By Mubarak Ali Baloch
Recently held Climate Conference in Paris have ended as usual with renewed promises from leaders of developed countries mainly responsible for sending bulk of industrial emission back into the atmosphere. Though these consoling words of the leaders hardly hold any pragmatism in real sense to bring about salutary change in worsening state of climate. Apart from that what particularly was witnessed on the occasion was the meeting between (apparently unscheduled but intended) Pakistani – Indian PMs and a formally organized sitting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President. Irrespective of what would transpire from debates about improving climate but these brief meetings of leaders of three countries are likely to help soften (if cannot break) the ice leading to possible comfortable security situation in the region.
Frigidity in the relations of Pakistan – India is self-evident ever since BJP’s Narendra Modi took to govern India. What followed in his eighteen months long rule is self-explanatory. Hindu extremists using plank of hardline outfits like RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and likes have been doing their bit of disservice to what hitherto apparently secular environment strengthened by Congress and preached by early leadership of India. From razing Babri Mosque, efforts to convert monumental Taj Mahal into Ram Mandir, cry on cow handling leading to beef ban, lynching Muslims over suspicion of cow meat eating thickening the Hindu jingoism. A few moderate voices like Sudheendra Kulkarni had to face the wrath of Hindu chauvinists as his face was sprayed black. BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) head to bear the hooliganism of Shiv Sena activists in his office against his scheduled meeting with his Pakistani counterpart. The cricket between two countries appears to have been made hostage.
And now the Muslim artists (Indian) Bollywood film stars are on the hit list of Hindu stalwarts. The wave of extremism is still surging on unabated. Though the state elections both in Delhi and Bihar have vetoed the Hindu extremists’ struggle eroding away the moderate profile of India.
On the other hand Narendra Modi’s NSA Ajit Doval is on loose to issue statements infuriating Pakistani leadership and further deadening the already least congenial atmosphere. Besides, repeated violations along Working Boundary (WB) and Line of Control (LOC) by Indian Border Security Force has been shattering the already fragile mutual trust between the two countries. Despite discernable stalemate the meeting, albeit quite brief, between Prime Ministers Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi at the sidelines of International Climate Conference in Paris is expected to cause some thaw in the ice. Expecting some ease in the difficult situation between the two countries does not seem to be irrelevant here. Narendra Modi’s initiative to shake hand with his Pakistani counterpart may be seen in the backdrop of growing criticism over his consistently persisting silence on Hindu hardliners’ jingoism and his anti-Pakistan card which he now probably understands getting increasingly irrelevant. Rather its use has now started back-firing. Denial of reality does not mean the reality does not exist or reality has become irrelevant. The outstanding unresolved issues between two countries remarkably Kashmir dispute need major focus. Using proxies by India to create internal security situation in Pakistan is not going to help reverse the wedge moving deep widening mutual mistrust between two countries.
Besides, the recent electoral setback to BJP in state elections in Delhi and in Bihar is testamentary to party’s pursuit for useless aims that includes maintaining supremacy of Hindu faith in India at the cost of religious harmony. Indian secularism’s demise has taken place. Religious and communal polarization is seen pervasive. Bigots of RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and like are now out to fix final nail into the secular coffin of Gandhi’s Bharat.
Not withstanding above Modi’s exchange of pleasantries and overtures seen while interacting with Muhammad Nawaz Sharif does not appear to be extemporaneous. Rather its seems to be preplanned and well-intended. How much such gestures are going to help reduce the otherwise grim situation is too early to precisely forecast.