LAHORE - Tension between Pakistan and India has been going up since the Pulwama attack, as India, instead of addressing the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, as provided by the UN Security Council resolutions, unjustifiably pins the blame on Pakistan. Islamabad has repeatedly refuted the allegation but the Indian government appears determined to stick to its position to be able to exploit the anti-Pakistan sentiment in elections.

The seriousness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that on Tuesday Prime Minister Imran Khan made a brief televised address at about 1pm, which was an unusual time for the country’s chief executive for such an exercise. Then, shortly thereafter, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi spoke on the same subject in Multan. In normal circumstances the FM is not supposed to speak on the same subject after the premier’s address.

This means something is going on behind the scenes in India, which the Pakistani leadership has got a clue of.

The prime minister did what he should have done in this situation. He made it clear: “If you think that you can carry out any kind of attack, “Pakistan will not just think about retaliating, we will retaliate. There will be no way to respond other than to retaliate”.

At the same time he said Islamabad will cooperate if New Delhi shares any actionable evidence concerning suicide bombing in Pulwama area in occupied Kashmir.

A two-pronged strategy is the best course in the prevailing situation. Pakistan should be prepared to deal with any situation imposed by India and at the same time keep its doors for talks open.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in Multan that he has sent a letter to the UN Secretary General about the threat to peace in the region at the hands of India. He has also requested the UN secretary general to share the letter with the Security Council and the General Assembly members, which the world body chief is reported to have done.

The letter urged the Secretary General to “take steps for de-escalation” of current tensions which were caused by Indian government’s rhetoric against Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

“It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force against Pakistan by India,” the foreign minister wrote, pointing out that the attack in Pulwama was carried out by a resident of occupied Kashmir and it was “absurd” that India would blame Pakistan for it before it had even investigated the incident.

In view of the sensitivity of the situation, Pakistan has also called its High Commissioner to New Delhi for consultations.

On the other hand, media reports say that Pakistani nationals staying in the Indian city of Bikaner in Rajasthan state have been asked to leave the area within 48 hours, allegedly to avoid the building up of a law and order situation. This only adds to the gravity of the situation.

The administration has also issued an order under which the stay of Pakistani nationals is prohibited in guest houses, hotels and hospitals, and businessmen will not maintain direct or indirect business ties with Pakistani nationals or provide them employment.

The world powers desirous of maintaining peace in the region must bear in mind that people of occupied Kashmir have turned against India because of the atrocities it is perpetrating on them.

The fear of death has vanished from the minds of the youths and they appear ready to offer any sacrifice to get liberation from India. Already hundreds of thousands (more than 70,000 Kashmiris) have sacrificed their lives in the struggle for their rights.

The views expressed by a former occupied chief minister Farooq Abdullah in a recent interview to an Indian TV should be instructive both to India and the world community. The importance of his interview goes up manifold, especially because in Pakistan he is regarded as a pro-India leader.

He said: The fight between militants (and Indian troops) will not come to an end unless some future course is found. Guns cannot settle this issue, nor even the army, nor yet any other means. You will have to talk to people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Expressing concern over the government’s failure to place before parliament various reports prepared on the occupied Kashmir situation, he said: Who would you talk to if not your own people”.

Questioning the justification for putting the blame on Pakistan, the former IoK chief minister said: “The local people are now joining this”.

When the interviewer tried to implicate Pakistan in the Pulwama attack, Farooq Abdullah asked her: Have you ever visited the Kashmir valley, or talked to local people, or the young boys who are fighting (for their rights).

These views should awaken the conscience of the Indian leadership.

The fact is that Pakistan is a peace-loving country, but Indian Prime Minister Nirendra Modi is on record having said many times that he is trying to separate Balochistan from Pakistan. He said this in his speech on the Independence Day of his country.

India’s role in the dismemberment of Pakistan is already fully known to the world. And now Modi’s designs to separate Balochistan from Pakistan are sufficient to establish that India doesn’t want peace in the region. The so-called biggest democracy of the world is the real source of trouble.