WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said the international community must fulfill its responsibility to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
The minister was talking to the Pakistani media on Thursday evening after addressing a seminar on Kashmir at the Pakistan Embassy.
The minister acknowledged that changing realities had made it difficult for Pakistan to reach out to other nations but he said that despite these difficulties, Pakistan could not abandon Kashmir.
He argued that if a referendum could be held in East Timor and South Sudan to get people their fundamental rights, there was no justification for denying the Kashmiris the same right.
“If a referendum is not held in Kashmir, people there will be justified to think that the international community has double standards,” Iqbal said, adding that world powers that had stakes in global peace and security must address the suffering of the people in Kashmir as they addressed the suffering of people in East Timor and South Sudan.
He said that Pakistan was firmly committed to the cause of Kashmiris as Kashmir was an unfinished agenda of partition. “Pakistan will highlight Kashmir cause on all political and diplomatic forums,” he said.
Taouqir Hussain, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, Washington, however, explained how changing realities had made it difficult for Pakistan to advocate its case on Kashmir before the international community.
India’s growing economic and political influence were forcing other nations to seek closer ties with India, making them less inclined to hear Pakistan’s arguments, Prof Hussain said.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to US Jalil Abbas Jilani said at the seminar that the international community should persuade India to hold referendum in held Kashmir. He said that India could not suppress the freedom movement in Kashmir for long.
Kashmiri-American leaders Prof Dr Imtiaz Khan of George Washington University and Dr Akram Dar of Kashmiri American Council highlighted various dimensions of this issue, appealing to the Pakistani nation to continue supporting the Kashmir cause, even though it was becoming increasingly difficult to do so.