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Epilogue b e c a u s e th e r e is m o
Epilogue
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CONTENTS
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Editor
Zafar Iqbal Choudhary
Prologue
Letters to the editor
3
4
Consulting Editor
D. Suba Chandran
Hear & Hear
Who Said What
5
Associate Editor
Irm Amin Baig
News Wrap
J&K Stories
7
Designs & Layout
Keshav Sharma
Column
44
51
Mailing Address
PO Box 50, HO Gandhi Nagar,
Jammu
Volume 2, Issue 9, October 2008
Vision From Valley
Srinagar Sentiments
Days Gone By
53
IN FOCUS
Ladakh
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Project Himank
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Diary
47
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Beginning Of A New Chapter
18
Interview
Mubeen Shah
22
Interview
Ram Sahai
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Document
Indo-Pak Joint Statement
24
Making Borders Irrelevant
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The Road Much Traveled, Less Visisted
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Epilogue

1

October 2008

MAKEYOURCONNECTIONTODAY

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JAMMU&KASHMIR

POLITICS

BUSINESS

VIEWS & NEWS

CULTURE

STRATEGICAFFAIRS

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FROM THE EDITOR

P R O L O G U E FROM THE EDITOR Let Boundaries Blur Zafar Choudhary

Let Boundaries Blur

Zafar Choudhary

is

anything to look at, trans-

always

Fbeen a major suggestion to

ease tension not only between two divided parts of troubled Jammu and Kashmir but also between India and Pakistan. For a layman, trading with each other means investing in each other –investing in business, investing in trust, investing in confidence, investing in cooperation and investing in peace. When the an area of dispute becomes area of mutual investment in all the above sectors it can, of course, change destiny of it land and people. Therefore, the agreement of trans-LoC trade between two parts of Jammu and Kashmir comes as a biggest confidence building measure of all the initiatives taken by India and Pakistan towards resolving Kashmir and having cordial relations with each other. Though the trade across LoC begins in October as a symbolic measure of building confidence between both sides but eventually it will be trade between India and Pakistan and Kashmir will be the bridge. After a big hearted initiative of India and Pakistan, once Jammu and Kashmir sets the trend, India and Pakistan will learn from here the basics of investing in each other. They will have to change the mindset. See, Pakistan is world's largest importer of tea and India largest producer. Still Pakistan does

or

LoC

all

those

Kashmir

have

contacts

not import tea from India. Similarly, Pakistan is one of largest producer of molasses and India one of biggest consumers but there is no mutual trade. Being partners in trade, Pakistan and India can emerge as stable economic powers and also resolve their most contentious issue of Kashmir which has been eating up their economies to the roots. The trans-LoC trade will go down in the annals of history as the most practical measure towards economic integration of the region divided at birth. While this calls for celebrations, at the same time there is need to look inwards. The trade ties are breaking down between Kashmir and Jammu. Trade was perhaps one major area where these two regions of the state enjoyed a level playing. With political and social ties between two regions already bruised, severing of trade ties is fraught with dangerous consequences. Onus is on all stakeholders to save state from this disaster. With a report from United States Institute of Peace as cover feature, our present issue looks at the whole scope and future of trans-LoC contacts towards blurring of borders. Our most sincere thanks are due to USIP and in particular Mr Kay Hechler for endowing to Epilogue their latest report 'Making Borders Irrelevant'.

Feedback :

Zafarchoudhary@epilogue.in

Epilogue

b e c a u s e

th e re

is

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to

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EPILOGUE aims at providing a platform where a meaningful exchange of ideas, opinion and thoughts can take place among the people and about the people of Jammu & Kashmir. The attempt is to research, investigate, communicate

and disseminate information, ideas and alternatives for the resolution of common problems facing the state and society of Jammu & Kashmir and

in

the context of their significance to

South Asia as a whole.

 

We welcome contributions from academics, journalists, researchers, economists and strategic thinkers. We would also like to encourage first-time writers with the only requirements being a concern for and the desire to understand the prevailing issues and themes of life in Jammu & Kashmir

Contributions may be investigative, descriptive, analytical or theoretical.

They may be in the form of original articles or in the form of a comment on current events. All contributions have

to

be neatly typed in double space and

may be sent to the address given alongside or e-mailed to the editor.

W

h i l e t h e e d i t o r a c c e p t s

responsibility for the selection of the material published, individual

authors are responsible for the facts, figures and views in their articles.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Mail your letters to editor@epilogue.in
Mail your letters to editor@epilogue.in

Mirror to state of affairs

No one can deny the fact that the state failed to tackle the Land issue, Gautam Navlakha's deep rooted research based fact story is a mirror for the state politics and immature policies of the state and union to handle the sensitive issue of Kashmir. He not only described the background but also tries to depict

the

further consequences of the policy

failure of the government in Kashmir. I am really happy to experience such a wonderful analytical story and he truly deserves congratulations for his wonderful piece of work with EPILOGUE.

Anu Sharma, Scholar, Jammu University

Keep it up

With a hope of continuity of EPILOGUE to depict the socio-political scenario of Jammu and Kashmir to the world, we feel proud to be the reader of Jammu and Kashmir's perhaps only such Magazine available throughout the country. Any how the last issue of the magazine was fabulous and especially the 'movie reviews' at the same time it is really a matter of concern for us that how a smaller issue got the potential of a wildfire in the state.

Dr. Zeeshan Chouhan Unani Medicines, Srinagar

Political duplicity

It is ridiculous when Jenab Shafi Uri blames his political rivals and India

the

for mis-handling the situation in

state during the Amarnath

land

controversy, N.C has ruled the

state

for a long time, they had even shared the power at center with the

saffron

brigade,

but

then

they

n e v e r e v e n

t r i e d

t o

b r i n g

the

conscious mind of Jammu region on the discrimination. It would have been better if his senior leaders had also adopted a balanced approach

slogans in

transparency on the issue on

while parroting different Jammu, Delhi and Kashmir.

Welcome initiative on Ladakh

The world knows a very little about Ladakh and the knowledge and interest of even the journalists mainly remained focused on tourism in Ladakh, but with EPILOGUE we are able to know and explore Ladakh and its economy beyond tourism. Really it is quite appreciable that you provided us a glimpse of real Ladakh beyond tourism. Prior to your Story we could not even believe that farming would have been the profession of Ladakh people.

Obvious Divide

Suraj Parkash,

Bangalore

A small administrative order over the land transfer gathered the momentum

and put the state on fire, there was an obvious reaction form both the sides, Press, not so free whereas in Jammu they came with discrimination saga and in the valley

Hurriyat and other mainstream parties also missed no chance to fuel the fire. Its hurting but still the fact that the two months agitation has divided the state, like Russia and U.S.A during their cold war period, the two regions of the state have fallen into the vicious trap of vested interests. The last issue of EPILOGUE represented the balanced views from both the regions and have appreciably adopted a unique approach.

force ?

your voice is thrashed with guns and

more shameful for a democracy

called freedom of press. What could be

duplicity of the state on the name of

and cameramen clearly enlights on the

incidence of attacks on the

f r e e d o m o f p r e s s , E P I L O G U E ' s chronological views on the number of

The credibility of media was doubted and there was an attempt to oppress the

Shehraza Malik, Law Student, Pune

journalists

so

when

Imran ul Hasan, District: Ramban

Satyam Bhagat, Rohini, New Delhi

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WHO SAID WHAT

H E A R A N D H E A R WHO SAID WHAT CentralGovernmentshouldnationalizetheroadtothe
CentralGovernmentshouldnationalizetheroadtothe AmarnathYatrasothatinfuturenoattemptismade todisturbthe

CentralGovernmentshouldnationalizetheroadtothe

AmarnathYatrasothatinfuturenoattemptismade

todisturbthe

cialharmonyforpoliticalreasons

so

Rajnath Singh, National President, BJP

todisturbthe cialharmonyforpoliticalreasons so Rajnath Singh, National President, BJP
so Rajnath Singh, National President, BJP I believe that the Hurriyat has the right to say
so Rajnath Singh, National President, BJP I believe that the Hurriyat has the right to say

I believe that the Hurriyat has the right to say that they represent the people, I don't think that only those who participate in elections have the right to claim representation of the people.

Saif-ud-din Soz, Union Minister for Water Resources

people. Saif-ud-din Soz, Union Minister for Water Resources We do not have ideological compatibility with any

We do not have ideological compatibility with any party. It is easy to go for alliance in any other state but not in J&K.

to go for alliance in any other state but not in J&K. Arun Jaitely, Senior Leader

Arun Jaitely, Senior Leader BJP

state but not in J&K. Arun Jaitely, Senior Leader BJP Starting trade on Cross-LOC route is

Starting trade on Cross-LOC route is a non-issue for us. Our struggle is far right to self determination.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Senior Separatist Leader

I don’t believe that independence for Kashmir is a feasible or a viable option and I stand by that.

Omar Abdullah, President N.C.

option and I stand by that. Omar Abdullah, President N.C. Elections are essential to ensure a
option and I stand by that. Omar Abdullah, President N.C. Elections are essential to ensure a

Elections are essential to ensure a legitimate representative status. The Hurriyat Conference should contest elections so that the people may take them seriously at home and aborad.

Bhim Singh, Supremo, JKNPP

Trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir is completely out of question. We are committed to address alienation with all sensitivity.

Sonia Gandhi, President Congress Party

with all sensitivity. Sonia Gandhi, President Congress Party Addressing the public sentiments with open mind is
with all sensitivity. Sonia Gandhi, President Congress Party Addressing the public sentiments with open mind is

Addressing the public sentiments with open mind is a challenge and gun could not be state's medium of expression in the current scenario.

be state's medium of expression in the current scenario. Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, Former Chief Minister Kashmir

Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, Former Chief Minister

current scenario. Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, Former Chief Minister Kashmir remains the 'core issue' between India and
current scenario. Mufti Mohd. Sayeed, Former Chief Minister Kashmir remains the 'core issue' between India and

Kashmir remains the 'core issue' between India and Pakistan and every Pakistan Ex- Government has viewed it so. The Pakistani position is well know.

Asif Ali Zardari, President, Pakistan

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ELECTIONS

International Audience, Domestic Dissidence Delaying Assembly Polls

Kundal resigned to join Ghulam Nabi Azad cabinet,

S elections were seen happening anytime then. Ministers

were missing from their secretariat offices as all politicians

were fanned out to their electoral constituencies. Ruling coalition partners Peoples Democratic Party and the Congress were as usual, warring against each other take credit of populist measures –many of them still waiting to be announced. It was apparently with an eye on garnering more seats in the Hindu majority Jammu region that Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad did a quick approval to Amarnath shrine land allotment and the PDP of Muftis opposed move playing up to its Kashmir constituency. Four months down the line, the mainstream political landscape has been changed to so worst that even talk of elections is sounding ridiculous.

