By Umer Ali
During his visit to Bangladesh, Modi confessed of Indian involvement in the armed rebellion in Bengal which led to its separation from Pakistan. As anticipated and quite naturally, fuming rejoinder came from Pakistan, calling for International community to take notice of his statement.
Just when Pakistan was abuzz with Modi’s statement, Indian Minister for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in his proclamation said, “We will carry out surgical strikes at the place and time of our own choosing”. “Western disturbances will also be equally dealt with,” he further added. Responding to his statement, Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif said, “None should dare to cast an evil eye on Pakistan”. A similar statement came from the Interior Minister, Ch Nisar Ali Khan as well.
Going by such remarks from high profile officials, it looks like the tension between both countries is extremely high with no one looking to take a step back.
In Pakistan, after the above mentioned statements, public sentiments are high with social media platforms full of hate comments against India. While I fully condemn Indian rhetoric, I’m of the belief that we need to look at our own past as well before making hue and cry over India fighting proxies inside Pakistan. Let’s take a look back.
What we have been taught in our textbooks is that coward Indian forces attacked Lahore in the darkness of the night but Pakistan Army defended its frontiers and stopped them right on their tracks. The fact of the matter is quite different.
Named after one of the most incidents of Islamic history, Pakistan started Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir. Army guerillas were sent into the Indian occupied Kashmir with the objective of instating a rebellion. Pakistan, like Tariq ibn Ziyad had destroyed all means of going back. The reaction came from India and it was sudden. It led to a full scale war and both countries were left exhausted in only 17 days, thus agreeing upon ceasefire.
About the separation of Bengal, we have been taught that India, along with the help of Hindu Bengalis staged a rebellion against Pakistan, thus snatching it from Pakistan. What we aren’t told is that although India helped Mukti Bahini, it’s not only due to their help that East Pakistan got separated but it was the sheer neglecting of Bengalis in the central policymaking and not giving them the equal rights that led to the separation. We have also been kept oblivious of the fact that Pakistan Army killed the Bengalis indiscriminatingly and committed the atrocities of highest levels even against women and children.
In 1999, General Parvez Musharraf decided to conquer Kashmir by launching an attack on Indian posts. The move that was kept hidden from most of the higher echelon of Army, as well as the civil government received a massive retaliatory attack from India and Pakistan Army got stranded in the snow-covered peaks while no backup reached them. Apart from the insufferable losses, Pakistan also endured humiliation from the entire world as Nawaz Sharif; the then Prime Minister had to rush to US to stop the Indian advances.
We lament the Indian involvement in fighting proxies inside Pakistan while conveniently forgetting our own involvement in Afghan Jihad and our endorsement of ‘Talibanization of Afghanistan’. We cry hoarse over India being aggressive while completely overlooking our own aggression against India. We condemn India sponsoring separatists in Baluchistan while appreciating ISI for helping Sikhs in Khalistan Movement.
While we must condemn India’s aggressive stance against Pakistan and fighting proxies, we must also denounce the Jihadi proxies our deep state have cultivated over the years. We must voice our concern over the involvement of Pakistani establishment in flourishing the non-state actors who have time and again acted against India and other neighbors.
People on the both sides of the border need to understand that war is not a solution to their problems. Both countries need to accept each other’s reality and existence. They have to stop hating each other and focus on developing a relationship based on mutual respect. Modi led BJP government needs to realize that giving anti-Pakistan statements may get them good PR but it will hurt the sincere efforts of peace-makers on both sides as the truth is that only a stable Pakistan is beneficial for India and vice versa.
Umer Ali is an aspiring journalist. He believes in a tolerant and progressive society. He reads and writes about Pakistan and its history. He tweets at @iamumer1