Kashmir and other issues, way forward | By Omar Khalid Malik, UAE


Kashmir and other issues, way forward

WE should somehow realize and accept that the people of India and Pakistan do not want a war between their two countries.

They must and to some extent, have realized that there are so many similarities in the people of the subcontinent.

They look alike, majority speak a common language, have similar cultures, family structures, values and traditions.

Besides all of the above they are hardworking, and their unity will bring unlimited prosperity in their lives should they depart from their prejudices and end the divisions created among them by others.

Step the people can take is to persuade their leaders to get the Kashmir problem out of the way.

I believe if the leaders of the two nations have sincere determination, they can resolve the Kashmir problem either way.

Accept the status quo and allow Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control to freely travel between the two parts and be given the right to work and purchase property on either side.

Or Let the Kashmiris govern their lands themselves. Create an independent demilitarized Kashmir State comprising both parts and allow both Indians and Pakistanis to freely travel to Kashmir, which will also uphold the economy of the State through tourism. The valley already has no raw material, the lakes are polluted, forests harvested and the people torn apart by wars.

Only after the resolution of the Kashmir problem and eradicating the fear of wars, the country’s resources can be spent on increasing and enhancing education, healthcare, jobs and other essential amenities of life.

Also, there is absolutely no use for either country to gain support or please the Western countries by dancing to their tunes.

Both countries have suffered enough because of the 70-year-long rivalry and wars, originally sewed by the British. The British divided the subcontinent and left the Kashmir problem unsolved.

Since then, the United Nations, dominated by the West, has avoided any solution to the Kashmir problem which has been draining the precious resources of the subcontinent countries through heavy defence expenditure and several wars.

The subcontinent people must understand that it is not in the interest of the West to resolve the Kashmir problem and face yet another competitor to their economies and strength like China.

Such rivalry and wars are only in the interest of the Western countries. Behind the scenes, the West is fuelling both countries to be able to bolster this rivalry and wars.

Their agenda is to keep the subcontinent people divided and nations remain recipients of international aid and loans to mortgage the future of the coming generations and remain consumer nations to sustain the growth of the developed and industrialized countries.

The West knows that if peace prevails in the sub-continent, it’s highly smart, intelligent and hard-working population will become another challenge to the power of Western countries.

Together with China and the sub-continent countries, they add up to nearly half the population of the world who are capable and talented and can refuse to be just consumers and followers.

Without unity and peace, the people of the subcontinent will never regain their respect and would continue to be the laughing stock of the world community.

Therefore, the answer is not bigger armies, nuclear bombs or testing powerful missiles. The solution is to spend the national resources on education, health, advancement of technology, building efficient industries and transportation systems, creating jobs and incentives for the talented overseas Indians and Pakistanis to return home and trigger a reverse brain drain. When the rate of literacy increases, the rate of population growth will also decrease.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE.