loader

PR Comments


Photo Source: The Express Tribune

Pakistan Reader# 39, 22 April 2017

Cross-LoC Interactions: Low Hanging Kashmir Fruit

India-Pakistan

In the Indo-Pak context, are are there “big ticket items”, which could change the current cyclic pattern between India and Pakistan? Alternatively, are there low hanging fruits? This commentary looks into Cross-LoC interactions as a low hanging J&K fruit.

D. Suba Chandran
Professor
International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP)
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore
Both India and Pakistan seem to have caught in a dialogue trap. Despite numerous composite dialogues since the 1990s, both countries are dialoguing with each other in a cyclic pattern than in an unilinear upward trajectory. Terrorism and J&K seem to have become two crucial issues; Afghanistan and Indus may get added to this list of intractable Indo-Pak issues, given the current trend.

In the Indo-Pak context, are are there “big ticket items”, which could change the current cyclic pattern between India and Pakistan? Alternatively, are there low hanging fruits? This commentary looks into Cross-LoC interactions as a low hanging J&K fruit.

None would deny the importance of J&K in the larger bilateral relations between India and Pakistan, and also in the composite dialogues. During the last decade, on J&K, substantial ground was covered as a part of the cross-LoC interactions between two parts of J&K. The bus and truck services across the LoC were undoubtedly two revolutionary measures that India and Pakistan undertook since the partition, relating to J&K. Support from majority within J&K to the cross-LoC interactions further enhanced this movement. The State initiatives and the public support in J&K did create an euphoria both regionally and internationally .

Unfortunately, both India and Pakistan failed to make use of the bus and truck services across the LoC, and expand further, leading to better political environment in (and on) J&K facilitating a larger dialogue on a final settlement. While people living on all parts of J&K across the LoC were initially euphoric, slowly pessimism settled in. This was followed by the initiative becoming a trickle and more a formality, than a movement of any substance. Perhaps, India and Pakistan did not realize the importance of the cross-LoC interactions in the larger J&K debate; or perhaps, a section looking inward understood the impact, and started going slow and pulling the interactions down.

Cross-LoC interaction is certainly a low hanging fruit in J&K. Both India and Pakistan could revise the cross-LoC interactions, expand further in certain sectors, and deepen the activities further in those sectors, where a beginning has already been made. Since there is substantial support in all five parts of J&K across the LoC, these interactions would be inclusive. The above support in five parts of J&K is not only politically inclusive, but also cut across different segments – political, business and civil society. 

Besides the support from all parts and all segments of J&K, cross-LoC interactions is not only a low hanging fruit, but have the potential to become a “big ticket item” between India and Pakistan. 

The bus and truck services need to be revised and deepened. The problems are well known; and so are the solutions. It is time to move beyond the “divided families” and include rest of those who are permanently residing in J&K to cross. In certain cases, where the entire family has moved from one part to another, it is difficult to find a “divided” family on the other side, to get travel permission.

On the bus service, as a part of the expansion, it is time to allow divided families in Kargil-Leh-Skardu-Gilgit also to meet. The bus service between two parts of J&K has been primarily addressing the regions of Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Muzafarabad and Mirpur. There are divided families outside these regions as well. This needs to be explored.

Cross-LoC trade also needs to be revised and be supported with basic infrastructure. When Amazon is revolutionising the trade at the international level with e-commerce and drone deliveries, India and Pakistan cannot advocate the medieval barter system for trading with each other. Cross-LoC trade, as being practiced now is a cruel joke on the business community. Without basic banking and tele-communication facilities, expecting business to make any impact in the 21st century is impractical and even foolish. The State in India and Pakistan should not mis-guide the business communities and create an illusion of trade.

In the cross-LoC trade context, the business community also has to understand certain limitations relating to the list of items and the destination of trucks. Since the business communities across the LoC see it as an intra-Kashmiri trade and expect to benefit from a movement that is between two parts of J&K (and not truly international), there is bound to be restrictions on the list of items to be traded and the destinations. The business community will have to work with the State and consider innovative measures to make the cross-LoC trade productive and meaningful, given the restrictions. 

