It was a quiet morning in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan, Pakistan on 13th of April, 2017. All of a sudden there was huge uproar and bystanders could see a naked body being dragged across the campus and beaten with sticks and stones. The mob did not feel then need to stop even after knowing that the person was dead. Probably their anger was looking to wrap itself around the body’s bones by replacing flesh and blood. The body was of Mashal Khan, a journalism student; ‘accused’ of writing and propagating ‘blasphemous’ content. It is completely irrelevant fact that he was a devout Muslim and was running a campaign against the corruption within university.
Couples of months later, the law minister of Pakistan, Mr. Zahid Hamid had to resign under pressure from government. His mistake was that he was ‘accused’ of bringing in legislation that would soften the electoral laws. The protestors claimed that proposed bill was ‘blasphemous’ because they weakened rules requiring politicians to refer Prophet Mohammad while taking oaths. The price of this error was paid by deploying paramilitary forces to disperse the protestors who went on a rampage, destroying the public property. It also took couple of lives by firing from the forces.
There is a pertinent reason as why these two specific instances have been quoted in context to ‘Future of Indo-Pak relations’. Rising above the scotch-immersed ‘Aman Ki Asha’ concerts and going weak at the knees for Fawad Khan & Atif Aslam, the stakeholders of Indo-Pak peace must have a keen eye on the storm that is raging within Pakistan and is bound to engulf its so-called democratic set-up any day and thus spilling over the consequences into India’s cup. The present day scenarios are grave enough to force the strategists to white-board to chalk out a future-proof strategy to deal with the double-trouble coming India’s way. The Pakistan Army which virtually controls the nation, is quietly making Pakistan a colony of China while the common masses, long deprived of basic rights, are busy burning their sanity on the altar of religion. With India geographically surrounded by China and its colony from 3 sides, there is not much to guess as what is in store for a nation where a sizeable population has been culturally and religiously deflected to act against the interest of the nation. Probably by that time India would have lost every bargaining chip to negotiate a peaceful co-existence.
It is a serious contemplative time when the policy-shapers need to realize that the ‘top-down’ approach in terms of dealing with Pakistan has not yielded satisfactory results. The need of hour is a swift & precise ‘bottom-down’ approach that would bring China to the negotiations table and simultaneously building up assets deep within the Pakistan(read Kashmir & Baluchistan) province to always have an ace in its sleeves. This is right time when India can use China’s ‘communism’ to counter Pakistan’s ‘religious extremism’. The cultural & linguistic advantage which we possess over Chinese would make it easier for us to take our words across the border in a seamless way. Rising up as a strong & liberal alternative in region would always pay back in rich dividends.
The time has come when India needs to stop visualizing its relations with Pakistan as a bilateral affair. However painful it might be to accept, the reality is any foreign policy without taking China into consideration will be far from being effective. The future is the present now & it is going to be worse. We might be going gaga over not maintaining cricket ties with Pakistan or for not exchanging sweets with them on Republic and Independence Day, but the reality is ‘They don’t care’. Their sinister plan is into operation while our people take out protest march against government stand toward Pakistan. We continue laying wreath on the dead bodies of our jawans while elected representatives of J&K assembly openly shout ‘Pakistan Zindabad’. The future expects us to wake up from the slumber and realize that if we at all want to see our coming generations flourish on this land, it is us and only us who needs to sort this out. The mere expectation from Pakistan to be a part of peace-process is suicidal and unwise.
Burying our head in the sad doesn’t make us immune to the catastrophe sprinting toward us, does it?