Engagement with Pakistan

Engagement with Pakistan amounts to capitulation – Panelists

By S M Pandit

April 2011


Jammu, April 10:  India-Pak Engagement: Squandering the Advantage India-Pak engagement at the government as well as track-2 level came under sharp criticism at a seminar “India-Pak Engagement: Squandering the Advantage” organized by Panun Kashmir and presided over by the prolific writer Prof. Hari Om. The panelists were unanimous in launching scathing attack on the recent initiative as they were of the opinion that India squanders the advantages and any engagement with Pakistan is destined to fail as long as Pakistan treats India as enemy No. one. The speakers alleged that a section of people across the spectrum in politics and power corridors and amongst the intelligentsia are working in tandem to compromise the national interests and engagement with Pakistan or separatists is the reflection of the same mentality.

Initiating the proceedings Sh Man Mohan Khajuria, Former DG J&K Police and prominent thinker, described creation of Pakistan as artificial that is nourished on hate-India campaign and said that no engagement is fruitful unless the trust deficit is addressed. He described creation of Pakistan as a tragedy in the history and added that since its inception it has followed the policy of deceit and denial. Sh Khajuria said that despite well wishes from our side Pakistan responded with attack on J&K and aggression continues. Accusing Pakistan of breaking promises and agreements, Sh Khajuria said, “ Pakistan has respected only two agreements- Indus Water Treaty and Cease-fire. Indus Water Treaty is heavily loaded in favour of Pakistan and Cease-fire suits it as it helped it to shift forces to other areas but continues with infiltration and launching pads.”

Ex. DGP said that a ray of hope was ignited when Manmohan Singh and Yousf Raza Geelani met at the side lines of SAARC Summit at Thimpu in last April and identified ‘Trust-deficit’ as the core obstacle in successful pursuance of Indo-Pak peace process but regretted that India again blinked when Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna announced yet again in Thimpu in Feb. 2011 that ‘The very fact that the two Foreign Secretaries met is certainly an indication that solid foundation has been laid for getting the two countries on sustained engagement’ without addressing the issue of trust-deficit as there has been no movement on demolishing terror infrastructure or export of terrorism. Referring to the oft repeated assertion of India about strengthening Pakistan, Sh Khajuria said, “India should make it clear that it wants to strengthen Pakistan that is secular, democratic and friendly and not that Pakistan which is enemy as that will be suicidal.”

Enlisting advantages of India, he said that India is a huge country with largest Army and economically better than Pakistan. He regretted that despite advantage, India gave away territory and more than 90000 forces back to Pakistan without achieving anything and only thing is that the ALC was changed to LoC.Warning against any compromise, he said that the people at the helm of affairs are just trustees and have no authority to gift away even an inch of land and should be guided by the unanimous parliament’s resolution on PoK. Making a clarion call to the masses, he said that we should not become party to any plot by the act of omission and should serve as sentinels to safeguard the interests of nation.

Sh O N Trisal, President ASKPSC, in his brief speech enumerated advantages that India surrendered since Independence, accused present govt. of internationalizing the closed chapter of Kashmir by its attitude and appealed the general masses to come forward to protect the sovereignty of the country as the political leadership is not in a mood to preserve the same. Sh Trisal rued accepting ceasefire when our forces were defeating aggression and taking the issue to the UN and gifting away Haji Peer. Launching scathing attack on Manmohan Singh govt., the octogenarian Pandit leader said that Kashmir was a closed issue but the attitude of the present government opened the issue and referred to PM’s statement and Sharmal-ul- Sheikh terming Pakistan victim of terrorism. He appealed the nationalist forces to rise and fight as they fought British imperialism and force the GoI to change its policy vis-à-vis Kashmir and added that the leadership is not in fighting mood and people should save Indian sovereignty and Kashmir must remain an integral part of India.

Captain S K Tiku in his speech, loaded with wit and humor but based on ground realities, expressed his surprise on the obsession of India for Pakistan which is a theological state, the creation of hate India campaign and treats India as enemy No. one. Recalling his participation in war, Captain Tiku said that he got an Urdu Primer from the territory that was won by India but gifted back through Tashkand Agreement. He said that in the Primer the Urdu alphabet KEEF stands for KAFIR (infidel) and symbolized by the picture of a Hindu and ZOY for ZALIM (cruel) symbolized by a Sardar and added that such is the foundation of their education and wondered what image Pak PM would have drawn when he met Manmohan Singh as Geelani is post-independence born. Sh Tiku questioned the logic of candle light at Wagah border mostly by refugees from Pakistan and attributed it to the slavish mentality syndrome. He appealed people to be the ambassadors and educate people about the real picture of Pakistan whose command is slowly moving to the rabidly communal forces.

