16 April, 2021

Warning: Bumps Ahead

Symbolism is all fine. But the Lahore Declaration could define history only via an history stance.

Warning: Bumps Ahead

THE bus service was Nawaz Sharif's idea. But Atal Behari Vajpayee stole the world's imagination by riding the bus to Lahore. The media hype must have provided sorely needed relief to the beleaguered bjp government. India's 'peace initiative has also deflected criticism for its aggressive nuclear posture. The symbolism, too, was beautifully contrived, with a colourful bhangra troupe dancing across Wagah, heralding the entry of the Indian prime minister into 'enemy territory . Indeed, Vajpayee's visits to the Minar-i-Pakistan and Allama Iqbal's tomb were masterpieces of diplomacy.

Of course, 'bus diplomacy is most welcome. It has already reduced tensions between India and Pakistan. The two nuclear powers have also promised to take definite steps to reduce the risk of accidental war. Beyond that, it is difficult not to be swamped by a deep cynicism born from bitter experience. There are many hurdles ahead.

The Lahore declarations are lacking in substantive measures to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries. The Pakistanis have not got the no-war pact they...

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