Kathmandu: The Islamic Republic of Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan must have expected from Nepal as the current Chair of the SAARC regional body, to play a mediatory role in order to de-escalate the war like situation that had already developed in between India and Pakistan in the recent days and weeks.
Imran is an Oxford graduate and a world class cricketer.
Pakistan perhaps is unaware of the situation prevailing in Nepal following the India imposed “great political change” of 2005-6.
“Nepal has turned into an Indian protectorate a la Button”, claim matured intellectuals.
However, in any case Nepal as the Chair of the SAARC body and a friendly neighbor could have taken some meaningful steps to defuse the deteriorating situation between the two rivals.
In the process, much to the discomfiture and annoyance of Pakistan, Indian fighters attacked its declared rival on 26 February 2019 at 03:00 AM (By South Asian standard) thus violated Pakistani air space ignoring the universal norms established by the existing International laws in the conduct between the sovereign nations.
In doing so, Pakistani sovereignty and territorial integrity was challenged by India thus paving way for a full scale war between the two countries.
The ground reality was however entirely different.
The over blown Indian attack turned out to be a joke only because the old Soviet Jets that entered into the Pakistani air space instead of bombing the terrorist targets- which in reality did not exist in the location, had hit some fully grown pine trees as if they were the much sought terrorists which India wanted to destroy.
Indeed some houses in the vicinity got damaged as seen in the news clips presented by Indian media themselves.
The Swedish thinker of Indian origin Ashok Swain while making fun of the Indian misadventure questions the claims made by the Indian government on the so-called attack in Balakot of Pakistan.
The people world over made a joke of Modi’s war machine. The entire pleasant moments of the Indian nationals were about to fade soon which came across with a huge surprise as promised by the DGISPR Major General Ashif Ghafoor after the Indian fighters violated the Pakistani air space nearly after fifty years.
Approximately after 30 hours after Indian air space violation, Pakistan air forces hit the Indian side right in the broad day light at 10:20 AM (Pakistan time) on 27 February 2019.
The interesting part of the Pakistan attack on India has been that a downed Indian fighter pilot who was attacked by a mob in Kashmir was accorded an unusual treatment by the Pakistan army men.
A video released by Pakistan’s military, the captured airman who claims himself to be from South India, is shown without a blindfold, appearing more relaxed, thanking the Pakistani army.
“The officers of the Pakistani Army have looked after me well, they are thorough gentlemen,” Abhinandan- Indian pilot, is seen as saying in the video clip.
The captured Indian Air force officer is seen relaxed with a cup of tea in his hands.
Assuring the world population, the Pakistan’s army spokesman Asif Ghafoor tweeted a photo of the captured airman and said he was “being treated as per norms of the military ethics”.
Pakistani tweeters claim that the Indian fighter plane pilot had been accorded exemplary hospitality.
Feeling relaxed a bit after the Pakistani attack on the Indian side, the Oxonian Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan yet concludes that “war can’t be the ultimate solution to the Kashmir dispute in between India and Pakistan. He has once again appealed India for meaningful talks and avert the threat of a full-fledged war which neither were beneficial for the two warring countries nor in the larger interest of the entire South Asian region.
Prime Minister Khan said in a televised address after the 27 February airstrikes that the time had come for a diplomatic solution to the overly stretched political crisis.
“With the weapons that we both possess, can we afford miscalculation”, PM Khan asks his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“Shouldn’t we think that if this escalates, what it will lead to,” Imran asks further.
He further says “The latest airstrikes were carried out to make it clear that we are ready for retaliation and deliberately aimed at empty fields to send a message.
“It was our plan that there should be no collateral damage, no casualties,” he said in his televised address.
Pakistan’s army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor insisted that “Pakistan is not pushing for a war,” and he said the country’s military had “deliberately avoided” an escalation in its response to the Indian incursion of 26 February.
