Minus some periods of peace, relations between India and Pakistan during past seventy years have been acrimonious. More than three times, the acrimony ended up in wars between the two countries. None of the countries made any gains out of these wars instead brought suffering to their countrymen. In both the countries over fifty percent population are dismally living below the poverty line. Tens of millions are living semi-famished lives and cannot afford even one time full meal. In thousands of villages teeming millions for lack of potable water are suffering water born diseases – and deaths. Significantly, leaders on both the sides have done nothing for ending their acrimony, instead with every passing year they have added to their long list of issues and problems. The people of the state on both the sides of the dividing line have paid and are paying the worst price for the acrimony between the two neighbors. The first direct victim of tension between the two is the millions of people living on both side of the Line of Control (LOC). Though there is no definite statics available on the subject, it is a known fact that minus some brief truces every year hundreds of people living near the LOC are consumed by bullets and shells, hundreds are wounded and disabled for rest of life. The admitted fact is that the November 2003 Cease Fire Agreement, followed by a sustained dialogue not only gave respite to people of the state for ten long years but also saved scores of civilians and soldiers from getting killed. It suffered a reversal only after 2014.
On Sunday, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on the second death anniversary of her father was right in stating that a dialogue between the two neighboring countries was vital for peace in the state. She was also right in stating that people of the state have been the worst victims of hostility between the two countries. It would be behaving like an ostrich to say there are no problems between the two countries . It is high time for the two countries to sit across the table and with all sincerity of purpose start an uninterruptable composite dialogue for addressing the outstanding disputes.