Yet Another Breach of Protocol by Pakistan

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New Delhi – Breaching the well established diplomatic protocol, and in an attempt to provoke India, visiting Pakistani Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani recently held parleys with the anti-India separatist leaders of the Kashmir Valley.

The separatists were invited to the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi by the acting Pakistani High Commissioner Babar Amin. Those who met the Pakistani Foreign Secretary included Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the Hurriyat Conference (M), Yaseen Malik of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and Syed Ali Shah Geelani of the Hurriyat(G). By doing so, the Pakistani diplomat has simply followed the footsteps of his boss and Pakistani Minister of External Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar.

Khar indulged in a similar misdemeanor in July of last year on her maiden visit to India for foreign minister-level talks in Delhi under the so called Composite-Dialogue process going on between the two countries for the past several years. Even before meeting their counterparts in India, both Khar and Jilani chose to meet those who are known for their venomous separatist ideology and outbursts that often challenge the Indian Constitution and India’s sovereignty in Jammu and Kashmir. This is something that no other country would ever allow any representative of any foreign government on its land.

India had protested against Khar’s action last year in a very mild tone and the repetition of the same by the visiting Secretary is now being seen as the outcome of the same.

Observers are of the opinion that had India taken a tough stand last year, Jalil Abbas Jilani might have refrained from offending his host. According to media reports, India has once again expressed its unhappiness over the decision of the visiting Pakistani diplomat to host the Kashmiri separatists in Delhi.

From the Indian perspective, the mild way in which India has shown its displeasure over this turn of events is even more objectionable. No country would allow such an act to be committed on its land by a representative of a foreign government. Even the likes of Hina Rabbani Khar or Jalil Abbas Jilani cannot dare to replicate this act in China or any other country where a section of separatist Muslims are demanding separation from that country in the name of Islam.

Upon landing in the Indian capital, the Pakistani Foreign Secretary told media persons that he was there with a message of love and peace for the Indian people from the people of Pakistan. His actions are contrary to his words, a characteristic of Pakistan as a nation. Needless to say that Pakistan has been claiming to be on the receiving end of terrorism and was a partner in the global war on terror, while playing host to the most dreaded of Jihadi terrorists, Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad.

At the same time, it has continuously ignored India’s demand for action against the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, despite the fact that India has provided enormous evidence of involvement of the Inter-Services-Intelligence, its ill-reputed intelligence agency, as well as Lashkar-e-Taiba. Turning a blind eye to the facts and ground realities that expose its evil designs has been a national policy in Pakistan, as has its policy to support the Kashmiri separatists.

Earlier this week, the former Pakistani Interior Minister and present Advisor to Pakistani Prime Minister on Interior Affairs, Rehman Malik, publicly claimed that Abu Jundal, the Laskar’s Indian hand in the Mumbai attack, had never visited Pakistan. This is despite the fact that Jundal holds a valid Pakistani passport and a national identity card with a fake name of Riyasat.

Thus, the Pakistani doublespeak and double standards continue unabated. As Pakistan shows no signs of a real change in its support to the Jihadis in Kashmir and it repeatedly goes to the extent of repeatedly breaking the protocol to express its solidarity with anti-India elements in Jammu and Kashmir, it is high time that India responds in a language that is similar to that of Pakistan.

If India decides to pay Pakistan in the same coin, one of several options at its command is that External Affairs Minister SM Krishna invites the Pakistani dissidents from Sindh, Balochistan and other parts of the failing Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad in August this year during his visit to Pakistan for talks with his counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar.

There is no dearth of political leaders on Pakistani soil who are fighting for independence from Pakistan for several years now. But this would require a strong political and diplomatic will that Indian leadership appears to be lacking. Far easier than taking this extreme step would have been a decision to summon the Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner Babar Amin to the Foreign Ministry immediately after it sent invitations to the Kashmiri extremists. Our foreign officer could have asked the Pakistani Envoy to withdraw the said invitations and should have threatened to put off the foreign secretary level talks in case it was not done. 

Virender Singh Chauhan
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Virender Singh Chauhan is Chairperson, Department of Journalism & Director, Community Radio Station, CDL University, Sirsa, India .

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