“I consider that the maintenance of peace and establishment of friendly relations between India and Pakistan

are essential to the peace and stability of Asia”.

–Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Bogra, 1953.

This could have very well be said today by a Pakistani leader. Bogra in 1953 made an impassioned appeal to Jawaharlal Nehru to settle all outstanding disputes between the two countries, specifically Kashmir. The two Prime Ministers met informally in London in June 1953, on the occasion of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference, and again the following month in Karachi.

This resulted in a statement that stressed that the dispute would be settled in accordance with the wishes of Kashmiris by plebiscite and plebiscite administrator should be appointed by the end of April 1954. In May 1954, the news of American military aid to Pakistan was published, which gave Nehru an excuse to go back on his commitments to hold a free vote in Kashmir. Muhammad Ali Bogra soon became convinced that all his efforts for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute were in vain. There are repeated examples of negotiations starting and stalling since 1953. Maybe our efforts today are also in vain if history is anything to go by.