Aaj ke Pakistan ke halaat ko dekhtae huae , jo log Zulfikaar Ali Bhuutto ko jante hain bho samjatae hain ki jammu Kashmir ko khush haal bananae ke liyae Bharat ko apnee aur hi dekhna hoga, Pakistan eis mein dayanat daari se saath nahin de sakta ( Looking at the conditions prevailing in Pakistan of the day, those who knew Zulfikar Ali Bhutto know that to make Jammu & Kashmir prosper India would have to look at her own self , Pakistan can not honestly cooperate in this).
Aman Setu was earlier named as KAMAN BRIDGE after . Lt Col Kaman Singh Pathania had died near this bridge in 1956. The bridge was named Aman Setu on 7 April 2005 and Passengers from URI to Muzafarabad walked across it on foot that day. An earthquake caused damage to this bridge on 8 Oct 2005. And gain 20 passengers from this side were carried to Aman Setu by Carvan e Aman from Uri to cross the bridge on foot once again. People have been hopefully hoping for nearly 3 years now that a routine bus travel would start between Uri and Muzafarabad as we have for Jammu to Srinagar. But still it is a shadow travel. Indo Pak talks and summits are held like any earlier years. But Kashmir problem is being understood by many now as Kashmir Dispute. It is bad.
After 2004 SAARC Summit concluded Indian Prime Minister met Pakistan President on 5th January for nearly one hour. Pakistan President did not raise Kashmir issue at the Summit. But President Musharraf had always been pulled back by the conditions prevailing in Pakistan and other leaders in his government. Government of Pakistan had to even replace Mr. Ahmed with the Finance Minister Mr. Shaukat Aziz as the incharge of the team for Reception to Indian delegation to SAARC Summit on the advice of India.. Masood Khan had said the next day that talks between India and Pakistan will be meaningless without the mention of Kashmir and Pakistan Information and Broadcasting Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed too had been giving objectionable statements. It was reported by on 9-01-04 by PTI from Islamabad that Pak foreign Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad has told that President Musharraf during his meeting POK leaders including POK President Sardar Anwar Khan and POK Prime minister Sikandar Hayat Khan on 8-01-2004 assured that the aspirations of Kashmiri people would be kept in mind while working out any agreement with India . Pakistan can not even consider suggestions . “The News” Islamabad had reported on 22-1-02 that India had drawn the attention of Pak government to Sheikh Rashid’s statements after 12th SAARC Summit who had further gone to the extent of suggesting on 25-01-04 that India will have to involve Kashmiries in talks and Pakistan regards Sayeed ali Shah Geelani faction of All Party J&K Hurriyat Conference as the true representative of Kashmiries.
India and Pakistan had issued a joint statement announcing holding of composite dialogue . Immediately after issuing the joint statement Pakistan Foreign Minister Khushid Mahmud Kasuri in an interview to Gulf News Dubai had said on 7th January 2004 that Pakistan is willing to look at options other than the 50 year old UN Resolutions but Pakistan has no plans to abandon Kashmir; they have made sure that it is part of declaration. Hence in case Pakistan in 2008 is still at the zero meter mile stone of the race from URI to Muzaffarabad world need not feel surprised.
Those who have been hoping for the good of the people of India and Pakistan had been suggesting that Pakistan will need some more time before it dare spell out any logical option for settlement of agitating issues between India and Pakistan.. Ex Indian Foreign Secretary Mr. J. N. Dixit who could be considered a person well versed with the intentions/ compulsions of the Pak leadership too has opined at occasions that we should not expect much from Pakistan in the immediate future. And with what happened in Pakistan on 3rd November 2007 it has become still more difficult. With the conditions prevailing in Pakistan and the mind set the Pakistan leaders even the all time solutions suggested by Dr. Farooq Abdullah like converting LOC ( line of control ) to international borders can not be dared for even discussions with India by those who want to rule Pakistan what to talk of accepting it. The settlement of Kashmir issue would be pushed miles back in case Benazir replaces Musharraf . Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had always lived on the strength of hate India Slogan. Pakistan leadership can not afford shedding the Kashmir issue in a single go. Mr. Musharraf during his visit to Agra in July 2001had very honestly expressed such helplessness. May it be this side of J&K or the part of J&K under political control of Pakistan, it is only the people of J&K who have suffered both materially and sentimentally over last six decades. The people in Pakistan Administered J&K do not have even feel of democracy what to talk of development in the field of agriculture, industry, education, health, ccommunications and tourism.
Issues like trade and tourism can ofcourse bring people closer and prepare the ill informed average Pakistani to accept the compromises that Pakistani leaders may have to do with India in the overall interest of Pakistan. Rail and road links could be the tools for reconstruction of the matrix that was so badly dismantled in 1947.The wrong information and distorted facts about India that have been conveyed to the Pakistan Nation over the years can not be so easily sucked out from the mind of a common innocent Pakistani . Kashmir issue has always provided life line to undemocratic governments in Pakistan.
The Foreign Secretary level talks have so far not yielded in any gainful medication to Pak acromania. But still if we sincerely organize these talks surely it would provide some lease time for sucking the poison from the minds of people of Pakistan. So far these talks have only ended in fixing next date for another round .
Those from Congress and J&K PDP boast that that opening of road from Uri to Muzaffarabad has been their achievement. But it is had reality that road from Uri to POK is traversed by the visitors only on foot. No Bus of JKSRTC crosses the Aman Setu even after more than 30 months of SONIA having fagged off a Bus on 7 April 2005.
The then J&K Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Mr. Mufti Mohd Sayeed had suggested opening of Uri Muzaffarabad would soothe the hurt feelings of Kashmiri. Mr Mufti did not tell how India was responsible for hurting the feelings of Kashmiri in Oct 1947. Mr. Mufti also so strangely suggested that a section of Kashmiries was alienated from India.
Srinagar Muzaffarabad Highway could stretch 170 to 250 Km and of which nearly 25 to 30 Km had been left without repairs for over 55 years. Still in November 2007 the crossing over of the last inhabited Village ( Chakla Post ) under Indian control by a routine Indian Bus will not be so simple as long as Muzaffarabad remains in Pakistan Occupied Part of INDIA. Many in India may not be knowing that URI was a Tehsil of Muzafarabad District of Princely State of J&K that acceded to India on 26 Oct 1947. The journey is long.
Enough blood and social goodwill has been shed in J&K. Let the present Government of India prove her trueness of intentions for normalization of conditions in Jammu & Kashmir by at least making the return of Kashmiri Migrants to Kashmir valley possible through the Jawahar Tunnel to resettle in Kashmir Valley. No permission from Pakistan or Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Government is required for opening the Jawahar Tunnel for Kashmiri migrants as is required for the ROAD from URI to Muzzaffarabad. Hope this rough road as closed for last 17 years will open for Indians atleast this winter when the passes for the infiltrators from LOC would be closed. Let in coming SPRING SEASON all the migrant Government employees honourably draw theirs wages by performing active duty in Kashmir Valley.
( *Daya Sagar is a social activists and leading scribe on J&K affairs)