Everyone is shocked. “No, he can’t say that,” says a friend. Later gaining her composure, she exclaims, “How can he say such things? He always seemed so non-fundamentalist-type.” This has been the reaction, ranging from utter disbelief to outright rage, on Waqar Younis’ recent statement. The former Pakistani cricketer said in a television interaction that the “best thing” for him was to watch Mohammad Rizwan offer namaz in front of Hindus during the T20 World Cup match against India.
There were others in Pakistan who said far worse things than him. For a Pakistani commentator, the victory was the end of ‘kufr’. And the country’s Interior Minister saw it as the victory of Islam! But none hurt the Indian psyche more than Younis’ bouncer, though equally distasteful was the reaction of a few Indian ‘liberals’ who saw Team India’s humiliation as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Waterloo moment. One such 'liberal lunatic', who happens to be the national media coordinator of the Congress, went to the extent of asking the ‘Bhakts’: “How’s the taste?” She later gave a lame excuse, saying her tweet wasn’t meant for cricket!
Be that as it may, the big question remains: Why are we so outraged by Waqar Younis’ statement? Yes, it’s an atrocious comment, especially coming from one of the finest cricketers of his time. But aren’t we talking about Pakistan which, to use Sir Vidia Naipaul’s term, is “a kind of religious ecstasy, something beyond reason…” It’s fantasy land, where “the fundamental rage” is against its own past, where “history has become a kind of neurosis”. No wonder the land which should have prided itself in being the birthplace of the world’s oldest civilisation — we call it the Saraswati Civilisation; they may in their jingoism retain its Harappa and Mohenjo-daro nomenclatures — officially recognises Mohammad bin Qasim, the Arab invader who attacked Sindh in 712 CE and killed and enslaved the very ancestors of the people who are eulogising him today, as the “first citizen of Pakistan”!
But why go that far back in history to understand that Pakistan is not a normal state? This is a country that was not created out of blood and sacrifice of freedom fighters but by dubious collaboration with the British — and hence the slogan of that era: Hans Ke Liya Hai Pakistan, Lad Kar Lenge Hindustan. It was created in the name of Islam, but its Qaid-e-Azam loved to drink alcohol, eat pork, smoke 50 cigarettes a day, and dress like an English gentleman. In the early 1970s, it was a socialist Prime Minister in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who introduced radical Islam in the country — a trend which gained momentum under Gen Zia-ul-Haq. Then, there was Benazir Bhutto, believed to be one of the most ‘liberal’ Prime Ministers of that country, who presided over the Taliban’s first rise in Afghanistan in the 1990s.
General Pervez Musharraf “did not blanch at whiskey, danced when the mood was upon him”, as Steve Coll describes him in his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Ghost Wars, and yet he believed firmly in the necessity of the Taliban. And today, it has a prime minister who blames “fahashi” (vulgarity) for the rise of rape and sexual violence in that country, but according to his biographer Christopher Sandford, he visited all the famous nightclubs in the UK and Australia, and would love to meet and court women.
Pakistan remains an enigma for the world. Ask the Americans. They know they are being cheated, and still they come back to her (Pakistan) knowing well that she is in love with another man (China). And that she is just after his money! But we Indians should have known Pakistan by now. How much more blood has to be shed by our people and jawans to realise that there’s nothing neighbourly about that country. Pakistan’s existence is based on anti-India-ism. You remove that hatred, and the very rationale of its existence goes away. And the fundamental basis of that hatred is religious. For them, we are Hindus. And Hindus are “treacherous people”.
We are shocked because we still haven’t fully comprehended the true nature of Pakistan. ‘Shatrubodh’ is very important. We first need to realise who our enemy is. Only then will we be able to prepare ourselves better against them. Pakistan doesn’t have any such dilemma. One just needs to read the works of C Christine Fair, one of the best minds in Pakistan who has spent a long time in that country to understand its psyche. In her 2014 book, Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War, she explains how the Pakistan Army—an institution looked up with a lot of admiration and awe in Pakistan—sees itself not just as the protector of Pakistan’s territorial frontiers but also its ideological frontiers.
According to Fair, the Army views its struggle with India in existential terms. “For Pakistan’s men on horseback, not winning, even repeatedly, is not the same thing as losing. But simply giving up and accepting the status quo and India’s supremacy, is, by definition, defeat. As a former Chief of (Pakistan) Army Staff explained to me in 2000, Pakistan’s generals would always prefer to take a calculated risk and be defeated than to do nothing at all,” she says.
This mindset explains Pakistan’s continued support to terrorism in India. This also reveals why that country’s Interior Minister could see Pakistan’s win over India in the T20 World Cup match as the victory of Islam! By that explanation, weren’t its previous 12 losses the defeat for Islam? But Pakistanis don’t — and won’t — see that way. In their fantasy world, being defeated is not defeat. For them, doing nothing against the enemy is defeat! This also explains why India must be prepared for a perpetual state of warfare, overt or covert, with Pakistan. For us, the real problem is the idea of Pakistan.
Former Ambassador Rajiv Dogra shares an interesting anecdote in his book Where Borders Bleed. He quotes one of his friends asking a Pakistani minister what his greatest wish was during his ministerial tenure. “The minister stretched both his hands in front of him, opened his palms facing skywards and said, ‘If God were to grant me a wish I would ask him to place a nuclear bomb each on my palms.’ Then with a satisfied smile, he turned his palms downwards and added, ‘One I would drop on Bombay, the other on Delhi.’”
This is the story of India and Pakistan. What Waqar Younis impulsively said in a TV interaction was nothing but the truth, something Pakistanis would talk about in private conversations. Just like the minister and his wish to nuke Bombay and Delhi. Truth often comes out in an unusual manner. The real shocker is not what Younis said. The real shocker is why we are so shocked about it!