The political era of Indo-Pak relationship shows that their leaders, only to gain the support from their people, have vocalized the issues between two countries. It is also on record that whenever peace initiatives are taken places either tension on the borders or war between the countries broke out. For example; after the ‘bus-diplomacy’ – visit of Vajpayee from Amritsar to Lahore in February, 1999, Kargil war broke out in October, 1999. Following the ‘Agra Summit’ – the visit of General Musharraf to Agra, in July 2001 –” there was suicide attack was on Indian parliament on December 13, 2001. Tensions between the two countries reached at the boiling point again when Kashmiri militants killed more than two dozen Indian soldiers’ wives and children in an attack on army housing complex in Jammu and Kashmir. India deployed 700,000 Indian troops on its border alongside Pakistan with the threats of ‘decisive’ action against Pakistan by Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. In response, Pakistan deployed about 300,000 troops to its side of the border to counter the Indian mobilization. Both the countries tested series of highly visible long-range nuclear warhead career missiles. And then General Musharraf offered hands of friendship by shaking hand with the (former) Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the 11th SAARC conference on January, 2002.
Bond with heritage and myths of race, culture and customs the people of both the countries are now sick of antagonism and they are as thirstier of peace as they politically induced revulsions on name of geopolitical disputes. The ongoing people-to-people contacts have proved that for obvious reasons the vast majority of the people are genuinely interested in peace between the two nations. Similarly, the other countries in the region also understand that the advent of peace in the region is heavily dependent on Indo-Pak friendly relationship.
Now the leaders of India and Pakistan are socializing each other to accelerate the measures of friendship. Especially from Pakistan political and government figures are looking more interested to visit India. In the last six months or so, many Pakistani government official visited Pakistan. Responsively, Indian leaders have also attentively responded with positive gestures.
In the ongoing visit of Chourdhy Shujahat Hussain, the President of Pakistan Muslim League and his accompanying party members and senior ministers are showing high-level of amity gestures. In a statement Chaudhry Shujaat said people-to-people contacts should continue, including exchanges of political delegations. Putting aside Kashmir issue he excitedly said there have been no differences between Pakistan and India… if there is any adversary among us it is poverty, discriminations and violence… and we have to jointly fight against these social diseases. In response, the President of Indian ruling (Congress) party Sonia Gandhi said, an overwhelming public opinion in India and Pakistan backing the peace process had put special responsibility on the political leadership of the two countries to work towards resolving all outstanding disputes.
These are incredibly positive signs from the leadership of both countries that has been required from ages. Currently, both the governments are taking remarkable measures to enhance the people-to-people contact. The bus services between Muzaffarabad and Sri Nagar are being commenced. The people from media, art and entertainment are now frequently organizing the events in both the countries. The world community is largely appreciating all these friendship steps.
The recent gestures of mutual communication and willingness for bilateral talks between Indian and Pakistani leaderships are the key factors to negotiate and establish understanding and trust to find out the ways and means to resolve all the political and geopolitical issues. There could be enormous opportunities and countless incentives in almost every field for people of both the countries to establish friendly relations based on mutual benefits. Both the countries can save major part of their budget currently being spent on defence which can be used on providing basic facilities to their people in health, education, clean environment and other human development programmes.
One hopes that the ongoing visits and meetings of high officials and top leaderships of India and Pakistan including the upcoming visit of President Pervez Musharraf to India would flourish more trust and agreements to understand genuine grievances and view points of each other especially on the core issue of Kashmir and they should be able to resolve their differences on the basis of ‘give and take’. They world community expects that both the countries will lay down the foundation of an on-going plan for steady and friendly neighbouring relations in the best interest of the people of India, Pakistan and Kashmir and for stability and peace in the region.