Forget the ‘PA-IN’ (Pak-India)
Is engaging Pakistan, at least on the cricket turf, only hope to resuscitate the doubly whitewashed Team India? The answer must be an instant ‘yes’. Turning to the political page, is PM Gilani not the best hope ever since partition for a liaison in continuum between India and Pakistan? I for one is of the firm view that he is. Even if he ceases to don the premiership, the democratic kindle he has stoked can’t be ignored by Nawaz Sharief-Imran-Musharraf troika of whom anyone can follow Mr Gilani.
Given the tumultuous and most trying time of last 12 months in Pakistan’s history, even if ‘corrupt’ ruler(s) - but democratic by nature, is advocating very courageously for an Indo-Pak partnership, the hawks and doves must lap the clarion call of Mr Gilani - what he calls ‘compelling compulsions’ for two neighbours to ‘purge and surge’. And, what can be better than kicking off from the cricketing field - this or that side of the border, whether it is ‘friendly or war series’. Both the teams need it, more so the badly ‘pace’ bruised Team India. Give Pakistan or take their ground to play but play the ball. Remember, Mr Gilani not only cheered the 2011 World Cup winning team at Mohali but also earned brickbats at home. Why not also give Mr Gilani a ‘2012 Dhoni’, what we gave to Gen Musharraf (2005-06), after the 2001 longstanding ‘eyeball to eyeball’ standoff. Let us also think of a ‘doosra’- why not PM Dr Manmohan Singh pat Saeed Ajmal on turf India to give Mr Gilani a ‘due’- who happens to be a great admirer of our own doctor.
Why not? Just figure in last twelve months, with an open mind, perceptible if not real, change in Gilani –Zadari’s ‘chaal-charitra’ towards India - wait but watch, do not ignore. They may be compelled by American ‘Drones’ to draw closer, but is it not an uncontested fact that India is the most favoured nation (MFN) for Pakistan after almost half a century wait. And what a risky time to grant this status with ever ready fundamentalist military-ISI itching to strike with its ever present hate India war bandwagon.
Where are the suicide Jehadis in Kashmir? Reigned in or checked? By whom? Can we conclude that Pakistan has given up the ‘K’ ‘core’? No, wait again, it’s not so yet, but then don’t we need to seize the opportunity to draw new ‘core’ with the most ‘dangerous’ neighbour - whom you can help or us, in changing for the better. I tend to believe that the last twelve months have been the most peaceful and dividendful time in Indo-Pak relations though it may turnout to be short lived or an exposed charade later though I doubt.
However, it can’t be denied that it is the best time offered for both the countries to keep Washington-Beijing-Dubai at distance and develop a ‘new deal’ between the two of us, ignoring the protracted problems and build upon whatever we can. Let the largest democracy help-steer-guide-build hardrock democratic Pakistan, which probably could emerge as the 4th or 5th largest democracy of the world. I believe India can ‘payback’ in helping Pakistan to reign in fundamentalist jehadi factories inside that country in a big way by cementing a democratic spirit and enterprise. Non-state actors anywhere are not in interest of ‘state’.
You do not need a ‘memo’ in extra territorial capitals of the world if you are safe and sound with your immediate or across the border neighbours (read eastern or western). You do need to rush to Washington and Beijing weekly and here India can certainly assure and reassure.
So, why can’t India and Pakistan try something like Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which is based on voluntary still compliant dos and don’ts? It’s time to take off and take on the world, leaving behind a bit of baggage of ‘suspicion and fear’ mindset. Why not to keep ‘hardliners’ at bay for a while and experiment. I believe, it’s already on, though with fingers crossed. What do you make out when an Indian Home minister says, “You can’t always put everything on Pakistan blindly without facts in hand, looking inside home can’t also be ignored” (break from the past). Let us not ignore the fact that post 26/11, may be due to ‘high security apparatus’ in place, the ‘direct’ Pak hand in terror violence has definitely shown signs of ‘hold’ or ‘decline’ (forget their domestic engagements for a while).
So, what next and a must? An ‘ideal type’ would be to encourage more and more incursions both ways, not the terror type but one that of business, commerce, culture, tourism, sugar, cotton and even electricity and it can lead to what not … off course all with cautions on both sides.
It is no coincidence that everytime there have been a standoff, the icebreak bonhomie has come (shortlived though) through ‘cricket’. Be it the 1978 revival of cricketing link, the famous Gen Zia trip to Jaipur (80’s) or ‘dosti’ series (2005-06).
Context is different this time, there is no standoff but there are definite indications of quest for elusive positive and standalone lasting partnership. So let the ball roll and roll further. Team India needs Pakistani ‘pace’ to face bouncers Down Under and Team Pakistan needs ‘ground’ to stand and play- beleaguered from within and without. Then what? Play more and more and often. It is time for a 21st century 'samjhauta' between two separated half-brothers. Let the ‘play’ of past be a past and kill the PA-IN (Pakistan-India).