MALIK MUHAMMAD ASHRAF India is well aware of USA's weariness about the ever-growing Sino-Pak friendship and cooperation in the economic, political and nuclear fields and the scepticism that goes with it. Such stories are likely to douse and reinforce the concerns of the US in regard to its strategic interests in the region. The purpose of such antics seems to portray Pakistan as an unreliable partner of the US and also to exploit its perceptions to win more favours for India from it and its western allies. One of the major strategic goals of the US is to contain China and prevent its domination of the South Asian region. It is therefore trying to prop-up India as a counterweight to China through building a strategic partnership with it. In this context, India has already taken advantage of this US strategy by winning deals on transfer of civil nuclear technology from it and its eternal ally - the UK. The incidents of terrorism in India, such as the blitzkrieg on its Parliament, Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai and the Kargil conflict, have also been fully exploited by India to its advantage by projecting Pakistan as a state using terrorist outfits to pursue its policy objectives in the region and having an abiding knack for military adventurism. We have had to face very embarrassing moments on numerous occasions when the leaders of the US, the UK and other European countries influenced by the relentless and well orchestrated Indian propaganda raised accusing fingers at Pakistan. Needless to repeat what the British PM said recently during his visit to India. The 9/11 attacks and the events unfolding in its aftermath have badly affected Pakistan and its interests in the region, particularly the Kashmir issue. The US became more concerned about Afghanistan and terrorism. The freedom struggle in Kashmir which began in the late eighties and did attract the attention of the world media in regard to its ferocity, indigenous character and the human rights abuses by India suddenly vanished from the radar. These developments presented a god-gifted chance to India, its foreign lobbies and sympathetic western media to liken the freedom struggle in Kashmir to a terrorist movement, sponsored by Pakistan. This changed scenario is perhaps the reason why the present uprising in Kashmir since last June, which is the most ferocious of all the movements in Kashmir so far, has failed to attract the attention of the international community and media. India's ruthless and the most inhuman handling of the movement therefore remains unnoticed. With no end to war on terror in sight in the near future, re-calibrated priorities of the powers that be and their strategic interests in the region taking precedence over fundamental human values, Kashmir almost seems a lost cause. That unequivocally proves the fact that for these powers everything is subservient to their self-defined national, strategic and commercial interests. The US which claims to be a friend of both India and Pakistan and is in a position to influence and nudge the two countries to move towards finding a solution acceptable to the people of Kashmir, is not even prepared to mediate. That helps India more than Pakistan. This is the reason why India continues to wriggle out of its commitment for continuing dialogue with Pakistan, on one pretext or another. Kashmir thus has become a casualty of the post 9/11 developments and changed strategic interests of the US. On the contrary, the dilemma for Pakistan is that its moral, political and diplomatic support for the Kashmiris will remain inconsequential until and unless the superpower shows sincerity and seriousness in resolving the Kashmir tangle, which seems a remote possibility. Another ominous development lurking around is the prospect of India becoming a permanent member of UNSC with a veto power, for which it has done intense lobbying and found sympathy of the US and quite a few important European nations and Japan expecting a quid pro quo support of India when they put themselves up as candidates for the same coveted position. If that comes through, it will decimate whatever chances of finding a solution to the Kashmir conundrum exist at the moment. Nevertheless, Pakistan must persist with its efforts to find a solution to this problem, may be through an out-of-the-box approach compatible with the emerging realities. The writer is a freelance columnist.