As per the legislative calendar, by this time the poll season in Jammu and Kashmir should have been at its zenith. Post-Amarnath land row, the mainstream politics has got such a severe beating that not only the political parties but also the Election Commission of India is clueless about election timing. Term of present Jammu and Kashmir and Legislative Assembly (dissolved on July 10 after fall of Ghulam Nabi Azad government) was to end on November 20 and a new government should have been elected by that time. A little over 50 days have left for that deadline but there is still no movement on the poll front. Almost all political parties, except BJP, clearly put their foot down to the disturbed security scenario when the Election Commission of India had its first consultation meeting in New Delhi on September 8. With their wide

Valley base, Peoples Democratic Party and the

Conference told election commission that situation in Kashmir was not suitable for elections. The Congress, with a

poor presence in Valley and drastically shrunk base in Jammu region, played it diplomatically. We have left it to the Election Commission to decide poll dates, said Union Minister and state Congress President Saif-ud-Din Soz. “We

ome four months back when then Chief Secretary BR

are ready whenever Commission decides”. BJP is the one party which wants elections held as soon as possible. “If Kashmir is not ready for elections why should Jammu and Ladakh regions wait for that, says Arun Jaitly party general secretary and incharge of J&K affairs. When asked about the separatist movement in Kashmir which may bring the poll participation down to negligible, Jaitly said, this is a wrong notion. More mainstream politics and competitive elections will neutralize the separatist constituency. In fact the BJP is desperate to reap the harvest of recent agitation on Amarnath land row in Jammu. This agitation saw strengthening and rise of rightwing political parties in at least four of the ten districts. The Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti –which spearheaded agitation –has so far no plans of contesting elections and therefore the BJP expects a cakewalk on dozen odd constituencies if elections are held immediately as the agitated sentiments against Congress and Kashmir based parties are still fresh. The Election Commission after meeting political parties had series of consultations with security agencies, J&K state administration and the Union Home Ministry. A final meeting of Election Commission with Governor NN Vohra, who is keen to have an elected government in place at the earliest, is still pending. The UPA government is in a double whammy on the elections. If elections are held now and the poll percentage in Valley does not go beyond five percent this can be an embarrassment for India internationally. India has always defended the secessionist voices and the international support thereof by its elections results. Valley had polled 29 per cent in 2002 assembly elections which definitely boosted India's image. In 2002 byelections on three Valley constituencies in north Kashmir, the poll percentage was as high as 70 per cent far and far above the national average. India had obviously wanted to see this trend repeated in 2008 elections, and there were definite chances for this, but the Amarnath land row has pushed

r n a t h l a n d r o w h a s p

National

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Valley back to the wall. To ease situation in Kashmir, which literally back to early 1990s era, the UPA government and the state Governor NN Vohra's administration have recently took a slew of firefighting measures to ease sentiments and create a conducive situation for elections. The idea was to through the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad route open for Cross- LoC trade and to connect the Valley with Muslim dominated districts of Rajouri and Poonch via Mughal Road before Eid so as to address some amount of alienation. The Cross-LoC trade though has been decided to commence on October 21 but a possible fair weather drive on the Mughal Road is reported to have been snowed in may be till early next year when the snow melts. It is all a guess work about final timing of elections. While the elections in present scenario are fraught with the doubts of lacking legitimacy with a poor public participation, delaying the exercise may still be a bad advertisement for India at international level. Sources say that the Election Commission is likely to take a final call on schedule in first week of October. As per the revised electoral rolls, Jammu and Kashmir now 64,81,000 voters listed for the 2008 assembly elections. There were nearly 63 lakh registered voters when last assembly elections were held in 2002. According to Election Department, in the forthcoming assembly elections 4.48 lakh fresh voters will be casting their votes while 3.68 lakh of them are the new voters –attaining age of 18 after last elections –who will be casting first vote of their life.

DEVELOPMENT

Plan Model Being Re-Structured As ‘Discrimination’ Voices Get Shriller

 

JAMMU

KASHMIR

Agriculture

5761

104.5

FYP8

  147.31 253.17 FYP9
 

147.31

253.17

FYP9

270.49

380.29

FYP10

337.56

519.41

FYP11

Irrigation

91.14

136.64

FYP8

  112.79 210.05 FYP9
 

112.79

210.05

FYP9

267.76

446.72

FYP10

282.54

365.35

FYP11

Roads & Buildings

114.2

247.22

FYP8

  29.38 403.67 FYP9
 

29.38

403.67

FYP9

730.93

751.03

FYP10

1229.24

1229.24

FYP11

Health

123.92

135.34

FYP8

  226.07 274.45 FYP9
 

226.07

274.45

FYP9

330.32

390.25

FYP10

510.81

819.22

FYP11

Tourism

15.21

34.39

FYP8

  34.99 58.01 FYP9
 

34.99

58.01

FYP9

47.17

109.85

FYP10

36.29

83.09

FYP11

Sewerage

2.92

6.81

FYP8

  6.26 14.61 FYP9
 

6.26

14.61

FYP9

30.61

71.42

FYP10

11.54

35.67

FYP11

Drainage

20.37

45.53

FYP8

  27.84 64.96 FYP9
 

27.84

64.96

FYP9

32.31

75.41

FYP10

67.75

109.61

FYP11

Housing & Urban Dev

19.38

45.23

FYP8

  39.87 93.02 FYP9
 

39.87

93.02

FYP9

69.65

162.52

FYP10

27.94

518.88

FYP11

Power

516.75

775.12

FYP8

  56.94 85.41 FYP9
 

56.94

85.41

FYP9

1154

1731.43

FYP10

3278.78

4918.17

FYP11

All figures in Rupees Crore, based on Five Year Plan Fundings

F ollowing

Amarnath

land row

agitation and unprecedented regional polarization between Kashmir and Jammu the voices of regional discrimination are getting shriller than ever. While this grouse has remained predominant in Jammu for all sixty years –precisely since the end of Dogra Maharaja's rule

–of late harsher complaints from Kashmir have started pouring in. With both regions complaining against each other the task has become difficult for planners and researchers to

actually reach at an objective opinion. In this backdrop, the Governor NN Vohra has proposed a pragmatic step to lay the foundations for balanced funding as India's Thirteenth Finance Commission has started working out the next Five Year Plan.

J&K's coalition government in its last year in office had constituted as State Finance Commission with an objective to regional imbalances in funding

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pattern and propose suggestions for future development funding so that each region gets its due share. Vohra recently had a meeting with the Finance Commission –its chairman Mehmood-ur-Rehman and three members, one each drawn from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

The Governor observed that the recommendations on the fiscal devolution to civic bodies and other measures for strengthening the Local Self Governing bodies could go a long way in decentralization of the decision making process, a leading to qualitative improvement in governance. Rehman apprised the Governor about the Commission's visits and interactions in each of the districts of the State except two, which the Commission proposes to visit along with other remote and backward areas across the State. He said that the Commission had also extensively studied various Public Sector Corporations across in the State. The Commission was, in particular, looking into the issues pertaining to corporate governance, with the objective of restructuring of these institutions of vital public importance. Rehman said that the Commission was mapping the regions and sub-regions with reference to well accepted development indicators for identifying the backlog of development in backward areas and suggest strategies for short-term and long-term correction. He said that the Commission was also identifying measures to bring about a paradigm shift in the approach for inter-se allocation of resources by treating each region and sub-region within the region as a targeted economic unit. The Chairman said that the Commission was also reviewing the state of finances and suggesting restructuring of the public finances, restoring budgetary balance, achieving macro-economic stability and debt reduction. He said that the Commission would be suggesting measures needed to augment the resources of the State Government, particularly to supplement resources of Halqa Panchayats, Municipalities and Municipal Corporations. Meanwhile,

a senior BJP leader, Prof Hari Om seems to have put in

a lot of effort in pointing out that “Kashmiri political

elite” alone is not be blamed for the alleged regional discrimination against Jammu is New Delhi is an “equal culprit”. Hari Om has complied the sector-wise funding details of last four Five Year Plans which clearly show a lopsided funding, if the figures are genuine as Hari Om claims. (See table)

ECONOMIC LOSSES

Agitation Reportedly Cost Economy Over Rs 30,000 Crores

Agitation Reportedly Cost Economy Over Rs 30,000 Crores Kashmir is on the way to set a

Kashmir is on the way to set a precedence. Voluntary

I shut downs as part of agitations is always considered as

t has not been heard anywhere in India, but Jammu and

voluntary and not forced; therefore government

compensation in such cases is something unheard of. The

Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti (SAYSS), which

spearheaded two-month long agitation in Jammu on

Amarnath shrine land row, put a specific condition before

the government for calling off agitation. Besides restoration

of the controversial piece of 800 kanals of forest land to the shrine board, the Samiti put 12 other conditions before the government which included compensation to all sectors of economy which suffered losses during agitation. Cornered at all fronts, the government was quick to agree. Though the

demand was specific for Jammu region alone but in its balancing act, the Government decided to extend this benefit to Kashmir Valley's units of economy as well. The Governor's administration has now constituted a Working

Group under the Chief Secretary to examine cases of losses

and

work out the compensation package. The Working Group

has

to complete the exercise in two months (before October

end). The cash starved J&K Government will be forwarding

the case to Central Government for financial assistance.

Though an exact and authentic tabulation of losses is yet to be made, but representative bodies of trade, commerce and industries in Jammu have said that losses run beyond Rs 10,000 Crores. Ram Sahai, President of Chamber of Commerce and Industries have said that the losses mount to over Rs 9600 Crores. Some other sections not covered by the

CCI have also been reporting losses in hundreds of crores of

rupees. The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has reported losses to the tune of Rs 25,000 Crores. Now it has to be seen as how government works out this more than Rs 30,000 Crore compensation package.

