Go Nawaz Go

Amid political turmoil in Pakistan – where the public is chanting “GO Nawaz Go” while dreaming of so-called revolution – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly proved to be a soothing factor in domestic affairs. The Prime Minister’s leadership has been brutally criticized by the mainstream political figure Imran Khan and a Canadian returned religious cleric, Tahir-ul-Qadri, since August 14, 2014. It seems as though PM Nawaz Sharif saw this opportunity as a blessing to address the international community on matters of high concern and to show internal political forces “that Go Nawaz Go functioned as buck up.”  While Indian media seems unhappy over the highlighting of the Kashmir issue, Pakistani media is praising it.

The Prime Minister called for the resumption of talks and promotion of trade, along with settling territorial disputes which are hindering the way to peace and stability in the region. I think it was high time and the right venue to remind international community and United Nation about their responsible role to resolve Kashmir issue as promised. Solving the Kashmir issue would be equal to saving millions of innocent human beings vulnerable to barrels and bombs. Just imagine for a while, how 43,632 human beings were killed during 1988-2014 in the name of peace and security? The grave situation of human rights violations recorded by some human rights organizations from 1990 to 1999 reveals those nearly 4,242 women between the ages of 7-70 that have been raped.

I would say that solving the Kashmir issue would be a blessing for Kashmiris and bonus for India and Pakistan. Though they talk about peace, these nuclear neighbors violated the Line of Control around 200 times during 2013 and it is likely to remain the same in 2014.  It bangs when one recalls the extraordinary regional realities for instance: Nuclear Weapons, Kargil episode, Cold Start Doctrine, Tactical Nuclear Weapons, Escalation probability and cost in case of any accident would be unimaginably high. In the meanwhile, I just spotted news of cross-border shelling at the LoC resulting in 9 civilian deaths and 25 injured.

The Prime Minister also touched on nuclear issues in the speech, stating that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state and has improved its nuclear safety and security mechanism a great deal. Reference to this statement is the NTI report that crowned Pakistan as “most improved” nuclear weapon state among nine nuclear weapons states – though it was ranked 22nd overall – at safeguarding its nuclear materials. Pakistan earned the points on the basis of improvements in three areas: physical protection of weapons and material both at facilities and during transportation, regulations and licensing, and on-site security reviews. Likewise, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif showed satisfaction over the safety and security of the nuclear arsenal and facilities. ISPR also endorsed that “Pakistan’s nuclear programme was of central importance to the country’s defence programme and a robust nuclear command and control structure is in place.”

Another important aspect of the Prime Minister’s speech was the maintenance of “Credible Nuclear Deterrence” in the region. The political leadership in Islamabad is firm in supporting the global agenda of “Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation” and discouraging the regional arms race. Though a not a member of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), a sense of responsibility has pushed Pakistan to adhere to the global spirit of export control regimes. The call for a place in global nonproliferation regimes would be a reward for Pakistan in return for her consistency in pursuit of excellence in nuclear safety and security. Additionally, Pakistan’s acute energy crisis will naturally promote and support the idea of exploration of civilian nuclear options to overcome the energy deficit. So a civilian nuclear deal is a real need of the time for Pakistan. The reservations over dual-use and diversion could be dealt with the help of IAEA and export control regimes.

As India’s influence grows, potential memberships in two organizations – the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – concern political leadership in Pakistan. It would be relevant to note that the NSG was formed in response to India’s Peaceful Nuclear Explosion (PNE) in 1974 to stop and monitor such dual-use and diversions in future. Equally, India is denying the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and UNSC resolutions, and it is being considered as likely permanent member of UNSC. India is a bigger power comparatively, aspiring for regional domination and her struggle for positions in UNSC & NSG are a sovereign right of India. But – these moves also may cause a rippling effect in the regional balance of power.

I would say that PM speech was the only positive deed appraised by the Pakistanis since the Dharna (Sit-in) started. He sensibly attempted to counter the Azadi March and India’s UNSC & NSG positions at the same time by voicing the Kashmir issue – bidding for a more resilient political position. To conclude, regional security dynamics encourage the idea of cooperative security initiatives to deal with areas like territorial disputes, water crises, and conventional and nuclear stockpiles – using innovative Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). The sole idea behind such CBMs should be the promotion of peace and stability in the region. Tripartite dialogue may unearth new horizons of cooperation to resolve the Kashmir issue acceptable to stakeholders. Both states must avoid “ifs” and “buts” and step up and open doors for negotiations as only dialogue may lead to peace in the region.


