Prime Edition

PM’s generosity to Pak difficult to understand
  13th Nov 2011

rime Minister Manmohan Singh believes in making big gestures to Pakistan. In September 2006 he equated Pakistan with India as a victim of terrorism, in Havana. He let an embarrassing reference about Indian involvement in Balochistan creep into the Sharm-el-Sheikh joint statement in July 2009, much to Pakistan's glee, and Delhi's shock, since the accusation was incorrect. At this week's Saarc summit in Maldives, Dr Singh described Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as "a man of peace", who could help "write a new chapter in the history of our relationship." He offered Pakistan trade sops and took many other steps that will help build "trust" and take interactions back to pre-26/11 levels. The Prime Minister also described Pakistan as a victim of terrorism by saying "terrorism is a perennial concern and it now affects Pakistan also". All very well. But Dr Singh left the nation wondering, once again, whether he has taken one step too far, when the response from Islamabad is duplicitous at best.

It is virtually impossible for any Pakistani Prime Minister to be a "peacenik" without abandoning the war for Kashmir, one of the fundamental aspects of Pakistan's India policy. Has the Gilani government changed this implicitly if not explicitly? Returning to India an Army helicopter that had strayed into Pakistan territory is not evidence; real action means giving up the use of terror as policy, which Pak generals are not willing to do.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Pakistan as a victim of terrorism by saying “terrorism is a perennial concern and it now affects Pakistan also”

Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's statement that non-state actor Ajmal Kasab should be hanged for his involvement in 26/11 is tokenism. The question is whether Pakistan is willing to take any action against Hafiz Saeed, one of the masterminds of the operation and the fundamentalist who sent Kasab to Mumbai. Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), has resurrected himself as the head of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which Pakistan has removed from its terror list. Malik stonewalls every Indian query on the matter with a "Where is the evidence?" The dossiers that India has given to Pakistan on Saeed do not count, nor does the Interpol red corner notice against Saeed for his involvement in 26/11, or the United Nations Security Council list that has JuD as a terrorist organisation. It is obvious that Pakistan will continue to use its "non state" actors as its army in the proxy war against India.

s for Pakistan being a victim of terrorism, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent blunt assertion should settle the matter: "You can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect it to only bite neighbours." So what makes Dr Singh so generous? Perhaps he knows something we do not, in which case he should share it with the nation. Every sensible Indian wants peace and friendship with Pakistan, but not at the cost of justice.

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