The unfinished agenda of partition

President K. R. Narayanan of India in his speech on the occasion of state banquet in honour of President Pervez Musharraf had hoped that the Agra summit will be able to complete the unfinished agenda of partition of India and start an era of peace and harmony between the two nuclear warlords of South Asia. A little after partition of India schoolboys were celebrating Indian victory in cricket match against the archrival Pakistan. The great Indian leader, a scholar to the core Jay Parkash Narain was aghast and rushed to Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and protested to him on this incident and asked him to stop it, as the people now across the border were still brothers and the two countries, India and Pakistan have to live like brothers and not enemies. Partition of India was as a result of mutual agreement between the leaders of India and Pakistan.

For Pakistan the unfinished agenda has been and is and will continue to be Kashmir. But expectedly or unexpectedly history repeated itself and the Agra talks remained inconclusive inspite of great hopes people on both side of border had attached to it, as did the talks between Liaquat Ali Khan and Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru inspite of the mediation of Sir Owen Dixon and Dr. Frank Graham. The failure of Kashmir talks is a regular item since the days of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru who himself took the matter to the United Nation and then backed out after consolidating his hold on Kashmir. Sir Owen Dixon and Dr. Frank Graham the mediators could not make the Indian Prime Minister to agree to uphold the United Nations resolution and hold plebiscite in Kashmir. What is India afraid of? Probably they are sure about the results of the plebiscite and they do not want to lose Kashmir which has been offered to them on a platter by Lord Mountbatten, who being hurt on not being appointed as Governor General of Pakistan as well gave his parting kick and left the agenda of partition unfinished.

With all this historical background, what made Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had even so far refused to talk to General Pervez Musharraf, was not only the first to congratulate him on his assumption of office as the President of Pakistan, but also invited him for talks on Kashmir and other issues. The positive change in the attitude of the Indian Prime Minister is not far to seek. His government is dependent on a slender majority and open to black mail by the house. Needless to say that the hawks on both sides do not want to complete the agenda of partition as observed by the Indian President at the state banquet. So much so, that no joint communiqué could be issued. The Indian press, the International press and Pakistan’s press were harping their own tunes for their respective readers. The right wing in the BJP coalition went to the extent of nominating Murli Manohar as the prospective Prime Minister. That clinched the issue when according to reports when the one to one talks between the Indian Prime Minister and Pakistan President had succeeded. It is a pity that there is no one on either side, of the stature of the founding fathers to take a decision inspite of democracy.

The Indian Prime Ministers statesman like mood has either been because of wire pulling from abroad to defuse the nuclear issue or because of Asia having taken a start on the march. According to Mr. Vajpayee himself the summit could have been successful and the unfinished agenda of partition would have been completed if he had a strong base in the parliament. So the net out come of the summit has been that in future there would be summit galore and the Indian Prime Minister has accepted to visit Pakistan some time later in the year.

One of the main reasons for change of heart which has been bypassed by the right wingers, on the part of Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been his ardent desire to obtain a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. The stumbling block on India’s ambitions on this accord has been the genocide of Kashmiris by the Indian troops, yet another reason is BJP’s defeat in recent elections in five Indian states. The desire of Mr. Vajpayee to rise to the aspiration of his American mentor to be their policeman in Asia. So in a nutshell there are the following reasons for this change of heart namely: (a) Ambitious approach for the UN Security Council seat. (b) Defeat in state elections. (c) Ambition to rise to be the policeman of USA in Asia. (d) Hungry masses of India.

So far as Pakistan is concerned its President has only earned a widely covered right royal international exposure. The need of the hour is of a statesman, who can solve the problems inspite of democracy.

Mr. Ali Ashraf Khan is a Pakistani Businessman and Ex-Politician who bid good bye to politics in order to concentrate on more useful service benefit of the political intrigues prevalent in the National Political life of Pakistan. He frequently writes for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan.