Two Epistles

Lines

6 July 1956
General Dwight D Eisenhower,
Embassy of the United States
Karachi. Dear Mr. President,
First of all, I wish you good luck

in your bid for re-election.
You’re my president as well
leader of all who seek freedom

from oppression of all hues.
America is a bulwark for liberty,
a terror for tyrants.
We Kashmiris want to be free.
I’m a mother. I hate false lines

rending sisters from brothers.
I wish to bring up all my children
together. Sadly, a Cease-Fire Line

divides my two older children
in Indian-occupied Kashmir,
from their younger four siblings
in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
Children who grow up apart

become strangers later in their lives.
It breaks my heart.
The nuns at Jesus and Mary Convent

in Murree easily cross the Line
to teach at the Presentation Convent
in Srinagar: Why can’t my children?
Is Justice blind?
I urge you, Mr. President, command

one of your generals to bring
his tanks here to at once
re-unite Kashmir.

Our young men and women are prepared
to spill blood on the front line.
We want the world to know our resolve.
Please help us air our determination
by printing this in the New York Times.

I pray for your victory in November.
Faithfully yours, Mrs. Maryam Jan,
“Katrina,” Pindi Point, Murree.

Just Solution

Foreign Service of the United States
American Consulate General
Lahore, Pakistan, August 20, 1956

Miss Maryam Jan, Bungalow Katrina
Pindi Point , Murree, Dear Miss Jan,

We acknowledge receipt of your recent letter
addressed to President Eisenhower.
Since you reside in this area, I have been

asked to reply for the President. The United
States Government is always glad to hear

various views concerning the very
important Kashmir question, and we found
your letter very interesting. You will

understand, I am sure, the newspapers
in the United States are not controlled

by the Government. We are therefore unable
to have your letter published in The New York Times.
You may be assured, however, the United

States will continue to support a just
solution to the Kashmir problem.

Thank you again for your letter. Very
truly yours, For the Consul General,
Robert P. Smith, American Vice Consul.

by Rafiq Kathwari, whose book, In Another Country, is forthcoming in September from Doire Press, Ireland.

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