WASHINGTON: Pakistan's foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar went on a strident diplomatic offensive in the US on Tuesday, accusing India of "war-mongering" and embarking on a "narrative of hostility," while presenting her country as a paragon of peace and amity in the context of border tensions between the two countries.
"I thought war-mongering was a thing of yesteryears and we had put it behind us," the foreign minister of a country that is recognized as having initiated three wars against India said at an Asia Society talk, artfully glossing over her country's well-chronicled record of hostilities towards India to change the status-quo. Pakistan, she said, was "deeply disappointed" with statements coming from the highest levels of the Indian government, but it would not give up on its "deep abiding commitment to pursue peace with India."
"I am happy we are not responding in kind either by word or by action," Khar added, speaking of the reaction (or non-reaction) in Pakistan, where national attention is focused on the shadow war between the feeble civilian government, an assertive judiciary, and the domestically powerful military. "We should not close the door. The dialogue should be uninterrupted and uninterruptible. That is what mature countries do."
Khar was ostensibly responding to the familiar story-line in a New York Times article that cited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accusing Pakistan of restarting hostilities in Kashmir and amid reports of New Delhi once again considering downgrading ties. Singh is widely praised in the US for pursuing a risky peace agenda with Pakistan despite what even American interlocutors say is the country's unremitting use of terrorism as a state policy.
While her talk -- and her earlier interview on the Charlie Rose show -- was mainly centered on the domestic turmoil in Pakistan, Khar used the platforms to glibly portray Pakistan's civilian government as being committed to peace with India, although the country is widely seen to be run by its jihadist military, whose chief has articulated ceaseless hostility toward India, insisting he sees it as Pakistan's principle enemy.
But Khar relentlessly beat the peace drum before a mainly western audience in New York City, insisting Pakistan was the one pressing for amity and it was India that was upping the ante. "We don't take political mileage through hostile narrative," she said, suggesting that the border spat had become fodder for domestic politics in India. "The doors to dialogue should remain open rather us speaking through public and the media."
While platitudes flowed thick and fast from the foreign minister of a country accused of sponsoring terrorism against its neighbors, she also brushed aside charges relating to the beheading of an Indian soldier, saying Pakistan had "looked intensely" and "found no evidence of an incident like this."
"There is no question of anyone ever authorizing any beheading. It goes against our commitment to the peace process," she said. Besides, she added, there were mechanisms and processes to look into such charges. Khar also skirted a question about whether the alleged beheading indicated the Pakistani military had been infiltrated by Taliban and al-Qaida elements for whom beheading so-called infidels and "kaffirs" is a trademark.
Between the homilies, there was some disingenuous dissembling about the actions Pakistan had supposedly taken "at great political risk" to normalize trade, although the ground reality is that Islamabad has again reneged on a signed commitment on this matter. Instead, Khar accused India of going back on recent visa agreements.
Some of the mendacity was called out by the audience during searching questions about the Pakistani military establishment's ties to Osama bin Laden and the Haqqani terrorist group. Backed into a corner by a question about her army chief Pervez Ashfaq Kayani describing the Haqqani group as a "strategic asset," Khar bailed out of it by saying, "that is not his view now." And even though Pakistan has done little to rewrite the national curriculum of hate that sees anyone other than Muslims (and lately only Sunnis) as "infidels" and "kafirs" leading to large scale murder of minorities, Khar insisted on presenting Pakistan as epitome of moderation.
When questions finally turned to the ongoing domestic turmoil in Pakistan, she dismissed the cleric Tahir-ul Qadri as a trouble maker who was making "preposterous demands" for which he could be arrested. When asked about corruption in Pakistan, her response was to point out there was corruption in all countries, particularly in India where there had been many scams.
Source : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pak-FM-Hina-Rabbani-Khar-says-India-is-war-mongering-maintains-no-beheading-took-place/articleshow/18042994.cms