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جمعہ، 8 اپریل، 2011

WikiLeaks’ misperceptions about Pakistan

By Sajjad Shaukat

Intermittently, WikiLeaks continue its misperceptions about Pakistan as part of the old blame game of the West and anti-Pakistan countries. In this regard, on April 4, this year, while quoting a cable, dated November 28, 2008 from the US Embassy in London, this website has accused that until a day before the 26/11 Mumbai bombings, the view in the British Foreign Office was that Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had been a major obstacle to an India-Pakistan deal on Kashmir, as both the neighbours were close to signing a historic agreement on several occasions. Every intellectual and non-intellectual person of the Sub-continent knows that India considers the occupied Kashmir as integral part of the Indian union; hence it has continuously been using delaying tactics in its solution. New Delhi’s intransigence remains the main obstacle in the settlement of Kashmir issue. It is of particular attention that on June 27, 2009, Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf had disclosed that he came near to resolving the Kashmir dispute during the infamous Agra summit in 2001. The then Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had even agreed to draft a joint declaration regarding the Kashmir issue, but blamed New Delhi for ditching Islamabad at the last moment. He elaborated: “The Indian leadership changed their mind at the last minute and did not support the joint declaration, saying that the Cabinet had not approved it.” Musharraf further pointed out that he tried his best to resolve the issue which is pending for years, and in that context even held talks with all the stakeholders such as All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and various leaders of Kashmir. However, the meetings did not yield substantial results due to Indian obstinacy. While rejecting the notion that the country’s Army did not want a resolution on the Kashmir issue, Musharraf clarified, indicating, “All such reports were primarily aired to malign the image of the security forces, and a part of a vicious propaganda against the country.” It is notable that in 2004, India and Pakistan started process to normalize their relations after half a decade of confrontation over the occupied Kashmir. The renewed normalisation process was described officially as ‘composite dialogue’, which included Kashmir as the key issue to be resolved incrementally by top officials of both the countries. But in 2008, New Delhi suspended the process of ‘composite dialogue’ under the pretext of Mumbai terror attacks which were in fact, arranged by the Indian secret agency RAW. Meanwhile, Indian rulers blackmailed Islamabad that they would not resume the talks unless Islamabad takes actions against the culprits of Mumbai catastrophe. A similar process in 1997-1998 had resulted in the February 1999 signing of Lahore Declaration which had mentioned Kashmir settlement as a key to South Asian peace. Nevertheless, the ensuing conflict over Kargil brought India and Pakistan back to the confrontational path. The Kargil crisis provided New Delhi with another pretext to delay the solution of various Pak-Indian disputes through negotiations. In 2002, India again postponed the process of dialogue owing to the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament. Indian leaders forgot that there is no chance for the success of Pak-India talks in wake of a threatening policy, coercive diplomacy and arm-twisting tactics. This is a lesson particularly for New Delhi to learn from its experience of dealing with Islamabad during the last six decades. For example in 2001-02 and 2008, India failed to secure Pakistani compliance to its illegitimate demands even though half a million battle-ready Indian troops marched up to the international boundary with Pakistan. It is mentionable that despite various crises which were availed by New Delhi in order to suspend the process of negotiations, previous Pak-India dialogue could not produce any result owing to Indian delaying tactics. In this context, Indian diplomats have always tried to make the longstanding issues difficult, intricate and complex, challenging Pakistani stand so that no settlement could be made regarding any issue - especially the Indian-held Kashmir. In the past, although Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India ended their dialogue with a positive note, terming their talks ‘useful’ and vowed that the talks would pave the way for serious, comprehensive and sustainable dialogue between the two countries, yet the same failed without producing tangible results. In this context, Pakistan’s former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had remarked that India was not mentally ready for talks, as it wanted to discuss only selective issues, excluding Kashmir. As a matter of fact, history of Pak-India dialogue clearly shows that India is not serious and sincere in resolving any issue, including the key dispute of Kashmir. Hence, New Delhi has always used one or the other justification so as to delay the peace process. In this context, slow peace process in the Sub-continent is because of Indian obduracy in connection with the Indian-held Kashmir. It is noteworthy that Indian adamant stand regarding Pak-India parleys are not without some sinister designs. In this connection, India is determined to keep its hold on Kashmir. New Delhi wants to continue state terrorism on the innocent Kashmiris who are waging a ‘war of liberation’ for their legitimate rights. It also wants to blackmail Pakistan by stopping the flow of rivers’ water towards Pakistan as major rivers of our country take origin from the occupied Kashmir. In this regard, India has constructed various dams so as to starve Pakistan through severe consequences of shortage of water. However, by controlling the Kashmiri territories, New Delhi intends to get leverage over Islamabad by resolving the dispute in accordance with its own will. One of the major reasons of Indian delaying tactics regarding the solution of Kashmir is that India desires to destabilise Pakistan. Notably, for the last seven years, Pakistan’s various regions have been facing suicide attacks by the militants who entered the country from Afghanistan where tentacles of terrorism exist. For this purpose, India has set up secret training centres in Afghanistan where its military personnel in collaboration with RAW have been imparting training to youngsters. Regarding various terror-events, ISPR Spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and other TV commentators have repeatedly indicated Indian involvement behind the attacks - saying that terrorists “are the enemies of the state” and “are mercenaries who receive arms from Afghanistan to destabilize the country.” With the tactical support of some foreign powers, New Delhi has been trying to weaken Pakistan which is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. For this aim, particularly, India is supporting insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and separatism in Balochistan. In these terms, Indian delaying tactics regarding Pak-India dialogue are part of a conspiracy against Pakistan. In such a situation, it is false hope as some political experts think that unlike 1997-98, the present attempt or recent cricket diplomacy to settle Kashmir within the framework of the new dialogue including other issues may have a greater chance of success. The fact is that India resumed the present peace process under international pressure, especially of the United States. In this context, Indian political party, BJP has already indicated that the Congress-led government re-initiated the ongoing Pak-India dialogue under American duress. Besides, by fulfilling the formality, Indian rulers also want to show to the western countries that India is willing to settle all the outstanding disputes with Pakistan, including the thorny dispute of Kashmir. Realistically speaking, recent meetings between Pakistan and India would not produce any breakthrough or positive result unless New Delhi abandons its deliberate delaying tactics, and determined to reduce the trust deficit between both the countries and put the derailed peace process back on track to settle the key issue of Kashmir. Returning to our earlier discussion, these are misperceptions of the WikiLeaks in line with the western propaganda about Pakistan and its Army that Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had been a major obstacle to an India-Pakistan deal on Kashmir. In fact, it is Indian intransigence and delaying tactics which are the real obstacles in the settlement of Kashmir dispute.
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