When Mr Modi, a radical Hindu extremist responsible for the Gujrat massacre became the Prime Minister of India, we expected a turn for the worse as far as Indo-Pak relations were concerned. This scenario began to unfold with rhetoric, which was in stages ratcheted up, to unprovoked violations on the Line of Control unmatched in frequency and ferocity. While the Pakistan Army responded with speed and effect, an enigmatic silence appeared to have assailed our corridors of power that led to the office of our Chief Executive. I for one, refused to entertain circulating whispers that the ruling family had invested millions of their wealth in a country that had dismembered our eastern wing in 1971 and was ever poised to undo the remaining half at the slightest opportunity. I also refused to believe that by implication, this family could be held guilty of activity that struck at the heart of our national aspirations and was known by another and more implicit name. Today, the circumstantial chain of events is forcing me to pay heed to what were once, in my books, mere whispers.

First, it was the unscheduled visit of Mr Modi to the lordly estate on the outskirts of Lahore to ‘attend a wedding’. The photo session was nothing short of ironic, where a beaming host appeared to be unconcerned and oblivious of the fact that his smugly smiling guest was responsible for spilling Pakistani blood along the Line of Control and acts of terror and insurgency in the country.

A serving Indian Naval Officer named Kulbushan Yadav was arrested on charges of espionage and handling terrorist activity inside Pakistan. He confessed to his crime, was tried by a Field General Court Martial, where he was given full opportunity to defend himself and was sentenced to death. While all this was happening, there was enigmatic silence from the most powerful political office in the land.

The cliché ‘Dawn leaks’ issue erupted, when in a serious breach of national security, proceedings of a highly classified security meeting in the Federal Capital were published in a reputable national daily. It was later ascertained that the information had been deliberately leaked to embarrass a particular institution. While the notion in itself was unpatriotic, real damage was done when the news item force multiplied the enemy’s exterior manoeuvre, casting grave doubts that there were perhaps other sinister motives behind the ‘leak’. A cosmetic action was initiated against three senior individuals (including a Minister), while two key individuals were cunningly absolved. The matter was concluded, when the Army backed away from a confrontation, the only reason for which could be a critical need not to open another front and foil the enemy’s design of projecting it as a rogue organisation.

There was however, more to come in the shape of Mr Jindal’s trip and a meeting with our PM in the seclusion of Murree Hills. There was a spate of rumours following this meeting, lent credibility by the fact that on Mr Jindal’s return, India went to the International Court of Justice demanding a stay of Kulbushan’s execution and provision of consular access. A media report indicated that such action could only be initiated if the ‘victim’ seeking relief applied to his native country under his own signatures to seek ICJ intervention. The report raised some critical questions – did Kulbushan send such an appeal to his government and if so, how? Did Jindal play the role of a courier to carry the document if indeed such a document did exist? Nonetheless, the ICJ heard the case and issued a verdict favourable to India in what can be called unequivocally as a travesty of justice in the face of a pitiably weak and utterly deplorable Pakistani defence, spawning more doubts and more questions.

Now that the dastardly deed has been done, should Pakistan accept the decision? The answer is an emphatic no. There is historical precedence in recent times, where decisions by ICJ were ignored by effected countries i.e. US and China and a clear message of sovereignty was sent to the world by speeding up the execution of the persons concerned. The problem facing us is ‘Do we have a leadership with the guts and the will to take such a decision?’

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.