Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his maiden speech at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday raked up Kashmir issue , it was both surprising and unsurprising . Surprising because he talked about the Kashmir issue at a time when one-third of his country is underwater and more than 33 million people are suffering from severe food and shelter crisis inflicted by the floods of biblical proportions . This unprecedented grim situation should have guided him to speak only and only of the sufferings of the people back home. He did speak about the ravages of floods in his country , where he played a victim card , why did it happen to Pakistanis, who are not responsible for even one percent of green gas emissions that has turned the environment topsy turvy . True, as that may be, but the fact is that there were certain manmade factors that brought Pakistan face to face with the catastrophe .
His reference to Kashmir was unsurprising as it is the compulsive in the nature of Pakistani leaders to spotlight the areas and ideas of conflict and contest between India and Pakistan , to feed the domestic audience with what they believe is their staple diet to keep them alive and aware of the issue. The underlined idea is, to tell the common Pakistanis that they are talking about it , and this is an annual ritual that they must perform at the UNGA, in particular while at all international for a they bring K issue to tell the world that they are not only talking about it, but also pushing it as a mission.
Sharif attempted a balancing act, and that too, keeping in with the traditional style of almost all of his predecessors – the sole exception was in 2003 when President Pervez Musharraf , the military ruler had not made a reference to K issue owing to the improving ties between India and Pakistan , particularly after then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had extended hand of friendship to Pakistani from Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir .
Pakistani premier sought peace with India, but promised nothing in return .The hyperbolic expressions that he would be “ most forthcoming to sit down and talk to our Indian counterpart to pave the way forward for future so that our generations do not suffer so that we spend our resources in mitigating miseries , on building structures to face these floods and outbursts of clouds ,” and added : “ We want to have peace with India but long-lasting and enduring peace can only be guaranteed through a just and fair solution of Kashmir . Providing rights to the people of Kashmir under UN Charter according to Security Council resolutions “ .
Peace between India and Pakistan is not a one-way ticket. India has suffered a lot, and in fact continues to because of Pakistan backed terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir . All the deaths and destruction in Kashmir are India’s loss . This loss, as such should not be seen through the prism of deaths of nearly 10,000 security forces personnel , targeted by terrorists , or during gun battles with terrorists in anti-terrorism operations , the wider prism reveals that more than 99 per cent men and women who died in the past 33 years were Kashmiris , and all of them were Indian citizens . This is grim reality, which India is facing on daily basis for the past 33 years , all due to Pakistan’s machinations and brazen acts of terror it sponsored and instigated in Kashmir ..
The official Indian response to Pakistan Prime Minister’s speech has spotlighted all the terror tactics that the neighbouring country executed in Kashmir . By avoiding the reference to Pakistan’s terror campaign in Jammu and Kashmir , and instead trying to shield the structure and support to terrorism, Sharif has legitimized terrorism . Terrorism and talks cannot go together.
As for his call for dialogue with India is concerned for peace in the region , Pakistan PM should have turned the pages of history and that would have revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had not only invited his elder brother Nawaz Sharif ( then PM of Pakistan) to his first swearing-in ceremony in May 2014 to open a new chapter of dialogue and trust between India and Pakistan, he had also visited Lahore in December 2015 to attend the wedding of Sharif family. In return , India got attacks on Indian Air Force Station in Pathankot in less than a week after his Lahore visit , and then a series of acts of terror on the Indian soil , particularly Kashmir .
The first thing that PM Sharif should have talked about is shutting the machinery of terror first before urging India to resume dialogue . The absence of terrorism at the roots of the problem is missing the basic point at the roots of the whole conflict.
About the Author:
Arun Joshi is a senior journalist based in J&K. He has worked with Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, and The Tribune. He has authored “ Eyewitness Kashmir: Teetering on Nuclear War” and three other books.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with those of prameyanews.com