Jun 04, 2023
Jun 04, 2023
Indo-Pak Relations - Part 5
Continued from “Barriers of Economy and Trade”
Having said earlier that the cultural and sports activities exchange besides the expansion of trade could play substantive role in improving relations of India and Pakistan, the obvious question is as to how this could be achieved when there is so much of mutual suspicion and animosity at political and military level. Free and frequent movement and interaction among citizens, artists, sportsmen and business community is essential while in the current scenario they are weary and businessmen are apprehensive and reluctant in both the countries to invest fearing the consequences in the event of the breakout of hostilities.
The religion based hatred, bigotry and personal ambitions among certain minds that led to the partition of the erstwhile India never dimmed or died down and, in fact, more of this was perpetually escalated by subsequent political leaders and military brass in Pakistan leading to the existing animosity and unparalleled rivalry between India and Pakistan. Otherwise if we care to take a look at the culture and history since ancient times, there is so much of common heritage among the two nations to jointly be proud of, rejoice and celebrate.
Culture versus Religion
Ironically, the religion which became the sole driving factor and still continues to play a major driver and spoiler of the relations between India and Pakistan, and even many conflicts among the two communities in the independent India, is only one dimension of the all inclusive cultural traditions of any civilization. By definition, the cultural heritage of a society represents the physical science artefacts, tangible and intangible attributes inherited from the ancient past. While the tangible cultural attributes include biodiversity and things like landscape, architecture and sculpture, buildings, monuments, books, works of art and artefacts while the intangible relates to customs & traditions, spiritual and philosophical achievements, language, knowledge, and folklore etc. As against this, the religion represents faith, spiritual knowledge and value system of the individual and society. The problems arise when people fail to appreciate and value this distinction, mix the two or consciously start imposing the religion over the culture.
Perhaps no other country in the world is culturally as rich as the countries in the Indian sub-continent. Indian civilization dates back to at least 4000 years even before the birth of Jesus Christ. Ever since the inception of Indian civilization, it was culturally tolerant, diverse and open to external influences through an unbroken sequence of civilization with a blend of art, religion and philosophy. In fact, it is this flexibility to quickly adapt and assimilate external influence that enabled the Indian civilization to survive constant insurmountable invasions and onslaughts, particularly from the more barbarian tribes of Arab, Turks and Mongols.
The Sub-continent in Length and Breadth
The sub-continent in its vast length and breadth, till British named it India, was more popularly known as Bharatavarsha after the name of King Bharat whose description finds a mention in Vishnu Purana, some other Hindu Puranas and reportedly even in the oldest Hindi scripture Rigveda. Another commonly known name given to it was Aryavarta as the Aryans are believed to have flourished from the Himalayas in the north to Vindhya Range in the south for a long time. Jambudweep is another term used for the sub-continent in some ancient scriptures till Bharatavarsha became more popular in ancient times.
The term Hindustan i.e. the abode of Hindus was used by the Persians invaders and ancient Greeks, often preferred by the most Indian Muslims. This term was derived from the Indus (Urdu) or Sindhu (Hindi) river around which the early Indus Valley Civilization (peek 3300 – 1700 BCE) grew and prospered. In fact, the present Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar were all part of the Great Ashoka Empire (268 – 232 BCE) of the Hindu Maurya Dynasty, for which a relatively more authenticated and well documented account is available. Even the British India in 1947 was comprised of the land mass including the present Pakistan, India and Bangladesh either under direct British rule or territories subjugated to them. The above is suffice to illustrate that destiny or the turn of events might have separated India and Pakistan but they continue to share a common cultural heritage and close links since ancient times.
Democracy and Islam
After Independence, Pakistan had chosen to become an Islamic state with a governance primarily based on the application of Sharia (Islamic law), though physically retaining some modern political concepts like popular elections, parliamentary rule and independent judiciary. India, on the other hand, has remained a popular democratic republic retaining its secular and social credentials which is in fitness to its cultural diversity with all-encompassing religions and communities evolved and co-existing together since early civilization.
The Indian democracy represents a perfect blend and synchrony of the country’s varied religions, languages, customs, traditions, architecture, art, music, dance, food and sports in different regions of the country. Besides, the Indian culture has always been tolerant and fatalist in its character and one would not perhaps find a single event since ancient time where any ruler or conqueror forcefully invaded or occupied any culturally different civilization outside the sub-continent.
