“Their national character hasn’t suddenly changed,” said the senior officer in India’s security establishment, referring to Pakistan in the context of the glimmerings of the promise of rapprochement last week.
The apparent beginnings of a semblance of cooperation by Pakistan on the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai last year and the upcoming meeting between the Indian and Pakistan Prime Ministers at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit at Sharm el Sheikh in the Egyptian Sinai have led some to hesitantly dare to wonder of the possibilities of progress in dispute resolution between India and Pakistan.
“Until there is substantial progress on pinning down terrorism directed towards India and emanating from Pakistan, there’s no call to get excited about prospects,” says the brasshat, presenting a reality check.
“This is about Pakistan turning its long-standing policies on their heads. It’s not going to happen overnight,” he says.
He says this, notwithstanding Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s admission of his country’s role in directing terrorism towards India, as well as the recent signs of progress in Pakistan’s prosecution of those responsible for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
“Minor interactions with the Pakistani security establishment, even the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) are not going to turn things around,” says the officer.
“This is not just about India and Pakistan in the context of terrorism in a vacuum. There are external linkages as well. How much would the Chinese like an Indo-Pak rapprochement?” he asks, querying further, “Would Pakistan be willing to accept the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC)?”
“Merely promising prosecution of some of those involved in 26/11 is not going to get us all holding hands and singing Kumbaya in a church choir,” he points out.
The subsequent raising of interested eyebrows after the declaration of Major General Athar Abbas, Director General of Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations that the Pakistan military is in contact with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and can facilitate a peace dialogue between the Taliban and the US is also giving cause for smirking. General Abbas also said Pakistan wanted concessions from Washington with respect to India in return.
“I don’t dispute that they may be in contact with him. Quite possible, likely even. What I find myself in a dilemma about here is whether to believe the US to be too gullible or too clever,” he says, explaining, “A Pakistani statement like this generates hope. The US needs to recognize that this statement is meant to ultimately generate money and weapons for Pakistan that will ultimately be pointed at India.”