In an interview with the CBC at Davos on Saturday, Prime Minister Gilani observed that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh genuinely wanted to resolve all outstanding issues with Pakistan, including the Kashmir dispute. If so, why have the umpteen rounds of talks in the composite dialogue process initiated since January 2006 failed to register any progress on the disputed state? New Delhi has invariably balked at discussing details about its settlement and thus the two countries have not yet been able to come to grips with the issue. Beyond the mere reiteration of one another’s stand across the negotiating table, nothing of substance has happened. India’s insincerity is revealed from the fact that even those disputes on which a convergence of views has been achieved, have not been signed off the list of contentious issues.

The pity is that leaving aside an occasional remark about Pakistan’s continued commitment to have Kashmir resolved in line with the UN resolutions, our ruling leadership seems to have increasingly become less supportive of the struggle Kashmiris are waging to throw off the Indian yoke. No effective lobbying has been done at the various international forums highlighting the brutal human rights abuses the people of the Valley are being subjected to by the Indian security forces stationed in occupied Kashmir. We have withdrawn from our stance that there would no trade with India unless Kashmir has been resolved. Islamabad is now set to normalise relations with New Delhi, opening the floodgates of Indian products to submerge our industry as well as agriculture. India’s long-standing dream for MFN status has been realised and we are also affording it the facility of transit trade with Afghanistan. It is time we woke up to the geographical reality that Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan.

Mr Gilani also talked of the trust deficit between the US and Pakistan and sought guarantees from Washington against a repeat of Abbottabad-like incidents and for an immediate end to drone attacks, which, he correctly explained, were creating sympathy for militants among the people. Somehow, the US has failed to realise that the deaths of innocent civilians, which are far higher than militants’, swell the ranks of terrorists, posing greater threat to the civilised world. In addition, the violation of sovereignty tends to further alienate Pakistanis. For a peaceful conclusion to the Afghan adventure, the Americans should rather be trying to win the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.