27 July, 2021

To Raise A Siege

To stop its further ruination, Pakistan must make peace with India

To Raise A Siege

Foreign secretary S. Jaishankar’s visit to Pakistan has broken the ice that had settled on India-Pakistan relations after the cancellation of the last bilateral foreign secretaries’ talk in August, and the firing on the Line of Control in October. But it is only the beginning of the long road towards peace. And it is by no means certain that the countries will be able to travel down it all the way.

Pakistan has by far the stronger reasons for doing so. For it is a state under siege. One of the first things you see when you step out of the Islamabad airport is an armoured personnel carrier, with a 50 mm universal machine gun mounted in its turret. The APC is there not to intimidate terrorists but to kill them.

Hotel security bears the same, hard imprint. In contrast to the perfunctory 30-second check in Delhi, and the scanner placed inside the hotel entrance for guests to walk through, in Islamabad driveways to most hotels are closed and both passengers and their vehicles are given a complete airport scan. The purpose is to make suicide bombers detonate...

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