Image 1:  Sean Gallup-Getty Images News, Getty

Image 2: Spencer Platt-Getty Images News, Getty

Posted in , India, India-Pakistan Relations, Kashmir, LoC, NSG, Nuclear, Pakistan, Politics, UN

Muhammad Jawad Hashmi

Muhammad Jawad Hashmi is lecturer at the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Gujrat, Pakistan. He is currently working as visiting faculty at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, MIIS California, Fall 2014. He was also visiting fellow at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, MIIS California during Fall 2013. He has M.Sc. and M.Phil degree from the department of Defence and Strategic Studies, QAU Islamabad, Pakistan. His concentration includes Arms Control, Disarmament, Nonproliferation, Nuclear Terrorism, Nuclear Safety, Security and Strategy.

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9 thoughts on “Go Nawaz Go

  1. Now after a more than 10 years long war in Afghanistan the international forces are going back gradually and their drawdowns defiantly will generate a power vacuum in the region and regional states will compete for power politics and the same will do India and Pakistan. India’s intentions are more comprehensive than Pakistan. They are applying the concept of soft power and developing its economic and political relations with China, Afghanistan, Russia, Central Asian states, Iran and Pakistan etc. but in contrast Pakistan’s intentions are quite narrower than India. Again this is told to us that this is India’s conspiracy. They are doing to dominant in the region. Again it is taught to us that our national security is in danger. Same old threat perceptions are dominant in the society and again we are experiencing a political unrest in the country. This is really illogical that after developing nuclear weapons we are living with the same old threat perceptions. Yes we should be security conscious but having a status of nuclear state we must be welfare oriented. This is our weakness that we let other countries to make policies against Pakistan independently. As long as the politics of national security in Pakistan will remain dominant, we cannot transform it into a welfare state. Defiantly this narrative will ensure our survival but this will be without dignity and prosperity. All over the world, it is believed that Pakistan is a state that support militancy and provide them safe havens. Experts analysis advocates that Pakistan considered insurgents a strategic asset and it will be used to counter the Indian influence in the region. This is not the right approach to develop as this is not only harmful for the region but equally devastating for the Pakistani nation. From the last 65 years we have lost many innocent lives and wasted a lot of precious resources. We must give a chance to democracy to nourish in its natural way and educate the nation to live with dignity and confidence. Yes we should not compromise on national security but we must be more conscious about welfare as this is the only way to live with peace and harmony.

  2. There are some factual errors in the article which the author could look into:

    Firstly, the non-binding UNSC resolution had called for immediate pullout of Pakistani armed forces to the positions which were held before Pakistan invaded Kashmir. Indian armed forces were required to then ensure that peace and normalcy was restored and then hand over the charge of affairs to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. It was after the completion of these two conditions that the plebiscite was supposed to take place. While Pakistan never pulled out its troops to date, how can it be India’s responsibility for conducting Plebiscite?

    Secondly, the resolution had also noted the presence of Pakistani troops and tribesmen as causing significant change to the society and their immediate withdrawal was necessary to ensure impartiality in the Plebiscite. After all these years if Pakistan agrees to withdraw out of PoK and the entire state of J&K takes part in plebiscite, would it still count as impartial?

    Thirdly, Pakistan in an attempt to woo the Kashmiri separatists does not highlight the fact that the UNSC resolution no. 47 had mentioned the plebiscite which would allow the Kashmiris to vote to either go to India or Pakistan. The resolution does not include any mention of the third choice of independence.

    Fourthly, ever since the war of 1971 and the Simla agreement of 1972, Pakistan and India have agreed to deal with the issue bilaterally, and since then no third party can have any authority to interfere. As a result the UN has also declined Pakistan’s request of interfering. Pakistan would do better by not violating cease-fire across the LoC, just to internationalize the issue and divert the attention of Pakistani citizens away from more challenging and pressing domestic issues. If the author believes it is India which is violating the cease fire first, then he is suggested to look for the logic for India to do so.

    Fifthly, about the gross human rights violation, these figures are critical but insignificant in comparison to the violations perpetrated by Pakistan in 1948 invasion, and subsequently in the late 1980s on Kashmiri pundits which led the Indian government to take the hard stand on the Kashmir Issue. Of the numbers killed, the responsibility also lies with Pakistan who trained mujahideen fighters infiltrated Kashmir to create instability and internationalize the issue. And while talking about human rights condition, why do we not talk about the situation in PoK or the province called azad kashmir. Human rights watch report says it is in no way “azad” (freedom). Army rules the province and the political representatives, if the exist have no say over matters of human rights violation.

    And finally, I do not understand the aim of the paper. Is the author trying to highlight how Nawaz Sharif is trying to consolidate power and calm down the domestic political unrest by ordering cross-border firing that allows him to internationalize the Kashmir issue and divert Pakistani media’s and masses’ attention? How does that conclude with the call for a tripartite dialogue?