The business community will also have to understand that there would be elements within trying to maximise profits and make use of cross-LoC provisions. Proxy trade and trade diversion are bound to happen, as has been case with any trade with special provisions. More importantly, the business community should look at the trade as an economic activity and desist from making it political. Let the political interaction be led by other actors between two parts of J&K.

The NGOs and Think tanks have a role to play a role in the above by providing creative solutions to make these cross-LoC interactions meaningful. Already, there have been few proposals and track-II dialogues involving both parts of J&K. New Delhi and Islamabad can help these dialogues by allowing them, if not facilitating and supporting. Studies have been already been published on expanding cross-LoC interactions in sectors such as education and tourism. 

Cross-LoC interactions between two parts of J&K have been limited, though their potential for a larger Indo-Pak peace is unlimited.

The above was originally published in the Daily Times and a part of a series trying to find few “Big Ticket Items” and “Low Hanging Fruits” in the Indo-Pak context

Recent PR Comments

The TTP-led attacks have been regularly taking place, whether there was a pro-American regime in Kabul or whether Afghanistan is ruled by the Taliban.

Peshawar Suicide Attack: Consistent TTP violence and inconsistent State reponse

The present outage is more due to the energy infrastructure than than the energy mix

PR Explains: Pakistan’s power outage

Seven Pakistani personnel among 32 peacekeepers killed in 2022 attacks

Pakistan’s Blue Helmets: A long-standing contribution

Though the PPP and JI have emerged with more seats, neither of them have enough numbers on their own to win the Mayor’s seat

Karachi: The race and new alignments for the Mayor

The ban on the film Joyland depicts the perils of patriarchy and transphobia

Joyland: A case of the image-conscious and patriarchs

Pakistan's polio crisis remains complex because of the social misconceptions surrounding vaccinations and poor health infrastructure

Pakistan’s polio crisis: Between social misconception and poor health care

Punjab Assembly stands dissolved as the Governor decides ‘to not become part of’ process

The tussle for Punjab: Who stands where?

PML-Q’s fortune has been inversely proportional to the PML-N

The PML-Q divide: End of the road for the Chaudhrys of Punjab?

Winning the confidence note by Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and his dissolution recommendation to the Governor means

Punjab: The die is cast

Three major MQM factions have agreed to come together.

Karachi: Merger of the MQM factions. Patch-up or forced marriage?

With Chaudhry Elahi getting the necessary votes to prove his majority, the PML-Q and PTI should breathe easy.

Punjab: Chaudhry Parvez Elahi wins the vote of confidence

There is a general consensus within Pakistan, that it needs to rework its Afghan strategy

Pakistan’s search for a new Afghan strategy

Pakistan has refused to provide any political status to the occupied GB region and has been treating it as a colony

Protests in Gilgit Baltistan: Different sections, different demands, single problem

Imran’s Punjab (and PML-Q) problem

A critique of the Charter of Economy

Economic growth is unmet: Why?

China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves

Gwadar: Economic, political and livelihood demands and security responses

Fighting Militancy: What Pakistan should, but will do

Elections this will be the most important issue for Pakistan. What will be the nature of the results, and how much will the losers accept them?

Seven questions that Pakistan will face in 2023

Kabul drains Pakistan of US dollars

US Dollar flies unabatedly onto Afghanistan

Imran wants it early; others are not keen

Holding elections

Why was the movie censored in Pakistan, and what does it say about creativity and censorship

The Joyland Controversy: An unjoyful insight into the censorship of Pakistan's cinemas

15 years after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination

The Benazir legacy

Issues in power sector, exchange rate and revenue reporting mechanism are primary reasons which have extended the review talks.

Pakistan and the IMF:Three major divergences

Pakistan’s other problem in Balochistan

Protests in Gwadar

What do the recent attacks mean?

