Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Irreversible Peace

Woolmer, Inzi and their boys did indeed triumph at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, but who was the victor of the diplomatic play-off in Delhi?

Before answering this question let us digress a bit.

Question: Taking into account the money and lives expended in the 1948, 1965, 1971 and Kargil conflicts, what did we really achieve?

Answer: Zilch. In fact we ended up losing half our country and bankrupting the remainder.


One cannot escape the reality that from the very birth of Pakistan the Kashmir dispute has bled the country dry and rendered the vast majority of its citizens illiterate and impoverished.

In the absence of democratic practices, a powerful elite took it upon itself to decide where our national priorities lay. As Professor Stephen Cohen recently wrote "Pakistan’s economic and social problems are, at their root, the product of a strategic elite that placed security interests ahead of economic ones".

Cohen then concluded, “In the past, not only did the military component of Pakistan’s establishment not allow democracy, it did not see that economic reform and social stability were also strategically important for Pakistan in the long run. Now that the long run is here, administrators find themselves running a country that, despite its potential, is decades behind its former peers and very violent and corrupt."

Ironically, while the future of over a hundred and fifty million people was sacrificed, our elite never quite resolved whether we were fighting for the rights of the Kashmiri Muslims or for a piece of real estate - the Vale of Kashmir.

Now don’t get me wrong. I care about the future of the 6 million Kashmiri Muslims under oppression but as a Pakistani, the wellbeing of Pakistan holds a much greater importance.

And so over the weekend ‘irreversible peace’ was finally announced with India. And long may it stay that way.

However, one major difference was wisely glossed over and that was the issue of the LoC. For the record Manmohan Singh asserted that “boundaries could not be redrawn” but he optimistically envisaged a future "borderless border" of the type that France and Germany share today.

For Musharraf to accept the Line of Control as international border would have meant publicly acknowledging the failure of the catastrophically expensive military and emotional effort that Pakistan has expended in the fifty-eight years to 'liberate' Kashmir. So, it is prudent to fudge this issue for the moment.

Looking back, one may theorise that one ‘benefit’ (if one can use such a word) of Kargil was that it forced the Establishment to realise that using direct or indirect military means to shake off Indian control over Kashmir had become an expensive exercise in futility.

So who was the victor of the diplomatic play-off in Delhi?

For once, plain simple commonsense.

1 comment:

Indian said...

I care about the future of the 6 million Kashmiri Muslims under oppression but as a Pakistani, the wellbeing of Pakistan holds a much greater importance.

6 million Kashmiri muslims under oppression? Its a prejudiced assertion. If they are oppressed, why do they take pains to come and vote and elect a government? Why do they participate in the democratic process? They are not forced to vote! And they believe in democracy (which is apparently a big joke in Pakistan). If Pakistan really believes in 'liberating' the 'oppressed' kashmiri muslims, it better has to look first at its own backyard, the Pakistan occupied Kashmir or 'Azad Kashmir' as you wish to call.