During a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz acknowledged that bilateralism with India on the issue of Kashmir has failed. The recent wave of violence on the LoC and IB has seriously dented Nawaz government’s resolve to amicably solve long-standing issues with India. The government’s efforts to promote bilateral relations with India and resumption of meaningful dialogue have not been returned in kind by the Modi government. The last few weeks have shown an aggressive Modi, employing anti-Pakistan rhetoric to appease crowds who see a strongman doing exactly what he had promised; taking Pakistan head on. Whether Modi is familiar with the devastating results of a head on collision and will cease blowing air into an inflated balloon in time, will become clear in the coming days. For now, however, he appears more than willing to take the risk. Pakistan, in response to the escalation along the LoC and IB, has been attempting to “internationalise” the issue, as stated by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry. Since the bilateral mechanism has failed to enforce ceasefire, looking towards the international community for mediation has historically been employed as a viable option. It makes sense for Pakistan to pursue a proactive diplomatic approach to avoid isolation and to counter India’s oft repeated narrative on the issue of terrorism and Kashmir, on the global stage.

If Modi is insistent on playing rough, Pakistan must make it very easy for the world to identify who is the aggressor here. The one found celebrating and rejoicing over unfortunate incidents resulting in loss of life is usually not the victim. Whether Pakistan will be able to effectively convey its message to the UN and others is another question. On the LoC and IB, it has no choice but to respond. No side should be allowed to dictate its terms with the threat of violence, be it Pakistan or India. Check, don’t raise and don’t fold. It is important that Pakistan continues to reiterate its desire for dialogue and peace. War will not achieve peace between India and Pakistan, and if some delusional war-monger has made it to the helm of power in the largest democracy of the world, it is only a matter of time before he is compelled to sober up. A decline in use of force by India has been observed in the last few days. Regardless, this unfortunate episode has put Pakistan and India back on the confrontation course and set the clock back on the limited progress achieved by the pro-peace camp in Pakistan. The two sides will find it ever more difficult to return to the table, leaving little hope for resolution of issues.