Wheel not moving
7yrs of Karewan-e-Aman: 48000 apply, only 8000 get through
BIG BITE BY JAVAID MALIK
Recently the state government revealed that authorities on both the sides of Line of Control (LoC) received more than 48000 applications for the cross LoC travel but most people were denied the travel documents. The much hyped ĎPeace Busí flagged off on April 7, 2005, by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, seems to have outlived its utility. Its purpose of reuniting the divided families looks almost defeated.
When this bus was launched, media and politicians blew the event out of proportion and described it as one of the biggest confidence building measure. Alas! The time has proved media and politicians wrong. It has just turned out to be a cosmetic measure aimed at buying time.
The hurdles associated with the cross LoC travel have made people on both the sides lose interest in boarding the Karwan-e-Aman. It is amazing but true that authorities on both the sides during past seven years have found flaws with the documents of most of the people who wanted to board the cross LoC bus to bridge the gap between two Kashmirs created in 1947. The distance between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad is just 170 kilometers but people putting in both Kashmirs have not been able to cover it in past 62-years. Chances of it being covered in future also seem to be bleak.
One wonders why India and Pakistan just want to keep Kashmiris busy by announcing such measures which remain confined to papers. There seems to be a huge trust deficit between India and Pakistan thatís why they donít want to move ahead with an open heart and clear mind. For any CBM to be successful first step to take is to repose trust in each other. If leaders of both the countries donít do so all the CBMs and peace initiatives are bound to back fire like cross LoC bus service.
Both the countries pretend that their ties are improving and peace process is on, but the ground realties contradict their claims. Had the ties improved they would have allowed Kashmiris from both the sides to travel freely at least between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. Had India and Pakistan been serious about resolving the Kashmir issue they could have taken many more steps to consolidate the gains of ceasefire on borders and LoC which both the countries announced in 2002. Ten years is a long time, but nothing seems to be moving.
People of Kashmir are paying dearly for the animosity between the two countries. They are caught between the devil and the deep sea. Most Kashmiris are waiting for the day when both India and Pakistan would decide that time has come to settle all issues, including Kashmir, but it seems a distant dream. Wavering Kashmir policy of both the countries has made a common Kashmiri believe that Kashmiris, irrespective which side of LoC they are, hardly matter for independent nations like India and Pakistan. Kashmiris have time and again reminded both the countries that if they donít resolve Kashmir it can have far reaching consequences for both the countries.
With general elections approaching in Pakistan, leaders have once again started harping that there would be no compromise on Kashmir. One wonders why Pakistani leaders remember Kashmir just ahead of elections. One need ask them if they are not ready to compromise on Kashmir then why did the PPP led government sleep over the issue for nearly five years. Since the day PPP has come into power no forward movement has taken place vis-ŗ-vis Kashmir. On the contrary talk of putting Kashmir on the backburner has been making rounds.
Kashmiris are not as powerful as India and Pakistan but one thing is for sure that their eyes and ears are wide open and they are watching all the developments keenly. They know it well that measures like cross LoC bus and opening a few routes are no solution. They also know that ĎAll is not Wellí between India and Pakistan as both the countries are sitting over a volcano called Kashmir.
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Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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