KARACHI: Cameron Munter, a former ambassador of the United States to Pakistan, on Monday suggested to Pakistan to go for smart diplomacy and try to reconcile with India although it was very hard to do so in the current scenario.
Addressing members of the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) at a local hotel, he said Pakistan had the only option of diplomacy for resolution of disputes as neighbours could not be changed.
Mr Munter, also a former president of the East West Institute, said that Kashmir was the key issue but it should not drag Pakistan away from its domestic issues.
The countries of the world have condemned India for atrocities in Kashmir, but for this issue, relations between the two neighbouring countries should not be halted, he said.
Neighbours cannot be changed, says Cameron Munter
He said Pakistan would have to realise that it could take a long time to settle Kashmir but both countries should keep moving forward despite this tough patch in the relations.
“We know that owing to this situation, it is very difficult for Pakistanis to love India but they should try to. I hope this situation will not escalate further to reach a point to even consider atomic misadventure. Nuclear war cannot be handled,” he said.
He said Pakistan’s Kashmir issue with India was just like Mexico had with the United States. Mexico remained an issue for the US for a long time and the world’s superpower had to listen to the other side to resolve the issue, he added.
“President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Imran Khan now have a good chemistry, which is an encouraging sign. Imran Khan has earned a good image in the US. It is just a beginning and this will put relations between the two friendly nations on better tracks again,” said Mr Munter.
Responding to a question, he admitted that it was a fact that many countries had their economic interests in India as Pakistan had with China. But, he added, Pakistan would have to play it very sensibly and should not stick to any side.
“Pakistan should honestly think about what China is going to offer it and how this will impact its culture. There are good cultural relations between the US and Pakistan. Around one million Muslims are in trouble in China and they are re-educating them but Prime Minister Imran Khan will not be interested in talking on it because China is a friend of Pakistan. The US is also a friend of Pakistan. Sometimes, leaders have to make unpopular decisions,” he said.
Ikram Sehgal, the chairman of the KCFR, in his opening remarks called Mr Munter a good friend of Pakistan and said that people of his stature could take the country’s narrative to the world.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2019