War is not the solution

Kashmir — like Palestine and the West Bank — has become one of the great insolubles of geopolitics

Editorial October 22, 2014

The situation on the Line of Control (LoC) is fast approaching a point at which it ceases to be large-scale sabre-rattling and edges into outright conflict — an outcome that must not be allowed to happen and one which both sides need to defuse as a matter of the utmost urgency. The Indian defence minister has said that the strength of Indian conventional forces was greater than that of Pakistan and that Pakistan will “feel the pain of adventurism” if things continued as they are. The weight of ordnance being exchanged is considerable, with the Indians reportedly firing more than 1,000 mortar shells into Pakistan on a single day in this month. At least 20 civilians have been killed and scores wounded in this latest exchange.

Each side accuses the other of committing breaches of the 2003 ceasefire, and in the absence of any independent verification, it is impossible to know which is telling a tale that is closer to an objective truth than the other — truth is unfailingly the first casualty of war. The Modi government abruptly cancelled secretary-level talks on the grounds that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi had held talks with Kashmiri separatists prior to the high-level moot. And there lies the nub of the conflict — the failure to resolve the Kashmir issue that has been an albatross around the necks of both states since Partition.

No government on either side has ever really got close to cracking the Kashmir nut. Talks have started, stumbled, stopped, restarted, paused and gone into the freezer countless times over the decades. Kashmir — like Palestine and the West Bank — has become one of the great insolubles of geopolitics. Warfare is not going to solve it, and the adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, is correct when he says that dialogue has to be the solution — but with what on the agenda? There is no road map, no shared vision of an endpoint, only eternal tension — and in the middle, the Kashmiris themselves. Where there is a will, there is a way, goes the saying. That will must be urgently sought and nurtured.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2014.

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COMMENTS (16)

SLDUA | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend

For the first time a sensible article has come up in this news paper, otherwise, I have become habitual of reading nuclear threats to India in almost all Pakistani newspapers. I fully endorse the views expressed in this article. In the interests of 150 Crore people, Both the countries respect the sensitivities of each other and start a dialogue with serious and honest intentions to solve the problems. Wars bring destruction and create more problems than solving any.

Hari Om | 5 years ago | Reply | Recommend

@ MNA Pakistan should demonstrate how simple a solution your proposal is by arranging the conducting of an election supervised by India in Balochistan to ascertain the wishes of Baloch regards living under the domination of Punjab province. That demonstration of simplicity of solution should be further buttressed by Pakistan arranging conducting an additional election in FATA and KP supervised by Afghanistan to ascertain wishes of the Pathan’s.

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