Going Nowhere

Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik ended his two-day India visit on a rather jarring note. He  said many things that became a subject of huge controversy in the country or were deemed unhelpful for the cause of the friendly bilateral relations. His comparison between Babri mosque demolition and the 26/11 was seen as odious by the media. Similarly, his description of Mumbai attack accused Abu Jindal as Indian agent raised a lot of eye-brows. His comment on captain Saurabh Kalia also didn’t help. Malik said that Kalia could have died due to weather and not through torture by Pakistan army. More importantly, Malik ruled out the arrest of Hafiz Saeed on the evidence being offered by New Delhi nor did he commit Pakistan to the handover of voice samples of Saeed, saying Pakistani courts did not allow giving away of voice samples. Instead, he asked India why it didn’t “match Hafiz Saeed's voice with the handler-tapes they have”. Malik renewed invitation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan who in response expressed his familiar reluctance to do so until the alleged perpetrators of Mumbai attack were brought to book. The visit has ended on a little sense of fresh gain to the bilateral relations which otherwise have received tremendous boost from the ongoing progress in the talks on trade and travel between the two countries. As Malik’s visit has borne out, terror remains a major sticking point between the neighbours with a persisting serious difference of opinion about the idea of the prosecution of the alleged perpetrators of Mumbai attack. What has come to fore once again is the familiar uncertainty of the Indo-Pak dialogue. There is so much complexity and so much divergence of opinion on a host of issues including the festering historical question of Kashmir, that there is little hope of a major transformation in the relations in the foreseeable future. That is, unless the two countries do something radically different or dramatic to reverse their bitter history. Here is hoping that such a change follows sooner than later.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 16 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 17 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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