There can't be two opinions on the inalienable right of self determination of the oppressed people of Jammu and Kashmir as mandated by the United Nations and pledged by the first Prime Minister of India, Jwahar Lal Nehru. This core issue has defied settlement for more than six decades so I am tempted to ask some questions from the thinking people of Pakistan: (1) If the traditional policy of Pakistan on Kashmir has apparently failed to deliver why not consider a realistic change of course from militancy to peaceful struggle which India can not defeat. (2) Why can't we learn from the Chinese experience with regard to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan? (3) Why should Kashmir block the transformation of South Asia into a regional super power on the pattern of European Union and other regional groupings. (4) Is it not true that Kashmir dispute has, at least in part, fuelled fires of extremism and obscurantism in this extremely impoverished part of the world? (5) Has Kashmir related jihadi-mindset not contributed immeasurably to the miseries of Kashmiris besides the break up of Pakistan and periodic subversion of democracy in the Land of the Pure? (6) Has Kashmir issue not exacerbated arms race in South Asia which needs the meager resources it has to eradicate poverty and illiteracy? (7) Has the core issue not turned Pakistan into a national security state instead of a national welfare state? I hope the intellectuals of Pakistan will share their wisdom with all stakeholders while answering these questions. -B.A. MALIK, Islamabad, via e-mail, February 2.