  3. Dear Biswas, Thanks for the note. I would buy your arguments on factual grounds, but I do have reservations over it. There should be a third choice for Kashmiris if they really want independence as well. At the same time, I believe it might not be a possibility in near future because of the fact that political leaderships in India and Pakistan sell their words over Kashmir. Right-wing Indian/Pakistani nationalists frequently use anti-Indian and anti-Pakistani bombast in their political campaigns. So, they are more interested in uplifting personal and party’s stature, earning more support and becoming public icon while ignoring the gravity of the situation, prevailing in region. Kashmiris are well aware on factual grounds about the UNSC Resolution and plebiscite, so, given the freedom of choice, they do know what to decide. Though, right for independence was not in the UNSC Resolution, even then, on humanitarian grounds Kashmiris have right to freedom or to join India/Pakistan. The point is, Kashmiris are the main sufferer of the conflict so, we should move ahead by giving the Kashmiris, their sovereign right to opt India or Pakistan or Independence.
    If one wants to go by Simla agreement and discourage the involvement of UN or any other party then the sole way is to negotiate peace. The situation on LoC is grave and it depicts the aggressiveness in the mentality on both sides. Again no body is winner here but the ultimate sufferers are civilians and innocent Kashmiris. That is the reason, I emphasized over the tripartite dialogue involving all three primary parties (Kashmiri, India, Pakistan).
    I am wondering about your last comment, did you perceive it or what? It doesn’t make any sense that Nawaz Sharif ordered the cross-border firing. Keeping the current policies of Nawaz led Government in mind it becomes very clear that Nawaz has earned the wrath of security establishment and general public opinion while demonstrating soft stance towards India. He is interested in trade, conflict resolution and bridging gap by constant dialogues instead of aggression. How would you see his bold steps like visiting India at first invite by Indian PM, ignoring the fact that PM Moodi’s whole election campaign was anti-Pakistan? He also advocated the resumption of dialogue while addressing UNSC, thus ignoring the fact that India did call it off. I think this time credit goes to Indian Media who made it the talk of the town. Indian media is denying the fact that new political leadership is lenient towards India and serious in negotiating peace. Let me once again quote no “Ifs” and “Buts”, if both sates want to buy peace. Kashmir issue can only be resolved by dialogue involving all three parties (Kashmir, India and Pakistan). We must learn from history that wars and cross-border firing will never resolve longstanding problems, particularly territorial disputes. So, it would be better to go for constructive dialogues instead of traditional blame-game. It was a good opportunity for new leaderships in Islamabad and Delhi to find new ways to coexist peacefully for the safe future of coming generation. Also, the youth on both sides can play a critical role; they should feel the responsibility while suggesting policy options to authorities. Our actions and words will determine the future of this region? Peace or Wars! The choice is our own.

  4. I fully endorse some of the concerns raised by Biswa. The conclusion, for instance, does not logically flow from the arguments made by the author in this piece. Perhaps, the author relied on some other framework (that was used elsewhere) to draw this conclusion. The fundamental question, however, that needs to be addressed here is much broader than the epistemological aspects of the writing.

    The question that lies before India and Pakistan, most rational people would agree, is development and welfare of masses. No matter how abstract these notions might sound and, no matter what’s the nature of disagreements about the appropriate models of development, there is a general consensus (among rational minds) that this framework is unattainable without peace. Peace is, therefore, the fundamental impetus that is missing from the development equation. The chief hindrance to peace, many would argue, is the Kashmir dispute. We have seen for the last six decades that the ‘customary’ approaches to resolve this problem- UN resolutions, bi-tri-multi-lateral talks, full scale war, proxy war, insurgency, nuclearization, subjugation- have not yielded productive results for any of three parties; India, Pakistan, and Kashmris.

    60-70 years, in my humble opinion, is a fairly long period for any nation/state/civilization to take a cue and learn from the mistakes of the past. The developed nations of the West, that are now the champions of the modern world, have attained this supremacy because they had learned from their history and their mistakes, among other things. In that process, they made themselves more responsive and more sensitive to the needs and aspirations of their public. Modernization and development is not viable with subjugated public that is denied of their basic rights. It is only realized when free and content individuals willingly participate in the building process. And yet, we (India and Pakistan) are in a state of constant denial, clinging to the old ways of rejecting public aspirations by sometimes invoking UNSC resolutions, Simla agreement, accusing other party of committing more human rights violations, or being more repressive in their respective administered parts. This ‘blame game’, fueled by the religious sentiments and ‘rocket fuel’ budget, has been going on for long and, sadly, reflects the general mindset of the two states and the majority of their respective intelligentsia. As far as I see, the only way this game could positively continue is if India and Pakistan devote their entire resources to build a structure greater than the Great Wall of China around sub-continent, to insulate themselves (and their public) from the general wave of change (globalization, liberal values, democratic rights, civic rights, enlightenment, etc.)

