October 8, 2005Foreign AffairsSecurity

Of Pakistan’s unilateral concessions

Ah ha!

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Ayaz Amir contends that Pakistan has made so many unilateral’ concessions receiving only lollipops in return. He contends that Pakistan was wrong in dropping its long-standing demands supporting self-determination for the Kashmiris and (for only India to implement its side of) the decades old UN resolution calling for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

The point has come where there is no shortage of Pakistanis positively fearful of their government’s mania for unilateral concessions. Sure, Pakistan is not ceding territory or sovereignty to India. Even so, it is irritating to see Pakistan performing minor gymnastics to show flexibility and then citing its own athletic performance as proof of progress along the road to peace. This is a recipe for self-deception.

The composite dialogue is settling into a familiar pattern. India doesn’t budge an inch from known positions. To induce movement Pakistan throws a concession. Nothing happens, India still refusing to budge. Pakistan throws another concession. Again nothing happens. Pakistan goes into a sulk and there is talk of the peace process stalling. At which point India, by way of a lollipop, thrusts a ‘confidence-building measure’ (CBM) in Pakistan’s mouth. There is rejoicing in Pakistan and editorials are written about how things are finally on the move. [Dawn]Amir writes with great style, but seems not to have been following the news lately. But even if he missed Gen Musharraf’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly this September, surely, he can’t be ignorant of the jihadis that Pakistan continues to arm and inject into India. Amir fails to explain why Pakistan should continue supporting the Kashmiri cause’. He’d do well to read Irfan Hussain’s column that appeared in the same newspaper a day later.

A couple of months ago, I attended a seminar in Colombo to which participants from India, Pakistan and both sides of Kashmir had been invited…One Azad Kashmiri said in his presentation that Pakistan “had paid a very high price for Kashmir.” In my intervention, I said that as a Pakistani, I agreed with him, but I didn’t want to continue paying this price any more. To my surprise and amusement, he interrupted and exclaimed: “But you have to go on paying!”

The fact is that by and large, most people are fed up with the whole Kashmir dispute, and wish it would just go away. It has stunted economic growth, warped the political process, at least in Pakistan, and consigned our region to the backwaters of the global economy. India is clawing its way back, but Pakistan teeters on the brink, despite the hype emanating from Islamabad. [Dawn]

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