Peace, Indo-Pak trade necessary precursors to resolution of Kashmir issue: Editorial

      An editorial in a Pakistani daily has said that knowing how little the world supports the country on its stance on the Mumbai attacks of 2008, it would be wise for Pakistan to adopt the policy favoured by the two main political parties in the nation and give peace a chance.

According to the editorial in The Express Tribune, peace has to come first, followed by trade and then resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The U.S., like most states in Europe, thinks that new agreements on trade and the visa regime between India and Pakistan will lead to peace between the two countries, after which the bilateral 'conversation' on Kashmir and other outstanding issues would become meaningful. The civilian mind says: first normalise relations and promote the intermeshing of national interests through trade, then approach the disputes which have accumulated over the years because of bilateral hostility, the editorial said.

Wars have been fought because front-loading disputes have led to inflexibility of stance on both sides. Today, if military thinking is applied to Kashmir , the non-core issues will get in the way. The world agrees with the front-loading of trade and the resultant intermeshing of national interests as a solvent of the core issue of Kashmir, it further said. Pakistan's military approach - whose latest manifestation was called the 'strategic depth doctrine' - has done much damage to Pakistan in Afghanistan, by inviting other powers into the region to counter it, it said.

Peace with all neighbours, including India, is the motto of Pakistan's foreign policy today and although the army controls foreign policy, the country has reached a point where a consensus is gelling around a trade-first policy, the same way as a consensus on military non-interference in democracy has gelled, it added. Pakistani elements - some of them in the government - that blame India, the US and Israel for acts of terrorism in the country are doing a disservice to Pakistan by picking enemies that Pakistan cannot confront, let alone defeat, it stated.

The foolishness of this approach is revealed when it is discovered that this stance is very close to the thinking of Al-Qaeda that intends to capture the state of Pakistan and establish a khilafat in Pakistan, with the sole purpose of attacking America in a repeat of the 9/11 attacks, it further stated.

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