Illustrations of Cultural Heritage
Among the numerous tangible and intangible objects from the ancient India (now India and Pakistan), the following two examples of significant archaeological and monumental value are cited here to illustrate the shared cultural heritage of two countries:
Mohenjo-daro and Harappa are two remnants sites of ancient Indian civilization, the former closely located to the west of the Indus River in the present Larkana District of Sindh Province while the latter near Sahiwal of Punjab in Pakistan. The Indus Valley Civilization during its prime period (2600 – 1700 BCE) prospered through what is now Pakistan and Northern India, extending south to Gujarat and westward to the Iranian border.
The architecture and artefacts found at the archaeological site suggest this Bronze Age civilization flourished having rather sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning, mostly using fired and mortared bricks, sun-dried mud-bricks and wooden superstructures. The inhabitants possibly had a diversified socio-economic system with well-developed urban centres and writing skills.
The other heritage site the Khajuraho Group of Monuments in Madhya Pradesh, India is relatively of more recent vintage. These are basically a cluster of Hindu and Jain temples built between 950 to 1050 CE by the kings of Chandela dynasty. These temples fall under the category of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in India famous for nagara-style architecture with several erotic sculptures. The very fact that the group of temples co-existing together belong to Hindu and Jain religions, suggest the belief of tolerance and peaceful co-existence in the Indian culture while accepting and respecting the diverse religions. While a part of the sculpture and artwork in these temple is dedicated to erotic art, but the most of it is about the chorus of the nature, daily life and symbolic values of the Indian culture.
Cultural Affinities of Two Countries
Notwithstanding fierce rivalry and ever growing animosity between the two countries, they have close cultural affinities in almost every walk of life, in the landscape, architecture, language, attire, cuisine, literature, festivals, music, films and television, games and sports, and so on so forth. In fact, the people of Northern India are culturally more akin to their Pakistani counterparts than the brethren in the states of Southern India so far as social customs, attire, language and food habits are concerned.
Indian culture is remarkably unique and such a unity in diversity is not found elsewhere in the world. Apart from the marked affinities, one can also mark remarkable variations among ethnic groups on account of their social customs, dress code, food habits etc. within the same landscape or geographical entity although such sharp differences are mainly on account of the Islamic practices not mixing or imbibing the pre-Islamic customs of the land. Significantly, after independence Pakistan opted to follow Islamic law in letter and spirit and consequently during these seven decades it has been gradually transformed into a distinct Islamic entity largely abandoning, and often even supressing, erstwhile cultural heritage of the land. In the following paragraphs, the cultural commonalities and variations between the two countries have been briefly enumerated.
Architecture: While both Northern India and Pakistan share extended common legacy of archaeological sites, forts, domes, stupas, shrines, tombs, heritage buildings, monuments and places of worship of ancient vintage, the forts and temples in Southern India are marked deviation and masterpiece examples of concurrent unique architecture and sculpture depicting natural objects, animals and humans. While Indian architecture and design in its length and breadth offer a semblance of variety representing different periods and dynasties, many forts, tombs as also other heritage buildings constructed during Mughal period and other Islamic rulers show Persian influence with large scale use of sandstone and marble.
Religion: Among the known world civilizations, Vedic Hinduism in India represents notably the oldest civilization and religion as also the birthplace of Indian current religions namely Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Islam came in India with the Arab and Turkic invaders and subsequently spread by their rulers through some settlers and mass scale conversions of the locals from the latter half of the eleventh century onwards.
The religion centric ‘Two Nations Theory’ which led to the partition of India and creation of Pakistan could not offer a permanent and viable solution to Indian Muslims. Consequently, while Pakistan became an Islamic country, India continued to remain a secular and democratic pluralistic society currently with almost as much of Muslim population in absolute term as in Pakistan distributed throughout the country. While Jammu & Kashmir and Lakshadweep have majority Muslim population, a significant population also exist in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal and Assam. Many of them have relatives and conjugal relationship with Pakistani nationals thus are united with the physical and emotional bonds with both the countries.
