Follow @southasiaanalys

Pak's Offer to India By Imran Khan's Regime is Determined by International Optics-Compulsions

Paper No. 6433          Dated 1-Oct-2018

By Dr Subhash Kapila

Contextually in September 2018 Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s peace dialogue offer to India is more determined by compulsions of international optics where Pakistan is globally isolated because of its use of Islamic Jihadi terrorism as State-policy and Pakistan’s dire financial straits arising from funding of terrorist affiliates.

 Pakistan’s peace dialogue offers become meaningful and credible only when Pakistan demonstrates proven and sustainable pattern over an appreciable span of time on complete cessation of Pakistan Army’s terrorism operations against India.

Since Pakistan is fixated on use of terrorism as an instrument of state-policy and India remains firm that Pakistani terrorism strategies cannot go hand in hand with peace dialogue offers, this irreconcilability will continue to obstruct India to respond positively to Pakistan’s international-optics determined peace dialogue offers.

Pakistan Army has to recognise that it can no longer take cover under its invented and re-invented strategic utility with the United States or China and continue with its export of religious terrorism to its neighbours and certainly not India.

Pakistan Army which is the author of use of Islamic Jihad in Afghanistan and then applied to India in the last two decades needs to understand that any headway in meaningful peace dialogue process can commence only when the Pakistan Army starts respecting India’s sensitivities on Islamic Jihad as Pakistan’s preferred foreign policy tool.

More notably, unlike Pakistan, Indian public opinion counts and it is Indian public opinion that is vehemently against any peace talks with Pakistan till Pakistan displays changed mindsets on the value of peace in the region.

With the United States no longer willing to be permissive on use of Pakistani terrorism operations against India or Afghanistan, the tide has finally turned against Pakistan. The United States has this year cut-off nearly $800 million in financial aid and military aid to Pakistan maintaining that Pakistan was not doing enough to control terrorism emanating from Pakistani safe havens with official patronage.

President Trump’s stern message to Pakistan on controlling terrorism by its Islamic Jihadi groups is intended to be that much more intended for the Pakistan Army military hierarchy than the civilian government. Who knows the inner workings of the Pakistan Army more than the United States and also their devious use of terrorism?

With the American indictment of Pakistan as the progenitor of Islamic Jihadi terrorism, India stands more firmly in 2018 to assert and maintain that progressing any peace dialogues with Pakistan would be contingent on Pakistan’s cessation of terrorism against India and ending its proxy war in Kashmir Valley.

One should not shy away from labelling terror emanating from Pakistan as Islamic Jihadi terrorism as it is spawned in Islamic seminaries from Khyber to Karachi run by Islamic ultras militant groups funded and patronised by the Pakistan Army.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj did well  in her speech at the UN General Assembly by drawing attention to Pakistan’s complicity to the horrific onslaught of Islamic Jihadi terrorist strikes of 9/11 against New York and 26/11 against Mumbai in India. She eloquently highlighted Pakistan Army’s duplicitous approach to Islamic Jihadi terrorism by safely ensconcing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan Army’s major garrison town of Abbottabad for years while denying this knowledge to the United States which had poured in billions of dollars in aid.

 Pakistan Army as the de facto ruler of Pakistan has to realise that contemporary geopolitics will force down the reality down their throats, that Pakistan today stands condemned as the global epicentre of Islamic Jihadi terrorism and that Pakistan can no longer defy international opinion heavily weighted against terrorism in any form.

Pakistan’s perennial profession of meaningful peace dialogues have sprouted every time a regime change takes place in Islamabad and therefore there was nothing dramatic or unprecedented about Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s offer. It is well known that no Pakistan Prime Minister can ever be capable of undertaking a peace initiative with India independent of Pakistan Army GHQ in Rawalpindi.

Contextually, the assertions made by Imran Regime’s Foreign Minister Qureshi on taking over with much bravado that Pakistan’s foreign policy would now be  made in Pakistan’s Foreign Office added  more misgivings to Indian perceptions that genuine change will emerge in Pakistani Establishment’s mindsets. Again, it is well known that Pakistan’s foreign policy is determined not in Islamabad but in GHQ Rawalpindi.

Are we then to take it that Pakistan Army GHQ has determined that a new start should be made to commence a peace dialogue with India?  Certainly not because advent of Imran Khan Regime in Pakistan the intensity of border incidents have increased and so also the stoking of terrorism in Kashmir Valley by Pakistan proxies. Once again, Pakistan Army and its terrorist affiliates have resorted to barbaric beheading and mutilation of ambushed Indian security personnel. This entire perfidy is taking place in tandem with peace dialogue offers to India at the political and diplomatic levels. .

Pakistan Army in its frustration of not making any headway in Kashmir Valley in inflicting a Bangladesh on India has now directed its proxies in Kashmir Valley to kill Special Police Officers and take their families as hostages. Pakistan’s proxies in Kashmir Valley are killing their own Kashmir Valley brethren at Pakistan’s instance. This is Pakistan’s version of upholding Human Rights.

