Thursday, April 19, 2018
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Execution of Yadav could lead to armed conflict
By Brij Bhardwaj
Need for cooler counsels to prevail with hot heads in India and Army in Pakistan pushing for confrontation between India and Pakistan to a point of no return. In Pakistan civil authority is becoming weaker every day with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief being pushed into a corner by Army which is working closely in collaboration with former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan. In addition Pakistan Prime Minister is also facing tough weather in Pakistan Supreme Court with case of money laundering coming up for hearing against him after disclosures made in Panama papers.

On the other hand India is also not finding a solution to address alienation of youth and continuous violence in Kashmir. The result was record low poll in by-poll to Srinagar seat in Lok Sabha which also witnessed violence on a scale never witnessed during poll in the past in which eight persons were killed and over hundred injured, Poll booths were closed with staff running away to save their lives, EVM machines looted, buildings in which polling booths were located being burnt down.

The situation has not changed when repoll was held on April 13 in 38 booths amidst security on a massive scale with hundreds of policemen guarding every booth , but no voters were seen and many booths did not record even a single vote being cast in the first few hours. Under the circumstances one can understand why the PDP candidate for Anantnag seat and brother of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has suggested that poll be postponed as the environment was not conducive for holding a poll.

In such a charged atmosphere Pakistan authorities or rather all powerful army in Pakistan decided add fuel to fire to muddy the waters by suddenly announcing that a Army Court has found former Navy Commander of India Kulbhushan Yadav guilty after a trial by Army Court and sentenced him to death. This happened despite the fact that only three months ago it had been declared in Pakistan Parliament by Foreign policy advisor that there was not sufficient evidence against him . There are serious doubts about Pakistan claim that Yadav was caught in Balochistan region of Pakistan as many have claimed that he was kidnapped by Talibans in Afghanistan and handed over to Pakistan authorities for a price.

So far Pakistan has not produced any evidence to prove the guilt of Kulbhushan Yadav. The only argument offered by Pakistan is that Military courts in Pakistan are established by law and many Pakistan citizens have been tried by them and convicted. They have decided to ignore facts that even a Pakistan militant caught in India, responsible for killing large number of people in Mumbai in Mumbai was tried in open court and convicted only after a due process of law had been followed which lasted over a year.

There are many who suggest that Pakistan has taken this unusual step as it is keen to exploit the current situation in Kashmir. Pakistan army which lost face after surgical strikes across line of control is also keen to hit India. Pakistan also may have been encouraged by its all-weather friend China which has been breathing fire after the recent visit of Dalai lama to Arunachal Pradesh .

There is no doubt that sub-continent in the coming summer months will witness lot of Sabre rattling. One hopes there will also be some cool diplomatic steps and parleys by both sides if necessary with help of third party and intervention by international organisations to cool the tempers. In case Pakistan is foolish and ill-advised to go ahead with execution of Kulbhushan Yadav and cause any damage to him while in custody as has been the case with other prisoners in Pakistan it will lead to consequences too horrible to be imagined for the two nations.

It needs to be remembered that one can choose friends, but neighbours can not be changed. Sooner or later they have to learn to live in peace with each other. This is a lesson which countries of Europe learnt after crippling wars lasting over several decades. The countries of Asia have yet to accept this harsh truth. Conflict in sub-continent and western Asia have been on for half a century even though all realise that a war between nuclear powers is not a option.

One hopes that even Army which calls shots in Pakistan realises the folly of encouraging any hostilities between India and Pakistan. No such attempt has worked in the part. A lesson needs to be learnt from conflicts in Kargil and 1971 war which led to liberation of Bangladesh. On part of India we need to set our own house in order by talking to all stake holders in Kashmir to reduce the capacity of mischief makers based in area under our control or across the line of control to create fresh trouble by encouraging unrest or violence.

(Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator) [IFS]

News Updated at : Friday, April 14, 2017
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