Bilateral dialogue is must now

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Despite the tough stance currently on display by Pakistan and India, the establishment in both countries realises that war would be nothing more than a folly. Armed to the teeth and ready to fight to the death, with a complicated history and an emotional public, any military conflict between the two neighbours could fast erupt into an uncontrollable disaster with extremely negative consequences on both sides. Acting on this understanding and perhaps due to the pressure exerted by the international community, which has been viewing these simmering tensions with alarm, national security advisers of both countries have spoken twice in as many days. Sources have revealed that during the discussions, Pakistan’s intention to de-escalate was reiterated, however, it was clarified that this does not imply lack of resolve in responding to cross-border attacks by India in a similar manner. While these talks have been seen as a positive step, things have not improved on the ground.

Fresh reports on cross-border firings at the Line of Control continue to emerge as do new vitriolic statements in both countries’ ongoing verbal duel. Meanwhile, the top political leadership in Pakistan has vowed its support for the military multiple times in recent days as well as its intention to continue support for the Kashmiri people’s struggle for freedom. The current situation is following a pattern that often emerges whenever there is a flare-up in the Kashmir issue. It quickly becomes conflated with cross-border tensions, accusations are flung about and during the escalating fears of war, the people of Kashmir are forgotten. Their freedom struggle once again becomes a footnote in our history books while months or years elapse before Pakistan and India again reach the point where bilateral dialogue becomes a viable option. All parties involved in this conflict well understand its underlying causes and the way forward, yet jingoistic nationalism which promotes war is commonplace. There is now an immediate need for both countries to adopt a pragmatic approach and recognise the importance of de-escalating tensions before any more damage is inflicted on the people caught up in this conflict.

The Article First Appeared In The ExpressTribune

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