Opportunities and challenges of demilitarising the LoC | Pakistan Today

Opportunities and challenges of demilitarising the LoC

Participants of a dialogue on “Demilitarising the LOC: Challenges and Opportunities” organised by The Jinnah Institute on Wednesday urged both Pakistan and India to explore pragmatic policy options in the pursuit of securing a lasting peace in the region.
Nasim Zehra, Dunya TV Current Affairs Director, pointed out the influence of the Indian security establishment on India’s foreign policy and added that Pakistan had made all possible efforts to mainstream the issue of Kashmir. Calling for exploring alternate policy options, she said that the momentum made through peace activism should not be lost.
Yasin Malik of Hurriat Conference termed the idea of demilitarising LOC a romantic concept and emphasised the need for sustained efforts in resolving the conflict going on in Kashmir without which confidence building will yield limited results. He said that Track 2 level efforts needed to do much more to resolve the Kashmir issue. Citing recent parleys held with Indian parliamentarians, Khuram Dastgir said that Indian legislators were averse to discussing the Kashmir issue and all they wanted is trade-oriented continued cooperation. “India doesn’t want to see water or endgame in Afghanistan on the table. Whenever we try to bring in Kashmir issue in our dialogue, our counterparts quick jump to terrorism related concerns thus deflecting the focus away from real issue,” he said, adding that demilitarizing LOC was a distant dream.
Terming demilitarisation of LOC as a far fetched reality, Riffat Masood, Director General South Asia of Foreign Office, spoke about the growing role of Indian military in formulating foreign policy particularly towards Pakistan. Urging better relations with India, she emphasized the need for ‘addendums’ to negotiations with India and cautioned that sight of the core issue must not be lost. She further noted that Kashmir reflects the reality of Indo-Pak relations. Gen Athar Abbas, former DG ISPR said that ultimate victory lied in winning peace in the region. “If anything, the nature of relations with India is such that a single trigger happy soldier can bring on a serious crisis and recent developments around LoC are worrisome for their implications on the ongoing peace process,” he said, adding that atmospherics will not do much anything substantive.
Wajahat Ali, visiting scholar from US said that localised extremist acted have their implications internationally. Islamophobia was growing in the west, he added.

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