Kudos to Pak PM Imran For Unconditional Release of Abhinandan
Tejinder Singh Bedi
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan deserves all praise for his announcement that his government had decided to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman in its captivity unconditionally by tomorrow. One hopes the IAF officer is in good health and even the 24-hour delay in his return to India is only for the paperwork involved to effect the same and no other compulsions.
The decision definitely reflects Imran Khan’s maturity both as a political leader as well as; as the intrinsic sportsman’s spirit still alive in his heart, a trait he can effectively put to further use to improving ties with India.
India too needs to welcome this move whole-heartedly without any reservations and move forward with all positivity to de-escalate the rising tensions for a full-fledged war on both the sides when most of the common people wanting peace all over by now are crystal clear that India has neither anything against Pakistan nor anything personal against its present Prime Minister but only committed to elimination of the terrorist groups and their training camps across its borders, which unfortunately the Pakistan government has not been able to burst so far because of some of its internal pressures and until now, its inability to take complete control of all of such negative forces within its cadres.
At the same time, if one were to blindly believe that the Pak Prime Minister is not at all in a position to make any independent political or diplomatic moves for the Army’s perceived control or pressures on its style of functioning, the decision announcing the release of the decorated Indian Air Force officer must compel some to think otherwise for a change. Although it is unfortunate that most of the times both the nations often quickly jump to dismiss even the most positive intentions of either side to improve ties between the two countries, most of Imran Khan’s announcements in the recent past, ever since he has taken over as Pak’s PM have been projecting his government’s positive intentions only. These need to be given some time and the outcomes watched with all the care and caution, while not letting the nation’s resolve to keep fighting for the eradication of terrorism from within and across the borders endangering our sovereignty and security.
One also hopes the current mood of the international community to support India for the same should also grant the much-needed strength to the Pakistan Government too to now openly stand by this collective global call.
Despite whatever serious actions like first the withdrawal of the MFN Status to Pakistan and next the decision to enforce stoppage of our about 5 percent of unutilized water resources overflowing to Pakistan’s territories, restrictions on imports from the neighboring country by steeply hiking the import duty to up to 200 percent on some items culminating with the thunderous aerial strikes 70 to 80 kilometers inside Pak’s territories decimating a huge terrorist -training camp cum 5 Star residential facility at Balakot, one thing is sure that not even one of the forty unsuspecting CRPF soldiers lost in the unfortunate Pulwana attack are going to come back to their families. The only change is that uprise in the national anger against the huge losses at Pulwana has got subdued to some extent. Needless to highlight that any build up for a full-fledged war between both the countries would not only have immensely affected the economic condition of both the countries but would have further exposed large numbers of their officers and soldiers only to loss of their lives though large numbers of civilians too may have had to bear the brunt of both the ground and aerial attacks. The unconditional release of the IAF officer, himself son of another IAF veteran is sure to ease the boiling temperaments on both the sides and good sense prevailing Pakistan may well once again get back to the business of normalizing its relations with India in the coming months.
Both the Pak’s Army and its government would do well to understand that a complete recovery of India’s soul that has been pierced by the Pulwama misadventure will take many years and any further acts of terrorism by any of the Pakistan based terrorist outfits can open the wounds immediately and the nation may no longer be able to take it at all without severe retaliation in future too.
Without giving due weightage to the usual outbursts of political parties to run down each other, very largely a complete unity exhibited by all political parties to support the government for any of its strong actions to meet or diffuse the situation too deserves appreciation. Congress party president Rahul Gandhi representing the oldest and the largest other-party in the country was perhaps the first to initiate this solidarity with the others resonating the same sentiments even before an all-party meeting could be summoned galvanize this approach through a formal resolution. And this collectively shared vision of all political outfits rising up in unison eventually hastened offers from almost an entire international community to support us in our right to self-defense and for our efforts to eliminate terrorism from its roots, it was finally our Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political acumen and will, allowing a completely free hand to our forces to decide its best retaliatory strategy and its timing for execution that has triggered the reversal of the ongoing confrontation to conciliation once again, as now visible from Pakistan’s latest overtures.