Dear India, a simple “thank you” would have sufficed. Your neighbour, Pakistan

Published: December 29, 2017

Kulbhushan Jadhav meets his family at the Foreign Office in Islamabad on Monday. PHOTO: FOREIGN OFFICE

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

These words from Irish poet WB Yeats’ poem, Second Coming, sum up the mood in the subcontinent today.

All the negative forces have ganged up to throttle the voice of sanity. These divisive agents are full of passion and want to preside over the fate of the relationship between India and Pakistan.

We witnessed the worst effect of these negative forces after the meeting between Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy facing death sentence in a Pakistani court, and his female relatives. The meeting was aimed at breaking the ice between the two nations; it was a humanitarian gesture, no doubt, and the signal Islamabad wanted to send was that lets revive the interaction.

But this was not to be.

The Indian media was playing to a script; they were more interested in sabotaging the effort than appreciating it. They immediately claimed that Jadhav’s family was harassed during the meeting and that Pakistan did not respect the cultural and religious norms of the women and made Jadhav’s wife take off her jewellery, including her mangal sutra, which is a necklace that married Hindu women wear. Later, they added that Jadhav was talking under duress and that there was “an atmosphere of coercion.”

Perhaps the Indian media should answer a simple question: has the Indian government allowed a convicted Pakistani facing death sentence in an Indian jail to meet his mother and wife? Will it not follow some prison manual and protocol in allowing an interaction with an imprisoned man and his relatives? Will it consider a Pakistani spy arrested on Indian soil as a hero or a terrorist?

Islamabad followed its own guidelines in letting Jadhav and his family members interact.

It was always in Pakistan’s hand not to allow the meeting to take place at all. We should have been more appreciative of Islamabad’s gesture. But on the contrary, New Delhi was more aggressive and acting as a victim.

There were accusations made from Pakistan’s end too, as they claimed that there was a chip in Jadhav’s wife’s shoes which looked suspicious and hence were not returned to her as they have been sent for further investigation. Given the sensitivities of the matter, if it is proven that there indeed was a chip in her shoe, this will be the last meeting between Jadhav and his family. In this case, India would have no one but themselves to blame because it violated Pakistan’s trust.

One can always argue that Islamabad should have been more polite, sensitive and aware as to how the whole affair will play out. It should have handled the situation differently. However, as an old watcher of Indo-Pak relationship, I can vouch that no matter how elegantly, nicely or deferentially Pakistan handled this matter, there would have been some controversy or the other.

The problem is that we are hostages to a deep-seated historical paranoia, and as long as we are prisoners of this paranoia, we will remain stuck in the time warp.

It was this sheer paranoia that forced Pakistan to micro-control the meeting between Jadhav and his family. But India – a big country claiming to be a South Asian power house and one of the largest economies of the world – suffers from deep short-sightedness. It’s not the progressive politics that informs this emerging power but a regressive worldview that grips it.

The media also reflects that paranoid vision. As a result, what is happening is that we are producing a mass, a generation, which can act as a lynch mob. It is devoid of any historical sense and is highly anti-liberal.

But it is not just the media that is perpetuating hate, but the politicians of India too who have taken it upon themselves to deepen the divide between the two countries just to feed their own agendas. This can be seen by the statement made by a Rajya Sabha MP, Subramaniam Swamy, who urged that it was time that India go to war with Pakistan. This statement came into light after the Indian media accused Pakistan of harassing Jadhav’s family.

The way we are behaving, we are making a mockery of ourselves. It’s not Pakistan that is insulting us; it is we who are abusing our own ethos, culture and thinking.

The way the situation unfolded after the meeting on December 25th and the way vested interests were allowed to hijack the whole issue and create a war-like situation, shows how the biggest democracy of the world lacks the political and emotional maturity as a nation.

It does not expose Pakistan; it exposes how we are becoming a nation of reactionaries, and how we are becoming a country where lynch mob mentality is becoming our second nature.

