Husain Haqqani and a paranoid state

India has come up with a reply in the UN to Pakistan’s allegations of war crimes in Kashmir. Not that human rights violations have not occurred in Kashmir, unlike the collaborators among the JK Civil Society with elements who consider only the rights of those peddling the Azadi narrative. There have been gross human rights violations on both sides from non-state actors too. Somehow, the Coalition of the Civil society of Kashmir, the Indian Left and Liberals, and the Human Rights Lawyers, the biased high profile Newspaper Editors Guild have made it a point that the state is the only one to be held accountable for massacres, disappearances, custodial deaths and sexual assaults.

There is no mention of mob lynchings of Kashmiri officers on duty or outright assault on Kashmir Army officers on leave for Eid or the various kidnappings and killings that militants regularly indulge in under the pretext of extortion and informant executions. Coming back to the UN Speech Row, that India angrily responded in a Right to Reply, spoken so eloquently by Enam Gambhir, a young diplomat, there is a need to revisit Hussain Haqqani’s seminal book India vs Pakistan: Why Can’t We Just Be Friends. Haqqani, the Pakistani leading South Asia expert, journalist, academic, political activist and former ambassador to Sri Lanka and the United States, has based his work on the near pathological obsession that Pakistan has for a Hindu India which is hampering peace in the region.

His first introductory chapter makes it clear how damned India is if it does, and how damned if it does not. If India’s foreign policy is in Nehru’s words (the first Prime Minister of Independent India and a stalwart in the South Asia politics and movements), “Nothing can overcome the basic urges, historical, cultural and economic, that tend to bring us nearer to each other”, then it is taken as an attack on the very foundations of Pakistan, a Hindu scheme to erode Pakistan’s identity as a separate nation.

If India starts the war rhetoric, then that is promptly trumpeted at the UN as India’s intentions to keep South Asia in turmoil. Nehru’s clarification in a speech at none other than Aligarh Muslim University in January 1948 runs thus:

“If today by any chance I were offered the reunion of India and Pakistan,’ he said, ‘I would decline it for obvious reasons. I do not want to carry the burden of Pakistan’s great problems. I have enough of my own. Any closer association must come out of a normal process in a friendly way which does not end Pakistan as a state, but makes it an equal part of a larger union in which several countries might be associated.”

But these clarifications are/were never enough. No matter how much India in those early days tried to assure the new fledgling governments that India had accepted the Partition, the paranoid and immensely hateful Punjabi-speaking migrants from the Muslim provinces of former British India would not be pacified or reasoned with. To add to the subcontinent’s woes, the newly created religious state inherited a large Army and it needed a perpetual existential threat to maintaining such a large one. Haqqani goes on to describe how much the Pakistani Muslim leaders bungled up, were ill-prepared for the Partition and how their stupidity in lost opportunities cost them Kashmir forever.

Not only did their arrogance and obsession cost them Bangladesh in 1971 (the actual Pakistan) but they also ended up being taken over by terrorism. He sums it up as the old political rivalry between the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League spilling over to the newly created countries and stretching the fight to 70 years. Notwithstanding the histories of Sindh and Balochistan who resisted joining the Union of Pakistan (Swat being the sole accession by August ’47 vs the smooth integration of 562 princely kingdoms into the Dominion of India with the exception of six), it is an interesting read into how despite the four wars, two of them decisive victories for India (1971 and 1999) the attitude of Muslim leaders of Pakistan has not changed vis-a-vis India.

It is still the unfinished business of Partition as well as the establishment of a global Caliphate over a Hindu India. It is not like the threats to the newly created Pakistan were not there – but they were more political and economic in nature like the Water Treaties, which could not be solved due to technical difficulties not because India was the demon trying to starve the Pakistani population. The ill-information, unpreparedness, weak strategy and all bluster and bravado is so lucidly described by Haqqani that one can’t help feeling anger and bitterness over the millions of people displaced, killed and permanently traumatized because a few leaders sold to the idea of the Two-Nation Theory (in Hamid Dalwai’s words the Hostage Theory) from the Muslim provinces of India thought they could run a country while living in their estates in India even as they represented Pakistan as late as 1965.

It makes bitter reading to realise that when the India-Pakistan passport was issued in 1952, it was valid for travel between the two countries only and that many Muslim leaders, including Mohammed Ismail from UP, assumed they would be able to exercise the choice of choosing their citizenship – a choice not available to millions because a pen drew a border in 1947. Lucas Lynch, writer and blogger and in his words ‘Politico Author, interested in Secularism, Religion, Politics, Culture, and More, Culturally Jewish, Religiously Secular,’ wrote an interesting post saying nobody questions the right of Pakistan to exist even if it is the first state created on religious lines, a full 10 months before Israel. Yet we have a full-scale Israel boycott movement from artists and consumers to even Universities in the US which were founded on the principles of Freedom of Speech.

I am tempted to shout from the rooftops why? Why were migrants who had spent entire lives living in places like United Provinces, Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, running a country that didn’t have those places (Haqqani’s words)? These were the questions asked by the ethnic/indigenous Pakistanis in the late 1940s and early 1950s but which Pakistan’s inherited Army very cleverly rose the bogey of India to distract the population from these hard questions. And why commit the stupid mistake of recognizing the accession of Junagadh (a Hindu majority kingdom) on 13 September 1947? It is so amusing and frustrating to read that Junagadh turned out to be the starting point of the Kashmir imbroglio when Pakistan rejected the Accession of the Hindu Maharajah of Kashmir (a Muslim majority kingdom) to India on 26 Oct 1947. After sending the disastrous lashkar tribals to Baramulla and Srinagar, what did they expect the Maharaja to do? The Pakistani leadership never accepts that they drew the Hindu Maharaja into the arms of the Indians, who had hardened their stance on Kashmir after the clownish acceptance of Junagadh’s Accession (a Bhutto was incidentally involved yet again).

The thing is, there will never be peace in the region with two nuclear-powered countries until this pathological paranoia and obsession are replaced with reasoning and huge overhauling of the swelling mullah-military-industrial complex. Pakistan’s own ex-diplomat harshly exposes this.

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