Celebrations caught in Pak turmoil

Updated on Aug 14, 2007 03:15 AM IST

The violence in Pakistan is suspected for the diplomatic delay in visas for journalists of their nationality as well as their Indian counterparts, reports Monica Sood.

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Hindustan Times | ByMonica Sood, New Delhi

Sixty years of Independence. Two countries born out of one. Their trysts with destiny and their appointments with fate have affected millions across their borders and continue to do so even today. And peace talks go on. Olive branches are offered, albeit grudgingly (to the common observer, at least), only to spur violence in ensuing days.

Bus services, trains, cultural exchanges and sledging in cricket matches are part of our relationship with our neighbour, Pakistan. We share a lot in common — food, a passion for cricket, zealous debates over Kashmir and nuclear power and a fervent observance of our own Independence Days.

This year promised scribes from both sides of the great divide an opportunity to go to the man-made border and report on a cultural extravaganza that was to take place on the eve on the Indian Independence — Pakistan’s Independence Day. Musical concerts on both sides of the border, celebrities and a feeling of brotherhood — a perfect setting for two countries celebrating freedom tinged with tragedy and loss. But that was not to be. For one of the organisers called up to say the programme was postponed “due to some problems”.

The violence in Pakistan is suspected for the diplomatic delay in visas for journalists of their nationality as well as their Indian counterparts. With President Pervez Musharraf deciding to contest the polls and not discard his military uniform, the recent Lal Masjid violence and additional armymen being deployed in the Afghanistan-Baluchistan border, US pressure, and the continuous pro-Taliban militants attacks, Pakistan is a troubled state.

And while most eager journalists unpacked their bags and sighed wistfully, the fact is — a country fraught with internal violence cannot be expected to join in the bonhomie of its rival country, seemingly less troubled than itself. Maybe next year.

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