Does India really care what is going to be the fate of Jadhav? A persistent hostile relationship will further jeopardise the life of this Indian spy.

With Narendra Modi into the last year of his term, he will use the anti-Pakistan sentiment to reap electoral dividends. He does not have much to show in terms of achievement or progress, the emotional card is a tried and tested formula and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) government will try its best to exploit that.

No wonder the frequency of border skirmishes has increased. The media is helping the government’s cause by resorting to divisive propaganda.

Pakistan is also going to face elections in a few months’ time, and when election is round the corner, peace is the biggest casualty. And we are witnessing exactly that.

Santosh Arora

Santosh Arora

The blogger is a journalist from India.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • candy

    Removing clothing, confiscating shoes, etc all for a meeting where the prisoner was behind a glass and no contact was allowed. That’s called harassment in my book and I don’t blame India one bit for properly labeling it.Recommend

  • sami shahid

    Lol India is a nation who are obsessed with Pakistan. Pakistan should help people of Assam, Nagaland & Nanupur rather than expecting a thank you from India.Recommend

  • 19640909rk .

    Dear Pakistan, for What?Recommend

  • kulbhushan Yadav

    Dear Pakistan, the fact that a meeting was conducted in such a manner where two women were strip searched before they could see their son/husband through glass walls, was totally appalling. Those women were not on some rescue mission. They were there to see him , may be for the last time. The way he was let meet her mother and wife , is a strong evidence that something is fishy. If Pakistan was so convinced of his guilt and justified the death penalty, then why such terrible drama of meeting? You don’t have to lick someone’s feet to prove your self a good neighbor.Recommend

  • Usman Rehmatullah

    Well said..Recommend

  • MJ

    Thank you would have not followed the hawkish directive of current Indian ruling party. Expecting honest goodwill and efforts towards normalization of relations by BJP is nonsensical.Recommend

  • Bharat

    Dear Pakistan
    A little dignity and respect , even with surbjit, would have sufficedRecommend

  • PatelPara

    expecting nice gestures from india is very naive of Pakistan.

    they are about to fund more terrorists attacks and chaos in the country starting new year.Recommend

  • Amer

    No Amount of goodwill gestures etc would satisfy the current government or the media in India. The government has an election to worry about and the media has ratings in their mind as anywhere else in the world but specially in India where anything anti-Pakistan equals patriotism and national duty. I am astonished that people in India expected a meeting where the visitors would be able to hug a convicted terrorist ! Have you even seen a prison meeting in a Hollywood movie ? They all speak from behind a glass curtain. I thought it was appropriate to take the shoes off if there was a metal object in them, what’s the big deal ? Can’t the wife get another pair of shoes ?
    I did think that asking for mangal sutar to be removed was not really that important but then again can you blame them for being over cautious before they met a convicted terrorist who is also an Indian intelligence officer, Naval Commander and a spy ?Recommend

  • Memona

    Bharat maata shouldn’t question law and order of an other country because once you enter an other country you have to play by their rules. Pakistan was kind enough to allow the family of a death row terrorist who have supported killing of/killed many innocent people and destroyed many families in Pakistan. India’s claim of Pakistan kidnapping Jadhav from Iran and bringing him back to pakistan without anyone noticing not even Iran is a cooked up & sounds more like a Hollywood story. This drama is being exaggerated by India to get more sympathy at ICJ. India went to ICJ only because they got caught red handed India has always claimed itself a victim of terror.Recommend

  • Dr. Ramesh K Sharma

    Simple thank you for
    Removing shoes of mother and wife or
    Removing Mangal Sutra of mother and wife or
    Removing Bindis of mother and wife.
    These are symbols of a married woman. If a country can not respect these then it is shame.I hope it was otherwise. It is unfortunate that India and Pakistan are neighbors. This is like a bad dream and we hope ii was nb true. There is nothing to say a simple thank youRecommend

