As the Americans are going to the polls….

…the Kashmiris are preparing for their own elections that will be held in a couple of weeks time. This blog has already commented on the participation of PDP and the arrests of Hurriyat leaders, but the fear of violence is immense. In Baramulla all polling stations have been marked as “sensitive” or hyper-sensitive”, proving the high risk situation in the area. More than 500000 people are legible to vote in Baramulla on 7 December, but due to the threats posed to the polling stations we wonder how many will risk their lives for this kind of democracy.

…the Kashmiris are discussing the impact of the election on the future of the region. Senator Obama linked the situation in Kashmir with the US involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. But it definitely is an interesting thing. Sen. Obama’s statement proved a great leap from the current Bush administration’s policy on South Asia, which basically had an hands-off (and ears and eyes) approach. The fact that Obama commented on Kashmir at this stage, is a clear sign that, if we will see an Obama administaration taking place in the White House on 20 January 2009, a new US approach to the region is being unearthed. Of course, international attention is welcomed and hopefully it can boost the peace process. But, depending on what the intentions of the international community is; whether the response is bilateral (US or whatever) or multilateral (US, UN, UK, or other international actors); amd how Kashmir will be included in the Afghanistan-Pakistan debacle, is yet to see.

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