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Stalled peace process
Kashmir-related dialogue has yet to take off ground
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If the initiation of composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan had generated hopes for an end to the prolonged hostility and confrontation between the two neighbouring countries ushering into a new era of peace in the region and fruitful cooperation between them the failure of the two governments to move fast on the road to peace has been a cause of serious concern. The people of Jammu and Kashmir, who had to face the major brunt of six decade long conflict, had in particular hoped for an end to political uncertainty about their future. But unfortunately the dialogue process has not moved fast to resolve all the disputes between the two countries including that of Jammu and Kashmir peacefully. There have been many an ups and downs with several extraneous factors causing prolonged disruptions. The two governments have so far failed even to overcome the huge trust-deficit by adopting the desired confidence-building measures (CBMs), so much needed to create a conducive climate for the peace process. There are powerful vested interests in both the countries which would spare no efforts to create roadblocks on the way to peace. That explains why even some of the welcome decisions taken during the last meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries have not been implement so far. This is particularly so in the case of some relaxations in the rigid visa system which could have helped in facilitating the people-to-people dialogue that can help in creating a climate of trust and act as a catalyst for pushing forward the dialogue process to its logical end.

Regrettably, the dialogue process in relation to Jammu and Kashmir issue, which undoubtedly is the major cause of conflict between the two countries, has not yet been initiated. A few confidence building measures like the opening of a couple of old routes to facilitate travel and trade across the line of control, though welcome, have not been hassle-free. These have not been followed by opening of more routes particularly Kargil-Skardu, Jaurian-Bhimber, Jhangar-Kotli and Jammu Sialkot routes with free travel and trade with simplified procedure. The failure of the two government to withdraw their troops from Siachen Glacier and converting it into a peace park is indeed inexplicable. The two countries have also not yet decided on the important issue of demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir and an end to all kinds of human rights abuses on their respective sides. This is particularly so on the Indian side of Kashmir where the large presence of troops in the civilian areas with large-scale human rights abuses has been posing a major hurdle in the way of peace.

While CBMs are no doubt important for creating a congenial climate for pushing forward the peace process. These cannot be substitutes for a sustainable solution of the Kashmir problem. It is imperative to provide their due space at the dialogue table to the people of the troubled state for finding a just and peaceful solution of the problem. The two countries must take positive steps for facilitating sustained dialogue between the people of the state across the line of control for finding a consensus on the solution of the problem that could satisfy the urges and aspirations of the people living in all the regions and areas of the State and which should also keep in view the overall interests of both India and Pakistan.
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News Updated at : Tuesday, December 4, 2012
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