There has been mixed response to the BCCI's decision to host Pakistan Cricket Team in December-January for a limited-over’s series (July 2012). Ex cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Kirti Azad are critical of this decision of BCCI, while many others on both sides of the divide have welcomed this idea. Imran Khan, ex-cricketer turned politician welcomed the idea saying that this will pave the path for bringing normalcy to relations between the two countries through negotiation table. For Asif Ali Zardari, the President of Pakistan, this is a step of confidence building between the two countries.
The popular perception in
India is that Pakistan
is responsible for all acts of terror in India. While in Pakistan many things are attributed to the role
of India, its interference
in the Pakistan.
In India one can see that
with the mention of word Pakistan,
there is an instant fright descending in the atmosphere. The latest attack of
26/11 is still being investigated and it has caused lot of worsening of the
image of Pakistan
in Indian psyche. As such right since partition and more so during last three
decades these images are mutually negative. The whole politics of oil, as
reflected in and around the Afghanistan-Taliban-Al Qaeda, which is primarily
the creation of US policy of maintaining dominance in the region for the sake
of controlling the global oil reserves, has the accomplice in the form of
Pakistan army. The distinction between the US-Army nexus on one side and
Pakistani civil society-democratic government is not much realized in India. All
charges are attributed to Pakistan
in general, leading to a negative feeling here. On the top of that the policies
of Pakistan are reflected on
to Indian Muslims, who in turn are supposed to be more loyal to Pakistan, an
absurd and baseless assumption.
This assumption was exploited in a surreal manner by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In the after math of Godhra train burning-Gujarat pogrom, first he attributed the train burning to Pakistan’s ISI and then kept challenging General Parvez Musharff, the then President of Pakistan, who had usurped power from democratic Government, in his speeches. This went to the absurd limits of communal polarization when during the
Gujarat elections the hoardings came up
with Modi on one side and Musharraf on the other side, as if Modi is fighting
election against Musharraf. The underlying message which Modi tried to give was
is under threat from Muslims as symbolized by Musharrf and Modi is the saviour
for Hindus. Musharrf was used as a symbolism for Indian Muslims. This shrewd
trick helped the communal forces to consolidate themselves in Gujarat and other
places, also leading to the victory of Modi in the post pogrom Gujarat elections.
As such there is a growing realization in both the countries that the destinies of both the countries are linked together and it is in their own interests to grow more congenial relations, which in turn will help solve most of the bilateral issues. Surely
As such there is a need to revive the SAARC, the joint platform of South Asian countries for regional cooperation. This platform came up with great amount of hope but seems to have lost steam from quite some time. India-Pakistan are the major players in this arena while the other South Asian countries share a lot of legacy, commonality of problems and their cooperation is in the interest of all of them. In this direction the peace loving individuals of
have been contributing by keeping the links alive through various forums sowing
the seeds of hope.
Today, this longing for bilateral relations and peace is finding a growing articulation in the civil society in
well. Pakistan army, with
its own vested interests is averse to such measures of peace, but our hope and
wish has to be a stronger democracy in Pakistan, which will surely be
looking forward to strengthening the bonds of amity between the two countries.
It also reminds us as to how much both these countries are inflating their
defence budget, year after year, projecting the threat of the ‘neighbouring
enemy’. This inflated defence budget is at the cost of the basic needs of
social welfare, which are the dire needs in both the countries.
Surely to begin with both the countries not only need to restore the cricket but also take the steps in improving ties in the area of trade, health and education. There is also a dire need to loosen the tightness of VISA regime, which is stifling the bilateral visits of civilians.