MJ Akbar is a veteran Journalist and presently he is the spokesperson of BJP. He has a different Persona as a Journalist, as a writer and as an expert as well. In Siyasat ki Baat with Editor News Operations Vasindra Mishra he comes out with his views about the internal conflict of Pakistan and indo pak relations in different era.
Vasindra Mishra : Sir, lets start with the fresh issue, What do you think is the reason behind the recent conflict with Pakistan ?
M J Akbar : Foremost we should understand that, in Pakistan power is not centralised, the country is not ruled by one government, there are many forces working, in their own way. As far as India or Afghanistan is concerned, pakistani goevrnment never takes any step related to security. Condition is quite different in India and Pakistan. In India, Prime Minister is supreme in decision making but Pakistani Prime ministers always work in the Shadow of their army, and pakistani army can not think about security and national interest without India and Kashmir issue in their mind. Also deep state of Pakistan never gives psychological space to develop bilateral cordial relationship with India, because they have a sense of insecurity of being ignored in Political system.
Vasindra Mishra : India and Pakistan got independence at the same time then what is reason of this difference ? Why Pakistan can not have a strong democratic set up like India?
MJ Akbar : See, the Existence of Pakistan is still debatable, In Pakistan People still want to know why Pakistan had been created. We had created nation on the basis of Religion not on the basis of people. But inspite being democratic country like India, Pakistan is moving towards theocracy, and in theocracy there is less space for democracy. Democracy never vanishes but it does not get proper space as well. Infact the space for democracy is decreasing decade by decade.
Vasindra Mishra : As you have said, Pakistan is moving toward Theocratic State. The different developed nations of the country be it America, France or England, they address Pakistan with different adjective when the policies are not made as per the convenience of that particular nation. So can we say that, the situation today in Pakistan is somehow related to the forces, be it the fundamentalists, the Seperatists or the Terrorists. Who are trying to navigate Imran khan and Maulawi to move ahead against the government as per their agenda ?
MJ Akbar : First let me tell you, maulawi do not resides in pakistan, he lives in Canada and often comes to Pakistan. Talking about the internal dynamics of Pakistan, will be a lengthy and time taking discussion. As for the current controversy is considered, Imraan Khan is questioning the crediblity of the election held last year in the country, in which Nawaz Sharrif is being elected as the Prime Minister of the country. Imraan Khan could not accept his defeat, he thinks that the election was not fair, and this is why he has launched this protest.
Vasindra Mishra : It seems that Imran's party Tahreek-e-Insaaf is under the influence of Talibaan and other fundamentalist forces. I have never heard a word from Imran against misdoings of Taliban in swat valley or Afghanistan. So don't you think, Imraan Khaan and Maulawi sahab are taking of help of those fundamentalist to get the hold of Pakistan Government ?
MJ Akbar : See, they will not be able to take over the government with the help of those forces, because they do not have the power of democracy, they have the power of bullets and with this power they will not be able to change the government or the Nizaam of Pakistan. Only army can do this in Pakistan. Till now relationship between the army and those fundamentalists power can not be established officially. It could be demeaning but it can be said that pakisatani army has shown bastardy behaviour towards those forces. Sometimes they support them and use them against India, on the other hand these forces are opposed by army when things are not in their favour. Modi jee talks about Proxy war. The army of Pakistan uses these forces for Proxy war against India. People from these group do not wear uniform, hence their link with army can not be proved. There is nothing new in this, Please remember just 6 weeks after independence in 1947, Pakistan decided to start war against India. Their first decision after independence was to work against India.
Vasindra Mishra : MJ Sahab, It is true that role of army is quite important in Pakistan, it controls the government. Army has been using the fundamentalists according to their interest and the present scenario in Pakistan seems more or less the same. Keeping this in mind dont you think that Indian Government should have shown soft corner towards Nawaz Sharif rather taking politically motivated step?
