Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”– Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Areeja Syed & Asfandiyar Khan

The Indo-Pak disputes are still unsettled originated by the British exit from the region in 1947. Both states had been trying to conciliate since the independence but the conciliation process could not become successful and resulted in three wars between both countries. India conducted its nuclear tests on May11-13 and Pakistan on May 28-10. Thus, both countries achieved the status of atomic power. The dark shadows of horrible nuclear war are looming over the South Asian region. It is imperative for the belligerent states to carry out negotiation process. The major hindrance is the unwillingness from both sides to resolve the issue. That’s why; there is no major development in the normalization process between both countries. Not only the governments of India and Pakistan but also the general lot needs to remove grudges against each other and develop amity instead of hatred. 

There are several differences between both nations which intensified hostility including political theories, creeds, and religious beliefs, bitter experiences before, during and after the independence, distorted history and twisted facts about each other. Islam and Hindu religion present opposite theories regarding the universe, God, prophets etc. In this context, the believers of both faiths have different outlook and perspective about every matter. Though they had been living together for above one thousand years yet their conservativeness could not be diminished even. The root cause of these clashes is the abrupt departure of the British from South Asia without proper management and fair partition process. The worst decisions of the British gave the impression that after ruling and dividing the masses, they planned to divide and flee from the region. The major bone of contention, Kashmir conflict, is also the result of this ill planning and division. The other conflicts were water and river distribution, division of armed forces, distribution of official material, treasury and money, real estate problems, accommodation of displaced people, immigrants and refugees and merging of autonomous states. These issues simply heightened the tensions between both countries (Muhammad & Ashraf, 2007).

Confidence Building Measures or CBMs refer to those policies and deals which are conducted by the state to gain mutual profit having trust on all involved parties. These deals can be via hotline, through business and trade, person to person contact or exchange of military and non-military information and exercises. This process enhances goodwill and peace between nations, eventually minimizing animosity and clashes among them. These measures create trustworthy relations between the nations and contribute to the progress of the countries in various fields. To achieve stability and peace in the region, the negotiation process should be continued to resolve mutual conflicts. The South Asian countries should implement CBMs in its true sense as the nuclear tests in May 1998 by Pakistan and India have augmented the prospects of a nuclear war in the region. On account of this, it is essential to settle rivalries, adopt confidence building measures and develop mutual understanding and collaboration with each other. Moreover, diplomatic and economic ties among South Asian countries should be strengthen to continue the procedure of CBMs smoothly. Previously, Islamabad and Delhi signed many deals and pacts to promote mutual cooperation and settle disputes. They established SAARC, to enhance collaboration among the countries of the region and it proved effective to some extent. To obtain fruitful results of CBMs, sincere efforts are required even if it is replacing the previous CBMs. The experts should evaluate the results of previous and existing CBMs, the effective and ineffective steps, reasons of success and failure, the different procedures followed by the other states and plan CBMs in the light of this evaluation. It is also beneficial for other organizations, private institutions, societal communities and groups, business and commerce, research and technical institutes etc. To figure out the achievements of CBMs and for the implementation of new CBMs, evaluate the previous and recent progress, made by the other countries in this regard (Irshad, n.d).

CBMs are also effective to promote international co-operation and influence and also reduce hostilities between nations. It can contribute to the development of trust which is the essential element before and during this process. It is not easy to streamline CBMs but relinquishment is feasible. The belligerent states should comply by it justly and fairly and do not sabotage the process especially during severe clashes. Reliability and credence is required form both sides. They should work peacefully when the clashes are settled. The situation becomes worse when the bellicose countries do not follow CBMs during conflicts. Compliance with CBMs during peace and agitation is equally significant. India and Pakistan could not implement CBMs effectively due to their reluctant and hostile attitude and lack of trust. In this context, it is easy to sabotage this process instead of abiding by it. The process of confirmation is necessary in CBMs to avoid any misconception or clashes between the parties. Lack of trust and disinformation can harm the process. The government officials utilize CBMs to gain some political goals or to get victory over political rivals but this can prove destructive in the end. Official declarations for CBMs sometimes produce negative impact if they prove to be lip services. If there are flaws in the designing of them, it can also become ineffective as it happened after the Sharm-el-Sheikh conference due to an official assertion. To maintain peace and congenial relations with the rival countries, strict compliance with the CBMs is required especially during clashes, the hostile parties should not give any contradictory statement and exhibit polite and positive attitude. The bilateral relations and negotiation process should be carried out without any interruption. The rival states must realize that the Kashmir dispute cannot be resolved by using military power. Some other CBMs should be drafted regarding Kashmir issue e.g. commencement of inter-state talks to decide the final status of Kashmir valley. The controversial issues as referendum in Kashmir and or liberation procedure should be settled after sensible and careful planning. The procedure to diminish animosity should be escalated and Kashmir issue should not be used to gain political objectives by both sides. The controversial statements and campaigns on mass media and on social media platforms against each other should be abolished. Process of minimizing armed and nuclear weapons should be carried out to reduce hostility. The media persons, delegates of human rights foundations and military representatives should be invited off and on, by the government officials (U.K essays, 2018).

