Thursday, May 7, 2009

Zardari wants peace with India

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

In the heat of the ongoing election and the Indian Premiere League we seem to have forgotten our neighbour Pakistan. Since the Mumbai terror attack last November the two countries have been engaged in allegations and counter-allegations. Now Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said in Washington that he wanted peace with India and hoped for new dialogue to start after his country's historic rival completes national elections.

Zardari who is in Washington for a three-way summit involving Afghanistan said Pakistan always wanted peace with India. He added that he will work with India towards the peace process once the new government is formed in New Delhi. One thing Zardari clearly knows that his government is in danger of being run over by the extremists and he needs his army to focus on the Taliban and not be obsessed about fighting a proxy war with India.

Zardari also attempted to pressurize the US to convince India for a troop pullout. His argued that in such a case Pakistan can mobilise more troops to fight the Taliban in the SWAT valley and the Pak-Afghan Border. This argument fell into deaf years as Washington did not see Pakistan having any serious threat from India even with a massive troop pullout. Pakistani Army recently pulled out 6000 troops from the Indian border and posted them on the western sector.

From India's perspective the big question arises can we trust Pakistan? Going by previous records a ordinary Indian would say a straight 'NO'. Pakistan over the last two decades has always taken interest in the composite dialogue with India and talked about peace between the tow countries . But at the same time supported terrorist activities in India through its notorious spy agency the ISI.

The recent peace call by Zardari seems to be filled with selfish motive. Islamabad is now facing the monstrous Taliban which once created, trained and supported to fight a Jihad in Afghanistan. The grimness of the situation can be understood from the fact that Pakistani government and the army is slowly loosing its grip over the nation and is being forced to sign peace deals with the Taliban at its own terms and conditions.

In such a scenario Pakistan cannot afford to fight wage a war against India and thus extending us its hand of friendship. But what should be India's stand in such a case. We definitely cannot close our eyes and let Taliban run over entire Pakistan. In that situation we will have to directly talk to the terrorists rather than talking to the educated people who support terrorism.

India should treat this as a opportunity to flush out more terrorists from the valley as it can afford to withdraw some troops from the borders. But New Delhi cannot afford to completely trust Islamabad and Mr Zardari as he is not the real centre of power but it General Kayani who calls the shots in what remains Democratically Administered Pakistan.


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