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Diplomacy

Indo-Pak Stalmate & The Kashmir

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The relations between India and Pakistan have always experienced the Low and High degrees with later offering strategic dialogue with full support from the People of Pakistan while the former remained aggressive showing utmost hostility and acrimony due to extremist forces within their country. The arch-rival India has never trusted Pakistan despite assurances and this mistrust has affected their bilateral relations given the existing circumstances.

The terrorism is yet another key problem that has crippled the economy of Pakistan as Pakistan has given countless sacrifices by fighting the Afghan war at the behest of America.

With extensive relations with the world especially Pakistan’s best friend China, India’s atrocities in Indian occupied Kashmir have been intensified with the passage of time. The use of Chemical weapons and widespread human rights violations, defying the UN resolutions on Kashmir valley demanding a plebiscite, the Indian aggression has infinite boundaries.

Even Indian nefarious design did not stop here; they are planning to alter the article 35A of Indian Constitution to change the status of the State of Kashmir in a bid to change the disputed status of the territory. There are widespread protests in Jammu Kashmir against such move and the leaders of Kashmir Freedom movement are either detained or put on house arrest. The Indian Supreme court is hearing the case.

The constitutional provision of article 35A does not allow people from outside the state to buy or own immovable property, seeking permanent residence, avail any state-funded scholarships or get the government jobs. It also gives power to the state legislature to define “permanent” residents. Historically, the Article 35A was added by a Presidential order to Article 370, in 1954 that applied the independent status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Recently, a Delhi-based NGO “We the Citizens” had filed the petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging the articles 35A and 370. The application argued that the above-mentioned articles were discriminatory towards the citizens from the rest of India. The Chairman Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Former Chief Minister of State of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti has warned the Indian Government that any tinkering with the aforesaid articles will result igniting violence in the valley that will be beyond the control of the security agencies.

The people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir also condemned this move and demanded from the world community to intervene and exert their pressure on India to back out from such tampering with the said provision of the Indian constitution. The Islamabad’s policy statement sent a strong message to New Delhi to refrain from such the move as Pakistan will raise this issue at UN and other International forums to win support of the world community to force India change it’s desperate trying to abrogate the articles 35A and 370 which lay the basis of Disputed Territory and stops the outsiders from buying the immovable property or seeking citizenship to turn the Muslim majority into minority through temporary settlements that may weaken the claims of Pakistan on the claims of Muslim majority as per the Independence plan of  1947.

ALSO READ:  Long March and Thereafter ……………

Pakistan has always fought a defensive war be it 1965, 1971 the fall of Dhaka, Kargil war and the subsequent heated war of words and the indiscriminate firing incidents on the Line of Control from the Indian side, resulting loss of civilians lives. Though Pakistan retaliates strongly yet Indians are the first to offend and harming the peace process .

The Political leadership remained divided over building close relations with India to maintain peace in the region. Both PPP and PML-N tried to have close relations with India and start the strategic dialogue with India and signed Confidence-building measures. PPP government remained close to Rajiv and Indira Gandhi’s Indian National Congress Government while PML-N leadership maintained close relations with BJP. Though both countries started the peace talks at Foreign Secretary level but given strong the pressure from militant or extremist forces, it was always India who cancelled the peace talks at the eleventh hour giving no solid reasons of such cancellation or rolling up dialogue process.

The blame game for internal involvement has brought them too far but the meaningful dialogue can bring them together once again. The great nations always settle their disputes through negotiation table as wars always bring misery to people and the destruction that takes years to rebuild the country’s infrastructure.

Both the Nuclear capable countries must think sensibly and restart the strategic dialogue to find a solution to the Kashmir problem and end the long rivalry that has created distrust and prompts them to have heavy defence budget rather than focusing on other sectors such as infrastructural development, Education, Health, trade, commerce, IT and Sports.

It is ironic that the enmity as has also gripped the cricket and the fans are disappointed due to the refusal of India playing the series with Pakistan within India and Pakistan or at the neutral venue such as UAE. Sporting events bring the people together and play a pivot role in the normalization of circumstances but regrettably, this option was also lost by India.

It is the twenty-first century; the world is developing rapidly with advancement in science technology especially in Communication Technologies. Both the neighbours can collaborate with each other to help boost IT infrastructure as both countries have strong IT Professionals since Indian IT experts heading the leading Software giants such as Microsoft, PayPal, Google and Yahoo.

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The Prime of Pakistan had envisaged his vibrant and robust foreign policy during victory speech that he intended to maintain relations with the world such as Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arab, US and India on the equality basis and even offered India to come forward by one step, he will go forward two steps to start the dialogue on the core issues.

The talks at foreign minister level between the two countries were announced at UNGA but abruptly cancelled by India succumbing to internal pressure given the upcoming General Elections of India likely in May 2019.

