China has come forward and offered to arbitrate between Pakistan and Indian on the long-standing issue of Kashmir provided it is acceptable to India. This was stated by Chinese Ambassador Li Jain in response to a question by a journalist whether Beijing could play any role in resolving the issue during the visit of its Prime Minister Li Keqiang to the subcontinent. There is little chance of Ambassador Li's kind offer to be taken up by New Delhi, that is known to be averse to any such move because it regards the illegal occupied state as its integral part. Furthermore, China has a running territorial dispute with India, besides the fact that it is considered one of the closest friends of Pakistan; even if India were amenable to arbitration, it would not trust China with the task. Pakistan is thankful to China for offering its services to a cause that is very dear to it, is the principal bone of contention between the two subcontinental powers and its solution alone could herald an era of durable peace in the region, with all its spillover fruitful effects on its badly-needed development. However, if Beijing were to support, at the UN and other international forums, the people of Kashmir in their birthright to decide their own future through a free and fair plebiscite held under the auspices of the UN, that would be even more welcome and would stand great chance of success in solving the matter. That is what India, that had itself taken the dispute to the UN Security Council, committed there and to the Kashmiris also. China should press it to honour its solemn pledge.

It is noteworthy that veteran Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani has, in a letter to Mian Nawaz Sharif, the Prime Minister in the making, emphatically stated that no solution would be acceptable to the Kashmiris unless it was in line with the UNSC resolutions. He was saying so seeing Mian Sahib’s eagerness to normalise relations with India, as fast as possible.

At the same time, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of his faction of APHC has said that Kashmir should have become part of Pakistan at the time of partition because of its natural links with it i.e., its overwhelming (over 80 percent) majority of Muslims having family ties with Pakistanis and flow of it rivers into Pakistan. Unfortunately, its people became victim to a heinous conspiracy under which India was awarded a large part of Gurdaspur district to provide access to Kashmir by land, in complete violation of Partition Plan since it not only had a Muslim majority but also was contiguous to Pakistan. It is time the Kashmiris were not made to suffer because of that historical error and allowed to decide their own future.