Chanakya Kautilya an ancient scholar said “Your neighbour is your natural enemy and the neighbour’s neighbour is your friend”

Indian foreign policy is based on the philosophy of Chanakya, the neighbouring countries are affected by Indian policies. India has issues and conflicts with all neighbouring counties including China, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Recently India has abrogated unilaterally the article 370 and 35A in order to annex the disputed territory between India and Pakistan. According to the realist, scholars state it has to maximize the powers in order to become a regional hegemon and also it can lead towards world powerful state status. Indian foreign policy based to become a world powerful country by maximization of powers by several means like India is one of the world’s largest buyers of weapons from the USA, France, and Russia. The Modi Government has abrogated the article 370 unilaterally and annexed Kashmir into Indian federation, this move has changed the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir under the resolutions of United Nations Security Council. Pakistan is the party to the Kashmir conflict but the Indian government repeatedly saying it’s an internal matter which is not acceptable for Pakistan and also it’s the violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The people of the state of Jammu & Kashmir has the right to decide by their own will, the Indian government has no right to subjugate them by force and locked them in a curfew.

The recent Indian move aims to crush the spirit of resistance and resilience of Kashmiris in the name of development. There’s a word for supposed development that comes with assumed moral superiority and economic rationality, in the shadow of the gun, with no input from the people affected, and based on the fantasies of a foreign power. India claims to be a post-colonial democracy does not change this fact no colonial venture in contemporary times has dared name itself as such. Kashmiris are claimed in the name of democracy and further colonized in the name of development.

In the light of above-mentioned issues and disputes with all neighbouring countries, it’s very simple and easy to understand the Chanakya’s thinking in Indian foreign policy. Actually, India is considering as a regional hegemon in South Asia. But countries like Pakistan do not accept any kind of Indian supremacy and hegemony in the region. Every state has her own national interest and priorities so other nations of the region considering India’s foreign policy behaviour as a threat to their security and sovereignty. India has a long history of supporting Tamil tigers against Sri-Lanka and also in 1962 there was a limited war between China and India. With all these differences and hegemonic behaviour, Indian foreign policy considers a threat to the neighbouring countries and also for sustainable peace in the region.

The current Modi government has hegemonic desires beyond the borders, after the illegal alteration of disputed J&K status Modi government is threating Pakistan and encouraging a nuclear war in the region. With this hegemonic desires, India wants to perceive her goals to become a regional power against China. Actually, the growing influence and investment of China in South Asia makes India uncomfortable because India considers China as an obstacle to achieving her goals. China’s investment and building of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will bring economic prosperity for Pakistan. But the hegemonic behaviour of India is creating hurdles and supporting anti-Pakistani propaganda across the region. Every state has the right to think and act in order to protect her national interest. Pakistan’s national interest is to maintain cordial relations with all neighbouring countries but the issue of J&K must be addressed and resolve in the light of UNSC resolutions. 

The state of Jammu and Kashmir never belongs to India, it is disputed territory between Pakistan and India, and it is the undecided territory of the partition of the subcontinent. The recent alteration of the disputed status of J&K deteriorated the diplomatic relation between Pakistan and India. All political leadership of Kashmir behind the bars and illegal detention of innocent civilians. In fact, the Kashmir valley is the world’s most militarized region. The Indian government has no right to decide unilaterally the fate of people of J&K. there are three stakeholders in this issue, India, Pakistan and people of J&K. So without any consent from the other two stakeholders, India can’t reform any policy which can alter the disputed status of the region.

The world must realize and come to mediate in the issue in order to protect the mass killings, the genocide of innocent civilians by Indian armed forces and Hindu extremist groups. Basically, the Indian so-called secular democracy has turned into extremist Hindu state, these extremist groups believe in the destruction of other nations, their mindset is full of hatred and they kill innocent people to fulfil their holy spiritual desires. The power exercised by the army against the civilian population would further worsen the hanging situation of the region. The two nuclear power states may go for war if there will be no third-party mediation. It is the duty and responsibility of the United Nations Security Council to come out from the air-conditioned offices and put pressure on the Indian government to protect the lives of civilians. The main objective of international institutions (UN)is to maintain peace and security in the world. This hegemonic behaviour of the Indian government may drag Pakistan into a war. It’s time for superpowers to play their role and bring the Indian government into the negotiations table.

