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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“Pakophiles spread confusion, undermine Bharat’s ability to take tough decisions” – exclusive interview with Sushil Pandit

The death sentence against retired Indian Navy officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, announced by a sham military court in Pakistan, has once again triggered a debate in Bharat on how best to react to this latest instance of Pakistani state brutality.

We contacted Shri Sushil Pandit, a renowned media professional, astute political analyst and passionate activist for the Kashmiri Pandit cause, to obtain his views on this issue.

Q.) Kulbhushan Jadhav, ex-Navy officer, who was kidnapped in 2016 from Iran by a Pakisani sponsored Sunni terror org Jaish -un Adl, has been sentenced to death by Pakistan in a dubious secret military trial. Your thoughts?

That, Pakistan is a hostile neighbour, is an understatement. In fact, it’s very reason for existence is enmity with Bharat. And therefore, Pakistan is not unwilling to pay a disproportionate price to sustain such hostility. But, it is not just in this context that we must view this development. The other part is the response of the successive governments of Bharat.

All governments, without exception, have treated Pakistan as a any other normal State is dealt with. The same sterile methods, that have proved useless time and again, have been repeatedly deployed. No wonder the results too are identical – zilch. Waiving off the red lines, drawn with great show of resolve, have been bandied about as wisdom. Coughing up concessions in the wake of grave transgressions, have been elevated to the level of grand strategy. Pakistan has figured us out, thoroughly, as a clueless bumbling nation that can be bled and humiliated, at will.

I heard our EAM thunder in the Parliament yesterday that, “if need be even the President of Pakistan could be petitioned”. I wonder who is this all powerful man in Pakistan they call their President. Does anyone know? Does anyone care? That is what sums up our pathetic state of affairs. The problem is not in Pakistan. The problem is here, within.

Q.) Yesterday, there was a conference at IIC on ‘Improving Indo-Pak Relations’ where Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyer, senior lawyer Ram Jethmalanai were present along with ex Pakistani FM Kasuri and Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit. Why do elements in Bharat continue to nurture Pakistani state actors, despite Pakistan proving time and again that it is brutal and untrustworthy?

Pakistan wasted a lot of time, and effort, searching for its ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan. It, eventually, found it in Bharat. An awfully large, and well heeled, section of our society have a Paki-obsession. They are almost everywhere – in our media, academia, diplomacy, bureaucracy, politics, think-tanks and noisy chatterrati. Pakistan uses them to influence the public discourse, and through that the policy establishment, in Bharat. Through their interventions, these Pakophiles, spread confusion and undermine Bharat’s ability to take tough decisions, to defend itself effectively, resolutely.

Q.) Some recent statements from Kashmiri politicians like National Conference’s Mustafa Kemal, Congress’ Saifuddin Soz and ex-CM Farooq Abdullah are extremely disturbing, and would qualify for prosecution under high-treason laws in most democracies. Is it time for the Bharatiya State to stop treating such traitorous voices with kid gloves?

There are three dimensions to the challenge Bharat faces in Kashmir.

  • The first is the violence. The security forces are more than capable of sorting out the underground armed terrorists.
  • The second is the propaganda. The public opinion in Bharat, and abroad, has enough clarity now on Hurriyat – the overground faces and voices of the underground. They get adequately discredited despite their assiduous attempts at garnering sympathy, by cloaking their Jihad with slogans of Aazadi.
  • The third are the politicians from the Valley, who operate under the garb of mainstream politicians. They are closet separatists. It is they who inflict the most debilitating wounds on Bharat by pretending to be loyal to Bharat. They are trusted because they operate under oath to the Constitution. They are allowed access to the public offices and control the levers of State-power. They abuse it by weakening the system from within and aiding Jihad through policy interventions and abuse of clout.

Q.) What action should Bharat take now? We have been down this road several times before – many prisoners like Sarabjit Singh have been killed brutally in Pakistani jails. Even surgical strikes dont seem to have knocked sense into Pakistan. There was a proposal in Rajya Sabha by MP Rajeev Chandrashekhar to declare Pakistan a terror state – isn’t it time we did that, instead of this knee-jerk reaction each time Pakistan shows its true face?

Pakistan understands and respects only power. Persuasion does not work with Pakistan. If you cough-up concessions to buy freedom for Kulbhushan Jadhav, you can rest assured that Pakistan would come for more in future. The only way to respond is to impose a stiff cost on Pakistan. Such a cost that it will find it too painful to bear. It, of course, starts with all the diplomatic options be exhausted first but make no mistake of investing too much time and effort in that. Go through them as a mere ritual. Focus on pain to Pakistan. There are several options there and this is not the place to discuss them. Only that will work.

(We thank Sushil Pandit ji for speaking with HinduPost)

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