India-Pakistan Tensions Rise Over Execution

The execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru in India last month, is threatening to stall recent progress made in relations between India and Pakistan.

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Sabtu, 30 Mar 2013 22:38 WIB

Author

Bismillah Geelani

India-Pakistan Tensions Rise Over Execution

India Pakistan relationship, Bismillah Geelani, Mohammad Afzal Guru

Speaker of India's lower house of parliament Meera Kumar reads out the resolution Indian lawmakers unanimously adopted against Pakistan.

“The House rejects interference in the internal affairs of India and calls upon the National Assembly of Pakistan to desist from such acts of support for extremist and terrorist elements. The House reiterates that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir including the territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan is and shall always be an integral part of India. Any attempt from any quarter to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely and with complete unity of our nation.”

The resolution is India’s answer to the resolution passed by Pakistan’s National Assembly, condemning the execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru. Guru was convicted for his alleged role in the 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament. And it turns out that the execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru in India last month, is threatening to stall recent progress made in relations between India and Pakistan.

Last week, Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a resolution condemning Guru’s hanging and demanding that Guru’s body be handed over to his family. It also expressed concern over the current situation in Kashmir and urged India to withdraw its troops from the region.

Pakistan’s former Defence Secretary, Talat Masood, defends the move.

“The point is that Pakistan has an interest in Kashmir, Pakistan is interested in the resistance movement and Kashmir is still a disputed issue irrespective of whether India is  prepared to accept it or not," he says.

"The fact is that Pakistani politicians have to respond and resonate the feelings of Kashmiris in Pakistan and also the Pakistanis who have affiliations with Kashmir.”

In Kashmir, protests against Guru’s secret execution still continue. Protesters are demanding that his remains are returned for burial in his homeland - a demand supported by the state government and opposition party.

But the intervention from Pakistan has evoked strong reactions in India. India has called off a hockey series with Pakistan that was scheduled for next month. And the opposition wants tougher measures, including suspension of dialogue, bilateral trade and cultural exchanges.

Leader of the opposition in the upper house of Parliament Arun Jaitley says that India should rediscuss the country's foreign policy with Pakistan.

"If India can be kicked around in this manner internationally then there is something seriously wrong in the manner in which we have been managing our external affairs. I think we should seriously forget discussing any serious issue with them through a structured dialogue. Pakistan does not deserve this.”

Some defence analysts are even talking about a military response. One of the supporters for the idea is Bharat Verma, editor of the Indian Defence Review.

"In order to resolve the problem we will have to do something concrete on the ground and unless we inject military muscle into our diplomacy we are not going to see any change in Pakistan’s behaviour. It is also necessary because  Western forces are now withdrawing from the region and that will leave the Jihadis without any jobs. And if they remain in Pakistan the country will explode. So the Pakistan army is interested in sending them into India and all this is in fact a preparation for that.”

But many feel that friendship and dialogue are the only way to move forward, like former Indian Ambassador to Pakistan, Manishankar Aiyer.

“We made so much progress on the trade front, on the people to people contact front, on the cultural front and now we are throwing it all away. I don’t think that is in our interest. Why should we have gone so far ahead on the trade front if it was not in our interest? There are huge dividends to be gained by India by normalizing trade relations with them.”

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