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Flawed mind-set

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Flawed Mind-Set. You cannot actually find fault with the young Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto for his day-dreaming about Kashmir being...

Problem with Bilawal’s remarks is not their genetic defect but the disappointment that comes along with Pakistanis’ failure to embark on a different path away from this flawed legacy

You cannot actually find fault with the young Pakistan People’s Party leader Bilawal Bhutto for his day-dreaming about Kashmir being like any other state of Pakistan and his aim of getting back – every inch of it. Poor fellow has this genetic defect inherited from his maternal side. Both his Kashmir dream and a mind-set associated with it have been flawed ab initio. Nearly five decades ago, Grandpa Zulifqar Ali Bhutto wanted a 1000-year war, and then two decades later Ma Benazir was all for azadi. Their tragic ends do have a tinge of sorrow for all of us, but then their regimes were as flawed as Bilawal’s Kashmir observation, when dealing with India. Briefly, Pa Zardari had some other ideas and talked peace with India, but he too was snubbed by the khaki bosses.

The problem is that with the PPP down in the dumps, the Bhutto scion has to hit headlines. So a clever script writer got these Kashmir lines in his speech and Bilawal made it to the front pages. So what if the reality is a bit too tough and people all over are mocking him. He is being reminded of the failures of his entire ancestry in their engagements with India. Indeed, the Kashmir obsession is not just an exclusive inheritance for Bilawal. The entire establishment in Pakistan suffers from that malady.

For that matter, the same syndrome was at work when Islamabad’s man in Delhi Abdul Basit was instructed to offer hospitality to the separatist Kashmiri leaders a few weeks ago, when the relations were about to warm up after years of frost in the post 26/11 era and make some meaningful progress through foreign secretary-level talks. It is the same Kashmir itch at work, although wiser minds in the Islamabad establishment than Bilawal’s would have had the fore-knowledge that nothing meaningful would come out of the meetings between Basit and the separatist leaders. But they persisted simply because as they say Pakistan does not find peace with itself without bringing up the K-word in the Indian context. In a way it is their raison d’etre. It helps provide the escape route from all the other domestic issues that have been debilitating their growth as a separate sovereign country. Now Bilawal is seen as the generation next leader, which is largely expected to get over the hangover of the partition and chart a new course that is not haunted by the ghosts of past.

In this context, the problem with Bilawal’s remarks is not their genetic defect but the disappointment that comes along with their failure to embark on a different path away from his flawed legacy. It is through actions like these that clichés such as history repeats itself get a new lease of life. After all, what choice does history have if men repeat the mistakes of their forefathers? So, Bilawal keeps up the flag.

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