Pakistan has again decided to fish in troubled waters, especially after a spurt in anti-Indian activities in the Valley.
Speaking in Islamabad last week, Pakistani chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif replayed the worn tune that Kashmir was “an unfinished agenda of Partition” and that Pakistan and Kashmir were “inseparable”.
Given that Pakistan has a terrorism problem, one would have expected the administration to get its priorities right. But from a force whose existence is predicated on its enmity towards India, little good can be expected.
His comments yet again prove that when it comes to Pakistan’s India policy, the views of the government don’t matter. Islamabad has repeatedly expressed its desire for better ties with New Delhi but Rawal pindi seems in no mood to mend fences.
While Gen Sharif talked about an “unfinished agenda”, Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif expressed his desire for “good relations” with India. Clearly the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.
Pakistan, in its haste to appropriate the ‘Kashmir problem’ and internationalise it, forgets that the people of J&K have, time and again, showed their faith in India’s democratic process.
This is evident in the impressive voter turnouts during elections: The assembly polls in December saw a record turnout of 65% despite boycott calls from separatist groups.
However, India should take note of Gen Sharif’s comments as they come at a time when there has been a spurt in instances in the Valley, where the Pakistani flag has been hoisted at rallies organised by separatists. His remarks are meant to create an environment of unrest, similar to the violence that broke out in the summer of 2010.
The state government must ensure that such incidents do not recur and that peace is maintained. All these developments point to the need for the BJP-PDP coalition to get its house in order.
Under the present state government the separatists and other pro-Pakistan voices seemed to have regained confidence to air anti-Indian sentiments.
Also a perception has been created that the J&K government is going easy on pro-Pakistani groups. This is detrimental to peace in the Valley.
Union minister VK Singh has rightly rubbished Gen Sharif’s statements and said Pakistan can harbour its “wrong notions”. It is now for the politicians in J&K, especially the ruling coalition, to come together and counter efforts by pro-Pakistani forces to create trouble in the Valley.