purposefully resolve the Kashmir issue once and for all.
Modi’s swing towards an ‘Akhund Bharat’ has deluded Indian state from the in-swinging Yorker that was sizzling in Kashmir. It has made Kashmir into the largest ‘human concentration camp on Earth’. Sympathies of any humane nation deserve to be with the Kashmiris, who are trying to be trapped, by the honey-comb allure of Mumbai and Delhi’s blinding lights. The salvation of Pakistan nonetheless remains in peace overtures while protecting the ‘primacy of security of its citizenry’. (Ahmed Abbas- Consultant to Attorney General for Pakistan) It is the people who need to be channelled towards a better future for the prosperity of the entire populace.
The drive needs to be fueled through education, charismatic leadership and a self-sufficient yet sophisticated and highly specialized economy. Change needs to be induced in all sectors and segments. The catch is that the ‘The GDP of $313 billion dollars belies the potential of the Pakistani nation’ (The Economist’ 2018). Pakistan is heavily dependent on refined oil imports to compete at the global stage. Its’ patron-client based feudal system has hamstrung the country’s growth and stunted its rise in the global community of nations. (Maleeha Lodhi- Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State). Its female populace remains under-utilized (Rachel Vogelstein- Foreign Affairs Magazine)
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Women form around 50% of the population and the fear injected in them through an outdated patriarchal system defeats the GDP growth by 12% according to the author. The amount added over the next few years through women empowerment i.e. around $130 billion can be almost double of what is promised by the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). (World Economic Forum Report). The women issue has not only plagued Pakistan’s growth but also that of the greater Middle East and the Entire South Asian region.
Pakistan and India have suffered for too long over a free hit that that can be resolved amicably and rationally and is long over-due to be solved.
Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have been positive anomalies in this regard. Their literacy rate and women empowerment have been earmarked by many NGO’s and multilateral Global Forums such as W.E.F, U.N and E.U of having an upward trajectory. The multiple problems encountering the country need to be tackled and shall be overcome. However, the toil and life needed to move the apparatus of this stagnant system had to come. And it came……
The dream of Iqbal, the vision of Sir Syed and the endeavour of Jinnah were exemplified in the flight that took down Indian fighters and brought the allegedly ‘next superpower’ to a humiliating ejection from brinkmanship. The fighter pilots that rose to the occasion are best exemplified by Winston Churchill’s quote “Never have So many owed So much to So few”. For peace and security of the nation, the P.A.F showed that it remained ever vigilant, ever awake and ever defiant in the face of a much larger adversary; fighting alongside the brave Pakistani Army.
The Pakistani nation proved that it stood firm and resolute in defending its frontiers: whether they be ideological, territorial or aerial. Pakistan Navy was also sublime in detecting any threats from the Arabian Sea to Pakistan’s sovereignty. Pakistan and its Armed Forces have refused to let the Islamic Republic become a ‘graveyard’ of empires, a Syrian Paradox or the ‘New Iraq’. The Air Force has proven the first line of defense this time for its people and resolved to be the guardian from aerial threats of the great Pakistani nation while defending the country alongside its’ sister services. It is now up to the democratic will of the country to carry forward this verve in order ‘to retain the power amongst the resilient people of an unstable Pakistan’ (Christophe Jaffrelot: Pakistan at the Crossroads).
Omer Aamir is an Associate Attorney General for Pakistan Office. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.