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Khar walks away laughing

The morning after an India-Pakistan exchange is always the most crucial period. There was every reason to suspect that the Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar would, the moment she was back on Pakistani soil, tear into the tendentious spin that was sought to be put by the excited Indian pundits on her meeting with the Hurriyet leaders in Delhi. A former Indian home secretary was noticeably unhappy that  Khar didn’t meet Omar Abdullah. Another pundit fulminated that next time external affairs minister S.M.Krishna visits Pakistan, he should search out Baluchi nationalists for a pow-vow. Yet another pundit chipped in that it should be actually a colourful tribal leader from the remote Baltistan in the Northern Areas that Krishna meets.

But Khar seems to have taken these vacuous Indian remarks on her stride. She arrived back in Pakistan and chose to remember the positive outcome of the visit. She complimented India’s genuine desire to normalise ties with Pakistan. And, funnily, she “sought space from  the public in general and media in particular for allowing this turn in the relationship to stay its course.” Those Indians who tried to rattle Khar and those Pakistani detractors alike who were throwing stones at her for being ineligible to be the foreign minister must be realising that a diplomatist is spearheading Pakistan’s FO at a crucial juncture.

It’s time for the Indian discourses to show greater maturity. The fact of the matter is that no harm has come to Indian interests because the Hurriyet leaders met with Khar. Equally, these bearded, garrulous Indians from J&K have been travelling on Indian passports and visiting Pakistan and other countries and regularly meeting with Pakistani politicians and civlian and military (and intelligence) officials. If Khar still wanted to meet them during her brief sojourn in Delhi, it must have been for some compulsions. Common sense would suggest that we explore those compulsions.

India’s strength has always been — and will ever be — that it is an expansive democracy where a hundred flowers can bloom. That is also what makes India a great country for most of us. The heavens are not going to come crashing down if some Indians hold contrarian views about national issues. In retrospect, the decision that the then PM Narasimha Rao took in the early 1990s after careful deliberation — and which promptly met with the full understanding of the then BJP leadership of A.B. Vajpayee and L.K.Advani — to issue passports to the Hurriyet leaders to travel wherever they wanted and to meet whosoever they wanted has only been vindicated.

Finally, although neither the Indian nor the Pakistani side speaks about the factors behind it, the fact remains that there has been a remarkable change for the better in the J&K situation and if that has been happening, it has also been against the backdrop of a more relaxed atmosphere in the India-Pakistan ties. So, who knows, Khar can eventually be a positive influence on the Hurriyet leaders, She has shown extraordinary political maturity, while the Indian ruckus over her meeting with the Hurriet leaders only shows a lack of self-confidence. Omar Abdullah’s political legitimacy is in no way diminished because Khar didn’t meet him; international community is not demanding J&K’s secession because Hurrieyt leaders met Khar; nor has an Intifada broken out in the Valley the moment the special aircraft with Khar on board crossed back into Pakistani airspace.

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2 Responses

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    Does the lady FM from the neighbouring state command any legitimacy from the the ISI of that nation. It could have been a PR exercise by Pakistan to prove to the world that it is interested in putting the cards and discussing the issue in a bilateral way and use these number so of interactions to show the world that it is a keen party pitted against an arrogant neighbour.

    The amount of hue and cry raised by the media on the Hurriat meeting in the Pak embassy is a media hype who are immature to the environment of foreign diplomacy. They were more busy commenting uon the accessories of the visiting dignitaries (as one would expect of their genre in current list of commentators available to the media). Neither are these reporters worth their name nor have the number of years of such reporting to understand the underlying issues of diplomacy with Pak. Many of them were in thier shorts when the nation went to war in ’65 and ’71. It was this very media who was fooled into a trap by Musharraf on the very next day of the summit at Agra.

    It is high time this media learns to segregate chaff from the grain.


    India should rather step up its efforts in isolating the Kashmir issue away from the bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan, and allow more interactions between the Kashmiri leaders/people from both sides of the border – in order to resolve the issue in an uncomplicated manner. By allowing every Pakistani FM to negotiate with the Hurriyat leaders – claiming that we allow the negotiations in the name of good relations – has to be labelled as the height of immaturity, and more worse as an appeasement of a state that has crossed the limits of friendly neighborhood relationship, many a times.

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