South Asia,a region with a population of around 1.8 billion, with a combined GDP per capita of 1842.3 (2017), agricultural value-addedgrowth as 3.2 % GDP (2017), a labor force of 0.7 billion (2018), where total trade stands as 39.8 % of GDP and with a median age of 26.4 years; today is at a brink of a security turmoil. The two nuclear-armed countries in the region are in a confrontational mode, with Pakistan striking down two Indian fighter jets and capturing an Indian pilot. While elections are approaching in India, the Modi government, known for its vitriolic anti-Pakistan rhetoric, has been bent upon escalating border tensions. Indian media on the other side has been ostensibly spewing venom and smear campaign despite Pakistan’s gesture for peace in the aftermath of Pulwama attack.Pakistan has already been dealing with this growing wave of terrorism and extremism since the past two decades in various parts of the country with militants targeting security personnel, political leaders, religious scholars and sparing not even innocent children. In fact,in 2014,Pakistan had to launch a full-scale military operation Zarb e Azabin North Waziristan Agency, displacing millions of people to eradicate terrorists. With some $100bn loss to its economy and infrastructure, Pakistan has a wide ranging experience in dealing with various aspects of terrorism. Instead of approaching Pakistani government for dialogue or protest over alleged involvement of non-state actors and proscribed organisations within Pakistan at a diplomatic level; in a puerile manner, India chose to directly launch an air strike inside Pakistan violating the Line of Control (LoC). Unfortunately, besides a few cautionary statements, the international community has not tried enough to persuade India to deal its tragedyin a transparent manner. Terrorism is a global phenomenon and demands countries around the world to unite against this menace. However, no real peace can be achieved without denying people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to self-determination. Why is the world not ready to acknowledge that the human rights violations taking place in India are some of the worst kindswitnessed in recent decades? Why should Kashmiri people be subjected to pellet guns, brutal military occupation, violence and oppression instead of peace, democracy and human security? Violence only begets more violence. Indian atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir would only lead to more uprising among the youth which has now been pushed to a tipping point of desperation and helplessness. In the recent years, more than 6,000 peoplehave lost their eyesight at the hands of Indian security forces. 2016 is still recalled by locals as the year of mass blinding in Kashmir, or as the “dead-eye epidemic”.It is high time the global community and world leaders realise that without having a fair, peaceful and impartial solution to the Kashmir dispute, there is a looming danger of instability in the regionInstead of holding India accountable for excessive use of state-led violence and persistent human rights abuses under Narendra Modi, the world simply looked the other way. If the hearts of Kashmiri people beat with Pakistan, there is nothing the world can do about it. Instead of winning hearts in Kashmir if India chooses heavy-handedness, it’s not going to help putting the onus on Pakistan for the fallout. The youth uprising in Kashmir can cause great harm to Indian occupation and provide strength and support to separatist movements. Accusing Pakistan over every violent or terror act in Kashmir and other parts of India is not going to lead to any resolution.Instead, India needs to do some serious soul searching regarding its constant disengagement on all outstanding issues. No wise nation wants to oscillate between extremes ofwar and disengagement policy. Why can’t two responsible countries act and behave in a more mature and pragmaticfashion keeping peace and well-being of1.5 billion people a priority instead of political interests?The government in Pakistan should work towards holistically implementing the National Action Plan (NAP) and tighten its control over proscribed organisations to curtail their visibility and rhetoric. Our policy on Kashmir and peace process with India should be formulated and debated by the elected parliament and not some extremistvigilantes who damage the interest of the country by taking law in their own hands. On the other hand, South Asia is a region with enormous untapped potential in terms of trade, cultural exchanges, tourism, development and sustainable peace. There is a need to wage a real war against poverty, unemployment, climate change, terrorism but it is going to take much cooperation. The hegemonic ambitions of India have been holding the entire region from progression. The region is paying a huge cost due to India’s neglect of SAARC and focus onother blocs such as BRICS. There is a need for realisation on the Indian side that it is India which is going to benefit disproportionately with greater regional integration and ‘peace dividend’ in South Asia. By promoting more regional development and peace in the region, it will be uplifting lives of millions of poor people. Without a more prosperous, integrated and peaceful SAARC, India can never realise its dream of becoming a global power.The desire for peace is not weakness and further escalation pose a grave threat to world peace. States such asChina, Saudi Arabia, US and the UK can play a major role in convincing both countries to exercise restraint. The United Nations must also play its role in bringing down temperatures and facilitate peace process before further escalation takes place and help in devising a peace building mechanism.It is high time the global community and world leaders realise that without having a fair, peaceful and impartial solution to the Kashmir dispute, there is a looming danger of instability in the region. Instead of always telling Pakistan to do more, it is the global community instead that needs to play its part for promoting peace and dialogue and end human rights abuses in IoK.India needs to review its belligerent stance and use diplomatic efforts to address its legitimate concerns on terrorism through dialogue instead of earning political mileage from the situation.The writer is an economic development analyst based in LahorePublished in Daily Times, March 6th 2019.