The resurgence of TTP violence

Governor removes chief minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi,

Punjab's constitutional and political crisis

What the delay in the filing of the FIR means for Imran Khan and his freedom call

One week after Imran Khan’s assassination: Four major questions

PM Shehbaz Sharif emphasised climate finance, climate solidarity and climate justice

Pakistan at COP27: Four Takeaways

What the delay in the filing of the FIR means for Imran Khan and his freedom call

The controversy over Imran Khan’s assassination attempt and FIR

Evolution of PTM and the consequences of a secular movement

The arrest of Manzoor Pashteen: A clash between the PTM and State

While the TTP is the main cause for concern other factors are playing a role in the resurgence of militancy

Violence in Swat: Five factors besides the TTP

Ishaq Dar’s statement and the Moody’s downgrading

State of Pakistan’s Economy

Why do protests continue even after negotiations and proposals of law in favor of the teachers in KP province?

Teachers’ Protest in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: A brief background, causes, and dilemmas

Four Takeaways from NEPRA’s latest report

Pakistan’s State of Industry

The author presents warped timeline of Pakistan US bilateral relationship as a primer for diplomatic community

A toxic and intimate relationship of US-Pakistan: Review of Daniel S Markey’s book "No exit from Pakistan"

F-16, JF-17, the US, China and Pakistan: A political and technical comparison

F-16, JF-17, the US, China and Pakistan: A political and technical comparison

Media outlook on climate change, national response, international response and impact of the floods

Pakistani Media on Floods

PM Shehbaz Sharif emphasis on climate change, Kashmir and islamophobia during his UNGA address

Climate Change and more: Three takeaways from PM Shehbaz Sharif’s UNGA address

Pakistan at 75: The Many Uses of Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

An analysis of opinions published in Pakistani media

Pakistan at 75: An introspection by Pakistanis

Imran Khan bringing the next army chief appointment into national politics highlights the military’s entanglement with politics

Army politicised yet again

Civil-Military Relations: Is the internal power dynamics being redefined?

The rain-induced floods highlight the threat of climate change and Pakistan’s inability to tackle the problem

Government declares ‘national emergency’ amid rain-induced floods

Pakistan at 75: The rise and rise of the military

Punjab’s new Chief Minister: A profile of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi

PR Profiles: Parvez Elahi

The PTI’s issue with the ECP stems from technical differences and mistrust

PTI’s Election Commission Problem

The tendency of current superior judges to impersonate constitutional interpretation is an emerging trend since the 2010s

The superior judiciary in Pakistan is divided: Four reasons why

Geo-economic aspirations of Pakistan against the backdrop of geo-politics of South Asia

Geo-economics and Pakistan: A critique

The Supreme Court’s verdict on Qasim Khan Suri’s ruling on the no-trust move highlights the cracks in Pakistan’s parliament

Supreme Court verdict on the no-trust motion against Imran Khan

Pakistan is not yet done with Imran Khan and the urge for change

PTI’s return in Punjab: three takeaways and three implications

The relations between Pakistan and US are likely to remain largely security-centric despite the reset

Pakistan and the US: Three factors contributing to a reset

Gilgit-Baltistan approves USD 596 billion while Azad Jammu and Kashmir presents an outlay of USD 818 billion

GB & AJK: Budget 2022

The recent economic engagements between Islamabad and Paris highlight a renewed efforts to boost bilateral ties

Pakistan and France: A positive U-turn

What would happen to the Chaudhry empire, as the Chaudhrys stand divided across the two generations?

The PML-Q, and the split within the Chaudhrys

The crackdown on the PTI’s long march reveals the government’s apprehensions

The idea of marches: PTI takes to the street with its ‘Azadi March’

The economy being perceived at ‘nazuk mod’ indicates moment is apt for external financing to keep above the threshold of bailout and look within

Erosion of Pakistani Rupee: Three causes and multiple consequences

Decreasing groundwater and desertification, Himalayan floods and inter-provincial risk sharing will become climate change-induced problems

Effects of Climate Change: Problems of groundwater depletion and beyond

Pakistan and Afghanistan would benefit from a treaty to manage the Kabul River

Kabul River Agreement: Three reasons why there is no treaty

The Establishment is no more a sacrosanct, holy, and unassailable.

