WEB DESK: Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir and its nuclear programme are the two issues that invite many a question, not necessarily inquisitorial, at various international forums, the much wanted answers to which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif provided on Wednesday.
In his detailed and certainly eloquent address at the ongoing UN General Assembly session, he took them on one by one.
Of course the situation in Indian-held Kashmir as it tends to evolve under the shadow of Indian bayonets and what the international community owes to the people of Kashmir dominated his address. It was India which took the issue of Kashmir to the United Nations and the UN Security Council repeatedly resolved that it was up to the people of Kashmir to decide their future through a plebiscite. But then India went back on it; introduced draconian laws and sent in half a million troops to impose its diktat.
The Kashmiris kept rising against it – by taking to the streets to hold protest marches and waiting for the world community to honour its commitment. However, since the murder of Burhan Wani by the Indian forces on July 8, their struggle has acquired a semblance of a highly vibrant ‘intifada’, which the prime minister believes can no more be suppressed by use of force, howsoever brutal. Pakistan can help India get out of Kashmir, he said, and once again offered New Delhi “to enter into a serious and sustained dialogue for peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu and Kashmir.”
He warned the international community that peace and normalization between Pakistan and India is hostage to resolution of Kashmir issue. “This is an objective evaluation, not a partisan position.” In effect, he has rolled the ball into the court of the United Nations, urging it to move beyond mere statements, some of these being grossly opaque and only a formality.
That Indo-Pak confrontation escalate into a nuclear clash, as speculated by international media, is a possibility that cannot be ruled out given the obtaining nonchalance on the part of some who are unmindful of how rapidly is expanding India’s conventional war potential (India is world’s second largest arms importer) but insist upon Pakistan to opt out of the nuclear race in South Asia.
One-sided restraint will not work, the prime minister told the General Assembly, saying: “we cannot ignore our neighbour’s unprecedented arms build-up and will take whatever measures are necessary to maintain credible deterrence.” A day before his address at the UN General Assembly, the US Secretary of State John Kerry is said to have asked him to consider “nuclear constraint”. Nawaz Sharif repeated what he told Kerry: Pakistan has consistently urged the conclusion of “bilateral arms control and disarmament measures between Pakistan and India to prevent conflict and avoid wasteful military expenditures.”
He also expressed willingness to have talks on a bilateral nuclear test ban treaty. But for the timely disclosure that Pakistan has developed field-specific tactical nuclear weapons India might have launched by now what its strategists proudly flaunted as the Cold Start doctrine. These very weapons constitute nuclear deterrence, and hopefully do their part by forcing India to think twice before launching incursions in Azad Kashmir to settle score for what the Kashmiri freedom fighters did it in Uri early this week.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cautioned the West against raising the ghosts of xenophobia and Islamophobia that given the relentless turmoil in the Middle East and abounding curse of Daesh are likely to poison many a mind. International efforts to defeat Daesh are therefore urgent and for this he said it is essential to “reconcile the divergent objectives and priorities of regional and external powers.”
Pakistan, he pointed out, has been a prime victim of terrorism “including that supported, sponsored and financed from abroad”. Tens of thousands of citizens and thousands of security personnel have been killed or injured in terrorist attacks. But this only reinforced our resolve to eliminate the scourge of terrorism. He told the General Assembly that “our comprehensive strategy of law enforcement and targeted military operations have produced remarkable results and enabled Pakistan to turn the tide against terrorism.”
And the Zarb-e-Azb military operation which helped clear the terrorism-infested north-west of the country is “the largest, most robust and most successful anti-terrorism campaign anywhere in the world.” He was optimistic about prospects of peace in Afghanistan. “There have been setbacks. That, however, is not a sufficient reason to abandon the path of peace and rely on the military option.”
According to him, the “only road to lasting peace in that country is through a dialogue between the government in Kabul and the Afghan Taliban.” Hopefully, now that international community has heard Nawaz Sharif as to what Pakistan has to say on Kashmir, Afghanistan and its nuclear programme it would help it see Pakistan independent of what New Delhi has been saying about it all these months and years.
Source: Business Recorder