Optimistic Zardari, But How Long?
by Nayyar Hashmey
The recent video conference by the President was a well thought out approach—stitch in time and a piece of statesmanship. In a world marred by terrorism and a history wrapped in mistrust on both sides of the sub continent; it has been like cool breeze in a blistering desert.
While taking down this preamble, I do give in, when AAZ took oath as a civilian President, I had a good number of reservations about his having come into power, especially in view of his past record which apparently is smeared with certain scams involving our President as the key player in the wheeling dealing he reportedly had during two stints of power in the premiership of her late wife. As a matter of fact I still have a lot – yet the latest footage of his video conference shows the man does have a vision at least on country’s foreign policy.
In the past, both counties have been in a state of perpetual aggrandizement. The havoc caused upon people and economy during successive wars was colossal, though India – to a large extent did come out of their effect on its economy, it wasn’t so with Pakistan. Interjections of military Raj, the war in Afghanistan and post 9/11 terrorism seriously hit the economy.
There are stark differences between the two over Kashmir, on bilateral trade, on SAARC and on a south Asian approach over international issues, but that doesn’t mean they should continue fighting on these issues. A new millennium has already dawned. Lot of changes have taken place. The world has entered an era where many things, events and happenings (which in yesteryears were engulfed in thick smoke screens) have started getting transparent, because of revolution in information science and allied disciplines; last but not the least, the compulsions of economy are such that many warring nations now take a very different course to what otherwise their history would demand. Traditional foes in Europe; France and Germany who fought one war after another sometime in the Saarland, another time in Alsace and Lorraine, Italian versus Austrians, the British and the French rivalries, all have been done away with. And all this, to reap economic benefits through collaborations instead of fighting wars, because wars eat up resources, men and many a time the countries’ geographical borders too. Economy defines their road map now. Therefore, these countries are gradually turning towards a United States of Europe. A similar road map can equally benefit the south Asian nations as well. But to achieve this objective, both need to come out of their historical rigmarole, the biases, the prejudices. Once this is done, President Zardari’s initiative especially the core theme of his address (quoting her late wife Benazir Bhutto) on ‘little bit of India in every Pakistani and a little bit of Pakistan’ in every Indian should beckon the subcontinent to enter a new era of collaboration, an ambition that can guarantee this subcontinent a permanent peace and prosperity.
And now the Mumbai Bombings:
While taking down these lines, all of a sudden, the news flash before me of the Mumbai Taj Hotel blasts and firing by some militants supposedly belonging to an Islamic religious outfit called Deccan Mujahideen. It’s so tragic that whenever Pakistan and India think of coming closer to each other, a hidden hand starts sabotaging the whole process.
Whereas it’s yet to be seen who the culprits are, regrettably the Indian Govt. have started blaming Pakistan. Best would be a joint investigation by officials of Pakistan and India to find the culprits, and whoever they are, they must be brought to book because killing innocent civilians whether in Pakistan, India or anywhere else is a heinous act which no sane person even with a bit of morality would be able to condone – whatsoever reason, whosoever the perpetrator!