India, Pakistan moving towards confederation
Narendra Modi, soon after winning the candidacy vote for BJP’s choice for Delhi's seat of power stated "Pakistan must fight terror and not India". If what Modi believes is true then Pakistan must rethink and deeply probe to take stock of the situation as everyone understands that war means total annihilation.
The internal law and order situation due to terrorism spares no time for Pakistan even to think of any jingoism or war mongering that all believe no one can afford. The intermittent violent occurrences on ceasefire line in Kashmir are a nightmarish experience and Pakistan desperate about maintenance of peace most of the time, down plays any intentional Indian instigation. On his return from Afghanistan visit Senator Mushahid Hussian´s statement that US is retaining its 20,000 troops housed in various military basis created disappointment and frustration in Pakistan political circles. The intended troops retention would perhaps not solve anything but result in more trouble in the region.
The recent violation of its air-space by India was termed as ´unintentional´ and a ´mistake´ by Pakistan Foreign Office. As believed, Pakistan with clear intent demonstrates its will for improving relations with India offering MNF (Most Favoured Nation Status), cultural exchanges, business barter deals in sugar and betel leaves, exchange of feature films, though only Indian films are screened in Pakistan and not the vice-versa. India could make a start by offering to allow screening of film ´mein hoon Shahid Afridi´ running very successfully in Pakistan these days, films or dramas to infuse new blood in Pakistan´s ailing film and television industry, which in turn would be very helpful and acknowledged as a norm of reciprocity.
The young generations of India and Pakistan trying to get grips with ingrained animosity witness resultant killings in communal violence targeting minorities on display even today in most populated Uttar Pradesh State of India leaving 37 innocent hapless people dead and property destroyed. A venomous rhetoric by religious groups demonstrated through verbal utterances with anger or belligerent attitude towards each other gets a more than measured response in actions putting the sub-continent’s peace at risk.
A non-stop bellicose chauvinism, targeting controversial "aman ki asha" (Hope for peace), toes the line of political hierarchy, army and its intelligence agencies. There are the likes of Justice Tarkunde, Arundhati Roy, Dalit leaders, and many others longing for peace between India and Pakistan but their minority character, unfortunately, nullifies the purposeful thinking. The nostalgia of religious orthodoxy takes the toll reminding remote-controlled populace of migrated forefathers, grandparents emotionally attached to living in Lahore, homes and lands in Sialkot, Jhelum, Punjabi towns or elsewhere in Pakistan created in 1947. Though Pakistan suffered equally in terms of men and material during and after the partition in a frenzy of mad activity right across newly drawn borders but that for some is of lesser or no consequence.
Pakistan, in recent times, has been desperate about peace with India and to that effect the talk of improvement in relations is understood by an average Pakistani as one sided affair. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif´s good gesture inviting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an effort even before taking oath of office, had to be slowed down as India perhaps out of some political compulsion brushed aside the extended hand of friendship, and as Pakistan believes, the unnecessary tension created on the ceasefire line costing few precious lives made matters worse and did not serve any purpose.
Pakistanis, in general, love Indian films, sports icons and believe in having good relations based on some degree of altruism, equality, relations on all levels with mutual respect. The venom spitting against Pakistan by hardliners and fundamentalists in India or by their equivalents in Pakistan against India does not augur well and creates despondency as far as making tall claims about secularism, respect for human rights and belief in democracy are concerned.
The right thinking philanthropists of India and Pakistan consider peace as vitally important for the two countries to live like friends and brothers creating an atmosphere at least on the pattern that exists between US and Canada. The benevolent also believe that Kashmir problem needs to be resolved as per the wish of Kashmiris. The question asked is, how long anyone can force maintenance of the political status-quo in Kashmir ruling it with the barrel of gun? A resolved Kashmir will stay where it is now and will prove to be a source of strength according economic stability guaranteeing peace and much needed political stability in the subcontinent. It is time for India and Pakistan to sit across the table in an environment of friendship, respect for each other and thrash out a formula to settle this long standing problem but without taking Kashmiri leadership across ceasefire line into confidence, the solution will remain a dream.
The recent exercise of world renowned Maestro Zubin Mehta show, Kashmiris thought, was reminiscent of an exercise Kashmir witnessed on January 26, 1992 when BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi escorted by a battalion of Indian armed forces, hoisted Indian flag in Kashmir’s Lal Chowk (Red square) confining the whole populace behind their doors. The Maestro’s genuine endeavour to perform for people of Kashmir turned out a mirage raising many eye-brows on international level. Maestro Mehta’s mention of "Gadbadwallas" (trouble makers), reminding both India and Pakistan to be wary about certain quarters bent on sabotaging the intended peace process leading to a solution for long standing Kashmir problem.
The mischief mongers bent on creating ´fasad´ (tribulation) on the land need to be marginalised and cut to size especially the ones controlling people-power through the ingrained mindset keeping innocent busy with drills or training in handling guns etc. The peace happens to be the only solution but it cannot be possible on the terms suitable to just one party as the politics of continuation of false hope for dialogue becomes frustrating, risky and a narrative of oppression.