Defence News Indo-Pak Affairs

Pakistan treading a careful territory

ISLAMABAD: On a chilly morning of December staff cars were called to line up when at 3 am. It was announced ,”Shun the Chief is Leaving”.

After already spending several sleepless nights a determined and still fresh General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and his senior colleagues left General Headquarters for their respective residences to be back 8 am. His close staffers have been over the days or weeks were mainly spending times in discussing several threat perceptions, expected ripost and were engaged in weighing several options how to go for a Defence ,Pre-Emptive or Offensive or Defencive war in case the Indian Army moves in to encircle some of vulnerable border points.

The Chief has so far not issued any Order of the Day but merely adopted measures needed for regular vigilance. He has already called two infantry brigades from Federally Administered Tribal Areas from WANA and deployed them at peace locations at Okara and Kasur bordering India.

Confirmed reports suggested so far Indian Army has not broken its main Armoured Division from Jhansi or moved its RAPIDS. That in an era of long range missiles and sophisticated airforces are though required but there appeared no such hurry on Eastern border. Perhaps by now South Block too has realised that war was not a solution and more than India Pakistan was to gain in case of any conflict atleast it could disengage its troops from North West. This kind of eventuality could have caused more harm to the US-led Coalition in Afghanistan then to India.

Finally both Indian and Pakistan governments while continuing traditional rhetoric preferred for diplomatic solution. The realization at political leadership has indeed come slowly but surely. But who suffered the most after Novemeber’s Mumbai terrorist attacks.

Forces who do not approve ‘Normalization between Islamabad and New Delhi. Traditional enemies normally follow policy of ‘Once bitten Twice Shy. This remains the hallmark of both General Headquarters and the South Block of India.

Pakistan Army has recalled its reserverists
and Indian Army too adopted similar measures. Foreign Office Pakistan had a sigh of relief after the visit to Delhi by the Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to New Delhi to persuade India not to go for war and as Pakistan to deal with extremists with more force and control them. In such situations possibilities of escalation cannot be ruled out as any error in Field Intelligence Reports can cause bigger damage.

A mere street survey by this correspondent reveals ,“majority of Pakistanis donot want war. They do want to compete with India in the fields of Education, Science, Computer, Information Technology and Culture.Interestingly Media hype on both sides this time could not create a real war hysteria.

Of 10 Pakistanis atleast 8 said, “we want to live like honourable and respected neighbours with India. Wars have given nothing to India and Pakistan. Majority favoured promotion in trade and commerce relation because in bilateral trade two countries have the chance of saving lot of money from their overseas imports.

As the military commanders are not relaxing finally Pakistan has geared up its diplomatic efforts. Role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was much appreciated by majority of Pakistanis in atleast defusing the situation.

Another effort by Iran is turning out to be the first country of the region that has decided to play a mediatory role at the head of the state level between Pakistan and India. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is dashing to New Delhi early this week for talks with the Indian leaders with regard to the alarming situation prevailing in the neighbourhood. He may visit Islamabad immediately after concluding his discussions in the Indian capital. The Iranian president, who is deeply concerned about the rising tension between the two neighbouring nuclear states on its southeast, has been maintaining interaction with both the countries termed friends by Tehran.

The Iranian president will convert his endeavour into shuttle diplomacy if he gets encouraging signals from both the capitals. Pakistan will welcome such an effort. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehar Mottaki has already spoken to his Pakistani and Indian counterparts about the situation separately.

Senior planners at the Foreign Office are likely to press for a fresh proposal for the formation of an OIC force dedicated to anti-Terrorism duties and militancy to curtail street power of extreme religious organisations and discipline them for moderation and peace.This kind of multilateral arrangement is only foreseeable when Pakistan will seek a nod from its traditional OIC friends effectively.

About the author

Azhar Masood

Azhar Masood is Controller of News in PTV, and Chief Instructor of PTV Academy, working for Arab News. He has Covered Iraq War from Baghdad for CNN, BBC, FOX News, and Al-Jazeera and other regional channels. He covered conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina. He interviewed Yasir Arafat of Palestine, Paul Wolfoweit, Prime Minister Jean Ghteyan of Canada, Dr. Amar Musa of Egypt, Mr. Haris Slajic, Prime Minister of Bosnia Dr. Akbar Ali Vallayati, former Foreign Minister of Iran, President Kumaratunge of Sri Lanka, Mr. Kumar Su Bramanyem, Director of National Defence Institute of India, Mr. Hamid Karzai President of Afghanistan, Dr. Ahmad Chalabi of Iraq National Congress, Mr. Hoshyar Zubari, Vice President Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq

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