KASHMIR-THE WRITING ON THE WALL
Filed Under: Opinion, Politics | Posted: 04/15/2012 at 12:08AM
Comments | Region: India
Kashmir-The Writing On The Wall
It seems that India and Pakistan have entered into a ‘quid pro quo’ relationship which was more than evident during this visit. In their joint statements, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made no mention of the Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed, President Zardari reciprocated by avoiding any reference to Kashmir!
Much has been fed to us about how our Mirwaiz has aroused international awareness regarding the plight of Kashmiris during his recent international ‘whirl- wind’ tour. But at the end of the day, all he could extract from leaders of the places that he visited was just the age old conditional assurance that ‘if India and Pakistan agree, then we will enter the scene’. So, with due regards to the efforts put in by the Mirwaiz, in practical terms the Kashmir issue very much remains where it was earlier!
A few days back, the President of Pakistan visited India. Though it was widely publicized as a purely private visit to pay obeisance at a shrine, he did spare time in New Delhi to engage with the political hierarchy. However, in what could be termed a significant policy shift, his itinerary did not include meeting the Hurriyat leadership. While, the Hurriyat (M) faction, in its typical and diplomatic style tried to down- play this omission, the Hurriyat (G) was more forthright in expressing its disappointment. Mincing no words, Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said that by not inviting Hurriyat or any other separatist leader for meeting with Pakistan President makes it clear that there has been a change in long held position of Pakistan regarding Kashmir dispute.
He appears to be right because while Pakistan may say that it has not put the Kashmir issue into the back burner, its actions don’t seem to support this claim. And it is here that our leaders should realize that they are being treated just like pawns in the ‘Great Game’ which India and Pakistan have been playing all these years. Sample this-just last year, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan broke diplomatic convention by scheduling a meeting with the Hurriyat leaders as the first ‘engagement’ after her arrival in India. And now, these very leaders were not even considered worthy of just a courtesy meeting with President Zardari! It seems that India and Pakistan have entered into a ‘quid pro quo’ relationship which was more than evident during this visit. In their joint statements, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made no mention of the Lashkar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed, President Zardari reciprocated by avoiding any reference to Kashmir!
Pakistan, it seems is trying to replicate the Sino-Indian ‘model’ of bilateral relations which hinges upon building a practical working relationship by keeping contentious issues in the background. The granting of ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status to India and its mild comments on Kashmir are clear indications that Pakistan no longer wants commerce between the two countries to be held hostage to the ‘K’ issue. In accepting the invitation to visit Pakistan, the Indian PM too has ‘climbed down’ from his earlier stance linking any such visit to ‘action’ taken by Pakistan against the alleged perpetuators of the Mumbai attacks. These are significant ‘concessions of convenience’!
It is therefore now the time when our leaders have to take the final call. Sixty five years of assurances and expectations have yielded nothing and given the way things are shaping, nothing concrete can be expected. And perhaps it is here that what we learnt from our parents as children may hold the ultimate key. Did they not teach us to always believe in our own inner strength, set realistic goals, work hard to achieve the same and most importantly, not rely on others. Our leaders may feel otherwise, but in this selfish world of today, how can we expect others to sacrifice their own interests just to help us out?
Post script- “Most of us can read the writing on the wall; we just assume it’s addressed to someone else!” (Author Unknown)