It is said that nepotism is the lowest and least imaginative form of corruption. The worst misuse of power is to favour kith and kin by giving them the best positions even though they do not worth it. Isn’t it unfair and unjustified to choose a person just based on personal contacts and relationships? How would it feel when one is not chosen for promotion despite honest and loyal services and hard work? Does relation out weight the merit? Nepotism is destroying the nations, not only because of providing opportunities to unworthy people but also badly violating the rights of the thousands of talented, competent and skilled people. If one talks about Pakistan, it is full of such examples where members of the same family are working in the same place. It is commonly practised in the various companies, politics, cricket, entertainment, even in educational institutes. While Pakistan is considered as a free country that came into being in the name of the ideology of Islam and named the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. But unfortunately, people in Pakistan are not given equal rights. Though nepotism is strictly prohibited in Islam. Quran says: ‘’O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if it be against yourselves, your parents, and relatives, or whether it is against the rich or the poor’’.

Since the independence of Pakistan, people have always been a victim of that favouritism and nepotism. Where relatives of a powerful figure ascend to similar power. Moreover, Politics had been used for personal interest rather than the country’s benefit and development. If one has a glance on the history of Pakistan, in the era of Sikander Mirza who was the governor-general of Pakistan at that time. He dismissed five prime ministers within the span of three years from 1955 to 1958 and made premiership a joke. His first target was Mohammad Ali Bogra who was replaced by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali but within one year he was also replaced by Hussain Shaheed Suharwardi then he was replaced by Ibrahim Ismail Chandigarh. After two months, he was also dismissed and on his place, Malik Feroz Noon became the prime minister of Pakistan. This incident was a shame for our country’s democracy. On this, Prime Minister of India Nehru ironically commented that “I don’t change Dhooti as fast as Pakistan changes its Prime Ministers”. He didn’t concern about Country’s image but only cares for his interest and left a stain on the history of Pakistan.

One can also see the clear image of nepotism in today’s political parties like the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Just opposite to its name ‘’PEOPLE’’, it is run by Bhutto family particularly. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the current chairman of the party is the son of Mr Asif Ali Zardari (former President) and Muhatarma Benazir Bhutto (former Prime Minister) and she was also the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (former Prime Minister of Pakistan). Another party is Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and it is run by the Nawaz family. Nawaz Sharif was the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and his brother Shehbaz Sharif who was Chief Minister of Punjab, his wife Kulsoom Nawaz (NA-120 candidate), his daughter Maryam Nawaz (NA-127candidate), his son-in-law Capt. Ret. Safdar (NA-14 candidate). And then Shehbaz Sharif’s son Hamza ShahbazSharif (PP-126 candidate) whose close relative Ishaq Dar was the Finance minister of Pakistan. Now, this Shareef family should stop spreading their Shareef children and give chance to other youngsters of the nation. Then comes the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) that also created an example of nepotism: in a by-election, PTI fielded Ali khan Tareen son of Jahangir Tareen who was disqualified by Supreme Court rather than giving chance to another one.

Everyone talks about equality and welfare of the public and come up with the slogan of justice but do they keep their promises? Who is responsible for it? It looks nepotism is a natural process everyone will avail if given the chance. But who is giving them the chance? Do people use their “Right of VOTE” in a proper way? This doesn’t end here Discrimination has tightened their roots in the cricket also. The Pakistani cricket team is representing Pakistan in all over the world. So Pakistani youngsters have a keen interest in showing their talent to the world. From starting there have been a lot of best cricketers in the team, who have made their names remarkable in history. But one thing should be highlighted here is that in the Seventy-two years of cricket history of Pakistan Sindhis and Balochs are not selected in the team, despite having talent and skills. Why have they remained deprived of this great field? Was there not a single person from these tribes worth considering for the national cricket team since its inception? They should raise voice for their rights and stand against this discrimination. Therefore, It is requested to the Chief-of-patron of Pakistan Cricket Board, PM Imran Khan to give chance to youngsters of Interior Sindh and Baluchistan as they also can contribute and consecrate their efforts in glorification the of Pakistan.

Unfortunately, even educational institutes are not free of this fatal disease of nepotism and favouritism. Education is considered as the only source of progress and development of any country. Despite polishing and improving educational structure, this system is manipulating the education. In universities, it is common practice that influential people are giving vacant posts to their relatives or in admission criteria they have reserved seats for their kith and kin. This is the reason that poor talented students are extremely worried about their future. Not only universities but also other organizations, companies and departments have been practising nepotism. The system has become so much corrupt that a large number of educated youth have engaged themselves in criminal activities and ruined their future. So who should be blamed for this system? This is our collective responsibility at least perform our part of the job with sincerity, improve our education system, and Support the young talent and give them opportunities to show their abilities and work for the country instead of dragging them back. Since the establishment of Pakistan brilliant minds have always been pushed back even killed, if a chance is given to them the history of Pakistan will be different. Therefore, all have to understand the changing dynamics of the world and it is not a time of division but it’s time to be unite and work together for the development, progress, and stability of the country.