Language: Common languages namely Urdu and English continue to provide a bridge between the people of India and Pakistan. While Urdu is the national language and together with English it constitute official language of Pakistan, the other common regional languages are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Kashmiri and Balochi. In India, the Constitution has provided Hindi (in devnagri script) and English as official languages and none of the languages is given the status of the national language. Besides, there are 22 other prominent regional languages used as official language in various states.
Urdu has been recognized as the third official language in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Telangana, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir of Indian states. Besides, Urdu is also being taught in Madrassas and many educational institutions across the country. Urdu and Hindi have different scripts but person knowing either language can easily understand and communicate with the other.
Attire: In Pakistan, for both men and women the national dress is shalwar and kameez comprising of a long and loose fitting tunic with trousers baggy enough to ensure the shape of the upper body and leg is not visible. Many devout Muslims in India too by choice wear shalwar - kameez. Hoever, educated and elite Muslims are fond of European dresses, particularly in urban areas. In true essence of its diverse culture, the traditional clothing in India greatly varies among the men and women in different parts of the country. The usual stitched clothes for men are combination of trousers and shirts or kurta and pyjama for men and ghaghra-choli, salwar-kameez or churidar-kurta with dupatta for women; besides, saree is more popular particularly among married Hindu and many Muslim women. In fact, in India, men and women irrespective of their religion opt for all kinds of ethnic dresses, trendy clothes and fashions including jeans, trousers, skirts, shirts, suits, kurta and variety of other fashionable clothes.
Cuisine: Food habits in India and Pakistan have strong commonalities. In Pakistan, the culinary art is essentially a mix of variety Indian cuisines with Middle Eastern and Afghan touch. In India, various regions have different food habits, from very spicy to more mild as per individual choices. For illustration, a typical North Indian family menu may comprise of rice, chapati (bread), pulse(s) and a variety of fried or grilled vegetables and dessert while a typical South Indian household would opt for the likes of rice, idli, dosa, samber as staple diet. Non-vegetarian food offers for more variety of dishes and cooking options in India and so also in Pakistan. With India gradually moving towards open economy, and Indians’ traditional approach of assimilating various cultures, their food habits too are getting more diversified with inclusion of exotic dishes including Western, Chinese and Manchurian as regular food choice.
Festivals: Pakistan being an Islamic country with almost 98% Muslim populations, the people observes festivals like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Juha and Eid ul-Adha with great jubilation and enthusiasm and under the state patronage. Besides, they also celebrate Jashn-e-Baharan, also referred to as Basant, a pre-Islamic Punjabi festival that marks the beginning of spring. They attach greater importance to their Independence Day falling on 14th August every year. Various Eids referred to above are also celebrated by the Indian Muslims with similar enthusiasm and fanfare wherein many Hindu brethren also participate symbolising mutual harmony and brotherhood. These festivals in fact are the best examples of the shared cultural heritage and occasions to promote and nurture peace, joy and brotherhood among communities.
Besides observing Muslim festivals, in India festivals have much diversified canvas and colours of multiple religions. For illustration, Diwali, a festival of lights, is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains together across the country; Buddha Purnima and Ambedkar Jayanti are celebrated by Buddhists and Hindus; Guru Nanak Jayanti and Baisakhi are celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus with the same zeal in Punjab, Delhi and many other parts of the country. Dushehra, Holi and Raksha bandhan are essentially Hindu festivals celebrated by the community across the country. In fact, there is a long list of festivals with regional flavour and preferences celebrated in various parts of India on various occasions.
Three national festivals namely the Independence Day on 15th August, Republic day on 26th January and Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday on 2nd October are observed by Indians across the country every year irrespective of any cast and creed.
Classical and Folk Dance: Pakistan being an Islamic country, music and dance does not receive much state patronage. However, Kathak, a classical dance of the medieval period and patronized by many Mughals, and folk dances in various provinces are prevalent and popular. Of these, some of the more popular folk dances are Bhangra in Punjab, Dhamaal in Sufi shrines/dargah in Punjab and Sindh and Jhumar in Punjab, Baluchistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, besides many more other dance forms. Bhangra is equally popular in India among the Punjabi people.
