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India must stop sabre-rattling over Kashmir and start talking peace

Mar 06. 2019
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Re: “The line crossed in Kashmir”, Editorial, March 5.

Despite lacking correctness and a full understanding of the issues on various counts, you make some valid points, particularly the expression of concern on the dangerous situation between India and Pakistan, and on the urgent need for de-escalation, dialogue and statesmanship.

There is no credible evidence to link the February 14 attack in Pulwama (India-occupied Kashmir) to Pakistan. It was reportedly carried out by a Kashmiri youth, a resident of the area. Pakistan rejects all baseless allegations. 

Deliberate and instant shifting of the blame for the security failure without any investigation, followed by hysterical war rhetoric against Pakistan, is best explained and understood by the political calculus surrounding the forthcoming elections in India. Neither Pakistan nor the Kashmiris had anything to gain from it. That is why Pakistan counselled restraint and dialogue from the very outset, while also making it clear that any misadventure or aggression would meet with a response, capability for which has since been amply proven by subsequent events on the Line of Control.

The difference between warmongering and peacemaking is evident from the respective approaches of the Indian and Pakistani political leadership. As for de-escalation and dialogue, Prime Minister Imran Khan and the wider political spectrum have consistently demonstrated Pakistan’s willingness. The goodwill gesture of freeing the Indian pilot shot down over Pakistan was part of this approach, and has been widely appreciated by the international community. India should reciprocate and heed the advice for de-escalation. 

The most important point, sadly missed in your editorial, is about Jammu and Kashmir itself, which is the core dispute between India and Pakistan. The Kashmiri people are struggling for their right to self-determination, a right that was promised and guaranteed to them by the United Nations and both India and Pakistan. The have braved the worst kind of atrocities and human rights violations and rendered tremendous sacrifices for their voices to be heard. India must stop its reign of terror and oppression in Kashmir, and the international community must play its due role in promoting a just and peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions and wishes for the Kashmiri people. This is crucial for durable peace and development in the region.

Yasir Iqbal Butt

First secretary, Pakistan Embassy, Bangkok

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