'Kashmir A Matter Of Life And Death For Pakistan'
11 December 2004
Lahore: Yousaf Buch, former advisor to late Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto and former Pakistan delegate to the United Nations, said that the talk of giving autonomy to the Kashmir and LOC's international status seemed to be a conspiracy against Pakistan. Mr Buch, an expert on Kashmir, said in an exclusive interview with daily 'The Nation' on Saturday, that Pakistan should tell the international community that the options were not acceptable to Pakistan as they hardly constituted a solution to the Kashmir problem. Earlier, Mr Buch shared his views with Majid Nizami, the Editor-in-Chief of daily 'The Nation', at his office, on the prevailing situation in Held Kashmir and various options for a just solution to Kashmir issue. Yousaf Buch said that no option on Kashmir would be acceptable without the involvement of Kashmiri people and its leadership. He said that unfortunately Pakistan had been depending upon the UN resolutions for the solution to Kashmir dispute, without even determining its own position on the issue. He said that it seemed that Pakistan was groping in the dark and asked the government to come up with more options other than the UN resolutions. Yousaf Buch suggested that one way to resolving the issue was to hold elections under the UN supervision in all the six zones of Kashmiris on both sides, in order to allow the elected leadership to talk to the governments of Pakistan and India to find a credible solution. He said that India, through options like autonomy for the Held Kashmir, had been trying to deceive the local people there. He said that Farooq Abdullah raised his voice in favour of autonomy in 1947 and was arrested. Mr Buch said that India had hardly showed any interest or flexibility, underlining its commitment that it wanted to resolve the issue sincerely. He said that Pakistan, on the other hand, had been showing too much flexibility on that count. He said that friendly visits to India and the friendship slogan itself had demoralised the Kashmiri freedom fighters, thus affecting their independence struggle, which was against the interest of Pakistan. As for the US role in normalising the relations between Pakistan and India, he said that the latter had been gaining maximum advantage from US engagement on the issue. However, he said that US did not want war between the two countries. He emphasised that the government should continue its moral and political support to the Kashmiris, in order to keep the freedom fighters' morale. He said that the government's giving-in to the international pressure would be harmful for the Kashmir movement. He said that no freedom movement in history had been fought without external assistance. Talking about former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's role in the Kashmir movement, he said that despite the Shimla agreement, the strike on his call in the Held Kashmir was more than just successful. He said that resolution of the Kashmir dispute was indispensable for the survival of Pakistan. He questioned as to how Pakistan would meet its water demand, in case the issue was not resolved. To a question, if the government would take the parliament into confidence about its final decision, he said that Kashmir was a matter of life and death for Pakistan.