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Hina Rabbani's face may be new, but her lies are old

In her interactions with the Indian media on Wednesday, Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar chided them for their "dated" rhetoric in the discussion on the problem of terrorism, which has soured relations between the two countries.

Khar’s point was that Pakistan is today the one country in the world that faces the challenge of terrorism “on a daily basis, on an hourly basis” but that the Indian media were not reflecting its predicament, but instead focusing excessively on Pakistan’s sponsorship of terrorism in Indian soil.

She then provocatively referred to the 26/11 attack on Mumbai — in which terrorists from her benighted country, brainwashed by ISI militarists, set sail for India and waged war — as “the Mumbai incident”, and suggested that the trial of its perpetrators in Pakistan was proceeding at a faster pace than the trial in India of the accused in the 2007 bombing of the Samjhauta Express.

Both of Khar's statements project a flawed equivalence between Pakistan and India.

Khar is hostage to Pakistan's self-defeating obsession with India. PTI

It is of course true that Pakistan today faces terrorism "on a daily basis, on an hourly basis". But the difference, Ms Khar, is that these are the poisonous fruits of the jihadi tree that your country’s leaders have themselves planted.

It was your country’s military leaders and their ISI cohorts who spawned terrorist groups ( or “non-state actors”, as you call them) as part of your agenda to engage India in “proxy war” — first in Punjab, then in Kashmir, and then elsewhere in India. And you’re now reaping the grim harvest of that cynical power game.

So while we sympathise with the loss of innocent lives even in Pakistan, please forgive us if we don’t see the Pakistani state as quite the victim in the same way as we see ourselves when you send murderous gangs to wage war in our cities.

You’ve been heralded, in over-the-top media accounts in India, as the new face of Pakistani diplomacy. You’ve taken the high moral ground by claiming that India-Pakistan relations mustn’t be held hostage to the vicissitudes of history.

But the words you speak reek of the same, tired dishonesty that we’ve heard down the ages.

From the dark night on which your country was born, it has nursed — as this son of one of Pakistan’s iconic politicians noted — a venomous obsession with India. India’s very existence as a secular democracy and as a home to millions of Muslims calls the bluff of the Two Nation theory, on which basis Pakistan was founded.

It was your covetous lusting of Kashmir that poisoned your countrymen’s mind and led them into three disastrous wars with India. And when that didn’t work, you bred jihadi serpents and set them loose in our garden.

If you really mean what you say and want to make a new start with India, there’s much that you and your country can do.

For a start, it would help if you called it the “Mumbai terrorist attack organised by Pakistani handlers” — not “the incident”.

Second, you can show earnestness of purpose by addressing the core problem of terrorism that is tearing your country’s soul apart — and inflicting grievous pain when it strikes in our cities. Up until now, all we’ve heard are wholesale denials of culpability, even when they’ve been laid bare for the world to see, and persistent coddling of terrorists.

And if you really want to open a new chapter in relations with India, stop lusting after Kashmir, and let your countrymen’s minds be healed of the jihadi fervour that currently overwhelms them.

Perhaps then we might begin to unburden the baggage of history that weighs our two countries down.

Updated Date: Jul 28, 2011 15:04 PM

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