On the other hand, Indian dances, classical, folk and tribal, are rich and varied in different regions. The origin of classical dances is traced back to the Hindu temples and have four major systems namely Bharat Natyam, Kathak, Kathkali and Manipuri; besides some regional ones like Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Odissi of Orissa and Mohiniattam of Kerala are also quite popular. Apart from the above, a large number of other folk and tribal dance are prevalent in various parts and communities of India. Of this, classical Kathak and folk (Punjabi) Bhangra represent common heritage and close link between India and Pakistan.
Music and Poetry: The most popular and common link of the poetry and music between India and Pakistan has been diverse provincial folk music and traditional recitation of Qawwali and Ghazal. World-fame Pakistani artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, having experimented with fusion of traditional with western music, have a large Indian following too and Pakistani folk singer late Alam Lohar is well known in Indian Punjab. Urdu poets and poetry earned a lot of recognition and respect in Pakistan and some eminent Urdu poets like Muhammad Iqbal, Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz and Habib Jalib have equal respect and fan following among Pakistani and Indian audience.
Films and Television: Named after the city of Lahore, Pakistan's movie industry is known as Lollywood with production centres mainly in Karachi and Peshawar. Approximately 50 feature films are produced in Pakistan every year of average cinematic value and worth. As against this, Indian film industry is well developed with Hindi and regional cinema produced in almost all major Indian languages. Hindi films are most popular and produced mainly in Mumbai-based film industry popularly known as Bollywood. Hindi films and some Indian artists have a huge fan following and viewership in Pakistan too despite several restriction, including ban in many cases, posed by the Pakistan government. Some excellent and off-beat Indian films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Veer Zarra, Bombay, Train to Pakistan, Khamosh Paani etc. have beautifully explored Indo-Pak relations in the past and received appreciation among the audience in both the countries.
Television in Pakistan has been largely under the government control and only during the last 10-12 years some private channels, not entirely free from the state influence, have emerged showing news and entertainment. As against this, apart from the state owned television network, television industry in India is well developed and largely privately owned providing variety of channels on entertainment, news, sports, cinema, music, knowledge and cartoon networks. Like Indian films, many Indian television programmes too are quite popular in Pakistan.
Games and Sports: This is one area where there is a lot of commonality and scope of cooperation to bridge the differences and minimize tensions between the two countries. Field hockey and cricket are two most popular games played in both the countries right from the school to the national level. In fact in Pakistan, field hockey has the formal status of a national game, while in India contrary to the common belief, some time back the government clarified in response to a RTI query that it has not declared any sport as the national game. Notwithstanding above, the hockey continues to be immensely popular game in India. In fact, for a very long period, India and Pakistan dominated international hockey scenario, the former winning 8 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze while the latter 3 gold medals in Olympic games, besides world cup on many occasions.
Cricket is another very popular sport in India and Pakistan among both men and women. Their national teams have won several international competitions and any India-Pakistan match irrespective of the venue attracts maximum interest and viewership across the world. In past, India and Pakistan used to regularly play test matches and limited 50 and 20 over series alternately on the respective soils but the deteriorating security environment, military tensions and political stalemate between two countries has badly affected their sports relations too. Other common popular games played in both countries are football, squash, kabaddi, boxing, athletics, swimming and shooting. India has won international events and produced several players, both men and women, of international repute in tennis, badminton, table tennis and chess.
Common Heritage: A Platform for Rapprochement!
The common cultural heritage and sports of two countries provide a wide platform and plethora of opportunities for mutual interaction and frequent exchange between the populace of the two countries that could ultimately help in minimizing tensions and normalising relations. Common language, food habits, attire and fashion, music, art and sports, and above all a shared past, provide ideal forum and conducive atmosphere for the purpose. But for adopting any peace and confidence building measure, the political will and military nod (in Pakistan) is necessary which is, unfortunately, lacking in the present day Pakistan.
At occasions and in spells, the Pakistani political leadership have shown some inclination to enter into peace process and then they suddenly take U-turn by violating peace protocol often under the pressure from Pakistan army and ISI. For illustration, during the last three years on more than one occasion when initiative and goodwill feelers from India raised a hope of a meaningful dialogue between the two countries, suddenly the atmosphere was vitiated due to Pakistan’s resolve to take on board the handful separatist leaders of Kashmir or a terrorist attack or a sudden spurt in ceasefire violations across the LOC.
