Leading dailies of the country reported on May 3, 2017 that Pakistan has spurned out-and-out an offer made by India to hold bilateral negotiations on the Kashmir issue. On May 2, 2017 the Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Foreign Affairs Mr Sartaj Aziz rejected India’s offer to resolve the long-drawn Kashmir dispute through bilateral negotiations, saying that New Delhi had “scuttled all opportunities for meaningful dialogue” over the past two decades.

The statements of Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Adviser come after New Delhi’s rejection of an offer for mediation on the burning issue of occupied Kashmir made by the distinguished President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a matter of fact, India blatantly turned down the proposition made by President Erdogan, pronouncing that the matter must be resolved through bilateral talks between India and Pakistan. India, one may recall, had earlier turned down a similar offer for mediation, vis-a-vis the Kashmir issue, made by a person of no less stature than the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

Almost seven decades have passed by with resolution of the Kashmir dispute nowhere in sight. Resolution of the Kashmir problem through bilateral parleys has, in fact, lost its credibility. This has been due to the reason that India, backed by the powers that be, has incessantly used bilateral talks as a ploy to delay resolution of this grave issue that continues to be a bone of contention between the two belligerent neighbours. How very true it is when the Foreign Affairs Adviser of Pakistan, Mr Sartaj Aziz says bilateral negotiations vis-a-vis Indian Occupied Kashmir has lost its credibility. Bilateral negotiations on the Kashmir issue, as known to the world, have unambiguously helped India successfully attain its objective of putting the matter on the back burner. It has bitterly failed to resolve it.

By asking Pakistan to come to the negotiating table for a bilateral dialogue on the Kashmir dispute India is, once again, trying to defer solving the problem and prolong its illegitimate rule in the occupied territory. How can the civilised world turn a blind eye to the atrocities being committed by the merciless Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK)? How could world powers let the extremely crucial Kashmir issue linger on for decades? This dispute continues to be a flash point between India and Pakistan. It has the potential to engulf the entire region and cause devastation of an inconceivable magnitude. Time has proven that all attempts to resolve the Kashmir dispute through bilateral dialogue have unfortunately failed. Why then pursue dialogue as a means to resolve this problem? The existing world powers must prevail on India to resolve the ominous Kashmir problem according the United Nations (UN) Resolution of 1948. They will have to act briskly and conscientiously on this critical issue if they want to save the region from an impending catastrophe.

M. FAZAL ELAHI,

Islamabad, May 10.