Just as a leopard can’t change its spots, Pakistan can’t become a civilised nation.
Pakistan’s “first-ever National Security Policy” (NSP) is as anodyne as it is hypocritical. The solitary purpose seems to be to mislead the world into believing that it is a decent state which formulates something as modern as policy. The truth is that it is second-most dangerous rogue state—China, its imperial hegemon, being on the top—in the world.
Consider Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message carried in the NSP document: “The National Security Policy 2022-2026 centres on my government’s vision, which believes that the security of Pakistan rests in the security of its citizens. This citizen-centric approach to national security prioritises national cohesion and the prosperity of people, while guaranteeing fundamental rights and social justice without discrimination.”
Could India’s Prime Minister—or, for that matter, that of the UK, Japan, or any other civilised nation—have said anything different? Won’t they too swear by “citizen-centric approach,” “national cohesion,” “prosperity of people,” “fundamental rights,” etc.? Haven’t we seen this movie before? Don’t we see it all the time?
The difference is that the leaders of civilised nations say these things because the countries they represent are doctrinally and systemically committed to these ideas and principles, even when the leaders’ actions are not in consonance with these lofty ideals and grand promises. Pakistan, on the other hand, doctrinally and systemically nurtures jihad, radicalizes its children, soldiers and society, foments trouble in the neighbourhood (India, Afghanistan), offers refuge to global terrorists (Osama bin Laden, Hafiz Saeed, Dawood Ibrahim, et al), and exports terror all over the world.
And yet, Prime Minister Imran Khan had the cheek to pontificate: “Realising the symbiotic relationship between economic, human, and traditional security is now imperative for Pakistan’s long-term development. Domestic stability and regional peace based on mutual co-existence, regional connectivity, and shared prosperity are essential prerequisites to optimising national security. Moreover, to achieve the vast potential of our citizens, it is necessary to promote delivery-based good governance through strengthening of institutions, rule of law, transparency, accountability, and openness.”
Mr Khan, you can’t have economic security and long-term development when the only thing the most powerful men in your country are obsessed with is hurting India. You can’t talk about regional peace, mutual co-existence, regional connectivity, and shared prosperity when your military bosses in Rawalpindi arm and train jihadists to wreak havoc in Kashmir and other parts of India.
Despite all clichéd and hypocritical remarks, the NSP makes it clear that, notwithstanding the platitudes, Pakistan remains the same when it comes to relations with India. Just as a leopard can’t change its spots, Pakistan can’t become a civilised nation.
The NSP says, “Towards the immediate east, bilateral ties have been stymied as a consequence of the unresolved Kashmir dispute and India’s hegemonic designs. Pakistan remains committed to normalisation of relations with its neighbours based on mutual respect, sovereign equality, and a collective effort to find pathways for conflict resolution with the belief that shared economic opportunities are cornerstones for achieving prosperity in Pakistan and the region. Pakistan also maintains mutually beneficial relationships with all major powers and will further these based on commonality of interests.”
Hypocrisy and mendacity are natural bedfellows. India liberated Bangladesh and saved millions of people from the barbarity of its genocidal army, and yet New Delhi never harboured any thoughts of annexing it, though that action would not have been improper, for Bangladesh after all was part of India. So much for “India’s hegemonic designs.”
Then there is Pakistan’s claim that it wants the normalisation of relations with its neighbours. Well, if that’s so, why doesn’t it stop aiding, arming, and abetting jihadists against India? Yes, Kashmir is a dispute, but then there are so many cases of disputes between countries over territories; they don’t send terrorists to their neighbouring countries because of such disagreements.
Pakistan’s NSP is just eyewash, a blend of homilies and inanities. It is intended to deceive the world, especially India, not to make Rawalpindi fiends human. Some Indian national security experts have already bitten the bait; at least one of them viewed the NSP favourably and repeated the dangerous notion that it is in India’s interest to keep Pakistan stable.
At least the visible part of Pakistan’s NSP, the one that has been released, is eyewash; most probably, the meat is in that part which is classified. Even if it is as trite as the published portion, the fact remains that Pakistan is and will remain a terrorist state in the foreseeable future. For nobody in interested, either in Islamabad or in Rawalpindi, in genetically modifying the essential principles of their nation. The concept of Ghazwa-e-Hind still electrifies them.
What can we say about a leopard that doesn’t want to change its spots?
The author is a freelance journalist.