The Unending Game….
Pakistan and India celebrated their 72nd Independence Day on August 14 and 15, respectively. On this occasion, the two South Asian rivals agreed to normalise bilateral ties and to maintain peace in the region.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently made a phone call to Chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan and congratulated him for winning the recently-held General Elections. Khan, too, sent a positive message to PM Modi, saying that if India decided to take a step forward, then his country would take two steps to ensure better relationship between the two countries.
On August 14, Pakistani High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood once again sent the same message to New Delhi, saying that Khan would give priority to peace between Islamabad and its neighbours. After hoisting his country’s flag during the Independence Day celebrations at Pakistani High Commission in the Indian capital, Mahmood said: “Our next generations deserve a better future – one marked by peace and opportunities for progress and prosperity.”
Pak High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood
However, former head of India’s foreign intelligence agency – the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – Vikram Sood has claimed that peace talks between India and Pakistan would be futile. Speaking at the launch of his latest publication, ‘The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights Into Espionage’, Sood said that the Pakistani forces would never let it happen. Otherwise, they can’t control their government, he added.
The Indian spy agency provides only essential information to the policymakers, but the Pakistani forces and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI, the premier intelligence agency of Pakistan) help the government formulate foreign policies, explained Sood. According to the former RAW chief, the Pak Army has become a big corporate organisation. “It is now the largest corporate sector in Pakistan. It owns land, owns properties, runs fertiliser factories, runs bread factories, runs atta (wheat flour) factories…. It also runs international logistic cell which supplies goons all over the country… (and) heroin,” he told the audience.
Sood stated: “I see very little hope that Pakistan’s mindset will change in foreseeable future. So anybody who talks of peace with Pakistan, well these are noble thoughts we should all have them. But if you ask me if we can happily exist as neighbours I think not.”
Asked whether RAW is making preparations for a war, its former chief promptly replied: “We are no jihadi forces trying to disrupt lives elsewhere. We (RAW) are always finding ways to avoid war. We are providing our ministries and our defence personnel information so that they are aware and prepared to handle the situations.”
Some senior Indian diplomats believe that Pakistan’s internal problems allow the Army to become more powerful. It is to be noted that various political parties alleged that elections won by Imran Khan’s PTI were not fair and also demanded a probe. The parties also claimed that the Army helped the PTI win the elections.
Pak President Mamnoon Hussain hoisting the national flag
Even Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain, in his Independence Day address, raised the issue of alleged rigging in the July 25 Elections, asking the Election Commission to look into the complaints of major parties to make the poll process “fully transparent”. Addressing an official function held at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad to mark his country’s 72nd Independence Day, the president said: “The elections and celebration of Independence Day were held in close proximity which is a reminder that the way this country had come into being with the people’s will, in the same manner, the decisions regarding its fate will be made through the vote.”
Indian PM addressing the nation
Meanwhile, the Border Security Forces of India and the Pakistani Rangers exchanged sweets at Wagah-Attari border to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day on Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi hoisted the Indian Flag at the historical Red Fort in New Delhi and proceeded to address the nation. He, too, said that India was ready to boost ties with its neighbours in an attempt to ensure regional peace.
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