Masood Sharif Khan Khattak
Pakistan and India will never go to war again, because, if they do, both will become history. Therefore, they must now strive to bring about a new South Asia, devoid of conflicts. Pragmatism must now prevail over emotions emerging from history and religion.
The notion expressed by some Indian and “international think tanks” claiming that while India will not be totally destroyed in any nuclear war, Pakistan will be completely annihilated, is a fallacy.
Let it be said in very unambiguous terms that both Pakistan and India, will perish if a nuclear war breaks out on the Subcontinent and from the ashes of that war will emerge many smaller countries based on blood borders. Decision makers in Pakistan and India must, therefore,ensure that the existing tensions do not drift towards an immensely destructive war.
In the envisaged new South Asia, it should be possible for all citizens of South Asia to travel freely within South Asia for trade, business, commerce and tourism thus generating colossal mutually gainful activity. Is this impossible over a reasonable time span if pragmatism takes over now?
Don’t the Germans, British, French, Polish, Italians and other Europeans travel freely in Europe today despite some of them having fought each other bitterly in WWII, just 65 years ago? What atrocities did the Germans not perpetrate when they occupied France and Poland? Do we now see any signs of that bitterness in the present generations of France, Poland and Germany? No.
Today, the Japanese and the Americans travel freely to each others countries and this is after Japan bombed the Pearl Harbour and launched kamikaze (suicidal) attacks into US navy ships in the Pacific Ocean during WWII. The USA had also dropped the only atom bombs ever on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which resulted in the Japanese surrendering to Gen Mc Arthur.
The Japanese and the British had also fought bitterly in Burma and Singapore but they are the best of friends’ now. All this happened only 65 years ago, a past they have all left far behind long ago. Sadly, we in Pakistan and India can only show tens of millions of ill fed and barely clothed human beings as our population after 61 years of independence. Nevertheless, both countries are armed to the teeth and are arrogantly talking of going to war again – a nuclear war!!
All EU heads of States meet freely for the good of the Europeans and have put WWII behind them. Pragmatism propels present day European policies and not what happened during WWII. Resultantly, Europe’s current generations only strive to further their personal careers. I once asked a well placed British man of about forty what the Battle of Britain was. He had no idea at all. He was focused only on his own future in a thriving multi national corporation.
When the Germans invaded Russia (Operation Barbarossa: June 1941) nearly 30 million people lost their lives due to the fighting and the vicious Russian winter at Leningrad, Kursk, Stalingrad, Moscow and many other places.
By 1945, in the backdrop of the Normandy landings, Russia too marched through Eastern Europe including half of Germany that later became East Germany Some 1,700 cities/towns and over 70,000 villages/hamlets had been destroyed during the German invasion of Russia. Comparatively, Pakistan-India wars can only be called skirmishes. Yet, they override pragmatism which could bring about an EU style South Asia. Contrarily, what happened in Russia between them and Germany just 65 years ago is now history that was extremely bloody. Yet, it does not override modern day State pragmatism.
The war demolished Europe of just 65 years ago is the European Union (EU) of today having the world’s second largest economy. Many EU countries and Russia have awesome military capabilities but none talks of how quickly they can blow up each other and Europe. They only talk about progress, economy, employment, trade, social and health services in their countries, in particular, and in Europe as a whole, in general. It is now time for South Asian leaders to emulate the European leaders.
To achieve this India must understand that if it supports an international war on terror waged against militant organizations of the Islamic world it must also ensure that the Hindu extremist organizations wreaking havoc within India against Muslims, Christians and other minorities are reigned in. Likewise, when ever India hurls allegations against Pakistan’s ISI it must also turn inwards and gauge the activities of the RAW. Today, many Pakistanis believe that the insurgency in Pakistan’s northwest is being fueled by RAW with stations in Afghanistan. Like the Europeans these two nuclear military powers must now reconcile in totality and move towards peace, progress and stability in the Region. Both, Pakistan and India, now need to take charge and not let the extremist elements on both sides manipulate their destinies and that of South Asia.
The European post WWII harmony and the EU model should now be the Subcontinent’s model to follow. Other regional countries are sure to endorse the idea. SAARC should be converted into a South Asian Parliament exactly as the EU Parliament with every country equally represented. It is time for South Asia to have its own Brussels. Such an entity will also give a strong say to the South Asian Region in world forums without which South Asian countries, including India, will always remain pawns in world politics.
Absurd rhetoric about pumping bullets into each other and blowing many millions of starved human beings to oblivion must stop. Instead, Pakistan and India should start thinking of working towards putting some food, every day, into the millions of hungry stomachs in South Asia.
[The writer is a former Director General intelligence bureau, former member of central executive committee PPP and former Vice President and also PPP parliamentarian]
This is an article reproduced from the “News”, published about last year.