- DG ISPR draws a line in the sand
While BJP leaders and Indian generals continue to issue chauvinistic statements, what ISPR chief Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said in his maiden press conference on Thurdsay in Rawalpindi was reflective of Pakistan’s desire for peace. He maintained that there was no space for war between the two nuclear powers as it would lead to unintended and uncontrollable consequences. He however made clear that Pakistan was well-prepared to respond swiftly to any act of aggression by India.
India is ruled by a highly irresponsible and desperate leadership that can go to any extreme to implement its agenda, be it domestic or regional. There is a need for a consistent and innovative diplomacy to foil the BJP government’s nefarious plans. Pakistan’s embassies in important countries should be directed to expose India’s designs while the federal government has to use every international forum available to it, or even Western think tanks, to expose Modi’s warlike policies. It should also send delegations of Pakistani parliamentarians to clarify Pakistan’s stand to their Indian counterparts. It should miss no opportunity to use informal channels to reduce the tensions.
Pakistan has highlighted the Kashmir issue, including the unprecedented repression in Indian-Occupied Kashmir. The valiant struggle of the Kashmiri people over the last few years has attracted the attention of the world media as never before. With the help of China Pakistan managed to bring the issue to the UNSC after decades. As the ISPR chief put it, we stood with the Kashmiris in the past and will do so in the future.
The Taliban-US peace deal has not been reportedly shared with Pakistan. General Babar has however hoped that it would have a positive impact. While he maintains that Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan are cordial, this is not always reflected in the statements issued by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani or several opposition leaders. The frequent closure of borders too tells a different story. The incident last year in Leeds after the Pak-Afghan World Cup cricket match was reflective of tensions at the public level also. There is a need for a policy review aimed at promoting better understanding.
One would agree that Pakistan’s journey from terrorism to tourism is highly impressive. Unending terrorist incidents in Balochistan however should remind us of the dangers of complacency. Unless there is constant vigilance, the threat could re-emerge once again.