The eyeball-to-eyeball standoff along the borders é ascending due to é the perfidious approach of India towards the ground realities keeps on the potentials of a durable peace in South Asia at peril. No doubt, it is a hub of anguish for peaceable nations, around the globe, which are making resolute efforts for a way out for the settlement of all the pending issues -between India and Pakistan é with the Kashmir dispute atop – through a mode of dialogue. Contrary to the Indian chauvinistic and intransigent tendency, Pakistan has é time and again – explicitly highlighted the impact of talks, anywhere, anytime and at any levels, which have by now been eschewed by the New Delhi rulers, overlooking the echelon of the cataclysm that may ignite because of the importunate tension in the region.
In the best interest of peaceful and tranquil atmosphere in the region, the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf é in his bold and historic speech é has copiously made it clear that the Kashmir dispute “can neither be side-stepped nor wished away.” He urged the international community, particularly the influential countries to play an active role in resolving this long standing issue. The President, while addressing the AJK Legislative Assembly é on the eve of the Kashmir Solidarity Day on Feb. 5 é in Muzaffarabad has, very rightly said that
“This is essential for lasting peace and harmony in the region.” He said in categorical words that “Bilateralism has not worked,” adding that the resolution of Kashmir issue is essential for lasting peace and harmony in the region. He reaffirmed that
“The Indian position that Kashmir is an integral part of India is untenable and therefore unacceptable.”
About the Indian refusal to accept UN or any third party role in mediating or facilitating a peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute, General Pervez Musharraf said that this was inconsistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations charter. Amidst earnest applause, he called upon the international opinion builders, the international community to play their role in facilitating and mediating a solution “because, bilateralism has not worked, and the term of bilateralism brought into negotiations by India is a farce to avoid confronting the issue of Kashmir.”
The remarks of the President that “unless we move forward through the interaction, through mediation and facilitation by the world community, bilateralism will never work, it appears.” are, no-doubt a factual assessment of the on-going scenario. He has, thus made a fervent appeal to the international community to come forward in the interest of peace and in this region, for peace between the two countries, and to mediate and facilitate a solution to this longstanding dispute between India and Pakistan.
He said: “Instead of engaging in brinkmanship, Prime Minister Vajpayee should accept my offer of a dialogue for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute as well as all other issues.”
He also called upon the Indian government to take steps to end repression in Kashmir.
Towards this end, he said, India can make a beginning by withdrawing the bulk of its forces from Kashmir, ending military oppression against the Kashmiris and withdrawing the draconian laws, which deny basic rights to the Kashmiri people and give a free hand to the security forces to act with impunity.
“I know, the Indian leadership had said once that if we take one step, they will take two steps. We have taken steps, we still await steps taken by the Indians,” he added.
He said the Indians would agree that the only feasible option between our two countries is to settle our differences through peaceful means. In order to be durable, any settlement has to be based on the principles of justice and fairplay, adding,
“We want to live in peace with all our neighbours, including India, but our yearning for peace must never be taken to mean that we will agree to compromise on our principles.”That will never happen,” he asserted.
President Musharraf said India persists with its massive deployment of troops and military assets along our borders, which has brought the two countries to a position of eye-ball-to-eye- ball confrontation.
“This is brinkmanship and is most dangerous,” he warned. He said: “Let it be very clear to all those in India who talk of aggression against Pakistan that we shall guard our sovereignty, our honour our dignity very jealously.”
If war is imposed on Pakistan, he said: “We will defend every inch of our soil with all the means at our disposal and with the last drop of our blood. Let there be no under-estimation of our resolve.”
The President said “while aspiring for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, India continues to violate with impunity resolutions on Kashmir.”
The President reaffirmed that “We seek a peaceful and negotiated settlement of Kashmir, in accordance with the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We are conscious that it can be an extended and difficult process. However, we will stay the course as long as the process is meaningful and sincere.”
The President’s speech at the AJK Legislative Assembly is a lucid manifestation of his globally-acclaimed address to the nation on Jan. 12, wherein he had assured to the people of Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan will persistently extend its diplomatic, political and moral support to their just cause of seeking right of self-determination, as has been clearly committed to them by the UN resolutions on Kashmir. Every right thinking nation authenticates the fact that Pakistan wishes to have tension-free relations with India. That is, of-course possible only with the solution of the Kashmir Issue, which has become a flash point, threatening regional stability and global peace.
This is an admitted reality that Pakistan is doing what it can, to persuade India to enter into a meaningful negotiations to resolve all the outstanding issues. If India reciprocates in a constructive way, a new journey of peace and friendship can be made possible in the best interest of a billion-plus populace of the region, which deserves a superior deal. Once the Kashmir Issue is solved – reflecting the aspirations of he Kashmiri people – both India and Pakistan can divert their recourses to ameliorate the lot of their citizens. In case India does not recognizes this decidedly significant aspect and goes on with its wicked designs of keeping the people of Kashmir in perpetual bondage against their will, the horizon of the South Asia will continue to remain overcast with risks of colossal tension.
One hopes that sanity shall prevail on the Indian leadership and they would bend before the ground realities é in the best interest of peace é instead of shutting their eyes, as such an outlook will serve no purpose. It is therefore imperative that all the nations of the world should step in and compel India to respond to the honest efforts of Pakistan in an assenting way instead of resorting the war hysteria, which is vanishing with the advent of the new millennium, in which every erudite soul adores peace and hates catastrophe.
The author is a noted journalist, political analyst and ex-Director News Pakistan TV.