Who is serious about any action?
There was a gentleman Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, popularly called Frontier Gandhi or Bacha (Badshah) Khan by his numerous admirers and supporters inhabiting his homeland Pakhtunistan because that is what he wanted his homeland North West Frontier Province (NWFP) lately renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by Pakistan, to be named, once the British left.
Bacha Khan fought a valorous non-violent battle under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi leading his Khudai Khidmatgars or Red Shirt movement against the British occupation of then united India. He opposed the sectarian communal Muslim League and till the end never reconciled to the creation of Pakistan.
He spent most of his long arduous life in Pakistani jails or in exile across the border in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and died a heart broken man at the age of 98 in 1988 and willed not to be buried in Pakistan. So he found his final resting abode in Jalalabad. When the first major Gujarat communal carnage of Muslims took place in 1969, Badshah Khan was here and he expressed his displeasure and regret at what he saw. Later he visited India several times. Did our great Desh Bhakt Chhappan Chhati ever go to meet Badshah Khan when Badshah Khan went to Ahmedabad, or did any of his Sanghi/ Bhajpai leaders ever care to pay their respect to Badshah Khan?
There were others too like the Frontier Gandhi, like in Sind there was G M Syed whom his people called Gandhi of Sind and most important was the sub national movement of the Baluchis led by Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Ataullah Mengal, Khair Bakhsh Marri and a host of other progressive socialist leaders who opposed the creation of Pakistan on the ground of religious affinity and thereby asserted the supremacy of nationalism over religious or communal affinity.
In 1955 when General Ayub Khan turned Pakistan into a unitary state, abolishing the federal powers of the states, Bizenjo and his comrades mentioned above, led the movement against the decision and formed the People’s Party (not to be confused with Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party formed much later). A year later in 1956 they expanded their scope and together with Badshah Khan’s Khudai Khidmatgars in NWFP, Sindh Mahaaz and Sindh Haari Committee led by G M Syed and Maulana Bhashani’s National Awami Party in the then East Pakistan floated the Pakistan National Party (PNP) which became Pakistan’s biggest political party for a long time and the main political opposition in Pakistan with democratic ideals and socialist outlook, inspired by Marxism. In 1970 elections this party swept polls both in Baluchistan and NWFP.
Ataullah Mengal then chief minister of Baluchistan, is still alive and living in Baluchistan and his sons and grandsons have continued their valorous armed struggle against the Pakistani military establishment. Here in India we only talk of Nawab Akbar Bugti and play up the information handed down by the Indian Foreign Office or the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Brahmudagh Bugti, the grandson of Nawab Akbar Bugti curiously responded immediately to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call on Monday, our Independence Day. How many of us know that Nawab Akbar Bugti was the most unreliable and treacherous Baluchi tribal chieftain who changed sides many times, depending on who was in the Government. He betrayed the Baloch national movement when Bhutto ordered military action against Baluchis and dismissed the duly elected government of Ataullah Mengal. In turn Bhutto made Bugti the chief minister of Baluchistan. Then when Zia ul Haq deposed Bhutto, Bugti betrayed Bhutto and went over to Zia. Unlike the true nationalist leaders of Baluchistan, Bugti maintained the best of relations with the Pakistan Army and in turn with the Pakistan Muslim League later led by Nawaz Sharif.
The only time he crossed swords with the Pakistani military establishment was when General Parvez Musharraf, actually a Mohajir, became the head of state and we don’t know whether this was a reaction to Musharraf deposing Sharif or a congenital disdain of the mohajirs which most original inhabitants of the land called Pakistan, have held since its creation.
Similarly his grandson Bugti whom the Indian media happily trumped up, (apparently at the prompting of the PMO, or rather the NSA,) living in Switzerland has three different passports, Pakistani, Afghan and Indian. Pakistani establishment has castigated him as an agent of the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). But we really can’t say whether he is a double agent.
All this need be told because when the Pakistani people were up in arms all over that country against Ziaul Haq, in Quetta, in Karachi and even in Lahore and were demanding hanging Zia for the judicial murder of Bhutto and we could have used this to our advantage by actually aiding them and weakening Zia’s grip we had a Janata Party government here in Delhi of which Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the External Affairs Minister and the Jana Sangh of Modi a component. Vajpayee visited Islamabad on the invitation of General Zia soon after Bhutto’s hanging. We did not even condemn that blatant murder. We abetted Zia.
When Indira Gandhi resumed power in 1980, sweets were distributed on the streets of Lahore, with slogans asking Indira to attack Pakistan and depose Zia, according to the right wing Urdu daily from Lahore, Nawai Waqt. Such was the rising tide of popular secular democratic sentiment in Pakistan then accompanied by tremendous resentment against Zia. Indira had half a mind to act. At least she detested Zia till her last breath. But the right wing Indian establishment and its media was going gaga singing paeans to that cock-eyed Mullah in Khaki, who pumped in Saudi Riyals in Madrasas to inflict a “thousand cuts” on India. It is true that when Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister after 11 years of struggle against the combined might of Army and the Mullahs, nurtured and developed by Zia, she showed no serious inclination to undo Zia’s policy. But it is amply evident now that she justifiably feared the Army-Mullah nexus and therefore was disinclined to do anything which would destablise her. Though they still didn’t tolerate a modern educated woman leading that country.
