Tuesday August 09, 2022

‘India bent upon sabotaging Pakistan’s strategic interests’

By our correspondents
August 25, 2016

  Ex-diplomat Shahid Amin says India’s policies seem to be geared towards derailing CPEC


Former Pakistan ambassador Shahid Amin has said that India seems to be hell-bent on sabotaging Pakistan’s strategic interests and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has violated all international norms by bringing up the question of Balochistan in his Independence Day speech.

He was speaking at a seminar titled “Emerging Dynamics of Peace and Stability in South Asia: Lessons from Europe”, which was held at the Area Study Centre for Europe, Karachi University, in collaboration with the Hans-Seidel Foundation, Islamabad, on Wednesday morning.

He pointed out that of late there had been a marked deterioration in Indo-Pakistan ties with the total shutdown in the Indian-occupied Kashmir and Modi was shifting the blame on to Pakistan.

His stance on Balochistan, he said, was opening up a Pandora’s box.

Indian policies, he said, seemed to be geared to sabotaging the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “Unless India and Pakistan overcome their bitterness, there can be no progress.”

Talking of the plus points in India’s emerging dynamics, Amin said that India had a very large population which was a great advantage as regards manpower, but India still was a poverty-riddled country. China’s alliance with Pakistan, he said, was an eyesore for India.

Since partition, he said, Kashmir had become a real tinder box. Kashmiris were hostile to Indian domination and India accused Pakistan of interfering in India’s “internal affair”, but then “we mustn’t forget that Kashmir is a disputed territory”, said the ex-diplomat.  

He condemned the big powers for turning a blind eye to Kashmir.

Professor Bettina Robotka from the Humboldt University in Berlin, who had flown in especially for the seminar, speaking in the context of the European example, said that we could not go outright to juxtapose the example of European integration with South Asia.

“The European Union is quite in trouble today. Europe has 51 independent states and the EU is an attempt to unite Europe into a common market,” she said. Integration also meant dependence and things must not be allowed to go wrong, she said. 

She laid strong emphasis on a viable institutional framework for integration. There, she said, was a misunderstanding that economic integration could be brought about without a sound political situation. The countries had to be brought to a common ground politically. 

She called for seeing things in the proper historical perspective and in this regard commented that Pakistan was created as a Muslim majority state and not as an Islamic state.

She said that in case of integration, the strongest state had to cede power and resist the urge for domination, a prospect that could not be seen on the Asian horizon.

She also outlined ways and means whereby Fata could be turned into a border trade haven allowing for free access to trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

University faculty member Professor Dr Mutahir Ahmed lamented the role (or the lack of it) of Safta (South Asia Free Trade Association) and said that the region continued to be a “prisoner of the past”. 

He also criticised previous regimes for isolating themselves from the rest of the world and in this regard termed the projection of the Kashmir liberation movement as Jihad and support of the Taliban by previous regimes two massive blunders of the former regimes.

However, he said that while the Safta had not yet played any worthwhile role, it held great promise for fruitful cooperation.

In her hard-hitting speech, a former head of the Karachi University’s Political Science Department, Dr Tanveer Khalid, called for a vigilant regional policy, taking cognizance of India’s malicious plots emanating from Afghanistan. 

She cited the example of the Franco-German great peace whereby, after centuries of squabbling and wars, the two countries had decided to bury the hatchet which turned out to be to the mutual benefit of both countries and provided a lead to the rest of Europe to pursue integration.

Prof Dr Uzma Shujaat, director of the Area Study Centre for Europe, adroitly described the objectives of the centre and the contribution made by it in the field of research. 

In her very erudite discourse, she reminded the seminar of the lack of integration in South Asia. She maintained that the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline could be a real catalyst to regional cooperation and a stepping stone to the stabilisation of Afghanistan.

Former Sindh governor Lt-Gen Moinuddin Haider presided over the seminar and interspersed the speeches with his own witty comments and information on so many aspects which he was privy to first as a general and then as governor of Sindh