The US policy on the two issues of Kashmir and Afghanistan, both of vital interest to Pakistan, that President Barack Obama outlined while giving an interview to the Press Trust of India is starkly in contrast with what Pakistan perceives could bring durable peace in the region. And the Americans’ declared objective of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan and Pakistan, living without the menace of terrorism with potential to strike anywhere in the world, remains a dream.

As resolution of the Kashmir dispute has become hostage to New Delhi’s refusal to honour its own international commitments to meet the aspirations of the local people, leaving it to Pakistan and India to settle, as Mr Obama has opined in the interview, amounts to letting the festering sore continue to bleed. It is unfortunate that the world continues to ignore the reality of the denial of Kashmiris’ birthright to decide their own future. Kashmir, it merits reiterating, is not marred by an insurgency against a lawfully established government, but is a case of forcible occupation being maintained by the daily enacting of a humanitarian tragedy. It is doubly unfortunate that the man who rightly sensed, while he was seeking election to the most powerful office in the world, that without the issue’s resolution in a fair manner there can be no peace in the subcontinent and committed himself to address it meaningfully should have given up that mission at the altar of misconceived strategic and economic gains. With the people in the Valley waging their freedom struggle with sacrifices in blood, it is obvious that the sentiments of their supporters and sympathisers would continue to get inflamed, provoking them to lend their backing in one form or another. The pot of violence, hatred and discontent would thus keep boiling. One hopes President Obama would realise the harm that his change of mind is doing to world peace!

For Afghanistan’s troubles as well, the US President’s recipe of giving India the lead role in development of the country after the 2014 drawdown of foreign troops and the training of Afghan security personnel that it is currently doing would not heal the wounds caused by the war on terror. Pakistan, having contiguous borders and close ethnic and religious ties with Afghanistan has genuine interests in bringing about peaceful conditions there. Neglecting it and sponsoring India’s hegemonic designs, would have serious repercussions.