Pakistani leader Aitzaz Ahsan says that India needs Pakistan to fly as a economic superpower
Trithesh Nandan | March 29, 2012
“Pakistan will fight, fight for a thousand years. If... India builds the (Atom) bomb... (Pakistan) will eat grass or (leaves), even go hungry, but we (Pakistan) will get one of our own (Atom bomb)… We (Pakistan) have no other choice!”
-- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, foreign minister (later prime minister) of Pakistan, statement issued on October 1965
Forty seven years after Bhutto made the statement, realisation is seeping through Pakistan that it has to reset its priorities.
“We decided to eat grass and have a bomb in response to India’s first Pokhran blast in 1974. We have been eating grass ever since then,” said Aitzaz Ahsan, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Bhutto, a leader of the same party, made the statement in the sixties when relations with India were at an all-time low.
Ahsan made the statement in the context of the many problems that beset Pakistan today because of a staunch anti-India policy.
Pakistan’s problems arose of its kneejerk reaction in the evolution of its nationhood, Ahsan, a senior advocate in the Pakistani supreme court (fighting prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s contempt case), said.
“Nuclear weapons are the most useless weapons. They are only for display,” said the senior leader in New Delhi at a conference on Civil Society Review of Strategic Relations of India and Pakistan.
On the Kashmir question, Ahsan maintained a studied distance. He said, “It is a tricky issue and needs an out of the box solution.”
He also lauded Indian policymakers for steering the country in to the path of progress allowing it to emerge as an economic superpower. However, he added a caveat saying, “India can’t fly without Pakistan. Your industrialists need market. Our country is a gateway for Indian products reaching Central Asia and Europe. India has to walk the extra mile.”
The Pakistani leader faulted the past leaders opf Pakistan for leading it away from the South Asian bloc. “Pakistan doesn’t have an Arab or a West Asian identity. Our future is with South Asia,” he told the gathering.
The senior PPP leader also took on the Islamic extremists in his country saying, “Pakistan was not created as an Islamic state but as a Muslim state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah didn’t create this country for the mullahs.”
He added that the Pakistani government had a zero-tolerance policy for terrorism.
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