Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, after having failed to get him to attend his inauguration as PM and being spurned in his desire to visit India, even without an invitation that must be viewed as a success. India has its own agenda which seems to be to present Pakistan in a bad light. The expected breakfast meeting of the two PMs was cancelled. But to add insult to injury, there was no joint communiqué, not even a joint press conference. The two leaders agreed only on one thing – violation of the LOC was unacceptable.

On his way back from New York, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked the pressmen, “Is there an alternative to talks”? He probably meant that ‘war’ would result if there were no talks with India. He could not be more wrong. At present neither India nor Pakistan are ready for war; the game in which they are engaged is diplomacy. The alternative to allowing India to get away with every excess and insult is to speak through actions that deliver the message to India and the world that Pakistan would not put up with their agenda or their attitude.

The thing to do is not to get mad but get even. We should denounce SAARC as an instrument of Indian hegemony, renounce its membership and establish bilateral (or multilateral if possible) friendship and defense treaties with members other than India. Order a judicial inquiry into the Agartala Conspiracy and other anti-state activities leading up to and during the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War.

We should also withdraw the High Commissioner in Bangladesh in protest against death sentences awarded for helping the Pakistan Army in 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. Stop PIA flights to Dhaka. Stop bus and train service and PIA flights between India and Pakistan. Stop giving visas to Indian nationals except diplomats and officials. Stop Indian aircraft flying over Pakistan territory until a plebiscite is held in Jammu and Kashmir.

To warn India that Pakistan would take any action necessary to stop India for building dams on River Indus, Jhelum and Chenab in compliance with the Indus Basin treaty. End the composite dialogue until the disputes over Jammu and Kashmir and River Water is resolved. In all the above Pakistan stands to lose little, certainly less than India. India has much more to lose by its policy of bullying neighbours and asserting its domination by a show of “getting away with” every excess and injury.

Pakistan is the largest and most powerful among the neighbors of India except China. All of them expect Pakistan to stand up to the bullying by India. Surely there is an alternative to talks, which includes ‘no talks’ and the ten measures listed above.

USMAN KHALID,

Lahore, October 7.