Carrying the passengers of divided families between India and Pakistan to Lahore from Delhi, the Samjhuta (means accord) Express train was attacked and turned into rubbles by the terrorists using fire and suitcase bombs. The conflagrated human bodies draped under wreckage were beyond recognition. The early morning of Monday the 19th of February (2007) was another dark day in the long disputed history of Indo-Pak relations.
According to the official figures, the incident left 66 passengers died and several brutally injured. Just after the incident, the leaders of both India and Pakistan strongly condemned the attack and again proclaimed not to derail the ongoing peace process between the two rival countries.
Principally, on should appreciate the assenting statements of Indian and Pakistani leaders. However, the statements of condolence and sympathy can not bring back the human losses and cannot deliver contentment to those who lost their love ones.
How long this peace process will continue? When will the governments of India and Pakistan resolve their differences? And, when will the governments of both the countries provide security to their people from the acts of terrorism seen over and over again? After every dreadful incident the leaders of India and Pakistan promise to punish the culprits and eliminate the terrorism. Yet, the leaders of both the countries failed to provide any timeframe except the hopes and inspirations.
This is not the recent time when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now the current Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and their respected governments are asserting to continue the peace negotiations and resolve their geo-political disputes despite the incidents of terrorism time and again.
It is the bitter reality that the game of peace and threat has been the part of the diplomacy process between the governments of India and Pakistan for the last half a century. From Ayub Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Zia ul Haq to Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan to Shaistry, India Ghandi to Rajive Ghandi, the leaders of both Pakistan and India have been found vocalizing the needs of peace & harmony, signing accords, initiating peace proposals and affirming to resolve their geo-political disputes. Yet, as the situation of mistrust, threat and inflexibility still stand all their memorandums of understanding (MoU) have been found to be the manifestos of self interest and the interest of their parties in power.
It has been less than a year when, in July, 2006, series of bombs were blown in a crowded commuter train in Mumbai killed 174 and injured more than 400 people. Same kind of assurance of providing safety & security were made by the Indian government followed by Pakistan’s condemnation with declaration to work closely with Indian counterparts to find the culprits.
The recent exploded train was a border-crossing security-sealed train where the passengers and their baggage are supposed to be checked thoroughly. That means the terrorists must have been gone through the security and immigration checks successfully before boarded on the train. At one side the government of India and Pakistan are claiming that they are going through a critical time and making huge efforts to maintain peace process. On the other side, the responsible government agencies of India and Pakistan are failed to maintain adequate security at public and sensitive places to make sure that no one should try to sabotage their efforts of bringing the friendly relations.
The international community expects from India and Pakistan that both the countries should show confidence among themselves and each other to move forward, work together closely launch practical step to complete their process of resolving issues, as soon as possible. The proposals and plans can only be transformed into successful implementation when the leaders of both the countries think in the interest of the people of entire region, the stability of the entire region and work within a clear cut time frame. Now the question is; will this be possible.
How can the governments of India and Pakistan control the terrorism when almost in government agency there is high level of corruption in both the countries? Just paying small money to the person on duty anyone can cross the security checks successfully.
Maintaining security, Law and Order and safe environment for every citizen is a systemic process. While the population growth of the subcontinent is at its alarming stage, the people are still suffering of basic necessities of daily life. Law & Order, Health, Social Security and Justice Systems are below the standards. On the other hand, the funds that should be used to provide basic facilities to the people and eliminate corruption from the society are spent on developing nuclear weapons and long range missiles.
The international community and the people of Indo-Pak can not afford to see more innocent lives to be on the mercy of terrorists. Similarly, the process of reconciliation and negotiations should be now moved to the next phase of declaring and implementing resolutions.
Let’s take for instance, the core issue of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Both the countries have been lingering the dispute for the last 50 years and fought three major wars. In the last few years Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf and Indian leadership from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to the current Prime Minster Dr. Manmohan Singh claimed their sincerity in resolving the dispute, yet both the parties failed to come out with any proposal to offer to the people of Kashmir.
The years long process of talks and negotiation must now deliver the accord. The leadership of both India and Pakistan should show courage and ability to put forward the plan on the basis of ‘give and take’ by the parties involved. Options like; (1) Declare both Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir as an independent state with no control of Pakistani and Indian administration but international monitoring forces until Kashmiri themselves able to establish their own security forces (2) Declare the Line of control as an official border of Pakistan and Kashmir with ban on all the freedom activities in Kashmir (3) Both Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of Kashmir should be provided real liberty to have their own governments with no interference of India and Pakistan. Both the parts of Kashmir would have soft border allowing people of Kashmir for easy transit and trade between two parts. The details on the settlement must be worked out by all three parties; Kashmiris, Pakistanis, and Indians. (4) Hand over both parts of the Kashmir to joint Indo-Pak administration and so on. These options or any other, one can only hope that the leaderships of both the countries should realize that the timing is running out and delay in finding the resolutions will only help to those elements who don’t want the people of both the nations live in peace and harmony.