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October 16, 2019

Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through war: Kasuri

Lahore

October 16, 2019

LAHORE:Former Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said that Kashmir could not be resolved through war and the freedom struggle in Kashmir had reached a level that Indian Prime Minister Modi could not suppress it.

He was speaking at a seminar on Kashmir at a hotel organised by a local think tank. He said that 10 war or near-war situations between the two countries had not resolved Kashmir and whether Modi or anyone liked it or not, it could only be resolved through dialogue between the two countries. Modi’s actions, he added, had made dialogue in the near future very difficult but the ground reality would compel him or his successors to come back to the negotiation table. Kashmir, he said, was not like a one day cricket match but that Pakistan must be prepared for a long diplomatic innings which had commenced with a flying start with the UNGA discussion on Kashmir and PM Imran Khan’s meetings with various world leaders.

He stated that history would record that PM Modi by his recent actions had actually scored a goal against himself and against India. “Earlier, there were three segments with different opinions in Kashmir. Firstly, those who wanted to join Pakistan under the umbrella of Hurriyat Conference; those who wanted independence, and political parties like the National Conference and PDP, which took part in elections in IOK under the Indian constitution. Mr. Modi, with one stroke, has united all Kashmiris against India,” he observed. Kasuri added that Indian PM Modi had effectively internationalised the Kashmir issue with his latest actions.

Kasuri felt that PM Modi had other reasons for abrogating Articles 370 and 35, besides consolidating his vote bank among Hindutuva extremists. One of the major reasons Kasuri felt was Modi’s desire to divert attention from the poor state of the Indian economy. “Just as bad economic figures were coming out and the opposition was pouncing upon the latest deterioration in GDP and the manufacturing sector, PM Modi, by his actions, diverted the attention of the Indian people from their economic conditions by creating patriotic hysteria, thus, effectively silencing the opposition and the media,” he argued. On the way forward, Kasuri was of the opinion that there was a need for complete national unity at the current moment. “All political parties must rise above partisan political considerations. Pakistan must realise that the support Kashmiris are getting from the international community is because India is unable to say that the currents situation in Kashmir was created by Pakistani non-state actors,” he added.

Brig (retd) Farooq Hameed Khan, Salman Abid, Prof Humayioun Ihsan, Prof Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi, Lt Gen (retd) Ghulam Mustafa, Mujeebur Rehman Shami, Zeba Ahsan, Mehnaz Rafi, Ehsan Naz, Salman Ghani also attended the event organised by Institute for Democratic Education and Advocacy (IDEA).

“Pakistan has raised the issue of Kashmir effectively among the comity of nations,” IDEA executive director Salman Abid said. “The issue must be raised at every possible plot form,” he added. Brig (retd) Farooq Hameed Khan said the international community was making efforts for a meeting between Modi and Imran on the issue. He suggested international pressure on India to solve the Kashmir issue. Prof Humayioun Ihsan said the way forward was clear “just be engaged“. He lamented that it was an issue of dominance and international law protects some powers. “Pakistan’s position on Kashmir is justified legally. Modi is violating human rights. He is committing crime against humanity and we need to be strong to combat it,” he added.

Prof Dr Hassan Askari Rizvi discussed options for Pakistan on the issue. “The UN issued statement on the issue of Kashmir; it is a change in favour of Pakistan. Kashmir is the first stage in the eyes of European countries. We need governmental support in this regard. International powers circulate their interest. Western governments don’t want to see war between India and Pakistan. Dialogue is essential between the two countries. British and American think tanks have discussed the Kashmir issue at length,” he added. Defence analyst Lt Gen (retd) Ghulam Mustafa discussed Kashmir’s status and highlighted its geographic importance. “The CPEC is linked to Kashmir now. Kashmiris have engaged 0.9 million Indian army in Kashmir and nine million Indian troops are trained to fight with Pakistan. In the next step, India has set its eyes on Gilgit-Baltistan, if we remained silent on the issue. Russia has also interest here. Pakistan doesn’t want war. It will have to fight war if India imposed it on it,” he added. Mujeebur Rehman Shami said Pakistan would defend itself successfully in case of war. But can Pakistan defeat India? India cannot defeat Pakistan. Both countries cannot achieve their goals through war as both are atomic powers. The economy is in bad shape in Pakistan. Both countries should open the door of dialogue,” he suggested.

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