Rakesh Manchanda for BeyondHeadlines
Samjhota Express was started on July 22, 1976 following the Shimla Agreement and ran between Amritsar and Lahore, a distance of about 42 km and then later it ran from Delhi to Lahore. ‘Samjhota’ Express as a train is important to fight cross border terrorism by opening passenger travel and the Aam Admi cross border communications.
Allow me to assist you to undertake Samjhota Express Journey in reverse gear. Let us first talk about the VVIP- Khas Stations, Khas Passengers and the Khas Stop over first. Let us drive back to year 2001. We sample a set of powerful people sitting in an ordinary train chatting and taking pride in reminding that Atal Bihari Vajpayee initiated to protect the Valentine moves of Rahul Gandhi in 2001.
The Aam Admi today cannot travel overseas with more then 5000-10,000 US dollars. Rahul Gandhi as a section of media and RSS puts was caught by FBI at Boston airport with illegal 200,000 dollars. He was escorted with his Cambodian Girlfriend, who was the daughter of a Cambodian drug mafia.
Why Vajpee-BJP Government then failed to take a risk and lodge an FIR on this issue? Why BJP-Congress is weak to fight corruption? Modi and Rahul Gandhi the two modern poster boys of Ambani dookaan: Why are they silent on price rise of oil & natural gas with cooking gas?
In the VVIP-Khas Admi Kit of Vajpayee ji, Modi ji and Rahul JI all three claim one thing in common. All three claim to be better in Governance then a married Aam Admi because all three claim are unmarried and can take a risk. See another speed breaker and a Red Signal:
Why BJP (unlike Vajpaee ji in the past) still protects Narender Modi in his famous Gujarat bloodbath?
Like the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots initiated by the Congress murderers in Gujarat still roam freely with no action taken against the guilty. Why BJP who claims to give better governance is silent?
No ‘compromise’ on ‘Corruption & Communalism’ is the welcome stand of Aam Admi Party Pol Khol Press Conference in Delhi. AAP Ex- CM had recently created history by initiated five FIRs against Five Khas Aadmi including Mukesh Ambani and Sheila Dixit.
While discussing Samjhauta Express I do not wish to remind the readers about RSS and Aseemanand accused in the acts of terrorism of bombing the Samjhauta Express (February2007), Hyderabad Mecca Masjid (May 2007), Ajmer Dargah (October 2007) and two attacks in Malegaon (September 2006 and September 2008).
The terrorists on the other side of the border also tried to break and stop this friendship Express several times and this is on media records.
My humble intention is to use ‘Samjhota’ Express as our day to day agreement which each Aam and Khas Admi had been forced to do at every stop by the devalued corrupt system. My inputs are based on Pakistan delegates met by me in World Social Forum Mumbai-2004.
I wish to remind my readers and alert change makers to let the Friendship train run with a pure corruption free intention. Why this train of peace from Attari to Lahore is essential for better living, peace and prosperity via trade with neighbours?
EH mohabbat di gaddi hai, is nu band na hon dena
This is a train of love and emotions, don’t let it stop is how Allah Ditta, driver of the Samjhauta Express in early 2000, shares his role in Punjabi explaining the significance of this train.
The train binds not only the people of these two countries who were separated after Partition, but reaches out to the people of Afghanistan as well.
SAMJHAUTA EXPRESS, the train of “Trade and Relationship”, has been the network of prosperity for hundreds of small and medium scale Indo-Pak importers and exporters. Indian exporters found route via Pakistan less costly with the South-East Asian, American and European markets to sell items ranging from iron and steel, timber, refrigerators, scooters, cement and tyres, spices, tea, fresh vegetables, textiles, electrical and electronic goods.
Trade ties got established between the two countries in 1975 under the Simla Agreement. More than 173 items were listed for trade between the SAARC countries during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto rule in Pakistan. After the army coup, General Zia made stringent laws to curb Indian trade. India imported sugar in huge quantities during 1998-99, besides dry dates and rock salt and exported soya meal feed, ginger, cardamom, spices, tyres and cement.
Indian traders feel that they had been able to forge a feeling of trust and faith with their counterparts in Pakistan.
All favored the continuation of the train service and suggested that the police and the Customs should step up their vigil and foil the bid of some mischievous elements to snap the link that is beneficial to the people as well as business.
Success of train threw a need to start the bus service that was launched to permit divided families to visit relatives and to foster commerce and tourism. The bus service launch was a key in the efforts of the Indo-Pak governments to improve frosty and tense relations especially in the aftermath of the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests and then the immediate Pakistani response of the Chaghai Hills tests.
In its inaugural run on February 19, 1999, the bus carried the then-Indian PM, who was to attend a summit in Lahore and was received by his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif at Wagah.
This inaugural bus carried Indian celebrities such as Dev Anand, Satish Gujral, Javed Akhtar, Kuldip Nayar, Kapil Dev, Shatrughan Sinha and Mallika Sarabhai.
Based on 1999 Lahore Declaration, both nations pledged to the peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes while fostering friendly commercial and cultural relations.
Let us now drive back to ordinary passengers and Aam Admi waiting for the delayed Swaraj dream and Lok Pal Bill to catch a safe ride with joy and happiness.
Corrupt System hits more hard then a terrorist attack. Both Muslim Talibans and Hindu ‘Talibans’ have been taking advantage of the situation where honest peace loving majority stays silent. Silence of ‘honesty’ helps promote fear and hate.
This needs careful analysis and a future road map with no ‘Samjhauta’ or no compromise with corruption-communalism.
Corruption free and Compromise free hope remains the oxygen of the future collective journey.
[Views expressed are personal; does not necessarily reflect editorial policy.]