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Pakistan and India: core issues

Published Dec 22, 2012 11:04pm

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THE recent visit of Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik to India got extensive media coverage in both countries. Now both countries have agreed to ease visa restrictions, increase trade and resolve all disputes through dialogue.

But reality is that frequent visits by several key ersonalities are only cosmetic steps, and mere speeches can’t bring any change in the region. Unfortunately, despite growing poverty, unemployment and raising prices of basic commodities, both countries are still spending huge amount of money on purchasing arms.

For the last several years tension is still high on the borders. In case of any terrorist activity on the Indian soil, India accuses Pakistan of terrorism, while Pakistan is seeing Indian hand in terrorism in Fata and Balochistan. Unfortunately, both governments are also not able to make any decisions against the wishes of hardline elements of extremist parties.

Several other key issues like Kashmir, Siachen, construction of controversial dams, and frequent acts of terrorism in both countries are also making things from bad to worse.

Only a few months ago Pakistan decided to move the International Court of Arbitration against the construction of the controversial Kishanganga dam. A proxy war is also going on in Afghanistan between the two countries. Until and unless these countries are not able to resolve genuine issues and longstanding disputes, peace in the region cannot be achieved.

K. UMER FAROOQ Jeddah