Why Pervez Musharraf’s views on India and Narendra Modi are wrong
When elections are around the corner in Pakistan, how can its former military dictator Pervez Musharraf be not visible? The 74-year-old former president of Pakistan, whose era got over a decade ago, recently said in an interview with Voice of America that the US treated Pakistan when it suited the former and ditched it when it did not.
Saying the relation between the US and Pakistan has touched "the lowest ebb", Musharraf added that it was very important for Pakistan to sit with the US and resolve the differences. He said the tiff that the two countries are facing also includes Afghanistan, Pakistan's western neighbour with which it doesn't share a great relation.
Explaining why relations between the US and Pakistan were strained, the former Pakistani president said Washington supported India "very openly" from the Cold War era and aligned itself with India against Pakistan again the current times, affecting Pakistan directly. He said Pakistan would like to see the UN examining India's role in Afghanistan, adding that a one-sided approach to the problem would be negative.
Musharraf said despite both India and Pakistan possessing nuclear arms, it is the former who is treated with more favour
"Nobody asks India to control their assets. Pakistan became a nuclear state because India posed an undeniable existential threat," he said in the interview, adding that the US should have stopped India and rued that it did not do so despite Pakistan remaining loyal to the Americans throughout.
He also said it was during his tenure that India and Pakistan were on way towards reconciliation but it is not the same anymore.
Musharraf praised former Indian prime ministers Atal Behari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh saying they wanted to move forward from the disputes even if they came from two different parties. He said both the countries were working as per his four-point strategy for peace but alleged that India now wanted to "undo" Pakistan and opined that current Indian PM Narendra Modi aimed to enforce supremacy in India and isn't one who advocates peace talks.
Each of Musharraf's viewpoints is wrong
The problem with Musharraf is that he remembers history selectively. No other Indian PM other than Modi did the commendable job of inviting the heads of government of the neighbouring states, including arch-rivals Pakistan, to his or her oath-taking ceremony to promote a pro-peace image.
Modi met former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif at his oath-taking ceremony exactly four years ago on May 26. He also made a surprise visit to Lahore to meet Sharif in December 2015.
But things turned for the worse after the terror attack at the Pathankot air base in early 2016 and then the horrific attack on Indian soldiers in Uri in September the same year. Sharif's position in Pakistan politics only deteriorated till he was ousted in July 2017 and it left for very little chance for India to take forward the peace process as the power vacuum persisted.
Musharraf was the man who had spoilt Vajpayee's peace initiative with Pakistan in early 1999 by masterminding the Kargil conflict the same year. Neither he could see the much-hyped Agra summit with Vajpayee in 2001 achieve success while his four-point Kashmir solution was trashed by his own country where he now stands a forgotten figure.
Also, Musharraf's thinking that India is favoured while Pakistan is not is wrong for a country's worth is determined by the international community by its economic merit and not nuclear weapons. Pakistan today stands no chance as an economic entity vis-à-vis India.
It is not bias but a logical conclusion that India enjoys a better image worldwide than Pakistan which is mostly perceived as a failed state.
Musharraf's opinion that the US always used Pakistan for its own convenience also offers little substance because Islamabad always enjoyed the Americans' grant until things got serious after the 9/11 attacks.
However, Musharraf's viewpoints are more about making himself relevant in Pakistan's politics ahead of a national election than making an assessment of the reality.