Kashmir issue key to peace in region | By Muhammad Zahid Rifat


Kashmir issue key to peace in region

PAKISTAN continues to pursue foreign policy of peaceful co-existence with all countries particularly its neighbours and resolving all disputes through meaningful, purposeful objective cordial atmosphere.

Pakistan and India are close neighbours of each other, both are nuclear powers and have a number of unresolved disputes and issues topped by lingering and burning Kashmir issue. Pakistan enjoys cordial and friendly relations with all other countries of the region.

It is pertinent to mention here that India is not only illegally occupying Jammu and Kashmir territory for more than seven decades, denying the Kashmiris their fundamental right of self-determination, persistently resorting to brutalities and atrocities through its security forces on the residents who are living in the longest lockdown and curfew since August 5, 2019 and committing gross human rights violations while the international community just occasionally condemns tragic happenings in occupied territory and the UN Security Council also are helpless in forcing its own resolutions for free, fair plebiscite to let the Kashmiris decide their future themselves.

Political and military of Pakistan and people have all along been supporting Kashmiris indigenous, just and unarmed struggle for fundamental right of self-determination extending all political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris reiterating the same on all occasions besides raising the Kashmir issue at all international forums including UN General Assembly calling for implementation of Security Council resolutions, restoring the pre-August 5, 2019 status of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir territory and lifting the world’s prolonged lockdown there.

March is the month of passage of resolution for creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent.

It was on 23 March 1940 that Muslims leaders under leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah passed the historical resolution for creation of Pakistan which materialized in just short span of seven years.

People of Pakistan celebrated 80th anniversary of passage of Pakistan Resolution on March 23 in the usual enthusiastic manner while strictly adhering to SOPs owing to persistent epidemic of COVID-19 in the country. Kashmir issue had figured on this historic occasion both directly and indirectly.

Addressing military parade in Islamabad President Dr Arif Alvi described the happenings in occupied Jammu and Kashmir as a human tragedy and reiterated the whole Pakistani nation is with the Kashmiri people and will continue to stand with them and also urged the international community to take notice of the worsening human rights situation in India’s illegally occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir and play its role in ensuring regional peace.

In connection with Pakistan Day celebrations, an unusual and unexpected letter couched in diplomatic language was received from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed to Prime Minister Imran Khan who is regarded by the Kashmiris the world over as the Ambassador of Kashmir.

There was no mention of Kashmir dispute and other disputes which are blocking the normalization of relations between the two neighbouring countries because of the Indian leadership continued hostile attitude towards Pakistan.

The Indian PM sufficed to say that India desires to have cordial relations with Pakistani people while extending greetings to the people of Pakistan on occasion of Pakistan Day adding “as a neighbouring country India desires cordial relations with the people of Pakistan , for this an environment of trust, devoid of terror and hostility is imperative”.

The Indian PM in saying so had only reiterated his country’s oft-stated stance making no mention of occupied Jammu and Kashmir and what was going on there on the Kashmiris at the hands of large Indian security forces.

Prime Minister Imran Khan while responding to his Indian counterpart’s letter quite categorically stated that the peace in South Asia hinges on Kashmir settlement, Pakistani people also desire peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours including India, Pakistan is convinced durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan including Jammu in particular the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, creation of a enabling environment is imperative for a constructive and result oriented dialogue.

While Indian PM had used diplomatic language, with the intentions better known to him, Pakistani Prime Minister had responded quite aptly reiterating Pakistan’s principled stand regarding Kashmir dispute which continues unresolved for more than seven decades and thus putting the peace in the region at stake due to New Delhi’s persisting hostilities and hegemonious policies not only towards Pakistan but also other countries of the region.

The contents of letters written by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to each other make a marked difference.

The language which Indian PM had used accusatory in nature to say the least while that of Pakistani PM have a historical perspective.

India has all along been trying to dub Kashmiris just and indigenous struggle for freedom from India’s occupation as “terrorism” to hoodwink the international community in a crude and brutal attempt to cover up its gross human rights violations in the occupied territory as more and more countries are gradually becoming sensitive to the tragic happenings there.

It is also a bitter historical fact that Pakistan has itself been victim of terrorism for decades together and persistently demonstrated its resolve and capability to address the challenge so poised in a non-discriminatory and comprehensive manner and has taken verifiable measures against all manifestation of terrorism, extremism and militancy.

In doing so, Pakistan’s armed forces, security institutions and law enforcement forces have and continue to offer sacrifices of the sons and daughters of soil while chasing out the hostile elements from the sacred soil of Pakistan.

Suffice to say that there can be no normalisation of relations between the two neighbouring nuclear powers in any manner till Kashmir dispute is resolved in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiris who are struggling for freedom from Indian shackles of slavery and continue to look towards international community for doing more than merely condemnation of gross human rights violations in occupied territory.

Pakistan has repeatedly told the world at large that Kashmir is a nuclear flashpoint and the peace and stability in the region continues to be at stake till the lingering and burning issue is resolved peacefully and UN Security Council resolutions are implemented in letter and spirit.

Kashmir is a life line of Pakistan, hearts of people of Pakistan and Kashmiris beat together, the political and military leadership and the people of Pakistan continue to extend their unstinted moral, diplomatic and political support to their Kashmiri brethren.

Kashmiris are bound to get their freedom soon and Kashmir is going to becoming Pakistan, In Sha Allah.

—The writer is Lahore-based contributing columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News), Radio Pakistan, Islamabad.