As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reference to Balochistan in his August 15 Independence Day speech signalled an aggressive shift in India’s approach towards neighbouring Pakistan, the Pakistani terror outfits have put the Nawaz Sharif government and the military leadership in Islamabad under tremendous pressure by urging them to send forces to Kashmir.
Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of November 2008 Mumbai attack and chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) (which has had sanctions placed against it as a terrorist organisation by the UN), made the request to Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday, saying that the Pak armed forces should “obey” the pending order of the country’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Speaking at a rally in Karachi, Saeed said that Kashmiris had wanted to remain with Pakistan after the partition, but India sent Army to Jammu and Kashmir and forcibly captured the region.
Saeed slammed then commander-in-chief of the Pak Army for not following Jinnah’s order, saying: “Now, I ask General Raheel Sharif to send troops to (Jammu and) Kashmir as Quaid-e-Azam’s (the greatest leader) order is pending.” Reacting sharply to the Indian premier’s Independence Day speech, leader of the Pakistan-based terror outfit stressed: “Pakistan has become a war zone and innocent Kashmiris are being killed while Modi is talking of separating Balochistan. Why our prime minister is silent and reluctant to respond to Modi in the same manner.”
In India, foreign policy experts have said that it is evident from Saeed’s sharp reaction that the arrow has hit the target. They have welcomed PM Modi’s bold gambit on Balochistan, saying that his ‘Pakistan policy’ is responsive to rapidly altering ground realities. In modern world, each and every country relies more on realism than idealism as far as its foreign policy is concerned. While countering former US President Woodrow Wilson in 1923, then US Secretary of State Charles Evans had said: “Foreign policies are not built upon abstractions. They are the result of practical conceptions of national interest arising from some immediate exigency or standing out vividly in historical perspective.”
The main problem of India is that it shares border with a country that uses terrorism as a state policy. In recent past, PM Modi tried his best to maintain cordial ties with Islamabad so that outstanding issues could be resolved through peaceful negotiation. However, Pakistan’s reluctance to resolve the Kashmir issue has prompted the Indian PM to shift his policy.
On Monday, Modi said: “Today, I want to especially honour and thank some people from the ramparts of the Red Fort. For the past few days, the people of Balochistan, people of Gilgit, people of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, the way their citizens have heartily thanked me, the way they have acknowledged me, the goodwill they have shown towards me, people settled far across, the land which I have not seen, people I have not met ever, but people settled far across acknowledge the Prime Minister of India, they honour him, so it is an honour of my 1250 million countrymen, it is respect of my 1250 million countrymen, and that is why, owing to the feeling of this honour, I want to heartily thank the people of Balochistan, people of Gilgit, people of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir for having an expression of thankfulness.”
It is to be noted that PM Modi made no indication that India would adopt an interventionist policy by actively inciting insurgency on a sovereign nation’s soil. He just changed the rules of the game by raising the Balochistan issue. His comment should be considered as a warning signal to Pakistan. By acknowledging Baloch struggle and expressing sympathy with the long-suffering people, the Indian PM actually highlighted the state-sponsored atrocities unleashed by Pakistan on its “own” people.