A solution in Kashmir

The Indian prime minister’s call for an all-party conference is a start, but much more is needed.


Editorial September 15, 2010

Violence is once again on the rise in the blood-soaked valley that is Kashmir. Over the past few months, protests against Indian rule have left scores of people dead and many more wounded. On September 13, at least 12 people fell victim to the violence. The clashes – and their human and economic cost – call attention to the need to resolve one of the most dangerous conflict zones in the world. While Kashmir is not the most violent place in the world, it keeps South Asia dangerously close to war for anybody’s comfort and, most critically, prevents the region from realising its full economic potential. From the Pakistani perspective, a resolution to the Kashmir conflict is vital to the country’s national security interests. That said, it is time that those holding the reins of power in Islamabad and Rawalpindi realised the futility of Jammu and Kashmir joining Pakistan since India is never really going to give it up. It has often been reported that during the previous regime of Pervez Musharraf a solution was at hand but that it could not be agreed upon because of the general’s travails towards the end of his time in power. Perhaps, it is now time to revisit that point, given that the understanding was that the Line of Control would more or less become the international border but that people on both sides would be able to move freely. The bus service connecting Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, started in April 2005, was but a first step in this direction and other such confidence-building measures need to be initiated.

The Indian prime minister’s call for an all-party conference is a start, but much more is needed. Mir Waiz Omar Farooq’s is absolutely correct when he says that either one of two things should be done: India should respect UN resolutions or that India, Pakistan and representatives of the Kashmiri people sit together and thrash out a permanent solution. The rest of the world should also have a stake in this given that the threat from India is used by Pakistan in its ongoing war against militancy and is also inextricably tied with regard to Islamabad’s relations to Kabul.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2010.

n� <pXl�� lass=MsoNormal>Even parties like the Shiv Sena that demand "outsiders" like Biharis and UPites should be thrown out of the city treat these celebrities with kid gloves. It is about protecting commercial interests.

Veena Malik is already throwing attitude that the other 12 contestants be selected carefully, “so that they are up to my level”. Unfortunately, the channel as well as the media, and by default many viewers, will be taken in by the buildup and assume this human laundromat is important. Singer-actor Ali Zafar reveals professional selfishness when he talks about moving to India for better prospects: “My first home is Lahore. But I'd like to make Mumbai my second home … I feel singers and other artistes should be exempt from politics."

The hostility that he finds unbearable affects him precious little in the studios where he can record for Bollywood films. Has he seen the pain of those faced with jingoistic revulsion only due to their nationality on both sides of the border?

Salman Khan may get away with a temporary ban on Dabanng that will up its value and make him a ‘munna ho gaya badnam’-level martyr. Others are not as lucky. And a note for Ali Zafar: Forget a second home, many do not have even one home in our countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2010.

COMMENTS (1)

maitre | 11 years ago | Reply Some time ago, the United States of America was interested in solving Kashmir Issue. But it has given up its efforts to do it for its only purpose in kashlir's issue was to tame China's increasing threat to India. Now the US has provided India with technology and favourite state status and foresees India as it's future ally against China, it has discarded the Kashmir Issue from its agenda.
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