Track for Composite Dialogue?

Amid a great deal of prolonged endeavors, spanning over decades, India has eventually agreed to hold a sustained and serious dialogue–”with Pakistan–”to find an amiable ultimate solution of the Kashmir dispute. As the reports say; at the two-day foreign secretaries’ level talks in New Delhi, the two sides–”this weekend–”agreed to restore the staff strength at their main high commissions to 110. Consulates will also be opened in Karachi and Mumbai.

The interaction between the two countries on the protracted issue of Jammu and Kashmir is undoubtedly a positive development, since the New Delhi meeting between foreign secretaries of the two countries marked the first serious attempt to address the Kashmir issue after the Agra fiasco in June 2001.

Envisioning the future upshot of the parleys, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Riaz Khokhar has said that ‘he has found the Indian side serious, committed and determined to move forward on the comprehensive dialogue’. The two countries have agreed to hold a sustained, serious and constructive dialogue on Kashmir, he told a press conference on his return to Islamabad.

It’s, however, important that Pakistan should not be overwhelmed with the first official level contact on the thorny issue after a long time. We hope that Mr Khokhar is right in his assessment of Indian attitude, but in view of India’s track record of non-seriousness and insincerity as well as its somersaults and inaction on decisions taken at previous rounds of talks between the two countries in the past, it is imperative that Pakistan should be careful and cautious in drawing any conclusions.

Kashmir is, of course, a complicated issue and its resolution needs a sustained effort. Mr Khokhar’s meetings with Kashmiri leaders in Pakistan and in New Delhi were certainly a positive step to keep the Kashmiris abreast with the developments in the Indo-Pak dialogue process. Pakistan is committed to seek peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue, which has kept South Asia on tenterhooks for over half a century.

It was India that had never shown seriousness and sincerity to address the issue. Let’s hope that India is really committed, serious and determined to move forward on the comprehensive dialogue to seek peaceful resolution of the core issue between the two countries for the sake of peace, security and stability in the region.

Nonetheless, its’ encouraging that the Foreign Secretaries have chalked out a timeframe for future talks, which will hopefully be pursued by both sides without any reservations–”whatsoever.

Opening of consulates in Karachi and Mumbai will certainly relieve the people of hardships in seeking visa to visit each other’s country.

With a long hang around, Pakistan and India had initiated talks at the Foreign Secretaries’ level in New Delhi with effect from Sunday last. Going by the index of the history, the reality manifests that the two countries have undeniably come a long way to initiate dialogue on Kashmir and other outstanding issues.

Yet simultaneously, it’s a matter of record that Pakistan had persistently striven for resumption of the stalled dialogue between the two countries. President Musharraf had time and again offered to enter into dialogue with India anywhere, at any time and at any level.

It was a paradoxical scenario wherein the Indian belligerence had impeded the effort for normalization of their relations between the two nuke neighbors. Nonetheless, it’s cheering and by all perceptions soothing that the dialogue process is being started now as an upshot of the pledge, given by the ex-Prime Minister of India ABVajpayee’s which ensures to address Kashmir and other issues. Vajpayee beamed this commitment via a joint statement, which was issued after talks with President Musharraf on the sidelines of SAARC summit in January this year.

What’s very important, nevertheless, is that the talks should be held with sincerity and seriousness to achieve the tangible results. Pakistan is entering the dialogue with sincerity and earnestness. It’s hoped that the Indian side will also reciprocate–”in an identical style and lead the talks to the logical conclusion to usher in an era of peace, progress, prosperity plus affluence and security in South Asia.

As every pragmatic soul acknowledges, the comity of nations is earnestly watching the dialogue process and want the two countries to address their contentious issues for serenity and safety of the South Asian region.

It must, by all means, be borne in mind that Kashmir is the core issue and a major source of tension, confrontation and conflict between the two countries. It will be futile to expect that durable peace can be established without resolving this issue. At the same time, it’s vital that the Indian government makes evaporate or at least scales down the enormity of its brutalization of the Kashmiri people in the forcibly held-part of the Himalayan State–”IHK at-once.

The innocent Kashmiris have endured neurotic and obsessed oppression and repression over the past decades. There is hardly any doubt that the Kashmiris want freedom from the Indian control–”which is illicit by all parameters and norms of justice and candor.

Not to talk of those who got displaced and were made homeless, in millions in 1947-48 by the axis of evils–”with the last Dogra ruler of the Jammu & Kashmir State, Hari Singh–”atop, the people of the State also sacrificed over 80,000 precious and lovely lives during the freedom struggle–”explicitly for the sake of emancipation from the Indian yoke.

As India fully understands that the global settings have changed with the convergence of the Orb into a global village wherein no nation can be placed in bondage against its aspirations, it is an apposite time for New Delhi to accept these ground realities. India should, as a result, pursue the dialogue with Pakistan without inhibitions and–”instead strive to resolve the Kashmir issue, which has stigmatized its face due to its forces’ livid violation of human rights–”which can, in no way be tolerated–”any more.

Any deviation from such a course would not only continue to pose perils to peace in South Asia but would eventually make all accomplishments–”made so far through the CBMs–”absolutely pointless. New Delhi has to accept that there can not be any friendship between India and Pakistan–”in any arena, whatsoever it may be sans the solution of the Kashmir dispute and that too–”reflecting the aspires of the bona fide owners of the charismatic State, a realm–”acknowledged worldwide–”as Paradise on Earth. Let there be no boo-boo, blunder or mix-up on the actuality and truth–”in any way.