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MILITANCY

Gun Relatively Silent In Valley, Jammu Returns To Late 1990’s era

ashmir Valley has definitely returned to its early-1990s era of separatist upsurge but

there is one remarkable difference –the gun discourse is missing. However, traveling

K south of Pir Panchal, in Jammu region the scene is being reset to the mid and late

1990s with a visible presence of the gun. Ever since Kashmir Valley re-erupted June this year with the dominant Azadi discourse, what has lend credence to the voices and added to the worries of New Delhi is the fact that all is not being done on the gun point. In early years of 1990s when the slogan shouting Valley residents stayed more on streets than their houses, the popular perception was all that being done under the shadow of gun. That may have been largely those times, but this time around gun has been carefully kept away from the scene to send a message of popular uprising and not the militancy. Surprisingly, militancy is on its revision course in Jammu province where sporadic incidents of violence and infiltration are on an alarming rise. Intelligence reports have that some 800 ultras are waiting on the other side of International Border and Line of Control along Jammu region to cross over at an opportune time. Such “opportune times” are now happening much frequently and that too under the fire cover provided by Pakistani Rangers or Army. While the Winter Capital City is reeling under a constant terror fear since ultras sneaked in on August 25 and took a family hostage before being killed in a 19-hour long gun battle, the fear

before being killed in a 19-hour long gun battle, the fear POWER 450 MW Baglihar Project

POWER

450 MW Baglihar Project Ready To Change J&K’s Destiny

450 MW Baglihar Project Ready To Change J&K’s Destiny A fter surviving prolonged diplomatic rows, geographical

A fter surviving

prolonged

diplomatic rows,

geographical hurdles and bureaucratic red-tapism, J&K's most ambitious power project, so far,

the 450 MW Baglihar hydro-electric power project is all set for commercial generation by middle of October. Test run on three turbines of 150 MW has been performed successfully. On Baglihar, India had fought a long row with Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. It

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N E W S W R A P J&K STORIES factor is also looming large in

factor is also looming large in the countryside and the border melting hot with activity. Having enjoyed few years of security and peace in their home and hearths since November 2003 ceasefire, the border residents along five districts in Jammu region are again a worried lot. Since November 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan, life had limped back to normalcy along the International Border and the Line of Control and people had resumed their usual farm activity which was on doldrums after the Kargil conflict of 1999. However, since past few months a deep sense of insecurity is prevailing among the residents of border areas as cases of firing and infiltration have picked up drastically and some times getting more frequent than the pre-ceasefire times. Reports from across the region have been pouring in on the presence of militants. It was around two to three months back when people in the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch started reporting huge presence of militants in the interiors and now a similar situation is being reported from the areas along IB, in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts. Between April and August this year, there have been at least 29 instances when Pakistani troops violated the truce with India and fired at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) to provide covering fire to militants. One incident was reported in April, two in May and seven in June. The figure rose to 10 in July, while at least nine violations took place in August. About 150 intruders had managed to cross over to the Indian side since January, sources said. 'The recent firing along the LoC is mainly an attempt of infiltration by militants and the armed forces are keeping a vigil. By and large, we have been able to defeat the attempts of militants. The coming few months are crucial and we have to be more alert and the armed forces have been asked to be more vigilant,' Defence Minister AK Antony said on September 5 in New Delhi. Infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir normally begins at the end of March when the snows in the Himalayan ranges melt and the passes become accessible. Between March and July, the Indian Army says, there have been over 130 infiltration bids, of which about 20 succeeded.

was in February last year that a World Bank commissioned expert panel headed by Raymond Liffete cleared the project of all objection with some suggestions of slight design change including reduction in height of the dam to 143 meters from the then height of 145 meters . On July 31 this year, a three-member team from Pakistan led by Central Water Commission (Indus Water Treaty) Commissioner Syed Jamait Ali Shah had visited Baglihar project and had given a clean chit to the project in its report, after complete inspections. The project was started in 1999 and is almost complete after much delay due to dispute raised by Pakistan and changes undertaken in design. The project, constructed by Jaypee Indistrues, was initially slated to be completed at a cost of Rs 4000 crores by June 2006 but due to unprecedented floods in mid 2005, the project received a severe set back, as its tunnels got severely damaged. The natural calamity resulted in time and cost over run in the project with the project cost rising from Rs 4000 crores to Rs 5200 crores. This is first major state-owned power project in Jammu and Kashmir and its commissioning is going to be a major milestone in economic development of the state. All other

major functional projects like Dul Hasti are in the Center sector owned and operated by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation in which Jammu and Kashmir gets only 12 per cent royalty share of the total production. There are more than 25 power projects –both in State and Central sectors –harnessing a potential of around 1500 MWs. Some of the projects are operational while others are into various stages of completion. The peak hour electricity requirement in Jammu and Kashmir around 2040 MWs but the total production in state sector has so far been only 311 MWs. After resorting to scheduled power curtailments, the minimum supply is managed by around 950 MWs procured from royalty out of Central Sector projects, Power Trading Corporation of India and other sources. This supply too falls to around 650 MWs in peak summers as well as in peak winters due to drop in river discharge and transmission and distribution losses. With generation of 450 MWs of power at Baglihar power project the total electricity production in the State Sector will go upwards 800 MWs. This will not only push the economic growth of state but will also bring down the huge expenditure on electricity procurement.

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RAILWAYS

Suspense, elusion over Kashmir’s ‘Rail-Line Integration’ With India

A n aesthetic and comfort marvel of Indian Railways, the Kashmir Valley is all set to have one of the most beautiful and comfortable trains of country chugging

between its northern most part –Baramulla and the southern most township of Qazigund. However, the dream of integrating Kashmir with rest of India by train is getting elusive by the day even as authorities are making a discreet silence on imminent delay on the project.

Rail link within and to Kashmir Valley has two phases –one which connects Valley within and the other connects Valley with rest of country. Valley's internal rail line is a 199 Kilometer track between Qazigund and Baramulla. The

Upon its commissioning the Qazigund-Baramulla track would would generate direct employment for 3900 persons in the Valley, in addition to indirect employment. The Railways is also processing 400 cases for providing employment to one person in each of the land loser families, those which have given to the Railways more than 75 per cent of their holdings, in Kashmir. Appointment letters have been issued to 120 candidates so far, who are undergoing training in different parts of the country.

construction work on this section having 800 bridges is 95 per cent complete and Rs 2200 Crores out of the estimated prost cost of Rs 2400 Crores have already been spent. An air- conditioned, eight coach diesel multiple unit with push back seats will chug on this track which has 15 stations on the way with the central Srinagar-Nowgam station being architecturally and aesthetically, the most beautiful station in the Indian Railways. However, the line linking Kashmir with rest of the country –the 148 kilometer Katra-Qazigund track –is appearing to be an elusive project yet. The special feature of this section is that 80 per cent of the 148 kilometer track will be covered by tunnels and 12 per cent by bridges, thus leaving only 8 per cent open. This section was supposed to have world's third highest railway bridge but recent reports of change in alignment have

The railway project in the State comprises three sections- Udhampur-Katra, Katra-Qazigund and Qazigund-Baramulla, taken up at a cumulative cost of Rs 11000 crores. For the current financial year, Rs 1000 crores have been earmarked.

sparked off doubts which the authorities are yet to clarify. As a part of Jammu-Udhampur-Baramulla rail link the world's third highest railway bridge was coming up over River Chenab in village Kauri in the newly created Reasi district. After spending more than Rs 100 Crores and risking the claims of an international construction consortium running beyond Rs 200 Crores, the government is reported to have cancelled the project after belatedly learning about its unfeasibility. After global tendering the Konkan Railways had in 2004 allotted the construction work of this project to Ultra- Afcons-VSL, an international construction consortium. The bridge on river Chenab was supposed to have a total length of 1320 metres, the single longest arch span of 480 metres and the height from the bed level to the rail level of 359 metres –highest anywhere in the world. At an estimated cost of Rs 500 Crores, the Kauri bridge was to be completed in a period of 30 months which, however, had elapsed early last year. The construction work on the bridge had picked up only earlier this year but now the report has come about cancellation of the project. In a letter dated September 4, the railway board announced "all existing contracts" with Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) for a 34-km stretch of the railway link between Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the construction of the Chenab mega arch bridge, have been

Railways were constructing 270 kilometers of access roads, at the cost of the Railways, to carry machinery and equipment to the Project sites. After the completion of the Project, these roads would connect 60 villages and will be of immense use for the locals of the concerned areas.

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Governor Vohra on Kashmir train ride
Governor Vohra on Kashmir train ride

The construction work on this section having 800 bridges is 95 per cent complete and Rs 2200 Crores out of the estimated prost cost of Rs 2400 Crores have already been spent. An air-conditioned, eight coach diesel multiple unit with push back seats will chug on this track which has 15 stations on the way with the central Srinagar-Nowgam station being architecturally and aesthetically, the most beautiful station in the Indian Railways.

The special feature of Katra-Qazigund section is that 80 per cent of the 148 kilometer track will be covered by tunnels and 12 per cent by bridges, thus leaving only 8 per cent open.

"short closed" (meaning, terminated before completion of work).?

As a corollary, the board's decision puts a stop to the sub- contract signed by KRCL in 2004 with the international

This has sparked off doubts as authorities are not officially clarifying the proposed change in alignment. The only word which we have about the impact of this design change is from a meeting which J&K Governor NN Vohra had with the official of Northern Railways in New Delhi on September 16. Briefing about the meeting, an official spokesman of J&K government said that despite change in alignment on

the

Northern Railway has assured Governor NN Vohra that the completion of the railway link will not be delayed beyond

the stipulated time. “Allaying the apprehensions about the change in the

examining legitimate claims."? alignment on the Jammu side of the track, the General

Manager assured that the work on this track will be speeded up to facilitate the early completion of the Project”, said the spokesman.

could not clear any of its plans for the bridge.? Jammu side of the Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund rail line,

alignment of the entire 125 km track between Katra and Banihal skirting the mountains at altitudes ranging from 800 to 1,700 metres.

consortium, Ultra-Afcons-VSL, to

design and build the

Chenab bridge within 30 months. Though the stipulated period for the execution of the project lapsed last year, the consortium is yet to build even the foundation in the mountain slope on either side of the river as Northern Railways, in view of the treacherous geological conditions,

In a tacit reference to the claims of Rs 300 crore submitted by the consortium for the manpower and machinery idling at the site, the board said, "A proper record of material, unfinished work abandoned at the site shall be kept for

The decision to scrap the bridge was taken by the board's member (engineering) S K Vij as a sequel to an order passed by him on July 14 suspending all works on the existing

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INFRASTRUCTURE

Major Projects Surpassing Deadlines By Years

Wa ith majority of the c e n t r a l l y f u n d e d

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infrastructure projects in J&K running appallingly behind schedule, a Parliamentary Panel has suggested a funding mechanism for this state where money is not considered lapsed at the end of financial year. Currently, most of the funds earmarked for the states are getting lapsed as harsh climatic conditions don't allow works at a steady pace. The panel also expressed concern that the Planning Commission and the

Finance Ministry reduces the plan outlay for Jammu Kashmir projects due to non-completion

of works.

Of the works running behind schedule are some of the major projects funded under Prime

Minister's Special Infrastructure

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reconstruction plan made in 2004, seven road projects were

taken up. None of it has met the deadline. Construction of Mughal road between Pulwama district in Kashmir valley and Poonch and Rajouri of Jammu was scheduled to be over in March 2007 but now

a new deadline of April 2010 has

been set. Out of the Rs 639.85 crore of fund alloted to the project, only Rs 162.35 crore had been spent till this April. Similarly, widening of Domel- Katra road by Border Road Organization (BRO) has missed the deadline of March 2007 and out of the total fund allotment, only 61per cent has been spent.

