I have often thought about this, and my conclusion invariably is that they are as good or as bad as any other people the world over. That is they are as normal as us and anybody else.
As a foreign correspondent and Chief of Bureau, Middle East, based in Dubai for India’s then premier news agency UNI in the 1980s, I came across both the Indians and Pakistanis working happily in newspapers. In fact, the Khaleej Times of Dubai had its entire management from The Dawn newspaper of Karachi, and each one of them was a professional and a gentleman. I recall, with respect, Mr Muzammil Ahmed, Mr MJ Zahedi, Mr Tahir Mirza (later editor of The Dawn), Mr Salim Asmi, Mr Maroof Khwaja, and so on. So was the soft-spoken editor of the Gulf News, Mr Aziz Siddiqi.
In fact, I jointly hosted receptions for both Mehdi Hasan and Ghulam Ali (top singers), and apparently I had the privilege of offering wines and whiskey on some occasions. Muslims are not allowed to buy liquor in the Gulf countries.
Indians and Pakistanis work comfortably together in various countries and industries globally. Privately, their diplomats display warmth. This is how it should be mutually.
Yet, there is hostility between the two countries, dictated apparently by the Army GHQ in Rawalpindi and its ISI spy agency. The Pakistani establishment has not reconciled to its own misdeeds and their disappointing results, and keeps on aggravating its hope of harming India through covert campaigns and proxy wars.
When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Abu Dhabi in May 1981, the Pakistani establishment issued audio tapes to inflict insulting jokes against her, and the Pakistani ambassador was summoned by the UAE foreign office and warned not to misbehave with their honoured guest. In 1984 sometime, both the Pakistani ambassador and consul general were urging the Dubai police not to send an Indian Sikh terrorist to India. And again, when seven Sikhs hijacked an Indian Airlines plane to Dubai through Karachi, they were given a Walther PPK pistol. Initially Pakistan denied, but when Interpol pointed out that it was part of a lot sold to Pakistan by the German manufacturer, it said “yes” but that the pistol was somehow lost and that it didn’t know how the weapon reached the hijackers.
What white lies!
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has disclosed that the Pakistani army has deployed 207,000 troops in Balochistan and Pakhtunkhwa to suppress the people there. That is a huge number of military personnel and clearly indicative of the struggle the Pakistani military faces from the people in these regions.
It does not matter that Pakistan does everything in the name of religion, for there is no justice, religious or political, in its actions.
Pakistan will be at peace with itself and others, to its own advantage and the welfare of its people, if its military model of proxy governance gives way to the civilians. Pakistan has good and capable people; let them rule.
Do be strong, but Just and Peaceful. It will bring you peace and prosperity and your neighbours will bless you.
Gulshan Rai Luthra