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Monthly Archives: DECEMBER 2018


KARTARPUR CORRIDOR
Quiet steps towards peace
15.12.18 - ARIFA NOOR
Quiet steps towards peace



WITH THE OPENING of the Kartarpur corridor, Prime Minister Imran Khan has been handed a diplomatic victory in his first 100 days, which beats his domestic score card hollow. But there are few who are willing to see this as a game changer in the stalemate that has been India-Pakistan relations in recent years.

The prime minister, of course, put a more optimistic spin on it. In his speech at the ceremony held on this side of the border, he brought up the old rivalry between Germany and France to illustrate that hope springs eternal.

In this, he is not alone. The European Union is an example used by many an optimist to suggest that a rosy future awaits Pakistan and India. But can the subcontinent follow the European example? The EU was not simply the result of a devastating war having inflicted such a heavy toll on two powers that overnight they opted for love and cooperation. Instead, the European Community as we see it was a long time coming, and continues to remain a work in progress.

It is important to recall how it began.

France during II World War 
 
The first effort after the Second World War came in the shape of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951 and included six countries including France and Germany. And while it did expand trade between the member countries, it is not seen as a complete success. Its greatest achievement is seen as laying the foundation for greater cooperation and the Treaty of Rome, which established the common market for the member states.

Still, even the ECSC cannot be seen in isolation. It went hand in hand with Nato and the Marshall Plan which also encouraged European cooperation. But more than that, perhaps the world wars — and the lessons learnt from them — were the biggest motivating factor behind the ECSC.
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The France-Germany example should not be seen to imply that the subcontinent can tread the same path.
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Washington made it clear at the end of the Second World War that its aim was an independent Germany (after the disaster that was the Treaty of Versailles). For France, this meant that it had to rethink its past policies of invading German territory to ensure French security as had been done after the First World War. It now needed a new strategy — the alternative was the ECSC to ensure Germany could not use its steel and coal to build another ‘war machine’. In fact, after the end of the Second World War, the coal-dominated German region had been placed under an international body established by the allied powers, which was later replaced by the ECSC.

Treaty of Rome 
 
In other words, the idealistic idea of a united Europe was born of the necessities of realpolitik. There was some domestic opposition — Charles de Gaulle was an opponent of the ECSC. In Germany, political parties which aimed at a united Germany were against the community as they felt it pushed West Germany towards Europe.

And let’s not forget the biggest realpolitik reason of all — the threat from the Soviet Union, which is also seen to have provided an impetus to bringing the European countries together (as well as the rationale for Nato and the Marshall Plan).

In the subcontinent, at present, there are few parallels to draw — no outside external threat; no superpower assistance for larger cooperation; and, especially, no debilitating war which could have put paid to aggressive ambitions against one another’s enemies.

Here perhaps we have a slower process at work — an increasing realisation (especially on the part of Pakistan) of the need for peace for economic growth. Perhaps the harsh battle the country has fought internally has refocused some of its priorities — though this cannot at any scale compare to the devastation of the world wars.
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Ideally, even Kartarpur should have been a quiet step so that it didn’t turn into a point-scoring exercise between the two rivals.
-----------
In other words, there is no harm in using the France-Germany example to argue that long-standing enemies can move on to better relations and cooperation. But this should not be seen to imply that the subcontinent can tread the same path. Ours will be rather different — if and when it happens. Slow steps to improve the atmospherics (such as the Kartarpur corridor) and trade, rather than grand treaties providing large cooperative frameworks.

And this hopefully will slowly create a constituency for peace and an environment in which we can consider resolving the more contentious issues. A dispute such as Kashmir may have to become irrelevant before it can be resolved. This is to say that perhaps we shouldn’t look for a repeat of the Musharraf approach — to address Kashmir first.

As for the baby steps that can be taken, the film and cinema industry is a case in point. The cinema theatre industry in Pakistan would not have revived had the exhibition of Indian films not been allowed. Once the Indian films were exhibited, investors found it profitable to establish cinema theatres. The availability of cinema theatres in turn allowed local film-makers to make films, confident that they could be exhibited and a profit made (provided the movie was worth watching). And this led to the rebirth of the Pakistani film industry. And despite all this, the same industry (or parts of it) continues to also push for special favours for the local films vis-à-vis the Indian ones. But without the Indian films, would we even have Pakistani ones being made?
 

In fact, when Indian films were banned from cinema theatres towards the end of 2016 due to Pakistan-India tensions, it didn’t last long. The losses the cinema theatre owners faced necessitated a change within months.

This is one example of a peace constituency on our side of the border.

Is it wrong to assume that there can be more such examples of cooperation and trade? Small and unnoticed ones that quietly build up constituencies of peace? (Ideally, even Kartarpur should have been a quiet step so that it didn’t turn into a point-scoring exercise between the two rivals.) The power of quiet should never be underestimated.

