India, Pakistan should concentrate on solving basic problems
There's something unique about the monsoon in the Indian subcontinent.
There's something unique about the monsoon in the Indian subcontinent. It does not respect national boundaries. When it pours, it pours across the subcontinent and when it fails, it fails creating a drought- like situation across the subcontinent.
Though sometimes it fails in some parts and is active in some other parts of the subcontinent but most likely its effects are uniform across the subcontinent for greater number of years.
This year the monsoon decided to pour and it's pouring cats and dogs across the subcontinent bringing in its aftermath flooding, dengue, malaria. Even after 70 years of independence the flooding is common on both sides of the border.
If the Municipal administration department is efficient, you may wade through knee deep water if not waist-deep water. The mosquito same way as monsoon does not respect the national boundaries.
Prevalence of monsoon related diseases are equally deadly on both sides of the border. The flies, unhygienic and unsanitary conditions in our towns, problems of garbage lifting and disposal are issues with which both the countries are grappling.
When we have so much in common, and as independent nations failed to tackle effectively for the last 70 years these issues why are we not discussing concentrating addressing these issues but are more worried about who has an upper hand in attracting world attention on the Kashmir issue at the UN.
UN General Assembly provides an opportunity to leaders across the globe to present their point of view on a number of things including their stated position on major global issues.
Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh have presented major initiatives both the countries have taken and the progress made In tackling the basic problems facing both the countries.
Bangladesh is in a way lucky as it does not have any border problem with India and is concentrating on issues of development and making impressive progress.
When It was the turn of Imran Khan in his overstretched speech of about an hour at United Nations General Assembly, he raised a variety of issues starting with climate change, money laundering, Islamic phobia to Kashmir .
Though it was expected that Imran Khan would raise the issue of Kashmir at the UN general assembly but the method he chose was not appropriate for the head of a state . He tried to instigate the Indian Muslims to revolt and threatened a possible use of nuclear weapons.
Regarding his first apprehension about the attitude of the Indian Muslims to Kashmir issue he can be rest assured, the nation is united on this issue irrespective of regional and religious differences since special provision like this was creating a hurdle in mainstreaming of Kashmir with rest of India.
His threat of use of nuclear weapons is serious in nature and I am sure United Nations would take cognisance of such utterances and deal with it effectively if necessary by disarming any country which issues such threats since they cannot be trusted to possess such weapons.
It is good that Prime Minister of Pakistan acknowledged how encouraging and using terrorists to operate from their soil is doing collateral damage to his own country.
It is in the primary interest of Pakistan itself to look for a permanent peaceful solution for the border issue with India and move ahead to address more pressing issues back home.
Trying to equate with India in terms of military might would ultimately harm interests of Pakistan since it will be forced to maintain military strength disproportionate to its economy.
While threatening a possible use of nuclear weapons in the UN general assembly Imran Khan was practical enough to admit in another press conference that war with India is not an option.
If war with India is not an option the next question that follows is whether Pakistan really requires disproportionately oversized military establishment when they don't have problems with Afghanistan and China who are their other next door neighbours.
But downsizing the army would require taking on the all too powerful military establishment who are running the country till now from the front or from the background .
The development success and future prosperity of Pakistan lies in the ability of civilian government to assert itself in running the country and setting the priorities.
Bhuttos tried and failed. Till that is achieved Pakistan will be suffering from distorted priorities spending more of public money where it may not be required.
(Writer is former Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh)