December 2001 News

After Afghanistan, our biggest foreign policy failure is in Kashmir: Pak Media

24 December 2001
The Pioneer

New Delhi: Though Pakistan has barely managed to survive the highly destablising debacle in Afghanistan, it might not be so lucky in the event of a conflict with India over Kashmir, says a Pakistan journal. ''We have barely managed to survive a highly destablising debacle in Afghanistan whose end is not yet in sight but we might not be lucky in the event of a conflict with India over Kashmir,'' The Friday Times editor Najam Sethi said in an editorial. He said that Pakistan should admit that after ''Afghanistan, our biggest foreign policy failure is in Kashmir....After 1971, we buried the Kashmir issue in Simla.'' ''We then woke up in the 1990s to foment trouble in Kashmir..... In last 10 years, we have exported Islamic revolution to Kashmir and provoked untold brutalities of security forces in Kashmir,'' the weekly said. Expressing concern over undermining civil society and democratic pluralism by relinquishing political space to extremist militant organisations the editorial said, ''We have piled up debt in order to fuel the cold war with India and scared away potential foreign investors.'' After having pulled the rug from under the feet of elected political representatives who dared to think of smoking the peace pipe with New Delhi, the weekly said ''Now we are being pushed into a conflict with India by the very extremists who have already dashed our hopes in Afghanistan.'' The Friday Times wondered whether this was not the time to change ''a policy of perennial warring with India into a policy of enduring peace with our neighbours?'' The Weekly said that Pakistan''s military leaders have had a propensity for adventure unmatched by other dependent states in the modern age. ''Irrespective of the rights or wrong of the issue, Pakistani Army generals provoked military conflict with India in 1965, 1971 and 1999 and in the process Pakistan has had to sign unilateral ceasefires, submit to humiliating surrenders or accept forced withdrawals.'' ''If the legacy of the various wars with India is a reinforcement of historical pride and prejudice, the legacy of our involvement in Afghanistan is even more pervasive and poisonous,'' it added. ''It has derailed the post-cold war impulse for political democracy, created the demon of bloody sectarianism, raised the spectre of violent fundamentalism, stamped a militaristic ethos on society and created a powerful but accountable state within the state,'' The Weekly said. The Friday Times editorial said the ISI was actually poised to become a state in itself and for itself ''if the Afghanistan debacle had not complelled General Pervez Musharraf to rein it in and freeze its more adventurous external operations.


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