Typing Test


Late last year's diplomatic flurry between Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, that resulted in the surprise December 25 visit of the latter to Pakistan is a case of widely held diplomatic masterstroke. While it looked to be something out of the blue due to roller-coaster of-and-on nature of discussions that we have had, the announcement by the Foreign Minister Sushma Swarj on a date for resumption of dialogue under the different brand name of Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue was music to the ears. A date was also announced for the first meeting of the Foreign Secretaries. Since it was too good to be true, skeptics had predicted that something untoward would surely happen to derail the much hyped bilateral dialogue. And as the doomsayers predicted, Pathankot Indian Air Force Base attack killing nearly a dozen was staged by terrorists. It may have been planned earlier but its timing was surely a message that some forces did not like the resumption of dialogue. In an atmosphere vitiated by suspicion over who did it, the secretary-level talks for last month were put on hold. Despite some attempts to start a blame game, Indian leadership acted circumspectly and did not accuse Pakistan of having a hand in it. Rightly so. How could Pakistan be involved in terrorism when it was itself worst victim of it, said an Indian Union Minister. Pakistan too did not act apologetically or sheepishly. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif instantly offered all help and co-operation to the Indian government to get to the bottom of the horrendous crime. He assured India that if provided any proof of involvement of non-state actors from Pakistan, they would not be spared and given exemplary punishment. It is good to know that the two governments are in touch with each other and when the investigations on the Indian side reach some substantive conclusion, Pakistan would send a special team to assess to what extent miscreants had Pakistani stamp. However, Pakistan has gone a step further by putting in "protective custody" Maulana Masood Azhar of banned Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) since India perceives him to be mastermind of Mumbai carnage (November 26, 2008) having a hand in Pathankot attack too. Though the much hyped Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue has been delayed by one month, silver lining is that both sides remain in touch with each other and the CBD is on hold but definitely not over. In this context the statement of the new Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Gautam Bambawale, is welcome. According to him, officials from both sides are in touch with each other and are trying to create the right sort of environment to provide a safe and confident start to CBD. Indian High Commissioner dispelled the impression that his country had attached any preconditions for beginning CBD. Notwithstanding Pathankot, India is committed to hold CBD is the clear message from Delhi. In relation to this both the foreign secretaries and national security advisors of Pakistan and India are in contact to thrash out modalities and timing of the first CBD. Is the new date linked to progress made into the Pathankot investigations? The answer is certainly not as investigators in India are yet to go a long way in determining who was involved in from outside as well as inside. They are yet to find answers to some of the fundamental questions regarding the terrorists were they home grown or they had crossed over from across the border? If so who could possibly be their mentors in Pakistan. Some questions have been raised in Pakistani media regarding the delay in investigations and its failure to find substantive evidence to pinpoint the villain of the piece. Whatever, to foster a genuine understanding of trust and confidence, it shall have to be more convincing than putting the blame on the proverbial usual suspects. Terrorism is a hydra-headed regional threat and the countries directly affected by it, such as Pakistan, India and Afghanistan