Indian government backchanneling with Pakistan for negotiations?
Dr. Mooed Yousaf special assistant to the prime minister of Pakistan on National security division and strategic policy planning had interview with Indian media outlet “The wire” by a prominent Indian journalist Karan Thapar. This interview was important as it was the first interview of a Pakistani official to Indian media after the constitution changes in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019. The style of interview was cliché and had classic aggressive inheritance as India-Pakistan interview always had. But this time this was from one side as Mr. Mooed shown very calm posture and on other hand Thapar’s peculiar attitude- aggressive and constant interruption, not allowing your guest to complete his thoughts. Dr. Yousaf had come prepared for questions that would be asked to person on his position.
· The interview initiated with Karan Thapar asking why Pakistan is making such an issue of what happen in Kashmir and India’s internal matter of Kashmir status where and Pakistan is also trying to give provincial status to Gilgit Baltistan and bringing Punjabi settlers in POK? In response Mr. Yousaf said giving GB status of province is a public debate not generated by government, its GB people’s will to be associated with Pakistan and if in future Pakistan state would take any decision about it, it would be under the resolution of UN council. MR. Yousaf Knock-out Thapar in Gilgit stance but lack in answering about Punjabi settlers in POK by saying at least we did not bring 1800 troops to change the status of territory.
Karan Thapar asked why Pakistan is making such an issue of what did not happen in Kashmir and ignoring what is happening with the Uighurs? Mr. Yousaf told him that Pakistan is totally satisfied with the situation, many of Pakistani delegation has visited there, we know everything and we have no issue.
· Second most important thing discussed in the interview was terrorism on both sides, and debate started by Karan Thapar asking about India Spy Kul Bhushan Yadav, that why Pakistan government is not giving free consular and lawyer access to him. To which Dr. Yousaf explained that ICJ had proposed three stages. First unimpeded counsel access, second review and third reconsideration the execution. Mr. Yadav have been given first two and on third he putted petition for Mercy. And where India demanding for an Indian or British lawyer, the common law doesn’t allow it.
· Continuing the debate about Terrorism Karan Thapar brought Pulwama and Mumbai attacks, blaming Pakistan did not investigate or punish the people behind it, as whole plan was planned in Pakistan. In reply to this Dr. Mooed told that it was India fault that India had not given Pakistan officials access to crime scene and prosecuting witness. Dr. Mooed here point out the difference between reaction of both countries that after Mumbai and Pulwama attacks India within hours started blaming Pakistan without investigation where in Pakistan after Peshawar attack Pakistan took whole 5 years in investigating and now when the have hard evidence (phone records etc…) they are claiming that India was behind it.
The interview comes to an end with Mr Moeed Yousuf emphasizing Karan Thapar to further discuss the Future of these two states rather to talk on Past issues. Thappar questioned Mr Moeed that what stance you had for India in future for creating cordial relations. Mr Moeed had greatly expressed that only these two states can improve their relationship once they focus on two major things
1. Economic Security
2. Giving Economic Basis to world
Mr. Yousaf mentioned that they got messages from Indian side for desire for the conversation and proposed its preconditions for the continuation of talks with India:
1. Release all political prisoners in Kashmir,
2. End violent siege and restraints,
3. Revoke the domicile law that permits non-Kashmiris to settle in the disputed territory,
4. End human rights violations,
5. Stop state terrorism in Pakistan
This was an interesting interview, to conclude this whole interview I would say India is still stuck in Past and playing the old tactics where Pakistan foreign policy to evolved and wants improvement in relation with India without playing in safe side this time.
The problem is Pakistan has changed and want to talk like adults and resolve the issues, India doesn’t recognise it. where India has changed, taking decisions unilaterally and aggressively, and the world has recognised it.