The atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir continue unabated as the world turns a blind eye to the human rights violations at the hands of the Indian forces. Interestingly, shortly after partition of the sub-continent, both India and Pakistan were quick to develop their relations with different countries of the world. However, they could not mend fences between them after independence due to a number of issues. Off all, the Kashmir issue, being most ‘sensitive’ one, is still a flash point between them. Nobody can think of durable peace in the region without establishing friendly relations, developing social as well as economic ties, resolving outstanding issues between the two major South Asian nations. The perpetually tense relations between the two countries is the reason why the dream of 1.5 billion people of the region for peace and prosperity is still elusive. Peace can only be ensured in the region if the civil and military leaderships of both countries hold talks to sort out all the outstanding issues. For this purpose, they need to adopt measures for solution of Kashmir issue keeping in view the right to self-determination of Kashmiris. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto believed that peace was the key to mutual survival and development for India and Pakistan. He was of the opinion that both the countries being neighbours, need to develop good relations We know that the Kashmir problem has been the unfinished agenda of partition since 1947. Renowned author, Arundhati Roy has rightly said, “How carelessly imperial power vivisected ancient civilisations. Palestine and Kashmir are imperial Britain’s festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modem world. Both are fault lines in the raging international conflicts of today.” It was Maharaja of Kashmir who proclaimed annexation of Kashmir with India without the will of Kashmiri people. The Kashmiris resisted his unjust decision and India employed brute force to crush the will of Kashmiris. The level of resistance compelled Mr Nehru to knock the door of the newly born United Nations for the solution of Kashmir. He was of the view that the United Nations would accept his stance on Kashmir and the Pakistani viewpoint would be rejected. However, all his hopes ended in smoke when the United Nations accepted a resolution against his expectations but in favour of the Kashmiri people. The resolution binds India to hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir areas to know the will of Kashmiri people and decide the fate of the region in the light of the result. Unfortunately, the Kashmirs are struggling, even after six decades. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah called Kashmir the ‘jugular vein’ of Pakistan. But after his demise, the Kashmir issue could not be properly advocated at international forums. After Jinnah, it was Zulifkar Ali Bhutto who learnt the importance of Kashmir for Pakistan and reinvigorated the founder of the nation’s stance on the issue. He kept pushing for the resolution of the issue at every relevant forum. Mr Bhutto believed that peace was the key to mutual survival and development for India and Pakistan. He was of the opinion that both the countries being neighbours, need to develop good relations between them. War and aggression at any forum would not help resolve matters in any way. The aggression would add to the problems of the people and complicate the relations. Both the countries should boost their economies in the best interest of their masses. It is not predestined that the people dwelling in Africa and Asia would and should remain poor. We shall have to break the vicious cycle of poverty and hostility. Mr Bhutto realised that without resolving the Kashmir issue, the dream for durable peace and prosperity cannot be translated into reality in the region. He thought the best solution of Kashmir is nothing but to hand over Muslim majority areas to Pakistan since it’s an unfinished agenda of partition. But the Indian leadership obduracy is the major obstacle in this regard. Mr Bhutto knocked world’s conscious in the United Nations. His address was monumental and represented the will of Kashmiri people. Mr Bhutto’s speech also summed up the feelings of the Pakistani nation aptly. He said, “Jammu and Kashmir is more a part of Pakistan than it can ever be with India, with all her eloquence and all her extravagance with words. Jammu and Kashmir is part of Pakistan, in blood, in flesh, in culture, in history, in geography. In every way and in every form.” Mr. Bhutto was well aware about the nuclear designs of India. That’s the reason, he reportedly said, “Pakistan will fight, fight for a thousand years. If… India builds the (atom) bomb…. (Pakistan) will eat grass or (leaves), even go hungry, but we (Pakistan) will get one of our own (atom bomb)…. We have no other choice!” It was the Kashmir issue which made Mr Bhutto averse to Ayub rule and he bid farewell to his government. He founded his own party. Later on, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto carried on his father’s mission on Kashmir and revitalised the issue in 1989. Since then, Kashmiris freedom movement turned over a new leaf. Now his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is committed to highlighting this issue at international forums. In 2014, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the United Nations had failed to resolve the Kashmir dispute while, “the Kashmiri people continue to await the realisation of the promise the world made to them.” On another occasion, he repeated his stance, “I will take back Kashmir, all of it, and I will not leave behind a single inch of it because, like the other provinces, it belongs to Pakistan.” Bilawal believes that the menace of terrorism has damaged the Kashmir cause, which is why he is also vocal against terrorism and extremism. After Pakistan gets rid of the monster of terrorism, we will certainly be able to work towards the Kashmir cause more effectively. The writer is a Lahore based politician, writer, barrister, political analyst and social worker Published in Daily Times, February 5th 2018.