‘US playing role in Kashmir because of its own concerns’
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Former Pakistan foreign secretary Inamul Haq has said it is the United States that wants to play a role in facilitating a solution of the Kashmir problem because of its own concerns.
In an interview published this week by the New York-based India Abroad, the former official who was here for a two-day Kashmir conference last month, said there was no “imploring” on the part of Pakistan to the US to play a role. It was the US that had indicated that it wanted to do so. In fact, he added, the “US has been playing the role of a facilitator and making major efforts to defuse tension between India and Pakistan during 2002 in particular when India brought most of its forces to our border.”
Mr Haq said Pakistan did not expect the US to “mediate” but India itself had accepted the US as a “facilitator” and Pakistan was in agreement with that. He added, “both parties are ready to give that role to the US.” Answering a question about Indian allegations regarding “cross-border terrorism” from Pakistan, the former official said Pakistan denied involvement in any such activity, but at the same time, Pakistan had never said there was no cross-border movement. “There is no way on earth that any force in the world can stop the movement of the people. People will continue to slip in if they are going to go across.” He added that the Pakistan government’s responsibility was limited to the fact that “it will neither support nor allow, as far as possible, movement across the border.”
Mr Haq told the Indian-American publication that the number of Indian forces on the Line of Control was much larger than Pakistan’s, so if someone slipped across from the Pakistan side into the Indian-held Kashmir, it was for the Indians to stop him. India had also set up a five-mile wide “sanitation belt” which was mined, so to accuse Pakistan of cross-border activity and not accept responsibility itself amounted to “shifting the blame” for what was happening in Kashmir to Pakistan. “It’s trying to say that there is no indigenous struggle,” he added.