Peace and development go together. As things are, there is a global need to evolve a common culture and an understanding to find ways to survive with dignity, free of fear and full of enthusiasm for good of humanity. All nations need internal harmony to defeat terrorism. At the end of the day, all wars today are carried out to benefit the war industry. Proxy wars have wreaked havoc with poor populations around the globe. Wars aim at destroying and then reconstructing, a strange logic of power struggle and hegemony.

Proxy wars are an instrument of maximising gains for the war industry. Those who die fighting for the big fish at various levels make peanuts for all their hard work. Tensions continue to rise, poverty grows, life standards decline and hopelessness overpowers the masses. The agents of “war-makers” continue to prosper. Those seeking peace need to cooperate to find ways to survive with dignity.

The controversy raised over CPEC is rather embarrassing for Pakistan as well as China. When policy decisions are made, details are always worked out later. So what is the problem? Projects like Kalabagh and CPEC need to be handled only by experts.

Addressing reservations of some quarters who do not even understand the nature of the CPEC project is rather premature. CPEC is a multi-dimensional development project which will benefit the whole of Pakistan through connectivity that will ultimately bring prosperity to the whole region. The rights of the people of Balochistan will be duly taken care of in all dimensions. We have to raise difficult questions about problems that India continues to create for us, especially by supporting terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistan bashing is the favourite pastime of Indian leaders. This has gone unchecked because Pakistan has never adopted a tough stance to inform the international community and especially powers that matter, about Indian activities and support for terrorism in parts of Pakistan and from across the line of control.

Because of differences among political parties and groups representing none but themselves, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad got upset. In an unusual move, the embassy asked political parties to address their differences so as to create an enabling environment for the completion of CPEC. A spokesman of the embassy made it clear that the Chinese were ready to work with Pakistanis to actively promote construction of CPEC Projects aimed at bringing tangible benefits to the people of Pakistan and China. Obviously there are political and strategic decisions involved on which Pakistan and China need to work together, keeping in view the implications in context of Pakistan’s internal and external political environment and international relations. How this scenario is going to impact the Kashmir aspect remains to be seen. Maybe looking at things positively will ultimately benefit Pakistan and create an opportunity for peace and security for the region.

It is important that the Prime Minister takes the opposition parties into confidence and that a workable strategy is evolved to make CPEC a success. Open and transparent communication, as the Chinese statement suggests, is the way forward. It has to be kept in view that delays add to the cost of doing business. CPEC is a business proposal. And we need to understand that.

The Indian airbase attack may or may not threaten talks with Pakistan. It really does not matter. Even if the secretary-level talks are held, the focus from Indian side will be on terrorism alone. For them, Kashmiris are terrorists and not freedom fighters who seek their right to self-determination.

Pakistan has to keep up its resolve to fight against terrorism in its entirety. Much has been lost on both sides of the Indo-Pak border. Attacks on Pakistan’s GHQ, PNS Mehran and Kamra Aeronautical complex should be seen in the same vein as the one on Pathankot base in India. The plague of terrorism has affected the whole region. Instead of pointing guns at each other, India and Pakistan need to evolve a new perspective to hunt the real enemy for the sake of peace and stability of the region.

Every time something happens in India, the authorities there insist the infiltrators came from Pakistan. They have never given any proof and have never realised that Pakistan is fully engaged in fighting militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA and other tribal territories. It is also fighting against the wave of terrorism in other areas of the country, including Karachi, where paramilitary personnel are busy to get rid of terrorists and criminals and to restore law and order.

It is unfair of the Indian media to point fingers at Pakistan’s army as an “entity steeped in subterfuge and forever at cross-purposes with the civilian government”. They should recall the undeclared Agra declaration of 2001 - a personal legacy of former President General Pervez Musharraf. He could not have ordered something to torpedo his personal legacy. The civil-military approach to India has always been to seek peace and friendship. We want a way forward in the recent initiative shared by Nawaz Sharif and Modi.

Leaders of both countries have to realise that war is no option. Confrontations must come to an end. Reforms are needed in India as well as Pakistan in the context of the elite culture that only looks inward and is a barrier to change.

Pakistan is interested in restoring peace in Afghanistan and has accordingly suggested creating conditions to incentivize Taliban away from violence; sequencing actions and measures to pave way for direct talks with Taliban. Senior Pakistani, Chinese and the United States officials joined Afghan officials in key talks in Islamabad the other day to explore options to bring the stalled peace process back on track.

The writer is a former director NIPA, a political analyst, a public policy expert and an author.

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