Ghafoor said the strikes carried out by Pakistani planes on 27 February Wednesday had targeted open land, not attempted to hit Indian military positions as India has claimed.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that his country’s military deliberately sought to avoid casualties or damage in its strikes inside India, saying the objective was simply to demonstrate the nation’s ability to defend itself.
Khan from his televised address has once again modestly told India to send him “actionable proof” of the February 14 Pulwama sad incident so that he can investigate the matter in a serious manner.
Reiterating his country’s desire to talk, Imran Khan on the elimination of any kind of terrorism from the South Asian scene and beyond told India that “If you want any kind of talks on terrorism, we are ready”.
He made these direct hints to India “There is miscalculation in every war, and the types of weapons India and Pakistan have, can we afford to miscalculate? Where would we go if we start a war?”
“We should sit down and talk,” Khan said.
Back home, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Oli should, if he is smart enough, send his foreign minister on a whirlwind tour of the SAARC countries in order to build substantial pressure on the two Nuclear South Asian States to observe restraints so that South Asia can live in peace.
International expert Anil Sigdel too thinks the urgency of the formation of a small grouping and a dispute resolution mechanism, excluding India and Pakistan, with the help of extra-regional powers to solve Kashmir issue/dispute whatever.
Mr. Sigdel’s prescription is timely but, in our opinion, let the honest efforts from the smaller countries of South Asia under the leadership of Nepal begin first and if unfortunately that fails to deescalate the tension that has gripped the South Asian region then the second option should be tried.
The objective should be to bring the two warring states to the negotiating table and allow them to find out a suitable and agreeable solution to both over the disputed Kashmir conflict.
Let’s begin with our own regional mechanism that were under our own sleeves. And if such an effort fails then Nepal must take initiative to form the comity of nations, as suggested by Mr. Sigdel, and invite extra regional powers whose combined efforts may force both India and Pakistan to settle the long standing disputes on Kashmir once and for all.
Observers in Nepal opine that in such a scenario wherein Nepal takes the lead, India may out rightly reject as PM Modi thinks PM Oli as his puppet.
Poor Oli is paying the price of free treatments to his renal impairment that he received in the Indian hospitals decades back.
But will PM Oli dare to annoy his Indian mentor? Even if PM Oli does so, will Bhutan, the Maldives and a rather confused Bangladesh with China tilt dare to out rightly go against India?
Yet what is the harm in giving peace a chance from Nepal?
In the meanwhile, thousands of Indian and Pakistani social media users have been pleading with their leaders to find peace amid escalating tensions as #SayNoToWar began trending on Twitter in both countries on Wednesday, say various media agencies.
Bubbling tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals have boiled over in recent days as India carried out airstrikes in the Pakistani-controlled area of Kashmir, which borders the South Asian states, after a suicide bomber killed 40 Indian CRPF men earlier this February.
After the Pulwama incident of 14 February, both India and Pakistan have attacked each other which in effect has scared innocent population of South Asia fearing what if the wrong nuclear button is tabbed either by the Indian or the Pakistani side?
Indian elections are at hand and Modi’s ambitions have no limit. He can go to any political extent , this much could be said of him by the Nepali population who understand him better and take him as a fanatic Hindu fundamentalist.
He is just an Indian aggressor for Nepal and its select population.
The Indian congress leaders of the sort of Rahul and Priyanka must understand the Modi tricks and save the nation from the fanaticism of the incumbent Prime Minister Modi. Earlier the better.
To conclude, Pakistan’s reprisal has come hours later after it said that “will respond at a “time and place of its own choosing”.
As promised by PM Khan and Major General Asif Gafoor, spokesperson of the Pakistan Army, India was given a surprise of Pakistan’s choosing.
But, Nepal appeals both India and Pakistan to observe restraint.
Having said this, India may attack Pakistan only to be further attacked in retaliation. If this does happen then that would mean the beginning of a full-fledged war. The casualties could be unimaginable.
The civilized countries must look into the regional conflict at the earliest and do the needful and arrest the dangerous situation that is there in South Asia at the moment.
The UN Secretary General has offered his mediation if India so desires. That’s all.