 
 
The writer is a journalist.
Courtesy: dawn.com
 
 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

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_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





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KARTARPUR CORRIDOR
Politics over the issue have marred the happy occasion
03.12.18 - VIPIN PUBBY
Politics over the issue have marred the happy occasion



THE DESIRE EXPRESSED by the Indian government for a link to the holy Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib and Pakistan government’s offer to provide the link four kilometres inside its territory is a landmark moment in the confidence building relationship between the two neighbours.

It appears that backdoor diplomacy did the ground work before the two countries announced their decisions within hours of each other. Pakistan deserves the credit for initiating the move on the eve of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev even though it was a long-standing demand of the Sikhs. The Indian Government too had in the past taken up the issue but had never pressed hard for it. 

Unfortunately, however, politics over the issue have marred the happy occasion. The race to take credit for the move or to criticise  political rivals has exposed political leaders and they would be mistaken if they think the ordinary citizens do not see through their games.

First so much was made out of cricketer turner politician and now Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu being invited by the new Pakistan prime minister and a personal friend Imran Khan for his swearing in ceremony. Then the spontaneous hug between Sidhu and the Pakistan Army chief, when the later told Sidhu that there was a plan to provide corridor for Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, was made a major issue. What if Sidhu had stood stiff or turned his back when Gen Bajwa was trying to hug him. By reciprocating the gesture, Sidhu had by no means absolved the Army General or Pakistan of all the crimes they had committed.

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, whose animosity towards Sidhu is common knowledge, too publicly disapproved the hug   Even though he had given permission to Sidhu to visit Pakistan.
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The race to take credit for the move or to criticise  political rivals has exposed political leaders and they would be mistaken if they think the ordinary citizens do not see through their games.
----------
Akalis, who just can’t stand Sidhu, went hammers and rings and some of them even described Sidhu as an anti-national. They could not have allowed Sidhu to run away with the credit and at the same time would have liked credit for themselves since they claim to represent Sikh panthic community.

Evidently they pressurised its coalition partner at at the Centre to take up the issue and backdoor diplomacy channels were activated for a simultaneous announcement.

However politics again played out at the inauguration of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor project which was jointly organised by the Centre and Punjab Government.

The raking up of the issue of 1984 attacks on Sikhs by union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal at the function led to protests from certain Punjab minister leading to an ugly spat. Capt Amarinder Singh also refused invitation from Pakistan Government to attend the function on its side of the border but allowed Sidhu to attend it. Similarly External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj declined the invitation but deputed two of her Sikh colleagues, Harsimrat Kaur and Hardeep Singh Puri to attend it.

Such public display of political hostility and attempts at taking credit should have been avoided. If the political leaders think that the general public can’t see through their motives, they are completely mistaken. Indian voters have time and again proved that they are mature and understand politics. It was they who at one time gave Congress over 400 lok Sabha seats and in another election brought the party down to 44. The same public had once given only two seats to the BJP but gave it a majority in another elections. The verdicts in Punjab and other states too reflect the thinking of the people from time to time. 
 

While the high stakes involved in taking credit for opening of Kartarpur Sahib corridor, so dear to Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, were understandable, it would have been a sign of maturity if politics could have been avoided when another nation was involved.
 
 

(The author, a freelance journalist, is a former Resident Editor of Indian Express, Chandigarh, and reported on the political developments in Jammu and Kashmir, North-Eastern India, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in his long, illustrious career.)

 

 

Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

_______________________________________________________________

Most shared Punjab Today articles: 
 

 KARTARPUR SAHIB: A CLARION CALL FOR PEACE IN AN AGE OF CYNICISM

DISSECTING POLITICS OF SELECTIVE SILENCE

CONGRESS IN SGPC - Tript Rajinder Bajwa marks 60 years of this Congress dream

1984 ANTI SIKH VIOLENCE – 34 YEARS OF KADDU FARMING

THE ADHAR CARD-YUKT JASOOS - THE FOUR MUSKETEERS OF IB

FROM 1984 TO BARGARI - Hurt & angry, we’ve tried rage, anger. Did we miss karuna?

REVISITING 1984 – RIOT AROUND A POLE

Amarinder Singh, the coup in the CBI & the ED case: Headline is missing, so please read it between the lines

COP Vs. COP IN PUNJAB: Saiyan Bhaye Kotwal Ab Dar Kahe Ka

SURGICAL STRIKE DAY & WE THE PEOPLE The story of the gate is not the story of the house

Akali Dal's attempt to brand Navjot Sidhu as anti-national & ISI agent is ridiculous

UNHOLY HASTE To save the faith

Hua Panthik-Panthik Punjab - How do we reclaim real politics?

The Yuba City Attack on Manjit Singh GK & General Sambit Patra

Pakistan, Navjot Sidhu & the hug: Amarinder Singh 2018 is opposing Amarinder Singh 2004

Amarinder, Badals, AAP — Every party in Punjab is now an Akali Dal

Paragraphs that went missing from PM’s Red Fort speech could have pre-empted Opposition attack

Welcome to 1947. Happy Independence Day. Would you like to step out?

