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PAKISTAN-No Guardian Angel Of Indian Muslims!

Paper No. 854                                              05/12/2003

Guest Column-by  Brig (Retd) VRP Sarathy

(The views expressed are author's own and not of South Asia Analysis Group -Director)
Recently the Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud Al Faisal made a significant observation in response to a provocative question from a Pakistani scribe while addressing a joint press conference in Islamabad! When asked, “whether Saudi Arabia would consider making the Indian government realize that the Muslims deserved a fair deal”, he responded “Indian Muslims, because of their sheer number, cannot be regarded as a minority.  The Indian Muslims were quite capable of looking after their own interests and did not need any support from outside”, a clear snub to Pakistan which does not miss a single opportunity to embarrass India!

How far is the accusation that Indian Muslims look up to Pakistan for emotional support, true? Conversely how far is the perception true, that Pakistan created for the sub continent Muslims is the guardian angel of Indian Muslims?         

During the height of Taliban rule in Afghanistan, Kunwar Idris a Pak scribe wrote “The government and clerics alike feel vastly worried if their policies or foreign alignments hurt Afghanistan or anger its people because it is a Muslim country.  Amazingly, in a similar situation in relation to India it causes glee, certainly no remorse, because it is not a Muslim country.  The plain fact forgotten is that Afghanistan has 25 million Muslims, India has 125 million”!       

Yet Talibanised Afghanistan was disowned by Pakistan for its own survival after 9/11! Three million of their own countrymen were butchered in East Pakistan in 1971 resulting in disintegration of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh! Pakistan, while shedding crocodile tears, actually endangers Indian Muslims by indulging in acts like cross border terrorism, sabotage, causing riots and distribution of fake Indian currency!  The repercussion on Indian Muslims does not seem to weigh as a factor in its calculations!         

 In an interview Nawabzadaa Nabiullah Khan (a confidant of and adviser to the leader of one of the prominent Pakistani Islamic militant outfits, Jamaat-e-Islami) justifies such an attitude when he says “I noticed in my journeys in India that the Hindu farmers generally offer their entire harvest to their gods at the end of their harvesting season.  This makes the entire crop as haram for Muslims. Yet these so-called Muslims of India are forced to eat this food which was already offered to some other God other than Allah.  This is explicitly forbidden in Quran.  And this is one of the serious problems of living in non-Muslim countries.  Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) knew such things; that is why he ordered Muslims not to live in non-Muslim areas.  Yet knowingly these so-called Muslims live in India.  Again, all the Muslims who migrate to other countries and US are non-Muslims.  Only the Muslims who intend to come back are Muslims not the ones who decide to stay in such countries.  Hence we do not care if such Indian Muslims die in the riots” (italics mine)         

Anwar Sheikh another Pak scribe says “The Indian Muslims may class themselves as the children of foreign invaders to nurse their inferiority complex but the truth is that 95% of them have the same Indian blood in their veins as all other Indians such as Hindus, Sikhs or Christians.  The remaining 5% have certainly become Indians by the long domicile in this country.  Have they got anywhere else to go? Never mind other Islamic countries, even Pakistan, which was created for all Muslims of the subcontinent, shall not take them in”.  Pakistan is yet to repatriate its own Bihari citizens stranded in Bangladesh since 1971! Shireen M Mazari Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad admits in an article "A strange national tolerance" (THE NEWS- 13 AUG03) writes--  “Yes, it is shameful for Pakistan that Biharis who will not deny their Pakistani citizenship continue to be stranded in Bangladesh since 1971 while Pakistan has allowed other refugees free access to its territory”! If Pakistan cannot take in Indian Muslims as its citizens what right has it got to meddle in the internal affairs of India, endangering local Muslim population?           

