Aa galay lag jaa!

IN Opinion | 17/10/2005
Aa galay lag jaa!



Can nature put together what Mohammad Ali Jinnah rent asunder?


 You don`t say! 


Darius Nakhoonwala 

The Indian leader writers, a bunch of bleeding heart liberals if ever there was one, seem to think that an earthquake is just what the doctor ordered to help India and Pakistan become good friends. An earthquake every five years will keep the nukes away. 

Last week`s earthquake in Kashmir showed just how unreal they can be. 

So even as President Musharraf was saying a firm no to the Indian offer for help, our chaps were plugging away a steady line and length like Bapu Nadkarni in the Madras Test against England in 1964: 31 overs, 27 maidens,4 runs, 0 wickets.  

The Hindustan Times had this gem to offer:

"The message to us is that governments of the two countries who have allowed a hundred confidence-building measures to bloom, somehow seem to have forgotten the vital issue of disaster management... both countries have been caught napping by the October 8 earthquake. President Pervez Musharraf has spoken of "some sensitivities" in accepting India`s help, while all that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could have done was to offer it... this is also one of the most heavily fortified military boundaries in the world… armed groups from the Pakistani side still attempt to breach it. Nevertheless, the two sides should realise that providing mutual help during moments of adversity will be the greatest CBM that one can think off."  

And the Indian Express was not far behind. "This is a South Asian tragedy. It requires a national response without doubt. But it also demands a South Asian response… Kashmir continues to remain a victim of its geo-political location. The question really is this: can we rise above the limitations imposed by the past to urgently address a situation that is embedded in real time?" It thought it was not surprising that Musharraf should be wary of India`s offer to help. True, but what does that show about the man and his country? "He is much more comfortable with western assistance and is frank enough to explain that there are "sensitivities involved" in accepting aid from India for a region that is the source of conflict between the two nations. He doesn`t say it, but he is worried that the world would read this as a sign of Pakistani weakness..."

The Tribune had much the same thing to say as well. "The political sensitiveness of the region hinders speed: there can be no relaxing of security procedures, even if it means holding up vehicles with wounded people in order to do routine searches."

The Deccan Herald took the opposite view. Wisdom does not lie in allowing security concerns to become a roadblock. It is time to act quickly, as speed is of great essence in such situations. 

The Pioneer, usually not very well disposed towards Pakistan, said the Prime Minister`s offer to help "has opened up the possibility of bringing the two countries closer on an emotive issue, one that will strike an immediate chord with their peoples. If India and Pakistan had agreed to coordinate their disaster relief operations, such mutual assistance would have constituted an important confidence building measure."

It then noted - the only paper to do so -- that "given such sensitivities, it may be far too optimistic to expect that the earthquake will pay a large peace DIVidend."  

Whenever I read Indian editorials on Pakistan, I cannot help wondering when the leader writers will get real. The point about India and Pakistan is not people-to-people relationship. That is what it is - good, bad and ugly in equal parts. What matters is the relationship between the two countries as determined by the Pakistani army. When you take that into account, all bets are off.

contact: Darius.Nakhoonwala@gmail.com











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