Speaking on the occasion of Pakistan Day, Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif expressed the belief that if the nation were to adopt the practice of hard work and honesty, resolution of the Kashmir dispute would not pose much of a challenge. He observed that if we also learnt our lesson from the mistakes of the past and dedicated ourselves to following the deeds of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), India would accept our contention not only about Kashmir , but about other issues also. “There would be no need (then) to wage an atomic war to pressurise it to accept our legitimate demands on Kashmir ,” Mian Shahbaz was confident. He cited the example of Germany’s re-emergence out of the ashes of two World Wars and the falling of Berlin Wall like a house of cards.
No doubt, a nuclear confrontation is immeasurably destructive, eliminating all signs of life within the radius of the impact of its fallout. If ever waged, it would be a desperate last resort and that too if the nation faces a mortal threat to its existence. The tragedy, however, is that instead of making serious efforts to bring to world attention the underlying realities of the Kashmir issue, Pakistan is going out of its way to normalise relations with India by adopting one-sided confidence building measures and enhancing trade with New Delhi by granting it the Most Favoured Nation status. The pity is that those at the helm of affairs have not given a moment’s thought to the stark reality of our economy in tatters and that the MFN would sound its death knell. They have overlooked the fact that these moves – CBMs and MFN – go against our earlier rightful stand that they would succeed, not precede, Kashmir’s settlement.
We must never lose sight of the fact that Kashmir is a leftover issue of the Partition, gifted to us by the British. Unless it is settled in accordance with the Partition Plan, neither the division of India would be complete, nor would the state of Pakistan be complete. Thus, the Muslim majority Jammu & Kashmir awaits its destined goal of becoming part of Pakistan, amid incidents of brutal suppression of the freedom-loving people at the hands of India’s security forces; rape and plunder, abduction and torture and other forms of autocratic oppression have become the norm. Kashmir not merely rings with the wails of women crying for the loss of their fathers, sons, brothers and husbands, its reverberations are felt in Pakistan which has strong bonds of religion and family with the Kashmiris. The dispute has given rise to another issue: India’s diversion of waters of the rivers flowing into Pakistan and allocated to it under the Indus Waters Treaty, with the potential to turn it into a vast expanse of desert. For Kashmir’s solution we would have to correct the direction of our foreign policy, making this issue its main plank. Improving levels of trust between China and Pakistan by making tangible moves, strengthening relations with other influential as well as Muslim countries and launching a diplomatic offensive to convince the world of the justness of our cause – these decisions hold the key to the dispute’s resolution.