U n d e r

SURVEY REPORT

J&K Lok Sabha Constituencies Doing Better Than Many In India

J ammu and Kashmir is though not able to compete most of other states in important parameters of development but its Lok Sabha constituencies are doing quite good. India Today's latest survey of best and worst constituencies of India has put J&K's Lok

Sabha segments in a class of their own. As the trend has it, the constituencies with large urban base have faired well than those spread over hilly and rural areas. What makes the

state proud is that in an indexing of 543 Lok Sabha constituencies, its best is placed at rank 208 and worst at 367 while Bihar makes an entry at 330 and Uttar Pradesh has 29 of the 100 worst constituencies. The Srinagar-Badgam Lok Sabha presently represented by National Conference president Omar Abdullah segment has been placed at 208 rank in terms of performance on socio- economic sector and at 279th in terms of infrastructure development. Omar's arch rival and another young leader Mehbooba Mufti constituency –Anantnag-Pulwama -finishes poor at the second last rank among six constituencies in the state. Congress MP Chowdhary Lal Singh's constituency of Kathua-Udhampur-Doda has been

Constituency

MP

Socio-Eco Index

Infrastructure

Srinagar-Budgam

Omar Abdullah

208

279

Jammu-Kashmi

Madan Lal

260

247

Ladakh

Thupstan Chewang

264

184

Baramulla-Kupwara

A.R. Shaheen

277

205

Anantnag-Pulwama

Mehbooba Mufti

296

308

Udhampur-Doda

Lal Singh

363

357

placed at the poor last rank in the state but he does not have to worry about it. After all, Lal Singh's performance, though poor as per the survey finding, is at least 50 points better than that of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's Rae Bariely constituency and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi'sAmethi constituency. “Nothing quite compares with the eloquence of numbers. By definition India is a mosaic of cultures, geographies and economies. And nothing symbolises this better than the rankings of the Lok Sabha constituencies”, says the India Today magazine's survey of India's best and worst constituencies. The Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch Lok Sabha constituency represented by Madan Lal of Congress has ranked at number in the state. Out of all LS seats in India, Madan's

constituency is at rank 260 in terms of socio-economic development and 247 in terms of infrastructure access. The Congress MP has reason to feel happy and elated. “I have put in all my efforts to repay to my electors the faith they reposed in me”, says Madan. Among his major achievements, he counts over half a dozen colleges and double laning of Jalandhar-Jammu rail line. Ladakh constituency represented by Thupstan Chhewang of Ladakh Union Territory Front is ranked at number three in the state and at all India level it is at rank 264 in terms of socio-economic development and 184 in terms of access to infrastructure. The Baramulla-Kupwara constituency represented by Abdul Rashid Shaheen of National Conference is at 277 rank in terms of socio-economic development and 205 in access to

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infrastructure. Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti's constituency of Anantnag-Pulwama is the second worst performer at 296 rank in terms of socio-economic development and 308 in access to infrastructure. Chowdhary Lal Singh of Congress doubts the indexing methodology as his constituency finishes last -363 in terms of socio-economic development and 357 in terms of infrastructure access. Lal Singh has a reason to protest. The indexing is not the basis of performance an individual MP may have registered during the present term. The parameters also include what he inherited from his predecessors. “I have got more than 400 projects completed so far in the areas of my constituency and am sure of meeting the 800 target before end of my term”, Lal Singh said. He further said, “in Omar Abdullah's constituency only 90 projects have been taken so far. “Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 MPs to Parliament and has been home to eight prime ministers, makes an entry at number 212 with Kanpur, thanks to the dividend of legacy the commercial city delivers”, says the India Today survey.

“The real shocker is that Bihar boasts of 32 of the worst 100 constituencies while Uttar Pradesh is home to 29 to the bottom of the pile. Curiously the listing reads virtually like the first list of 100 worst districts classified by the Patel Committee in 1964. It is as if time has stood still”. Phulpur and Allahabad, represented by Jawaharlal Nehru, who was prime minister for 17 years, rank 409 out of 543 on the socioeconomic index. Lucknow, which elected Atal Bihari Vajpayee, is placed at 269. Ballia, which elected Chandra Shekhar (and now his son), ranks 388 and Chaudhary Charan Singh's Baghpat is

362.

Amethi which has elected members of the Gandhi family- Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi (twice), Sonia Gandhi and now Rahul Gandhi-five times out of 10 polls. It ranks 484 on the socio-economic index and 475 on the infrastructure ranking. Nehru-Gandhi home turf of Amethi, presently represented by Rahul Gandhi ranks at 484 while Rae Bareily constituency is at 507 rank in terms of socio-economic index. The survey report concludes, “unless public representatives realise that the huge monster called government is made to deliver, they will be haunted by anti-incumbency and their voters by poor governance. These ratings simply reflect the distance between the need of the voting class and a slothful system”.

INDUSTRIAL INVESTMENT

Loosing Ground To Neighbouring Himachal Pradesh

or past few years, the Central and State government have

laying huge thrust on attracting investment in Jammu and

FKashmir. This included a multi-pronged strategy mainly

focusing on positive images building, allaying fears of militancy, creating industry infrastructure and easing the land acquisition norms. However, nothing seems to have worked well as investors are not keen. Many have run away after swindling huge subsidies and concessions while others are not enthusiastic in making investments. In the recent 'State of States' survey report of

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India Today, Jammu and Kashmir has emerged at poor 16 rank. While there is no remarkable achievement on any parameter of growth, Jammu and Kashmir appears to have suffered a massive damage to its projected investment friendly environment. Among 20 big states in country Jammu and Kashmir ranks at 16 in attracting investors. What is more worrying is the fact that this ranking has been on a constant decline for last four years. At least two Chief Ministers –Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his successor Ghulam Nabi Azad –always claimed that they mobilized huge investment for the state. However, a credible survey points to the contrary. The survey says that Jammu and Kashmir ranked at number nine in terms of its investment friendly environment in 2004 which declined to number 10 in 2005, number 12 in 2006, number 14 in 2007 and number 16 in 2008. This clearly points out that India's industry barons are least interested in investing in Jammu and Kashmir. This had already been pointed by Prime Minister's Task Force on Jammu and Kashmir's Economic Reconstruction which submitted its report in December 2006. The Task Force headed by former Reserve Bank of India Governor R Rangarajan had said that besides unreliable security environment, the cumbersome land acquiring process and complex taxation regime keeps the investors away from Jammu and Kashmir. Himachal Pradesh, though a hilly state almost like Jammu and Kashmir, has emerged as number one state in the country in terms of attracting investment. This first rank in attracting investment had earlier been held by Gujarat consecutively for last three years. The latest “State of the States Survey” conducted by country's leading current affairs magazine has put Jammu and Kashmir at eleventh rank among the 20 big states of the country. Punjab still maintains its Numero Uno position in the list while Tamil Nadu has gone up to number two and Himachal Pradesh is at number three. As usual Bihar is at the last rank. India Today's annual “State of the States” survey, as it is well known, is considered not less than the reports of Planning

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Commission. The survey conducted by leading Economists Bibek Debroy and Laveesh Bhandari examines three categories –Big States, Small States and Union Territories. There are 20 States in the category of Bog States and Jammu

and Kashmir comes at eleventh rank. Jammu and Kashmir is maintaining this eleventh rank, well below halfway, consecutively for last two years though its performance has declined in many crucial sectors of economic growth and general environment. In the same survey, J&K ranked at tenth place in 2005 and 2006 which declined to eleven in 2007. Agriculture is regarded as backbone of Jammu and Kashmir's economy but there is no remarkable growth in this sector. For straight

second year, the state is at 16th rank among 20 states. Position was slightly better between 2004 and 2006 when state ranked at number 15. This year's survey has put

two. The

Madhya Pradesh at number one and Punjab at number worst performing state in Agriculture sector is Gujarat.

The primary health sector, however, appears to be only hope for

four

image of Jammu and Kashmir. The state has ranked at number

among 20 states whileTamil Nadu is the best and Bihar still remains the worst. It may be mentioned here that Jammu and Kashmir

enjoyedfourthrankinprimaryhealthsectorin2004butdeclinedto

numberbutitdeclinedtonumbersevenin2006and2007.

Remarkable improvement has also been noticed in primary

 

Jammu & Kashmir

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

Overall Ranking

11

11

11

10

10

Agriculture

16

16

15

15

15

Primary Health

04

07

07

05

04

Investment Environment

16

14

12

10

09

Primary Education

08

08

10

08

07

Infrastructure

10

11

11

08

10

Macro Economy

06

07

06

07

07

Consumer Markets

08

08

08

08

07

Law & Order

16

15

17

17

12

 

Excerpted from India Today Survey

education where Jammu and Kashmir once stood at number seven in 2004 and declined to eight in 2005, number 10 in 2006 and number eight in 2007. This year again state has been ranked at number eight. There is also a decline for the worst in law and order sector. In this sector, the state has registered a decline of one rank from 15 to 16. Between 2004 and 2004, J&K ranked continuously at number 17 when it improved to 15 in 2007. This year there is a decline by one point.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

State Gets Steel Plant, Rs One Billion More Investment On The Way

n a major boost to state's economy and industrial growth, Kashmir Valley has got its first steel plant. Union Steel Minister Ram

Vilas Paswan on September 22 laid the foundation of the first steel-processing plant in the industry-starved Kashmir Valley

Iwhich will give employment to around 4,500 people. The plant in Lassipora industrial growth centre in south Kashmir Pulwama

district will have an annual capacity of 160,000 tonnes and will become operational in 2010. Paswan said the capacity of the steel- processing plant would be expanded after it becomes operational in January 2010. Complimenting the central government and the union steel ministry for setting up the unit in the valley, Governor N.N. Vohra said

the plant would help to meet the steel demand of the valley besides assuring employment to a good number of people. Paswan announced that the initial cost of Rs.900 million of the upcoming unit would be enhanced to Rs.1.5 billion to ensure full- fledged facilities in the unit. Earlier on September 8, the government's Apex Clearance Committee (APCC) for industrial investments cleared 23 industrial projects in medium and large sectors with an estimated investment of Rs One Billion which also included the Lassipora steel plant. Among others Shri Cements projects was also approved with an investment of Rs 164 crore. The project will have a potential for creation of many ancillary units. The other projects cleared are for manufacturing of high precision auto components, terri-towels, cement, hi-tech batteries, LT/HT wire cables, steel products, paints, DG sheets, electric motors and steel pipes etc. The total investment to be mobilized on setting up of the 23 projects cleared by the committee will be to the tune of Rs 1002 crore and direct employment to be created in these units will be about 5500 persons. The Chief Secretary directed for proper zoning of new industrial estates keeping in view various industrial activities, pollution norms and other related factors so that requisite pollution control measures like setting up of Common Effluent Treatment Plants could be designed and set up in the states.

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I N F O C U S LOC TRADE Beginning Of A New Chapter Zafar Choudhary

Beginning Of A New Chapter

Zafar Choudhary

More than 61 years since the last truck load of goods moved on either side of Kashmir Valley's main trade highway to the world, a new is era to set to begin in 2008 –an historical epoch indeed. Nearly three weeks after Pakistan's new President Asif Ali Zardari promised India some good news (immediately after his swearing in), the trans-LoC trade between two parts of Jammu and Kashmir has been agreed upon. Trucks will roll down on 130 kilometer long Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road on October 21 and on 47 kilometer long Poonch-Rawalakote road on October 28. Seen in the context of Indo-Pak peace process, the trans-LoC trade can well be described as the Biggest Confidence Building Measure so far.

