Kashmir issue is still alive
Waqar Ahmed


The bilateral relations between two neighboring countries that were stalled in the wake of Mumbai carnage-2008 seemed to thaw when Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar extended an invitation to 8 members of the executive council of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), to visit Pakistan from 15 to 22 December 2012.

The initiative has been taken to begin a consultative process between the political leadership of Pakistan and pro-movement leaders of IOK, which will certainly set appropriate grounds leading to the peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue. Kashmir experts believe that such visits by the Hurriyat leader’s suit India and Pakistan - APHC acts as “facilitator” in deciding things which are in line with aspirations and interests of Kashmiris.
Some Indian media hawks and hardliners, who want to derail the peace initiative, adopt restraint and over-cautious attitude towards upcoming trip of Hurriyat leaders. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India wants to resolve all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir issue with Pakistan through dialogue. New Delhi and Islamabad announced on February 10 that they would resume full peace talks which were suspended by Mumbai episode. Experts say that large majority of Indian populace want peace to prevail so that the pace of economic prosperity continues. Indian media hawks are likely to create hurdles to curb first formal conversation between the two sides in nearly four years.
Since 2004, the peace process between India and Pakistan provided an ideal forum to tackle core issues and improved the decades old mistrust through confidence-building measures (CBMs).
The recent overtures from both the sides clearly indicate that both the neighboring countries want prosperity in the region and for that agree that the resolution of Kashmir is a priority for Pakistan and India.
The dialogue process will not only narrow down the differences on Sir Creek, the comprehensive resolution on demilitarization of Siachen glacier will also be worked out amicably. From a Kashmiri perspective, the leaders of both India and Pakistan should be encouraged to continue with the good-will initiatives (CBMs) they have started some time ago. This will enable both the countries to find converging interests. Pakistan wants to take advantage of the current improvement of relations between India and Pakistan, that’s why the APHC leaders have been invited, but some segments of Indian media have started a negative campaign against the visit of APHC leaders branding them as “Separatists”. (Having break away designs against India). Pakistan, as always, will continue diplomatic/political support of Kashmiri brethren. The invitation is also meant to develop an understanding on their point of view. Some elements from India do not want that trust between Pakistan and APHC leaders should strengthen. Rather they want trust deficit to increase. Some hawks from India do not want improvement of relations between Pakistan and APHC leaders. Experts opine that India may once again show her intransigence in facilitating travel documents because (i) some elements from India are not sincere towards resolution of Kashmir issue through consultative process (ii) They do not want Kashmiri leadership to visit Pakistan and Pakistani political leadership (iii) They want to jeopardize the consultative process initiated by Pakistan (iv) They are aiming at creating divide within the pro-movement camp by allowing only few leaders to visit Pakistan. Pakistan has the same old stand on Kashmir. We sincerely want Kashmir Issue to be resolved as per the wishes of Kashmiri people and as given in the UN Charter. Our media needs to rise to the occasion and take necessary action/steps so that the prevailing developments in the peace initiatives do not go waste once again.