It is imminently evident that Islamabad refuses to blink even after heartfelt outreach to invite the heads of neighbours by Prime Minister designate Narendra Modi. When all the SARRC nations have accepted invitations and decided to make their presence by sending their top delegates. it seems that Pakistan is playing in to the hands of terrorist outfits and hardliners in the military regime of the country.
Only the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina is not attending the swearing-in ceremony of NaMO since she is pre-occupied with her scheduled visit to Japan on Monday itself. The decision to invite Sri Lankan President has drawn flak at home as Jayalalitha called it “unfortunate” in connection with the burning Tamil issue. Congress, on the other hand, has flagged this invitation by the BJP as “being carried away by Lok Sabha polls”.
The anti-Indian mindset, which is predominant in the extremist groups in Pakistan, has always tried to foil the bid when either of the sides stepped in to come closer to each other for talks.Rajiv Gandhi in 1984, followed by his successor Narasimha Rao in 1989 and then NDA led government headed by Atal Behari Bajpayee in 1999 and now by Narendra Modi, as and when they attempted to push forward the talk process, the extremist groups backed by ISI, have always grounded the process. In all the four occasions, the Talibans have launched attacks on the Indian soil to further separate the two states from coming closer.
The attacks, either by Taliban or Lasker-e-Toiba, and the support they enjoy from Pakistani agencies indicate the complexity of dealing with India. It is obvious that there are many players in Pakistan who are detrimental to any kind of normalization of ties between the two countries.
Just three days before Modi’s swearing-in ceremony, the strike at Herat in Afganistan is an indication that the ‘cross border terrorism’ is not going to die easily. Under pressure from hardliners, the Sharif government is in a dilemma whether to attend the swearing-in or not.
In a statement that was vetted by Modi, the government blamed the “cowardly” attack on Pakistan backed terror groups that are operating in Afghanistan. Pakistan, too, condemned the attack, saying “no cause justifies targeting of diplomatic missions”. Islamabad also said that they are deeply relieved as there is no loss of lives to any Indian diplomat.
How the Pakistani government are scared about the extremist groups is clear when LeT chief Hafiz Saeed publicly warned Sharif that a visit to India would be a betrayal of the Kashmir issue. Sharif has not decided as yet to visit India but Pakistan foreign ministry is in favour of his accepting the invitation; even the opposition leaders have stood up in support of his visit.
The attack on Herat embassy in Afganistan-Iran border is seen as an attempt by Taliban to resist India from nurturing the war affected Afganistan also. India has invested over $2 billion in Afghan projects, including roads and power projects which India is determined to complete. The anguish and anger by Taliban on India is also due to its pact with Afghanistan in arming their security forces after Nato troops withdraw from there.
Is Pakistan listening to what the common general people of the two countries are thinking ? Problem lies with the Pakistan parliament who are bogged down by the military command and the ISI. The civil government has to establish the functions of the judiciary and then can walk on the soft path of democracy.