Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the 16th Non-Aligned Movement Summit’s Ministerial meeting in Tehran, which she addressed on Tuesday, that the region was destabilized by conflicts which Nam could help solve, like the Kashmir issue, or the solution of the Palestine issue by means of giving the Palestinian people the right of self-determination. However, creditable as it is to bring up the subject of Kashmir at a summit of an organization of which India is accounted for as one of the founders, Ms Khar and the Foreign Office must consider how long they intend to get by only paying lip service, and doing nothing practical to help the Kashmiri cause. Pakistan must keep in mind that India opposed its admission to Nam, and it does not at all like any occasion where Pakistan can raise the Kashmir issue, and thus in any way internationalise it. However, Ms Khar is likely to forego this opportunity of exposing the true face of India because President Asif Zardari, who is leading the delegation, wants to use it as an opportunity for meeting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the sidelines of the summit.

Ms Khar also paid due attention to the summit host’s main concern, when she spoke about how the US was pressurizing Iran over its nuclear programme, and how this was destabilizing the whole region. The summit has been devoted to ‘Lasting Peace Through Global Governance’, and as a neighbour of Iran’s, with which it has a joint gas pipeline project, Pakistan is likely to find itself involved if the USA or Israel attacks it. Pakistan’s suggestion, that the matter be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, resounds as the voice of reason in a war of words that is apparently growing more surreal with each passing day.

Ms Khar’s call for an end to the bloodshed in Syria was also timely, and reflected the concern of Pakistan for stability in the region. It also reflected standing by fellow Muslims when they faced difficulties. However, this is a message best conveyed by President Zardari to Dr Singh in their meeting, with particular reference to the oppression of the Kashmiri people, and the need to give them their birthright of self-determination in accordance with the UN resolutions on the subject, which express the international community’s consensus on the subject. That is supposed to be the reason for occasions like the Nam Summit, after all, to give states the chance to bring matters to the attention of other world powers.