Mr SY Quraishi, can you please help to save this pet dog locked inside this sealed building?

In Pakistan, a donkey pays for democracy – bleeding, its nostrils ripped apart

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AAP-CONG ALLIANCE: ARREY BHAI, YEH KYA LIKH DALA?

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SARKAR IN MANALI: From Shahkot to Mohali Court, Sara Alam Bigrra Jaye

If it could happen to Arun Shourie, imagine what could they do to you?

SIKHS & FEMINISTS – We hailed Harjit Sajjan; they didn’t hail Gina Haspel

AFTER BEING RAPED, I WAS WOUNDED; MY HONOUR WAS NOT

The Comrade In Punjab - Lost, Irrelevant, Asleep, Even Bored!

WE MISSED A REVOLUTION, BUT CAN IT STILL BE A GAME CHANGER?

A POLITICIAN SPEAKS – YOU SHOULD HEAR

ENCOUNTER, JULOOS & SELFIES

SOWING ANGER - NO QUICK FIX - Democracy is an Empty Ritual in Punjab

OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION TO STOP FARMERS' SUICIDES

WATERS ROYALTY - The Loot that Rajasthan Committed

'THORRI BAHUTI EHNA NU SHARAM AUNI CHAHEEDI HAI'

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON SUICIDE-HIT BATS FOR AARHTIYAS

RANGROOT OFFERS A PEEK INTO PUNJAB'S TRAGEDY

WHAT MAKE NEWS IN INDIA, AND WHAT DOES NOT?

HITLER, MODI & GANDHI: ON THE SAME PAGE?

PUNJAB IS STILL VERY FAR FROM INDIA

APOLOGY – AKALIS BIG LOSER, CONG TOO 

AMARINDER GOVT's LOVE FOR FARMERS, AND MY DAD's FOR HIS SCOOTER

SUPER EFFICIENCY ONBOARD CM’S CHOPPER

OF SUNNY KID & HORSE SENSE: The Punjab-Punjab Ties: The Coordinated Silence of Amarinder Singh & Badals

PM MODI VINDICATES PUNJAB TODAY REPORTAGE

NEW DELHI V/S OTTAWA — WILL QUEBEC DEFEAT INDIA?        

A SAFFRON JOURNEY VIA CANADA - Trudeau came to Punjab, pushed Amarinder closer to BJP, then called him a liar

JASPAL ATWAL CONTROVERSY: Mr. Ujjal, will you throw some light on this too?   

TRUDEAU VISIT AND RIGHT-WING MEDIA MACHINE

J&K – RAM MADHAV LEAVES SPACE FOR MEHBOOBA’S POLITICS

SHEKHAR GUPTA'S HALF-BAKED TRUTHS 

OF NIRMAL SINGH'S EYES - Karze Ne Layee Ikk Hor Kisan Di Jaan...

PNB Scam: Who is Nirav Choksi and what he is doing In the name of God?

Congress upset due to Priyanka’s cleavage on calendar 

RENUKA'S LAUGHTER: Thank you for your guffaws. We needed this non-violent weapon.

MR CLEAN to PAKKE DHEETH: How Punjab’s Congress hurt Brand Rahul Gandhi? 

MANJIT SINGH CALCUTTA– THE DISSENTER

PUNJAB FARMERS AND IPL CRICKETERS - Finally, they can stand like equals

Mr. CHIEF MINISTER, PLEASE CALL OFF JANUARY 7 FUNCTION. My teacher is not alive, but you please call it off!

SUKHBIR IS RIGHT – On 97th anniversary  Panth Khatre Vich Hai. Where does this threat come from?

THE FINAL HONESTY CERTIFICATE: ISSUED BY THE TRIBUNE

NO TIME TO READ THIS STORY? – That’s OK - Please do not feel guilty 

BAD, BAD WOMAN! – Punjab’s top playwright slams woman complainant against Langah

MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE TAKE BACK HIS GALLANTRY MEDAL – On Amod Kanth’s badge of shame

RELAX! ALL 30 WERE DERA PREMIS – Panchkula says something stinking about its conscience

PUNJAB: AN IDEA IN SEARCH OF WORDS: Punjab, more than a poster boy of progress or a renegade from modernity

_______________________________________________________________


Punjab Today believes in serious, engaging, narrative journalism at a time when mainstream media houses seem to have given up on long-form writing and news television has blurred or altogether erased the lines between news and slapstick entertainment. We at Punjab Today believe that readers such as yourself appreciate cerebral journalism, and would like you to hold us against the best international industry standards. Brickbats are welcome even more than bouquets, though an occasional pat on the back is always encouraging. Good journalism can be a lifeline in these uncertain times worldwide. You can support us in myriad ways. To begin with, by spreading word about us and forwarding this reportage. Stay engaged.

— Team PT





[home] 1-2 of 2


Comment

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comments*
You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

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