Naseer A Ganai
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called Thursday for a rethink of the strategy against terrorism, saying the notion of a “war on terror” was misleading, and said resolution of Kashmir dispute was important for peace.
Miliband’s comments, days before U.S. President George W. Bush hands the keys to the White House to Barack Obama, implicitly criticized aspects of the “war on terror” by Bush after the September 11 attack on World Trade Tower.
“Resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms, and allow Pakistani authorities to focus more effectively on tackling the threat on their western borders,” Miliband wrote in an opinion piece for the Guardian newspaper.
India was quick to react to it. It said it does not share London’s views and does not need “unsolicited advice on its internal issues.”
“We do not need unsolicited advice on the internal issues of India like Jammu and Kashmir,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters yesterday.
However, the Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the United Kingdom has role in Kashmir and has moral responsibility facilitate the resolution of Kashmir dispute. Earlier, he said, the US President Barack Obama has also called for resolution of Kashmir dispute and “I think that time has come they should now act.” He said that the international situation was such that Palestine and Kashmir dispute requires intervention. He rejected the Government of India’s response to the British Foreign Secretary’s suggestion and said that India should accept the ground situation. “It would have been far better had India taken the advice in positive sense,” Mirwaiz said adding that Miliband stated nothing wrong but brought the reality to the fore. He said India has overreacted to the proposal and accused India of “taking refuge in the elections politics.” But, he added, the world realizes the real threat and considers that elections couldn’t be alternative to the settlement of Kashmir dispute. Mirwaiz said that International community should break their silence on carnage in Gaza and intervene.
The president Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti said “David has stated something that has been felt by many people.” She said there was reason in his statement and “we need to address Kashmir dispute.” “Kashmir is an issue and issued should be settled,” she said. She said the Government of India was free to respond in whatever manner it thinks but “there is urge for the solution of Kashmir issue.” The chief minister Omer Abdullah and the NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah were not available for the comments.