Imran Khan lashed out India of being arrogant over the cancellation of talks at foreign Ministry level.

The ruling BJP eyes the 2019 General Elections and thus intended to create hype with their strong stance against Pakistan by cancelling the peace talks in order to get support from Indian people to win general elections 2019 and regain the Government for another term.

Well, India needs to change its attitude and should immediately start the dialogue to address the issues and find out peaceful solutions to the problem including the Kashmir issue by taking the Kashmiri Leadership on board. CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan and the region. The positive outcome of the peace talks may pave the way for India to benefit from the CPEC by joining CPEC as Partner.

CPEC can be made secure if we have peace with the neighbours such as India and Afghanistan and stability in Afghanistan is in favour of Pakistan.

Let the peace have a chance, let’s learn to live like good neighbours sharing our experiences and developing resources and promoting trade through people to people contacts. To pave the way for talks, India has to take initiatives such as ending atrocities in Kashmir, demilitarizing it and involving Kashmir leadership to find out a peaceful solution that may be acceptable to People of Jammu and Kashmir. Let the people of Kashmir decide their future.

Pakistan is ready to hold consequential talks and the Indian positive response is awaited to bid adieu to this long acrimony that has hampered peace process and bilateral trade ties between two strong nuclear powers. The SAARC forum can be instrumental for the countries to include SAARC member countries in CPEC  provided that India does not backtrack from the Peace Process.

 

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Democracy

Adopting the Best Governance System in Pakistan

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Pakistan has always oscillated between the good and the bad Governance Models as both the civil and the military powers holding the reins of the country one after another.  It is unfortunate for the people of Pakistan that despite the passage of 71 years of Independence, we have not been able to find the best Governance Model yet that may serve our subjects in a better way and bring social and economic prosperity.

The Post-Independence period was tattered as Pakistan faced various economic, Social and infrastructural challenges.Pakistan was deprived of its due share from the joint resources at the time of partition.

Yet, Quaid’s able leadership and brave leadership did not let Pakistan go down since he was visionary and had the clear roadmap to steer the county through crisis to prosperity with planning and untiring efforts.  He was of the View that if Pakistan’s problems were not addressed or resolved, It may have failed as the state.

The consequential Martial Laws furthered the woes of people that implemented  dictatorial laws which were not meant for the people and were contrary to human rights as safeguarded by the constitution. These were the basis that prompted people to denounce such the military coups and raised their voices to regain their freedom of speech and freedom to act according to one’s wishes and intentions.

Pakistan has experienced both the Presidential and parliamentary form of governance. It has also  experienced Civil and Military coups and  even sustained so far except the Fall of Dhaka in 1971 when Sheikh Mujib was denied the Government despite having an absolute majority to form the government.

As a result of Governance Crisis, Pakistan has suffered on many fronts i.e economic, social and Security. The Ill-will of the feudal nature of Politicians has forcibly sunk the ship of Pakistan by creating a leadership vacuum and gave rise to corrupt practices that played havoc with its fragile and fractured path.

The changing Governance Models, lack of proper  Constitutional Development and consensus building have forced the Fragile state to fall in the Governance crisis since no policy framework was followed that may have provided the basis of Constitutional development. The Institutional Building was not initiated that triggered the constant pull in the civil-military relationship.

That was evident from the promulgation of  First Constitution on 23rd March 1956, Nine years after the independence, unfortunately, the Martial law was imposed after two and half years of its inaction on 7th October 1958  by the powerful man in our history General Ayoob Khan.

Being a military General, Ayoob khan wanted a controlled and reasonably weaker form of Democracy, since he believed the western form of Democracy does not suit to Pakistan. Consequently, he introduced the 1962 Constitution which came into force on 1st March 1962.

The biggest change in form governance was the introduction of the Presidential form of government since all the powers vested in the president. He was both head of state and head of Government.  The Provinces were given autonomy, equality of mankind, independence of the judiciary; rights of minorities were salient features of the constitution.

The Islamic advisory council was also constituted to advise Govt. over Islamic injunctions or laws.

The presidential form of Government was more suitable since all the power vested in President who was elected directly and there was no burden of ineffective legislators just the skeleton Ministers, Provincial Governors and the staff was enough to run the state affairs in a very effective manner since decision making was on the fast track.

“Even the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam had envisaged 71 years ago during his speech found in the handwritten paper that the presidential form of Government is suitable for Pakistan since a parliamentary form of Government does not work owing to feudal vested interests, illiteracy and lack of visionary leadership.

Actually, he had given clear roadmap that as long as feudalism and feudal approach exists in Pakistan, the democracy cannot develop its roots  deeper since these feudal politicians have vested interests that are detrimental to people who vote them to power and tantamount to Islamic Ideologies.”

