Tuesday, October 7, 2008

There you go again, Mr.President!!

by Pooja Shali

Asif Ali Zardari seems to be creating one storm after another. As if his extremely vocal appreciation of Sarah Palin’s beauty was not enough, there appeared one more explosion from the late Benazir Bhutto’s husband. The recent one, however, is more dramatic and exclusive. In an interview to Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, Zardari confessed to the active presence of militant Islamic groups in J&K (according to him within the Indian occupied border). He elaborated by referring to them as ‘terrorists’ and continued to say that they are not ‘freedom fighters’ as Musharraf must have liked.

As the broadcast and print media began to flash these exclusive words, our countrymen were stunned. Coming from a Pakistani President, predecessors of whom have supported the absurd so-called freedom struggle, this was an uncanny moment.

The defence minister of Pakistan (on Times Now) expressed shock at this statement, and tried to cover up the matter stating that the president was misconstrued. So was it really a preposterous blunder by Zardari? Or the leadership of Pakistan has decided to finally withdraw its support to the ongoing terrorism in Kashmir? Or was it just another well planned political move?

The author would like to believe that it’s all three of the above. Pakistan has thought and rethought its stand on Kashmir. The upheaval that their government has supported for decades in Kashmir, which ruined a million lives, has begun to haunt them now in the global arena. While its favourite neighbour is all set to sign a nuclear deal, Pakistan is busy trying to hide its inner turmoil that has also paralysed its borders. Constant references to terrorism in India supported by the ISI, became too much of a burden for its leadership. The inability to counter such claims has also unwrapped Pakistan’s insecure present and uncertain future. Perhaps, it was obvious that Zardari came out to be an authority against terrorism in the valley as opposed to supporting it. Whether or not he meant his words, is a different game altogether.

The Pakistani government weighed too much of its integrity on Kashmir, but failed miserably to convince the world that it was a fair deal. They seemed to have realised the rickety platform on which Pakistan currently stands. Expanding space for Kashmir will only push them into murky waters. For a while it shall be a wise standpoint for Pakistan to depart from their pretentious adoration of the valley and concentrate on its inner advancement.

PPP might try to clarify his stance by distinguishing terrorism and Kashmir Liberation Movement as two separate entities, but the debacle has been witnessed. The smouldering divide between Muslim separatists and Pakistani leadership is unbolted for the world to see.

Going by the current scenario in valley where ‘Yahan chalo’ and ‘Wahan chalo’ movements are in vogue, the isolation of separatists is visible. A Frankenstein they created against non-Muslims in Kashmir has today re-emerged to attack their own side, and certainly with a more monstrous outline.

As for Zardari, if he tries to clarify his words anymore, I too shall have a small advice for him- “Mr.President, the sooner you try and understand the ideology of Pakistani leadership the better it shall be for your throne”.