Former Secretary. for Foreign Affairs, Pakistan –
Kashmir issue is not basically territorial dispute but a question of fundamental right of self-determination of Kashmiris pledged by International community unanimously. India-Pakistan wars, Siachen issue, Kargil crisis, water issue and frequent tensions across LOC are all directly related to Kashmir issue.
We find our rulers desperate for dialogue with India but India has shown no readiness and instead it continuously tries to isolate us. It is time for strategic pause and we should take a break by keeping doors open for dialogue but not begging for it. We should ensure that our legal position on Kashmir does not lapse or weaken with passage of time. There are no quick fixes and time is no consideration in people’s freedom struggles. We struggled almost for a century for freedom of Pakistan. We must continue to extend our moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris. When Kashmiris continue freedom struggle, it is moral and national duty not to let them down. Publically upholding our legitimate position on Kashmir is not a declaration of war against India as portrayed by some people. Our upholding to the principle stand is a reminder to the world that durable peace in South Asia will not come without addressing the Kashmir issue. World should know there is just one legal and moral solution to Kashmir which was promised to them by UNSC in several resolutions. War is a no option in a nuclear region but Kashmir is nuclear flashpoint. Kashmiris are voice of oppressed people challenging India and world’s conscience. Domestic consolidation, security and self-reliance should be our most immediate priority.
Options should not be confused with various spoken academic models. Kashmir issue is sometimes referred to other models like Andorra, Trieste and Irish model but Kashmir is a unique situation and no model is applicable here. Basically there are four options available now. Status quo, which in any form is no solution. Secondly plebiscite which is only viable approach to which both India and Pakistan have committed themselves in terms of UNSC resolutions. Third is independence of Kashmir, both Pakistan and India are averse to this option and therefore not working. Fourth option is partial partition and plebiscite and this was tried by Sir Oven Dixon in the 50s. Possibility with some adjustments across LOC has been discussed at many occasions in past.
Solution for the Kashmir dispute has to be pursued in a manner that is acceptable to both India and Pakistan and at the same time to the people of Kashmir also. I will quote Kashmiri intellectual Muhammad Yusuf Buch who said that any roadmap that deviates from the principle laid down in the primary agreement concerning Kashmir is bound to be arbitrary in conception and a failure in effect. Any prospect of dialogue with India on Kashmir will depend on how steadfast we remain in our principle commitment to the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people. The moment we waver, our rulers try to compromise in their personal private negotiations or conversations with Indian leaders, we would be weakening our position. –