Pakistan’s Establishment is upset: Four reasons why

The “AJK” politics continues to remain a playground for Islamabad

Political Instability in “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”

The recent attacks by the TTP and Pakistan across the Durand Line highlights the bilateral fault lines between Pakistan and Afghanistan

A hot Durand Line: TTP, Pakistan, Taliban and the coming anarchy

Three reasons why three discussions with the IMF that were stalled a month ago look promising now

Negotiations with the IMF: New government, old issues

The frequent attacks on Chinese nationals by the BLA highlight the revamping of the Baloch insurgency

Who, Why, and Beijing's response: Karachi suicide attack on the Chinese targets

Imran Khan’s tenure was a culmination of multiple factors, which unravelled as the establishment retreated

Rise and Fall of Imran Khan

PTI’s governance deficit, shifting power structure and acquiring its lost bases, contributed to MQM-P’s decision to cross the floor

MQM-P quits the PTI coalition: Four reasons why

It's experience with the PML-N and decision to find space in Punjab has factored in the PML-Q’s decision to continue supporting the PTI

Political crisis: Three reasons, why the PML-Q decide not to quit the PTI coalition

The numbers in the Parliament are increasing against Imran Khan. The Establishment is staying out.

Time for Imran to go?: The 172 reasons

Lack of accountability and impunity are two main causes for the continuing case of disappearances in Pakistan

Enforced Disappearances in Pakistan: The problems of impunity and accountability

The fourth-generation aircraft will add wings to the technological capability of combat aviation and its air warfare

Pakistan Air Force inducts J-10C: Three Takeaways

PPP’s long march is aimed to showcase Bilawal’s political prowess and prepare for the general elections

PPP’s Long March: Three Takeaways

The economy and geography of Karachi make the city the fourth-largest air polluted city

Karachi is the world’s fourth-largest polluted city. Two reasons why

The fifth annual March prioritized equal wages, security and peace; however, these demands must be sustained, to achieve gender equality

Aurat March 2022: Big Dreams, Small Steps

The Opposition has finally filed a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan. But, does it have enough numbers in the Parliament to carry the process?

The no-confidence against Imran: Between the motion and the voting

The report by the International Crises Group stresses sustained efforts to reduce discrimination.

Women and Peacebuilding: The case of northwest Pakistan

While the march in the streets is aimed at mobilzing the people, the PPP will need the numbers in the Parliament to remove Imran Khan

PPP’s Long March: The twin strategy, the rhetoric, and realities

The bill aims to rationalize the demand side mechanism and nudge price levelling in other sectors

The new Gas bill: Four takeaways

Pakistan aims to deepen the relations with Russia and make use of the new strategic environment in its favour

Imran Khan’s maiden Russia visit: Four focus areas

The completion of the PSL 2022 and the arrival of the Australia team should be a new start. Will Pakistan ensure it does not become a false start?

The return of cricket: From the PSL to Australia in Pakistan

While the Aurat March is gaining support, there are also challenges as it gets ready for the fifth annual on 8 March 2022

Aurat March 2022: New Manifesto, Old Challenges

The Act, though aims at curbing fake news, it is also aimed at throttling the cyber freedom of speech

Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Act: Four takeaways

Sindh becomes the first province in the country to lift the ban on student unions

Students’ Union: Lifting the ban after three decades

 To secure a no-confidence motion against Imran, it has to break the PTI partners, and ensure Establishment’s neutrality

No-Confidence against Imran: The opposition is ready. What about the Establishment?

IMF seeks less financial ambiguity and financial stability in Pakistan, which is conducive to private sector-led innovation and competition led growth

IMF's latest report on Pakistan: Five major takeaways

Pakistan is likely to pressurize the international community, than force the Taliban to work towards an inclusive and humane governance

Pakistan and Taliban: What are Islamabad’s immediate priorities?

PM Khan’s visit as anticipated revolved around CPEC and investments

Imran’s meeting with Xi Jinping: All about CPEC and Chinese investments

With the inception of the first female judge in the Supreme Court, we can be hopeful that she will not be the last

Justice Ayesha Malik: Against all odds

Despite the browbeating and pressure tactics by PTI, the situation remains as it was

PTI and the Election Commission: Why is Imran Khan unhappy?

