The Chairmen of both the factions of the All Parties’ Hurriyet Conference (APHC), Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have lamented the plight of the long suffering people of Kashmir. The ageing, but highly popular, leader Ali Geelani has called upon Asia Watch and Amnesty International to come forward and do something to put an end to the human rights violations being committed by the Indian security forces. At the same time, the youngish Mirwaiz has once again berated the Pakistan government for showing little interest in the resolution of the dispute on account of, as he felt, preoccupation with its own internal affairs. The charge of downgrading the priority issue of Kashmir by Pakistan’s present political setup hardly needs proving; it is unmistakably evident. Rather than pursuing it both at New Delhi and international forums with a commitment that its importance for Pakistan would reflect, the government confines itself only to paying lip service to the cause and that too for local public consumption. Instead, the weak leadership that runs the country today has finally succumbed to India’s long held wish to put aside the Kashmir issue and set about normalising relations with it. For, that suits New Delhi, admirably. Once the idea of normalisation takes hold in minds of Pakistani leaders, people-to-people exchanges become an everyday feature and bilateral commercial ties grow, India would put forward the argument that any attempt at disturbing the status quo in Kashmir would upset the applecart of peace and harmony of the subcontinent. The global community, preferring peaceful conditions to meeting the aspirations of the occupied people, would go along India, thus effectively ending the Kashmiris’ cherished dream of freedom from India.Pakistan must realise that the struggle the people of Kashmir are waging is, to all intents and purposes, a struggle for Pakistan’s survival since such vital issues as the availability of water to meet the basic needs of the citizenry are at stake. The Kashmiri leaders’ call should serve to jolt them out of their illusion of taking up the dispute at a later date. It would be too late then. Islamabad has to put its diplomacy into top gear and launch a concerted campaign to bring into world focus the genesis of the problem, the wishes of the local people and the inhumanities they have to bear to get rid of the Indian stranglehold.Let Syed Ali Geelani’s call for setting free those languishing under house arrest and the human rights commission’s demand to the local authorities to explain the deaths of children in the military hospital, be the starting points for the Pakistan government to get the international community involved in the settlement of the dispute. Following up the issue with a firm resolve with the intention of settling it would not only secure the Kashmiris their inalienable right to decide their future, but also assure our own survival.