President displays interest in Kashmir issue

IT is heartening to listen to President Asif Ali Zardari declare that fighting for liberation of Kashmir is duty of Pakistan and that there can be no peace in the region without resolution of this long-standing conflict.

During his first ever visit to Muzaffarabad where he addressed the joint session of the AJK Legislative Assembly and Kashmir Council, the President also expressed the confidence that time is not far off when the world powers and regional countries (a veiled reference to India) will have to take serious decisions about Kashmir. This must be music to ears for Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC), as it is a healthy departure from Zardari’s earlier stance on the Kashmir issue, freedom struggle and the approach to resolve the problem. It is an open secret that the worthy President had an evasive stance on this crucial issue, which is rightly believed to be a nuclear flash point between two South Asian neighbours. One may recall that during his very first press conference after taking oath as President, Asif Ali Zardari had pronounced that the nation would hear some good news about Kashmir within a month. This announcement had raised both expectations and suspicions — whether the President has some workable agenda and mechanism to address this problem or had he entered into any behind the scene understanding with Indians. Similarly, at a certain stage he also proposed that Pakistan and India should work on normalization of their relations and settlement of the Kashmir issue should be left to the future generations. In an interview to Wall Street Journal, Zardari had also dubbed the freedom fighters as terrorists, triggering strong protests from Kashmiris and delighting the Indian Establishment. In this backdrop, one is pleased to note this positive turn in his thinking and hopefully this would not prove to be a mere PR exercise during his maiden visit to an area which is considered to be the base camp for the freedom struggle of the Kashmiri people. We also expect other concerned institutions and policy-making circles would also start giving the issue the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, in the past, Pakistan deviated from its principled position by offering so-called out-of-the-box solution and, therefore, the focus now should return back to solution of the problem strictly in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions.–Pakobserver


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