Kashmiris follow Pakistan election results closely

February 19th, 2008 - 2:02 pm ICT by admin  

Srinagar, Feb 19 (IANS) The unfolding political developments following general elections in Pakistan are being watched keenly by residents of Kashmir. “The outcome of these elections would have a direct bearing on our lives. The fate of the peace process between India and Pakistan depends upon political stability there,” said Muzaffar Ahmad, a college teacher.

It was not just the educated and the media-conscious among the Kashmiris who have focussed attention on the Pakistan elections. Everybody from the fruit seller to the pavement vendor wants to get an update on Pakistan poll results.

“If there is no clear majority for any single party, the government in Pakistan is going to be weak. A weak government cannot take any bold initiative on Kashmir,” said Meraj-ud-Din, 37, a fruit seller at Residency Road here.

“I am keen to know who wins or loses these elections in Pakistan. After all, it will be the party that comes to power in Pakistan which will discuss peace in Kashmir,” said Shaheed, 23, an auto rickshaw driver in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital.

Many people remained glued to national and international television channels Tuesday to get an update on the Pakistan election results.

“The Pakistan Peoples Party seems to have an edge over its rivals in the Sindh province, but it is going to be a mixed bag in Punjab and anybody’s game in Balochistan. I wonder what would happen there,” said Bashir Ahmad, 56, a resident of Ganderbal district.

As most mainstream and separatist politicians here decided to wait and watch till a clearer picture emerged in Pakistan, the common man voiced concern about the possibility of a fractured mandate.

“Allah must save Pakistan from any crisis since if there is trouble there, peace in Kashmir would become unimaginable. All the gains of the present peace process would vanish overnight,” said Sarfraz Khan, 45, who stays in Uri, a border town in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Since the ceasefire between India and Pakistan announced in December 2003, the lives of people living close to the line of control (LoC) have changed for the better. Till then, they lived under the constant threat of shelling from across the LoC.

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