T here was an overwhelming response in Jammu and Kashmir on September 25,

barring few voices of obvious reservation, when Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Zardari made announcement of trans-LoC trade from New York where both leaders were visiting to attend 63 United Nations General Assembly session. Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, National Conference, CPI(M) and a wide majority of separatists welcomed the move and most of them described this as realization of urges and aspirations of the people of Kashmir. Hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani's was the lone voice to underplay the move. “Opening for trade the routes which already have restricted movement for people is a non-issue for us…we are fighting for a larger cause”, said Geelani. In Jammu, the BJP saw trade agreement as an act of treason. “1994 Parliament resolution holds Pakistan occupied Kashmir as a part of India…this agreement (on trans-LoC trade) amounts to giving up claim on our territory and accepting LoC as International Border”, said BJP's Jammu unit president Ashok Khajuria.

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Almost all arrangements for trade on both routes have been put in place. On September 6, a team of Union Ministries of Finance, External Affairs and Home

63 per cent of the divided families on both sides of Jammu and Kashmir. Traders in Poonch and its adjoining district of Rajouri are grasping for a

along with top officers of J&K minimum knowledge about their stake

government visited the LoC crossing point at Kaman and custom station at Salamabad in Uri district to review preparations. Work on roads, buildings and other infrastructure facility was by that time 95 per cent complete. However, there is slow pace of work and lesser enthusiasm on the Poonch- Rawalakote trade link. Neither full facilities have come up there nor is there much awareness about what is going to happen. Since the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad link earns a lot of publicity and the Valley being major producer of commodities to be traded, the level of involvement in Kashmir is far higher than anywhere else in the state. Poonch does not have any well organized trade lobby and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Jammu as well as their Srinagar counterparts are not seen taking any interest in Poonch- Rawalakote route. However, it is interesting to note that this route, which was opened to passengers in 2006, is easiest and closet link between

Trade between two divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir has a different meaning for different people. For peaceniks it is an initiative which enhances the people-to-people contacts between both sides, brings down the walls of mistrust, ensures a greater level of cooperation and eventually strengthens the urge for peace. For traders, particularly on this side of divide, it is a biggest opportunity of economic growth and reaching to the international markets. For Kashmiri's it is an end to the perceived psychological suffocation as for them Jawahar tunnel has been only opening to the world since division of state. In a larger perspective the trans-LoC trade eventually emerges as a move of economic integration between India and Pakistan with Jammu and Kashmir as a bridge. Being a traditional bone of contention between two nuclear armed neighours, Kashmir becoming a bridge of cooperation can

in the whole affair.

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ultimately pay way for resolution of issue which has been hanging fire for 60 years.

Huge potential

The initial list of commodities to be exchanged between both parts of Jammu and Kashmir appears more symbolic in nature but in next couple of years these trade links are set to change economic profile of the region. Kashmir's apple industry alone is worth Rs 2500 Crores

and with a little boost

it can touch Rs 5000

Crore mark in next

few years. “Right now our apples are worth Rs 2500 Crore but if proper technology is applied we can produce five times higher than this figure –Rs 12500 Crores in next few years”, says Shakeel Qalander, President Federation Chamber

I n d u s t r i e s , Kashmir. “It is all about efficient logistics”, says Dr Mubeen Shah, the President of Kashmir

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Industry. With the

It’s Beyond CBM. Kashmir Always Needed An Alternate Trade Route

Interview Mubeen Shah, President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries

E ver since the talk of trans-LoC trade began few years back this has been described as mother of all Confidence Buildings Measures. Now trucks are all set to move across LoC. How do you look at the situation?

Trans-LoC trade was most important thing to happen to Kashmir and we are happy that this has been agreed upon. But I don't think this need to be linked with the Confidence Building Measures. Now this is a reality and necessity and not just symbolism that we should have trade relations with Pakistan administered Kashmir and beyond.

Could you please explain this?

See there are two major factors for which Kashmir should have trade ties with Pakistan administered Kashmir. One is natural and permanent and other is recent creation of communal forces. Kashmir has only surface link with world (Jammu-Srinagar National Highway) which is not fully dependable due to weather vagaries. The highway remains closed for weeks together due to snowfall and landslides resulting into severe shortage of commodities in the Valley, particularly during winter months and rainy season. Therefore, an alternate trade route is the necessity to maintain the basic minimum supply lines.

Another reason for alternate trade route, preferably linking Pakistan

administered Kashmir was felt strongly when some communal forces in Jammu forced economic blockade of Valley to the extent that we even ran short of baby milk powders and life saving drugs. After having faced such hostility now we can't depend on the traditional trade route. You never know how many times they force economic blockade of Kashmir.

But these charges of economic blockade have been severely denied in Jammu. Moreover during agitations, shutdowns and curfews supplies normally get affected.

If there was no economic blockade we were not the fools to lead a march to Muzaffarabad.

Our fruits and farm produce worth crores of rupees were allowed to rot in the mandis. People in several areas did not have anything to eat for several days. For weeks Valley ran empty of even most basic and essential commodities. Life saving drugs had to be procured directly from New Delhi by air as truckers were being attacked on the National Highway. Come here and meet the truckers who survived lethal attacks of communal hooligans. If there was no economic blockade then why the government had to hand over the National Highway to Army

to make some movement of trucks to Kashmir. We have been deeply hurt particularly by the action of those people who had business dealing with us.

Now since the situation in Jammu has ebbed, is there full resumption of economic

with us. Now since the situation in Jammu has ebbed, is there full resumption of economic

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supplies and also the restoration of hopes and expectations that Epilogue permanent structures. How do you business dealings with traders in does justice to the issue. explain this? The then Chief Executive

Officer of the Shrine Board is on record having said that a dam will be constructed and exclusively owned by the Board for power generation. Don't you see this tendency of creating a “State within State”. Just imagine what happens when they talk of taking over our tourist spots of Pahalgam and Gulmarg. We protested against these basis biases but were unfortunately labeled as communalists and secessionists.

What is this pre-1990 trade pattern?

trade patterns of pre-1990s. have a direct bearing on our two rivers –Jehlum and Lidder. Long term

In fact we have decided to resume the Increased human activity there would

Amarnath shrine is home to glaciers.

traders…they have betrayed our trust.

d e a l i n g

No. We are no more interested in allotment was on the basis of

First of all the resistance to the land

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ecological dangers. The land

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dangerous effects are not only in Kashmir but across the country as the rivers are sustained by glaciers. We had opposed construction of structures which was given a communal rebuttal

Kashmir in 1990 we had direct

by the Shrine Board authorities. Well let's come back to the trans-LoC trade. What is the quantum of trade

Second most important aspect is of economy. You have two shrine boards in

offices in Srinagar which were shut Jammu and Kashmir –Mata Vaishno Devi

down by the onset of disturbance. We Shrine Board and Shri Amarnath Shrine have requested them to revive that Board –both headed by the Governor. system. Meanwhile, we have started The management of Shrine Boards has As I already said this is not going to be a procurements from different parts of different yard sticks for both symbolic trade. We are gearing up for country bypassing Jammu. This has pilgrimages. There are three essential business in real terms. The quantum of

been made clear to the traders in facilities required to be offered to the trade as it appears on the list is not Jammu. And I must make this clear pilgrims –food, accommodation and much but this has to go up with the here that this is not an individual transport. In case of the Vaishno Devi passage of time. decision. This is a decision of the pilgrimage (in Jammu) the Shrine Board

people of entire Kashmir Valley who has left it to the local businessmen to This side of Kashmir stands to benefit

most from the trans-LoC trade for very

supplied from Jammu. pilgrims. However, in case of Amarnath simple reasons of efficient logistics. pilgrimage(inKashmir)theShrineBoard Besides handicrafts, what we sell most

Why you people protested allotment wants to handle everything itself. is fruits and vegetables which are

Protesters in Jammu demanded full

perishable goods. It takes 36 hours for

that was a turning point in widening management of Amarnath pilgrimage by our trucks to reach New Delhi while of gulf between Kashmir and Jammu. the Shrine Board (which has always been Islamabad is just 8 hours away. Once

an exclusive affair of Board) but why we are in Islamabad, our good are in

don'ttheyaskthesamethingforVaishno

poor knowledge of this whole issue. All newspapers and channels have sought to link the controversy on several

patterns ranging from secessionism to Look at the blatant discrimination the Pakistan Foreign Ministry for communalism. You people speak to unleashed by the Shrine Board. In procuring goods from Islamabad. Other separatist and mainstream leaders and Pahalgam our hotels can offer a side of Kashmir too enjoy benefits of the religious extremist. And the monthly occupancy of 250,000 beds economic spin offs. Our apple produce politicians base their opinions on your but the Shrine Board does not allow alone is worth Rs 2500 Crores. Just see reportage which lack depth. Why no pilgrims to stay in hotels. They create if this traded through Muzaffarabad one has bothered to address the issue separate camps for them and then commissions can make a huge

of ecology and economy. I have high demand land allotment for creating difference.

I am sorry to say but the media has a

Devipilgrimage?Isthissomethingmedia

of land to Amarnath shrine? Afterall

have refused to pick up commodities offer all these three facilities to the

you see happening between both parts of Kashmir. Who gets the maximum benefit –this Kashmir or that?

ties with producers, suppliers and wholesalers in different parts of country, particularly Amritsar, Ludhiana and New Delhi. They had their C&F (Clearance and Forwarding)

Before eruption of disturbance in

trade

the international market. We have s i g n e d a m e m o r a n d u m o f understanding with the traders in Dubai and they will get in touch with

can'tunderstand?

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opening of Jehlum Valley road, transportation cost and time, particularly for perishable commodities will be reduced drastically. Normally a truck takes 36 to 40 hours from Srinagar to markets in New Delhi and much longer to other markets. Islamabad is just 6 to 8 hours away from Kashmir besides this road being all weather and dependable. The Kashmiri traders besides saving on transportation are looking at wider international markets beyond Muzaffarabad and Islamabad. “We have spoken to people in Dubai and other countries to trade with us via Pakistan”, says Shah.

Estimates suggest that in next few years, the trans-LoC trade could touch anything upwards One Billion US Dollars. It is the enormously high potential of trade which has made

government's finance wizards both in New Delhi and Islamabad to give a slow start to the process so that the whole gamut could be understood. Pakistan administered Kashmir traders are reportedly less enthusiastic in the LoC trade as they expect a clear dominance of their Indian counterparts in the coming years. “they don't have much to sell here which is why they have been dragging feet for last two years”, says Ram Sahai, the President of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry commenting on delay in arrival of a delegation of Muzaffarabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The trade and commerce bodies in Jammu are not too overwhelmed. In the initial list of commodities to be exchanged, Basmati rice and Rajmash are the only items Jammu produces in

plenty. “Though fruit is also produced in Jammu region, particularly Bhaderwah but this is nothing to be called as trade…this is mere symbolic”, says Sahai. “We have forwarded a list of 20 items to the Government and would push for their inclusion”, he says. A delegation of Pakistan administered Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry is likely to arrive in J&K by middle of October when both sides sit down to work out the modalities.

