The UN General Assembly and attack on the Indian military base which left 17 personnel dead have precipitated matters in the deteriorating relationship between Pakistan and India. Both countries have been engaged in a war of words which they had threatened to escalate during their respective visits to the UN General Assembly. Lobbying on both sides is now being reflected in statements issued by various countries that have begun to take sides on the Kashmir issue. Most recently, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has urged India to stop its hostile activities in Kashmir that have resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries over the past couple of months. The OIC has reflected Pakistan’s stance on the matter which focuses more on the humanitarian crisis in Kashmir and the need to resolve this issue peacefully.
Meanwhile, Indian authorities continue to take an aggressive stance which has become even more evident in the wake of the Uri attack. No longer content with issuing threats to Pakistan, the Indian government now intends to gather evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack in order to isolate the country from its international allies. In the immediate aftermath of the Uri attack there was talk of cross border retaliation, however, according to sources the Indian government now plans to use other options to pin the blame on Pakistan and exact retribution. The effects of this policy are already being felt. On September 21, two US lawmakers who are well known to be Indian lobbyists have moved a bill to declare Pakistan a “state sponsor of terrorism”. There is now an immediate need for both countries to make significant efforts to reopen diplomatic channels before this situation escalates any further. For the good of the Kashmiri people who are having to live through one of the worst periods of violence in recent times and for the collective good of both countries, diplomacy must be the only way forward. The international community too, must play its part in helping to improve relations between both countries rather than fuelling the fire over the coming few critical weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 22nd, 2016.
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