War and peace
November 28, 2018, must be written in golden letters as a day when sworn enemies, India and Pakistan took a decisive step to leave behind decades of hatred and bad blood and write a new chapter of peace and coexistence. The day will be remembered as the day when a groundbreaking ceremony was organised to build a corridor through which Indian pilgrims can visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib, 4 km across the river Ravi in the Pakistani side of the international border, without a visa. On Wednesday, a similar programme would be held in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India to build a corridor leading up to the international border so that Sikh pilgrims on their way to Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara in Pakistan have a hassle-free experience. The epochal moment, which holds unlimited scope for advancing bilateral engagements and bringing about a thaw in the tense relationship between the two countries, was a result of the peace overtures of the new Pakistan government headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. In a hurry to show his people that he can hit sixes even on a political pitch without much effort, he made persistent attempts at nudging India with his pearls of wisdom and large-hearted admission that his country was wrong in fighting others' war, though in a different context. As a political leader, Imran Khan has not faced any credible resistance from the opposition parties even before his party romped home in the July 2018 election to the National Assembly. Stressing Pakistan's commitment to ensuring peace with India, the Pakistan PM said that all major stakeholders of the government such as his party, the opposition parties and the military are on the same page with him. This means, he does not need care about his home turf; it is safe. Back home, the new Pakistan PM has undertaken some frantic trips to China, UAE, and Saudi Arabia in order to secure enough loans for the country to tide over the balance of payment crisis that it was facing till the loans were approved by Pakistan's all-weather friends. The Pakistan PM reciprocated the gesture shown by China inadequate measure in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on latter's consulate in Karachi. Imran Khan said nothing can undermine Pakistan's relations with China, which is stronger than the Himalayas and deeper than the Indian Ocean.
It is common knowledge that whenever a Pakistani and an Indian meet in a third country, they are best friends. Then, what stops them from being good friends when they are in their respective countries? The estranged relationship between the two countries through the past decades affirms that there are enough number of grievances on both sides of the border and an early resolution of those issues is not possible. But Imran Khan says that if there is a will, a lasting peace can be won and he does not want to wait till his friend Navjot Singh Sidhu becomes India's Prime Minister. One can understand why Pakistan now wants to mend its ways and choose to become a country that is not seen as a sanctuary of international terrorists. Pakistan is under pressure from many world powers to shun the policy of extremism and choose a path of peaceful coexistence. The world is fast losing patience as far as the double-speak of Pakistan is concerned on the issues of terrorists and terrorism. Despite so much of provocation, India has not lost its cool and that's what makes the difference. As far as the fact that Sidhu can win an election from any seat in the Punjab province of Pakistan, the prospect of Sidhu contesting an election in Pakistan, and his taste for adventure, we are sure he would not like to miss an opportunity, is valid only when India and Pakistan become one nation. Does Pakistan Prime Minister mean it? If the answer is yes in any of its shades, India must pat its back for being so sagacious throughout the past decades when Pakistan's provocations turned gullible and impressionable youth on both sides of Kashmir into ticking time bombs. If taking a timely U-turn is the hallmark of great leaders as Pakistan PM says, and we are on the same page with him, has the time come for India and Pakistan to become one nation? Can we do away with the borders and live happily ever after? The answer may not be an easy one but taking a cue from Victor Marie Hugo, a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement can show the way out. He says, 'Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.' Pakistan today is at a juncture from where going alone is not possible; it needs India badly, more than ever.