Indian Muslims done in by Pakistan

Pakistan’s policies fuel distrust of Indian Muslims

The middle of August is always a good time for another glance at Partition. Kuldip Nayar suggests that by pursuing adversorial policies against India, Pakistan’s leaders have done nothing to improve the lot of Indian Muslims – the reason why Pakistan was created in the first place.

But the so-called custodians of Pakistan did not allow (Jinnah’s) words to be broadcast over the radio lest what they had in mind should get jeopardized. They wanted to play the role of an adversary to India and create further cleavage between Muslims and Hindus to justify the creation of Pakistan.

The Pakistan rulers should not have at least sabotaged the efforts to establish a secular polity in India. It guaranteed the future of Muslims. Pakistan had, in fact, an obligation that the beleaguered Indian Muslims would not be harassed by its action.

But what did the policies of their rulers sum up? Treating India as an enemy and trying to disintegrate it has made little sense. Whatever the Pakistan rulers did to hurt India affected nearly 120 million Muslims living in the country. They were doubly punished, both by the policies of Pakistan and by the distrust of most Hindus.

Once I told a Pakistani ruler that the more intractable attitude Islamabad adopted, the most pernicious effect was on the Indian Muslims. He shrugged his shoulders and said: “This was the price the Indian Muslims would have to pay for the integrity of Pakistan.”

It is a strange argument but the Pakistan’s rulers still believe that in the heart of heart the Indian Muslims supported Pakistan. Muslims in India, on the other hand, are stepping out into light after decades of darkness.

Gujarat halted the process but the manner in which the secular elements, the media and the judiciary tore the state machinery and its politics into pieces has encouraged them. [Dawn]

Interestingly, Nayar admits that ‘people-to-people’ contacts are convincing Indian delegations that the Pakistanis are not serious about pursuing better all-round relations with India at all – Kashmir remains the focus of their attention. The terrorist-training camps are still very much in place.

But what had caused the lofty-softy groups to believe that the Pakistani leadership had turned over a new leaf in the first place? Musharraf himself is yet to utter one conciliatory word, less truly meaning it. From the Pakistani perspective the position has not changed much – trade and cultural relations with India are pointless unless India is willing to surrender Kashmir (a mere affirmation of status quo will not suffice). That blackmail is almost as old as Partition. And as current developments show, that is not about to change any time soon.