MJ Akbar : No, not at all, Our government had to take a decision on this issue. From last so many years only these arguments have saved them, now it has become futile. How many dead bodies you want to belive that this dual character will not anymore. Whenever we Indians extended our hands for friendship we have heard sounds of artillary from their side. We should not tolerate it anymore. When Prime Minister visited Leh, he clearly ask to end proxy war but in vain. It paid no heed on the ears of Pakistan. When Nawaz Sharrif was in our country he knew that the present Indian Goevrnment can not be taken for granted as earlier. I am amazed, after 26/11 in 2008 when Manmohan Singh met Pakistani counterpart in Sharm el shekih, It was India who bowed. Then the world was with us, the truth was with us even justice lies with us but India bowed. At that time India took the same stand, it was said that it wont be good for civilian governmenmt. What will happen to Zardari? Enough is enough now. See this is not the responsblity of Indian government to take are for the well being of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. Pakistan should approach India with good intention.
Vasindra Mishra : But the scenario was same during the tenure of Atal jee. When he approached Parvez Mushrraf for good relation, we got Kargil war as a gift. So this is not just the story of Manmohan Singh's tenure but also that of Atal Jee.
MJ Akbar : What Atal Jee did to builda good relationship with Pakistan, no one has gone to that extent till now. What he did was direct from his heart. So when Pakistan went against him and dejected his motive than why we did not learn from that.
Vasindra Mishra : M J Sahab, hitherto we have seen a trend, When we talk of diplomacy and Indo-Pak relations, party in opposition, be it Congress or BJP in India and the ruling party as well as the party in opposition in Pakistan, become anti India or anti Pakistan respectively. But when the same party comes in power they start to talk about harmony, good relationship etc. . So is it that the major Political faces of both the countries just do it for the sake of politics. To show this that party is trying to bring peace between the people of both the nations ?
MJ Akbar : Lets not focus on what has happened. The present Modi government of India, never takes its decision based on the policies of opposition. The government make its policy based on what is truth and also on what is the motive of the responder. Government also considers, if the converstaion will lead to an outcome. Conversation for Peace can only be achieved in a peaceful surrounding.
Vasindra Mishra : In the last 67 years of Indian history which Indian government’s tenure would you consider the best in establishing good relationship with Pakistan.whose efforts would be considered as best in projecting peace, love and friendship across border?
MJ Akbar : First let me tell you, India never remained in favour of War neither it has been a policy of our country. On the other hand, Pakistan’s love of war with India has been its state policy. If Pakistan had not initiated war in 1947 a mutually acceptable agreement would have been in place as independence to Kashmir was never into consideration because there was no such provision in Independence act as well. There has been three wars initiated by Pakistan and the results speaks for itself, these wars have impacted Pakistan more than anybody else. Now coming to your question the best phase historically, is that of General Zia and Morarjee Desai. In his tenure, the cordial relation between two countries became stronger but Morarjee Desai's government didn’t last long ,so as a result we did not experience cordial relation further. (Let me tell you, Morarjee was the first Gujrati Prime Minister of Country). Here too element of dishonesty was speaking volumes as General Zia back stabbed Morarji Desai, though he was talking on cricket , his main motive was to destroy Punjab. The result was seen all over, the disturbance in Punjab that was instigated by general Zia, had ferocious outcomes. His Doings were beyond expectation, it expanded from Kashmir to Punjab. The Second phase that i consider good, was that of Musharraf and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Here again Pakistan moved a step backwards. During Agra summit, when everything was finalized and the cordial relation between the two countries was just a Signature away, Parvez Musharraf took a step back. The reason being that they can’t stop terrorism, rather they did not have the capacity to say no to terrorism. This is because terrorism is in the policy of Pakistan, and to abandon terrorism may have resulted in loosing his position as Nations Chief. So Pakistan thinks India should accept terrorism as one of its policies! They are wrong. Neither Modi's government nor we the people will accept terrorism on any account.
