No Use Meeting India’s Prime Minister

By Ahmed Quraishi


Pakistan had perfectly normal ties with India for nearly 20 years after our Independence. We contested the Kashmir dispute with civility at the UN but retained normal trade and cultural ties with India.

This was until India started to expand the conflict beyond and outside the UN.

India went to Afghanistan and started promoting independent Pashtunistan and Balochistan and started recruiting Pakistanis to work against their country.

India’s Hindi-speaking ruling minority, the most extremist segment of Indian population, had been obsessed with punishing Pakistan since 1950. India developed the idea of promoting independent Pashtunistan and Balochistan as a way to prove that Pakistan should not exist.

It is this hate for Pakistan that prompted India and its Hindi-speaking rulers to expand the conflict over Kashmir.  Resolving Kashmir is key to helping India understand it needs to accept Pakistan, and accept Kashmiris’ right to decide their fate in a free, UN-sponsored plebiscite.

Some Indians, not all but some, have deep-seated hatred against you if you are a Pakistani. Tonight, at this hour, there are hundreds of Indian families sleeping in the open, in the fields, just 80 miles from New Delhi. Their crime? They are Indian Muslims, who share the same religion as most Pakistanis. So, having the same religion as most Pakistanis is a crime in the eyes of some hateful Indians. The place is called Muzaffarnagar. If they can do this to their own citizens, imagine what they will do to you when they get a chance.

In 2007, some Indians burned nearly 50 Pakistanis alive aboard a ‘Friendship Train’ inside Indian territory. Those Pakistanis traveled to India believing Indian statements on peace. They were blown up and New Delhi accused ISI of killing them to derail peace. But thanks to few upright Indian police officers who uncovered the role of Indian intelligence officers and Hindu extremists in that terror act. Just yesterday, Indian extremists stopped a Pakistani tourism bus from returning home. The passengers were scared to death of being burned alive, just like that friendship train five years ago.

You would think the Indian government would issue a statement after such an incident apologizing to ordinary Pakistanis and promising them safety and inviting them to visit again. No such thing. That’s the level of hatred in the Hindi-speaking north India against everything Pakistani. It’s a petty and small mindset they have.

India is keeping Pakistan under pressure through terrorism in Kashmir, through terror camps in Afghanistan that supply weapons and training to TTP and LeJ and BLA. India is involved in terror acts in Karachi and Lahore. At this time, the most irrational thing we can do is to give India more breathing space and more space to carry out terrorism against us. We must make India understand that hurting Pakistan has a price. When your house is under attack by a neighbor, you don’t go play cricket with that neighbor and pretend everything is right, or say, ‘We have other issues, let’s forget for now that you’re attacking and killing us. Let’s raise that issue later and play friends for now!’

This is the time for Pakistan to put Kashmir up and front. We have tried to put Kashmir on the side for nine years and got nothing from hateful Indians except delay tactics and double dealings.

One hundred and thirty million Kashmiris would support this Pakistani position. We at Youth Forum For Kashmir [#YFK] feel and see this Kashmiri desire  every day in the emails, tweets, and telephone calls we receive daily from Kashmiris inside Indian-occupied Kashmir, in Pakistan, and worldwide.

Kashmir is the reason that Manmohan Singh was desperate while meeting Obama at the UN in New York. What counts is the Kashmiri spirit that continues to fight. We need to support it.

Pakistan’s parliament should pass a unanimous resolution voluntarily annulling the Simla agreement of 1972 with India over Kashmir.  That agreement is used by India as an excuse to delay peace in the region. We should pull that rug from under Indian feet. No more delay tactics. Our reference points are the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir. Instead of prolonging enmity with Pakistan, India should think peace and accept to give Kashmiris the right to choose their destiny under UN-sponsored plebiscite.

Without Kashmir front and center, many meetings between Pakistani and Indian premiers would come and go, with all the hype, and with no results.

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