India and Pakistan in the recent annals of international politics are the only states in the world that engage in perpetuating antagonism for the last 72 years. Indo-Pak hostility even remains immune to the novel coronavirus a pandemic disease engulfing the whole world. Warmongers at the helm of affairs, on both sides, converts natural calamity into opportunity to galvanize their hostility. The Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi more ferocious than his counterpart is least bothered with Covid-19 in Indian Occupied Kashmir IOK and is loath to leave the lockdown in IOK. The Indian unprovoked shelling continues during Covid-19 at Line of Control LOC killing innocent civilians. For both states, the continuation of hostility at the expense of their human developments in the foreseeable future would inevitably be counterproductive. Prevailing Covid-19 ought to serve as a wake-up call for them, and should now concentrate on human developments rather than building military strength. 

However, Covid-19 even has exposed myriad health sectors and vulnerabilities of developed states. Covid-19 warns policy makers that consolidation of military power at the expense of health budgets will put the lives of masses in jeopardy. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in its report reveals that the world’s total military expenditure has risen to approximately to $ 1,822 billion in 2018. The US is at the top in the world in spending on its military expenditure. According to International Institute of Strategic Studies the US spent nearly $ 700 billion on its military in 2019 and the figure is expected to rise to $ 725 billion in 2020. Resultantly, the US is bearing the brunt in death tool amid in Covid-19, it has now overtaken Italy.

Death tool of the US is an obvious and instructive lesson for India and Pakistan to ponder over it. Statesmanship of both states need to overhaul their foreign policies and reassess the gravity of threats emanating in post-Covid-19 arena. Non-traditional threats such as Covid-19, climate change, water and food scarcity are more lethal and destructive than so-called imaginary or traditional threats. The entire world including India and Pakistan never remained in lockdown by virtue of traditional threats but non-traditional threat, first time in history has clamp downed the whole world, halting economic, political, social and religious activities across the world and is likely to alter the complexion of world politics very soon. Presumably, in near future threats from pandemic disease and climate change will multiply due to existing an exploitative capitalist system that goes against the law of nature. Nature is going take its revenge from mankind in shape of pandemic disease and climate change.

Suffice to say that theory of realism in such fragile circumstances has caused a colossal damage to Indo-Pak relations. Seeing the relationships of two belligerent states merely in prim of realism would further deepen the enmity. Analyzing the critics of realism and implementing them in foreign policies of both states by all means would de-escalate the tension. First and foremost, realism negates non-traditional threats like pandemic diseases and climate change only prioritizing traditional and imaginary threats. Currently, 600 million Indians are struggling with drought and the country is the largest user of ground water in the world, by 2030 approximately 40 percent of the Indian may not have access to the drinking water. Above all, 200,000 people in India die every year due to undrinkable water. Intriguingly, dying of 200,000 Indians by contaminated water is not a threat in realist’s lexicon. 

Meanwhile, director general Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Dr Ghulam Rasul says “Pakistan will become water scarce by 2025”. German watch, a German think-tank, on the other hand, shows a grim picture of Pakistan’s vulnerability to the climate change, saying that Pakistan is the 7th most vulnerable country to the climate change. To bear in mind, such threats do not fall in realist spectrum.

Secondly, realists are disinterested in economic interdependence, concentrating solely on maximization of power. Maximization of power and security without a robust economy is simply out of the question. According to Stephen Cohan, South Asia is the least economically intertwined region of the world, having merely 5 percent intraregional trade. Had Pakistan and India been economically interdependent, there would have certainly been less likelihood of such hostility. Thirdly, realists overshadow intrastate conflict usually referred as civil war or internal conflict. Both India and Pakistan are confronted with intrastate conflict. Arguably, intrastate is more detrimental to the state than interstate conflict, enfeebling state’s political system and national integration.

Implementation of social constructivist theory is prerequisite in Indo-Pak relations in post-Covid-19arena.Alexander Wendt a renowned social constructivist says “anarchy is what states make of it” he further articulates that friendship and enmity is socially constructed that could not be taken for granted. In real world, the existence of friendship, enmity and sovereignty is questionable. Making friendship, enmity and sovereignty are dependent variable, depends on man’s and woman’s consciousness. The prevailing hostility of Indo-Pak in contemplation of Wendt could be deconstructed by changing enmity into friendship for the purpose of combating the Covid-19 and foreseen non-traditional threats in the future. In short, the post-Covid-19 scenario is supposed to change mindsets of both states to shun imaginary threats and securitization of foreign policy and should focus on human development including health and education sectors.