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Why India and Pakistan can never be friends
The Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi has been trying to befriend Pakistan from the day he was elected. He invited the Pakistani PM to his swearing in ceremony, had photo sessions with him at every world forum where the two were present.

He even paid a surprise visit to Lahore to wish the Pakistani PM on his birthday. He invited the Pakistani ISI to visit Pathankot Air Base as a part of the investigation. Have these measures improved the relations between the two countries? We all have our opinions on the subject.

Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the last BJP PM, had also tried to improve our relations with Pakistan. Some may have forgotten the famous "Bus Yatra" of 1999 when Mr. Vajpayee went in a bus to Pakistan and was greeted by the Pakistani PM.

The Lahore Declaration was signed by the two PMs with much fanfare. But the relations were back to square one after Pakistan's Kargil misadventure in May. In October 1999, the Pakistani Army Chief, General Pervez Musharraf, deposed PM Nawaz Sharif in a coup. Tensions between the two countries have remained high ever since.

38 were killed in a terrorist attack on Jammu & Kashmir Assembly in 2001 and the CM of Jammu and Kashmir asked the Indian government to launch an all out attack on Pakistan. However, Mr. Vajpayee continued with his peace initiative. He invited Gen. Musharraf for a summit to Agra which collapsed within two days on the issue of Kashmir.

Terrorists next attacked the Indian Parliament in New Delhi in December 2001. Mr. Vajpayee responded by launching "OP PARAKRAM" which resulted in the Indian and Pakistani Armies deploying on the border for almost a year, amazingly without a shot being fired in anger.

2004 saw the start of the "Composite Dialogue Process" which led to nothing. Mr. Manmohan Singh became PM and waved an olive branch by reducing troops in Jammu & Kashmir by about 5000. Train services and trade were started between the two countries.

Proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir ebbed and flowed with changes in weather and leaderships. In 2008, Pakistan's ISI arranged an attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul which killed 58 and injured another 141. Pakistani terrorists came by sea and attacked hotels and other targets in Mumbai on 26.11.2008 which killed over 160 and injured many more.

Cease fire violations along the LOC and other terrorist acts continue as usual. On May 1, 2014, Pakistan's Army chief General Raheel Sharif called Kashmir the "jugular vein" of Pakistan, and that the Kashmir dispute should be resolved in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Kashmiris and in line with UNSC resolutions for lasting peace in the region.

Mr. Hafiz Sayeed, the Head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, an Islamic Charity which is the chief sponsor and fund raiser of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the terrorist organization with the responsibility of fomenting trouble in Kashmir promises to continue the struggle for Kashmir till Kashmir is liberated.

Mr. Vajpayee, Mr. Manmohan Singh and Mr. Narendra Modi have tried their best to normalize relations with Pakistan. They have failed. It is important to understand why.

Is Kashmir issue the real problem?

Pakistan would like us and the world to believe that the stumbling block in good relations between India and Pakistan is the Kashmir issue. If India holds plebiscite in Kashmir as per the UN regulation and accepts the result, eternal peace will prevail between the two countries. Unfortunately that is a lie.

The real problem is the Pakistani Army

The executive hierarchy when the British ruled India was Governor General, Chief of Army Staff and then the civil service. This changed quickly in independent India. The Chief of Army Staff became Mr. Nobody and the Army became subordinate to the civil administration and politicians. But that never happened in Pakistan. The Pakistan Army is not subordinate to the civil administration in Pakistan.

Pakistan Army took over the country for the first time in a bloodless coup in 1958. The military relinquished its rule in 1971 after its defeat in the 1971 Indo-Pak war which saw the creation of Bangladesh. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became President of Pakistan.

After a brief period of six years the Army was back in power when Gen Zia ul Haq executed a coup and dethroned Mr. Bhutto in 1977. He ruled till 1988 when was killed in an air crash. He collaborated fully with the US and Saudi Arabia to train and equip Afghan Mujahideen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.

He made ISI the most powerful tool of promoting terrorism in South Asia. He was the author of the concept of "Bleeding India through a Thousand Cuts" or promoting terrorism in different parts of India including the North East. This policy is in operation even today.

Pakistan Army was back in power in 1999 when the Army Chief Pervez Musharraf overthrew Mr. Nawaz Sharif in a blood less coup. He remained in power till 2008 when the Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled his rule unconstitutional. He was succeeded by the civilian governments of first Asif Ali Zardari of the PPP and then of Mr. Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan actively supports the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Kashmir. It is fighting Pakistani Taliban in Waziristan and a Balooch insurgency in Baloochistan. The Pakistani Army seems to have decided to let a civilian government act as its front. But it calls all the shots.

Pakistan's defence budget for 2015-16 was US$7.6 billion an increase of 11 per cent over the previous year. The true size of the defence budget is somewhat different. It is estimated that 26 per cent of all tax revenue of Pakistan will be spent on defence in one form or another. In addition it gets billions of dollars in aid from the US and billions of dollars in loans and grants from China.

Power to Decide Pakistan's Foreign Policy

The hierarchy of power in Pakistan is Chief of Army Staff, Chief of ISI, Hafeez Sayeed the Head of Jamat-Ud-Dawa and finally the PM who is there to do the bidding of his superiors. All foreign policy decisions are taken after getting the same approved by the Pakistan Army Chief.

Conclusion

Pakistan Army has directly ruled Pakistan for 33 of its 69 years of independence. Since 2008 it has discovered that it can wield its influence just as effectively by keeping a weak civilian government in power. There is no way it will allow itself to be reduced to obedient servants like their Indian counterpart.

They will retain control of foreign policy and all military matters like support to cross border terrorism in India and Afghanistan, defence budget, acquisitions, promotions, salaries, perks etc. Mr. Modi and his successors can try their level best and even try to give away Kashmir. The Pakistani Army will create some border incident like Kargil or a major terrorist strike in Delhi or some other city and ensure that the relations between India and Pakistan remain on the boil.

Peace between the two countries will come if Pakistani Army self destructs. How that could happen will be discussed in the next article.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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