That South Asian Union thingy, again
Ahmad Quraishi has some very wierd theories about Pakistani identity, and perhaps as a result, is dead set against ‘cultural exchanges’ or ‘open borders‘ if it does not mean India quickly handing over Kashmir. But can his views be dismissed by labeling him a moonbat?
“As a former United Nationsâ€™ Regional Adviser for the Arab region,” Mr Farazi wrote to me last week from his retirement home in London, “I had the honour of mingling with Indian colleagues, who all showered me with their â€˜kindnessâ€™ and â€˜closenessâ€™, always counseling me on the need to remove borders and that â€˜lines on maps cannot divide the oneness of peopleâ€™.”
Mr Farazi forgot about it after retirement until he saw it once again, but this time on a much larger, organised scale during the past ten months of Pak-Indian talks. As Pakistan was flooded by a one-sided â€˜cultural exchangeâ€™, Mr Farazi, like many other Pakistanis, felt that someone in New Delhi was abusing Pakistani hospitality by sending delegation after delegation of people who showed very little respect for Pakistani culture, history and nationhood and who kept repeating things that were essentially very offensive to ordinary Pakistanis. This, everyone will agree, was not a good way to have nice neighborly relations and build trust.
The icing on the cake was the Indian premierâ€™s statement in occupied Kashmir three weeks back, where he equated his countryâ€™s borders with Pakistan to the Berlin Wall that fell in the end.
This proved too much for someone like Mr Farazi. “There is no room for complacency in rejecting their overtures,” he says, “because they work according to their proven philosophy that continuous propaganda will be accepted in the end. I fear they will use the SAARC platform to achieve their ambitions and goals, gradually engulfing our economy, culture and independence through their softy-softly approach.”
My question to the ruling Indian establishment in New Delhi is this: Why create these kinds of doubts in the minds of millions of Farazis in Pakistan? Why canâ€™t you simply accept and respect Pakistan instead of resorting to all the indirect silly ways to prove the false notion that Pakistan is somehow an extension of Indian land and culture?
In other words, and if I were to rephrase it in historical terms, Iâ€™d say, “Muslims came from outside, ruled you for ten centuries, and now theyâ€™re out of your country and living in their own, so what more do you want?”
Itâ€™s unfortunate for the people of both Pakistan and India – who want peace – that the ruling establishment in New Delhi chooses to abuse a perfectly healthy exercise like the exchange of civil society delegations to perpetuate old misunderstandings. Thereâ€™s a mindset in the Indian capital that wants the Indian people to continue treating Pakistan as some kind of a historical mistake. [The News (Jang)]
Problem and Solution?
Shamsud Daulah, a Bangladeshi lawyer writing to the editor of the Daily Star argues that Hindu-Muslim amity is essential for a permanent peace on the subcontinent. That is very likely true, perhaps even a truism, but he fails to prove how a South Asian Union can strengthen religious harmony.
If we review the past from 1947 to date we shall find that there cannot be any permanent peace and stability in the South Asian region, including Afghanistan without Hindu-Muslim amity.
The only way to such Hindu-Muslim amity towards natural peace and stability in the region is to bring the entire region under one Union of the South Asian Nations (including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) allowing free movement and business facilities with common currency and finance, defence, and foreign policy. Above all there can also be an effective Parliament of the Union especially aiding and advising in respect of the Union’s common currency and finance, defence, and foreign policy matters.
The mistakes of the notable politicians of the region in 1947 gave birth to deeper Hindu-Muslim rifts; regional economic disparity; and massive unemployment etc. As such, an unnatural political divide cannot usher peace and happiness in the region. This is an appeal to the major political leaders of the region to consider the matter with all possible high seriousness. [Daily Star]