“Aman Ki Asha” – Lets Take it Easy
By Zia Siddiqui
The efforts made by the organizers of “Aman Ki Asha” are praise worthy. Important people across the line are sitting together and talking. Sometimes sarcastically and at other times meaningfully, but at least listening to each other patiently in a very civilized manner, and not walking out from the forums that have been organized after lot of ground work. Their visits, meetings and media talks have made things move. Be it the granting of MFN status to India by Pakistan, or the relaxation of visa regime by India along with trimming the negative trade list.
There are no two opinions about the efficacy of this warmth between these select group of people. But, the question remains; what are officials of the two countries thinking while talking on the disputed matters. Perhaps this warmth and enthusiasm is lacking at that level, and that is why before any such talks, someone speaks so bitterly on the issue to be discussed that the negotiations fail to start, and the round gets concluded without any satisfactory outcome.
When I see some of these noted analysts so overly enthusiastic on the prospects of peaceful relations between India and Pakistan, I sincerely pray for them that they do not have to face heartbreak. Perhaps they also understand that things are not so simple and straight forward as they appear during informal gatherings, and TV shows. But the impression one gets after these shows and meetings that they could easily conclude an agreement ready for the two Heads of the Governments to sign in the ceremony to be held either in Islamabad or New Delhi soon. One can recall how a noted anchorperson of a very popular private TV Channel was trying to broker a deal between Ghazi Abdul Rashid and the government ministers during Lal Majjid operation in July, 2007, only to see Ghazi killed few hours later.
While one would wish the peacemakers best of luck in their sincere efforts in this regard, I would urge them to look deep into India’s motivation of maintaining the status quo, and not inch closer to possible peaceful resolution of any of the disputes; including the so called doable or relatively less contentious. i.e Sir Creek or Siachin.
In fact status quo suits India and it can see through the prism of select media persons and channels that Pakistan can ill afford to continue on the path of confrontation with India. Pakistanis are being made to believe that their survival lies in accepting India’s supremacy in the region and therefore it is essential to forget about the disputes and move on. After all there are other countries in the region that have learned to coexist with the big brother, and are benefiting by doing business with India, even on its terms. The mere spillover effect of India’s progress is good enough for the smaller regional countries to develop at 5%-7% per annum. And, why should Pakistan not benefit from the phenomenon of rising India?
My advice to these renowned and respected media persons is not to assume the role of governments and kindly let the states move forward. May be they can push their own respective governments to speed up the process of normalization of relations, instead of virtually presenting the solutions on the TV talks with people of same categories from the other side. I am not, repeat, not against breaking the ice but I am against breaking the ice with my head, and giving false hope to the nation. I would rather do it through prudent policies and shrewd diplomacy. While I am suggesting the media persons to hold height, I expect that the two governments would read the moods of the people and move positively towards embracing the conflict resolution mechanism so as to achieve real peace and stability in the region instead of ‘No War-No Peace’ that we are living with since the last decade or so through conflict management mechanisms.