When we are going to learn?

By Afshain Afzal

Pakistan aims at a constructive and result-oriented dialogue with India, especially when Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visit Islamabad July 15, as a follow-up to the meeting of the two Prime Ministers on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in April this year. In his latest statement, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said “We believe that as the two largest countries in South Asia, Pakistan and India must earnestly endeavour to resolve all outstanding disputes including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir to start a new era of trust, amity and friendship in the region.” On the other hand New Delhi said, It is time to go beyond nomenclature and to address New Delhi’s trust deficit with Islamabad.” In order to bring things to a logical end, India has moved so far away from the truth that it seems impossible to reach anywhere. Our leaders are not realizing that they are running out of the time. The western nations, from whom we got rid after so many sacrifices in 1947, are still there to swallow our sovereignty. Instead of becoming good neighbours, we have always tried not to miss any opportunity that would keep the status of tradition enemies intact.

Reports from New Delhi suggests that Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram is going to demand voice cut samples of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed during his visit to Islamabad on June 26 in connection of SAARC Interior Minister’s Conference. One wonders how New Delhi could miss various audio and video tapes of Hafiz Saeed’s sermons, provided by Indian RAW agents in Pakistan, about which New Delhi had also been quoting as reference in Mumbai attacks. Hafiz Saeed, who has been acquitted by the Pakistani court in all the cases registered against him by the Pakistani government on the instigation of India, is neither hiding any where nor is a person who cannot be approached. The demand of his voice cut samples at such a juncture when an effort for peace between the two countries is being made, is beyond comprehension. It is an open secret that leaders like Hafiz Saeed are striving hard to find a solution of Kashmir. There is no doubt that since 1930s Kashmiris are struggling for their rights. During the last 62 years, both India and Pakistan failed to resolve the issue, for one reason or the other. One would like to ask New Delhi that under such conditions, what options are left for the Kashmiris and others living in India and Pakistan to resolve this issue.

In another development, on the occasion of last week’s Indian Prime Minister Mannohan Singh’s two days visit to Indian held Jammu and Kashmir, general strike was observed As another bluff to misguide the international community, Prime Minister Singh renewed his offer of dialogue to all those groups who shun violence in Jammu and Kashmir Reacting on the offer by New Delhi, Kashmiri top leader Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in a statement made it clear to New Delhi, once again, when he said, “New Delhi must first accept Kashmir as a disputed issue. The Kashmir issue can be resolved through granting of right to self determination to Kashmiris or through tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmir.” Syed Ali Shah Geelani added “There was nothing new in the offer, which India has been parroting for the past 63 years.” It is pertinent to mention here that Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference held three rounds of direct talks with the Indian government in 2004 and 2005 but without any results.

Mirwaiz Omar Farooq is not wrong when he says “There can be no military solution to the Kashmir issue” but one would like to question, what can be a solution of the issue when New Delhi is not ready to accept it as an issue. All Parties Hurriyat Conference’s four-point programme is even not a bad idea to start with; 1) an unconditional release of all political prisoners, 2) revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Public Safety Act (PSA) and Disturbed Areas Act (DAA), 3) withdrawal of armed forces from cities and towns and, 4) comprehensive political package. However, before Indian policy makers join their heads on four-point programme, New Delhi must categorically accept that Jammu and Kashmir state as a disputed issue. It is a high time that both India and Pakistan should adopt a mature and serious approach for the resolution of Kashmir issue, otherwise, one day, both countries may be compelled by a third party to accept some solution which would not be in their interest. Kashmiri Muslims, Hindus Pandits, Sikhs and other communities being one nation linked to Pakistan, must wake up and make an honest endeavour to compel illegal occupiers of their state to grant them their right of self-determination so that the issue is resolved and a new era of relationship between India, Pakistan and other countries in the region is achieved.


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