In the last few months, some conciliatory efforts have been initiated by the governments of India and Pakistan. These steps have received enthusiastic support from many domestic as well as foreign sources… This writing from Dr. Rohila’s – the Executive Director of the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia – regular newsletter.
Trade between the two nations has definitely increased. Thanks to the initiatives undertaken by Aman Ki Asha, Rotary International, and business and media leaders, many more delegations have crossed the India- Pak border than before. The number of Pakistani patients receiving treatment in India is on the rise.
All this is well and good. But on the path of peace, we are still far away from the point of no return.
Some critical issues are still unresolved. Common people continue to be confronted with the same old problems in their attempts to visit with their friends and relative on the other side of the India-Pak border. Most importantly, distrust and suspicion even now rule the roost among many bureaucrats and political leaders. Also some military officials, reactionary outfits, and others who stand to benefit from the conflict economy are unwilling to change their self-serving positions.
The situation is not likely to change significantly until and unless both governments conclude a peace and friendship treaty featuring renunciation of war, overt and covert aggression, and first use of nuclear weapons against each other. The treaty must provide for settlement of all current as well as future disagreements through jointly approved/administered mechanisms.
Any peace between India and Pakistan would be incomplete, if it does not allow for free flow of goods, people and ideas across their common border.
And any peace between the two nations will remain hollow until and unless there is peace and harmony also in all neighborhoods, villages, towns and cities within their borders.
To accomplish it the federal, provincial and local governments on each side must ensure the welfare of all their citizens especially those who are weak, and often neglected, especially children, women and minorities.
Further they must guaranty that every citizen is able to live, work, vote, practice his beliefs and express his views, without infringing on the rights of others to do the same.
The civil society in both countries must realize that peace is not a spectator sport. They must abandon their attitude of benign indifference, and instead assume a proactive stance to do whatever is necessary to achieve these objectives.