Carrying the passengers of divided families between India and Pakistan to Lahore from Delhi, the Samjhuta (which means “accord”) Express train was attacked and turned into rubble by terrorists using fire and suitcase bombs. The conflagrated human bodies draped about the wreckage were beyond recognition. The early morning of Monday, February 19, 2007 was another dark day in the long disputed history of Indo-Pak relations.
According to the official figures, the incident left 66 passengers dead or several and brutally injured.
Just after the incident, the leaders of both India and Pakistan strongly condemned the attack and once again proclaimed that this was not going to derail the ongoing peace process between the two rival countries.
In principal the assenting statements of the Indian and Pakistani leaders were positive. However, the statements of condolence and sympathy won’t bring back the dead or deliver contentment to those who lost their love ones.
How long will this peace process continue? When will the governments of India and Pakistan resolve their differences? And, when will the governments of both the countries provide security to their people from the acts of terrorism seen over and over again? After every dreadful incident the leaders of India and Pakistan promise to punish the culprits and eliminate terrorism. Yet, the leaders of both the countries fail to provide any timeframe.
This is not the first time that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now the current Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and their respected governments have avowed to continue peace negotiations and resolve their geo-political disputes, despite repeated incidents of terrorism.
It is a bitter reality that the game of peace and threat has been the part of the diplomacy process between the governments of India and Pakistan for the last half a century. From Ayub Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Zia-ul-Haq to Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan to Shastry, Indira Ghandi to Rajiv Ghandi, the leaders of both Pakistan and India have been found voicing the need for peace and harmony, signing accords, initiating peace proposals and affirming to resolve their geo-political disputes.
Yet, there is still mistrust, threats and inflexibility and all their memorandums of understanding (MoU) have been found to be just manifestos of self interest.
It has been less than a year since, in July 2006, a series of bombs were detonated in a crowded commuter train in Mumbai killing 174 and injuring more than 400 people. The same kind of assurances to provide safety and security were made by the Indian Government followed by Pakistan’s condemnation and a declaration to work closely with Indian counterparts to find the culprits.
The most recently exploded train was a border-crossing security-sealed train where the passengers and their baggage are supposed to be checked thoroughly.
This means the terrorists must have gone through the security and immigration checks successfully before boarding the train.
On one hand the government of India and Pakistan are claiming they are going through a critical time and are making huge efforts to maintain the peace process. But on the other the responsible government agencies of India and Pakistan are failing to maintain adequate security in public places and to ensure that no one tries to sabotage their efforts of friendly relations.
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