Liberalizing visa regime

Courtesy:- A Rashid

Liberalization of visa regime between India and Pakistan in spite of the atmosphere of secrecy which has drawn an iron curtain in the relations of two countries, is a revolutionary development, by all counts.
We have been trying all kinds of belligerent means to solve our problems with India for decades. When, at the end of the day, the reality dawns that only peaceful exercise is likely to lend positive results, we started harping on the litany of solution of Kashmir and other major problems. 

By doing that we placed the cart before the horse, not realizing that the treatment of a chronic malaise lies in removing the root causes and not by starting from the top. What we have done today is placing a fundamental stepping stone for tackling bigger issues in future.
By promoting mutual trade and people to people contacts, a realization is bound to dawn on the leaderships of both the countries that amicable resolution of all outstanding problems, through peaceful means, is in the larger interest of both the countries and the people. 
What is Kashmir problem? The problem is division of families and populace at large. India and Pakistan have treated Kashmir as a commodity which it is not. If the artificial barriers are removed and free interaction is allowed between the people living on both sides of the LOC, the problem would stand resolved to a great extent. Only the question of the style of governance is left which, over time could be resolved by the people themselves.
On the similar lines if both the leaderships liberalize the interaction of people on both sides of the Line of Control (LOC) in Kashmir, it will lead us to the speedy resolution of the problem.
While I was getting hyper in glee on the inking of visa regime by the foreign minister of India and the interior minister of Pakistan, I was shocked to note the media reaction, bewailing relegation of bigger issues for a future date. I don’t understand how we acquired the quick fix mentality while nothing so far has been fixed on long term basis?
We have to keep in view the relative positions of Pakistan viz a viz India in the international equation. In economic and diplomatic terms India is a regional power with a significant clout to influence global equilibrium. Pakistan, as opposed to that, is in the worst economic straits, political instability and, to top it all, is engaged in a life and death struggle fighting terrorism. In the backdrop of such conditions any concession accruing from India should be considered as a bonus.
The origin of all terrorist attacks taking place in India is traced back to Pakistan. Despite that the process of rapprochement is moving forward. We must give due credit to Indian leadership for their statesmanship. Now the kind of havoc we are perpetrating on our minorities is in full glare of the global media. With such climate obtaining, Indian agreement to liberalize visa regime the way it has been done, is just magnanimity on the part of Indian leadership.
The points that I, as an individual, am trying to highlight, in reality, fall in the media domain. I will go as far as to contend that our media is responsible for all the excesses being done to our minorities because the media follows the line of fundamentalists and possess no courage to call a spade a spade. In the like manner, the electronic media is obviously shy and reluctant to condemn terrorism in unequivocal terms for fear of a backlash from the terrorists. 


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