Trust deficit

There is indeed a quite unpleasant scenario prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir. Trade between two parts of Kashmir is being initiated at a time when the Kashmiri traders are snapping t h e i r t i e s w i t h t h e i r J a m m u counterparts. Ever since the trans-LoC

‘MARCH TO MUZAFFARABAD’ : Jehlum Valley Road, August 11
‘MARCH TO MUZAFFARABAD’ :
Jehlum Valley Road, August 11

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trade was first agreed upon 'in principle' between New Delhi and Islamabad in May 2006, the trade and commerce lobbies both in Kashmir and Jammu had been working in tandem to see

this happening. Now when the Trade and industry in Jammu composite dialogue.

trans-LoC trade has become stands almost isolated at Alleging blockage of economic

reality, the Kashmiri and Jammu based traders are not seeing each other eye to eye. Kashmiri traders accuse their Jammu counterparts of siding up with the alleged communal forces in past two months to force, what they say, 'economic blockade' of the Valley. “We have lost trust in Jammu traders and would never like to deal with them again”, says Mubeen Shah. His Jammu counterpart Ram Sahai refutes the allegations. Sahai, who was part of the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti, spearheading two-month long agitation on Amarnath land row, says, “there was never any organized blockade”. Describing allegations as far from truth, he says, “disruption of supplies is natural duringshutdownsandcurfews”.

Home

supplies from Jammu during the Amarnath land row, the Kashmiri separatists announced a march to Muzaffarabad with trucks

present. The trans-LoC trade was supposed to building trust on both sides of Line of Control but this is being initiated when there is huge trust deficit within the state.

highest so far. Many in Jammu and elsewhere in the country are describing initiation of LoC trade “at this stage” as succumbing before the separatist pressure even though it has been a part of

did not wish to be named. The Kashmiri traders however say that they have already started dealing directly with the traders in other trade centers of country with a view to bypass Jammu.

loaded

with

fruits.

Minister Shivraj Patil was on a two-day J&K visit as head of a central delegation. At a Srinagar Press Conference on August 11, Patil said, “I appeal these people not to make any such move which puts them (Kashmiri traders) and us in a difficult situation”. Patil went on say, “I appeal them from here, please put off your proposal (of Muzaffarabad march) as we are sincere about opening the LoC route for trade…wait for October…this will be open”. Patil's response to the “Muzaffarabad call” was perhaps enough to make a Confidence Building Measure look like surrender.

Patil's appeal notwithstanding on August 11, lakhs of people from different parts of Valley trooped to the Line of Control along Jehlum Valley road in their symbolic march to Muzaffarabad. Security forces used force to thwart the attempt and 18 were killed in two days. Since then people in Kashmir Valley have been in toes fighting pitched battles with the forces. More than 40 have been killed in firing of

securityforcessinceAugust11.

Double whammy

For the Congress led United

A l l i a n c e

government, the initiation of Cross-LoC trade is though a major brownie point in its peacemaking record, at the same time it could be a most difficult situation of the recent times. The trans-LoC trade has its own political advantages and disadvantages. If the political atmosphere continues like it is prevailing now, the political disadvantages may far outweigh the advantages. It was the UPA Government under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which won hearts of lakhs of people by initiating two trans-LoC bus services for divided families –one in 2005 and other in 2006. That was internationally billed as mother of all Confidence Building Measures and Pakistan's then President Musharraf too earned huge accolades. This time the same route is being thrown open for trade when separatist sentiment in Kashmir Valley is at its highest –perhaps

P r o g r e s s i v e

Jammu and Kashmir has an annual trade volume of around Rs 52,000 Crores and out this around Rs 30,000 Crore exchange is between Kashmir and Jammu. If the ongoing boycott by Kashmiri traders continue, Jammu's trade economy is likely to suffer a loss of something between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 Crores. “This is temporary and under pressure from separatists, we are sure Kashmiri traders will resume ties with us”, said a trade representative in Jammu who

What Is

on Menu

 

Exports

 

Carpets, Rugs,

Papier Mache,

Embroidery,

 

Shawls and

 

Tapestry,

Cricket Bats,

Furniture, Silk

&

Products,

Fresh Fruits,

 

Dry Fruits,

 
 

Kashmiri

Spacies,

Kashmir

Saffron,

Kashmir

 

Wazwan,

 

Aromatic &

Medical Plants,

 

Coriander,

 

Mong Dal,

Rice, Basmati

Rice, Rajmash,

 

Black

Mushroom and

 

Green Tea.

 
 

Imports

 

Spices, Apples,

Walnuts, Rice,

Precious Stones,

Papier Mache,

Powder, Gabbas

 

&

Namdas,

Furniture, Marble, Onion, Garlic, Medicinal Herbs, Embroidered Items, Pine Nuts and Carpets

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‘Let It Be Appeasement, Eventually It Is Going To Be Pure Business’ Interview Ram Sahai,
‘Let It Be Appeasement, Eventually
It Is Going To Be Pure Business’
Interview
Ram Sahai,
President, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries
or a couple of years you have
been a part of discussions
what does Jammu gain out of it.
I told you the present list is more
Jammu region. What prospects do you
see for this route?
and
consultations on the
Fprocess
as one of most vocal
symbolic in nature but eventually it has
to expand. We believe that the list is Not quite bright. We are making a
votary of the trade. How do you look being revised to accommodate apple strong case for opening of three other
at the scenario when prospects of which was not on the original menu and routes –from Nowshera, Pallanwalla and
trans-LoC trade between two parts of
taking advantage of this revision we
Suchetgarh. On Sialkote-Suchetgarh
Jammu and Kashmir are appearing have made a strong case of inclusion of road –which will run across
more practical than ever?
some more items which will make
International Border in Jammu region
Jammu region an equal partner in trans- –we have support of top trade and
Well, in backdrop of recent tension
LoC trade.
industry lobbies of the
country
between Kashmir and Jammu, I don't including FICCI and ASSOCHAM. Once
want to comment much except that the
trans-LoC trade is good happening but it
is being projected in a wrong manner.
So what are those items?
there routes are opened, the Poonch-
Rawalakote route would have hardly
any utility for trade.
W r o n g m a n n e r ? Yo u m e a n
appeasement to separatists following
their march to Muzaffarabad?
Let it be appeasement but eventually it
is going to be trade to the common
benefit of all stakeholders on both sides
of Line of Control.
We have asked for inclusion of
pharmaceuticals, aluminium cables,
copper cables, welding electrodes, TMT
steel, paints and varnishes, plastic
goods, corrugated packaging, sanitary
wares, coir and spring mattresses and
pipe fittings etc. Jammu has huge
potential of all these products and any
good number of items agreed from this
list can change destiny of the region.
It is nice that trade links are being
established across Line of Control but
within state gulf is seen widening.
Kashmir based traders are snapping
ties with Jammu on the allegations
that economic blockade of Valley was
forced during Amarnath land row.
Nine to ten of the top pharmaceutical First of all I would like to clarify that
companies of India are based in Jammu. there was no economic blockage at all.
How do you look at the list of items
Other products named above are of
There may have been some disruptions
agreed upon for trade?
make a business sense?
Does this really international quality and offered at but that is normal when normal activity
highly competitive prices. Most of these of life is concerned. As far as widening
items in the Pakistan administered
gulf and snapping of trade ties between
The initial list which we are seeing
now Kashmir are of Chinese origin and reach Kashmir and Jammu is concerned, this
does not hold much promise but
there at a high cost. Trade in these
problem is momentary and will settle
eventually it has
to expand to make
commodities will help both regions down soon. Kashmir and Jammu are
trade more practical.
immensely. interdependent and inseparable parts
of the state as whole and they have to
Most of the items on trade list have
their Kashmir specific origin –like
fruits, dry fruits, handicrafts etc.
Poonch-Rawalakote road is also being
thrown open for trade along with
Srinagar-Muzaffarabad. Poonch falls in
live with and deal with each other. It is
unfortunate that the politicians are not
playing a role of cementing ties.

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Indo-Pak Joint Statement

New York, September 25, 2008

T he President of Pakistan and Prime Minister of India met during the 63rd UNGA session in New York. Prime Minister

Singh congratulated President Zardari on his election as the victory of

democracy in Pakistan.

verifiably prevented. Severe actions would be taken against any element directing or involved in terrorist acts.

President Zardari reassured PM Singh that government of Pakistan stand by its

c o m m i t m e n t o f

government of Pakistan stand by its c o m m i t m e n t

Indian Embassy in Kabul.

The expansion of people-to-people contact, trade, commerce and economic cooperation provides an effective platform to develop and strengthen bilateral relations.

Towards this end, it was decided to:

He expressed the hope that this would pave the way for a profound transformation of the bilateral relationship so that India and Pakistan could work together on their shared objectives of peace, prosperity and security.

January 6, 2004. Both leaders agreed that the forces that have tried to derail the peace process must be defeated.

Both leaders welcomed the several positive outcomes of the four rounds of the Composite Dialogues which have brought their people and businesses and institutions closer while permitting sustained efforts to be made to resolve all outstanding

issues: these gains need to be The Foreign Secretaries of both consolidated. countries will schedule meetings of the 5th round of 'Composite Dialogue'

They agreed to work for an early and full normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan, on the basis of mutual respect, peaceful co- existence and non-interference. Both leaders acknowledged that the peace process has been under strain in recent months.

The cease-fire should be stabilised to

This would allow the continuation and deepening of a constructive dialogues for the peaceful resolution and satisfactory settlement of all bilateral issues including Jammu and Kashmir.

Open the Wagah-Attari road link to all permissible items of trade. Open the Khokrapar-Munnabao rail routes to all permissible items of trade.

in the next three months which will

f o c u s

comprehensive achievements. Continue interaction between the planning commission of both the

countries to develop mutually beneficial cooperation including the energy sector. Commence cross LoC trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch- Rawalakot roads on October 21, 2008. Modalities for the opening of the Skardu-Kargil route will be discussed soon.

October, 2008 to address mutual

o n

d e l i v e r a b l e

a n d

this end,

DGMOs

and

sector

commanders

will

stay

in

regular

contacts.

They agreed that violence, hostility A special meeting of the Joint Anti- and terrorism have no place in the Terror Mechanism will be held in

vision they share of the bilateral

relationship and must be visibly and concerns including the bombing of the

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Making Borders Irrelevant

P.R. Chari & Hasan Askari Rizvi

This report commissioned by USIP, analyzes the possibilities and practicalities of managing the Kashmir conflict by “making borders irrelevant” —softening the Line of Control to allow the easy movement of people, goods, and services across it. The report draws on the results of a survey of stakeholders and public opinion on both sides of the Line of Control. The results of that survey, together with an initial draft of this report, were shown to a group of opinion makers in both countries (ff bureaucrats and diplomats, members of the armed forces, academics, and members of the media), whose comments were valuable in refining the report's conclusions. P. R. Chari is a research professor at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi and former member of the Indian Administrative Service. Hasan Askari Rizvi is an independent political and defense consultant in Pakistan and is currently a visiting professor with the South Asia Program of the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. This report was commissioned by the Center for Conflict Mediation and Resolution at the United States Institute of Peace. The Center supports a variety of projects that explore the potential of cross-border collaboration especially economic and business-based cooperation to resolve the protracted conflict between India and Pakistan.

