This is a point of grave concern for the South Asian region that the relations between India and Pakistan have remained at loggerheads since 1947 over the issue of Kashmir. India claims Kashmir to be its integral part; whereas, Pakistan claims it to be a disputed territory. India has adopted unjustified, irrational and hawkish attitudes towards the issue; whereas Pakistan’s policy on the same has been based upon rationality, mutual understanding and cooperation.

The Kashmir issue has caused four wars (1947-48, 1965, 1971 & 1999) between India and Pakistan, but all these wars have failed to resolve the mutual dispute. Rather, these have further aggravated the situation. This issue has given birth to many other outstanding issues between the two countries like nuclear race, missile race, and the Siachen Glacier dispute.

Both India and Pakistan have been spending billions of rupees on the purchase of weapons to strengthen their military prowess against each other, by ignoring the general welfare and prosperity of the millions of poor people living in both the countries. Both the countries have been facing many major social and economic problems like poverty, illiteracy, overpopulation, unemployment, inflation, environmental pollution, beggary, corruption, terrorism, drug-addiction, extremism, religious fanaticism, injustice, violence, fatal diseases, foreign dependence, etc.

Both India and Pakistan cannot achieve socio-economic development until and unless they resolve their seventy one years’ old mutual dispute i.e. Kashmir. Both the countries should realize the gravity of the problem and cook out an amicable solution. With an agreeable solution of the Kashmir dispute, they will usher peace, prosperity, and progress in South Asia.

With the early resolution of the dispute, there will be an end to the cold war between the two countries. Both India and Pakistan are important countries of the South Asian region, and both can play an important role towards peace in that region in this very important twenty-first century. This can be possible only when both the countries would be serious in resolving their long standing Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people and the UN resolutions.

The twenty-first century must be the century of peace, prosperity, and progress for both Pakistan & India. Let there be a mutual understanding rather than suspicion; let there be cooperation rather than confrontation; let there be friendship rather than enmity; and last but not the least, let there be economic development rather than backwardness. The sooner the Kashmir issue is resolved amicably, the better for the general welfare and prosperity of the millions of down-trodden and poverty-stricken people of both the countries.

ABDUL SAMAD SAMO,

Karachi, March 7.