  • Memona

    Devyani Khobragade an Indian diplomat in US was arrested and strip-search in NYC and later deported back to India.Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    Mr Santosh Arora seen any evidence that Mr Jadhav is a Indian spy other than your pay check ?Recommend

  • Gratgy

    Yo kidnap one of our citizens from Iran, torture him into giving a fake confession, do not allow consular access, then you allow his wife and mother to come and them humiliate them in front of their son. And then you expect “Thanks”.Recommend

  • Papps

    To the question that have been asked in the article weather to which India have ever allowed to meet the Pak prisoners in India with their family well to do that first the Pak government should own that these are your citizens Recommend

  • Patwari

    Caught deep inside Balochistan, in a village.
    With huge amount of dollars [USD]. Hundred
    of miles from the nearest bank/money changer.
    To pay, Baloch thugs, to kill innocent men. women
    children, old grandfathers and grandmothers of Pakistan.
    Guess his tourist bus made wrong turn at Bombay. Maybe
    the poor man was just trying to visit his mother in law.
    His handlers abandoned him when they heard of an ongoing
    Army/Rangers operation taking place in vicinity.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Because she had very questionable diplomatic immunity.
    [added fast and furiously and surreptitiously within hours
    by the Hindustani embassy]
    Not all crimes are covered under diplomatic immunity. Not
    all diplomats have diplomatic immunity.Recommend

  • Patwari

    You forgot to mention that they tried to convert the mother and wife,
    to Islam. Forced them to eat beef, hung them upside down by the toes
    and tried to pass goat bheja as channa dal. Gave them no water either.
    Bring your own bottled water from Hindustan. All done in one day.Recommend

  • him

    Being the uncivilized nation, that was indian way of saying thank youRecommend

  • Vectra

    A simple thank you ?? Mistreatment of invited guests even if the invitation was for the victims family deserves no Thank you.

    Pakistan should learn from India that even when no lawyers were ready to take Kasabs case, govt still appointed a Govt lawyer for him to have his case fought and contested despite having ample live evidence against him. He was even treated good while in jail. GoI have even invited his family members to meet him if any but Pak Gov on behalf of his family stopped his family members from visiting India and attending him. So in that case that’s Pak Gov fault not India’s.Recommend

  • candy

    They didn’t strip search her family. Nuff said?Recommend

  • abhi

    If Pakistan was not ready to treat them with dignity they shouldn’t have offered this meeting. They could have simple arranged a video conference if the interaction was suppose to happen behind a double glass wall.Recommend

  • abhi

    Lats time we release their 90 Lakhs prisoner of war with dignity.Recommend

  • abhi

    The writer has described Kulbushan as Spy, thus taking the Pakistan claim at face value. He should have used word “alleged” to show a balanced point of view.Recommend

  • abhi

    If Pakistan is so much sure of the proofs they have why don’t they do a trial in normal civilian court and put forward the proofs they have. All I have seen so far is the recorded confession which obvious doesn’t hold any legal value.Recommend

  • abhi
  • rama

    Would Pakistan have accepted if India asked to remove hijab under similar situation ?Recommend

  • Memona

    Trial of a Indian naval officer caught in sensitive area of Balochistan with fake passport in civilian court is not possible that too when Pakistan lifted moratorium on the executions and hung 500 people in 3 years.Recommend

  • Memona

    Devyani Khobragade was involved in visa fraud. Kulbhushan Yadhav was involved in terrorist activities. Know the difference.Recommend

  • Fareed Shahid

    who said it was a strip search?? typical NDTV narrative or spicy gossip channelRecommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    It is mistake to let Indian agents to come to aid their accomplice. You never know what they may have up their sleeve or shoe.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    But these were concealed weapons. These people should not have been allowed in the first place. India took shameless advantage of our hospitality.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    Rubbish and nonsense. Their shoe had suspicious material and were remove. These people should not have been allowed in at all to see the heinous criminal and spy.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    Very well stated.Recommend

