Centre for Pakistan Studies proposed at PU

October 27, 2010

The Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. R.C. Sobti said
here today that he would look into the proposal for setting up a centre for systematic
study of relations with Pakistan and take up the proposal to the Syndicate.  The
department of Urdu of the University could be developed into the centre for “Pakistan
Studies” with a view to improve bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.
    Professor Sobti said this replying to the proposal by some participants on the
occasion of Distinguished Lecture on “Indo-Pak Dialogue: Track II Diplomacy” organized
by the University in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs as part of
the lecture series on India’s foreign policy.  The proposal came from Prof. B.S. Brar
of political science and former Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Prof. M.M. Puri.
    The eminent speaker on the occasion Mr G. Parthasarthy, a former high
commissioner of India to Pakistan was honoured by Prof. Sobti by appointing him
Visiting Professor of the University and presenting him a portrait of Golden Temple
and a shawl.
Sharing his diplomatic experiences Mr G. Parthasarthy spoke on the political journey,
the two neighbouring countries have taken since their independence. Indian political
journey has been marked by setting up a pluralistic, secular polity that has paved the
way for a larger national identity. Pakistan in contrast has failed to achieve nation
building. Democracy has suffered in Pakistan due to absence of political leadership
with nationwide support, two competing schools of Islam, and continued role of three
M’s - Madrasa, Maulvi and Military. There is no longer any syncretic culture
represented by Sufism or Bareilvi sect of Islam in Pakistan where Islam is undergoing
a churning process. Under the influence of Wahabi sect of Islam, minority Shia and
Mohajir communities remain outside the mainstream Pak polity even now.
Establishment is represented by the “feudal families” acting at the behest of Army  
always attempting to exploit the “fault lines” within Indian democratic state. Raising
the bogey of “external threat”, military always seeks to legitimise its domination.
The encouragement by China and also the urge to seek ‘parity’ with India in a dubious
manner also motivates the Pak establishment to pursue anti-India tirade and also
indulge in the promotion of ISI backed terrorism.
Referring to the widely reported ‘back channel diplomatic negotiations’ between the
Manmohan Singh and General Pervez Musharraf in 2007, Parthasarthy said that Musharraf
had proposed that the J&K should be divided into seven regions and there should be a
process of ‘de-militarisation’ in identified regions…i.e. Srinagar, Kupwara and
Baramulla.  There should also be self-governance in J&K and borders just to remain
lines on map.  However, the opportunity was lost to secure lasting peace between the
two neighbours since Musharraf soon landed in trouble due to his confrontation with
judiciary and also because the UPA government had faltered in not taking
people/parliament in to confidence.
He said - the ISI backed bombing of Indian embassy in Kabul and the terrorist attack
on Mumbai has made it difficult to proceed on Indo-Pak relations. In this context
track 2 diplomacy has acquired much relevance so that people in Pakistan do not fall
victims to the false propaganda perpetrated by the ruling establishment in India. The
need of the hour is to relax the visa procedure and open the trade routes between the
two countries.
Recalling what Chanakya said in the second BC, Ambassador Parthasarthy said that India
should engage its neighbour’s neighbours also.  So India ‘look east policy’ as well as
its engagement with Afghanistan and other central Asian and South western countries
like Iran is also very important providing a cushion to fall back. India with its twin
success as the practicing democracy and second fastest growing economy in the world
needs to go all out to engage not only its south Asian neighbours or the USA led
western countries but also the east Asian countries. The twenty first century, he
said, is ‘Asian century’.
Mr Parthasarthy was formally thanked by Prof Sobti.  Prof Sobti informed the gathering
comprising of teachers and the students of different departments that G Parthasarthy
had in principle accepted the offer of Visiting Professorship to Panjab University.
The two former Vice-Chancellors of Panjab University, Prof R P Bambah and Prof M.M.
Puri also attended the lecture.

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