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A biased verdict

For years now Pakistan-bashing has become a favourite pastime with Indian government. That Indian higher judiciary too would join is disconcerting; but it was expected as forces behind Hindu revivalism gain strength. A case in point is the Indian Supreme Court's judgement which implicates Pakistan's intelligence services in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. Of course, Pakistan's Foreign Office has rejected the Indian apex court's unwarranted insinuations, reiterating Pakistan's standing offer to be ever ready to offer co-operation in fighting terrorism.

"We remain committed in our resolve to fighting terrorism and engaging with India in a constructive, sustained and result-oriented dialogue process", says the FO spokesman. Will Indian government seek such blanket co-operation offered by Pakistan? There is not much on record to say yes. Public statements apart when it comes to practical steps New Delhi is always selective - the Samjhota train case being the example. To some the Indian superior judiciary may be the fairest, but seen from the Pakistani perspective it has yet to earn that unqualified distinction. Be it the carnage of Babri Masjid, Gujarat riots or Samjhota train bombing the track record suggests the complainants never received full justice. Isn't it strange that in the last many years the only two Indians whose death sentence was carried out were Muslims? If anywhere in India law-enforcement by the Indian forces was brutal in real terms it is in the Occupied Kashmir where a regime of barbaric rules remain in force - otherwise, in the words of a top-slot Indian military commander, how would you defend his soldiers against charges of arson, rape and murder.

No wonder then that the half-Muslim by birth film actor Sanjay Dutt has not been able to win acquittal. The court has ordered him that he should go back to jail and complete his sentence given by the high court in the Mumbai blasts case. Not that he preaches Islam, responds to prayer calls from a nearby mosque and embraces Islamic fundamentalism. His only fault happens to be his birth to a Muslim woman, the late Nargis, a film actress. And that 'stigma' refuses to fade out, though he has tried hard over all these years. He even tried to appease Hindu extremists by putting up an appearance, in company of his father actor Sunil Dutt, at the court of the late Bal Thackeray, the then chief of virulent anti-Muslim outfit named Shiv Sena. He even withdrew his candidature for election to parliament to help Shiv Sena win. And he is not the only artiste to suffer because of being Muslim lineage, full or half as he is. Sometime back Shahrukh Khan had to turn to a newspaper to cry out his heart against Hindutva-inspired discrimination. Even liberal and secular-minded intellectuals as Hamid Akhtar fail to find suitable accommodation in a Hindu-populated area in a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai. What else could be the case to see that some seven decades on the Two-Nation theory lives on?

Being a huge mass of population India is a billion-strong multi-racial and multi-lingual society. There are also strong communal divisions that only tend to get stronger under the stresses of deprivation of injustices. No wonder at any given time there are dozens of regional insurgencies, widespread communal violence and manifest disharmony even at the level of rich and educated. But to find causes of all the chaos and anarchy in neighbouring Pakistan is too naïve a policy. Why should anybody expect the Indian Muslims to keep quiet when thousands of their near ones and dear ones are burnt to death on the streets of Gujarat? Why not to believe that the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai were the tit-for-tat response by the victims of pogrom a year before in the same city. While an accusation of fomenting trouble in India from across the border can be expected of the Indian politicians one is disappointed to find Indian higher judiciary following the suit. Being the victim of terrorism, a large part of which is rooted in extremism and bigotry, Pakistan would be the last country to use this weapon against India or any other country. The diplomatic channels are available to both India and Pakistan, which should be used if some problem arises - an option which greatly helped defuse the recent burst of tension on the Line of Control in Kashmir.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2013


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