On January 05 1949, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) had adopted a unanimous resolution by which Kashmiris’ right of self-determination was limited only to accession to India or Pakistan. The principles supplementary to the Commission’s Resolution of August 13, 1948 among other principles stated: “The question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite. A plebiscite will be held when it shall be found by the Commission that the cease-fire and truce arrangements set forth in Parts I and II of the Commission’s resolution of 13 August 1948, have been carried out and arrangements for the plebiscite have been completed.” However, India showed utter disregard to the UNSC resolutions and continued to commit murder, rape and committing atrocities on the people of Kashmir.
Ideas had been flouted, what was said ‘out of box solution’. Former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri in his book revealed that Islamabad and New Delhi were close to striking a deal on Kashmir through secret talks during former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s tenure. The two sides through their respective national security advisers at that time even exchanged non-papers suggesting ‘out of the box’ solution to the longstanding problem. “The proposed agreement suggested joint management of both sides of Kashmir and demilitarisation of the disputed territory. However, political upheaval as a result of lawyers’ long march in Pakistan against Musharraf in 2007 disrupted the process,” it was revealed. Perhaps on a cue from Indian government, an article was published in the Asian Age – an Indian daily, in which the writer had discussed the possibility of resolving the Kashmir issue on the lines of an agreement reached over Andorra in 1993 between France and Spain.
Andorra is a co-principality situated on the border of Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains, and co-princes are Bishop of Urgel (Spain) and the French President. It joined the United Nations as a member state in 1993, and was a recognized parliamentary democracy. But there are marked differences. Andorra’s population is 85000 whereas Kashmir’s population is around 15 million Jammu and Kashmir and 5 million (Total 20 million). Secondly, there is UN resolution on Kashmir giving the people to decided about their destiny, whereas there was no such resolution for andorra. Anyhow, Syed Ali Gilani of Hurriyat Conference always rejected any other solution except UN resolution that gave people of Kashmir the right to join India or Pakistan through a plebiscite under the aegis of the UN. Rejecting the “Out of Box” solution, Chairman Democratic Freedom Party (DPF) Shabir Ahmad Shah has also rejected “Out of Box” solution.
Terming the statement of Indian ambassador in Pakistan TCA Raghavan as “far from reality and incorrect”, the DFP chairman said: “When we talk of Jammu and Kashmir, we mean that territory which existed before the partition of India and the referendum is the solution to resolve the disputed status of the whole region.” India has been taking the plea that following Simla Agreement, the two countries were under obligation to settle their differences by peaceful means throughbilateral Agreement. However, Pakistan’s position is that resolutions are still valid. One should not ignore the fact that Article 103 of Chapter XVI of the UN Charter clearly states: “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the United Nations under the present Charter and any other international agreement, their obligation under the present charter shall prevail”.
In fact, 9/11 events had drastically changed political landscape of the world, and became a source of setback for Kashmiris’ liberation movement, as since then even genuine struggle for freedom is construed as terrorist act. India took advantage of the situation and tried to ruthlessly crush the Kashmiris’ struggle. On the other hand, international community failed to stop Indian atrocities on Kashmiris, and also did not exert enough pressure to implement UNSC resolutions that gave Kashmiris the right to self-determination. Amnesty International (AI) issues reports on human rights violations in many countries of the world, but rarely highlights the sad plight of Kashmiris. At least once, the AI had called upon India to revoke especially draconian law, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which provided immunity to the personnel of armed forcesinvolved in human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. Yet, Kashmiris are determined to achieve their inalienable right.
In view of protest by the writers, poets and intellectuals against mistreatment of minorities in India which has brought ignominy to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has realized that if he remains in a confrontational mode with Pakistan and other neighbours, India will suffer. It is stated policy of Pakistan that unless there is visible progress on resolution of core issue of Kashmir, Pakistan will not allow India transit trade to Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics. Pakistan always suspected that India would use commerce as a way to undermine Pakistan’s fidelity to Kashmir. With Afghanistan becoming the member of the SAARC, India wanted Pakistan to open land route for Indian exports to Afghanistan. During former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kabul in August 2007, then Afghan president Hamid Karzai had called on Pakistan to open transit routes to allow Indian aid to flow into impoverished Afghanistan.
Then prime minisiter Shaukat Aziz had made it clear that without resolving the Kashmir dispute Pakistan could not give concessions to India. Earlier, he had said: “Wahga border has always been open for passage of Afghan goods to India, and it would allow a pipeline to pass through its territory, but would not allow the reverse trade unless there is visible progress on the Kashmir issue.” India indeed wants to have links with the Central Asian Republics for its energy needs and for export of goods and equipment; and economic compulsions or potential benefits could goad India to enter into serious dialogue to resolve the Kashmir dispute. If PM Narendra Modi wants to fulfill his ambition to perform economic miracle and make India member of the UNSC and to perform economic miracle, he has to mend fences and resolve disputes with the neighbours.
—The writer is a senior journalist based in Lahore.