Home > News > Report

Why India-Pakistan ties are looking up

Sheela Bhatt in Islamabad | January 05, 2004 13:07 IST

The relations between India and Pakistan are certainly wearing a  new look and many firsts are visible.

None of the known Pakistani radicals are churning out the anti-India rhetoric.

The banned jihadi outfits' clandestine hideouts in Islamabad and Rawalpindi are closed and intelligence sleuths are keeping a strict vigil outside it.

Sources said Dawood Ibrahim is also out of Karachi since the last 8 months.

There are no demonstrations on the roads by Islamist elements as were seen in Lahore when Vajpayee visited it in 1999. Rather Pakistan's opposition leaders are showing commendable restraint while talking about Vajpayee.

Another significant difference is in the way diplomats and leaders on both sides are handling the media. Media is strictly 'kept in control'. The Indian side has learnt some hard lessons from Agra. The media's urge for hype is not being supported.

Tahira Abdullah, a social activist, told rediff.com: "We are surprised to see the dilution of Pakistan's stand over the UN resolutions over Kashmir. This is something unimaginable even last year. Even though General (Pervez) Musharraf is the first Pakistani leader, who has said it in so many words that Pakistan is ready to keep aside the UN resolution but to our great surprise we have not seen the hue and cry over it. This change is for real."

Also Read

The SAARC Summit 2004

Mohmmad Tahseen, executive director of South Asian Partnership, says, "Just 6-7 years back we were holding peace meetings secretly. Peace was a bad word. But on January 2, 2004, first time in the heart of Islamabad at the National Library auditorium we were able to conduct the programme to enhance India-Pakistan relations. Ordinary people participated in it. This was unimaginable."

Why this change of minds?

According to a source close to Inter Services Intelligence there are mainly three reasons behind Pakistan's desire for peace with India.

Post 9/11 situation in the world and America's pro-active role in the region is the most important one. Leaders in Pakistan are forced to accept that after 9/11 ISI's so far highly successful policy of indirect war in Kashmir and bleeding India cannot continue.

Moreover the Americans have tightened the screws on Pakistan for grooming jihadis against India.

The impact of Musharraf agreeing to America's innumerable dictates is overwhelming. Pakistan is under pressure from the US and Britain to stop sending jihadis to Kashmir.

A source said that it is becoming difficult for Pakistani diplomats to counter the image of a 'terrorist State' in the diplomatic world.

Battle fatigue is the second reason sighted by a Pakistani source. The source, based in Islamabad, told rediff.com that the middle and lower cadre of the Pakistan Army is realising the futility of an indirect war with India.

"Pakistani army is a highly disciplined force but battle fatigue has certainly crept in. And opening of the Afghanistan front is also adding to their workload," the source said.

Another equally important reason is the aspiration to be economically developed.

The images of India and other non-Islamic world telecast by private television channels and films have also made an impact on the masses. Not just the industry leaders of Karachi and Lahore, but people in Federally Administrated Tribal areas and North West Frontier Province are also asking for their dues.

Inamullah Jan, a student from Peshawar University, told rediff.com: "Now more and more Pakistanis are saying 'let's have peace with India and develop our country'."

"Indian serials Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki are seen in far-flung areas of Pakistan," he said.

Pakistan's hawkish leaders and the anti-Indian elements have three reasons to offer for the Vajpayee-led peace process.

They believe that Vajpayee is personally motivated for a solution to the India-Pakistan confrontation. Many believe that though old he is able to think out of box on the Indo-Pak relations. In his case, they believe, his desire to have his name in history and nation's interest may have coincided.

Hawkish elements in Islamabad also think that like the Pakistan Army, the Indian side also suffers from battle fatigue.

The third reason advanced is India's tremendous urge to compete with China. Many Pakistanis feel that Indians are on the move. The recently concluded assembly elections were also an eye opener for many, as they were fought from a platform of 'sadak, bijli and pani'.

A Pakistani said, "We want India to word its stand with care. Kashmir dispute is all about how we put it in words. Keeping in view our emotions for Kashmir please use words, which are not hot headed. We want Indian leaders and diplomats to use a new set of vocabulary while expressing position of India."

Article Tools
Email this article
Print this article
Write us a letter

Related Stories

India flavour of month in Pak

Action against terror needed

Test Musharraf: Bhutto

People Who Read This Also Read

Pak oppn leaders praise Vajpayee

Indo-Pak peace process to go on

When Pakistan had no answer...

More reports from Pakistan

Copyright © 2003 rediff.com India Limited. All Rights Reserved.