NEW TURNING IN PAK-INDIA RELATIONS

ALI SUKHANVER

Ali SukhanverIf we blame the whole nation for the misdeeds of a handful of people it is simply injustice. It is true that after Mr. Modi’s coming into government, the extremist elements in the Indian society have become stronger, the incidents of cruelty against the Muslims have increased and one could very easily feel a wave of intolerance against the Muslims in India but it does not mean that the whole of the Indian society must be held responsible for the situation. On the whole the Indian people are peace loving and cordial in nature. They are very much successful in the field of science and technology, education, poetry and film-making. They own a very fertile heritage regarding culture and civilization but a handful of extremist element there is simply damaging the repute and character of the whole of Indian nation. Until unless a strict eye is kept on this extremist element no peace effort between India and her neighboring countries could be successful. Recently India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj came to Pakistan to attend the Heart of Asia Security Conference. Her visit to Pakistan was in fact the first significant engagement between India and Pakistan since the meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PM Narendra Modi in July at Ufa earlier this year. It is being hoped that this visit of Swaraj would pave way to better relations between Pakistan and India. During her visit she had a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad amid efforts by both countries to improve ties. Sources say that she conveyed to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif India’s commitment to ‘good neighbourly relations’. Earlier talking at the ‘Heart of Asia Summit’, she said it was time that India and Pakistan displayed “maturity” in doing business with each other. She added that on India is prepared to move her cooperation at a pace which Pakistan is comfortable with.  Media reports say that the first visit by an Indian foreign minister to Pakistan in three years comes as part of a series of events following a surprise meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Paris two weeks ago on the sidelines of the climate change conference. That meeting led to secret talks between the National Security Advisors of both countries in Bangkok last week. Things are no doubt moving to a positive direction but for ‘good neighbourly relations’ the most important thing is to discourage the blame game which has become a hobby of different politicians and media-men in India. Two weeks back the Indian media at once started blaming Pakistan of supporting the freedom fighters in the Indian Occupied Kashmir without any proof. The tradition of dragging Pakistan into Kashmir conflict is very old but after Modi’s coming into power this tradition has become stronger. On one hand Muslim actors, film directors, poets and singers are being victimized in India, on the other hand the blame game with reference to the Indian Occupied Kashmir is also on its bloom. Every day the Indian newspapers are replete with the anti-Pakistan statements of the Indian extremist leaders.

The Indian government is continuously depriving the people of Kashmir of their basic human rights. Executive Orders like AFSPA are simply making the life of Kashmir people painful as much as possible. Armed Forces Special Powers Act grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in so-called disturbed areas. This Act of 1958 is commonly known as ‘a draconian law’ and it allows even a junior non-commissioned officer to ‘shoot to kill’ on mere suspicion in order to maintain ‘Public Order’. This license to murder is widely misused by the security forces in India particularly in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Some of the moderate politicians of India call this license ‘a trigger-happy culture of governance’. The Act has been employed in the Indian administrated state of Jammu and Kashmir since 1990. As per rules and regulations the security forces of any country must be the custodians of human rights and civil privileges but in the Indian Occupied Kashmir the situation is altogether different. Under the shield of AFSPA, the security forces are butchering and slaughtering the innocent people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir. Various human rights activists have ever been expressing their reservations regarding this inhuman and brutal Act but they are never listened to. The Kashmiris are a nation according to any definition. They must be given the same rights which other nations are enjoying. India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has a lot of experience regarding political and strategic affairs and she enjoys the repute of a balanced and unprejudiced personality. People of Kashmir expect from her that she would do all possible for giving back the basic human rights to the helpless Kashmiris. And this step would be the first step in bringing the two countries closer and in making the region a homeland to peace and prosperity.

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