Mar 11, 2009

Deteriorating Indo-Pakistan relations

The recent tragic incident of the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team has left seven policemen dead and six players injured. The lament cannot be limited to the deaths of the heroes of Pakistan who lost their lives guarding the team but also, the fact that ICC doubts Pakistan as World Cup hosts.

This leads to the probability of putting an end to the cricket culture in Pakistan. This also marks another beginning of blame game on Pakistan’s side against India. Both countries have been at odds during almost the last sixty one years. Beginning from the Junagadh dispute at the time of independence in 1947 to recent “Mumbai terror visiting Lahore” as portrayed by the media, Indo-Pakistan relations are influenced by such political, geographical or cultural events.

Footage of this terrorising episode, captured by the media, showed two fully equipped terrorists attacking in a manner bearing striking similarities to the Mumbai terror raid of November last year. Many politicians, analysts and security officials apparently blamed it to be similar to the assault in India. Options of a list of countries co-hosting the World Cup 2011 were India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

However, the Lahore deadly attacks on Sri Lankan cricket team have changed the global landscape for the game due to security lapse, leaving India more likely a country to host the World Cup event.

The retaliation continues as Pakistan Senate Committee on Information and Broadcasting directs PEMRA to immediately ban Indian channels. Last year some improvements in Indo-Pakistan relations were seen with the re-opening of transportation networks, bus routes and railway lines.

Also, with the popularity of Indian channels enormously viewed by Pakistanis furthered the hope of diplomatic relations, which had conversely been drained by these terrorist attacks.

Major concern of Indo-Pak relations lies with Kashmir issue. Long decade of tense relations has once again overshadowed the hope of reaching a fair resolution on the Kashmir issue. This reduces the chances of economic ties which can benefit both Pakistan and India’s economy especially at times of world economic recession.

The blame game on unauthentic proof ruins the ties as investigators point out that Pakistani militants with a probability of links with Al-Qaeda could be responsible rather than India. The actual culprit can turn out to be a third party; the terrorists themselves.

This blame game is baseless and useless as it tends to increase agitation and weaken ties, leaving Indo-Pak relations astray. Whether it be Sri Lanka, house to Tamil Tigers or India where terrorism haunts the streets, safety will be in question when it comes to hosting Cricket World Cup 2011.

Under such circumstances, where the image of our country regarding cricket culture is at stake, Pakistan should apologise to the Sri Lankan cricket team in failing to provide adequate security measures and devise anti-terrorism policy and insist on joint investigations, preferably with neutral agencies like Interpol so as to minimize threats that are weakening the ties between the two neighbouring countries. Otherwise, deteriorating Indo-Pak relations can reach its worse verge.

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