Summary

either India nor Pakistan has been able to impose its

preferred solution on the long-standing Kashmir conflict

and both sides have gradually shown more flexibility in

Ntheir traditional positions on Kashmir, without officially

abandoning them. This development has encouraged the consideration of new, creative approaches to the management of the conflict.

The approach holding the most promise is a pragmatic one that would “make borders irrelevant”—softening borders to allow movement of people, goods and services instead of redefining or removing them. The governments of India and Pakistan have both repeatedly endorsed the concept, but steps to implement it have been limited.

Myriad suggestions for putting this new mantra into practice have been made, from establishing more bus services to increasing trade and tourism across the Line of Control (LOC).While some of these suggestions still await official consideration, others are being examined, and some have already been implemented.

Liberalization of the travel regime would be a major step toward enabling the two parts of Kashmir to develop a multifaceted and normal relationship. Such liberalization requires overcoming a mixture of political, bureaucratic, and regulatory challenges.

A survey of opinion on both sides of the LOC reveals that the public

mood in both countries favors peace, stability and a softening of the LOC. The international climate is also propitious for confidence-

building measures.

It remains to be seen, however, if New Delhi and Islamabad can

muster the political will necessary to overcome the resistance of key stakeholders within both countries bureaucracies and militaries.

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Minds Set in Concrete

aspirations of the Kashmiris were largely ignored, but there is now a growing appreciation of the fact that any solution to the Kashmir dispute must be acceptable to the local people. An additional complexity in J&K is the conviction among many people in two sub-regions of the state Jammu and Ladakh—that the agenda for the peace process has been hijacked by the

Muslims in the Russia, the rise of China and its support for the peace process between India

Union and the current resurgence of

Kashmir, without officially abandoning them. Subtle changes in their positions have stimulated creative ideas for managing the conflict. Several developments have contributed to this attitudinal shift, among them the end of the Cold War, the disintegration of the Soviet

The strategic compulsions on the

Kashmir issue that are currently

impelling the ruling elites in India

Pakistan have encrusted over its sixty-

one-year history and are now

embedded in their psyches. In India, the

ruling elite is adamant that the

state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), having acceded to India in October

1947,has become an inalienable part of Indian territory and that Pakistan must

vacate the territory it

occupies. Hence, the only dialogue India needs to hold with Pakistan is a discussion about the return of occupied

territory. Further, India refuses to accept any form of third-party intervention to resolve the Kashmir dispute. India argues that the UN resolutions on Kashmir passed in 1948 and 1949 envisaging the holding of a

plebiscite in J&K have become obsolete with the passage of time, and that

several elections held in J&K over

the

past six decades make it clear that the local population accepts the Indian

government and has no desire to join

Pakistan. military action nor covert operations

nor support for dissident movements has thus far succeeded. Each country,

Pakistan rejects the Indian

that the UN resolutions have become redundant. Indeed, Pakistan's position

on Kashmir has always been based on the strict implementation of the UN resolutions that call for holding a

plebiscite in J&K to determine whether its people wish to join India or Pakistan. Changing attitudes

i d e a of Ka sh m i r b e c om i n g a n independent state.

however, has invested too heavily in the struggle to accept the loss of its part of Kashmir, and both countries reject the

Despite their repeated assertions of t h e s e c o n f l i c t i n g c l a i m s a n d counterclaims, India and Pakistan have been unable to extend their respective claims across the LOC. Neither direct

and

deeply

princely

Kashmir Valley. Consequently, the Kashmir dispute becomes tri-cornered at two levels: India, Pakistan and Kashmiris on both sides of the LOC at one level and the Valley, Jammu and Ladakh at another level. The multifaceted nature of this conflict has complicated the quest to resolve it, requiring management of the regional,

ethnic and religious diversities both arts

f Kashmir.

and Pakistan, the spread of globalization and its implications for international security, internal economic pressures, the nuclear tests conducted by India and Pakistan in May 1998 that consolidated a nuclear deterrent relationship, and the U.S. global response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

The last two of these developments have led India and Pakistan to realize that a military victory over the other is not possible. The acquisition of nuclear weapons has highlighted the grave risks of trying to alter the status quo by military means, as illustrated during the Kargil conflict of 1999 and the 2001-02 border confrontation. During the Kargil conflict neither country could extend its theater of operations because of fears that the conflict might become nuclearized. For similar reasons, India was deterred from attacking Pakistan during the border confrontation in 2001-02. Pakistan has also realized the dangerous implications of supporting militancy; it was Pakistani-backed militants who attacked the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001, triggering the border confrontation. Pakistan's readiness to support militancy has also diminished since Pakistan itself has become the target of

illegally

argument

Forgotten in this standoff are the Kashmiris living in J&K and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK, the political entity on the Pakistani side of the LOC).In the past, the Kashmir dispute was viewed in purely bilateral terms and the

The Kashmir dispute has reached an

impasse.

Unable

to

impose

their

preferred

solution,

both

India

and

Pakistan

have

become

flexible

regarding their traditional positions on

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Islamic jihadists and has experienced

terrorist

country. of negotiating with Pakistan only after cross-border terrorism ceases. Further,

The U.S. global war on terrorism has also increased the cost for Pakistan of indulging in provocative behavior. The terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, created a global consensus for controlling transnational terrorism, especially Islamic militants and jihadi groups. Pakistan has since found it difficult to support the jihadi Islamic groups in J&K. Furthermore, the passage of a 2007 law in the United States has linked American military and economic assistance to Pakistan to its performance in stopping cross-border terrorism. The United States has now established a physical presence in Pakistan to pursue its “war on terror” in Afghanistan, which inhibits hostilities being initiated by either India or Pakistan. Any attempt by either country to improve its ground situation in Kashmir would be frowned upon by the international community and might prompt economic repercussions, as occurred during the 2001 –02 border confrontation crisis when “travel advisories ” were issued by the United States and several other developed countries, is couraging heir citizens from visiting India.

Kashmir belongs to India and has shown signs of departing from its stated policy

attacks

throughout

the

India's long-standing policy of shunning international mediation and insisting on strict bilateralism in its dealings with Pakistan has been diluted considerably. On Pakistan's part, former President Pervez Musharraf abandoned his country's traditional position of insisting on implementing the UN resolutions on Kashmir. The new government in Pakistan has declared that it wishes to take the peace process forward. Indeed, Asif Zardari, cochairman of the

Both countries agree that independence for Kashmir is not an acceptable option, although they also agree that the Kashmiris should be included within the peace process.

Pakistan People's Party, even suggested freezing the Kashmir issue, although he later had to backtrack n hat proposal.

This transformation in India-Pakistan relations can be traced back to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statement in the symbolically significant venue of Srinagar the summer capital of J&K —on April 18, 2003, extending a “hand of friendship” to Pakistan. A cease-fire along the LOC was suggested by Pakistan's Prime Minister, Zafarullah Khan Jamali, in November 2003. India accepted his offer and suggested its extension to Siachen, an undemorcated region north of but adjacent to the LOC. On November 26, the cease-fire went into effect, greatly improving the safety of

Given that a major conventional conflict is dangerous, a nuclear conflict is unthinkable, and any forcible alteration of status quo would be unacceptable to the international community, both India and Pakistan have realized that they have no alternative but to enter into a peace process. India has discarded its traditional stand that the whole of

people living along the border. The resulting peace process, though slow, has made steady progress, with significant improvements occurring in cross-border communications and the movement of people and goods.

A flexible impasse

The peace process and changing attitudes have produced greater transparency in negotiations for a solution to the Kashmir problem. There is a new realization that peace and stability are essential for both countries to attain their full political and economic stature and that, conversely, tensions and instabilities will retard their growth, resulting in their internal security situation deteriorating and spilling cross orders.

Both countries agree that independence for Kashmir is not an acceptable option, although they also agree that the Kashmiris should be included within the peace process and assured a measure of self-rule within the present borders of the two countries, and that these borders should be made more permeable. Appreciation has grown of the role that multiple dialogues can play in animating the peace process and of the need to reach an agreement on the Kashmir dispute that is acceptable to India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiris. These negotiations must address the differences between New Delhi and Islamabad, New Delhi and Srinagar, Islamabad and Muzaffarabad (the capital of AJK) and finally, Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. Both India and Pakistan have a greater sympathy now toward the human dimensions of the issue. A new recognition has also accrued about permitting freer movement of people

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across the LOC, including members of the media and political leaders from both sides.

process would diminish if Kashmir dropped off the national security agenda. In addition, large sections of the strategic elite (mm of serving and retired civilian and military officials, intelligence officers, concerned media

schedules were made less onerous. persons, academics, and politicians with special interests in security

matters) argue that the time is not yet ripe for the peace process to proceed fruitfully. Their negative belief is sustained by the parlous state of domestic politics in India and Pakistan, which constitutes the greatest challenge to peacemaking. Any individual or party pleading for a deepening of the peace process is likely to be attacked for “selling out” the national interest. In India, fundamentalist and hard-line Hindu groups and right-wing parties are

p o l i t i c a l

o p p o s e d

officials involved in the Track-I process have also created an atmosphere

public's level of enthusiasm for visiting the other country. Tourist traffic, as well as other kinds of traffic, across the border is growing rapidly and would dramatically increase if the visa regime was made less restrictive and travel

As part of this study, a survey was conducted on both sides of the LOC to elicit the opinions of various interested groups —including businessmen, members of the media, academics, former government servants and the

public at large —regarding their process. Regular meetings between

attitudes toward the peace process, their understanding of the concept of

“making borders irrelevant,” and their favorable to normalizing bilateral

thoughts on what could be done to advance that process. On the Indian side, the survey was conducted in the summer and the fall of 2007 in twelve towns in J&K, with twenty-five respondents in each town being chosen at random from among the local population. Budgetary and time constraints dictated a smaller sample in Pakistan, where the survey was conducted in the districts of Mirpur, Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot in AJK among some fifty respondents,

including local people, refugees (post- Pakistan and India, despite some where hard-line Islamic parties,

A similar situation exists in Pakistan,

peace process can now be found at the very highest political levels in both

accommodation with Pakistan and to any flexibility in India's traditional position on Kashmir.

A plethora of Track-II initiatives have strengthened the official peace

relations. Thanks in part to back- channel diplomacy conducted by interlocutors designated by both countries, a serious commitment to the

Easily recognizable constituencies in India and Pakistan have a vested interest in continuing the Kashmir dispute.

t o

a n y

PP and immigrants after 1990),, members of divided families, and those living close to the LOC.

