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Pakistan in ‘India Today’ During 2012 – Part 4


Independence dayAugust 20, 2012 Edition

An imaginary dialogue conducted between Gandhi of India and Jinnah of Pakistan was published in the Independence special edition of India Today. The conversation was written by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and a former governor of West Bengal, Gopal Krishna Gandhi.

During the discussion Gandhi laments at divided India and the present situation of the Indians. Where as, Jinnah wasn’t happy for he wanted only Pakistanis to live in Pakistan, not Hindus and Muslims.

Selected dialogues of the imaginary conversation:

Mohandaas Karamchand Gandhi (MKG) I hate seeing my face grinning away on paper money when millions of my people are poor, malnutritioned, exploited… But so is your picture up on every office wall in Pakistan…
Muhammad Ali Jinnah (MAJ) So much that consumed our time, our energy, our life, seems so utterly pointless now. What did we fight for and fight each other for…? To see prime ministers… former prime ministers… would-be prime ministers… assassinated… terrorists at our neck… rank corruption… misgovernance… And nuclear warheads…

Mohandaas Karamchand Gandhi I know! The rise of religious bigotry in both countries… the brutalisation of women in the name of orthodoxy… I sometimes wonder if we are returning to the Middle Ages… The levels of violence in our region are unbelievable… direct violence and disguised violence… exploitation… Money rules everything… it is killing all human compassion… We have to do something about all this.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah Remember, we are both dead to that world, Mr Gandhi, stone dead. We are just phantoms… phantoms of the imagination… in this Realm of Un-being… not real beings…
These solutions are discussed between them:

MKGandhi We cannot watch idly!
MAJinnah Your methods of civil disobedience have become commonplace in India… a mockery…
MKGandhi Has your call of ‘Islam in danger’ not returned in unexpected ways? But no recriminations, please… there is a new goal for us, Quaid-e-Azam. We have to ensure that innocents do not die again on our land whether as a result of riots or terror or war. We must get India and Pakistan and Bangladesh to outlaw war.
MAJinnah What about Kashmir?
MKGandhi Let us meet in Srinagar. Let there be a summit at Dara Shukoh‘s Pari Mahal, to inaugurate a new chapter… not replacing the lines of the Partition but redeeming them… Let Kashmir become the world’s capital for conserving nature… I did not know that word everyone uses now… ‘ecology’… but our physical environment needs to be saved from man’s greed. The way things are going, mining, cutting trees, drawing water from deep inside the land, digging, digging, deeper and deeper… very soon there will be nothing left, our forests, our rivers… our air…our water… will stink… Kashmir can show a way out to the world… not just to us… And say with Jahangir from there… If ever there can be a Heaven on Earth… it has to be here… here…
MAJinnah No mushiness, please.
MKGandhi And let us have a festival of music there… sufi music… Kabir’s songs… And Ramdhun… Ishvar Allah Tere Naam…Let India and Pakistan announce from a Srinagar summit a subcontinental plan for ecological wisdom… called the Srinagar Code…along with a de-nuclearisation programme… an exchange of prisoners… a treaty not to violate borders…let India hear loud and clear from Pakistan that it will have nothing to do with terrorists… Let India hear the truth about the Bombay attack… Bombay was special for you… Quaid-e-Azam… I will whisper into Delhi’s ears that the gracious home of yours in Bombay belongs to you… India should not be small-minded about it… If I had a house in Karachi… or Jawahar had one in Lahore… would India not want it? Quaid…your eyes are filmed over…
MAJinnah Are yours… dry?

English: Gandhi and Jinnah in Bombay, Septembe...

English: Gandhi and Jinnah in Bombay, September 1944. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Pakistan in ‘India Today’ During 2012- Part 2


In April 2012 an avalanche trapped 140 Pakistani soldiers under the snow in Giyari sector located at the Siachen glacier. 129 lost their lives and all the bodies have not been recovered due to the difficult terrain. Siachen is known as the world’s most difficult and highest battlefield. Once again, peace proposals came into limelight.

However, the adamant stance of India is clearly reflected through the reviews of the cover stories, published in India Today during 2012.

Blood Politics in SiachenMay 2012 Edition of ‘India Today’ magazine

Cover Stories: *Siachen can be a mountain of peace *Blood Politics on Siachen *India cannot afford to give up Siachen

*Siachen can be a mountain of peace
Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri (former foreign minister of Pakistan) suggests to expand the ‘issues of concern’ related with Indo-Pak diplomacy, beyond the Kashmir issue. He recalls in his article, the consensus between Rajiv Gandhi (India) and Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan) to call back soldiers from Siachen. Kasuri emphasizes on the expenditure of budget on developmental projects instead of defence and military. Being the adviser on foreign affairs and head of Kashmir affairs for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Kasuri revealed that his party wants a harmonious relation between both the countries.

As quoted in ‘Siachen can be a mountain of peace’:

Between 2002-2007, we were able to create the right atmosphere for peace. We had reached an understanding on key issues like Jammu and Kashmir and were just a signature away from a solution for Sir Creek. It is time to infuse momentum in our bilateral ties-in 2007, a draft on Kashmir was ready to be presented to our Cabinet and Parliament. Our solution would have been acceptable to all the three sides, India, Pakistan and the Kashmiris I had several meetings with the Kashmiris in India, Pakistan and in other countries and almost 85 per cent of them were willing to accept the solution we proposed.