The obvious conclusion that emerges from the above is that the offer of a fresh peace dialogue with India by the Imran Khan regime at multiple levels has been orchestrated at the instance of the Pakistan Army was prompted by an economically bankrupt and diplomatically isolated Pakistan to retrieve somehow the millions of dollars aid cut-off imposed by the United States.

That can only be retrieved if Pakistan projects the image of a responsible state engaging its two neighbours India and Afghanistan in peace and reconciliation dialogues. .With China’s relations with the United States at an all-time low, China is in no position to intercede with the United States on Pakistan’s behalf.  China is not inclined to substitute the United States largesse to Pakistan even though it is not short of financial resources.

In 2018, the bigger problem in terms of diplomatic credibility is Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s choice of its Foreign Minister Qureshi who did not distinguish himself in his incarnation as PPP Foreign Minister in around 2008. He is not trusted in India as a Pakistani Foreign Minister who can smoothen ruffled feathers. When it comes to India he is hawkish in his speech, condescending in his demeanour and with pretentions that Pakistan’s ‘strategic equivalence’ with India is indisputable.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi from the day he entered politics has been working with one aim and that is to finally emerge as Prime Minister of Pakistan.. He can do so only by being on the right side of the Pakistan Army GHQ. This implies being more hawkish on India than even his masters and also pandering Pakistan’s Rightists Ultras

That aside, and coming back to the prospects of any chances for a possible peace dialogue between Pakistan and India, all indicators point out that it is well-nigh impossible for multiple reasons.

The major and most significant reason is that Pakistan and India’s fixations are at irreconcilable cross-purposes. Pakistan is fixated on State-sponsored terrorism as a foreign policy tool. India has been a victim of countless Pakistani terrorist onslaughts in the last decade and a half.

India under PM Modi has made it abundantly clear that India will not enter into any peace dialogues and firmly stipulated that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism against India cannot go hand in hand with Pakistan’s international-optics determinations.

In 2018, Pakistan is in no position politically or militarily to coerce India into peace dialogues without genuine and meaningful manifestation that Pakistan has turned the corner and discarded terrorism as instrument of Pakistan’s State-policy. Further, credibility of Pakistan’s intentions can only accrue if this manifestation is sustained by Pakistan over an appreciably long time frame.

Additionally, Pakistan cannot take refuge in specious excuses that terrorism emanating from Pakistani soil is the handiwork of non-state actors or that Pakistan proxies in Kashmir Valley are freedom fighters. If by the same token India pays Pakistan in the same coin in Baluchistan or Gilgit Baltistan then probably sense would dawn on Pakistan Army and its agency, the ISI.

Pakistan’s State-sponsored terrorism against its neighbours stands widely condemned globally with the exception of China and Muslim countries. With China now increasingly being subjected to the Islamic terrorism medicine it is hoped that better sense would prevail on China not to underwrite Islamic Jihadi terrorism of the Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar types.

The major impediment to bring accountability of Pakistan’s propensity for use of terrorism as a policy tool is that the global organisation like the United Nations has been thwarted from officially defining as to what constitutes terrorism and more specifically State-sponsored terrorism’.  Such United Nations impotence encourages state-sponsors of terrorism to flourish without deterrence.

Pakistan proclaims from rooftops that it also is a victim of terrorism and that it has taken operations against terrorists. Such proclamations of victimhood obfuscate the fact that the terrorism inflicted on Pakistan is not spawned by India or Afghanistan but generated as reaction by Pakistan Army’s brutal suppression of the tribals in its Frontier Regions.

Moe significantly, Pakistan Army military operations within Pakistan have been selectively targeted at the Pakistan Taliban and not the Pakistan Army terrorism affiliates like the Jaish-e Mohammed and the Hizbul Muhajjidin operating against India and Afghanistan.

So where do Pakistan and India move with such a contextual backdrop? India’s patience someday will snap if the Pakistan Army keeps pushing its envelope of State-sponsored terrorism against India in the belief that India would continue to buckle before Pakistan as it did with appeasement policies during the period 2004-14.

India has in 2018  emerged under a Nationalist Party as a Power of consequence and India’s strategic sensitivities and patience especially on Pakistan’s terrorism strategies against India cannot be ignored. The United States has realised this and it is slowly dawning on China that India of 2018 is not the India of Nehruvian 1962.Pakistan has yet to recognise this strategic reality safe as it was so far under the permissive protection of United States earlier and China all along.

Would this permissive protection of Pakistan continue under the changed geopolitical equation? That is the million dollar question for Pakistan.

In conclusion, in light of the above analysis, the major observations that emerge are as follows:

  • India’s forbearance is wearing thin on Pakistan Army reluctance for cessation of terrorism against India, including the Kashmir Valley which is an integral part of India.
  • Pakistan Army’s strategy of war against India by ‘other means’ endangers South Asian peace as when push comes to shove as an inescapable option for India then Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal would hardly provide Pakistan with a nuclear shield.
  • India is unlikely to be agreeable to any of Pakistan’s sham peace dialogue offers unless accompanied by proven and sustainable cessation of Pakistan Army’s terrorism sponsored against India.
  • The United States should consider applying economic sanctions against Pakistan with support of like-minded strategic partners who abhor terrorism in any form.