Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Blow for Kashmir: but could it help?

Kashmir, a long disputed territory claimed by both Pakistan and India since its release from British rule was devastated by an earthquake that has killed over 30,000 people with the death toll rising by the minute. As the crisis unfolds the question becomes: what effects will this have on the peace process in Kashmir?

With both Pakistan and India feeling the effects of the quake the world watches in anticipation of the cooperation or lack thereof between the two rivals in their disputed territory of Kashmir. In Pakistani Kashmir alone the death toll has already surpassed 19,400 and continues to climb. In Indian Kashmir the death toll has surpassed 500 and is rising. Pakistan, overwhelmed by the quake has requested aid from the international community. India has not yet requested such aid but was also hit hard. India and Pakistan, who both claim Kashmir have opened discussions of joint relief efforts and offered condolences to one another a step some point to as easing tensions. The civilians however do not all feel this way. In Uri a town which lies on the border of Indian and Pakistani Kashmir villagers are agitate because of the lack of aid. Despite the governments promises the villagers report that little has been done and government and press members are "just driving past". The officials too seem to disagree over effects of the quakes political implications (http://www.news24.com/News24/World/News/0,,2-10-1462_1813771,00.html)

I believe that the two nuclear powers of Pakistan and India be forced to work together in dealing with this crisis. In doing so the two countries will move further along the road to peace in the region because of the cooperative ties formed by the relief efforts.

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