India and Pakistan agree to new visa pact


Pakistani troops opened heavy gun fire along the cease-fire line in Kashmir; Indian army officials said. (India TV News December 9, 2012) Pakistani firing in Krishna Ghati sector in the mountainous district of Poonch, about 250 km from Srinagar, the capital city of Kashmir; "they used small arms, light machine guns and rockets. The firing was heavy up to 11 p.m.; thereafter it became intermittent and was going on till 7 a.m. Indian troops retaliated to silence the Pakistani guns", an official said.

Pakistan Interior Minister, Rahman Malik, perhaps ignoring Indian military pomposity, rushed to India (December 14, 2012) to give finishing touches to "visa diplomacy" considered by do-gooders a promising start and all fingers-crossed could augur well for future Indo-Pak relations. A sincerity of purpose with good intent can culminate into a prevailing Canada-USA model of lasting political and economic relationship.

On his return from India, Pakistani minister said that Delhi had insisted on a criminal action against Hafiz Sayed the mastermind, according to India, for Mumbai attack but Malik iterated that if any proof was furnished by India implicating Sayed; a proper action would be initiated. Malik was a bit apprehensive and said his statements were distorted and quoted out of context by certain sections of Indian media.

Kashmiri leadership delegation led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq is in Pakistan (December 15, 2004) on a mission to categorically emphasize the need to involve Kashmiri leadership for any dialogue between India and Pakistan. Kashmiris are the prime party whose political future is at stake and without their participation the discussion on the issue, he said, would be meaningless. His interview on Pakistani PTV Global (December 19, 2012) conveyed an optimism for "good progress" towards the resolution of Kashmir issue and Mirwaiz showed his confidence regarding the support extended by certain sections of Indian society. The problem was, he mentioned, the attitude of Brahman Hindu fundamentalists who organize their militant carders, using force, to subdue and browbeat sympathizers for Kashmir cause throughout India. It would be very interesting to see if India allows a referendum asking people of India to vote for Kashmir’s right of self-determination; a yes or a no.

Press Council of India Chairman Justice Markandey Katju’s statement that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of India and Pakistan (The Hindu: December 11, 2012). He further stated that "With the advent of capitalism, the Indian subcontinent became a victim of nefarious imperial designs. The imperialists divided their colonies with the sole aim of establishing their hegemony".

The above wishful statement is a myth and flawed; as argued Pakistan was created because of a tendency to promote dominance of Hindu nationalism bonded with fanaticism making it difficult even for a true Indian nationalist Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, compelling him to think for a separate homeland. Furthermore, since India never accepted the reality of an independent nation of Pakistan; it sought to uproot it by shaking its foundations making a start in 1971 to create Bangladesh. Pakistan is an accepted nuclear power now and it believes that it has a role to play on international level having a prominent political and geographical identity and importance. Kashmir, historically speaking, has been a sovereign and independent nation having its own constitution, army and a viable economic structure and it has never been a part of India.

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf on his last visit to India (November 18, 2012) as reported by Oman Tribune stressed that there is a need to “bury the hatchet” and said that Kashmir is the root cause that spawns war and a much needed resolution to the problem will remove the causes for hatred, conflict and wars. Once the issue is resolved as per the wish of Kashmiri people; the socioeconomic uplift will result in closer cultural relationship of two peoples, peace to the sub-continent and the region as a whole.

Zeenews reports (November 14, 2012) that installed chief minister of Kashmir Omar Abdullah’s uncle, his party’s General Secretary Mustafa Kamal considers India the real enemy and accused Indian army of disturbing peace in Kashmir. The nephew chief minister distanced himself from the comments made by his uncle but it is on record that Omar has been very vocal in stressing upon India and Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the long standing problem of Kashmir. He also stressed that the local council elections held from time to time facilitated running of the government on day to day basis and these elections could not be termed as an alternative or a substitute to decide the political future of Kashmir.

While India pretends of a sigh of relief and talks of "peaceful Kashmir" highlighting inflated numbers of tourists in the guise of Indian labour force looking for work, beggars, pilgrims visiting Hindu deity Vaishno Devi in small hilly track border town of Kashmir’s Jammu province or colossal increased numbers visiting Amaranth Glacier deity; Pakistan talks of political and moral support to Kashmir for their right of self-determination.

Xinhua reported (December 19, 2012) quoting Indian army sources that six Kashmiri militants were gunned down in a gun-fight and the gunfight restarted as Indian army carried out search in the debris and damaged structures. It was also reported that six bodies of militants were recovered from the area. And as usual the collateral damage to civilian life has remained a mystery and the authorities are tight-lipped.

The figure of 27,596 western tourists visiting Kashmir in 2012, and Indian bollywood film units hoping to revive the environment of Shammi Kapoor days, is termed as a ´return to normalcy´. Kashmir is known for its cultural heritage and hospitality and welcomes all nationalities with open heart but injuries inflicted for the last six decades cannot simply be ignored. Kashmir will always attract international tourists in numbers claimed currently multiplied many times over.

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