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General Bajwa’s olive branch in India: a truce or a retirement plan ?, South Asia News




Most Pakistani generals spend their careers making fun of India. They are always on the ear of their prime minister, feeding them all kinds of anti-India propaganda. This is one of the reasons the relationship is so difficult.

The civilian leaders take a step forward and the army pulls them back two steps. However, looking at history, we noticed a trend among these generals. When they see retreat on the horizon, they suddenly become wise and rational, with no more warriors or saber rattles.

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In 1956, General Ayub Khan sent his minister for the feast of the Republic of India and in 1986, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq visited India, invited by former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi. Then we have Pervez Musharraf who was keen to have closer ties with India in the public eye.

India and Pakistan have held 114 bilateral talks since independence and 52 of them took place between 2003 and 2007 under the leadership of Pervez Musharraf.

The trend suggests that Pakistani generals come to power promising fire and fury against India, but closer to retirement they want them remembered as statesmen and those who tried to forge peace.

Read also | Saudi Arabia announces more than 100 projects for cash-strapped Pakistan during Imran Khan visit

We are seeing it happening again. The current army chief, General Bajwa, has 18 months in office and he is already thinking about his legacy.

In Pakistan, a general’s legacy is not just about the battlefield. It is linked to the economy, domestic politics and even geopolitics.

Usually countries have civilian leaders looking after them, but Pakistan does not.

During Bajwa’s tenure, the Pakistani economy took a beating. They called for several bailouts from the IMF. Foreign exchange reserves are quickly running out and the country is left with just $ 13 billion.

On top of that, the army has had to go through budget cuts and General Bajwa cannot do anything.

The FATF list is yet another obscurity that covers the country. Pakistan has been on the gray list for three years now and no progress has been made.

It is a similar scenario in geopolitics. Allies like Saudi Arabia choose India over Pakistan. In Afghanistan, the world community has only one message for them: please stay away and let Afghanistan prosper.

In the end, Pakistan only has China as an ally, but it won’t be long before the Chinese loan matures.

General Bajwa therefore tries to make a point on India by speaking of peace. Bajwa, in March, urged countries to bury the past and move forward.

The Eid festival has come as the perfect excuse for Bajwa. While offering prayers, he commented on Kashmir, saying: “It is time to end this human tragedy”.

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