But we are right now on Zia. Zia ruled Pakistan for 11 years from 1977-88. Not once did any Janata Party/BJP leader issue a single statement questioning Zia’s actions. Modi and his ilk looked the other side while Zia first created trouble for us in Punjab and later turned his attention to Jammu and Kashmir. Among the present day BJP leaders there were many Zia admirers and emissaries like our very own Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar who flew down to Islamabad and did a front page cover piece on him in Sunday magazine which was nothing but a PR job. Then there is Subramanian Swamy who wrote in his book on Rajiv Gandhi assassination his special and personal relations with Zia. And Shatrughan Sinha was virtually a member of Zia’s family. Once when former BJP vice president Jagdish Prasad Mathur was attacking Pakistan in particular and obliquely blaming Indian Muslims for the rise in terrorism, I butted in and asked him if he would deny that General Zia was the founder of Jihadi terrorism and to cite one statement by the BJP raising a finger against General Zia in his 11 year rule. Mathur had no answer and since that day, he never ever raised the subject of Pakistani terrorism in my presence.
Pakistan is only following Zia’s legacy to date and why not? Mian Nawaz Sharif’s father was running a small Atta ki Chakki when Zia promoted sectarians like foot constable of Ayub Khan, Chaudhary Zahur Ilahi and Mian sahib and helped them in amassing great wealth turning them over night from petty traders to rich industrialists and leaders of Punjab with the objective of putting down with an iron hand any democratic, secular or progressive thought that still breathed any life there. Whatever Nawaz Sharif may say today, (like Modi he too often changes tactics), he has spawned the communal, sectarian, private armies like Lashkar-Jhangvi, Sipahe Sahaba and Jaishe Mohammad of Maulana Masood Azhar and even Jamaat ud Dawa of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed. To this day they all enjoy the patronage of the Punjab government led by the Prime Minister’s brother Shabaz Sharif. He can’t and he won’t act against these so-called ‘non-state actors’. Nor would the Pakistan Army, for these are there only to supplement Pakistani establishment’s designs against India and Afghanistan.
But wasn’t our Prime Minister aware of all this when he flew to Lahore to attend the wedding ceremony in Nawaz Sharif’s family or when he invited the Pakistani team to visit Pathankot? Doesn’t the Prime Minister know that Pakistan has been accusing us of fomenting trouble in Baluchistan and even among the Mohajirs of Karachi by surreptitiously backing the Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM) leaders? We don’t know how much truth is there in Pakistan’s allegations. But the Prime Minister has provided grist to the rumour mills in Islamabad by announcing from the ramparts of Red Fort that yes we are eyeing Baluchistan. Salman Khurshid’s characterization of the Prime Minister as “Anari” is an under-statement.
The BJP virtually tore former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh into bits in Parliament for the mere mention of Baluchistan in a joint statement at Sharm Al Shaikh. Manmohan Singh never said “yes we are capable and can do it”, giving a handle to the Pakistanis. Yet Yashwant Sinha said in the Lok Sabha that the seven seas won’t be able to wash the sin of Manmohan Singh. There is now a deafening silence from Sinha’s end. What Singh couldn’t dream of doing even in his wildest imagination, our Macho man, beating his “chhappan chhati” has done. Why? What’s the provocation?
As for Kashmir once the two extreme parties, one espousing virtually Kashmiri Azadi (PDP) and the other the takeover of the valley militarily by getting rid of its Muslim population (BJP in Jammu) come together, there was bound to be a tremendous reaction in the valley. It could only be handled tactfully and not through guns, pellet or no pellet. But that perspective our honourable prime minister lacks for that was never taught in any Sanghi shakha.
It was only Indira Gandhi who could tackle Pakistan, militarily or otherwise. She was even capable of balkanizing Pakistan. But post-1980 her hands were tied by the Opposition and the media both Right and Left wing for their own respective reasons. While the Left has all along been opposed to wars, the Right reaction was bewildering.
Anyway rest assured we are not going to do anything about Pakistan. We will not even go as far as 2001-02 when we lined up our troops on the border reacting to the attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. This rhetoric with the aid of Sanghi TV anchors and editors will gain further momentum till the UP assembly elections. After that all will be forgotten and either Mian sahib will again be invited here or our Narendrabhai will again fly down to tour many more towns in Pakistan to have a tete-a-tete with Mian sahib and the same media will again go gaga over the supposed sagacity and statesmanship of Narendrabhai Damodardas Modi. This seesaw game will carry on till at least this government lasts.