*Blood Politics on Siachen
Gaurav C. Sawant and Shiv Aroor reiterate the idea that ‘peace talks’ are in vain and the Indian army has an edge over the Pakistan army at Siachen. In case the civil government is resolved to ‘gift’ Siachen to Pakistan then the military should stop it all costs. They blatantly state:

The status quo, India believes, is bleeding Pakistan more. For the Indian Army, Siachen is not negotiable. “There is no reason for withdrawal from Siachen at this stage. Both tactically and strategically, holding those commanding heights is to India’s advantage. Pakistan has given no reason for India to trust it.
The strategic community is opposed to the Indian Government’s piecemeal approach to peace. They want Pakistan to stop infiltration, close down terror camps, crack down on terrorist groups hostile to India on their soil before there is forward movement on Siachen.

The entire article draws the conclusion that dialogue over anything (let alone Siachen) between the two countries isn’t feasible. The authors inadequately use the term ‘serial violator of bilateral agreements’ for Pakistan. This is proved by another author in the same edition of the magazine…

*India cannot afford to give up Siachen

…the changed circumstances of the day demand that we abandon the quest for an accord on Siachen. In this context, it may be recalled that when such an agreement was originally mooted in the late 1980s, we were suffering many casualties in the area which is no longer the case. Satish Chandra

This explicitly shows that the Indian government had been shifting stances on the Siachen issue according to its position on the ground.

What are the guarantees that Pakistan will not occupy the heights vacated by India? General V.P. Malik, Former Chief of Army Staff

Prime Minister cannot compel the Army to withdraw based on empty, meaningless words not backed by action. Ajit Doval, Former Director, Intelligence Bureau

At Saltoro, we dominate the heights overlooking the Northern Areas and land illegally ceded by Pakistan to China. Kanwal Sibal, Former Foreign Secretary

 
 

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The Role of International Powers in Resolving the Kashmir Issue


Note from the Author  I joined the Institute of Communication Studies in October 2010 and enjoyed the privilege of attending ‘almost’ all the weekly seminars arranged at the Institute. These seminars fueled critical debates, interactive sessions and thought-provoking discussions over sociopolitical issues. Usually, top media commentators, journalists, analysts and experts were invited as guests. The tradition still carries on. Unfortunately, I didn’t post all the reports on my blog which I used to draft right after the last speaker left the mic. At that time I was serving as the Assistant Editor for the official News Bulletin of the Institute of Communication Studies. I have left the post, but my passion hasn’t died. I shall be sharing (one by one) the views/comments of all the speakers that came in the seminars to discuss national and international issues. In my opinion, it is essential to electronically preserve these valuable comments. I decided to name this category ‘Voice of Pakistani Media’. This is the first post for this important category and there are a lot more to come.

Kashmir: the disputed territory


Prof Dr. Ahsan Akhtar Naz
Director Institute of Communication Studies
University of the Punjab, New Campus, Lahore

“Instead of resolving the Kashmir issue, which is a bone of contention between the nuclear powers of South Asia, only lip-service has been paid over this issue during the past 63 years”.


Shamshad Ahmad (former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan)

“Inefficient leadership of Pakistan has placed the Kashmir issue in limbo. Domestic and foreign policy of Pakistan needs to be revamped”.


Prof. Dr Mughees uddin Sheikh (former Dean of Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of the Punjab, New Campus). Present Dean of Mass Communication department, Superior University.

“Pakistan will be left barren and battered due to the twin menaces of famine and drought without Kashmir”.


Sajjad Mir
T.V anchor and Director for Current Affairs at News One

“Kashmir issue was never in the priority list of International stalwarts like the United States and Russia”.



Prof Dr. Ijaz Butt
Principal Government College Township
Professor of International Relations and Political Science

“Super powers had always supported Indian stance over the issue because of their vested interests in India. Pakistan was never supported by the US over the Kashmir issue despite being front line non-NATO ally of the US in the so-called ‘war on terror’. Conversely, the US drone attacks targeted its own ally (Pakistan).”

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Voice of Pakistani Media

 

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Siachen: dispute within a dispute- China as mediator


THERE is a need to adopt a negotiated approach among the Third World countries. Pakistan has finally decided to engage in a dialogue with India over the Siachen issue.

A few would disagree with the analysis that Pakistan’s foreign policy has always been overshadowed by rivalry with its neighbour, India. Kashmir has remained a bone of contention between the strategically-important Pakistan and economically-empowered India.

Both countries are spending huge amounts of money in order to swell their defence budgets. Bilateral and multilateral diplomacy seems to be the only solution for resolving outstanding issues.

Both countries have hardly ever used bilateral or multilateral diplomacy. It is imperative to utilise regional associations for developing a symbiotic relationship between states at a regional level without undermining their sovereign status.

With regards to Pakistan and India, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation can be considered a good option for the purpose of ‘accommodative diplomacy’.

Undoubtedly, the association has remained a debating platform since its establishment.

It has played a pivotal role to accentuate common issues and regional interdependence among the South Asian countries.

India being the second most populous country in the world, an emerging economy and a potential market, has left its neighbours with no other option except to live with it as good as they can.

The Siachen issue is often referred to as a ‘dispute within a dispute’ and for this reason it is intertwined with various factors. It is imperative to mutually decide and allocate the defence budget, keeping in view the resources of all the South Asian countries.
All the countries should only spend the amount decided for the purpose of their defence.

Through dialogue and negotiation both Pakistan and India should withdraw their troops from what is considered the world’s highest battlefield. Being an observer state of Saarc and Pakistan’s ‘all-weather friend’, China can become a mediator between Pakistan and India for transforming Siachen into a peace park.

On the other hand, India should remain flexible and comprehend the diplomatic intricacies of the South Asian region which directly affect its development, prosperity and survival.

Originally published in Dawn newspaper on April 27, 2012.
http://dawn.com/2012/04/27/siachen-dispute-within-a-dispute/

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Letters

 

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