Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Johan Galtung: Pakistan – What Now?

EDITORIAL, 3 March 2014

by Johan Galtung, 3 Mar 2014 – TRANSCEND Media Service

Islamabad, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (28 Feb 2014)

Your Excellencies,

The basic point is that Pakistan will not get that commodity called “peace” in Kashmir, Afghanistan and Central Asia by pursuing the ends and means of Washington and some local elites only.  For peace to blossom the goals of other parties also have to be considered; and they are many.  The logic of the political games pursued today presupposes some kind of victory or domination of “our side”: neither feasible nor desirable for peace.  Hence, the need for some visions for peace politics is Kashmir, Afghanistan and Central Asia for tomorrow or the day after, with the hope that they can be useful when you have come to the end of the road with current policies. Nothing of this is easy; and without visions even impossible.

The fairly detailed, non-dogmatic vision appended was my acceptance speech of the 2011 Abdul Ghaffar Khan International Peace-Builder Award by the Pakistan-American Muslim Association.

However, why do present policies so often seem to be non-starters?

The British empire drew three lines with disastrous effects for Pakistan: the Durand line in 1893, a 1,600-mile wound defining the border with Afghanistan, dividing the Pashtun nation–the biggest nation in the world without a state–into two parts; the McMahon line of 1914 defining the border with China in ways unacceptable to the Chinese; and the Mountbatten line of 1947 leading to the catastrophic violence of the partition.  These lines have to be negated, liberating Pakistan from that past.  Thus, there is no natural law saying that Punjab cannot be an entity with an open border and free traffic of people and ideas, goods and services, even if the two parts belong to separate countries.  Lahore and Amritsar are two sides of the same coin, like the two parts of the Pashtun nation and the parts of Kashmir.  Let the twain (or more) meet, e.g. as envisioned below.

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