Amid escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, Pakistan-born Canadian writer Tarek Fatah says endeavours by ordinary citizens or efforts by the government from the Indian side cannot end hostility from the Pakistani side.
Fatah, who has endeared himself to the current dispensation for his criticism of radical Islam and Pakistan and is a coveted guest on Indian news channels, says the average Pakistani does not want peace with India.
“On one side, you have a completely fascist order based on lies and deception and on the other side is the Hindu guilt-ridden liberal class that says we have a model where we can practice outreach and brotherhood, but is it the Hindu right-wing that is not allowing that? The real ultra-right is the Muslim liberal class, it is not the other way round,” Fatah told HT in an exclusive interview.
Fatah was dismissive of peace initiatives with people at their core. He said the focus on increasing people-to-people contact would have no significant outcome and scoffed at the notion that ordinary people in both countries wanted peace.
“There is no people-to-people relationship,” Fatah said, adding that there is an overwhelming anti-India sentiment prevalent in Pakistan.
Fatah, who has not visited Pakistan since 2006, was in India to attend a seminar on Balochistan and its bid for independence organised by an RSS-backed think tank, the Indian Policy Foundation. He said that India raising the Balochistan issue helped focus international attention to the Baloch struggle for freedom.
Dubbing himself an Indian, Fatah did not demur in accepting that he was keen on getting Indian citizenship. He frequently refers to his family’s ancestry as “Mumbai Punjabis” and blames radical Islam for the unrest in Kashmir.
Replying to a question on why terror attacks at army bases in Uri and Baramulla have not impacted trade and travel ties, Fatah said it was purely driven by commercial interests.