Distance must not matter
TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN, WE HAVE TO CHANGE OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE PROBLEM THAT CONFRONTS BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN, WRITES DR. MIRZA ASHRAF BEG
Distance between milestones is fixed and does not alter with the passage of time. Despite that though the apparent distance between Kashmir and New Delhi is 867 kilometers. while Kashmir and Islamabad are separated by 563 kilometers. These distances have frequently changed with the turbulent political tides in the subcontinent. After the partition of India a part of J&K landed in the lap of the new born state called Pakistan and the rest rested on top of India making the two neighboring countries restless till date. Having a look retrospectively on the events that followed the tragic partition, both India and Pakistan have bled a lot and continue to bleed because both ignored the wounds inflicted on J&K. It has also been observed that the distances between these milestones are directly proportional to the domestic events in India and Pakistan. The tragic events of Malaygaon and barbarian acts of the demolition of Babri Masjid or the plight of underprivileged minorities in India and violent disturbances in Pakistan are the events not to be forgotten.
There is no doubt that the nonstop turbulence in J&K was born out of the UN resolutions of 1947 —whatever we say. Thus sixty years of uncertainty can be divided in different phases—sometimes it was invisible while at times the graph was at its highest such as the recent stone pelting or the gun culture of the last twenty years. This ambiguity gave birth to different shades of political leadership with different godfathers. The leadership that was born out of the freedom struggle against the autocratic rule was destabilized on frivolous charges and charge sheeted through Kashmir conspiracy case. With the result the distance between the political leadership of New Delhi and Kashmir increased manifolds. In this melee Kashmir drifted in to a state of uncertainty. The peaceful struggle for the implementation of UN resolutions culminated in to armed resistance in 1989 resulting in to widespread death and destruction. The turmoil also led to the painful exodus of KPs from the valley a tragedy credited to a conspiracy between security forces and some Jagmohan in the state.
Hoping against the hope, the distance between New Delhi and Srinagar by and large was standstill till 1953 because people of the state thought that sooner or later they will be given a chance to decide their future and the events of August 1953 proved that the promises made were just a mirage. The gulf thus created could not be bridged till date. In the mean time the distance between ‘Azad Kashmir’ and Islamabad did not alter despite the fact its developments did not match this side of the state. Moreover for paucity of space and lack of first hand information it will not be feasible for this writer to delve deep on the status of that part of the state.
The armed rebellion of 1989 devastated all the bridges between New Delhi and Kashmir. Fake encounters, forced disappearances, unidentified graves and unnecessary demonstration of force resulting in to innumerable widows, half widows and orphans added fuel to the fire and increased the already existing distances manifolds.
Lots of efforts through interlocutors, good governance or back channel diplomacy are on way to reduce the distance between New Delhi and Kashmir or to overcome the trust deficit between the two. We need to understand that there is no shortcut for building a firm human relationship. It has never been one way traffic. With the type of injuries inflicted during the last twenty years on the people of the state it will be childish to think that Rooti Kapda Makan or Bijli Sadak Pani will serve as a healing touch to wounds. If we mean business the only way to shorten the distances is to build the bridges between India and Pakistan and open as many road links between Azad Kashmir and J&K as possible on way to a long term plan to make the cease fire line irrelevant. Encourage people to people communications and make to and fro business a visible success. It is immature to say that transaction of Hawala money has increased through Muzafarabad Srinagar road. We need to realize that it has taken people of the state sixty years of hard research to rediscover this life line. Money these days is not transported through trucks or Lorries. Bank cards and electronic transactions have solved that problem long ago. Moreover there is a lot of tittle-tattle that people have installed currency printing machines in connivance with the law enforcing agencies! So it is detrimental to let administrative or security agencies to spoil the sensitive atmosphere by their loose talk or unwarranted statements.
Our politicians too need to understand that it is not fair to confuse the gullible through vague statements such as K-currency, double currency or interpreting the accession as merger or amalgamation. There is no doubt that J&K is the only state where its interests are safeguarded through Article 370 of the constitution. The elected members only need to gather the guts to safeguard this provision of the constitution besides they need to search if this Article has been deprived of its colors and its fragrance. If so, as a first step for a permanent solution through a people’s verdict we need to find ways and means to rectify the damages done. The state also needs to demonstrate properly its official flag that is safeguarded by the constitution. At the same time with the concept of globalization the borders become irrelevant-- we need to learn to live in a global village-- of course without elbowing out our neighbors. That is how milestones disappear and nations come closer.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 20 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 21 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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