Dialogue On Kashmir

The Nation

Dialogue On Kashmir

The people of Kashmir have seen enough of Indian occupation. It is about time for India to feel ashamed of its past actions that it has carried out against Kashmiris to occupy the valley of Kashmir. At the same time, Islamabad also needs to show flexibility as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein, holds both sides responsible for a stalemate on the issue of Kashmir. Pakistan should respond to his efforts of engaging both sides on Kashmir even if India is unwilling to talk on the subject.

After the scathing report on human rights abuses in the valley that the UN rights body has produced, the government of Pakistan has a fair chance of highlighting the case of Kashmir on the forum of United Nations (UN) once again. It is pertinent for Islamabad to utilise this rare opportunity to mould international opinion in its favour on Kashmir by granting access to UN rights body by welcoming any initiative that the UN takes on Kashmir. However, this does not mean that Islamabad needs to shun its stance on the disputed territory. Pakistan needs to play smart politics on Kashmir.

In a post 9/11 world, when the drum beating of war on terror subdued all other voices and narratives, India used the card of war on terror quite effectively and succeeded in turning international community against Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir. The latest uprising in Kashmir needs moral support from Pakistan. However, Islamabad should be cautious in handling the issue. The developments in Kashmir are in favour of Pakistan, and Islamabad cannot afford if New Delhi succeeds in making the world believe that Pakistan flames the indigenous movement.

Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir is straightforward: Let Kashmiris decide their political fate. Whoever they choose to be with, it is up to Kashmiri people to determine their choice through a referendum. It is New Delhi that finds it difficult to woo Kashmiris after all its brutalities that it has inflicted on them. Pakistan’s foreign office, as well as the military establishment, should understand the importance of the unprecedented report of the UN on Kashmir.

Right now Pakistan needs to accept any proposal that is about Kashmir but with stress on honouring the earlier UN resolutions that had called for a plebiscite in the valley. Furthermore, now that the UN report can serve the purpose of bringing Kashmir before the international community, Pakistan needs to prepare a fresh case for the solution of Kashmir. If Pakistan succeeds in responding to the UN calls before India, it will be a moral defeat for India that often boasts of itself being the largest democracy in the world.