Islamabad is fully responsible for the rising heat in India-Pakistan ties.
It has brazenly sought to stoke the current unrest in Kashmir, disregarding the repercussions on relations with India.
Nawaz Sharif, supposedly committed to betterment of bilateral ties, has led in attacking India for using "excessive force" in the Valley.
He declared the slain terrorist Burhan Wani a martyr, called for observing July 19 as martyrdom day in his honour and for celebrating Pakistan's Independence Day as Kashmir Freedom Day.
Pakistan asked the International Human Rights Commission to investigate India's atrocities in Kashmir and Pakistani ambassadors were instructed to launch an international campaign against India on this count.
Hafiz Saeed, a UN-designated international terrorist, was allowed to lead a protest march in Islamabad on August 4 against the visiting Indian home minister.
Sharif has been provocative on Kashmir on several earlier occasions. He has harshly attacked India at the UN General Assembly, repeatedly called Kashmir Pakistan's jugular vein, advocated self-determination for Kashmir in accordance with UN resolutions and so on.
This has, however, not deterred Modi from spending his political capital in engaging him and keeping the dialogue channels open. He has overseen Pakistani abetted terrorist attacks in Punjab and Jammu.
|Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. (AP)|
New Delhi has shown some understanding of Sharif's political compulsions in being strident on Kashmir periodically in order to cover his flanks vis-à-vis the armed forces and religious groups.
His verbal onslaughts have been tolerated in the belief that strengthening the civilian democratically elected leadership against the armed forces served India's longer term interest.
This time, however, Sharif has gone beyond managing domestic political pressures.
At one time he seemed ready to give greater priority to the terrorism issue in order to facilitate a dialogue, but even when India awaits a satisfactory answer on the Mumbai attacks and Pakistan's about-turn on the Pathankot attacks has caused further frustration, Sharif has openly lionised terrorism in Kashmir, worsening the differences on this sensitive issue.
Modi had reached out to him personally in an effort to build some equation that could facilitate the management of a fundamentally antagonistic relationship, but with Sharif wilfully adding fuel to the fire in Kashmir, Modi will have to play his diplomatic cards with him differently now, with less room for personal gestures.
Pakistan has continued its diplomatic belligerency by plying our ambassador in Islamabad with provocative and propagandist notes calling for self-determination for Kashmiris, demanding an end to human rights violations there, seeking authorisation to send humanitarian assistance to the Valley including medicines and a team of doctors to treat eye injuries and so on.
To needle us further, it has invited the Indian foreign secretary to visit Islamabad to discuss the Kashmir issue. India has retorted by declaring that Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir, that it must cease interference in India's internal affairs, that Kashmir is an integral part of India and that the only issue to be discussed is vacation by Pakistan of J&K territory under its illegal occupation.
We have asked Pakistan to stop exporting terrorism, end infiltration, arrest UN declared international terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and give a status report on progress in the investigation of the Mumbai and Pathankot terror attacks. In our view terrorism alone has to be the focus of any FS-level talks.
With these hardened positions the prospects of any resumption of dialogue, already dim, have receded further.
Modi has expressed his frustration with Pakistan by turning the tables on it on humanitarian issues by drawing attention to human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (a better terminology as it automatically includes Gilgit/Baltistan) and in Balochistan. Pakistan's accusation that India is interfering in Pakistan's internal affairs by speaking of Balochistan is altogether phoney as it has interfered in India's internal affairs, even outside J&K, for decades.
It has interfered in Punjab during a critical period and has flayed India internationally on the Babri Masjid and the Gujarat riots issues.
It has abetted terrorism in various Indian states, with the 2008 Mumbai attack being particularly heinous.
These are the many other redlines that Pakistan has crossed in its relations with India, such as its attempted territorial grab in Kargil in 1999 and official threats to use nuclear weapons against India.
For Pakistan to characterise Modi's mention of the human rights situation in Balochistan as crossing of redlines is truly ridiculous.
That Modi's remarks on Balochistan should be criticised domestically by some opposition and media circles is unfortunate.
It is incomprehensible why India should be reproached for discarding the Panchsheel doctrine in its relations with Pakistan when, besides the fact that this doctrine pertains to India-China relations, Pakistan has not observed its principles for the last 70 years.
How India loses its moral high ground if it raises human rights issues in Balochistan is hard to fathom.
According to this reasoning, the US should be at the bottom of the moral ladder as it pronounces on human rights violations everywhere.
Those in India (echoing Pakistan) who are criticising Modi for diverting attention from the situation in the Valley by raising Balochistan, obviously do not believe that Pakistan has been diverting attention from its grave domestic problems by incessantly agitating the Kashmir issue and offering internal jihadi groups an external target for paradise-seeking quests.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)