IN an apt response to the message he received from his Indian counterpart on the occasion of Pakistan Day, Prime Minister Imran Khan has conveyed to Narendra Modi that the people of Pakistan also desire peaceful and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India, and that “an enabling environment is imperative for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue”.
The Prime Minister emphasized that durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, in particular the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir, adding that creation of an enabling environment is imperative for a constructive and result-oriented dialogue.
The Prime Minister and the Foreign Office, which obviously drafted the letter, deserve full marks for taking a clear and principle-based position as far as bilateral relations with India were concerned.
After a long interval, the two countries are slowly but gradually taking steps to reduce tension, raising doubts among some circles in Pakistan because of the timing and in the backdrop of India’s unchanged policies and actions in Occupied Kashmir.
There were apprehensions that any semblance of normalization without reversal of provocative and unilateral steps that India has taken vis-à-vis Occupied Kashmir since August 2019 would encourage New Delhi to perpetuate its illegal actions.
However, the letter of the Prime Minister would help address such apprehensions as its contents take care of aspirations of the people of Pakistan and also those of Kashmiris.
It is hoped that Pakistani leadership would resist the temptation of engagement with India without the Kashmir issue being as a top agenda item for talks.
There is also a marked difference in the letters of the two leaders as Indian Prime Minister’s language was accusatory in nature while remarks of the Pakistan Prime Minister have a historical perspective.
It has all along been effort of India to label indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris as ‘terrorism’ as part of its strategy to cloud thinking of the international community that is increasingly becoming sensitive to human rights issues and also the right of self-determination.
Otherwise too, Pakistan is itself the victim of terrorism and demonstrated its resolve and capability to address the issue in a non-discriminatory and comprehensive manner.
It has taken verifiable measures against all sorts of terrorism outfits besides fulfilling its requirements under UN sanctions regime.
As for Occupied Kashmir, Indian leaders including its military leadership are on record having said on numerous occasions that there was no so-called ‘infiltration’ on the Line of Control (LoC).
In Occupied Kashmir, India has the largest concentration of troops on the planet and its forces have also taken a number of physical measures on the LoC like barbed wire and ‘steel fence’ to ward against any cross LoC activity.
Therefore, what Indian leaders have been saying about non-existence of cross-LoC activity is based on their practical experience.
As against all this, India is guilty of using ‘terror’ as a state policy to crush legitimate struggle of Kashmiris for their birth right of self-determination, as also committed to them under relevant UN resolutions.
India is also using the tool of terrorism against Pakistan through its intelligence agencies that are training, arming and funding militants and terrorists to undermine security of Pakistan.
It is, therefore, ironic that despite all this Indian PM has the audacity to point accusing fingers towards Pakistan on the issue of terrorism.
Pakistan is legitimately striving to have friction free relations with all its neighbours including India and Afghanistan as peace and stability would allow it to divert its scarce resources for economic development and welfare of the people.
In line with this approach, it has convinced the United States and Afghan Government to discard use of military force in Afghanistan and instead focus on politically negotiated settlement that could ensure durable peace and security in the war-torn country.
It went out of the way to facilitate dialogue resulting in signing of two crucial accords – one between Washington and Taliban and the other between the Afghan Government and Taliban.
Similarly, it has expressed its willingness to talk to India despite the consistent provocative posture of the neighbouring country, which went to the extent of violating territorial sovereignty of Pakistan.
However, this doesn’t mean that people of Pakistan would abandon their political, moral and diplomatic support for the just struggle of Kashmiri people and the emphasis of the Prime Minister on resolution of all outstanding disputes including Kashmir is reiteration of the commitment of Pakistan to the cause of Kashmiris.