Two speeches on near similar Independence Day’s displayed the stark contrast in vision between India and Pakistan. Imran Khan, whose speeches must have been dictated by his army chief only harped on Kashmir, India and hatred. He dedicated his speech to Indian actions in Kashmir and included threat of war, ethnic cleansing and counter strikes to terrorist attacks on Indian soil. He has continued this rant till date including on social media.
There was not one word on pulling Pak out of its economic mess, managing its rising inflation and high unemployment figures. It was as if these were normal and expected in the nation. There was no effort to explain the performance of the Government and what he hoped to achieve in the coming year.
This despite the nation facing its worst economic crises in decades and being forced to beg from anyone,while foreign exchange reserves remain on the brink of collapse. Every other time he has spoken, he has been accusing earlier Governments for the mess and him alone attempting to solve it.
His speech was simply diverting minds of his gullible public, making them believe that the Pak army and nation has just one goal, amalgamation of Kashmir, despite Pak being even unable to cater for the needs of its current population. It was a speech dictated by the deep state, aimed at justifying the army’s budget and power and that it would never accept any dissent.
With every action targeting Kashmir in recent days, Pak was desperately seeking to recreate an anti-India feeling within the nation. While it kept projecting hate against India on one hand, it continued to mention talks on the other. Regular mention of imminent war was aimed at enhancing the standing of the army, which has only been facing setbacks on every front, LoC, Baluchistan and against the Pakistan Taliban. There was no mention of curbing terrorism which is what has placed the country on the brink of collapse and the FATF blacklist looming large.
Imran appeared to have no choice but to back the army as he is ‘selected’. His reiterating Indian threats appeared to bind a nation fractured by poverty, rising inflation, curbs on press, arrests of top opposition politicians and unemployment.His insistence on adopting the diplomatic route to counter India was because the army had stated its lack of preparedness and shortfalls in capabilities.
It has been highlighting even small words of praise as a major victory. The closed-door discussion in the UN, which India did not even refer to has been projected as a victory. Clearly, desperate measures to cool growing internal tempers.
On the other hand, Modi in his sixth consecutive speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort never mentioned Pak. He spoke of the need for amalgamating the nation, justifying his actions of removing Article 370, development, population growth and multiple other aspects. The intention was to brief the nation on actions taken by his Government and his plans for the nation’s future. Pak and its rantings were ignored. There was no mention of war or any threats from Pak.
The only indirect reference to Pakistan was the impact in the neighbourhood by nations employing terrorism as a part of state policy. He stated the government’s position, which was to expose such nations, though he never mentioned Pak by name. There was no statement of striking back with force to terrorist misadventures by Pak. On the contrary, he spoke of Afghanistan and stated, ‘Afghanistan is a good neighbour of India, and I wish the country for celebrating 100 years of independence this year.’
The two speeches indicate the difference in maturity and thinking of two leaders as also the difference in outlook between the nations. India is looking forward to development while Pakistan continues to harp on enmity and hatred. India seeks to bring its population out of poverty and concentrate on aspects which impinge on it becoming an economic power, while Pakistan seeks to compel the nation to continue accepting suffering while power amongst a few enhances and the military continues to exploit the limited funds available to Pak.
India seeks its rightful place in the world and thus attempts to reach a USD 5 Trillion economy in the next five years, while Pak struggles to manage its balance of payments. India seeks to remove issues which trouble its population, while Pakistan asks its population to accept sufferings and poverty only because Indian threats loom large.
For India, Pakistan and its rantings remain a pinprick, which it ignores. For Pak, everything is linked to India. It cannot think beyond India. The suffering of its population, its water shortages and even its dwindling economy are all linked to India. For Pak, India is the end of all its troubles.
In this scenario, can Pak ever grow as a nation. Can it ever improve the plight of its population? Very unlikely. Unless the nation has leaders with a vision, who can see and think beyond their nose, look beyond just war and threats, they will continue to be ignored and struggle to survive.
In the present environment, where the army ‘selects’ the Prime Minister and his cohorts and those who challenge are placed behind bars, nothing can ever change. The nation will only preach its population to continue suffering, while the army top hierarchy will gain more power and push the nation downhill.
The future of Pak will remain bleak, its population will continue to suffer unless the fake outlook of the deep state is exposed. This, in a nation, where there is no freedom of expression, human rights are suppressed and bloggers and media personnel forced into oblivion, can never happen.Hence, Pak is doomed to fail.
The author is Major General (Retd)