Indian movies, television programmes as also some of their artists are quite popular in Pakistan. Besides, Indian cinema and television with their wider canvas have often provided generous opportunities to Pakistani artists to work in India for the mutual benefit and promotion of art. But Pakistan didn’t reciprocate in the same spirit and things became complicated and worse in the recent past when same Pakistani artists were found resorting to provocative utterances on certain negative developments. No need to call names, but some of the Pakistani cricketers and artists are also known for their antagonism and harsh statements perhaps driven by extreme religious or nationalist sentiments. Obviously, this generates negative reaction amongst Indian masses and political leaders too casting shadows on the already dim hope of improving relations through cultural and sports exchange between the two countries.
The fact remains that for umpteen years after partition, films and publications were freely marketed and exchanged between the two countries, even the requirement of VISA was implemented many years later. Artists, poets and musicians received mutual appreciation and recognition without any restrictions on bilateral visits and so was the case with academics, journalists and sportsmen. Even trade relations remained smooth with minimum barriers for many years. And this people-to-people interaction and touch was possible despite strained relations between the two governments. If it was possible in the past, it could be revived now provided good sense prevails with the political and military leadership in both countries.
The onus clearly falls more on Pakistan because it holds that pending Kashmir issue, normalcy in Indo-Pak relations is not possible. On the other hand, India feels that contentious issues, namely Kashmir, could be placed on the back burner and two countries should cooperate and work together to eradicate mutual evils of poverty, illiteracy, corruption and backwardness from the sub-continent.
Measures to Improve Relations
Pakistan needs to realise that the contentious Kashmir issue could not be resolved despite peace initiatives, several wars and unleashing terror regime. Almost 55% of the state territory is already under the (illegal) occupation of Pakistan and China and a prolonged controls of respective parts by three countries for almost seven decades have already completely changed the dynamics of geography and demography in the disputed regions, and popular sentiments can’t be won or suppressed through application of force by any nation.
Hence it is in the interest of Pakistan and India if they could agree to postpone the Kashmir issue and come together to take certain urgent measures to mend their relations:
(1) Confidence-building measures to minimize the existing ‘trust deficit’ as a prelude to taking concrete steps for the resolution of disputes.
(2) The terrorism menace should be jointly tackled without making distinction of ‘good terrorists’ and ‘bad terrorists’.
(3) Trade and economic co-operation should be restored and given priority over the political difference for long term mutual benefit.
(4) Free and uninturrepted movement of citizens should be allowed with all fairness for cultural and sports exchanges.
(5) The other contentious issues should not have a negative bearing on the Indus Basin Treaty and water sharing issues.
Indo-Pak Relation – A Futuristic Vision
As already mentioned, bilateral talks, bloody wars and perpetual terrorism have not helped Pakistan to achieve intended goal in seventy years of fierce rivalry and perpetual animosity nor it could reconcile them for a better neighbourly relationship with India. To compensate its incompatibility and mismatch in a conventional war, Pakistan has gone hammer and tongs for developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems employing all overt and covert means even at the cost of country’s other development needs. As per assessment of international experts, Pakistan is already ahead of India in building and amassing weapons of mass destructions and at occasions have given implicit wannings to use these weapons against India.
Does this mean the two nations have a fate of perpetual hostility and doomed for assured mutual disintegration? To seek the answer of the critical question, we need to revisit the very factors responsible for the birth of Pakistan in 1947. The two nation theory was based on the premise that Hindu and Muslims are two distinct realities (nations) which cannot amicably live together, Muslims being in minority hence the need for a separate homeland for them. Indeed the homeland was secured and the personal aspirations of ambitious leaders were met. Consequent to unabated bloodbath for several weeks and millions of causalities on partition, a significant population of either community stayed back on either side thus the main theme of the stated theory remained unresolved. Later even the commonality of religion could not unite the Muslims of West and East Pakistan and the two nation theory completely failed but the fruits of the ugly seeds sown by the selfish and fanatic leaders in the form of religious hatred and bigotry are increasingly getting ripe now posing greater dangers of massive damage and sufferance of the society in the following generations.