The PTI government’s performance is worse than the PML-N, according to the Transparency International report

Imran Khan vs Corruption: Popular perceptions and their political implications

The analysis provides two reasons for adopting a new baseline, and a critique of it

Pakistan’s Economy: A new baseline, with 2015-16

PM Khan’s visit to China seems to be aimed at securing further loans, seeking further economic investments, strengthening the CPEC projects

“Iron brothers” to meet again: Imran Khan’s forthcoming China Visit

Provincial politics, federal-provincial differences and economic woes will dominate the province in 2022

Sindh in 2022: Three issues to look for

Political change, social issues and economic growth are likely to dominate the KP during this year

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2022: Three likely issues

Local government elections, extremism and debate over the South Punjab province are likely to be the most prominent in 2022

Punjab in 2022: Five developments to look for

Political engineering, violence and protest for better governance will dominate the province in 2022

Balochistan in 2022: Three likely issues

Few political changes are taking place. But, a deeper analysis would reveal, the template remains the same

Internal Politics: The more it change…

The release is an attempt to enlighten citizens on the Government’s policy objectives to deal with traditional and non-traditional security threats

National Security Policy of Pakistan (2022-2026): Six Highlights

The  war against America and support of Pakistan for the Taliban has not pacified the tribal Pashtuns in their border claims on the Durand line

Durand Line: A dead horse or a deepest fear for Pakistan

Judicial Commission of Pakistan approving the nomination of Justice Ayesha Malik to the Supreme Court

Justice Ayesha: Breaking the Legal Ceiling

Three hits and three misses

Pakistan's Foreign Policy in 2021

Despite suffering from structural problems there were moments of cheer

Pakistan’s economy in 2021: Major highlights

It was a rollercoaster year for Pakistan. Like the previous year. And the previous years

2021: Where the PTI scored, missed and floundered, and what it means for 2022

The downfall of PTI in the KP local body polls is an indication of its own mistakes. Find out why?

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa LB polls: Shocking yet predicted loss for PTI

Approximately one-tenth of Pakistan's external public debt servicing was paid to the ADB.

Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank

The sense ranges from feebleness of the media to frustration about misaligned coverages of issues

Pakistani media’s response to the Justice Saqib Nisar audio leak| Major takeaways

The state officials must address long-standing student issues because the Student Solidarity March is only the beginning.

Student’s Solidarity March in Pakistan: A step in the right direction

Protests highlights that the unrest among the people of Gwadar is not only going unaddressed, but is also aggravating the situation.

Protests in Gwadar: Four major highlights

Pakistan has agreed to various conditions of IMF for continuation of a loan of USD 4.268 billion only while avoiding further Chinese loans

Mini budget, IMF and a contemporary puzzle.

The fortunes of the Pakistani cricket team in the recent ICC T20 World Cup are mirrored in some intense social media battles

Pakistan cricket: Social media an outlet for inflamed passions

PM Khan appoints Lt. Gen. Nadeem Anjum as DG Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in consonance with the Army Chief

Impasse over next ISI Chief over after 20 days of cordial silence

The judicial activism balances increasing curbs on digital media in the country. However, it’s a long road ahead

The fragility of Digital Media Freedom in Pakistan

A secret government deal with the TLP refers to releasing those who were arrested, and allowing the party to contest in elections

PTI’s TLP flip-flop and a secret deal

Time tested relationship in shifting sands of geopolitics of Gulf

Post IMF Review: Saudi Arabia to bolster Pakistan

Inflation is not just a number, but rather a multi-dimensional problem. If unattended, might create “a make or break” situation for the PTI

Pakistan’s prolonged Inflation problem

Why would the government accept most of its demands in October 2021?

TLP: The government caves in again

The recurring protests staged by the TLP highlights the fact that the state has failed to address political-religious issues

TLP is back again

In the recent past, several positive measures have been initiated to assist transgender persons; however, Pakistan has a long way to go.

Pakistan’s transgender community: The long road ahead

Another Chief Minister, another no-confidence motion

Political instability in Balochistan

The absence of a telephone call between President Joe Biden and Prime Imran Khan is an expression of the current US-Pak ties

Since January 2021: Why the US President has not called Pakistan’s Prime Minister so far?

The recent spate in honour attacks in Pakistan shows there is no end in sight to the problem.

