Conditional US Offer To Pakistan On Kashmir

11 May 2009
The Nation

Islamabad: The United States will help Pakistan resolve the Kashmir issue if it shifts its focus from the border with India to the country’s frontier with Afghanistan and carries out effective military operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants. “The Obama administration conveyed to President Asif Ali Zardari and other senior officials in his delegation during their trip to Washington that it is willing to use its “good offices” for the durable settlement of Kashmir issue,” said a diplomatic source here on Monday seeking anonymity. He said that in return what they wanted from Pakistan was to shift its focus from the country’s eastern border to the western frontier with more troops being deployed there to block the cross border movement of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants from the restive tribal areas into Afghanistan for terrorist attacks against the Nato forces. “The Obama administration also wants the continuation of recently launched operations in Swat, Buner and Dir against the Taliban militants till their elimination,” he said. According to source, the US authorities also wanted effective military operations against the al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in other parts of tribal areas such as Waziristan, so the threat of terrorism could be eliminated forever. He said that the US help for the resolution of Kashmir issue would be in addition to its pledge to assist Pakistan and India for the settlement of dispute over water. Moreover, the Obama administration had also reiterated its commitment that Islamabad would be provided with all possible economic assistance to do away with serious financial crunch that it was confronting. A senior Pakistani official when contacted expressed his unawareness about the US offer to help resolve the Kashmir issue saying he would be able to confirm or deny it when the President and his delegation were back home. He, however, said that the US help for the durable settlement of Kashmir dispute was long overdue and Pakistan would welcome any such move by Obama administration.