Cooperation for peace and development

Iftikhar Ahmad

People’s ability to evaluate themselves and their roots must be appreciated as that helps to envision reality and identifying national strengths and weaknesses for determining future policies and strategies for a way forward. Rationality and objectivity are the guiding principles to follow. Pakistan’s open-door policy should continue. But Indian leadership should make no mistake in taking Pakistan’s dialogue offer a weakness. It should be clearly understood that cooperation and mutual understanding is key to success and accomplishment of goals of peaceful co-existence and welfare of the people of the two states. For Pakistan, political and social integration, and well-being of its people is of vital significance. States hostile to Pakistan are not ready to accept the reality of forces leading Pakistan on the course to development and progress in near future through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The enemy is creating all sorts of hindrances and problems to harm Pakistan’s national interests. But Pakistan cannot sit back and wait. Pakistan has to actualize its dream of building the future of its people in spite of hostile forces. It has to use its skills of social and political engineering to create a culture of cooperation for sustainable prosperity and regain the glory and victory of democratic norms and tasteful behaviours.
It is sad that the Heart of Asia Conference held in the Indian city of Amritsar was coopted to satisfy Indian administration’s personal political needs. Unfortunately, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan Prime Minister Ashraf Ghani spent most of the conference time lashing out at Pakistan at the cost of the agenda of the conference. India had earlier sabotaged SAARC Conference (that could not be held in Islamabad) in a similar style. India has been behind the undiplomatic and hostile behaviour shown towards the Pakistani delegate.
Indian approach at the Heart of Asia Conference was a betrayal of diplomatic norms and behaviour, and manner quite despicable. It is important that diplomatic discourse between countries be kept civil and open, even in extreme situations and times of conflicts and tensions. Indian approach was sadly uncivilised and hawkish which other countries particularly noticed. Iranian delegation had appreciated Pakistan’s stance for peace and cooperation. Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan stressed that the allegations game needs to be stopped and that criticising Pakistan was wrong. God knows what went wrong with Ashraf Ghani. He had forgotten great sacrifices and contributions Pakistan had made for peace and stability in Afghanistan. India had a chance which it lost, failing to demonstrate a regional leadership role. The importance of dialogue between India and Pakistan is for the sake of regional peace and security as well as economic development.
The diplomatic front that Pakistan is putting forward for dialogue is one of a country committed to peace and security in the region. It was unfair for Indian Premier Modi to refer to Pakistan as a country backing terrorism in the region. Modi has always tried to hide behind Indian terrorism in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, Afghanistan, and Indian state terrorism in Indian-held Kashmir. What is the consequence? Indian bellicosity is shaping Pakistani public opinion against rapprochement with India. Thus India needs to rethink of harm that it is causing to the peace effort, especially in a new situation of the United States leadership for the solution of Kashmir dispute. Trump himself has offered to help resolve Kashmir. Vice President-elect Mike Pence has said “US President-elect Donald Trump can use his ‘extraordinary deal-making skills’ to reduce tensions around the world and resolve problems such as the Kashmir issue. Pence also said the new US administration intends to be “fully engaged” in South Asia and with India and Pakistan on issues such as Kashmir to promote peace and security. Trump’s phone calls to more than 50 leaders around the world are an initiative of “part and parcel of beginning the kinds of relationships that will allow the new president to advance America’s interests in the world, said Mike Pence.
The militarization of Indian-held Kashmir and Indian state terrorism is a challenge to the world community. It is a sad and tragic commentary on the state of international conscience. India treacherously occupied a major part of the Jammu and Kashmir state in 1948 and refuses to honour its commitment made to Kashmiris as well as the world community at the United Nations.
The hard truth is that there seems to be no end to the existing tensions between the two countries. Both have been caught in a vicious cycle of opposing visions on how to improve the relations. Some quarters suggest the trade and commence to help develop some understanding. In normal socio-geographical setting and psychology of politics, the suggestion on trade relations may be workable. But the current scenario does not seem to approve trade as a factor to improve bilateral ties. The hegemonic policy of Modi government has been a barrier. The question is what could effectively reduce political and diplomatic tensions where neighbours are the enemy by circumstances and historical eventuality.
Kashmiris have suffered a tremendous loss of human life because of Indian state terrorism. Human dignity is at stake. Pakistan has suffered for the last 70 years because of wars with India for supporting Kashmiris on moral and diplomatic fronts. Lines of Control violations by India are killing innocent Pakistanis on a daily basis in border areas. The broken hearts have to be at least protected of never ending aggression by Indian forces.
Complex organisations and organisation men analyse problems and seek solutions. They have problems of their own including trained incapacity and biases as well as needs. Internal and External Environment injects positive and negative forces that cause success or failure. The impact of negative forces can be reduced considerably by planned deliberate efforts to add to positive forces. This is the way forward to success and goal achievement.
Cooperation for peace and development is vital for Pakistan and Kashmiris. India’s cooperation has to be made possible. World community and leaders have to help. A Democratic system that has yet to mature can hardly afford to live in an anarchic state.
Culture and public diplomacy help to encounter xenophobia as well as terrorism. It is useful to invest in diplomacy, dialogue and strategies for ensuring peace.


Bank of Punjab CEO Zafar Masud, another passenger survive