PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Muzaffarabad served as an opportunity not only to highlight what should be the fundamental position of Pakistan on the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir but his meetings and utterances were also reassuring for Kashmiris who have been waging a relentless struggle to realize their right of self-determination. The stand enunciated by the Premier on Kashmir dispute is in line with the aspirations of both people of Kashmir and Pakistan and one hopes that his government would pursue the same policy with vigour throughout its tenure.
During his meeting with the APHC leadership, the Prime Minister expressed his dismay at the contradictory stance taken by the Indian government in addressing the issue of occupied Kashmir and added that it was his desire the dispute is settled in accordance with the UN resolutions and wishes of Kashmiri people. He is perfectly right as India has always adopted evasive attitude towards the issue and failed to fulfil the categorical commitments made to the international community about grant of right of self-determination to people of Jammu and Kashmir through a UN supervised plebiscite.
Disregarding its pledges, successive Indian governments have been taking steps to strengthen their illegal foothold on the occupied territory and let loose a reign of terror on defenceless Kashmiris. But we may also point out that there have been variations in approach to the issue by the successive Pakistani governments as well, as the issue remained high on the agenda of some governments and low during tenure of others. Some governments legitimately raised the issue at all forums but others were shy of mentioning Kashmir in their speeches and statements as well as during talks with world leaders.
There were also times when Pakistan insisted that there should be progress in tandem on all issues forming composite dialogue including Kashmir but then there was talk of granting MFN status to India and entering into more trade without any progress on the issue of Kashmir. These contradictory approaches have caused harm to Kashmir cause and also poured cold waters on aspirations of Kashmiri people. We, therefore, welcome assurance of Nawaz Sharif that efforts would be made to seek settlement of the dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions, which should remain the corner stone of our Kashmir policy.
(editorial-Pakistan Observer-Dec 5, 2013)