Pakistan won’t accept any talks without Kashmir: Mushahid Hussain
Chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Defence, Mushahid Hussain Syed says if India-Pakistan relation is the Shakespearean drama Hamlet, Kashmir is the Prince of Denmark.“You can’t have a Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark,” Syed told a 12-member journalist delegation from Kashmir. “Similarly, India and Pakistan can’t have peace and normalization of relations without resolving Kashmir.”
Syed said there was a consensus in the country that Pakistan should engage with India by playing cricket, carrying commerce and indulging in cultural exchanges but the core issue remained Kashmir.
“No government in Pakistan can survive by compromising on Kashmir,” he said. “It is not an issue about the government or the Army, it is an issue about the State of Pakistan.”
Syed, who came to limelight in 1997 after he was appointed as the Minister of Information and Mass-media Broadcasting and subsequently announced successful nuclear tests, said without resolving Kashmir, there cannot be any peace, security and stability in the region.
Syed, who was arrested in 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf, who staged a 1999 coup d’état against the then government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no Pakistan policy.
“He seems confused on Kashmir,” he said. “There are two sides of Modi, the dark side of what he did in Gujarat and never apologized for that massacre and the other side of talking about economic development, ITs, Ahmedabad development.”
Syed said corporate India had given him that image to generate the crowd and Islamabad thought that he would continue with that image but had found out that the core of that policy was still anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam.
“In our country after 1990, there is no India bashing although we indulge in US bashing,” he said. “Modi brought as National Security Adviser someone like Ajit Doval, who actively tries to destabilize Pakistan.”
Syed said New Delhi was still confused on how to deal with Islamabad.
“Modi invited Mian sahab. Then, he cancelled talks. Then, he greeted him ‘Ramadhan Mubarak’. Then he called for resuming talks. Then he called for a meeting at Ufa. Then India did not stay on the meeting agenda. Then, they started arresting Kashmiri leaders,” he said. “Modi is a bad news for the region, bad news for India. Modi won’t be the transformative leader of India. The world today wants inclusive leadership. He has an exclusive policy. You cannot be against Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians. He comes with the 30 to 40-year-old thinking of the RSS.”
Syed, who after his release in 2000 defected to splinter group of Pakistan Muslim League where he was appointed as general-secretary, said Islamabad had decided to wait about the India-Pakistan dialogue.
“We will not be dictated. We will not have any preconditions. We will not accept any talks without Kashmir. We can wait but India will lose out,” he said.
Syed, who is also the Chairman of an Islamabad-based Pakistan China Institute, said China-Pakistan economic corridor is going to be a big game changer in the region.
“China has taken a strategic decision to build ties through the erstwhile Silk Route. Its flagship project is the China-Pakistan economic corridor, which is for 15 years from 2015 to 2030 and it is a 46 billion dollar project,” he said. “Chinese President Xi Jinping has a vision of one belt and one road and the Silk Route and the Maritime Silk Route meeting point is in Pakistan.”
Syed, who secured the nomination for the office of President of Pakistan but conceded his defeat in favour of Asif Ali Zardari in 2008, said India had not joined in yet but it was going to be a trend of the future.
“The economic power of China is such that it proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which the US opposed but United Kingdom, France, and Germany joined,” he said. “We were founding members.”