THE Pakistan-India relations are once again touching the lowest levels of threshold specifically after the allegations poured by India against Pakistan regarding the Uri attack. Situation for both countries was already critical with the recent happenings of vehemence in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). However, Uri attack is being viewed as an effort to undermine the case of Kashmir on international forums.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s recent address at United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) primarily focused on Kashmir and reflected the aspirations of the people of Pakistan and Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control. He stated, “Pakistan fully supports the demand of the Kashmiri people for self-determination, as promised to them by several Security Council resolutions. The people of Kashmir have waited 70 years for implementation of this promise.” For remembrance, Pakistan considers Kashmir as its ‘jugular vein’ while Sushma Swaraj in her very recent address to UNGA has said that Kashmir is an integral part of India, and will be always, however Pakistan should stop dreaming about it.
Pakistan while exercising its right of reply, has denounced the Indian external affairs minister’s speech as a ‘litany of falsehoods’ and ‘travesty of facts and history’ for multiple reasons. Kashmir has never been an integral part of India; it is a disputed territory, the final status of which has yet to be determined in accordance with several resolutions passed by the UN Security Council (UNSC).
The current Indian strategy of accusing Pakistan is actually to divert attention from key issues of human right violations in IOK and sponsorship of terrorist activities in Pakistan. The facts presented to the world through Swaraj’s speech were to deflect the global world’s attention from the issue of Kashmir and ongoing brutalities specifically. However, it is the responsibility of global world to question Indian legitimacy in IOK, in an attempt to do justice to the sacrifices made by the Kashmiris. India has been in a habit of blaming Pakistan for terrorist attacks inside India. Before Uri incident, it was the Pathankot attack in which India, without any solid proofs leveled allegations against Pakistan. The subsequent response of Uri attack by India of waging a war against Pakistan was not only immature but a hasty decision. India has been using such tactics to build pressure over Pakistan while taking away attention from current situation in Kashmir.
India does not stop here as Modi in an address elaborates his ambitions of isolating Pakistan globally. India as per the latest developments, have called for the revocation of Indus Water Treaty. There is news that India has sped up hydropower building on rivers flowing into Pakistan. These developments speak really well of the Indian ambitions against Pakistan which will disturb the already fragile regional security architecture. Despite accusations, Pakistan has always pronounced terrorism as a menace and rejects such phenomenon in all possible ways. Pakistan believes in greater regional integration however, such drives require greater coherence and cohesion among states, which is certainly not the case of South Asia. There is quite a dichotomy to be noticed in Indian behavior, for instance, India blames Pakistan for terrorism but clearly ignores the killings of thousands of Kashmiris in IOK. Similarly, India calls Pakistan uncooperative but preconditions the negotiation process itself. Pakistan has always welcomed peaceful resolution of core conflicting issues however; such moves have continuously been ignored by Indian side. Moreover, it is shortly after the Uri attack when India threatened Pakistan for a response of an equal or higher magnitude. Under such circumstances, it can be said that there is a lack of proper realization on Indian side, which is necessary for resolution of core issues in the region or otherwise, sustenance of peace would remain to be a far-fetched idea.
Pakistan has provided every assistance to international missions coming to Pakistan to investigate the cross border violations in past. Similarly, Pakistan would continue to raise issue of Kashmir on international forums despite resistance. It is certainly time for international community to critically analyze Indian ambitions and their possible fallout on region’s overall stability. Constant prevalence of conflict between Pak-India is a hindrance in achieving ambitions of regional integration & economic development.
— The writer is Assistant Research Officer, Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad.