The willingness shown by Pakistan to broaden trade ties with India is to all intents and purposes a shameful retreat from our traditional Kashmir policy. The decision was taken in a meeting of 5th Round of Talks on Commercial and Economic Cooperation between the two countries. Though, thankfully we did not accept the Indian demand for granting it the status of the Most Favourite Nation in order to boost the trade, the assurance that nonetheless trade items would be increased is totally in accordance with New Delhis wish. There is no disputing the fact that trade or any other sham economic or political venture amounts to a betrayal of our long-held principled stance on Kashmir. It is no wonder that this flawed approach is causing anxiety within the concerned quarters in the Foreign Office. These officials rightly complain that although bilateral talks are progressing, the process is actually being manoeuvred by India. One fully agrees with them that the peace process is becoming terrorism-centric. Indeed, this is a reality that is hard to deny and all it shows is the failure of the PPP-led set-up in showing spine to the Indians to move towards finding a solution of the Kashmir conflict. In bowing before Indian diktat and by accepting that terrorism should figure prominently in the talks, we are indirectly confessing that Indian mudslinging and smear campaign of tarnishing our image abroad is justified. Interestingly, the Chairman of the Kashmir Committee in India Ram Jathmalani stated the other day that it is a reality that without the involvement of Pakistan, there can be no solution to the Kashmir dispute. It is very rare to hear Indian leaders give utterance to such thoughts but the question is why our federal government is becoming disinterested in it, when the Kashmir issue continues to assume importance by the hour. The Kashmir intifada has reached the stage that surely appears to be heading towards a logical conclusion. That India is finding it hard to be further able to suppress the will of the Kashmiris can be gauged from the attack of an Indian soldier on his comrades. The depressed soldier was so much anguished by the pain and misery that had engulfed him that he shot to death four of his comrades including an officer. This is not an isolated incident but in fact is a natural human reaction to the barbarism and atrocities that the occupying forces commit on hapless Kashmiris. Hence, a moment of reflection for New Delhi to respect the UNSC resolutions and give the people their right to self-determination without further delay. Concurrently, Islamabad would do well to reverse its policy of promoting trade and people to people contacts and must force India into a position where it realises the inevitability of settling the core issue.