Recent developments may lead to anarchy in Pakistan. India should prepare for the future beginning with freeing Kashmir from terrorists.
By N.S. Rajaram
Here is an interesting poser: The US intelligence knew all about Saddam'sweapons of mass destruction but nothing of Pakistan'svast nuclear proliferation network, which has been going on for decades.
Dr. Abdul Qadir Khan, the ?father? of Pakistan'snuclear weapons programme, has ?confessed? to being at the centre of a nuclear proliferation network peddling what is euphemistically being called ?nuclear secrets? to so-called rogue nations, namely, Iran, North Korea and Libya. Of course, no one believes that Khan acted alone without the knowledge and support of Pakistani governments and the Army. But these have been at the beck and call of the US, especially the CIA (whose former director was George Bush Senior, the father of the present President). This can create serious problems for President Bush in his already hard-pressed re-election campaign.
Is this what makes US officials jump to the defence of Musharraf whenever he lands himself in a horrid mess? After all, on an international scale, Saddam Hussain'scrime pales in comparison with Pakistan?s. Yet, Saddam is portrayed as a monster while Musharraf'severy move is lauded.
We have of course not seen the last of this sordid saga. We are already seeing more skeletons tumbling out of the closet in terms of the Chinese involvement in the proliferation. (There were reports that Chinese technicians were at hand to help Pakistan in its nuclear tests in 1998.) In the face of all this, Bush may not be able to save Musharraf, but Musharraf can certainly drag Bush down, come November election. This has serious consequences for India.
As Bush remains preoccupied with saving his administration from the looming disaster, Pakistan seems to be heading towards a crisis that could blow up any time if Musharraf falls. There is a real possibility that Pakistan will face anarchy. What then happens to Kashmir, especially the part under Pakistan'soccupation? Can India sit idly by and let it fall to the jihadis and sundry foreign mercenaries that Pakistan has allowed in the region?
India has to act now and not wait for the crisis to materialise. The same people who made a mess of Afghanistan are now active in Kashmir. The people of Kashmir?on both sides of the LoC?are engaged in a freedom struggle against these terrorists. (If there is less infiltration now, it is partly because of the winter and because Musharraf is trying to impress the Americans. He may reverse himself once the spring arrives and begins to feel the heat from his own jihadis.)
Let us first look at the economic side. India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world while Pakistan can subsist only on American dole. Prosperous Indian States like Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra already have economies that compare with that of Pakistan. And Jammu and Kashmir, rich in natural resources and a tourist paradise, can also have an economy that can, in less than a decade, become larger than Pakistan?if only Pakistan and its terrorists will allow the Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC to live in peace. Pakistan has nothing to offer except bankruptcy and bloodshed. To achieve peace and prosperity that is their due, India can give the Kashmiris a chance to share in its freedom and prosperity.
As a first step, India could allow people in Pak-occupied-Kashmir to send elected representatives to J&K Assembly and also to Parliament. As a beginning India can recognize two parliamentary constituencies in PoK, say one each for Muzaffarabad and Skardu. Next, it can work with the J&K Government to recognize elected MLAs from PoK. In any event, the goal should be to peacefully integrate PoK into J&K by extending democratic rights to the people, which they don'thave now. The idea is political and economic integration of a divided people; the details can be worked out later.
India can also help them economically by setting-up an aid agency to be called, say, the South Asia Development Bank (SADB), along the lines of the Asian Development Bank. This would help in the development of backward regions (and countries) in South Asia. India now has huge foreign exchange reserves. It has no need to look to Western entities like the World Bank.
Kashmir would only be the beginning. The role of the SADB can later be extended to other regional states, especially to new states that are likely to emerge (like Bangladesh) as Pakistan disintegrates. This now is only a matter of time. Kashmir can at last share in the prosperity of their brothers and sisters and no longer be at the mercy of stooges and terrorists. India should take the lead in the region and not look to Western powers for help. They have their own problems and an axe to grind.
On an international scale, Saddam Hussain'scrime pales in comparison with Pakistan?s. Yet, Saddam is portrayed as a monster while Musharraf'severy move is lauded.