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Peace overtures

THE auspicious occasion of Pakistan Day provided an opportunity for the leadership of Pakistan and India to exchange greetings and express good wishes, raising hopes for positive movement in otherwise tense relationship. In a message to Prime Minister Imran Khan, his Indian counterpart, perhaps for the first time in months, talked in terms of cooperation saying it is time that [the people] of the sub-continent work together for a democratic, peaceful, progressive & prosperous region, in an atmosphere free of terror and violence.
As always Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed the message of the Indian PM and went a step further in emphasizing that it was now time to begin a “comprehensive dialogue” with India to resolve all bilateral issues. Though it is customary to exchange messages on such occasions but given the state of bilateral relations between Pakistan and India and tense environment in the region, these messages are rightly being considered as peace overtures. This is particularly so because this is the first positive overture by India since the February 14 Pulwama attack, following which the nuclear-armed neighbours came to the brink of war. From the very first day, Pakistan has been urging India to sit across the table and discuss all issues including the issue of terrorism and violence, which has also been referred to once again by the Indian Prime Minister in his message to Imran Khan. This candid offer of Pakistan is a clear message that the country was not shy of discussing any issue as Pakistan itself was a victim of terrorism and the factors responsible for spread of the menace include Indian connection as well. Apart from what India has been doing in Balochistan, Karachi and FATA, Indian occupation forces are engaged in worst kind of state sponsored terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. Anyhow, Pakistan always preferred dialogue but it is India that obstructed the path to dialogue and cooperation by its stubbornness not to discuss Jammu & Kashmir dispute. In the past, we have seen numerous rounds of bilateral dialogue but all of them ended in futility because of negative attitude of India. Dialogue is the only option for the two countries but it should be borne in mind that dialogue without substantive discussions on the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir would leave nowhere.