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Pakistan and India Relations - Solve basic problems first

The recent visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to India received wide media coverage in both countries. Both countries have agreed to ease visa restrictions, increase trade and resolve disputes through dialogues. But the reality is that without solving their long disputes between the two countries, cosmetic steps and media speeches will not bring any change to the region.

Despite growing poverty and unemployment, both the countries are spending huge amounts of money on arm purchases. Tension remains high at borders. In case of any terror activity in India, New Delhi accuses Pakistan of terrorism and Pakistan, on its turn, sees an Indian hand in unrest in North-West Frontier and Baluchistan provinces. Unfortunately, governments in the two countries are also not able to make any decisions which could go against the wishes of hardline elements of extremist parties.

Several key issues Kashmir, Siachen and construction of controversial dams also make things bad to worse. Pakistan has recently decided to move the International Court of Arbitration against the construction of the Kishanganga dam. A proxy war is also going on in Afghanistan between both countries. Until and unless both countries are able to solve basic issues like these, dreams of peace can’t come true in the region.

Khawaja Umer Farooq
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