Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is claiming that connecting people and regions with more routes and other positive activities is her mission. Her statement came during her interaction with some visitors from the other side of Kashmir, who met her here last week.
No doubt dialogue, reconciliation and economic development in the whole region would possibly bring an end to violence, acrimony and most of all miseries of people living in both divided parts of the state.
One school of thought, mostly affiliated with the PDP has been vehemently proposing opening of all historic routes across LoC which according to them can get the State on the threshold of prosperity and economic affluence, besides sending across the message of peace, coexistence and amity between India and Pakistan.
This thought could have found more takers but alas, the past few years have been very tough as far as the Indo-Pak relations are concerned. It is unfortunate that violence and acrimony has taken over the discourse between the two countries due to which activity on these positive ideas has slowed down.
So everyone harps on the fact that this negativity would ultimately fade and these positive initiatives would take centre stage. The CBMs which included opening of travel and trade points on the LoC were believed to be ‘mother of all CBM’s’. However, the CBM’s have lost relevance in today’s atmosphere of hostility as they were not taken to next higher level where the points of convergence between the two people become much more pronounced and the lines dividing them become irrelevant forever.
The opening up of the LoC could have proven a step that could pave the way for larger reconciliation in the region.
But unfortunately, the present government lead by the PDP has failed to get any breakthrough on this important issue. The cross LoC trade and travel points were initiatives taken by the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2002. It is almost fifteen years down the line that the move has not been able to inch any further.
The PDP has more or less lost its grip and control over the central leadership even though given the fact that the BJP is sharing power with it in the state since 2014. The fact that the BJP should have been convinced by now, of course by its alliance partner to get the cross LoC CBM’s into the next level, but all this has not happened so far.
As of today voices are growing much shriller to do away with the cross LoC CMB’s with rightwing parties across India asking the BJP to close down the trade and travel routes for ever.
The voices of the rightwing parties are so strong that the collation partner of the PDP also hinted out its views of not being very comfortable with the LoC CBM’s.
The situation on ground is also reflecting the lack of interest on the part of the Union government as well.
The cross LoC bus which used to operate twice a week has not been conducting any rounds from the past two weeks. The fall out-dozens of people have been left stranded on the two sides of the LoC. These are the people who had come to see their long lost relatives, but have not been able to return as the bus service has been suspended.
The situation is no different on the trade front. Trade has not been conducted at the twin LoC trade points since the past two weeks. The traders involved in the trade have been facing huge loses too, but an irreparable loss that has been taking its toll is that trust has become a causality as the CBM’s of opening LoC routes have not been able to earn any goodwill so far.