'Pakistan should not rush into early Kashmir solution'
1 July 2005
The Daily Times
Bara Gali: Speakers at a two-day seminar on 'Resolution of the Kashmir dispute Issues and options' have said that Pakistan should be cautious, careful and refrain from showing eagerness for a quick solution of the Kashmir dispute.The seminar was organised by the International Relations Department of the Peshawar University at Bara Gali in the Hazara Valley. Various experts and academics attended the seminar.Tariq Fatmi, former ambassador, said that Pakistan should not abandon its principled stand on Kashmir and insist on the resolution of the dispute according to the United Nations Security Council resolutions. He said that India had itself gone to the UN so Pakistan should press for the implementation of the resolutions.Pakistan wants a change in the status quo whereas India wants the perpetuation of its control over the disputed territory. He said that Pakistan did not want to claim territory but considered the wishes of the Kashmiri people supreme. If they (Kashmiris) want union with India, Pakistan would not oppose it, he added. Fatmi said that all Pakistani governments were sincere in the peaceful resolution of the issue. He said 'Benazir Buhhto and Nawaz Sharif, during their terms of office, had made earnest efforts for an amicable solution of the dispute.' He said that President Musharraf had offered India talks on the issue anytime, anywhere and at any level. 'The president has shown tremendous courage and statesmanship by initiating the peace process and debunked the Indian propaganda that he was the architect of Kargil and was not sincere in peace,' he said. He said that Pakistan's rulers had realized the fallout of the Kashmir problem. Terrorism, extremism, economic fallout and foreign pressure had contributed towards the efforts for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. He said that 9-11 had a negative fallout on the Muslim world, adding, there was now greater pressure from the western powers to refrain from all those activities that they called extremist. He said that support for those Muslims struggling for independence was now shirked. Prof Khalid Mehmood, political analyst and senior research associate at the Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad, said that there was some apprehension that Indian policy on Kashmir was whimsical and playful. India wants peace and normalisation without solving the Kashmir issue, he said. 'India wants to solve the issue on its own terms,' he said.He said that since the confidence building measures (CBMs) began, India had not shown any flexibility except starting Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and allowing an All Parties Hurriyat Conference delegation to visit Pakistan. He said that unfortunately there was no progress as the talks on Siachen, the Baglihar Dam, Sir Creek and Wular Barrage had not proved fruitful. He said that if the Kashmir problem was not solved, CMBs would be useless. He also said that US- Pakistan ties were tentative and temporary and at any time, the US could abandon Pakistan after it had achieved its objectives in the region, With India, it (USA) wanted a long-term strategic partnership, he said.He said that now leaders of both countries were working for peace and they had termed the ongoing peace process irreversible and the public opinion on both sides was supportive of it. Mumtaz Gul, Peshawar University vice chancellor, said that India was gaining time, as it thought with the passage of time attachment of the Pakistanis with the Kashmir issue would weaken. He said during his visit to India he had seen no excitement amongst Indians for the early resolution of the issue. 'We talk more and do no research on the Kashmir issue and there is a possibility that the future generation will be unaware of the true perspective of the issue,' he said.