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|June 13, 1998||
New Delhi foresaw Pak rejectionTara Shankar Sahayin New Delhi
Pakistan's rejection yesterday of India's offer to resume the foreign secretary-level dialogue was anticipated in New Delhi.
Sources said Islamabad now seems to be convinced that the US would effectively intervene in the dialogue, especially on the Kashmir issue.
A quick survey of US interest in Kashmir during the past 50 years indicates that Washington tried to intervene on 14 occasions.
However, Washington had to back out when it found its strategic objectives would not be ''served significantly'' by poking its nose in the Kashmir issue.
It appears that the last time the US evinced some interest in the issue was in the 1980s, when Pakistan-sponsored terrorism began creating havoc in the valley.
At that time, India successfully countered the terrorist activity and prevented the valley from becoming another Bosnia.
The US suddenly realised that ''ethnic-cleansing was not in their interest'' and advised Pakistan to resume dialogue with India.
According to one ministry of external affairs estimate, Pakistan had pleaded with 112 countries to help resolve the Kashmir issue since 1972. This includes repeated pleas to the US.
Though nobody in New Delhi takes seriously the contention that India and Pakistan are about to fight a nuclear war because of Kashmir, Islamabad keeps projecting that such a situation is inevitable.
Indications are that domestic factors are making Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharief desperate, forcing him to show something tangible to his people, at least on the Kashmir front.
Obviously, his position will be quite vulnerable once the euphoria over the nuclear tests subsides.
His dependence on China increases the prime minister's vulnerability. The people now appear to be asking whether Islamabad's nuclear bombs are of Chinese origin.
If so, what is that Pakistan has achieved, seems to be the question.
In such a scenario, the resumption of dialogue with India would be suicidal for Sharief, said a source, refusing to elaborate.
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