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Friday, January 01, 2010

Top Indian, Pakistani media groups join hands for peace,India-Pakistan: military angle

Jang Group, Times of India launch Aman ki Asha initiative

By Gibran Peshimam

KARACHI: The turn of the decade brings with it a momentous shot in the arm to the moribund Indo-Pak peace process with the unveiling of a grand cross-border collaborative peace project. The initiative, titled Aman Ki Asha, promises to be a path-breaking collaboration between Pakistan�s Jang Group and Geo and India�s Times of India Group, the largest media groups on their respective sides of the border. It will look to inject impetus into the Indo-Pak dialogue in a manner that is unparalleled, on a scale that is unprecedented.

Aman Ki Asha

Peace between India and Pakistan has been stubbornly elusive and yet tantalisingly inevitable. This vast subcontinent senses the bounties a peace dividend can deliver to its people yet it recoils from claiming a share. The natural impulse would be to break out of the straitjacket of stated positions and embrace an ideal that promises sustained prosperity to the region, yet there is hesitation. There is a collective paralysis of the will, induced by the trauma of birth, amplified by false starts, mistrust, periodic outbreaks of violence, suspicion, misplaced jingoism and diplomatic doublespeak. Hypnotised by their own mantra, the two states are reluctant to move towards normalisation until certain terms and certain promises are kept

India-Pakistan: military angle - The Pakistan army looks at the Indian army and sees its inventory of 6,384 tanks as a threat (none of those Indian tanks can cross the Himalayas into China so Arjun MBTs must all be for Pakistan). The Pakistan army looks at the Indian air force and sees its inventory of 672 combat aircraft as a threat. The Pakistan army looks at the Indian army and finds that 15, 9, 16, 14, 11, 10 and 2 corps are all pointing their guns at Pakistan. The Pakistan army looks at the Indian army and discovers that the 4th Armoured Division, 12th Infantry Division, 340th Mechanised Brigade and 4th Armoured Brigade have been deployed to cut Pakistan into two halves.

To be certain, time -- and money -- is on India's side. Composite dialogue among civilians means little -- if anything at all. What is needed is a strategic dialogue. How can India be persuaded to pull back its offensive formations? What would Pakistan give in return? Pakistan cannot continue to race a race that it cannot win.

Chris Cork - Would my mother have approved? Probably not. She came from an age before multiculturalism, political correctness and racial integration. It was a huge effort for her, at the end of her own life, to come to terms with the fact that I had married across the racial divide but she eventually did and my wife was at her bedside towards the end. From middle-class suburban London to the edge of the Cholistan desert, with India less than a hundred miles away. A personal journey of almost 63 years, now to take another turn as we reach out to one another. Whose hand will I shake in 2010? An Indian, perhaps. We will have a lot to talk about.

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The road to hell -- and similar destinations - Talking of Musharraf's military rule, what was the role of our present lordships when Triple One Brigade, our highest constitutional authority, reinterpreted the Constitution once again on the long afternoon of Oct 12, 1999? A few judges -- Chief Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui comes to mind -- did not take oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) issued two months later. But if imperfect memory serves, all of their present lordships, at one time or the other, took oath under the PCO. Not only that, some of them were on the bench which validated Musharraf's takeover. A few, including My Lord the Chief Justice, were on the bench which validated Musharraf's takeover for the second time in the Zafar Ali Shah case (2005).

Of course, we must let bygones be bygones and deal with the present. But then this principle should be for everyone. We should not be raising monuments to selective memory or selective condemnation. If the PCO of 2007 was such a bad idea, in what category should we place the PCO of 2000? And if we accept the logic that there can be a transformation in the nature of things, that people who did questionable things once-upon-a-time can undergo a conversion on the road to Damascus (or anywhere else) and become knights in shining armour, dispensing light and so on, should not some of the same indulgence, the same benefit of doubt, be extended to others? -
Maxim Cartoon


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