Pakistan to US: Peace in Afghanistan Only Via Kashmir

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Washington: For the first time, Pakistan has linked peace in war-torn Afghanistan to the resolution of the Kashmir issue, saying a solution to both is required for peace and they cannot be “compartmentalised”.

“Road to peace in Kabul lies in Kashmir in the sense that when you talk of peace, you cannot compartmentalise peace, you can’t segregate a section … ok you can have peace in Kabul and let Kashmir burn. That is not going to happen,” Pakistan Prime Minister’s special envoy on Kashmir Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said here.

“So you (US) talk of a comprehensive peace settlement, so let the people of South Asia not be hostage to the hostility of the past. Let them move forward,” said Syed, Chairman of the Pakistan Senate’s Defence and Defence Production Committee said during an interaction at Washington-based think-tank Stimson Centre.

He is accompanied by Shezra Mansab, a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, as Special Envoys of Pakistan Prime Minister on Kashmir.

“Our core issue this time is Kashmir and no peace can prevail in the region, if this issue is not solved. It is an international dispute. It is not an internal problem. The stakes are very high now, we are nuclear neighbours so we need to have peace on the issue of Kashmir and then rest of the things can be solved,” Mansab said.

She added that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has offered peace talks “without any preconditions” but it has been consistently rejected by India.

“The way to move forward is negotiations. We are ready to talk on any subject. It is India which says that it is willing to talk about only one subject. We are ready to talk on that subject as well as other subjects,” she said.

Referring to the lackluster response that they received during their visit to Washington DC, Michael Krepon of the Stimson Centre asked as to why the US should interfere in this.

“Why, when it is so hard for the US to my embarrassment to get involved in more helpful way in Syria; why should the US listen to the argument to be more involvement in Kashmir,” Krepon said, adding that the situation in Kashmir is much better than many other conflict-prone areas of the world, including Syria.

India cannot revoke or alter IWT: Pak

India cannot unilaterally revoke or alter the Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan has asserted, days after India decided to revisit the treaty. “The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) is not time-barred and was never intended to be time or event-specific. It is binding on both India and Pakistan and has no exit provision,” Dawn online quoted Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakria as saying on Thursday in a weekly media briefing.

He called upon the international community to take note of Indian claims as they were a violation of New Delhi’s obligations and commitments under the treaty. According to the sub-provisions (3) and (4) of Article XII of the IWT, the treaty cannot be altered or revoked unilaterally, he pointed out.

“Pakistan is closely monitoring the situation and would respond accordingly,” he added.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Thursday asked the Foreign Ministry to launch ‘water diplomacy’ in the wake of India’s threat to revoke the Indus Water Treaty.

“Blood and water can’t flow together,” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is quoted as having said last month during a meeting on the Indus Waters Treaty, during which India decided to revisit the 56-year-old river water sharing treaty, apportioning more water to itself.

“There are differences on the treaty. For any such treaty to work, it is important there must be mutual trust and cooperation. It can’t be a one-sided affair,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said last month following the September 18 Uri terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which killed 17 Indian soldiers. Two soldiers died later. India has held Pakistan-based militants responsible for the killings.

The water distribution treaty brokered by the World Bank was signed between the two countries in 1960.

According to the agreement, India has control over three eastern rivers – Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – all flowing from Punjab, while Pakistan, as per the treaty, controls the western rivers of Indus, Chenab and Jhelum that flow from Jammu and Kashmir.

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