On 5th of December 2006, General Pervaiz Musharraf called for a phased withdrawal of troops in the region and self-governance for Kashmiris. It is clear that the fundamental issue of contention between India & Pakistan is the issue of Kashmir. And for the Muslims of the sub-continent, this is a very sentimental and sensitive issue- very much like the issue of Palestine.
The Muslims in Pakistan can think of no solution to the problem except liberating Kashmir from Hindu occupation and bringing it again under Muslim authority.
When the Indian National Congress came to rule after the previous elections, America knew fully well that this party has leanings and loyalty towards Britain and therefore feared that the relations it developed and nurtured carefully during the rule of Vajpayee for many years before the elections, might be severely affected. Therefore the US did everything it could to consolidate and extend its influence in India and built strong political and military relations, in order to build a superpower that could help America in any confrontation with China. Apart from this, the US also realised that India has a huge population, and can be a tremendous market for the products of American companies.
America is going all out of its way to coax and tempt India to gain more influence there or at least sustain the existing influence gained during the Vajpayee period. Therefore the first act undertaken with this aim is the nuclear agreement with India. It has now prepared the ground for the Congress Party to talk with Pakistan to agree to the Nehru declaration of 1956 on Kashmir. According to this declaration, Kashmir which is under Indian occupation in an inseparable part of India. Pakistan on the other hand contests that position and insists that Kashmir should be reverted back to Muslim authority.
The negotiations that are announced, aim to seek Pakistan’s recognition to Indian rule over Kashmir as was outlined in the Nehru declaration. This is not an easy matter to arrive at, because it hurts Muslim sentiments and is similar to recognising and legitimizing Israeli authority over Palestine. However it is only through negotiations that they aim to achieve Pakistani recognition of Indian occupation and it is the same policy now being pursued in Palestine.
Therefore the negotiations under way between India & Pakistan are a step to please India so that India allows US involvement and use some of its influence. We say ‘some of its’ influence because the Congress party is deeply loyal to the British and does not want to allow US to interfere in its disputes.
Here, a question arises: Pakistan, under Musharraf’s leadership has rendered great services to America in the Afghan war. Despite this, the US clearly continues to hobnob with India at the cost of Pakistan: It has reached the nuclear agreement with India and has not made a similar one with Pakistan. It has pushed Pakistan to negotiate with India on Kashmir which is in India’s interest, since these talks are not meant to find a solution to the crisis, but only to seek Pakistan’s recognition of Indian occupation of the greater part of Kashmir. So why is that America does not stand by Pakistan considering the services rendered by Musharraf?
The answer to this question is that Musharraf is Pakistan’s ruler; and his position is like that of any other agent. He has to protect the interests of the country that sponsors him as the cost for remaining in power. And naturally, protecting the interest of his own country is the lowest priority in the scheme of things. Whoever is in such a position, certainly humiliates himself before he humiliates his enemy. As the Arab poet has said, ‘It is easy to humiliate one who humiliates himself. A dead body feels no pain!’