No territory is more critical than
Kashmir for both and New Delhi . Wedged between Islamabad and India , it is the most crucial military,
territorial and religious issue in Pakistan South Asia. A renewed phase of trust-building appears to be in the
offing. The two countries are talking trade,which could lead to confidence building
and fresh start to talks over Kashmir and cross-border terrorism.
However, mixed signals are emerging from
's government and military
establishment. The former talks about possible Taliban push into Pakistan and the latter demanding pullout from
Siachen.Parjanya Bhatt talks to Sajjad Lone, Chairman of the People's
Conference and tries to understand how India Kashmir views the new development.
and India are talking to develop trade ties
unlike Pakistan Kashmir and cross-border terror. Your first
A) It is good if trade ties are developed between the two countries. Trade leads to economic interdependence and it is an imperative if you want two countries to sit and resolve issues.
Q) Do you think there is change of heart/approach on both the sides of the border? Can we expect that a sustained and result-oriented peace
process will ensue?
A) It does seem that they are moving in a new spirit.We can only keep our fingers crossed that the statements emanating will result in a decisive moment that we all are hoping for. It all matters on the leaderships in the respective countries. I for one want to believe that, yes it seem to be a stepping stone into a new era.
and India have put border and territorial
disputes on the back burner (not in deep freeze) and trade is the first
priority. Do you think China and New Delhi are following the same model? Islamabad
A) I have no idea.
Q) Pakistani Army General Ashfaq Kayani has referred to resolving the Siachen, peaceful co-existence and demilitarisation of Siachen. Is this a positive sign? Will prioritising trade with
A) A very powerful statement from a serving Army chief. It is certainly a positive sign. Demilitarisation of Siachen may not mean a lot in terms of physicality. It means a lot psychologically. It depicts a renewed phase of trust.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik has warned
Pakistan about possible Taliban push into India . In such a situation India Kashmir could be the first victim. Do you think
is raising genuine case for peace with Pakistan ? India
A) Beyond a certain stage continued trouble in
could mean trouble for the most
imminent neighbour, and that is Pakistan . Pakistani voices have to be genuine.
They are also reeling from the menace. India
Q) Hafiz Saeed is free and there is no guarantee that terrorists won't strike the valley or any other part of
, which can derail the little progress
the two sides have achieved and the peace in the valley. Your view. India
A) Nobody can stand guarantee for the actions of non-state actors, irrespective of the control that the state might have over them. An individual roaming free should not hold two nations hostage. No individual is so strong to derail the peace initiatives of two countries.
Q) What role do you see for the moderate voice and the hardliners from the valley? Do you think
will/should invite various stakeholders
from the valley? New Delhi
as well as New Delhi need to understand the contribution of
the moderates. They need to be encouraged and involved. Nothing should be done
overtly or covertly, which is tantamount to encouraging hardline and extreme
tendencies. Keeping moderates out of the process is a pass ice endorsement of
extreme views. Pakistan
gave shelter to Osama bin Laden and is
now sinking in its self created chaos of state sponsored terrorism. What future
do you see for Pakistan Kashmir?
A) Future of
Kashmir by its very political and geographical origins is linked to
peace in South
THE ABOVE INTERVIEW APPEARED ON 26 April, 2012 in FREE PRESS JOURNAL ON THE NATION PAGE AS A LEAD INTERVIEW STORY.