Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


Ask for Tourists, not Terrorists.

31 Mar 2010

An image from the Media Gallery caught my eye today.

It is a stunning image of an area that has been at war or under threat of war for more than 6 decades now. Known for its topographical beauty, Kashmir is no longer a tourist resort. It is just another example of a land that has lost its identity to politics and all the controversy that surrounds it.

Swat has just recently faced a similar fate. Swat is inside Pakistan, unlike Kashmir, which has been disputed territory since the end of the British Raj. Swat not only had some of the best scenery Pakistani tourists had access to, but also provided some of the best fruit to the country. Incursions by the Taliban and then the Army have left the area in shambles, orchards destroyed, infrastructure demolished, people displaced or killed.

Pictures like this are both nostalgic and hopeful.

A Kashmiri boatsman navigates Dal lake in Srinagar. Indian military recently estimated that some 400 Islamic militants are waiting to cross into Indian-ruled Kashmir from the Pakistani-zone of the disputed region, and fears an upsurge of attacks. —AFP Photo / Tauseef MUSTAFA