Despite lawful merger of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India, Pakistan claims to have a bonafide right on the state for religious consideration, the majority population there being Muslims. Too much have been written and spoken on the subject and there seems to be no need to make more comments about the falsehood and futility of this concept. However, there is now another dimension emerging in the form of brewing tensions and threat to the secular fabric of the Indian society. At the time of independence, about 8% Muslim population stayed back in India and now they constitute over 14% population of India, in numbers almost equal to Pakistan’s population in absolut terms. A lot of government financial assistance is constantly provided to Madrassas and other minority institutions but instead of imbibing modern education (which is also helpful in securing gainful employment), much of these funds are reportedly utilized on religious teachings and Islamic studies. Besides, the majority Indian Muslims do not follow prescribed family norms citing religious reasons and their clergy aggressively defends it. These factors only further push them towards social backwardness, unemployment and mainstream incompatibility, and the situation being exploited by selfish religious and political leaders for own vested interests.
The fact is the culture of a society is multi-dimensional and all inclusive while the religion is only one dimension of it. Hence if the religion takes the driving seat, it will provide only limited or lopsided vision and possibly drive individuals and community towards more isolation and intolerance in a pluralistic society. In fact ever since the ancient times, numerous instances could be quoted where a narrow religious vision, instead of helping, had led a society to perpetual mass ignorance, intolerance, conflict and violence for long spells.
The Kashmir problem is a product of narrow religious sentiments and intolerance, and it will never see a viable solution till these factors thrive. Similar religion based intolerance and conflicts are now on rise in the secular and pluralistic Indian society where one community asserts certain exclusive religion based rights and privileges, consequently the reactionaries and hardliners of the other community too react unscrupulously in vengeance. Ironically, the spirit of nationalism and Constitution of India are biggest casualities in the process.
It needs to be understood that the holy books and scriptures were written millenniums or centuries back in the context of the then contemporary society and culture. The fact is that the society, culture and human evolution have always been dynamic and ever changing in all parts of the globe. Hence the need for a relook and revised interpretation, where necessary. Notwithstanding this requirement, so long a religion with its static ancient tenets concentrates on faith and spiritual development of the individual or society, it will still serve its purpose without posing any threat but if the religion assumes the role of dictating the society’s all inclusive culture, it is bound to pose new challenges and threats to its own followers as well as to other contemporary societies in a pluralistic order. Hence unless clergy, spiritual leaders and scholars are wise enough to comprehend this delicate difference and able to guide their subjects in the right perspective, they will be pushing them to follow medieval and archaic customs and practices depriving them the fruits of the dynamic cultural evolution.
It is this psyche behind the on-going debate of ‘Vande Matram’ or ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ too in India today. The clergy and many common Muslims will chant ‘Madre-Watan Zindabad’ or ‘Hindustan Zindabad’ but will oppose tooth and nail the former slogans citing religion. Basically, on face these terms appear to imply same meaning, the difference being in application of language Sanskrit and Hindi versus Persian and Urdu. The other day, a cleric issued a fiat annulling marriage and expelling a Muslim member of the legislative assembly in Bihar from Islam simply because the law-maker had publicly spoken ‘Sri-Ram’, a term that symbolizes the most revered Hindu Deity. Needless to mention that the law-maker had to apologise and withdraw his ‘words’ for re-induction in the faith. Any rational common man, cleric, spiritual leader or scholar would understand that almighty (God) is one and for all, God does not discriminate with His subjects, it is just that different societies/civilizations evolved in isolation in different environment and times have given a name to the almighty as per their faith or value system.
So I do not wish to look an alarmist to create scare or optimist by wilfully writing a paragraph on happy ending on Indo-Pakistan relations. Rather I would like to put it bluntly: while the culture and sports unite the people of India and Pakistan but the religion is the spoiler with its narrow interpretation and consequent irrational approach towards humanity at large. Islamic Pakistan justifies its stake on Kashmir on religious considerations just because the majority population in the state is Muslim and continues to refuse normalising the bilateral relations till the Kashmir issue is settled. Hence it remains no longer relevant when Indo-Pak relation will improve, instead the moot point and relevant poser is whether Pakistan would ever change its religion based rhetoric on Kashmir, a game changer, in the mutual interest of peace, prosperity and progress of the two nations.
More by : Dr. Jaipal Singh