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India, Pakistan should use counterterrorism exercises in Russia for peace, instead of "serving" as US' cat's paw

By Syed Mujtaba*
“With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve.” ― Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The elections in Pakistan are over and now it is Imran Khan, the 19th Prime Minister of that country to deliver. Prior to the elections process there were some horrific acts of terrorism that spoiled the election process, but the courage of the people who turned out to vote in the country’s general elections showed their resolve to determine their country’s future.
In this first press conference after the elections, Khan declared that India and Pakistan should meet for talks, "We want to improve our relations with India, if their leadership also wants it. This blame game that whatever goes wrong in Pakistan is because of India and vice versa."
In his victory speech, he said, "I am that Pakistani who has the most familiarity with Hindustan, I have been all over that country (for cricket). I think it will be very good for all of us if we have good and healthy relations with Hindustan. We need to have trade ties, and the more we engage in trading, the more both nations will benefit."
During his speech, he spent some interesting words on Kashmir. According to him, "Kashmir is, unfortunately, the biggest core issue between India and Pakistan. The situation in Kashmir is worsening and alarming and the people of Kashmir have suffered massive human rights violations. That (rights violations) is the inevitable outcome anywhere in the world when army goes to civilian areas. The Kashmiris have suffered a lot in the last three decades."
Furthermore, he said, "Indo-Pak leadership should sit at a table and try to fix this problem. If we continue the blame-game , we will keep coming back to square one. We should attempt to resolve this once for all for the betterment and peace in the Asian sub-continent."
He added, “If Hindustan’s leadership is ready, we are ready to improve ties with India. If you take one step towards us, we will take two steps towards you. Let's take the first step at least”.
Here I would like to remind the upcoming Prime Minister of Pakistan that the people of Kashmir are peace loving and Indo-Pak relations has direct effect on Kashmiris' lives. Khan has a way to go beyond the processes initiated by his predecessors in office. Let me remind him what Pakistan has already initiated some steps in the name of peace and cooperation with India.
Despite tense relations between Pakistan and India for long, there have been several signals of desire on both side to improve relations. Most notably, Pakistan’s army chief has on several occasions articulated openness to evolve modus vivendi with India.
In a similar gesture, the Indian defence minister has stated that such peace overtures from Pakistan will be reciprocated well. Pakistan invited Indian military attaché to the Pakistan Day parade. It hosted India with other Shanghai Cooperation Organization (CSO) members to discuss regional terrorism. In September, Pakistan and India will participate in SCO joint counterterrorism exercises in Russia.
Caught between the current global strategic flux, India and Pakistan must incline to play a positive role in addressing their issues, including Kashmir too, rather than serving as America's cat’s paw. Positive signals from both the countries may create a conducive atmosphere to open doors for addressing major issues between both the countries. Prolongation of tense Indo-Pakistan situation and the ever-present danger of war between two nuclear weapons states can only bring catastrophe to the region.
Syed Mujtaba
Both the leaderships should shun their attitude and come forward for sorting out all outstanding issues, particularly the Kashmir dispute. For the sub-continent, cordial relation between India, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan are a must, and better relation between these countries will lead the region to overall stability, peace, development and progress.
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*Human rights defender, advocate. Contact: jaan.aalam@gmail.com

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