Pakistan’s moral case for Kashmir

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The offer to the Indian government by Pakistan to initiate a comprehensive dialogue on Kashmir comes amidst heightened tensions between the two neighbours. Pakistan’s diplomatic support to the freedom movement in Kashmir has of course irked India, which in turn has tried to portray the Kashmiri struggle as the work of foreign-backed militants bent on creating instability in the valley. None of this is new as Pakistan and India have long adopted these positions, and not budged even the slightest from them. The stalemate on Kashmir has led to many lost opportunities to mend ties and work towards a more amicable relationship. The refusal to even engage with each other by pandering to jingoistic sentiment, which is rampant in the population of the two states, has naturally made matters worse. The latest opportunity to start a dialogue presented itself during the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s Home Ministers’ Summit, when Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh came to Pakistan to attend it. On the sidelines of the summit, Interior Minister of Pakistan Chaudhry Nisar could have offered to meet him, and this at the very least could ave come as a friendly gesture. However, Nisar failed to make diplomatic capital out of it, and instead chose to engage in the same political point scoring as Rajnath Singh did in his speech.
The web of claims and counter claims has largely remained the same throughout the entire history of the Kashmir conflict. Pakistan relies on the United Nations Security Council Resolution to demand a plebiscite in Kashmir so that the wishes of the Kashmiri people can be ascertained. However, the fact that the resolution was non-binding leaves only a moral case to be made for the realisation to azadi (freedom) that Kashmiris have fought so hard for. As far as the mystery surrounding the accession of Kashmir is concerned, it is highly unlikely that it may ever be solved. Unfortunately, the intransigence of both Pakistan and India on the Kashmir dispute has greatly restricted the space for any diplomatic manoeuvring that would provide a solution acceptable to them.