Friday, 28 February 2014

Let's Give Peace a Try Bakhtiar Qayyum

Let's Give Peace a Try
Bakhtiar Qayyum
India and Pakistan have already lived six decades of hate, confrontations, border skirmishes, military escalations and wars. The hostilities have held us from doing good things for our people like eradicating poverty, lessening the miseries of downtrodden and unprivileged, providing shelter, healthcare and education. On the contrary we have made people of the two countries hate each other despite the fact that we share common history, culture, traditions and language. The division has been made on mere religion and a line drawn between the two ignoring the reality that more Muslims live in India than in Pakistan. Some war mongers and vested interest hawks on both sides of the border are keeping the fire burning. But the time has come when we should understand that war does not solve issues. Since the creation of India and Pakistan, the two countries have been involved in four wars and many border skirmishes and military stand-offs but none of the controversial issues could be resolved.

India is a big country. Its population is almost 18 percent of the total world population. About a decade ago, being over-populated was considered to be a big hindrance in the progress of a country but India after China has successfully converted that shortcoming into a sufficiency. The country has made great advancements in the fields of technology, industry, information technology, production, human resources and agriculture. War and hostilities not only hold back the pace of progress, it could even destroy what has been gained and achieved. And India cannot afford to roll back. It’s time to expand the business horizon and devote all efforts to achieving and then maintaining peace and tranquility in the region. Pakistan is also expected to make tangible progress in industrialization and in managing its human resources. So those at the helm of affairs in the two countries should sit together and sought out an everlasting peace plan.

The new world order aims towards a global governance system. As problems relating to human sufferings become graver, the world is getting closer to put in joint efforts in dealing with those problems. The European countries which have fought for hundreds of years have set forth to form one multi-nation. The process has been kicked off with the formation of European Union, where travelling restrictions have been completely removed, a common currency have been adopted and all difference been resolved through dialogue. There is also an anti-war sentiment on the rise in the Western world. Thus the demonstrations against the military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan saw a huge participation by general public in US and European metropolitans. The Indo-Pakistan subcontinent needs to demonstrate in a similar fashion against the war hysteria so that the option of war is further reduced. The controversial issues particularly the Kashmir issue should be seriously taken up to resolve permanently. And India being the bigger brother needs to take the lead in this direction.

The disputes between the two countries, which became the major cause for wars in the past, are not more important than providing food, shelter, healthcare and better living condition for the people of the two countries. As we cannot change our neighbors, the only option is to evolve a peaceful living environment for the coming generations. The non-aggressive environment will help both countries as it will save the resources presently diverted towards war efforts for making more hospitals, schools, providing food, clean drinking water and a healthier environment for the coming generations.

Pakistan is passing through the most difficult time of its existence. The menace of terrorism in the shape of Taliban has marred the country and is blemishing its image with each passing day. There are many causes to this menace; some internal others external, but one artifact is very evident – it was not a totally local breeding – it was sown and harvested in the neighboring Afghanistan and later transplanted in Pakistan. It has inbuilt symptoms of spreading to other lands if not stopped vigorously with combined efforts. So to stop the Taliban exporting their ideology into Indian territory, India should support Pakistani efforts to curb the threat with full might.
On way to peace processes Pakistan has been stressing that the issue of Kashmir should be resolved prior to making any inroad to mutual collaboration in other fields, particularly trading and commercial activities. Whereas Indian authorities were of the view that the two countries should initiate trading and collaboration in all fields of mutual interest and the controversial issues will be resolved with the passage of time. Perhaps the Indian point of view carries weight as too many years have been wasted through adopting the stubborn attitude by both sides. There had come many occasions in the vicious history of confrontation between the two countries when things got very near to solving the core issue (Pakistani authorities regard Kashmir issue as the core issue) but the vested interest on the two sides who do not feel comfortable with peace narratives, duped the efforts at the nick of the time. It’s time that people identify such hurdles and don’t pay heeds to their outcry. Benefits of peace need to be highlighted and all efforts diverted to achieve the same.
Mutual trade between the two countries would benefit both of them as Pakistan is a big market for Indian products and India offers very lucrative market for Pakistani goods. Moreover, when people of the two countries will come closer and have more interaction, the contentious issues will be sorted out through better understanding.

About the author:
Bakhtiar Qayyum is a retired officer, who served for more than 30 years in a prime Government of Pakistan agency. He possesses a thorough knowledge of political, social, ideological and security related issues of Pakistan. He is currently running a NGO namely “PIFF”, which is trying to lessening the hate factor from amongst the youth. His email is and Fb address @Bakhtiar Qayyum

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