Living in a capitalist world with an emphasis on trade without barriers, the recently signed trade agreement between neighbors Afghanistan and Pakistan shouldn’t have raised any eye brows, but thanks to our diplomatic machinery it has ended once again with the masses pointing fingers toward the intentions of those holding “power corridors”.
The timing was the biggest issue, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton roaming in the region. The ceremony gave the impression as if it was a hostage situation, with our Ministry & Foreign office hiding behind the trees rather than upfront to face the queries. If it was part of a calculated “Confidence Building Measure” episode, why was Hillary so novice when going on air and claiming that “Mullah Omar and Bin Laden are hiding inside Pakistan”, of course American have their own way of building confidence.
Not long ago the same situation was seen when Mr Bilour, Minister for Railway in Pakistan gave his green signal for rail transit between India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, like many other blunders, the ruling coalition had no option but to deny it some days later.
Even a novice knew that any thing with Afghanistan involving India will raise a storm not only from public, but from our defence sector too. There is nothing as rocket science involved in the whole issue. The security situation inside Pakistan, which is still very fragile can erupt if the use of such agreement goes unchecked. Just to deny a simple allegation regarding Indian inclusion in this agreement proved a “mountain climb” for the concerned Ministry and in the end it was Qamar uz Zaman Kaira who came out and addressed these rumors.
Lets suppose that Indians did become a party to such agreement, still the suspicions of the masses could have been addressed, even if that was the case. First of all what was the reciprocal step from India for giving them such concession? What was the mechanism for the security check of articles transferred?
Having said this it is crystal clear that only NATO & ISAF cargo has given our security forces tough time when it comes to their security, who is going to ensure their safety? I hope its not “Black Water” which was considered as the 1st choice! Secondly, Indians did a massive investment just a few years back by building a direct route from Afghanistan to Iranian port, in an open effort to sideline dependency on Pakistan. With conditions like this one sees no break through even if Indians are included keeping the above mentioned safeguard in mind.
Having said this, the question still remains regarding the way our policy makers execute and take different steps. Simple steps become matter of national security due to the lack of understanding on these issues. No better example but the case of Kerry-Lugar Bill comes to my mind where a simple folly brought our Armed forces into direct conflict with the executive branch. The concept of a border less India-Pakistan is no different from what Woodrow Wilson meant when he gave his 14 points on the eve of League of Nation formulation.
The recent Foreign Minister talks and the proceeding Press Conference clearly showed the mistrust between the two nuclear neighbors. From my side like always, both countries have yet to learn the basics, which are to respect each other interests and accept the reality that now both are independent and sovereign entities. In other words, you embrace only those whom you have learned to tolerate first.