Amidst the deafening sabre-rattling and finger-pointing over the conflict in Kashmir and the nosedive in relations between the two countries in the backdrop of death sentence awarded to Kalbushan Yadav, Prime Minister Nawaz has again reiterated the desirability of peaceful coexistence between Pakistan and India, part of the ‘peaceful neighbourhood’ narrative of the PML-N government, which it was pursuing with honesty of purpose.

Addressing the graduation parade of engineering, air defence, navigation and logistics courses at the Pakistan Air Force Academy he said, “We want peaceful neighbourhood. Cooperation rather than conflict should be its hall mark. Shared prosperity rather than mutual suspicion should be among its defining features. Pakistan for its part will never hesitate to extend the hand of friendship to all and shall never waver from returning goodwill with even more goodwill.” While extending an olive branch to India he also made it unequivocally clear that Pakistan could not afford to remain oblivious to defending its sovereignty and protecting its independence.

No person in his right mind can take exception to what the Prime Minister has said in regards to amity with India. Conflict and never-ending animosity between the two countries is mutually destructive. The narrative evolved by Pakistan is not only visionary but also an indispensable imperative which is inextricably linked to peace and security in the region as well as attaining the goals of shared regional prosperity. But as they say, it takes two to tango. The unilateral actions on the part of Pakistan and its innate desire for peaceful neighbourhood will not bring transformation in the regional security environment. It requires matching reciprocity by India.

But it is regrettable to note that India instead of responding to positive overtures by Pakistan for orchestrating the much needed bonhomie between the two countries, is feverishly engaged in the arms buildup and harbouring the desire to establish hegemony in the region encouraged and supported by a global power and its allies. Indian disposition towards Pakistan steeped in ever burgeoning animosity, its intransigence to remove the irritants that bedevil relations between the two countries including the core issue of Kashmir and involvement in fomenting insurgency in Balochistan and acts of terrorism within Pakistan through its agents pose credible security threat to Pakistan. Consequently it has perforce to take steps for defending its sovereignty and protecting its independence as rightly remarked by the Prime Minister. Pakistan opted to go nuclear in view of India attaining the nuclear capability threatening its security. Similarly it had to embark upon the missile programme to counter the Indian doctrine of ‘cold start’ which is Pakistan specific. Pakistan as a sovereign state has the right to do everything that it possibly can to ward off threats to its security. The policy of minimum nuclear deterrent pursued by Pakistan is actually strengthening stability in the region. Nevertheless Pakistan does not want to enter into an arms race with India and wants the resolution of all disputes with her through dialogue to create an ambience of peaceful co-existence.

The Indian threats to Pakistan in the wake of death sentence awarded to Kalbushan Yadav saying tha the was son of India and it would go to any extent to save his life, amply prove her involvement in fomenting terrorism within Pakistan as well as demonstrates its double standards. Ajmal Kasab, which India alleged was a Pakistan involved in the Mumbai attack, was hanged after dismissal of his appeal by the Indian President. India claimed that the sentence to him was given according to the Indian laws and it had the right to deal with cases of terrorism and sabotage they way it did. Kalbushan Yadav is a serving officer of the Indian navy who was assigned the task of supporting the insurgents in Balochistan and sponsoring acts of terrorism in other parts of the country, particularly in Karachi. After his arrest he confessed his crimes. He is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people who died in the Indian sponsored terrorism. Pakistan has dealt with his case according to the law of the land as it has the right to do so like India did.

The threats hurled by India cannot and should not dent the resolve of the Pakistan government to fulfill the demands of justice. Kalbhushn deserves no mercy and must be executed as per the sentence after meeting all other legal formalities to send a loud and clear message to India as well as her supporters that Pakistan has zero-tolerance for terrorism and anybody involved in such acts within its territory would meet the same fate.

The Modi government in India is not letting go any opportunity to raise the bar of enmity with Pakistan. It has been crying hoarse from every convenient roof-top to malign and isolate Pakistan holding it responsible for acts of terrorism in India whereas the truth is that India herself is involved in sponsoring acts of terrorism within Pakistan on which dossiers have been presented to US and UN Secretary General and other capitals are also being sensitised on the issue. In the wake of the re-emergence of freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir India even stag-managed incidents like Uri to divert the attention of the world community from the atrocities that its security forces were committing in the valley. But all her evil machinations have failed to subdue the uprising in occupied Kashmir. The people of occupied Kashmir have repeatedly given a strong message through their sacrifices and rebellion against Indian occupation that they would not settle on anything less than the exercise of their right of self-determination. The people of occupied Kashmir boycotted the sham by-elections on the call of the Hurriyet Conference and reportedly the turnout was merely 5%. The Indian security forces reportedly have killed twelve people who were protesting against the elections.

India must read the writing on the wall. The saner voices in India and the former Chief Minister of occupied Kashmir Farooq Abdullah has categorically acknowledged that the situation in the valley was very precarious and there was no way out of the quagmire other than talking to Pakistan. The sooner this realisation sinks in the minds of the Indian leadership the better it would be for India, Pakistan, people of Kashmir and the entire region. There is no escape from this ultimate reality. Pakistan, as demonstrated by the present government, is fully convinced about the indispensability of conflict-free relations with India and other neighbouring countries. It has been making relentless efforts to promote Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation in Afghanistan and has also made positive overtures towards India to resolve the disputes between the two countries. India needs to realise that both Pakistan and India can not afford to tread the path of confrontation forever as they both would be the losers in the end. Sanity must replace madness.

While extending an olive branch to India he also made it unequivocally clear that Pakistan could not afford to remain oblivious to defending its sovereignty and protecting its independence.