    One can earn a place in parochial academic circles with this approach, but not in the pages of history.

  5. Dear Hashmi sahab, the conclusion bit, yes I perceived and with a logical reasoning. You pointed out that it is soft stance towards India that earned him the wrath of the security establishment as well as the public. Now if I was Nawaz Sharif and my government would be threatened by campaign such as the one led by Imran Khan, then I would do my best to garner support from the security establishment atleast, and try to divert as much public attention away as possible from the domestic political turmoil. Carrying out talks to establish peace and trade etc, while simultaneously supporting cross-border terrorism or keeping the Kashmir issue internationalized have occurred in the past together and is not impossible for Nawaz Sharif sahab to pursue.

    Also these talks, what do they do? what is the meaning of these talks? If cross-border terrorism continues, if militants keep receiving arms, if people like Saeed Hafiz keep walking freely and planning anti-India terror plots, what are these talks meant for?. Two parties can come together only when they are fully prepared to accept each other and walk. I would want to know if Pakistan would have been interested in talking with Mohammed Daoud Khan, if he was sending arms and jihadists to the NWFP or FATA area. Would Pakistan have allowed him to consult and conduct free talks with the Pashtun tribal leaders of the frontier region? Friendly talks are always welcome and I like the idea of stopping the blame-game and construct solution. But it will certainly not happen at the cost of another country’s territorial integrity or its national interests.

    And at the end of the day, if peace were to be established then why cannot India and Pakistan maintain the status -quo as it exists today, across the LoC, and get on with our lives. I am not saying agreeing to LoC as the international border, but we can stall the process of settling the border immediately and let life breathe and progress for a while. Why cannot one stop supporting separatists and instead focus on creating jobs in these areas. Yes Kashmiris like the idea of freedom, but if they can live peacefully and lead their lives with prosperity then would it not be the next best option for them.

  6. Dear Sohaib, I appreciate your comments. I would fully endorse your thoughts regarding the introduction of positive change in region “the only way this game could positively continue is if India and Pakistan devote their entire resources to build a structure greater than the Great Wall of China around sub-continent, to insulate themselves (and their public) from the general wave of change (globalization, liberal values, democratic rights, civic rights, enlightenment, etc.)”
    Best Wishes,

  7. Dear Biswas, Thank you very much for your valuable remarks.
    Your argument makes sense – there is discussion going on it, in Pakistan as well. But not a single rational academic scholar/security analyst has pronounced situation on LoC as deliberate strategy by political leadership in Islamabad, to divert public attention. Be it that way, then it as a complete failure and futile strategy by PM Nawaz, as public wrath is still the same, if not increasing against government. I do respect your interpretation, but in reality it is not the case. You sound like-minded when you quote “If cross-border terrorism continues, if militants keep receiving arms, if people like Saeed Hafiz keep walking freely and planning anti-India terror plots, what are these talks meant for?” I would also discourage such trends and culture of State-Sponsored-Terrorism by both India and Pakistan, which can play havoc with safety and security of the region. Recalling former President Gen Musharraf at India today enclave 2009, while answering boldly and bluntly in front of whole India that “ISI is exactly doing the same in India which RAW is doing in Pakistan” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YFXG1j_L9Y), is enough to reveal the reality. If Pakistan and India will keep waiting for spoilers to go away, this will never solve mutual problems. And this is what exactly these spoilers want. The idea of maintaining status-quo will need huge amount of investment to uplift the social structure and win the hearts and minds of the Kashmiris. I would also endorse your point “Kashmiris like the idea of freedom, but if they can live peacefully and lead their lives with prosperity then would it not be the next best option for them” So, if Kashmiris are comfortable with current status-quo or they want independence, my sympathies/support and words are with them.

  8. You are telling that 43632, Kashmirs were killed in Kashmir. but it was a wrong number its nearly above 60000 thousand and 80% is Indian Muslims Killed by Pakistan trained militants. First you stop that and come forward to talk, with respect to Shimla agreement.

  9. Dear Justine, Thanks for the note. I will appreciate if you could please give reference to the statistics you are claiming. The number of killings which i mentioned is borrowed by the official data base of Institute of Conflict Management (New Delhi, India) and It does include the details as well that how many civilians, soldiers and Terrorists were killed.

    Also see; http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/data_sheets/annual_casualties.htm).


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