– Shantanu Mukharji
Few countries are really beyond reform and refuse to take any lessons from history. Driven by a sense of inherent hatred and hostility directed against their self perceived adversaries, they continue to spew venom even when the entire global fraternity is steadfastly fighting the COVID menace.
Yes, Pakistan is the country, which in stark defiance of international norms and niceties is actively talking with rancour and angst to India. Kashmir in India remains a sore point for Pakistan and it is always harping the same tune like a broken record criticising India. In this regard, Pakistan has stepped up its anti India propaganda on Kashmir even during the pandemic. A green book on Kashmir, 2020 has been uploaded as part of the psychological warfare. This is also showing predominantly in the website of Pakistan’s National Defence University. As a nefarious design, articles on this portal have been included from ex diplomats, erstwhile army officers, academics and a select band of pliable journalists.
The wounds inflicted on Pakistan by India through the Balakot air strikes of early 2019, continue to fester and keep reminding Pakistan of its blatant mistake in sponsoring terror attacks in Indian paratroopers’ columns in February 2019. Gen Qamar Ahmad Bajwa, Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff, in piece written in the Kashmir green book has said that it has profound implications in the regional geo politics in the neighbourhood.
Writer Fardana Shah who is part of the propaganda tirade, has openly prescribed launching of a cyber and electronic warfare targeting Kashmir. She strongly feels that a single well made video or unsavoury pictures on Kashmir, if released, it had the potential of unsettling India. It looks bizarre that instead of focussing on a resolve to unitedly defeat the pandemic, such aggressive missives are used during peace times.
In another Pakistan related matter, the Delhi Police, in the meantime, has released a comprehensive report quoting reliable sources as to how Pakistan was responsible in fanning communal riots in Delhi a couple of months ago shifting from the priorities of Pakistan to set its own house in order.
Besides, dabbling in the internal affairs of India, Pakistan has come under sharp criticism for its open discrimination against minority communities in Pakistan in distribution of aids if essential items during the COVID 19 crisis. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in a recent report has said that its troubled by the allegations that food aid was openly denied to the minority Hindus and Christians. These observations have also described such indifference as reprehensible.
Similarly, the Saylani Welfare International Trust – a NGO, has levelled charges against the Pakistani establishment for discrimination against the minority community. It has also castigated the Pak government for denying adequate aid to the Baluchis.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani government has launched a systematic campaign to malign India for its alleged discrimination against Muslims. There are sponsored news items in print and electronic media in Pakistan reporting repeatedly against the Indian government. In one of the recent diatribes directed against India, an editorial has blamed India for its blame game on the recent acts of irresponsible attitude by the Tablighis proliferating the COVID cases. The write-up also questions the dropping of the Nehruvian and Gandhian concept of secularism. Such expressions look laughable at a time of critical moments and as it is the divisive leaders of Pakistan beginning from MA Jinnah to Field Marshal Ayub Khan never lent any credence to Gandhi or Nehru and suddenly remembering them now confirms their diabolical politics and opportunism.
Ignoring the efforts to combat the COVID menace, anti India and hate monger Pakistan Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi has intensified his lobbying with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to blame India for its alleged acts against Muslims. In a very aggressive tone, Qureshi has called upon the Islamic fraternity the world over to unite against India. This move is a little short of a full-fledged external aggression against India. Pakistan is lobbying more on Muslims in India than attending to the threats of the ongoing pandemic. Belligerence at its peak, Qureshi has exceeded his brief in terming alleged happenings in India as part of “Islamophobia”. Provoking the Muslims by stirring a worst kind of propaganda, the Pakistani FM has even gone to the extent of warning that the Muslims in India shouldn’t fall prey to the so called Gujarat model. Given the maturity of the Muslims in India, they have not heeded to the acerbic propaganda carried out in Pakistan. And, in future too they shall remain unfazed as demonstrated in their sombreness during the Ramadan. However, Pakistan needs to rein in its ministers and others, talking irresponsibly at the crucial hours now when the pandemic merits prime attention on priority. Pakistan would do well in coming out of the well and focus on equitable distribution to one and all within the country without any discrimination. Or else, it will continue to be labelled as incorrigible and declared ‘quarantined‘ and an outcast by the Islamic world who want to surge ahead with renewed vigour to defeat the menace of virus than involved in petty unethical propaganda full of negativity and despair.
(Writer a security analyst, a columnist on topical issues and a former National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of Mauritius. The views expressed are personal.)