The Subcontinent needs Peace and Prosperity. The Way to Both Lies through Kashmir

The Subcontinent needs Peace and Prosperity. The Way to Both Lies through Kashmir
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Arshad Khan

In the year 1947, India and Pakistan , as free countries from imperialism , were born. Since then both have fought three wars against each other.
The hangover of partition still looms large over them mainly in the form of the Kashmir conflict. This has remained the core issue which continues to keep the fire of animosity burning between them and which burns the prospects of peace and prosperity for the two countries. In spite of the historical lessons that no conflicts have been resolved by fighting wars but instead by dialogues and discussions. Even after fighting wars, rival parties to the disputes have to return to the dialogue table to resolve them.
Hence, dialogue should have been the first priority for these countries to resolve the disputes and issues of contention but they never applied this method. Rather , they fought wars and are continuing this approach. They have not learned any lessons from the historical blunders that they have committed.
The same history of these two countries during which they fought wars provided them with many opportunities to resolve pending disputes. The Lahore Declaration and Agra Summit are two occasions where it is thought that a consensus had been reached and a roadmap has been worked out to resolve the pending issues and disputes.
Unfortunately, on both the occasions, and some previous occasions as well, the adamant and stubborn attitude of some politicians, and people in power, never allowed that to happen. They felt insecure in case peace and friendship is established between the two countries. Literally, these types of people and politicians gain their relevance only with the unresolved issues and disputes. Otherwise, they have no achievement to show to the people.
Now, when a new dispensation under the leadership of cricketer turned politician, Imran Khan, has taken over the reins of the government in Pakistan, it should be viewed as a fresh opportunity to resolve all the pending issues and disputes between India and Pakistan. Both the countries should immediately initiate some confidence building measures and start an unconditional dialogue process.
As per reports, some headway has been made and behind the curtains the preparations for dialogues are being made, if they have not been made already. It is a good news and all the parties and people of the countries should support the governments concerned. Peace, security and progress are desperately needed in the subcontinent so as to deal with the chronic problems of poverty, environmental degradation, food security and to raise the standard of education and health sectors.
It is never too late as they say and the same should be true about these neighbors. The Indian government under Narendra Modi, who enjoys unprecedented support of numbers in the Parliament and the state legislatures and the Pakistani government under the serious looking Prime Minister Imran Khan can make a huge difference.
They could break the previous trend of failed dialogues and dialogue processes and move towards the serious business of developing a mechanism of resolving all their pending disputes and issue. If North Korea and South Korea can move towards friendship, there is no reason why the heavyweights of the subcontinent could not do the same.
Always during the course last seventy years these countries have treated Kashmir as a zone of conflict. They, to reiterate, have fought wars over it. But, they never thought of making it a zone of peace, and nuclear and other weapons free zone. If they succeed in doing this, the Kashmir issue might get resolved by default without compromising the positions of any of the parties to the dispute.
The present times under the changed guard in Pakistan and somewhat change attitude in India is a time of opportunity. If wasted , it could push the two countries more towards uncertainty and insecurity. Both Narendra Modi and Imran Khan should show great dynamism, character, power of accommodation and the will to defeat the people with nefarious designs who try to keep the pot of rivalries boiling.
The history of the subcontinent is at the cross roads, it needs wisdom of the rulers of different countries to ensure the security and sustainability of the region. The region requires its leaders to ensure that security and sustainability and hope is that Narendra Modi and Imran Khan will rise above petty politics and start rendering that great service towards the subcontinent and the world as a whole. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!

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