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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

'India no longer seen as principal enemy by Pak'

PTI  New Delhi, July 31, 2013
First Published: 21:15 IST(31/7/2013) | Last Updated: 21:21 IST(31/7/2013)

India is no longer seen as "principal enemy" by Pakistan, where internal changes are mitigating old anxieties, and there has been a "fundamental course correction" on resolving long pending issues, a former Pakistan minister said in New Delhi on Wednesday.

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"There has been a change in mood in Pakistan today, where internal changes are shaping policies, mitigating old anxieties and India is no longer the principal enemy," Pakistan's former information and broadcasting minister Sherry Rehman said.

She, however, cautioned that years of "accumulated animosities" being reflected by media may endanger future of both the countries.

"...it is not while society says what we hear in conversations, reflected and refracted through media....years of accumulating animosities, and that endanger our future more than anything else," Rehman, who was also Pakistan's ambassador to US, said.

Delivering a 'Distinguished Speaker Series' lecture at the Jamia Milia Islamia, she stressed on the need for "political will" to resolve long-pending issues though the military establishments of both countries see each other with suspicion.

"We bring too many conditions to our table...we must have them, its unrealistic to pretend otherwise...there has to be point where we talk about political will.

"Pakistan is seeking to change this equation, at least for the last five years... that is continuing both at the level of society and the state. There also has been a fundamental course correction at the strategic and at the state level," she said.

In the course of her lecture on Rehman also asserted the "key role" India and Pakistan could play in shaping the future of South Asia.

"South Asian region is ripe with short, medium and long term tranformations...and there are opportunities if we can seek to imagine as the penultimate South Asian moment..because there clearly is a moment...it is a question of whether we want to leverage it or miss it...

"And, both India and Pakistan have key roles to play in this transition. How South Asia can imagine its future as let me assure you that the rest of the world has stopped imagining South Asia," she said. The former Pakistan minister also called for a change in the dynamics of the bilateral relations, saying both the countries should come out of the cold war politics and the "tired posturing of hyper nationalism".

Referring to the "transitions" that are on in the three Asian neighbours, she said, "Pakistan, first completed its successful constitutional transfer of power... India too is going into elections in less than a year. And, Afghanistan is also experiencing multiple transitions and many layer of change and the region." "Other Asian nations are also asking because those regions are also overshadowed by this conflict and the elephant and the gorilla are in the room, India and Pakistan. And, even on fundamental levels our societies are in deeper transitions -- social, political, demographic and security transitions," she said.


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