Reeking of hegemonic pretensions, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid’s statement of Friday is a harsh and unmitigated snub to Prime Minister-elect Mian Nawaz Sharif who, in his enthusiasm for patching up with New Delhi, suggested the other day that he would normalise relations with India and for that would visit that country even if he was not invited. Mr Khurshid’s command: only raise issues that admit quick and easy solution and not rake up those disputes, over which nothing could be expected to turn out, an obvious reference to Kashmir on which his country has shown no flexibility over its illegal and illogical stand. Thus, he put paid to Mian Sahib’s message to the Indian High Commissioner when the latter called on him to felicitate on his election victory that he would like to thrash out with the Indian leadership disputes between the two countries on the basis of sovereign equality. The tone and tenor of Mr Khurshid’s remarks reflected anything but equality. It was that of a dominant power. That should serve as a lesson to Mian Nawaz Sharif who is unduly fascinated with India and cherishes memories of the visit of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to Lahore when, he somehow continues to believe, they had made tremendous progress towards resolving disputes, including Kashmir, and the stage had been set for friendly relations and Kargil spoiled the show

The Indian Foreign Minister listed his country’s grouses about the Mumbai ‘culprits’ not being punished and maintained that even to this day Pakistan was harbouring anti-Indian terrorist cells on its soil. In the face of these false and unproven charges that New Delhi has persistently been making, it was nothing but pusillanimous attitude of the PPP-led political setup to have kept quiet or at best remained apologetic. Incomprehensibly, it failed to hammer home to the world India’s vicious role in aiding and abetting dissident Baloch to raise the flag of independence as well as fomenting trouble in Pakistan’s tribal region.

The Indian attitude must have, one hopes, made Mian Nawaz wiser. Besides, he should remember that Kashmir continues to be a bone of contention without whose just and equitable settlement it is idle to think of developing normal bilateral ties. An unresolved Kashmir has given birth to untold inhumanities borne by the Kashmiris at the hands of Indian armed forces. And then, water stealth by India poses an existential threat to Pakistan, just as visualised by Quaid-i-Azam. Islamabad simply cannot afford to acquiesce to and accept New Delhi dictation.