On his Twitter account, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has stated that “it’s a shame that we (India and Pakistan) spend money on weapons” and also said words to the effect that the nuclear weapons of both the countries were sufficient to destroy each other over and over again. It is worth pointing out that these reflections came about in the wake of his visit to India where he also sojourned to Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti’s shrine at Ajmer.

His optimism, particularly with respect to relations with India, overlooks some of the fundamental realities but also reinforces his stature as a beginner in the field of politics, given to emotional statements. His idealism given that he is in his salad days might be understandable but it is a worrying trait in the chairman of one of Pakistan’s biggest political parties, that is in power at the moment. Secondly, it is only in utopia, where one can live without weapons and expect enemies not to attack. We have fought three conventional wars with India because of its belligerence, that has its roots in its forcible and illegal occupation of Kashmir immediately after partition. Talking of nuclear weapons, he must not forget that it is Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent that has prevented India from taking it on. Our nuclear capability has minimised the likelihood of a war, and though ironic as it might seem, they are agents of peace nevertheless. There are instances when India avoided open confrontation owing to the fear that Pakistan would hit back with full force. Equally important is the fact that the nuclear arms race was triggered by India’s detonations in 1974 that forced Pakistan to follow suit. New Delhi has also been spending a lot on other lethal weapons as part and parcel of its strategic plans against Pakistan. Our survival lies in keeping ourselves strong enough to successfully foil India’s machinations.

Bilawal’s speech in Islamabad on Monday also revolved around the theme of peace. He particularly emphasised that the youth of the country want peace and prosperity. However, peace at the cost of one’s dignity which in our circumstances is tantamount to surrendering in front of the enemy is also not acceptable to the youth. A scion of the Bhutto clan and grandson to fearless Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he would do well to study his grandfather and mother’s political histories before embarking on penning his. There is no harm in asking for peace but it can only come when outstanding conflicts including the core issue of Kashmir are resolved keeping in view the criterion set by the UNSC resolutions of 1948 that explicitly grant the right of self-determination to the people of the Valley. We want Bilawal to be our ambassador in that worthy cause, not just in recommending a one-sided peace.