It looks like doors are opening, bringing in the aroma of fresh air that promises peace, security and development in the region through reconciliation. China seems to be in line with the United States. In his telephonic call, President Obama discussed his recent visit to India with Premier Nawaz Sharif and noted that the United States supports all efforts by both nations to improve ties. Obama appreciated the improved relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and noted appreciation for Pakistan’s concerted efforts to combat terrorism. The two leaders expressed the intent to meet at a mutually convenient time.
From Pakistan’s side, concerns over America’s support to India for securing permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) was conveyed by Premier Nawaz Sharif to President Obama, saying that India has been blatantly violating the UN resolutions on Kashmir, and so does not deserve the position. Nawaz Sharif also expressed the country’s desire to become a member of the civil Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and sought the support of the United States.
The history of Indian occupation of Kashmir is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, with the aim being the establishment of an absolute tyranny over innocent, hapless poor Kashmiris. Administration of justice has been obstructed. More than a hundred thousand Kashmiris and their families have been killed, insulted, raped and rendered homeless. The UN resolutions have not helped. Bilateralism on Kashmir has failed indicating the need for mediation and arbitration.
The President of the United States, fully conscious of the spirit of the declaration of independence of July 4, 1776 may like to reflect back in history and see how similar the circumstances in Indian occupied Kashmir are to the sufferings of American States before July 4, 1776. When disputes cannot be settled by diplomacy, an impartial third state may act as an intermediary, offering its advice and urging negotiation. Through mediation, wars have been prevented and overlapping claims between nations have been adjusted.
Settling the Kashmir dispute is possible and vital for peace. If
President Obama as leader of the sole superpower takes initiative, it will be a great humanitarian service. Doing so will be perfectly in the ambit of international law.
Obama’s phone call to Nawaz Sharif at this point in time is a significant and meaningful gesture. Praising Pakistan’s ongoing military operation Zarb-i-Azb, Obama has in fact desired that the United States’ unfinished agenda for Afghanistan now be finished and truly actualized through Pak-Afghan enhanced cooperation, especially when China is also committed to help in the reconciliation process in Afghanistan that guarantees all political elements, including the Taliban, to work on a joint strategy for peace and security to return to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the region as a whole.
The Chinese Foreign Minister’s two day visit to Pakistan and Obama’s phone call to Nawaz Sharif are indications of the need for peace and the cooperation that is desired and required between Pakistan and India. Obama’s phone call was perhaps a reflection or may be an afterthought realizing that Pakistan had been neglected in overplaying India-US relations. Nawaz Sharif did the right thing pointing out to India’s denial of the rights of Kashmiris. Nawaz Sharif did the right thing again when he told Obama that by any standards, India did not qualify to be considered for a permanent seat in the UNSC.
Pakistan has played a significant role in the peace keeping function of the UNSC. This particular performance is at par with India if not more important in its nature. Pakistan has played a leadership role in the United Nations Organization (UNO) and its contribution on vital issues of peace and war are on record. India should try to get itself out of its blame-game mode and treat its neighbours and their problems with a cool mind instead of jingoism. India needs to do self-analysis in the context of it not respecting human rights and decide for itself where it stands. No doubt, Indian leaders know well that positive gestures extended to neighbours change the mood and the mode, be it from the playground or a dialogue table. Tasteful behaviour can be cultivated even without intervention from a power centre.
In the context of objectives of its foreign policy, Pakistan has good relations with the United States, Afghanistan, Iran and other neighbouring countries. For the sake of peace and security in the region, Pakistan desires most cordial relations with India and seeks peaceful, amicable solutions of all issues between the two nations. The earlier the disputes are settled the better it is. India should respond positively to Pakistan’s concerns. Indian cooperation could help Pakistan overcome many of its problems.
Since poverty is the main issue, both countries have to shun the politics of politics that result in the development of vested interests, exploitation and corruption. The poor remain poor. Only a handful of the political elite and vested interests on whom they are dependent gain in the game. Colonialism continues in one form or the other and the common man’s status remains unchanged.
For real change, attitudinal and behavioural change is essential. The same has to be reflected upon in structures and functions, especially in this age of complex organizations. The colonial mindset can neither help in removing prejudices nor in correcting perceptions. People are deprived of basic human rights, including the right to an education and participation in meaningful community living. The genocide or mass killing of innocent people continues on the basis of race, creed, colour and religious belief. Persecution and ethnic cleansing continues as a part of the politics of hate and the politics of politics.
The media’s double standards are progressively on the increase, dividing people and fuelling Islamophobia. The media becomes the catalyst to the same kind of extremism that it is supposed to condemn with full force. Politics of politics is ultimately going to destroy humanity and the sense of proportion that exists. Getting the balance right is a precondition for a way forward and ultimate success in any field of human life.