Islamabad is all in a tizzy over Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Raos failure to give dates for her expected visit to Islamabad, and is ready to keep Kashmir off the agenda to facilitate the visit. Instead of telling Ms Rao to stay home if India is unwilling to talk about the core issue between the two countries, the Pakistani side is seeking to get the visit to take place at all costs. This would be one of the most important victories India could win, for it would like Pakistan to join it in the pretence that there is no Kashmir dispute, and in the lie that the Kashmiri people are very happy in the Indian Union, even though they have been deprived of their inherent right of self-determination. This is despite the fact that the UN Security Council resolutions to which India had agreed stipulate a UN-supervised plebiscite for the exercise of the right of self-determination. There may well have not been progress at talks on the Wullar Barrage and the Siachen Glacier, but it should be noted that these issues will be solved automatically once the Kashmir issue is, for they are outcomes of it rather than disputes in their own right. Indias desire to use these talks to push for the extradition of a fresh list of Mumbai massacres accused shows that it only wants to use this forum to throw its weight around, and show the world that it has got a tight grip on its neighbours. In all this, it is a safe assumption it has US support. Indeed, the dialogue is taking place to satisfy the US wishes, as it does not want to see a nuclear conflict, and wants Pakistan to accept Indian primacy in the region, including in Afghanistan. However, while Pakistan is willing, indeed anxious, to help India over the Mumbai massacres, it cannot have forgotten how badly India messed up over the first list which it presented, and how unreliable is the present Indian list likely to be. Pakistan should not be so anxious to please the USA, or India, and should not be so willing to give up the Kashmir cause. It should make it clear to the Indians that it will not engage in a purposeless dialogue. Any dialogue between India and Pakistan that does not have Kashmir as central will not solve anything, and the very idea should not be considered, no matter how much the Indians press for it. Third-party interlocutors like the USA should be made to understand the sheer futility of any dialogue without Kashmir. No visit is important enough to become an excuse for Pakistan to soft-pedal the Kashmir issue.