Peace Process For The Solution Of Kashmir

(Mehak Shaik, Karachi)

Kashmir a 222,236 sq km region in the northwestern Indian subcontinent, is surrounded by China In the northeast, the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab in the south, by Pakistan in the west, and by Afghanistan in the northwest. The region has been dubbed "disputed territory" between India and Pakistan since the partition of India in 1947. The southern and southeastern parts of the region make up the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, while the northern and western parts are controlled by Pakistan. A border called the Line of Control (agreed to in 1972) divides the two parts. The eastern area of Kashmir comprising the northeastern part of the region(Aksai Chin) came under the control of China since 1962. The predominant religion in the Jammu area is Hinduism in the east and Islam In the west. Islam is also the main religion in the Kashmir valley and the Pakistan-controlled parts. Since their overt nuclearization India and Pakistan tried to make peace three times In 1998 and 1999,optimism soared as the two countries embarked upon the a much lauded bus diplomacy which resulted in the historic visit of Indian Prime Minister to Lahore where a declaration was signed as "Lahore declaration" with the objective that both the countries can move towards peace and progress with bilateral relations and mutual considerations.

Then there was Agra Summit which abruptly ended because of the disagreements over the LOC and the presence of militants in the region.

The next step was taken for peace In January 2004 during the SAARC summit when the this of both the countries met on side lines and agreed on the re establishment of their mutual dialogues.

Thus a round of talks started on regular basis at official level which resulted in the ease of tensions between the two neighbors. Consequently the bus system between New Delhi and Lahore. Muzaffarabad and Srinagar were maturated and thus a way of people to people contact developed. The foremost advantage which both the countries faced because of this emerging detente is the coexistence of peace and friendly relations. At present two new bus services between Lahore and Amritsar and Amritsar to Nakana are under consideration and it is hoped that these two will be launched soon.

Intact both the countries now look forward to arrange mutual programs for their economic, social and cultural development, which is conceived by many analysts as significant steps towards the road of peace and for the resolution of the conflict of Kashmir which always prevented both of the countries to move towards the good friendly relations.

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