Pakistan doddering, all set to collapse

If Pakistan does not find an honourable way of returning what is rightfully India’s land, there is no reason why Delhi would not choose the other available options.
Keywords: Kashmir, Pakistan, War, Article 370, POJK, Sovereignty, Army, Constitution
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When the Supreme Court of India gave its verdict on a bunch of petitions pertaining to Article 370 on December 11 (Monday), Pakistan was quick to say that it won’t accept the verdict! Seriously, who in India bothers, or even cares, whether that Pakistani government has anything to say about Jammu and Kashmir now? For all we know, Pakistan can keep parroting the line that Kashmir is its “jugular vein’’ but it is nothing if not baying at the moon.

When jackals howl at the full moon in an open field, neither its brilliance diminishes nor does it come within their grasp. The majestic moon  continues its journey, spreading its radiance on the firmament. Our western neighbour tried to drum up support for its lost cause by raking up the issue before the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC). Dutifully, some members of the OIC obliged, saying a few words here and a few words there about J&K. 

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) treated the feeble OIC statement with the contempt it truly deserved and did not deign to even name its mover. Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar did not find it worthy of a comment and left the issue to the Ministry’s spokesman Arindam Bagchi. India’s self-confidence comes from its strong diplomatic ties with OIC members like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and many others. 

What has Pakistan to offer to wealthy OIC members, other than going to them with a begging bowl and asking for deferment of debt repayment? Islamabad requests these nations to supply oil for free or on credit and give alms in the name of Islamic solidarity. In contrast, most OIC members want to engage with India on several fronts, be it in trade, scientific and technological cooperation or defence. 

For several decades now, we have heard that Pakistan is a failing state but that assessment is almost outdated as it has already failed in many ways. We can say that it is a failed state as the government’s writ runs nowhere except perhaps within the State offices. The country looks a bit like the national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) which doesn’t have fuel to fly its aircraft on designated routes! 

Pakistan is as failed a state as its failed Election Commission which could not conduct elections to the national assembly on time. Even now, there is no guarantee that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will have the money and manpower, to hold elections anytime soon, despite claims to the contrary. Pakistan is as big a failure as Imran Khan who sold the dream of Naya Pakistan. 

We need to just look back at the events of fifty years ago when East Pakistan ceased to exist and the new nation of Bangladesh was born on December 16, 1971. It needs to be recalled that the first free and fair elections were held in Pakistan in the year 1970, long after its birth in August 1947. Pakistan then miserably failed to honour the verdict of those elections and hand over power to Sheikh Mujib Rehman who had won a clear mandate.

Of course, Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal and some may say that it still makes it a potent adversary of India. But is that true? No, it is a falsehood perpetuated by Pakistan’s Army which has only prevailed against the Baloch, the Pushtoons, the Sindhis and the Mohajirs but never against a real Army and which got worsted whenever it faced the disciplined Indian Army, be it in 1947-48 when the Indian Army was moving ahead but halted in its tracks by Pandit Nehru, or in 1965, in 1971 or in the 1999 Kargil war.

Of course, Pakistan played havoc in many parts of India, mainly in J&K and Punjab through its terror proxies but post-Pulwama February 2019, the dynamics changed. The irreversible change brought by that watershed moment means that Pakistan will pay very heavy costs for any future misadventure. The suspension of trade with India has further pauperised Pakistan and it dodders from day to day trying to feed its teeming millions.

It is interesting to hear Nawaz Sharif making public statements in political rallies about trying to improve relations with India when he comes (back) to power. On a couple of occasions, Sharif has also talked about how Prime Minister Modi had invited him to his first swearing-in ceremony in May 2014, or how Modi had come unexpectedly to his Lahore house during his first tenure. Unfortunately for Sharif, Modi 2.0 acted differently vis-a-vis Pakistan and there is no reason to believe that Modi 3.0, if he is reelected again, is going to change his policy.

Pakistan will do immense good to itself if it stops talking carelessly about Jammu & Kashmir. It also needs to think of how best to engage India in talks about returning Pakistan-Occupied Jammu Kashmir (POJK). Going by what has happened so far, it is fair to assume that India will now move firmly towards reclaiming POJK which Pakistan took by force in 1947-48. If Pakistan does not find an honourable way of returning what is rightfully India’s land, there is no reason why Delhi would not choose the other available options.

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Sant Kumar Sharma

Sant Kumar Sharma is a Jammu based journalist.

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