No honour in honour killing

Achieving full potential in hydropower is an elusive dream given its declining water availability, inadequate infrastructure and finance.

Pakistan's Hydropower Sector: Contribution, Challenges and Prospects

Neither Imran Khan is powerful, nor his party is strong to take on the Establishment

Appointing the new ISI Chief: Why is Imran Khan delaying the notification? Who will blink?

Recent military reshuffle and the possible reasons behind it

The Military Reshuffle: A strategic or routine decision?

Dr Khan may have died a disappointed man on how the State treated him, but he would remain a hero for the nation

Dr AQ Khan: Between a national hero and a nuclear proliferator

The data driven world is tending to Pandora leaks by glossing over the common man’s syndrome of big personalities

Tax avoidance: From Panama papers to Pandora Papers

Poverty, taboos, societal norms, and a weak State response fuel the prevalence of child sexual abuse in the country

Rising child abuse in Pakistan: Five reasons why

The Hazaras in Pakistan have faced endless persecution despite state measures to protect the community

Hazara Persecution in Pakistan: No end in sight

Is the rest of Pakistan ready for the same?

Talking to the Pakistani Taliban: What did Imran say? And what does it mean?

Socio-economic pressures, limitations of healthcare sector, and lack of institutional mechanisms fuel the mental health crisis in Pakistan

Pakistan’s mental health crisis: Of apathy and State failure

Baloch nationalist opinion that the current initiative lacks seriousness

Dialogue with Baloch Insurgents: Will Imran Khan Succeed where others have failed

Four major challenges

Fighting Polio in Pakistan

A case study of TikTok

Social Media Censorship in Pakistan

The political rise and fall of a sugar baron

The curious case of Jahangir Khan Tareen

PR Debate

The Future of PDM: Will the Opposition alliance break up?

Between the government and the opposition, there are no winners

Senate Chairman Elections in Pakistan: Eight Takeaways

A tactical arrangement or a broader political goal?

Ceasefire at LoC: Understanding Pakistan's motivations

Three takeaways on PTI, PDM and the Election Commission

NA 75 Sialkot Daska By-Election

The Federal Government Employees’ demand a 40 per cent hike

Another protest in Islamabad

Why does the government want to change the voting procedure in the Parlaiment?

Pakistan's Senate problem

Will the PPP's no-confidence motion against Imran Khan succeed?

Is the PDM slowing down?

The people want to get rid of the constitutional and political limbo. Five reasons why

Gilgit Baltistan

Editorial

Pakistan bans three more organizations as proscribed, but the problem remains

Editorial

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

Editorial

Khalilzad meets Gen Bajwa: What is Pakistan’s Afghan Endgame?

After Doha

The US-Taliban deal will lead to an Afghan Civil War

RIP Stephen Cohen

Call me Steve

Election 2018 Analysis -02

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik: Rise of the Radical

Election 2018 Analysis -01

The Naya Pakistan: Five Major Trends

Terrorism

Fighting Taliban and the Islamic State: Don't prioritize

India-Pakistan

Indo-Pak Dialogue Options: Importance of Back Channel

India-Pakistan

De-securitizing the Indus

India-Pakistan

Cross-LoC Interactions: Low Hanging Kashmir Fruit

Cricket

Honouring Younis and Misbah

Water

Scarcity, Institutions, Securitization: Our “Other” Water Issues

Terrorism

Fighting the Daesh: A Regional Counter IS Strategy

Civil-Military

The Husain Huqqani Revelation

Gender

Deep-rooted Misogyny: Offend her; she will forgive in the name of tradition

PIA

The Standing Passengers of PIA

External

Tehmina Janjua: Internal Challenges for the New Foreign Secretary

Cricket

Shahid Afridi: Well Played Hero

Society

Court, Society and Valentine Day: Is expression of love against our culture?

CPEC

Operationalising the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Af-Pak

Pakistan’s Afghan Policy: What Shapes? Who Shapes? And through What Strategies?

Terrorism

And Now, They Are Coming For Our Children

Education

The Axact Scam: Demands for Fake Degrees

Politics

Pakistan’s Panama Paradox: Demanding Accountability vs Fixing Sharifs