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Summit failure: hopes refuse to die down in the Valley
By Javed Matjee, Srinagar

The failure of Indo-Pak summit at Agra left the Kashmir valley shocked. People of the valley had placed high hopes with the event. An impression existed from the day Mr Vajpayee extended invitation to the Pakistan president that not much should be expected from the summit. However, the way summit was presented before the general public generated hopes, particularly in the minds of Kashmiri people. Complete shock prevailed in Kashmir after summit failure was officially announced at midnight. Unbelievably most of the people here were watching the summit proceedings till the official announcement came at about 12.30 midnight. The sufferings and miseries being faced by the people in the valley force them to hope for the best from every such event.

What went wrong when things were going on very smoothly? There is hardly any doubt here that it was the Kashmir issue which cast its dark shadow over the outcome of the much keenly-watched summit. The way both Prime Minister Vajpayee and president Musharraf met and held discussions during the two days at Agra, generated hopes of positive results.

After getting deeply discouraged and disappointed from the outcome of the talks held at Agra, the people here are caught by other concerns. Militants have threatened to intensify their attacks while there are indications from the government side that anti-insurgency actions would be stepped up. Actions from both sides ultimately result in adding to the sufferings of the common man in Kashmir. Had the prevailing insurgency been a problem in any other state, people’s welfare would have been prime concern for the government there which, however, is not visible in Kashmir.

Kashmiris were the closest watchers of the proceedings and happenings in Agra. Normal activities remained affected in Kashmir during the two days of Agra summit, as most of the people confined themselves to TV sets to know the latest developments. Analyses and expert opinions were major attractions for the people here. The last hours of the summit were nothing short of final overs of a sensational cricket match between India and Pakistan.

It is believed here that Pakistan has demonstrated through its stand that Kashmir interests were of prime concern for that country. Though most of the militant outfits had expressed their deep reservations about the summit, the failure has given them a chance to depict their stand right.

In an atmosphere of total darkness, disappointment and pessimism, what has given birth to new hopes in Kashmir are the statements of two foreign ministers. Both Jaswant Singh and Abdul Sattar declared in the post-summit tense atmosphere that their countries would continue the dialogue initiated in Agra. Also the invitation extended by the Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf and its acceptance by Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee is yet another sign which generates new hopes in Kashmir.

Keeping in view the ways people of Kashmir continue to suffer for the last 12 years, they hope something positive from any such event. Kashmiris continue to hope for better Indo-Pak relations which, according to them, will pave the way for the final resolution of the Kashmir issue. 
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