A man with fake identities and seemingly having a preference for touristing in the most war-torn, inhospitable province of Pakistan was arrested by its security forces, not many days ago, and labelled as an Indian RAW agent. So confident were the security forces of the said allegations that, the news was taken action upon from higher ups in the bureaucracy and polity. The country’s foreign minister, pursuing directives from indeed the highest of the highest, summoned Indian High commissioner Gautam Bambawale and lodged a ‘strong protest’ against his presence and related spying activities. Pakistan has been very vocal in pointing at India for supporting the nationalist opportunists in Baluchistan who have been demanding separation from the green flag. India, as goes the popular claim, along with Afghanistan is involved in an international conspiracy, one that has Star Wars elements if we are to believe Rehman Malik, to break away the country into bits and pieces. The rules of the game border around chaos and anarchy. Apparently, were these two countries to stop their activities, both chaos and anarchy will disappear from the Pakistan scene. Apparently so.

The Indian foreign office admitted that the caught individual was indeed part of the Indian navy some years ago. He retired, it is claimed, and has not been associated with the country’s power and intelligence corridors since. It’s funny they would say that. First, Balochistan is hardly the best choice for a retirement resort. The man could have gone anywhere. Why would he chose, arguably, one of the most lawless localities of the world? Moreover, are the Indians forgetting who their audience is? Pakistan too has been walking the same line, dancing the same tune as their Indian counterparts. Here too, army or being part of it, is not a job; at least not in the professional sense. It is, some would flaunt, a lifestyle. I would go for the less flashy word: philosophy. But, this is a different type of philosophy. It is not an individual’s musings for those can be ignored or expected to disappear in the working of things. This is an institutional philosophy one which the individual cannot escape even if he wants to. However, it’s really a volunteering pursuit so you don’t really want to escape it anyways. Back to the arrest in question, the Indian authorities cannot possibly expect the Pakistani forces and decision makers to take their claim seriously and stop pointing fingers at them. The spy was indeed part of the Indian navy and must therefore still have contacts and relations with the brass of the country. Pakistan has had its own cadre of ‘retired’ army personnel who continued to be, at more than a few times, even more powerful than the serving cadre. I, of course, point towards the late General Hameed Gul here. Dead now, the man when alive, was a more convincing mouth piece of the army than ISPR itself. Or at least, the best mouthpiece of the dirty and powerful amongst the army.

So, it is not an exaggeration when Pakistan would insist that the individual captured was indeed part of the Indian spy agency, the Research and Analysis Wing of the Indian army. Okay, so we have proof. Now what? For one, the security forces should be smart about it. Arresting him and creating aloud scene on it was hardly the smartest of moves. Now the Indian foreign ministry has demand access to him. If we are to maintain the sanity that has prevailed in the Indo Pakistan relationship since the last year, we would be expected to allow the access. Not bound of course, for Pakistani army can rarely ever be bound, but expected. A smarter move would have been to connect the dots first. All the news media are now carrying a reminder of what Mir Sarfarz Bugti said a year ago on India’s raw being responsible for the turmoil in Balochistan and for supporting the nationalist elements. All newspapers carry the same news. Nothing more. The security forces could have done much better than this. They could have documented evidence first and then shamed India in front of the world. But, as we are with cars that run on water, we are too proud of our achievements. At times even more than we should be.

Does this capture change anything? Hardly so. Everyone knew the foreign involvement in Balochistan for it was natural. You leave something uncovered and not taken care of and pests will invade and make use of your disregard. Pakistan has ignored Balochistan so much so that it has created the space for such involvement. This is, as goes the clichés, a symptom and not the problem. Balochistan does need to have more avenues and space so that it can avoid being pushed to the corner and relying on such ridiculous measures. That said, India does need to remember that these are not the days of the past anymore. India does need to understand that this dirty game that it has been playing (so has Pakistan, for the record) will only cause the region harm. Nothing more; nothing less.