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Hand of Friendship

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Thomas Kienzle—AFP

Pakistan must fix itself before it can convince the world it wants to normalize ties with neighboring nations

A British think tank has noted that Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa “invited the Indian military attaché and his team in Pakistan to the Pakistan Day military parade in Islamabad; and then General Bajwa said two weeks later that the Pakistan military wanted peace and dialogue with India.”

There is no doubt about the wisdom—which is another name for flexibility—of seeking peace with neighbors. No Army wants to deal with a multi-front conflict. An economically pressured Pakistan simply cannot afford to have its both its east and west fronts heating up while there is instability within. In the eyes of the world, however, Pakistan must take the initiative to establish normal ties with India because the world, rightly or wrongly, thinks that Islamabad as a “revisionist” state has bothered India with covert cross-border attacks in the past. There are no takers for Pakistan’s explication of the disastrous Kargil Operation of 1999.

General Bajwa must retrace other wrong steps taken at home in respect of those who sought to “normalize” with India, starting with the Vajpayee visit in 1999 that ended with a joint Lahore Declaration signed with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which then-Army chief Musharraf didn’t like too much. Before him it was the PPP in power which sought a policy-change with India and suffered for it. On the eve of the 2013 elections, Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party declared their intent to seek peace with India and won the polls, which meant a popular mandate for the pledged India policy. The Army didn’t like it and Sharif as prime minister was soon in trouble.

It is only logical that General Bajwa undo some of the policies pursued inland before approaching India, if for no other reason than the sake of credibility. India has, predictably, rebuffed his gesture and the world too remains unimpressed given the current scenario of politics in Pakistan.

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SL DUA May 6, 2018 - 3:06 pm

Pakistan (read Pakistan Army) has TWO hands, one is Hafiz Saeed (LeT) and the other is Masood Azhar (JeM). Nobody in this world knows which hand will be extended by Pakistan to India for reconciliation, will the hand will have bomb or gun like Uri and Pathankot, it is also to be seen. Because Pakistan Army is not known to work for peace with India, even the present re-conciliatory floats may be deceptive.

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