By Ahmad Karim
Pakistan-India relations foundation was set on animosity. Since their independence, both countries are engaged in scuffle for their regional gains and power.
The first war they fought was in 1948, just after their independence in 1947. They name it Kashmir war. Albeit any of them gained power in it but both countries common men suffered copious. Suffered in terms of economy, arts, literature et al. but who cared?
Proxy war is their facile tactic. Formally they engaged in 1965 again and this time they fought mainly in Punjab. After many days of furious battle both countries, India and Pakistan, realized that they should redeem their relations.
The days were never good in Dhaka in 70’s. There was palpable mistrust and confusion which led to revolt, revolt against tyranny. In that war,  Pakistan lost its eastern part. It was a lose-lose situation for Pakistan, now limited to its western part only.
Till Kargil war, they kept engage in proxies. On almost every of bomb blast they both alleged each other. But suffered who?
This time that was different. Different in a sense that the world experienced the war between two atomic powers. It was a concern for the whole world and they mediated immediately after both Pak-Ind indulged in formal warfare.
Both Pak-Ind bowed to their mediation but took fun out of proxy war. In the first decade of 21st century Pakistan and India both witnessed major, impactful terrorist attacks. If I name a few, India had an attack on its parliament and an attack on Mumbai. Whereas, Pakistan had an attack on its armed forces GHQ, Mehran airbase and an attack on a school in Peshawar in 2014, namely APS.
Every time they intended to friendly their relations some rouge elements jumped in to derail the gumption.
The latest development in Pak-Ind relations is inciting my hopes for peace and friendly milieu. After the Kargil war and especially Mumbai attacks, India-Pakistan relations were never so cordial. How sweet it sounds when the on-duty ministers of Pakistan and India speak of trust and continuance of the step taken by both countries Prime Ministers?
After the terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase in India that took more than 10 Indian lives, everyone was dubious of the future of the positive steps taken by both countries NSA’s to redefine Ind-Pak relations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stopover in Lahore to gift and wish the birthday boy, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is also an inimitable event in the history of Ind-Pak relations.
After Pathankot attack, India provided Pakistan ‘actionable intelligence’ regarding the attack on the Pathankot airbase and demanded satisfactory follow-up action by Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif assured Narendra Modi that Islamabad would not hesitate to take “prompt and decisive action” if the involvement of Pakistan-based elements in the attack on the Indian airbase was proved beyond doubt.
The leads that India provided suspect JeM. As JeM is proscribed in Pakistan, Jaish and its leader, Masood Azhar, have managed to keep their heads under water for long. The last time Masood Azhar was found in public, it was in Peshawar when Mosood was addressing a gathering for Afzal Guru’s death anniversary last year. If JeM managed the Pathankot attack, its capacity to go its own way is highly questionable.
The initial report sent by Pakistani authorities to Indian officials is being taken as satisfactory by Indian Home Minister. He said, after receiving the initial report, “there is no reason to distrust Pakistan’s assurances that it will take action against those responsible for the Pathankot attack.” One of the Indian minister said, “Pakistan has suffered from terrorism more than India and that Pakistan does not support terrorism.”
Lately, Pakistan Prime Minister Office [PMO] said the government wants to send a team of special investigators to the Pathankot airbase in India for further investigation. In a statement, the PMO also confirmed the arrests of several members of the Jaish-i-Mohammad militant group, which India suspects of involvement in Pathankot airbase attack.
Well such developments are enamoring but also raise suspicions. After Mumbai attacks, Pakistan faced extreme pressure from international community, same is the case in Pathankot attack too, to put the planners/handlers of attack under trial but we have seen how that case is being dragged. There is no logical conclusion to the Mumbai case almost after seven years of the attack.
The questioners ask question that how that case would be handled? It seems that the civilian government of Pakistan is willing to solve this conundrum but is the military establishment going with the same idea? Will they take decisive action against their protégés? Only Nasir Janjua’s commitment to redefine relations are not enough.
The U.S. is urging India not to respite dialogue. NATO countries consider the intelligence supplied to be credible leads if not conclusive evidence. This time Pakistan doesn’t need to be the object of ridicule and ignominy. A repeat of the Mumbai stand-off would be a set-back for this regions peace initiative.
If JeM is behind Pathankot attack and its leader, Masood Azhar, is the prime suspect, then that leader must be punished irrespective of its relations with intelligence establishment. My hopes are high.
I’m sure that Pakistan’s military establishment has learnt a lot from the hostile relations with its neighboring country, India. And that they’re ready to punish the perpetrators. Some of the arrests of JeM’s members signing green.
Both Pakistan and India now must benefit their countrymen. They now must fight together to eliminate poverty and mutually must provide opportunities to improve the literacy rate in the region, which would be extremely beneficial for both countries.
It’s time for both the states to rethink what they really want. The persistent scuffle and suffering for both countries and region’s common men or they want to see them prosper. No non-state actor is an asset for any country.
India must not use Afghanistan’s soil to support terrorism in Pakistan and Pakistan must not use its own soil to support terrorism in India. Hope both countries NSA’s meeting expected before foreign secretary level negotiations is positive.
The love of war is demon’s dream.