Prof. Dipanker Sengupta, Prof. of Economics at the University of Jammu and an expert on International political economy and Industrial organization, was of the opinion that India has always been defensive and reacting to Pakistani actions. India should assert itself and set the agenda for any engagement with Pakistan. He said that in both types of engagements, at the government level or the track-2, we don’t know what we have to achieve and are defensive while Pakistan is committed to its agenda and dictates the terms. “The story of Indo-Pak talks is a story of losing track in parallel tracks of dialogue. It is now a matter of record as to how both the GoI as well as Indian side of parallel diplomacy have never been able to seize the initiative or set any agenda during such talks. India has always been defensive or seems to be reacting to Pakistan or Pakistanis are doing or saying,” he rued. He alleged that a section of intellectuals is arguing on behalf of Pakistan.

Terming Pakistan a failed state, Sh Sengupta said that Pakistan is a danger for the world peace and what we experienced in 1990 in Kashmir, America experienced in 2001 and even friends like China are not safe as activities in Skiang have definite  Pak connections. He said that India has to assert itself and say in unequivocal terms to Pakistan that hostile and fundamentalist Pakistan is unacceptable to India and Pakistan has to change its character. “We must talk of the text books, put forward agenda for federalization of Pakistan as we cannot deal with the authority that does not have the authority as the centre of power lies with Army. If we plan and strategize our talks, we can create context for talks,” he said.

Dr Ajay Chrungoo, Chairman Panun Kashmir, in his address, described engagement with Pakistan as capitulation and added that what is happening is not an aberration but deliberate attempt by a section in power corridor, political class and civil society as they lack vision about Indian nation and termed happenings in Kashmir as an element of bigger process of disintegration. He said that a normal state should have taken a definite course but as regards Pakistan, it looks that India is capitulating. He said that some happenings in our immediate neighborhood and across the globe should have made us happy but what we witness amounts to surrender. “Terrorism in Sri Lanka has declined; there is less hostility across Bangladesh; statistics of last four years suggest that there is less jehadi violence in India; jehadi trajectory has turned towards Pakistan and the Arab world is in disarray. But we are following a policy that amounts to surrender,” he said. He regretted the stand taken by Indian PM at Sharmul-ul-Sheikh that was articulation of Pakistani stand and described his oft repeated stand about rendering borders irrelevant or Vajpayee’s statement about neighbors cannot be changed having major implications and not mere diplomatic posturing. Chrungoo said that when we have no commitment to defend the borders and if we cannot think of changing anti-India character of Pakistan it means that we lack vision about sovereignty of the nation. He termed it oxymoron to defend the sovereignty by sharing sovereignty making a reference to the Musharraf formula that envisaged shared sovereignty over J&K. “Govt. of India seems to have embarked on a mission of crafting a retreat from J&K and that is what guides it while dealing with Pakistan. In a situation where Pakistan is in internal disarray and Anglo-American block is busy in Middle-East to salvage its relations in the region, Government of India embarking on dialogue with Pakistan on Pakistan’s terms can be explained only as self-laceration. It seems that protecting Pakistan and bailing out separatists is the policy objective which GoI is pursuing. Such a situation happens when the leadership is deeply alienated from the national perspective,” regretted Dr Chrungoo.He said that there is a deliberate attempt to ignore Ladakhi Bodhs, Kashmiri Hindus, Jammuites and those Muslims who believe in India and it is not Congress specific but extends from a section of BJP to Congress as they think we can win Muslim votes by giving away Kashmir. The Pandit leader said that Anglo-imperialist tendencies. Chinese imperialist ambitions and Pakistani ambitions are working in tandem and that is why Obama described India as Chinese sphere of influence. He appealed people to sensitize themselves to the internal insults to the national unity and prepare for protracted struggle to defeat the designs of freaking up the country.

Prof. Hari Om, a prolific writer and political thinker, in his presidential address described Pakistan an unnatural formation at the brink of disintegration, pointed to the policy vis-à-vis Pakistan that amounts to the negation of India as a state but asserted that India is a strong nation and will defeat any conspiracy to dent the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation. He said that what is happening in Kashmir and in relation to engagement with Pakistan is clear indication that a section is influencing that does not take India as a nation but conglomerate of Nations. Questioning the wisdom of engagement with Pakistan and its timing, Prof. Hari Om Said, “Prime Minister of India has to explain why he overlooked the national sentiment that is against engagement with Pakistan whose single-point agenda is to fulfil the unfinished agenda of partition and that is annexation of J&K and dismember India.” He regretted that instead of defending and promoting national interests in J&K, the central government is furthering the agenda of sepratists and Pakistan. He ended his speech on appositive note and said that Indian nation is very strong and you cannot defeat it. “What we witnessed in last four days during Hazare’s campaign and a nation that is not ready to lose even a cricket match is a testimony that Indian nation is strong and cannot be defeated,” he asserted.

The Proceedings were moderated by Sh Shailendra Aima, Vice Chairman PK, and vote of thanks was proposed by PK General Secretary Sh Kuldeep Raina.