The dangerous Kashmir issue

Even after six and a half decades of creation of Pakistan, Kashmir continues to be a bone of contention between to arch rivals – India and Pakistan. The entire world, including the UN and India, recognize the fact that Kashmir is a disputed territory. The fact of the matter is that not only the improvement in bilateral relations between India and Pakistan but also political and economic stability in the region greatly depends on the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Plebiscite is the only and perhaps the best way to resolve this long- pending problem. Pakistan has been urging India, the United Nations and the world powers that matter to bring an end to this grave problem; a problem that has played and continues to play a damaging role in deteriorarting India-Pakistan bilateral relations and causing instability in the region. All appeals made to India by Pakistan, the UN and the developed societies of the world, over the past more than six and a half decades, seem to have fallen on deaf ears. India has not budged and inch from its rigid and unjustified stand on the issue.

It, in fact, has given a cold shoulder to the call of the world body (the UN) and the civilized world to resolve the Kashmir problem by granting right of self-determination to the people of occupied Kashmir.

On the occasion of the Kashmir Solidarity Day commemorated in Pakistan and else where in the world, a spokesman for the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon said, “On Kashmir, our good offices are available if both sides were to request that. And that remains the case today”. Being fully aware of the seriousness of the Kashmir problem, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on February 5, 2014 renewed his offer to India for a meaningful dialogue to bring a peaceful end to this lingering conflict. His emphasis that ‘he is open to any proposal on the Kashmir dispute’ is indicative of his earnest desire to find a solution to the impending Kashmir problem according to the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Pakistan sincerely desires to see lasting peace in the region. In 1998 too, Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif took initiatives to resolve the issue of Kashmir through bilateral negotiations. He is, once again, making sincere efforts to bring India to the negotiating table and resolve the Kashmir issue bilaterally. He has very clearly stated “We are ready to discuss and resolve all outstanding issues with India, including the Kashmir dispute”. He said this while addressing the joint session of Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly and Kashmir Council held on the occasion of the Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Unambiguously, establishment of peace in the region and improvement in bilateral relations between India and Pakistan largely depends on peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Without resolution of this lon-pending dispute which continues to be a bone of contention between the two regional nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, attainment of regional development and stability will remain a far cry.