Pakistan no longer enjoys global support on the Kashmir issue and cannot get backing for a referendum in the region from the UN Security Council, former Pakistani envoy to the US Husain Haqqani has said.
“Kashmir is an emotive issue in Pakistan because of the failure of its leaders to inform their people that Pakistan no longer enjoys international support on the matter,” Haqqani wrote in a recent article that was also posted on the website of the US-based think tank Hudson Institute.
“What most Pakistanis do not know is that the last UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir was passed in 1957 and Pakistan could not win support for a referendum in Kashmir today if it asked for a new vote at the UN,” he added.
Haqqani, the director for south and central Asia at Hudson Institute, had to resign as Pakistan’s envoy to the US following allegations that he had sought American help to rein in the powerful Pakistani military.
He wrote that Pakistan had for years sought to internationalise the Kashmir issue, which it describes as a “core issue”, while India does not see any reason to even discuss it.
“But even the most ardent Pakistani hyper-nationalists know that they failed to wrest Kashmir from India in four wars and through the jihadi insurgency that has been waged from Pakistan since 1989,” he said.
“Instead of accepting that it might be better for India and Pakistan to normalise relations by expanding trade and cross-border travel, Pakistani hardliners have stuck to a 'Kashmir first' mantra, which they know is unrealistic,” he said.
“Posturing on Kashmir gets Pakistan nowhere, but its leaders pursue it to maintain support at home,” he added.
According to Haqqani, hardliners in an increasingly self-confident India too play on Indians' frustration with Pakistani state support for jihadis, such as those responsible the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“Pakistani leaders could open trade, education exchanges and travel with India, which is set to emerge as the third-largest economy in the world within 15 years, instead of insisting on the resolution of a dispute that hasn’t yet been resolved and can wait a bit longer,” he wrote.