16 June, 2021


Islamabad thinks India's 'grand gestures' are only for the benefit of western eyes

When foreign secretary Riaz Khokhar stepped out, on October 29, to respond to India's 12 confidence-building measures (CBMS), one hoped Pakistan would behave sagely. For a fleeting moment one felt the light breeze of optimism as Khokhar intoned: "These (India's CBMS) are piecemeal proposals and not real issues. The Indians could have been doing it for public relations." But Khokhar was not deterred from imposing impossible demands on India through a remarkable display of PR. Soon, it was clear New Delhi and Islamabad would lapse back into snarling at each other.

Khokhar's conference has jeopardised the durability of CBMS. It was in April that A.B. Vajpayee offered what Islamabad calls the "suspended hand of friendship". His Pakistani counterpart Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, with the blessings of the military establishment, responded positively. But India pondered for five months, suddenly springing alive on October 22 through its 12 CBMS, and walking away with praises even from those who "can't tell the difference between Kashmir, terrorism and war".

Pakistan is...

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