Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Desis really sans frontieres

The LoC opens for the movement of goods for the first time in the history of its existence. Thousands of people amassed on the Pakistani side begged to be allowed to cross so that they could meet their relatives. They were denied permission and tear gas shells were fired in the air to keep them away. But the incident speaks to what could be an ever increasing, and possibly unstoppable, momentum in public demand for an improvement in relations between the two countries.

Ok, I am not the one setimentalising this: Dawn reports that 'a signboard on the Indian side read: "We have not opened the LoC, we have opened hearts."' Dawn reports that (presumably Pakistani) officials said that civilians 'may be allowed to cross the LoC by November 14' and priority would be given to members of divided families. Later, other people will be allowed to cross, they said, adding that visitors would initially be given permission for seven days but that could be extended. (See what I mean about momentum?) Pakistan has officially called for free movement of Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC.

Jang is less starry-eyed, reporting that 'Humanity took a back seat as material goods were given priority from both sides with none of the bureaucrats from either Islamabad or New Delhi in a position to commit as to when the first Kashmiri would cross the LoC.' (Don't miss the general 'Pakistan-is-lovely, India-is-rubbish' tone of this article).

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