Does Pakistan care for Kashmiri Muslims? Dr Zakir Hussain (then Vice Chanellor of Aligarh University and later the President of India) wrote to the UN Representative in 1951(Regarding Pak atrocities in J&K in Oct 47)"It is a strange commentary on political beliefs that the same Muslims of Pakistan who like the Muslims of Kashmir to join them invaded the state in October 1947, killing and plundering Muslims in the state and dishonoring Muslim women, all in the interest of what they described as the liberation of Muslims of the State".  Kanwar Idris writing in “The Dawn (9 Feb 03) says “Last year an army general was asked to resign one day to take over as president of Azad Kashmir the next day.  That may not have violated a law but inevitably caused dismay. Pakistan stands for the right of self-determination for all of the people of Kashmir but here even the free and unsuspecting among them were given no say in choosing a leader of their own”. Sultan Shahin (Balwaristan movement) writes; “Pakistan's refusal to take back dead bodies of Kashmiris killed in Kargil war- had given a powerful fillip to the independence movement in the region. The Balawaris are greatly confused by the pictures of Indian Army and BSF jawans risking their lives to bring the bodies of Pakistani dead soldiers and giving them a proper islamic burial- They are confused because this completely negates all Pakistani propaganda stories about the cruelty, if not total inhumanity of the way Indian security forces conduct themselves in Kashmir”! Pak sponsored militants do not even respect Islam! The Hizbul militants burnt down the last major Sufi shrine Charar-e-Sharif in J&K on May 11, 1995 !               

 Kuldip Nayar, an ardent promoter of Pakistan-India friendship states (Pak newspaper DAWN-8 FEB2003--CROSSING THE BAR) “My purpose of visiting Pakistan a few weeks ago was to tell Pakistani how their policy of cross-border terrorism had strengthened the BJP on the one hand and harassed Muslims on the other. I found very few responsive ears.  At the government level, I suspected a fiendish satisfaction over the emergence of Hindu fundamentalism in India.  In any case, what Indian Muslims might face because of Pakistan's policy was not a factor in the reckoning of Islamabad”!

Mr Bhandra Writing in The Dawn (08 Jun 2003) states “ the 1990s were kind to India whereas for Pakistan it was a lost decade.  India's rate of GDP growth of about six per cent was almost double ours.  In 1990s Pakistan's per capita income was $500 versus $390 for India. Today India is around $500 and Pakistan around $470.  Hard-core poverty (under a dollar a day) was said to be 17 per cent in Pakistan in 1988 and by 1999 it was around 33 per cent.  So much for the conventional wisdom of our 'intelligent' think tanks that jihadism would 'bleed' India in Kashmir.  Apparently, it has only bled us. India today has a middle class, which is more than twice the population of Pakistan. It is poised to join the global economy.  It has a critical mass in the basic sciences. … Take the case of Saudi Arabia sitting on the world's largest reserve of oil.  It had a per capita income of $ 20,000-plus in the early 1980, it is down to $ 5,000 today. Why? Because its basic attitudes are Taliban-like.  Here is living proof that it is not oil and gold that makes a people prosperous but the skill, science and 'beauties of the mind”. Talking of Saudi Arabia, Ali S Awadh Asseri, Saudi Arabian ambassador in Pakistan wrote (PAK OBSERVER on 26 Nov 03) “The recent terrorist attacks in Riyadh prove beyond any doubt what I have been saying for so long that terrorists have no religion.  Just imagine! The attacks came in Riyadh. The attacks came in the holy month of Ramazan. The victims were innocent men, women and children from so many different countries… They did not even spare the Holy Qur’an.  They desecrated it and used it as a booby trap to achieve their nefarious ends”.            

In July 1947, before partition, some of his community members of Central Constituent Assembly asked Mohammad Ali Jinnah for his advice to Indian Muslims in the new State of India.  Jinnah, refrained from giving specific advice but cautioned them, " be loyal to India, concentrate on education and politics, and avoid confrontationist politics" and that "they should not seek to ride two horses" (The Muslims in India by A.G.Noorani) . Another quote attributed to  Quaid-i-Azam is equally pertinent--"We are all sons of this land.  We have to live together. We have to work together and whatever our differences may be, let us at any rate not create more bad blood... Believe me there is no progress of India until the Musalmans and Hindus are united, and let no logic, philosophy or squabble stand in the way of coming to a compromise...".          

Despite Godhra and Gujarat, Ahmedabad has returned a Muslim woman as its mayor! Aneesa Begum Nafeesa Ali is probably the first Muslim woman in the country to be elected mayor! This needs to be noted not only by Indian Muslims but by our Media too !     

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