Pakistanis watch Emirati troop march in India with disbelief

Pakistanis watch Emirati troop march in India with disbelief

Islamabad | 26-01-2017

Atta Rasool Malik

There was a time when Arab soldiers, under the heroic command of 17 years old Muslim General, Muhammad Bin Qasim marched on India and soon defeated the arrogant Hindu Raja Dahir whose men had ill-treated few Muslim women. In the year 712 AD, thereafter, there was literally no turning back for the expansion of Islam in the sub-continent. With this victory, all of Sindh came under the control of the Muslims. It continued with successive waves of Muslim armies moving forward into India and leaders such as Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Tughluq expanded the Muslims’ hold. Sindh is the land around the Indus River in the southwestern part of the subcontinent, in present-day Pakistan.

Unlike Muhammad Bin Qasim, soldiers of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be marching to the tune of Narendra Modi on republic Day of India in Delhi, tomorrow, on Thursday 26 Jan 2017. Brigadier Obaid Al Zahumi, UAE contingent commander will be in step with Indians soldiers along with his contingent comprising 195 UAE soldiers; 15 officers and 180 Other Ranks including band members in the Indians freedom parade.

The Times of India reports that for the first time Arab soldiers will be marching in New Delhi. UAE contingent will match to the music and rhythm of India's numerous military bands that put up a spectacular show on that day. The crown prince will be the chief guest at the 68th Indian Republic Day celebrations. The newspaper further adds that Sheikh Mohammed's visit will be an opportunity for India and the UAE, who have grown closer in the past few years, to upgrade their bilateral relationship to a "strategic partnership".

The Indian Army will showcase its T-90 and BMP tanks, Tejas and Sukhoi fighters, Brahmos missiles, Dhanush gun system along with Weapon Locating Radars (WLR) Swati at the R-Day parade to impress Pakistan and China.

Many Pakistanis are surprised that the crown prince Sheikh Muhammad, the chief guest of Indian parade, is the grandson of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan who was a great friend of Pakistan. People in Pakistan even today have very vivid and loving memories of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan. He was a great friend of Pakistan, always available to Pakistanis in every moment of happiness and grief.  In Pakistan, many of his welfare projects stand as symbols of his generosity, concern and attachment with people of this land. People take his name with great respect despite malign Indian propaganda against sheikh that he was fond of “colorful” parties. People of Pakistan very well knew that Indians have been maligning him due to his immense liking of Pakistan.

Telegraph, an eminent UK newspaper in 2004, reported on the death of sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Alnahyan in following words:

“Pious and disciplinarian, Sheikh Zayed's secret was that he never forgot his desert origins, his Islamic faith or his youthful passion for traditional sports and conservation. His foreign policy paid attention to the plight of the Palestinians and also supported developing nations - especially Pakistan, where Sheikh Zayed often felt at home.”

Khalid S. Almezaini, in his book “The UAE and foreign policy: foreign aid, identities and interests. Rutledge: 2012,  highlights that Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Alnahyan considered all Muslims countries particularly Pakistan as part of greater Middle East, connected through the love of same religion, Islam.

It is an irony that many Arab Sheikhs, like sheikh Muhammad of UAE, at the height of their fame become ultra-modern and extra liberal. They start treating Muslims and Non-Muslims alike and fund ‘causes’ in non-Muslims countries with the hope that in this way they would be more respectful and prominent. They forget that this is a sheer illusion. Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were often financially supported by Arab "authoritarian regimes" but these institutions served more as a prophet of western civilization, a center of diplomacy and marketing rather than pure academic excellence. Many research articles originating from these institutions are influenced by politics and have no regards for their donors or care for alternative opinions. Saif Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader, Muammar al-Qaddafi, once said in distress:-

“Just a few months ago we were being treated as honored friends,” he railed. “Now that rebels are threatening our country, these cowards are turning on us. The way my former friends at the LSE [London School of Economics] have turned against me and my father is particularly upsetting. These people…abandoned us after taking our money for years.”

The LSE was donated a huge sum of money by Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Alnahyan for many years but now it’s ‘nominated chair’ and portrait is removed from university premises. There, these Middle Eastern monarchs are called extremists and radicals. However, Sheikhs find real love and respect in Muslim countries alone. Even today, UAE officials find unprecedented love and respect in Pakistan. Not only many hunting sites in Pakistani deserts but also few airstrips of Pakistan are totally at the discretion of UAE leadership. Relations between UAE and Pakistan became tense in Apr 2015 when UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Mohammed Garhash warned Pakistan of dire consequences for taking an “ambiguous stand” on Yemen War.  The Minister expected Pakistan ground troops in support of Saudi led coalition against Yemen but Pakistan parliament had directed that “Pakistan should play a mediating role and not get involved in the fighting in Yemen.”

Yemen war, no doubt is sad; Muslims fighting against Muslims. If any state aggressively starts taking sides then that one loses the credibility as honest broker/mediator. Pakistan was not preferring Iran over KSA or UAE but following a principal stand and trying hard to diffuse the tension between two Muslim countries.  Going back few years, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Alnahyan had expressed serious concerns about the impact of UN sanctions on Iraq and had extended humanitarian aid to the Iraqi people. When the US-led coalition was preparing to invade Iraq, he declined to allow UAE bases to be used. It is always not necessary to be part of conflict when the dispute is between brothers. UAE is now realizing that War in Yemen is a futile effort and dispute must be handled through diplomacy and dialogue.

Today, around 2.6 Million Indians are working in UAE. It all started in the year 1980 by great leader, the grandfather of Sheikh Muhammad. He was aware of marginalization and ill-treatment of Indians Muslims by Hindus in India. He, with full backing and appreciation of Pakistan started giving jobs to Indians Muslims in UAE to relieve their acute financial hardships back home in India. However, gradually Indians Hindus started replacing Indians Muslims on the pretext of more loyalty and docile attitude.  Now the Indian lobby [Hindus] in UAE is most influential and often creates problems for Pakistan and its diaspora there.

UAE is under immense cultural attack. It is not only the Arabic language which is shrinking but also Islamic values fast eroding in many cities of UAE due to massive presence of non-Muslims. Due to extra liberal policies and non Muslim immigration are finding their homes and jobs in Arabian Peninsula and reprehensible evils like prostitution, liquor and gambling; once a trademark of western cities are now more pronounced in few cities of UAE.

Indian Muslims are continued to be humiliated on daily basis and no upper caste Hindu ever thinks to dine with common Muslim. During visit of Arab dignitaries where Hindu elite would be dinning with Sheikh Muhammad would provide some comfort to the Muslims of India. In past three months, over 1300 young boys and girls of Indians occupied Kashmir have been literally ‘blinded’ by Indians security forces by pellet guns. I only hope that crown prince Sheikh Muhammad enjoys his stay and does not come across any such victim while witnessing the colorful celebrations in India. As for Pakistanis, we hardly forget anything, and this move by the UAE govt will have very long term implications.

Atta Rasool Malik holds an M Phil degree from National Defence University Islamabad and can be reached at: