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India-Pakistan: Hope of peace

"Aman ki Asha" (hope of peace), between two nuclear nations, is perhaps a sincere and genuine effort of Jang Group of Pakistan and Times of India to transform ingrained hatred, confrontation and hostility into good neighbourly relations. It is widely recognized that the silent majority in both countries is willing to forget the past and shun the policy of politically motivated emotional blackmail. The deep rooted power hungry political houses thrive on misguiding people with orthodox interpolated religious beliefs allowing them to harvest the benefits by consolidating respective vote banks.

The lovers of peace sometimes face the dilemma of confronting mischief created by so called "intelligentsia", the likes of Chairman of Press Council of India Justice (retd) Markandey Katju who reportedly said on February 06, 2013 that Pakistan is a "fake" country which was created artificially by the Britishers who started the "bogus two-nation theory". Mr. Justice forgot to mention that this "fake country" has now emerged as a nuclear nation allowing it to maintain much needed balance of power in the region.

India, on the face of it, is marching ahead towards economic upliftment and most of its resources, as is believed, are either consumed by deep rooted corruption or importation of nuclear materials, armaments and an urge to stockpile conventional weapons is ever increasing. Because of China’s quantum leap in all fields, it is argued, that India thinks it has found a soft target in Pakistan.

Since Pakistan’s economic activity has nosedived due to internal strife, terrorism and endemic rampant corruption, it cannot afford to spend its residual meager resources on any such military hardware and this is considered by some as a blessing in disguise. Pakistan, it seems, has made it known that it cannot match India in conventional weaponry. If fourth war between the two breaks out, fingers crossed, it is believed Pakistan will definitely use its nuclear option and the outcome of such an unfortunate scenario fraught with devastating consequences for the whole world is not difficult to visualize.

Indian army spokesman Rajesh Kalia stated that two Indian soldiers were killed during a clash with Pakistani troops describing the incident as "a significant escalation of cease-fire violation" in Kashmir. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid vowed to deliver a "proportionate response". (Australia News Network: January 09, 2013).

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warned Pakistan and said "it cannot be business as usual". His remarks follow the Indian army chief's call for troops to "aggressively" respond to firing from Pakistani troops. On the issue of hyped up crises on ceasefire-line, Pakistan’s foreign office issued a statement asking India to de-escalate and belligerent statements issued ratcheting tensions up will not help calm the situation down. There was no comment from India.

"This is an election year in Pakistan and we are a year away from polls in India - so both governments will have their eye on domestic opinion. An armed confrontation is extremely unlikely. Both sides have indicated that there is a need for restraint, so although the rhetoric is harsh it is unlikely to be matched with action." (BBC correspondent In Delhi Sanjoy Majumder: January 15, 2013)

But as is known now; nothing much happened apart from some rhetorical political statements by India’s ruling and opposition political stalwarts. Many political circles in the sub-continent believe that the drama, at the cost of some expendable precious lives, was enacted to fulfill an agenda perhaps a requirement to bail out ruling political mafia of Pakistan. In recent times "democratic forces" in Pakistan due to disgruntlement among the masses for misgovernance; a threat of army takeover was and is perceived as an imminent possibility. Many in Pakistan believe that it is easy for masquerade friends and foes of Pakistan to deal with corrupt, inefficient and greedy politicians rather than army dictators who, at times, are a hard nut to crack.

Indian troops crossed the Line of Control in Kashmir and attacked a Pakistani border post, leaving one Pakistani soldier dead and another wounded, according to the Pakistani military. (Deutsche Welle: January 06, 2013) "Pakistani and Indian troops exchanged gunfire across the disputed Kashmir border early Sunday, leaving one Pakistani soldier dead in a relatively rare fatal confrontation between the two neighbours". (New York Times: January 06, 2013). The two armies dangerously poised make it pertinent for United Nations to reinforce its staff on Kashmir’s ceasefire-line to monitor the daily occurrences to keep the armies under check to steer them away from any mischief.

Pakistan, for the reasons known, is showering goodwill gestures like MNF (Most Favoured Nation Status), begging for a soft policy on visa relaxation and keeping its mouth shut even when Pakistan’s invited women hockey team is forced to sleep on the grass in the hockey stadium, spiteful and venomous propaganda unleashed on India media, allowing an Indian cultural invasion to dominate Pakistan especially through electronic media, terrorism allegations without submitting any proof; though Pakistan handed over ample evidence of Indian involvement in Baluchistan and Karachi. All this is coming to the light and pushing Pakistan to the limits can have serious negative implications. The international community is well aware now to see the inherent dangers and the severity of a volatile situation that could go out of hands.

Indian army analyst Ajay Shukla said. "The peace process is going the way India wants it to. Pakistan is engaged on its western frontier, trade is increasing, agreements are being signed, and there are no talks on Kashmir … Delhi will want things to calm down and go back to business as usual," (Reports Guardian: January 09, 2013).

The status-quo that India is comfortable with will not solve the problem and Kashmir the stumbling block in the way of peace must be placed at the top on the list of international priorities. And on the contrary, "aman ki asha" will only result in "nirasha" (disappointment). In essence, the world can ignore Kashmir at its own peril.