Wednesday, June 5, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 144



UH reflects on viable war

By Ray Hafner
The Daily Cougar

After reaching a near breaking point, tensions along the India-Pakistan border are beginning to ease, slightly dimming the possibility of a
nuclear war. Students and faculty on both sides of the conflict, are hopeful that through sincere dialogue and a commitment to honor
agreements the crisis can be defused and a lasting peace reached.

"Both sides have been pushed to their limits," said Uma Gupta, dean of the College of Technology, representing the Indian community. "I know
India feels that way."

Pakistan feels the same way according to Kamran Riaz, member of the Pakistani community. "This is a no win situation," said Riaz, associate
dean of students. Riaz hopes third party mediation will help alleviate this current conflict and set the path for what he hopes will be a "sincere"
dialogue between the two nations.

Several countries, including the United States, Russia and China have offered to mediate discussions between them. The prospect of a
full-scale nuclear war holds global implications.

UH, one of the most diverse American universities, had 664 students of Indian and 239 of Pakistani descent in fall of 2001. According to Beth
Tucker, a counselor with International Student and Scholar Services, those statistics represent a blend of immigrant and non-immigrant

While relationships overseas have soured, both Gupta and Riaz point to the peaceful coexistence of Indians and Pakistanis here in America as
a sign of hope for the conflict. Both are American citizens who have lived here for 18 and 22 years, respectively.

"The beauty of it is many Indians have Pakistani friends," Gupta said. Their experiences in America, she said, show they must "be model
citizens, even though we disagree."

"The mistrust that is there does not exist here," Riaz said.

Gupta pointed to two main issues that were sparking the conflict. First, she said, the issue of Kashmir has spurred the conflict for the past five
and half decades. More recently is the firm stance against terrorism.

"Terrorism destroys and that's all there is to it," she said.

"If you have to name one country that has stepped up with America (in its war on terrorism), it has to be Pakistan," countered Riaz. He added it
is not easy to close a border, pointing to the United State's troubles in policing its Mexican border. He also said that there was no concrete
evidence that the terrorists involved were coming from Pakistan.

According to most sources, the infiltration of Kashmir by Islamic militants, some of whom have come from Afghanistan, is fueling a wave of
terror attacks aimed at Indians.

Riaz continued to say that the terrorism was not happening only in India, but pointed out bombings in Karachi and Pakistan's capital,
Islamabad. "You can't even stop it in your own country," he said, noting it would be even harder to stop outside the country.

Many analysts paint this as a religious struggle, but according to Riaz, "Religion has no bearing." Gupta agrees, noting the "Hindu religion
teaches all religions leads to one God." Both say the main issue, Kashmir, is a land dispute.

To solve the conflict, Gupta says they must first get the idea of using nuclear weapons out of their heads. She added that a long-term solution
would require first a peaceful coexistence, brought about by an end to terrorism. Key to maintaining that would be a commitment to honor

Riaz said something must be done to end the mistrust between the two leaders, General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee. 

Riaz hopes a democratic solution might be found. Both Pakistan and India are saying what should happen, but he noted "the people who are
being directly affected are not involved."

Were war to come, nuclear or conventional, Gupta said the primary concerns would be both for family members living abroad and also the
economic effects that would no doubt cripple the two, already poor, nations.

"The majority of people are just hoping it won't lead to any kind of nuclear warfare or any kind of warfare," she said. Any type, she added, would
cause grief, sorrow and 


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