In a highly charged and scrutinised issue that is the recent rise in tension between Pakistan and India, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has handled himself reasonably well. He may not be able to stamp his will on foreign policy – especially when facing such a bullish India – but he has managed to abstain from jingoism and sabre-rattling, presented a convincing case on Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly, and has struck the right defiant but non-violent tone in his statements.

The recently concluded All Parties Conference to discuss Indian aggression and the situation in Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK) should be counted as another notch in his diplomatic belt. It was exigent that the legislative and executive arms of the government come up with a consensus-based roadmap for the way forward so that political parties can coordinate their energies towards a common goal.

Even if that common goal is simply the exertion of soft power – the conference decided to send delegations to other nations and multilateral bodies to highlight the plight of the Kashmiris – the fact that all political parties in the country now stand united behind this issue is commendable.

This unity is all the more important considering the rifts created by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) Raiwind march. The images of senior PTI leaders such as Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Shireen Mazari cordially shaking hands with the Prime Minister show that Pakistani politicians have the capacity to compartmentalise internal disputes when faced with a greater issue.

While Imran Khan was conspicuously missing, his party was well represented, as were the other important ones. Asif Ali Zardari could not be budged from his safe house in Dubai, Bilawal Bhutto took the mantle of representing the Pakistan People’s Party and his post-conference comments in support of the government were most welcome.

The statements from the parties present at the conference – which urge peace, negotiations, and a non-military solution to Kashmir – stand in stark contrast to the vitriol being spewed by their Indian counterparts, and it is hoped that this contrast is enough to demonstrate which side wants peace and which wants conflict.

However, it must be noted that mere ‘unity’ is not the be-all end-all of this problem. The conference was aimed at finding a solution to the Kashmir issue and that concern should guide all future action of the government. Sending delegations is just one aspect of this effort, more needs to be done.