“There is no flag large enough

to cover the shame of killing

innocent people.”

–Prof Dr Howard Zinn

 

Historians agree that major underlying causes, which resulted in the outbreak of the First World War, were ‘nationalism, imperialism, arms race and an alliance system that repressed and bullied the smaller states’. The consequences led to the death of 17 million people, and even more wounded.

A 102 years on, it is unfortunate that we seem to have come full circle, especially where the belligerence of bigger state bullies is concerned. In the context of Pakistan-India relations, three out of those four causes perfectly fit the current scenario.

This ever-repetitive circle of allegations and war threats, aggressive posturing that lies beyond the realm of rationality to ‘thrash’ the other, simply to reassert/reaffirm the narrative of being a major power is at play again by India, particularly in the aftermath of the Uri attack.

As Pakistan successfully continues to fight its war against violent extremism and terrorism in the form of operation Zarb-e-Azb, external threats to its territorial sovereignty and integrity are mounting on its borders, bothon its Western, and recently on the Eastern, fronts.

India is strategically increasing pressure on Pakistan under the premise of its Kautilyan policy of encirclement.

Following the Uri attack, the world is witnessing the jingoistic Modi regime -infamous for the Gujrat massacre of 2002 - thumping its ’56 inch chest’ once again while chanting slogans of war, and blaming Pakistan for perpetrating this attack without any concrete evidence.

The hyper-nationalist right wing regime, instead of answering for and addressing the atrocities that are being committed by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir since July 8th and have left more than 120 innocent Kashmiris dead, is currently engaged in a war of words with Islamabad, putting humanity to shame in Indian held Kashmir. Issuing statements to the tune of ‘revoking’ the Indus Water Treaty or surgical strikes inside Pakistan not only reflects a dangerously irresponsible policy mindset, but also echoes the ramblings of an unstable regime caught between the rhetoric of ‘Shining India’ and making the world cognizant of the ‘greatness of India’.

For a country, which is an aspirant of a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as well as the largest country within South Asia, India has little to show for its perceived ‘greatness’. History bears witness to the fact that India has had border clashes and disputes with all of its seven neighbor states, barring none, exposing its heinous face and aggressive ambitions time and time again.

Today, this ‘aspiring leader’ has opened a multi-front war against Pakistan.

The biggest offense right now is directed against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The $46 billion dollar flagship project by China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, even after nine months of its inauguration, is still not acceptable to India. And to highlight its unacceptability and official policy to actively sabotage the progress on this mega-project, India is working on a multi-front strategy. From actively changing its maps to include the area of Gilgit-Baltistan in its domain, to removing the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed zone by declaring it an integral part of State of India, to the Indian officials registering their concerns with the Chinese Premier, to including Azad Kashmir under its own borders, to starting a Baloch language radio channel from an All India Radio station, to the Indian PM acknowledging how India is sympathetic to the people of Azad Kashmir, Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan; little can be said in India’s defense in the face of these facts.

The Modi regime needs to place blame somewhere, because it has failed spectacularly in fulfilling its promises. India is not only struggling with their efforts to sustain their grip on Kashmir but with the terrible truths of its political and military failures in Kashmir, its inability to quell indigenous uprisings and oppression by the means of brute force alone, its incompetence in asserting itself on the world stage and in the region as a major power, and its ineffectiveness in providing a raison d’etre for why Modi’s “achaydin” are nowhere on the horizon, as well as failure in being answerable to its public and explaining the catastrophe which is Indian state policy today, as we have seen in a recent survey in which over 50 percent of Indian citizens disapproved of Modi’s Pakistan policy.

India is playing a dangerous game in this highly volatile region. If New Delhi wants to further its ‘Doval Doctrine’ by increasing covert activities and expanding the presence of Kulbhushan Yadavs in Pakistan, then the country should remember that India also has an unresolved Junagadh, Khalistan, Naxalite and many other insurgency movements within its own territory, and has high stakes in maintaining regional deterrence.

This said, let me reiterate that we at least are cognizant of the fact that war is never the answer - it is not a solution, but if a constantly belligerent tirade against Pakistan is continued from New Delhi in its vow to ‘isolate Pakistan in the world’, then as the Newton’s third law of motion states: every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Perhaps this will keep the Hindutva diatribe in check, which, it seems, only understands the language of power and strength.

Pakistan is getting tired. Tired of the Indian diatribe, tired of being the only one interested in establishing peace in the region, tired of the one-sided efforts to consistently propose and maintain strategic stability in the region. After all, for how long can the people of Pakistan be expected endure this direct affront on their state before they start pressurizing the government to issue a strong rebuttal – a ‘tit for tat’ response, if you will?

The Indo-Pakistan region houses more than 1.5 billion people who deserve better. A blame game will not strengthen our schools, economy or public health. ‘Blame will only destroy progress. Blame will breathe more violence’. Blame will not rid us of our problems but will only fuel the hatemongers on both sides causing more long-term harm than good. Let us seek then to move beyond the current stalemate, for the sakes of the millions of lives and futures at stake.