Khan, Sidhu, Vajpayee, and India Pakistan relations

Sidhu-Khan

Navjot Singh Sidhu has a visa to attend Imran Khan’s swearing in ceremony. Why can’t visas be easy for everyone? Image courtesy: CatchNews

August 17 this year marks 30 years since the mid-air explosion that killed the military dictator General Ziaul Haq in 1988. This year, Zia’s death anniversary ironically took a back seat to the election of the country’s new prime minister. Today, the 342-seat National Assembly voted on the prime minister, who of course was Imran Khan. His speech and that of Shahbaz Sharif were sadly marred by sloganeering in the gallery from their opponents. Everyone listened attentively to Bilawal Bhutto’s maiden speech in parliament – well spoken, reminded the speaker and prime minister-elect of their responsibilities and paid tribute to those who have given their lives for democracy. Very much hope both PTI and PML-N observe more decorum in coming sessions. Also worth listening to: Mohsin Dawar’s maiden speech, courageously calling for accountability beyond politicians and parliament. Tomorrow, Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony will be attended, among others, by Indian Punjab minister for culture and tourism, Navjot Singh Sidhu, himself a former cricketer. That, and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s passing away yesterday are sharp reminders of the urgent need for peace between the two countries. I wrote about Vajpayee and his significance in terms of this issue for the India Today Group Digital, published in Daily O today (text below).  Whatever his flaws and political moorings, when it came to building peace in the region, Vajpayee showed the kind of moral courage and political will that today’s leaders would do well to learn from.

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CONVERSATIONS-3: Let’s introspect

Printed in the aman ki asha page of Political Economy, The News on Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dilip D’Souza and Beena Sarwar continue their email exchange, attempting to share thoughts honestly, without fear and hostility, seeking ways to bridge the gulf between Pakistan and India

Mar 2 2010

Dear Beena,

Since we’ve started on this path of exploring the anti-the-other-country feelings, let’s take it a little further and see where it goes.

First, you draw a distinction between the (sometimes) elected Pakistani governments and what you call the “establishment” – the army/bureaucracy nexus, if you will. Nawaz Sharif was, you tell us, pro-India, but this establishment undermined his government’s efforts in that direction. Continue reading

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