By Qaisar Abbas

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “had been waiting for his guest for 15 minutes and at one point walked a few feet across the white stripe known as Line Zero and into India, where a brass band was playing jubilantly and folk dancers whirled in the shady lane. Colorful bunting was strung on both sides of the crossing station. The roadways were a burst of color with newly planted flowers and freshly painted stripes. Red carpets had been unfurled. Indian and Pakistani flags flew side by side.” 

This New York Times report on February 21, 1999, narrates the congenial environment when India’s Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India crossed the border into the neighboring Pakistan to meet his counterpart, Sharif, and sign the Lahore Declaration on nuclear governance.

Since Vajpayee’s visit, however, there have been several armed skirmishes between the two countries, and they are still suspicious of each other’s intensions, although there have been some attempts to revive the peace-building efforts.

Qaisar Abbas  PhD, is a university professor/administrator, media analyst and political commentator based in the United States. He has worked as a News Producer for Pakistan TV and Information Officer in the province of Punjab. He can be reached at

(Copyright 2015 Qaisar Abbas)

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