WHAT relationship could there possibly be between Kashmir and Germany — unless one dips into post-World War II history to discern one? Visualise Christmas Eve 1979, with 100, 000 Soviet troops moving into Afghanistan. Leonid Brezhnev is ruling an incredibly vast Eurasian landmass with 10 time zones. Pakistan is panicky. The USSR couldn’t care less as the US-led West rushes to Pakistan’s help. Will Afghanistan become another Soviet socialist republic? Will the Soviet satellites from Bulgaria to Poland ever taste freedom? Will divided Germany ever unite? The answer is obviously no.

Twelve years later, the Soviet Union breaks up into15 pieces. All Soviet ‘republics’ are free; East European satellites, from the Turkish border to the periphery of the Gulf of Finland, are now truly sovereign. The Berlin Wall falls and the city with the Brandenburg Gate landmark is the capital of the fourth Reich.

Let Germany be the role model for Pakistan and let our people see how the German nation, known for — or accused of — warmongering, showed a high degree of quiet determination in the aftermath of World War II to see the day when Germany would be unified without war.

The horizon after May 1945 was bleak. No country was devastated by war the way carpet-bombed Germany was. Three Ds were to be imposed on Germany — de-Nazification, demilitarisation and democratisation. Fine, but if American treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr were to have his way, Germany was also to be de-industrialised. His argument was simple: Germany would again pose a threat to world peace, as it had done after the Treaty of Versailles, unless its ability to make war was crippled.

Pakistan must have Germany as its role model.

The plan would have materialised and Germans would have continued to eke out a living in four zones had not Moscow moved quickly to normalise its part of Germany and have an ‘elected’ government installed. The Western allies reacted by merging the three Western zones into one Federal Republic of Germany, and the country was after all to be rearmed because that was the only way the Soviet juggernaut could be deterred. Moscow was asking Ankara to ‘return’ Kars and Ardahan provinces to the USSR and was pressing Denmark for a naval base. As the Cold War began, Nato — a military alliance from Bosporus to the Arctic Circle — came into being. Under the cover of this cast-iron security guarantee by nuclear-armed America, Germany began rebuilding itself. By the mid-1960s, out of the debris of its cities, Germany rose like a phoenix to become Western Europe’s strongest economy.

In external affairs there was a national consensus on one goal and one non-negotiable policy: the survival of what was not under Soviet occupation and an unconditional alignment of foreign policy with that of its Western allies, especially the US. While there were bound to be differences in the kind of relationship that existed between the victors and the vanquished, successive West German governments showed a remarkable continuity in sticking to Bonn’s total commitment to the US-led West and took no foreign policy or security issues without Washington’s blessings. The Soviet collapse changed all this. As a unified Reich came into being, Germany could breathe in peace, because Russia was no more its neighbour, there being a buffer between the two in the form of Poland, Byelorussia and Ukraine. Now Germany was on its own.

As Yugoslavia creaked, Berlin recognised the independence of Croatia and Slovenia in 1991 and was blamed for hastening Yugo­slavia’s collapse, but Berlin showed a wooden face. How­ever, the real assertion of its independence came in 2003 when chancellor Gerhard Schroeder found a priceless ally in French president Jacques Chirac to oppose the Bush-Blair move to attack Iraq on the basis of doctored intelligence for Israel’s benefit.

The Germans are a proud people with astonishing scientific and cultural achievements to their credit. Yet, in the aftermath of World War II, they bowed to geopolitical reality, shunned political rhetoric for unification and marked their time, till the fruit of a unified Germany fell into their lap without war.

Pakistan must have Germany as its role model. As a citizen of this globe I have no doubt Indian tyranny in held Kashmir will come to an end and the valley will be free and be part of Pakistan one day, but, while pursuing this sacred aim, we Pakistanis must realise harsh realities, including Arab governments’ indifference to the Kashmiri people’s enslavement. While keeping our gunpowder dry, our goal should be to make Pakistan a developed country armed with the sinews of science and technology, wipe out poverty and create an egalitarian and democratic society that can effectively advance our cause. Empty rhetoric without elements of national power invites ridicule. Finally, let us get one reality sound and clear: nothing is more important than Pakistan itself.

The writers is Dawn’s readers’ editor and an author.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2020



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