With the resignation of General Ayoob, the constitutional crises once again aggravated with the abrogation of 1962 constitution.

ALSO READ:  Long March and Thereafter ……………

The story unfolded when Sheikh Mujib ur Rahman had succeeded in winning the majority in the first ever general elections of Pakistan held in 1970 but the then military ruler, President General Yahya Khan, had refused categorically to transfer power to him.  Sheikh Mujib was imprisoned in Mianwali. General Yahya resigned succumbing to internal pressure.

Then we had the best constitution gifted by Shaheed  Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto. The 1973 constitution promulgated on  14th August 1973 with an overwhelming majority. The 1973 constitution was the turning point in the history of Pakistan as it was considered the complete constitution which safeguarded the rights of every citizen. Though East Pakistan was separated in 1971, yet Bhutto steer the country out of governance and constitutional crisis and had solved the long-standing issue.

Even, he was not spared, he was hanged under Zia regime and was inducted in the Murder plot of Nawaz Mohammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri’s, consequently hanged on 3rd April 1978. Bhutto during his premiership reshaped the foreign policy and made people friendly and people-centric decisions that disrupted the status quo and had great economic extinct since he wanted to establish a World Islamic Bank in Pakistan with the help of Islamic Countries.

Bhutto’s speech UN general assembly still echoes in our hearts as No leader in our history had made such fearless and emotional speech that rocked the Superpowers.

Unfortunately, we could not get such a brave and fearless leader who could speak eye to eye with the enemies and even to the Superpowers.

Though we had a leader like Mohammad Khan Junejo who was also a good Statesman and had ignited the real dream of Welfare State his powers were curtailed by former Chief Martial law Administrator and later Elected President through the so-called referendum General Ziaul Haq.

Later, Benazir Bhutto, the great daughter of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto rose to heights of success but his teammates sunk her ship through corrupt practices in Government. Then, Pakistan went into the two-party system i.e. PPP and PML from 1988 to October 1999.

In 1999, Pakistan experienced yet another military involvement that sent PML-N government packing by General Musharraf. PM Nawaz was jailed and later released on the interference of Saudi kings and exiled with family.

Musharraf after three years, held elections and his Party PML-Q win the elections. In 2007, Benazir Bhutto returned from Self Exile and apparently assassinated during the Public gathering.

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Benazir’s Murder brought the turmoil in the country. PPP won 2008 elections on a sympathy vote and Zardari became the President after Musharraf relinquished due to fears of impeachment.

It was the first time that any civilian Government had completed their term and laid the foundation of Democratic Transition.

The PPP government was not impressive and effective but the only good thing they had done that was the 18th amendments that had offered autonomy to the provinces and few federal ministries were devolved to the Provinces including Health and Education.

The 18th amendment also paved the way for the premier to be elected for the third term as earlier it was just two terms. PML-N won 2013 elections with the majority and completed their term but PM Nawaz was disqualified due to Panama Papers case few months before completion of the tenure.

Finally, democratic transition worked again, and the PTI came into power with the slogan of change and making Naya Pakistan.

if we analyze our history, we would be disappointed to know that most of the time, the Martial Law Administrator governed our country as compared to the civilian Government. This gives the message that Pakistani electoral framework only suits a single powerful system means the presidential form of Government as practised in Turkey, Afghanistan and US.

The presidential form of Government is the strong as the president is the head of State and the head of a Government at the same time. He appoints his ministers from professionals, technocrats and Legislature. He makes timely decisions as a Parliamentary form of Government does not allow implementing policies without the debate and without approval from the parliament.

We are still going through a transition and learning from our past mistakes, yet we need to mull over that which Governance Model suits our people–Parliamentary form of Government or Presidential form of Government or Mixture of both.

It is not the time of meddling with both systems or engage in the debate of good or bad system but we should adopt the best governance system suits Pakistan and benefits the common men and bridges the gap between state and the subjects. The system which provides access to justice offers equal opportunities regardless of religion, caste or creed.

It has been seven decades since independence that we are struggling to form a strong and vibrant system that benefits the people of Pakistan. The issue warrants public debate and is open to the public to give their input which system of Governance may be fruitful for them that strengthens the federation, Federating units and builds the basis of good governance.

Though we have a new government in place but the old players of Opposition Parties PPP, PML-N and JUI, MMA and ANP are giving a tough time to hide their corrupt practices. Therefore,  if we want the state to flourish and prosper, we need to put the presidential form of governance for a four or five year to analyze whether it is physible for Pakistan and produces desired results. Either, We have to part ways with the parliamentary form of Government or adhere to the Presidential form of Government as practised in developed nations of the world.

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