Vasindra Mishra : MJ Sahab, your words revealed two things that we can’t say it as a coincidence that during the tenure of Morarjee Desai the party in power was Janta Party with Jansangh being part of it and Morarjee was also from Gujrat, that you specially emphasised upon and now when modi’s government again tried for a cordial relation , we have modi jee form Gujrat under the party umbrella of BJP. So it can be considered that when BJP remains in power or a party with influence of RSS remains in power, they try for good relation between the two countries . On the other hand, when congress comes to power It’s more of a lip service than enhancing good relation on the ground level.
MJ Akbar : No, I will not say that. We should talk on the historical perspective than politicizing it. But then when we talk of Congress government, of recent times as that of earlier decades where very complicated. So focusing on Congress after Vajpayee jee tenure, the 10years of Manmohan Singh and ten years is a long time. in these ten years of Manmohan singh, India never behaved strictly with Pakistan be it on any front. In India bowed to a country that has terrorism as its policy. even after Mumbai attack Indian government appeared spineless before them. So under all these circumstances you do not deserve an appreciation rather you deserve a slap. tight one.
Vasindra Mishra : MJ Sahab. we were discussing that Manmohan Singh never behaved strictly with Pakistan in spite of various incidence and knowing that Pakistan is promoting terrorism. Does the reason behind all this is America. As whenever there is issue between both the countries or there is a dialogue between the two countries America has a role to play, be it directly or indirectly. So do you think the softness that Manmohan Singh showed or the Cordial relation that Modi tried for is somewhat because of America?
MJ Akbar : Normal argument is a part of life. What hurts is that even after 2008 attack, UPA did not change its policy.the policy that had the whole party behind it, be it Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. We can not blame Manmohan Singh alone for this. So what happened after Mumbai attack had a great impact on our position. But You have asked about the role of America, America is an international Super power. America knows that both India and Pakistan have nuclear power. The Super power understands that when the tension between these two countries will increase it may result in devastating effects. I understand this will not take place, rather i hope it won’t take place. But when you plan a policy you consider these things naturally. As far as Narendra modi jee's decision to call Nawaz Sharif for his swearing-in is concerned, the decision to invite him was taken very much before the occasion. So consulting America for this invitation does not stand anywhere. Modi's decision to call him for swearing-in was entirely what his heart said to him. The same heart has now understood that the security of the country should be his foremost responsibility. The conversation with Pakistan will still take place but in a positive environment, in a war free environment. Very few governments officially says a country not to meet someone but in spite of this to of conveying Pakistan it continued its talk with the separatists. It was done just to check the tolerance level of India, to check if Modi jee reacts in the same way as Manmohan Singh did. This was very bad on their part, This act has underestimated Modi Jee.
Vasindra Mishra : Modi jee in his campaign, has always said that he will never let out nation bow down. So this decision is a way of fulfilling his words?
MJ Akbar : Let me make it very clear, Modi Jee does what he says. He does not always consider politics while saying anything.
Vasindra Mishra : The political critics of Modi jee, says that the beginning of cordial relation with Pakistan is a calculative measure. When he was the Chief Minister of Gujrat, he was blamed for his partial behaviour against a particular religious group. So this cordial relation with Pakistan is just one superficial level to come out of that image as Gujrat CM. He knew that the relation with Pakistan will never work and he will have to revert back. So how true is this?
MJ Akbar: These are all the misconceptions of people. You have said it in a guarded language but i will say it openly! . There is no relation in having good relation with Pakistan to make Muslims in our country happy. You still do not consider an Indian Muslim as Hindustani. Do you ever say that, we should build a cordial relation with Nepal to make Hindus of India happy. So i ask people to change there thinking. Indian Muslims are Hindustani. What they want is the normal right of every Indian. The Right to education, employment, right to move ahead. Please do not connect Muslims of India with that of Pakistan. putting Modi against a community is a very disturbing thing. It is the time for Hindu and Muslims to decide if they want to fight against each other or fight together against the poverty.They both have just one motive and that it "Development for all"
Vasindra Mishra : Thank you so much MJ Sahab for taking out time for our channel.