Dr Mohsin Shakil is a Professor of Urology at Muzaffarabad Medical College. He was the head of the civil society group from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir which recently attended the 17th Cross LoC Civil Society Conference in Srinagar.
In an interview, Dr Shakil talked about Jammu in terms of language, ethnicity and Kashmir in terms of the religious and political beliefs.
He discussed about the ceasefire, travel and trade between the two countries and integrated community response for tackling natural disasters was also a focal point.
He also focused on saying that forces on both sides should avoid firing mortars and the artillery in the populated areas of the each other.
There should also be provisions to make travelling across the line of control easier, he said. This is what he has to say when asked about how can we put end to the rivalry between the two countries.
How can cross LoC trade be provided a boost?
The number of traders from Kashmir involved in cross LoC trade is not satisfactory. This trade won’t last long as many consider it as an alternative route for “Wagha-Attari traders”, where Kashmiris only benefit by providing labour and other services.
How can cross-border tourism be provided an impetus?
He said he visited the Shrine of Sheikh Ahmed Wali at Tarbal to follow the pilgrimage of great Sufi saint and the poet Mian Muhammad Bakhsh of Mirpur. He also met many Pandits, who desire to visit the Shrine of Sharda in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Do you fully support unification of PaK and J&K?
Many in Azad Jammu and Kashmir are not happy with government and there have been demonstrations on different issues related to development, governance and violations of rights like any other democracy, Dr Shakil said. The footage telecast by media showing demonstrations in AJK was quite exaggerated. The footage was doctored with shots of the protests held few months ago on issue of electricity load shedding, he added.
How important is the role of PaK in bringing peace to J&K?
He said the highlights of his visit was to get involved in activities related to Pahari language. Most of the families divided in both the Kashmirs are Gojri and Pahari speaking people. Steps must be taken to connect these families, he said.
Do you see hope from PM Modi led government?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a decision maker and is more pro-active than Manmohan Singh. After Vajpayee, Modi is the one who can be talked to but he seems to be busy strengthening his political ground, he said.
Governments in India and Pakistan should stop making political gains out of the Kashmir issue. It is high time that ‘Pak bashing’ and vice versa comes to an end and we should work towards a solution.The resolution of Kashmir issue should be institutionalized and separated from other Indo-Pak issues, He added.
Source – Greater Kashmir