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India-Pakistan pursues retaliatory politics

"All human beings, whatever their cultural or historical background, suffer when they are intimidated, imprisoned or tortured... We must, therefore, insist on a global consensus, not only on the need to respect human rights worldwide, but also on the definition of these rights . . . for it is the inherent nature of all human beings to yearn for freedom, equality and dignity, and they have an equal right to achieve that."  --  Dalai Lama

The departure of Her Majesty’s government from Indian sub-continent, many believe, has not been a good omen as the sudden British exit gave rise to animosity, rivalry, bloody confrontation and wounds inflicted nursed right across the borders of India and Pakistan. A tit for tat dramas enacted on both sides is something that has become a trait; unfortunately at the cost of innocent lives having no idea of becoming a scapegoat or their families never getting a clue to find an answer why their loved ones were picked to fulfil some political agenda.

Sarabjit Singh, a member of Indian intelligence RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) on a death row in Pakistan jail was fatally wounded in a scuffle with other inmates who finally succumbed to his injuries and was declared dead. An inhuman act cannot be condoned and must be condemned. However, observers believe that Pakistan infested with political turmoil, terrorism and the country on the verge of bankruptcy could not be officially involved in such an adventure to invite more trouble and complicate matters for the country. Singh’s body returned to India given a formal funeral receiving a 21 gun salute heightening the tensions between the two countries having fought three wars (two on Kashmir) since the partition of British-ruled India in 1947.

Sarabjit Singh had been convicted of spying for his role in bomb attacks that killed 14 people in Pakistan in 1990. On his body’s arrival in India, his coffin was kept on a platform, draped in Indian national flag, and visitors were seen putting flowers on his body. Some of the visitors raised slogans of "Long live Sarabjit" and "Death to Pakistan". The above unfortunate event is considered to be a case in isolation and devoid of nothing unusual or sinister. Pakistani intelligence official showed displeasure at India for the honour given to Singh, saying "Singh had been involved in bomb attacks in Pakistan and should not be treated as a hero in his homeland”. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Sarabjit Singh "a brave son of India" and said the attack was "barbaric". The unfortunate death of Sarabjit Singh again highlights how ordinary citizens have actually become the biggest victims of an intractable rivalry".

Meanwhile a Pakistani prisoner, Sanaullah Haq, suffered critical head injuries after he was attacked by a fellow inmate at the high-security Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu province of Kashmir. India Today reports (May 08, 2013) that Supreme Court of India "frowned on the failure of Kashmir government to anticipate the possibility of Pakistan prisoner Sannaullah of a retaliatory revenge attack in the wake of Indian spy on the death row in Pakistan attacked by inmates in Lahore jail. Government of India making a political mileage on local and on international level used its Supreme Court to cash on initially making it look like a case strictly concerned with government in Kashmir and conveying to the world at large that Indian government was in no way connected with the situation". Moreover, a message giving an impression that Kashmir like any other state of India makes its own decisions.

The military prisoner Sannaullah was lodged in the jail, for militancy related charges, for the past 17 years, in Hindu dominated Jammu province and government of Kashmir has or had no jurisdiction in the matter as such matters are directly under the purview and decisive power of Indian military. In recent years, several Indians returning from Pakistani jails have admitted to spying. Haq’s attacker, police say, is a former Indian army soldier convicted of murder. Reports said the attack happened on Friday morning after an argument between the two men. Pakistan and India frequently arrest each other's citizens, often accusing them of being spies after they have strayed across the land or maritime border.

The unexpected secret hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru, Kashmiri medical student, on February 09, 20013 convicted on circumstantial evidence by India sent shock waves right through the dividing line in Kashmir as the hanging was again thought to be a retaliatory act. Years back on February 11, 1984 Maqbool Bhat revered by Kashmiris as ‘Father of the Nation’ was also hanged and buried in the same Delhi’s Tihar jail where Guru is buried now and like Guru became a victim of retaliatory revenge attack for Indian diplomat Ravindra Mahtre’s murder in UK. Though, as is known, Bhat had never visited United Kingdom. It has been precedence that following any such incidents Cable television, mobile and Internet services remain shut in most parts of Kashmir region cutting off population’s link with rest of the world.

Pakistan’s "historic democratic" elections have just concluded and on a positive note India is happy to deal with a democratically elected government. Nawaz Sharief, the Prime Ministerial candidate, is set to open a dialogue to resolve Kashmir and start afresh from where he left, when on his last term in office, the progress made with then Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Right thinking forces in India and Pakistan are making frantic efforts to bridge the gap between two nations created 65 years ago and feel the necessity of mending the relationship on the basis of equality, brotherhood and mutual respect.

Kashmir this time seems to be very optimistic and hopes that Nawaz Sharief’s new rejuvenated dialogue will culminate into some meaningful outcome and long standing political and human problem will be addressed and solved to the satisfaction of people of Kashmir. In a significant development Kashmir leadership headed by Hurriyat Chairman, Omar Farooq are ready to travel to Pakistan to impress upon new prime minister’s government to expedite matters regarding Kashmir solution as people of Kashmir have suffered more than enough.


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