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Opinion

October 12, 2013

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Disengage

India’s lame-duck Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to the United Nations with an agenda against Pakistan. This was a carefully designed agenda. All speakers on India’s independent media were briefed in advance.
Not one of them deviated from the script. Indian diaspora writers working for known international journals were activated. They launched a hate offensive, diverting the attention of India’s poverty- and disease-stricken citizens from a rotting economy and repeated Indian army failures in occupied Kashmir and the eastern insurgency zone.
The carnage at a Pakistani church in Peshawar a day before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reached New York was designed to embarrass Islamabad in the west, ease pressure on the Indians to talk on Kashmir, and ruin Sharif’s visit.
Then, violating known norms of diplomacy and decency, the Indian premier and his team launched a tirade against Pakistan just before meeting Nawaz Sharif. Manmohan’s speech to the UN General Assembly was packed with straight-faced lies not supported by any evidence. He told President Obama that Pakistan was sending terrorists across the ceasefire line in Kashmir. His foreign minister, a Muslim mouthpiece, gave an interview to VOA, a US government agency.
The ‘interview’ was little more than propaganda that the Indians are known to share with anyone who’d listen. It was surprising that VOA, a paragon of journalistic ethics, would choose to act as a vehicle for unverified Indian disinformation.
The lies of the Indian prime minister and his foreign minister were exposed when, two days after Manmohan’s speech at the UN, one of his subordinates, the number two commander in the Indian Border Security Force, told Indian journalists the latest attacks against Indian occupation soldiers in Kashmir could not have originated from Pakistan thanks to an electric fence that Musharraf allowed India to build along the ceasefire line.
The lie that the Indian prime minister

tried to peddle at the UN found no buyers. And beyond VOA helping the Indians assail the ISI, no American official agreed to publicly support Manmohan’s anti-Pakistan statements.
In the upcoming Indian elections, the Hindi-speaking ruling minority in New Delhi is again whipping up anti-Pakistan hysteria to win elections. The Hindi-belt has just witnessed the worst religious riots in decades.
Hundreds of Indian Muslim families are forced to sleep in fields for fear of hatchet attacks at night by Indian extremists. This happens just 80 miles north of the Indian capital. Over the weekend, five Indian Muslim women have been raped. How should Pakistan respond to Indian provocations?
First, Pakistan should disengage from India on dialogue and peace talks, citing the Indian warmongering and dissemination of hatred at the official level. We are comfortable with the level of bilateral trade and other forms of engagement. Those should continue. We should tell India that our doors are open when it is ready to make real progress.
Second, Pakistan should use its civil society and media to engage with non-Hindi-speaking Indians. The anti-Pakistan charge in India is almost exclusively concentrated in the Hindi-belt of the north, which is home to riots and recent rape cases too. The rest of Indians do not share this mess. Most of them are sick of northern Indians’ obsession with Pakistan and China and the spread of hate against minorities.
Third, we should start talking openly about Indian terrorism in Afghanistan, Balochistan, Waziristan and Kashmir. The capture of Indian terrorists inside Pakistan, like Sarabjit Singh, and the pictures of Indian ‘diplomats’ meeting TTP terrorists in Afghanistan are fascinating stories that the world must hear. [Make sure this is not done by appointing Maulana Diesel to head the Kashmir parliamentary committee. Get creative, please].
Pakistan is in a mess right now. We have pressing domestic issues and this is no time to pursue dialogue with a warmongering and belligerent India. Our bottom line should be known to New Delhi and our door should be open to talk concrete peace when the Indians are ready. But not before.
Email: [email protected]

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