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IT is again that time of the year when we find ourselves speculating on whether or not Pakistani and Indian leaders will agree to a one-on-one on the sidelines of the forthcoming UN General Assembly session. This year tension on the boundaries has added greater uncertainty to this sadly routine debate — it is a reminder of the work pending to bring closer these two distant neighbours. Islamabad and New Delhi have accused each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire. On Tuesday, India said the death of five of its soldiers on the LoC will delay the much anticipated talks between top bureaucrats from the two countries. It invoked the “sanctity” of the LoC as the “most important confidence-building measure”. On its part, Pakistan’s military maintains the crisis has been created by India and it will persist so long as India wants it to.

This is an all too familiar if unyielding jumble of statements. The reality may never be allowed to emerge in the name of patriotism and national interests, with some in the media preferring jingoism to investigating the facts or the promotion of peace. Some Indian commentators have been quick to repeat their condemnation of what they call Pakistan’s aggressive intent, depending by and large on Indian military feeds. On this side of the border, a number of theories are doing the rounds seeking to explain the Indian need to challenge Pakistan militarily at this moment, again without the facts.

Fortunately, the voices which are able to see war and war-mongering as more than a game to indulge in are stronger today than ever before. These voices mark the real progress that people in both Pakistan and India have made on the path to a peaceful resolution of the problems. They bring out the futility of war, of war-mongering, and have the capacity to be heard loud and clear over the thoughtless cries for violent ‘solutions’. If jingoism is practised by some, it is worthwhile to count the number of times it has been described as such — jingoism. This is a strain that has to be augmented by the leadership. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s statement committing his government to good relations with India has to be followed up by a sustained effort towards the quick de-escalation of tensions and paving the way for a return to the dialogue table. A meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session next month could go a long way in achieving this objective.

Comments (8) Closed

Shankar Aug 15, 2013 09:35am

It will be totally stupid and suicidal of both India and Pakistan to talk of war. Each has the capacity to destroy the other many times over. The only loser will be generations of Indians and Pakistanis to come! Having said that, what should India do when it finds that it's soldiers are getting killed, beheaded, mutilated and it's civilians are being butchered by either the army or terrorists from Pakistan? Most in India believe that the government of Pakistan wants peace but can reign in neither its terrorists nor its army! In such a situation, what will the peace talks yield? People of India are not able to accept that it can be business as usual if such atrocities continue! Nobody is more desperate for peace than the PM of India. Unfortunately, he is going to pay a very heavy price for it in the next elections.The next PM may not be that desperate for peace with Pakistan!

Abdul Jabbar Aug 15, 2013 06:46pm

It sad India and Pak talk may not be held. The situation was Pak PM Nawas was preparing for talk with India for peace. The Pak Army started firing and ambush in border and now two counties in tension. Same situation just last time then PM wanted to talk Kargil ambush happen. 67 year we need peace. But who comvince that to Pak army. No democratic govenment Pak dare to tell them

Bahadur Aug 15, 2013 08:35pm

I agree with your editorial.In civilised world,talks are the only solution.But when india is bent on spoiling the atmosphere all the time,how could you have meaningful dialogue with one who does not want a resolution of the disputes at all?It takes two to tango.

shankar Aug 15, 2013 08:40pm

Who is in power in Pakisthan ? There are 4 parties. No one knows which is the real one. Till it is ascertained , successive Pak govt. hides behind it even if everybody outside pak laughs. There is a saying"what you sow ,so you will reap". thanks.

(Dr.) B.N. Anand Aug 15, 2013 09:07pm

Sir, very nice sentiments but excuse me if I may say our PM can not talk to Mr. Sharief on the dead bodies of our brave soldiers. The people here will not allow this until Pakistan makes some amends in this regard and clear the vicious air which has overtaken the relations between our countries. Another view which is going around among people here that Pakistan has made the border hot to make efforts to deflect from the sectarian violence going in your country. It is only in a scenario of insecurity that various sectarian groups can unite to fight a common enemy India thus stopping the Shia-Sunni killings as well as Talibans frequent suicide bombings. Surely, domestic politics is being played in the present case despite the leaders saying different from what they are practising in terms of planning incidents on LOC. BNA

ash Aug 16, 2013 03:34am

India and Pakistan should stop talking and stop everything between them including trade, sports (except international events like Olympics, World Cup, etc.), artists, etc. Let both countries do what best they think of themselves (which include terrorist activities by so called 'non state actors' from Pakistan). It is Indian government responsibility to dilute such 'non-state actors' by hook or crook. We have gained absolutely nothing by talking and I can assure you that even if they talk on the sidelines of UN, nothing will be achieved. Just waste of public money by talking by these Kings of each country (yes they behave like Kings).

bubba Aug 16, 2013 06:30am

Statements by Pakistan civilian govt don't mean much when they have no control over the military - it's one of those "elephant in the room" that most Pakistani's refuse to see.

Ali Zafar Aug 17, 2013 02:49pm

I m satisfied with this Column & solute her. Well since the inception of both countries they r not understand yet to eather. Where are their agreement which were signed on the basis of peace. Both countries should avoid to use word war & should work for their future. As the Qaid said that peace with all enimity none so we want peace not war