  • Ghazi Gul

    Pakistan made a mistake to allow these Indian agents to come in and give aid and comfort to a heinous criminal and spy.Recommend

  • Patwari

    Pak soldiers who were out of ammunition, fuel, drinkable water, food
    and surrounded by 1 million Hindustani soldiers and about half million
    Mukhti Bahini stabbing them in the back. Must have a 10 to 1 advantage
    for Hinduland to win anything. One and only skirmish they ever won.
    You can tell your children grandchildren how you won The Great War.Recommend

  • Salman Khan

    Had Pakistan not released Raymond Davis, the world would have had been saying the same thing about him. Obama insisted he was not an operative and look at Davis now, writing books about his espionage antics! You and your double standards.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Recommend

  • Gratgy

    The old woman could have killed someone with her Bindi, mangal sutra and shoes? Recommend

  • Mansoor Awan

    Dr. Ramesh K Sharma, Did you People show the same emotion for alleged Pakistani militant “Ajmal Kasab”??
    He commited everything and you people didnt even allowed pak law enforcement agencies to investigate him and now you want kalbhushan to have everything.
    We allowed him to meet his mother and wife and i think its more than enough, if it was some pakistani spy caught on indian soil then we all know what could have happened.

  • Mansoor Awan

    jssidhoo he accepted it the same way ajmal accepted.
    why is that you people accept if its against Pakistan and dont want to accept if its shame for you people.Recommend

  • Mansoor Awan

    Gratgy yes her bindi was not a danger for anyone but just tell me onething if someone was caught by Indian agencies on indian soil with same allegations, what measures u think indian agencies or law enforcement agencies could have taken??

    do you think your law enforcement agencies would have allowed him to meet his family members in 2pc Paint Coat Suit??
    And one more thing only her shoes were confiscated by the law agencies because there was some chip in it which she told that she dont know anything about.Recommend

  • jssidhoo

    Ajmal was subjected to a lie detector test which was video graphed and shown on TVRecommend

  • Gratgy

    We would not have humiliated his elderly mother and wife by forcing them to remove their religious identifications such as Hijab or Burkha and forced them to wear SareesRecommend

  • Mansoor Awan

    Do you have any forensic report stating that lie Detector was not tempered (as mentioned by you that it was on lie detector) or any authenticity of lie detector ?
    I have seen his interview while he was on bed in hospital, he was not able to talk properly in “Urdu” and didn’t had the exact address of his village or hometown one can clearly tell after watching that interview that it was not his words but were someone else’s words coming out of his mouth…
    Forget everything why your lay enforcement agencies didn’t allowed him to meet his family members????Recommend

  • Mansoor Awan

    we know how you indians treat women or ladies in your country,
    “Asifa” is a latest example infront of the whole world that how you indians treat feminism in india. Dont try to teach us how to respect women, What do you demand from us? He is a terrorist and he admitted it himself, there are some protocols which are meant to be addressed, You are hurt that our security agencies ask them to remove lockets and their bindies but what about us? Arent we supposed to react or show any anger upon him? Kalbhushan himself admitted that he was involved in militant activities and terrorist attacks across pakistan and even then as a nation we accepted our security agencies decision to let him meet his family. It was a very very very kind gesture but u people have this habbit of exaggerating things and what one can expect from a narrow mind nation like IndiaRecommend

  • Gratgy

    Still better than the daily childrapes reported in your own newspaper or the hundreds of videotaped rapes in kasur. Should India also force pakistani women who enter India to remove their Hijabs and wear sarees. By the way you could not prove he was a terrorist in the ICJ apart from the forced “confession”. Even if he was a terrorist why humiliate the women in his family be behaving in the disgusting fashion that you did, and now you call it a “kind gesture”. We should also show such kind gestures to Pakistanis and their women who enter indiaRecommend