The prevailing unrest in Pakistan is a matter of concern, not for India alone but for the entire world. A virtually failed and rogue state, Pakistan, today is struggling hard to come out of its political and economic turmoil but factually speaking, no one is going to come forward to its rescue for the simple reason that no nation wants to fish in deep troubled waters. This is a lesson for Pakistan, which since ages had been irking the world, especially India by making its land a safe haven for terrorists, subversive activities and a launch pad for those trying to train and then sneak into this side of the border.
Our late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had long back said in the Lok Sabha, “We can change our friends but not neighbours.” To add to this quote is the fact that if neighbours do not behave well, we can snap all ties with them till they maintain a minimum required prerequisite to conduct themselves as per the law of the land, as per the social set up or as human behaviour demands from neighbours. Pakistan, having gone against all these ethics and principles, has lost all opportunities of being a good neighbour and has today landed itself into a hot soup. This rogue state stands isolated in the world and is looking for a foothold to sustain itself financially.
India, like any neighbour, is bound to keep an eye on the developments taking place in the neighbourhood but so far as the fallout of political and economic crisis in Pakistan is concerned, we do not have to bother much as our borders are safe, economy is growing, development is going on like never before and leadership like that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is strong enough to handle such affairs meticulously. We witnessed crisis in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and now in Pakistan but such unhealthy neighbourhood developments are not at all affecting us in any way, which means we only have to be cautious and not worried.
Just because Pakistan could not set its priorities right, it is today facing such a grave situation. Ever since it came into existence, Pakistan had been crying hoarse over Kashmir issue at all platforms and in order to keep the pot boiling, it had even been financing misadventure to the extent that it is a financially broke state now. All the subversive activities and unproductive spendings besides wrong policies made our neighbour bankrupt. Now that the Kashmir issue stands resolved with abrogation of Article 370 being the last nail in the coffin, Pakistan must reconcile and accept the fact as the international bodies have.
Pakistan’s past reveals that during any crisis it had always tried to divert attention of its people towards the so-called Kashmir issue but now that the Kashmir chapter is closed, Pakistan might enter into another misadventure like violating the ceasefire. This is the only effort it can put in right now for which our valiant soldiers and all the three defence forces are well-prepared. In a nutshell, we need not worry much about this situation developing in Pakistan as what it can do is what we have been countering well. Our borders are safe and secure while Pakistan is neither safe nor secure internally.
Presently, the Pakistan government is trying to take the judiciary head on and its army is trying to keep its former Prime Minister Imran Khan out of the political rink. This internal tussle is taking its toll on Pakistan’s economy and its social set up to the extent that a brazen display of this unrest was watched world over when Pakistanis dared to storm the army establishments and steal whatever came their way, be it strawberries, korma, peacocks, books, ketchup and even artefacts. Shockingly, women looters too were involved in this shameful act of stealing from the homes of army officials in Pakistan.
Ever since its creation in 1947, Pakistan had spent almost 35 years under military rule. Many unsuccessful coup attempts were also made in 1951, 1980 and 1995. In such a situation, nothing much should worry India as Pakistan for the moment is struggling hard to sustain its own democracy. The worry should be that the nuclear state of Pakistan had been harbouring militant organisations and in this time of crisis, its nukes should be in safe hands. Though we are capable of thwarting any kind of misadventure, we still should keep a watch on the developments in our neighbourhood and act accordingly.
Imran Khan, having returned to his Lahore home after having facing chaos and locking himself in the Islamabad High Court premises for the fear of re-arrest, had said, “Pakistan military should form its own political party for jumping into politics and ‘think big’ for saving the country from descending into a complete chaos.” This speaks of the chaos prevailing in Pakistan where nothing is in order and in the tussle between the judiciary, a divided army, and an ousted Prime Minister besides ruling dispensation, all are playing their own trumpet and working hard to upkeep the sanctity of their individual institutions.
Another matter of concern for India should be the mass migration from borders, if situation further deteriorates in Pakistan. Even though our borders are well-manned and there are least chances of such an attempt, we should still stay prepared keeping in mind such apprehensions. Practically, no nation is coming to the economically failed Pakistan where the prices of even essentials are skyrocketing. Strangely, no political dispensation including the ruling elites are ready to take the responsibility of this crisis and are indulging into mere blame-game.
The reserves of Pakistan are also drying up to the extent that it is not able to import anything. If this situation persists, Pakistan will not be able to repay the debt and can slip into the defaulter list. This will further aggravate the trouble for Pakistan which will not be able to seek loan to sustain itself. This must worry Pakistan which is home to almost 24 crore people, and not its neighbours. For us, these developments are crucial only to the extent of waiting and watching but with a special focus on China, which might take advantage of a weak Pakistan.
Terrorist organisations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Tehreek-e-Taliban had always been finding support from Pakistan and having a free run there and in the given situation, where everything there has gone haywire, no nation in the world wants to see an unstable Pakistan for the simple reason that if this state goes into wrong hands, there will be more trouble erupting from that soil.
Another issue is that Pakistan has always backstabbed India and we just cannot afford to keep our eyes off this trouble-maker. Way back in 1999, when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took the first bus trip to Lahore, Pakistan ventured into Kargil but faced befitting defeat. But it didn’t rest here and when in 2004 India and Pakistan resumed their bilateral talks under the composite dialogue process, four rounds of which were held between 2004 & 2008, Mumbai faced a deadly attack in 2008.
Similarly, Agra summit was organised between Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in July 2001 to reduce nuclear arsenals and resolve inter alia the Kashmir issue but negotiations broke down. The same year in December 2001, militants having their base in Pakistan, attacked the Indian Parliament which was nothing but a breach of trust on the part of our neighbour. These are the reasons the Pakistan has reached a stage of collapse today. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown Pakistan its place and concentrated on strengthening our arsenal, Pakistan is on a back foot and scared of doing any misadventure.
Pakistan for the moment should try to come out of its self-created mess, mend its ways, have a stable government, strengthen its democracy, stop aiding and abetting terrorism, flush out militancy and then think of entering into any kind of agreement with India. Meantime, this must be understood that the Indian government has given a free hand to the army to deal with any situation developing on the borders. In the words of former PM Vajpayee, who had said this on different occasions, “Our nuclear weapons are meant purely as a deterrent against nuclear adventure by an adversary. Indian democracy’s greatest strength is that we have always put the nation above politics.”
(The writer is Bharatiya Janata Party J&K Executive Member)