At the same time, any resolution of the

Similar questions were asked on both sides of the border by interviewers who had no contact with one another. Remarkably, the answers obtained were very similar. The most significant finding is that the public mood among Kashmiris on both sides of the border favors peace and stability. Reflective of a widespread fatigue with mutual tensions and persistent instabilities and of cynicism regarding officially inspired negative propaganda—there is a popular

desire to normalize relations. This intelligence agencies, know that their Hinduism. Kashmiriyat has greatly

eroded over the last three decades due

sentiment has manifested itself in the

centrality in the decision-making

bureaucracies, especially within their elements of Islam, Buddhism, and

Any discussion of the options for addressing the Kashmir dispute must appreciate the importance Kashmiris place on preserving their Kashmiri identity and Kashmiriyat-based culture, which is an amalgam of a distinct language (KK a secular polity, and a cross-cultural character that includes

acknowledge and overcome a number of serious constraints on the peacemaking

p r o c e s s . E a s i l y r e c o g n i z a b l e constituencies in India and Pakistan have a vested interest in continuing the Kashmir dispute, seeing dangers to their personal and institutional interests should the dispute be resolved. For

militant Islamic groups and major right- wing political groups are critical of the peace process and want the government to revert to its earlier insistence on implementing the UN resolutions on Kashmir.

r e s e r v a t i o n s bureaucracies.

w i t h i n

t h e i r

K a s h m i r d i s p u t e w i l l

h a v e t o

instance, elements within

c o u n t r i e s '

c i v i l

a n d

both

m i l i t a r y

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militancy. The human aspects of the Kashmir dispute must also be factored into devising any solution to this problem. Most people in the Kashmir Valley (883 percent according to the survey conducted) support the peace process as a good beginning, but are skeptical about its outcome, believing that the peace process is meaningless if it remains bilateral and excludes them.

Islamic orthodoxy and

increased

These various constraints have stymied the adoption of a number of possible solutions to the Kashmir dispute. The governments of India and Pakistan, academics, and others interested in the welfare of the people of Kashmir have explored options ranging from total or partial independence to autonomy, referendum, partition, and even the maintenance of the status quo. None of these comprehensive solutions has been supported by any consensus of public opinion, which strengthens the case for reducing tensions by measures that both sides can accept measures such as making the existing borders permeable and irrelevant.

The potential Value of Making Borders irrelevant

The strategy of making borders irrelevant by “softening” borders is a compromise between the elimination of the LOC and its conversion into an international border. Under this approach, the LOC would be retained as a dividing line but softened by allowing the easy movement of people, goods and services across it. Important steps were taken by India and Pakistan in 2005 and 2006 to effect this cross-LOC interaction, and these steps could be expanded to enable the parties to

manage the Kashmir conflict without having to agree to a final settlement.

These steps would address the major concerns of the parties involved and would be in accordance with the basic policy parameters laid down by the two countries. The Indian government has repeatedly argued that borders cannot be changed, while Pakistan refuses to accept the LOC as an international

The LOC would be retained as a dividing line but softened by allowing the easy movement of people, goods and services across it.

border. The softening of the LOC would thus satisfy Indian demands that there be no territorial exchange and no legal alteration of the border. Another a d v a n t a g e f r o m t h e I n d i a n government's perspective is that making the LOC irrelevant skirts the dangers of encouraging other states in

the Indian Union to demand greater autonomy or self-rule. Were Kashmir to be granted greater autonomy or self- rule, similar demands could be voiced by other states in the Union, which would need to be conceded on grounds of equity. The Union government has been wary of loosening its political, economic, and administrative control over the states and altering the balance of power within India's federal structure, lest it release centrifugal forces in the country.

In Pakistan, any solution premised on the permanent division of Kashmir is anathema to the military, as well as to the major political parties. Therefore, the Pakistani government and the military are unwilling to accept any solution that converts the LOC into an international border. However, conscious that neither India nor Pakistan can gain control over the whole of Kashmir by either war or diplomacy, Pakistani officials favor the idea of making the LOC irrelevant. Incidentally,

TERMINAL : Central team at Kaman Post an Sept. 6
TERMINAL : Central team at Kaman Post an Sept. 6

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no group in Pakistan opposed the launching in 2005 of the Muzaffarabad-

Srinagar bus service (discussed below), and similar steps would be acceptable to the Pakistani government, which is already seeking to build support for a “pragmatic” solution to the Kashmir dispute. On August 15, 2007, Pakistan's

minister, Khurshid Mahmood

Kasuri, said in an interview that any solution to the Kashmir problem cannot be “ideal” for the concerned parties, but that both parties will have to make concessions to resolve the problem. He added, “Ultimately a solution to Kashmir will be one that is not the best perceived either by a majority of Indians, majority of Pakistanis or a majority of Kashmiris.” Within Kashmir itself, the proposal to make borders irrelevant means different things to different people. Some understand it to mean that different parts of Kashmir will be united, other interpret it to mean that they will be allowed to travel and trade freely, and still others believe that making borders irrelevant will permit greater cultural exchanges.

foreign

These differences in understanding are

not important to a resolution of

Kashmir problem. What is significant is that the proposal accommodates the immense ethno-political diversity and

incipient fissiparous rends within

region. The value of peace has been

underlined since the

devastating

the

he

earthquake of October 2005; as

Kashmiris have come to realize, if

efforts to rehabilitate and

the damaged areas are to proceed

smoothly, peace needs to prevail. More

generally, most Kashmiris believe

increased movement across the LOC would not only bring relief to divided families but would also revive the area's

that

reconstruct

economy and help people in the two parts of Kashmir to understand one another and evolve a common position on a possible solution to the dispute. The Kashmiri intelligentsia remains convinced, however, that neither India nor Pakistan will ever agree to the unification of the state except on its own terms (terms that the other country will inevitably reject)and that the idea of making borders irrelevant is

thus the best available option. at regional and national levels.

families, who, when the border remained closed, had to travel long distances by circuitous routes to meet their relatives. Conversations with local people suggest that divided families constitute more than 60 percent of the total population in AJK. Although they do not have any influence over the p o l i c i e s o f t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e governments, divided families do enjoy widespread support within civil society

According to the survey, most Kashmiris believe that “vested interests” (i.e. the armed forces and intelligence

organizations) oppose the idea of manufacturing, horticultural, and

tourism industries throughout Kashmir. The business community believes that movement of goods across a divided territory is a natural corollary to the movement of divided families. If trans- LOC arrangements are negotiated to the satisfaction of the two countries and offer tangible benefits to people in both parts of Kashmir, these measures will gain popular support. Much depends on what arrangements are negotiated and how swiftly they are implemented.

making borders irrelevant because they

The strongest support for the idea of soft borders is found within the business communities, in particular within the

Conversations with local people suggest that divided families constitute more than 60 percent of the total population in AJK.

will lose their relevance and budgets if the peace process succeeds. The Union government and the J&K government

are also seen as stumbling blocks, being slow to make decisions and insincere in their commitment to the peace process. A small section of the public believes that free and increased movement across the LOC would generate new and

unpredictable dynamics with

potential to embarrass both national

governments, and might even lead

to

the development of a new Kashmiri consciousness, which would be welcome Islamabad and New Delhi.

Several constituencies in Kashmir have a vital interest in seeing the borders between the two Kashmirs reopened. The most numerous of these groups are the divided families, especially poor

Steps toward Making Borders irrelevant

A wide range of measures have been the proposed to promote interactions

across the LOC and enable the two parts of Kashmir to develop a multifaceted relationship. Some of these measures are already being implemented. Others are in various stages of negotiation or implementation. Still others remain just proposals for now, being seen as impractical or too far-reaching one or both governments. In essence, they all emphasize a people oriented approach

while highlighting the need for freer

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CHINARI MUZAFFARABAD ISLAMABAD PESHAWAR FIRST RUN : Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, April 7, 2005
CHINARI
MUZAFFARABAD
ISLAMABAD
PESHAWAR
FIRST RUN :
Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, April 7, 2005

movement of people and trade across both sides of Kashmir, instead of continuing the quest for an elusive territorial solution to the Kashmir problem.

Measures with the potential to make borders irrelevant can be classified into four broad categories:

* Promoting

people-to-people

The most significant step toward increasing cross-border mobility has been the reestablishment of bus services.

Each of these four categories is discussed below. In each case, the

contact discussion covers steps already taken,

Increasing

across the LOC

steps proposed, difficulties in implementing specific measures and possible solutions to those difficulties. Thereafter, this report takes an in- depth look at one particular measure, liberalization of the travel regime an

*

trade

and

commerce

* Encouraging humanitarian aid and development.

* Improving governance, including

issue critical to both cross-borders, people-to-people contacts and trade a n d e x p l o r e s t h e r e g u l a t o r y, bureaucratic and political changes that need to be made to allow liberalization of proceed.

People-to-People Contact

People-to-people contact can be enhanced by facilitating cross-border mobility and by creating and strengthening civil society linkages.

FacilitatingCross-BorderMobility

Crossing points: India and Pakistan decided to ease interaction across the LOC after the earthquake in Kashmir on October 8, 2005; the AJK part was hit very hard and several districts in the Northwest Frontier Province were also affected. On October 29 the two countries agreed to open five new crossings on the LOC to expedite relief operations and reunite divided families. These five foot-crossings were Nauseri- Tithwal, Chokothi-Uri,

Hajipur-Uri, Rawalakot-PP and security administration. Tattapani-MM When the first crossing

point, Rawalakot-Poonch was opened on November 7 to allow the exchange of earthquake relief goods, several hundred Kashmiris on the Pakistani side surged toward the LOC in their eagerness, saying they wanted to go to the other side to meet their relations, although they had not completed the necessary travel formalities and had to be restrained by force.

Bus Services: The most significant step toward increasing cross-border mobility has been the reestablishment of bus services between J&K and AJK. In April

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2005, the Srinagar-MM road was opened and the bus service along it (which had been suspended since 1965) restored. This service was disrupted by damage to the road caused by the October 2005 earthquake, but after some months the service was restored. In January 2006 ,India and Pakistan agreed to start another bus service, linking Poonch and

Rawalakot. Official Indian statistics Skardu, Jammu-Sialkot, Turtuk-

identifies seven roads that could be opened to cross-border traffic: Kargil-

established across the LOC. In its report issued in January 2007, the Working Group on Strengthening Relations across the Line of Control (established in May 2006 by New Delhi as one of five working groups tasked with exploring

of these new road openings are being negotiated by the two governments. The roads do not presently carry enough traffic to make commercial bus services viable, but their opening would allow people to move across the LOC by

particular issues relating to J&K) private transport and might eventually

generate enough traffic to permit commercial bus services.

show that almost three thousand passengers traveled on the Srinagar-MM bus service between April 2005 and the end of 2006. The Poonch-Rawalakot bus service, which started in June 2006, carried fourteen hundred in the second

half of 2006. srapporteur on Kashmir, draws

attention to the value of linking Ladakh with the Northern Areas in Pakistan, a step that could erode the aspirations for separatism in this subregion. A more radical suggestion is to open the Karakoram highway to trade and travel from the Ladakh region in J&K. Several

Khapulu, Chamb-Jaurian-MMirpur, Gurez-AA Tithwal-Chilhan, and Jhangar (N Mirpur-KK 4 “Kashmir:Present Situation and Future Prospects,” the 2007 report by Baroness Emma Nicholson, the European Union'

Proposals to improve cross-LOC travel have been criticized on the grounds that the number of travelers along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road has dwindled considerably since it was opened in April 2005. While it is true that the initial enthusiasm to use the road has declined, it sh