Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh assures us that the nuclear weapons in Pakistan are in safe hands. We will have to take him at his word, remembering that Pakistan has over 100 nuclear weapons. But what should be a matter of grave concern is that, according to a Pentagon advisor quoted in the US media, the Pakistan Government would soon be run over by Islamic militants. He is quoted as saying: ?The place is beyond redemption. I don'tsee any plausible scenario under which the present government, or its most likely successor, will mobilise the economic, political and security resources, to push back the rising tide of violence. Pakistan is moving towards a situation where the extremists control virtually all the countryside and the government controls only the urban centres?.
For India, there is danger ahead. The Pakistan Army is apparently larger than the US Army. What if this Army goes berserk? In such a situation, what sense does it make for the US and Japan each to pledge $ one billion to Pakistan, as they did at an International Donors Conference held in Tokyo on April 17. That aid, for all one knows, will be quietly impounded by the Pak Army?and that would be the end of the matter. The United States is not only asking for trouble, but is literally financing it. India should under no circumstances be party to it. The first point to remember is that Pakistan will not crumble quietly, Islam doesn'thold people together.
In Pakistan today the struggle ?to put it mildly?is between the frontier nomads versus the settled people of the plains. One feudal concept of Islam fighting another. The nomads care two hoots for the plains people. They have their own culture as became recently evident when some girls? schools in the tribal belt were demolished. These people, one can be sure, will soon swamp Pakistan'sPunjab, presently ruled by a small elite that knows not what to do. As some historians have pointed out, when ever Punjab is seen as weak, it has invited invasion from time immemorial, whether from Darius, the Ghazni and Ghori Mohammads, Timur, Babar or Nadir Shahs. If the Punjab elite has any sense, it will elect to rejoin mainstream India. A strong multi-cultural Punjab can stand up to any barbarian invasion.
What the Musharrafs and others of his ilk should remember is that M A Jinnah had no hold in pre-Independence Punjab where the Unionists were opposed to Partition, Punjabi Muslims were quite content to be part of a multi-religious society that was old Punjab. The formation of Pakistan brought about a sea-change in the Punjabi Muslim outlook. Now the situation has changed. The enemy is from within. If that has to be fought and overwhelmed Pak Punjab must merge with its Indian counter-part. Only then can the barbarian nomads be contained. And even driven away.
Once the two Punjabs unite, the Kashmir issue will turn irrelevant. And it will then be Sindh'sturn to turn to India. The tragedy is that the Cold War and Washington'sdesire to undo the Soviet Union obscured the fundamental irrationality of Pakistan. Now that is showing up. In their desire to hurt India the Pakistani elite elected to do the dirty jobs assigned to them by Americans. It give them a sense of exaggerated importance, the falsity of which they dared not face. Now it is painfully showing. What the Punjabi elite failed to realise is that Islam does not unite people.
The formation of Bangladesh should have been an eye-opener. But the Punjabi elite preferred not to accept reality. It held on to the mythic belief that Afghanistan would provide Pakistan ?strategic depth? in the event of an Indian invasion. Truth to say, not even the North West Frontier Province can now give the Punjabi Army ?strategic depth? as is being currently evident now. Afghanistan is not a natural ally of Pakistan'splains people. All talk of ?strategic depth? is rubbish. For the Pakistani Punjabis to survive they have now only one option left. Return to India. That is where their safety lies. Theirs, as well as of the people of Sindh.
Both the Punjabi and Sindhi people must think out of the box. The United States has fooled them long enough. Wisdom lies in breaking away from the past and planning a new identity. Rejoining India is by means a matter of shame. The Punjabi and Sindhi people have two choices open to them: One, live under Islamic fundamentalism and forego all individuality; the other, live in an overarching secular India and enjoy emotional and spiritual freedom. The elite must face up to the fact that the institutional meltdown of Pakistan has become a grim reality. This is where the Government of India comes in. It must not allow itself to be swept by Washington'ssweet talk that suggests that there can be no solution to Afghanistan without India being a part of it. India does not have to accept Washington-based ?solutions? which are largely self-centered.
India must formulate its own solution. It must tell Pakistanis that rather than go down meekly to the Al Qaeda and Taliban, they would be better off to return home to India where they could practice their Islam freely and be a part of a growing economy and rising prosperity. They should not consider it in any sense a defeat. It will merely be the return of the prodigal son who will be warmly taken in embrace. The Punjabi elite must remember that there was only one Punjab in history and that was the Land of the Five Rivers. Returning to India means an end to slavery to a foreign country which has exploited it time and again for its own purpose. In their irrational hatred of India, the Pakistani elite gave up their centuries old link with fellow Punjabis.
Many believed like Ayub Khan that one Muslim soldier was equal to ten Indian sepoys and that Pakistan was India's?equal?, whatever that meant. At the United Nations General Assembly all nations, big and small, have one vote. That does not mean that the Maldives is equal to India or Panama to the United States. In the course of the last six decades Pakistan, like the proverbial frog which wanted to grown as big as the bull tried to inflate its size only to get blown up in the process. We live and learn. It is not that everyone in India is over-anxious to receive Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Sindh with open arms. Many are known to have their reservations. But history has its own ways of settling matters. Another chapter in India'slong and turbulent history would then be over. Nature would then have taken its course.