WITH Osama bin Laden getting killed in his hideout in Pak territory near its Abbottabad military complex in a unilateral US action, it is understandable that the Pakistani establishment is unable to respond cohesively to inconvenient queries. Stripped of the fig leaf of defence—that it has not been harbouring terrorists and terror modules and exporting terror world wide—Pakistan stands thoroughly exposed. But why is our Manmohan Singh so embarrassed and cagey in his response?
He is not prepared to see the reality on the ground. Ostrich like, head buried deep in the sand, he repeats that talks will go on as usual. A few weeks ago the Wikileaks had revealed how Manmohan Singh is isolated within his party on his dealings with Pakistan. Undeterred however, he declared that his single Prime Ministerial ambition was to normalise relations with Pakistan. Last week’s developments have once again exposed Manmohan Singh’s naivety.
The hunting down of the monster responsible for the 9/11 Twin Tower attack was described by US President Barrack Obama as doing justice to the thousands of innocent victims and their families. After the successful operation Obama’s electoral fortunes improved, boosted the morale of the American people and the US regained its hard state image. It has a positive impact on the economic outlook as well, according to reports. Because Obama is an elected President and he is seeking re-election, he is answerable to his people. He has to redeem his mandate. He has to draw his strength from his people.
Our Manmohan Singh has no such worries. He only has to do the US bidding. Because the US wants India to talk to Pakistan, he will keep talking. Because the US wants Pakistan as a frontline ally in its war on terror, and in Afghanistan, Manmohan Singh has to respond positively, irrespective of what the people of India think.
He is not bothered if his Pakistan policy has isolated him within the party. Because he is not, unlike Obama, India’s elected Prime Minister. The other day at a public function he revealed that he took orders from Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Manmohan has not fought an election and won. He will not either.
That is why he behaves in the manner in which he does. Any popular Indian Prime Minister would have seized the opportunity created by the killing of the world’s most notorious terrorist in the hideout so close to Pak capital. It is clear that Pakistan was protecting Osama. That country was deceiving even its benefactor who was doling out billions of dollars as inducement for it to join the fight against terror. Can such a country ever be trusted?
Pakistan is protecting terrorists wanted by India. Some time ago India had presented a list of wanted terrorists ensconced in the hospitality of Pakistan. That country pooh-poohed it in the same fashion as it has been doing when it was suggested that Osama was hiding in Pakistan. A few years ago, Pakistan’s then President Musharraf audaciously claimed that Osama is already dead and added, “if you think he is in Pakistan, tell me where he is?”. That is the kind of perfidy Pakistan has perfected.
If Obama says he has delivered justice to the victims of 9/11, is Manmohan Singh not interested in offering some balm to the victims of 26/11? US became live to the terror issue only after it was hit by the same forces that were tormenting India for three decades. In terms of human and economic cost India is a greater sufferer of Islamic terror. And all of them originated from Pakistan. That country in fact, has been sponsoring terror as a state policy, and a strategic weapon of its military agenda. How can Manmohan Singh ignore all these facts unless he is totally indifferent to national interest or commitment to his people?
Talks can wait. There is nothing urgent about it. India is boasting of a 9 per cent growth, which is not dependent on normalising ties with Pakistan. In Pakistan there are many state and non-state handlers of power. Who is Manmohan Singh talking to? Is there anybody whom India can trust or for that matter settle anything with which other players will not violate and torpedo? If even US could not trust Pakistan with its pursuit of Osama because of the duplicity of power centres there, how can India a confirmed adversary of Pakistan—in their eyes—hope to talk for any lasting solution? It is high time, instead of behaving like a lotus-eater Manmohan Singh starts behaving like a Prime Minister having some grip on the affairs of the state.