Musharraf’s visit to India and Pace of Peace

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Unlike the tragedy the “Agra” summit was, President Pervez Musharraf’s three-day recent visit to India has fetched results and pushed the normalization process forward. The Agra summit was held without any preparatory work, and the memory of the Kargil conflict in 1999 was still fresh. This summit meeting took place while the two countries played cricket. Starting with a hesitant ceasefire and a slow moving composite dialogue, the two countries have arrived at and irreversible peace’ through a series of confidence building measures. Despite any major break through on “Kashmir” or “Baglihar Dam” or any other issue falling in the realm of bilateral negotiations fails to tarnish the strength of geniality it has created between the two countries in the recent past. The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad” bus service was a “small step” towards confidence building and a small contribution for the happiness of the people. But right now “cricket diplomacy” produced a “deal platform or pitch” where there is no butcher like “Shahid Afridi” to ruin the high hopes of the people of India.

The pace of peace is getting momentum after the issuance of recent joint declaration. The visit started with great expectation and ended with a sustainable hope that peace process is irreversible. The ties of love, harmony and brotherhood would be the first and foremost priorities of both the countries in the near future. All the main stakeholder of international power politics and regional powers welcomed the joint declaration of both the dynamic leaders of both the countries. USA, Russia, China, EU and the last not the least UNO also welcomed the outcome of recent visit of Gen. Pervez Musharraf to India. Commitments of having ever lasting peace have been reinforced. Desires of bilateral harmony have been armored. Wishes of having closed socio-economic ties have been lightened. Policies have been finalized to resolve the bitter issues like Kashmir and Bagliar Dam. People-to-people contacts have been cemented.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, with President Musharraf standing by his side issued a “Joint Declaration” for the national and international electronics and print media. Mr. Singh said the two leaders agreed that the process of normalization was "irreversible". The new Confidence Building Measures mentioned in the declaration covered both political and economic fields. These are given below as:

– Start of “additional bus services” across the Line of Control in Kashmir

– The “movement of trucks” across the LoC

– The possible start of a “Lahore-Amritsar bus service”

– Permit “divided Kashmiri families” to meet at designated places

– To re-establish consulates in Karachi and Mumbai by the end of the year 2005. This should lessen the hardships of visa seekers, for instead of going to Islamabad and New Delhi, they will now be able to get visas in Karachi and Mumbai.

– The resumption of the “Khokrapar-Munabao” train service has been delayed till January 1 2006.

– Launching a rail link between “Rajasthan” and “Sindh” by January 1, 2006.

– They also agreed to operationalize additional routes including that between “Poonch” and “Rawalakot”.

– Baglihar dam design can be changed

– To reactivate the “Joint Economic Commission” as early as possible.

– They also agreed that the “Joint Business Council” should meet soon.

Others areas of interests including the gas pipeline from Iran, the two countries have stuck to the earlier position that talks on this project should begin in May. On the geopolitical front, the both leaders agreed that terrorism would not be allowed to derail the peace process, and they pledged to resolve the SSir Creek and Siachen issues. Both the countries have shown their genuine worries that lasting peace between Pakistan and India is not possible without a resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The two sides addressed the issue of Jammu and Kashmir during their talks and agreed to continue these discussions in a sincere, purposeful and forward-looking manner for a final settlement. The two leaders strongly condemned the attempts to disrupt the “Srinagar-Muzaffarabad” bus service and welcomed its successful operationalization. They pledged that they would not allow terrorism to impede the peace process.

In his recent visit the President of Pakistan Gen. Pervez Musharraf termed the Kashmir issue as "complicated”. President Pervez Musharraf advocated a three-phased approach to resolving it by ascertaining the views of Kashmiris and developing consensus for a final decision to be taken by the top leadership of India and Pakistan. Interacting with Pakistani media in Delhi before emplaning for Manila, Musharraf said the Kashmir issue was so complicated that it cannot be resolved by tripartite talks, that is between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris, which has been Islamabad’s traditional demand.

Conclusion

Let us hope that journey of love and peace started from “Agra Summit” will continue forever. And people of both the countries may be in save heaven on earths. The “Srinagar-Muzaffarabad” bus service was the first step towards an imminent solution of Kashmir. That bus service started with looming fears of being sabotaged but ultimately tears of happiness, horizons of human commitments and the last not the least senses of decency, humanity, brotherhood, love, peace and harmony prevailed. Now, the right combination of cricket diplomacy, dynamic and visionary leadership of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and sensible political and administrative articulation of Manmohan Singh the Prime Minister of India promised that whole peace process is unstoppable. Let us hope that pitch of political levels should not be bouncy and there will not be any butcher like Shahid Afridi and any toofan like Rana Naveed to be played on the pitches of politics and diplomacy.

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