Friday, January 29, 2016

Kashmir: Forgotten Question of Oppressed People

Under the present global Chess-playing of economically and militarily ambitions world powers, the right of self-determination of all suppressed nations, especially, the people of Kashmir has been forgotten by the UN. The Kashmiris in hundreds of thousands, since 1947, sacrificed their lives, honor and property or faced banishment for it but couldn’t see the dawn of freedom. India rules the roost in Kashmir. It’s not ready for arbitration, or mediation, or facilitation to settle the dispute. India has a vested interest in statuesque, which is the root cause of tension and friction in the region. On the contrary, Pakistan always extended a hand of cooperation to resolve the dispute, while India always paid lip service to peaceful ways of resolving the Kashmir dispute. With the passage of time, the world community forgot the tragedy of Kashmir and its people. It constantly ignores the trauma faced by the people of the world’s extremely concentrated militarized zone.
The UN just looks on Pakistan-India stalemate as a spectator. Unfortunately, the right of self-determination, after 9/11 became a taboo, LoC was fenced, and “sab say pahlay Pakistan” slogan was coined by the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to give cover to the US doctrine of ‘war on terror’ and parrot the 4 point formula on Kashmir. He brushed the UNCIP resolutions on Kashmir. No Pakistani ruler ever before had showed inclination to change the fundamentals of the Kashmir dispute. But, his formula for a soft LoC was rejected by the freedom-fighting leadership in Jammu and Kashmir. Still in one way or the other, he flirts with this idea. The former President reiterated it on October 20, 2015 in a Karachi seminar on ‘Pakistan’s past, present and future’ sponsored by KCFR. He said that when he was in Government, he came up with a formula of 4 point agenda: demilitarization from the LoC and towns, maximum self-governance, mechanisms to see self-governance and make the LoC irrelevant.

He said his idea was to try out that formula for 15 to 20 years and revisit the situation. “But that opportunity has gone by,” he said. He reiterated we needed to start again, but Indian PM Narendra Modi was in no mood for doing that. On October 1, 2015 PM Nawaz Sharif, during his address to the General Assembly, had proposed 4 peace measures: “one, Pakistan and India formalize and respect the 2003 understanding for a complete ceasefire on the LoC in Kashmir,” to be strengthened by the expansion of the UNMOGIP to monitor the observance of the ceasefire.” “Two, Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the use or the threat of use of force under any circumstances.” Three, steps are taken to demilitarize Kashmir.” Four, agree to an unconditional mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battle ground.” The P.M noted that in 1997 when the composite dialogue was launched with India, both sides agreed this would encompass two principal items, Kashmir, peace and security, along with six other issues, including terrorism. The primacy and urgency of addressing these 2 issues is even more compelling today. Consultations with Kashmiris, who are an integral part of the dispute, are essential to evolving a peaceful solution.” He noted, since 1947, the Kashmir dispute has remained unresolved, and relevant UN S.C resolutions have too remained unimplemented. “Three generations of Kashmiris have only seen broken promises and brutal oppression. Over 100,000 have died in their struggle for the right of self-determination. This is the most persistent failure of the U.N,” the P.M noted. Obviously, while Musharraf aimed at some vague solution of making the LoC irrelevant in J&K, Nawaz Sharif proposes peace, security measures; and consultations with Kashmiris to gain the regional peace as well as the right of self-determination. But, apprehensions exist that the Nawaz approach may not end up in different conclusions.

Last year, on 25 December, in the wake of Nawaz-Narendra bonhomie at the former’s Umar Jati residence in Lahore, political circles got an inkling that Musharraf’s 4-point formula would be renamed and modified as ‘Kashmir Formula’ to sell the idea before the Kashmiris as ‘old wine in a new bottle.’ It’s unfortunate that that the successive governments of Pakistan by now couldn’t use the firm, unrelenting and popular struggle of the Kashmiris for bringing India on the negotiating table, especially when the U.S and Europe needed Pakistan most, for winning the war on terror. Indian stand on Kashmir continues to be as hawkish as ever. The regime is led by fanatics with their belief in inhuman Hindu customs and traditions. Apparently, Indian establishment’s soft statements on Pakistan before or after Pathankot Air-base attack are nothing than to keep this country in deception in order to strengthen its safe-house in Afghanistan. The U.S, Russia, U.K, Europe, Iran have friendly relations with it. China’s policy is to live as a trade-partner with all including India. Reportedly, it suggests Pakistan should wait for a time, have business relations with India, as the time doesn’t favour Kashmir’s resolution. But, China doesn’t okay surrendering the Kashmir cause like the US. U.S already has extended military and diplomatic support to India against China. Another interested axis also led by Russia in Syria is pro-India. France too has joined it after 13/11, ferociously.

 All these powers are terribly involved in a blind war on terror, without any concept of mercy for children and women in the war-torn zones of the ME DAESH is their creation, their pretext and ploy against Islam in the Middle East. They have some common enemies and they fight a proxy war as well against each other for controlling trade, commerce, energy and water resources and strategic interests in the Crescent world. Here, Pakistan’s friends in the region don’t see eye to eye with one another. Pakistan faces a dilemma in the Middle East quagmire. Enough of dust has been thrown on the right of self-determination, especially Kashmir and Palestine. To them, Kashmir is an India-Pakistan issue, or headache of Pakistan. On the other hand Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir has many ambiguities. Notwithstanding the unprecedented sacrifices by the Kashmiris, they play only second fiddle for the resolution of Kashmir. Russians have not changed their pro-India stance, and Pakistan’s so-called American friends are today proud of their Indian partnership. Therefore, despite their contrasting and divergent interests, IS threat in the Mid-East keeps the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia and Iran away from an open war in the region. But, the ambition for regional supremacy has brought the risk of war on their door-steps. There is no room for Kashmir in this big power-rivalry, and the US and Russian satellites entirely ignore massacres in Palestine and Kashmir. War on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya by projecting some lame excuses of the weapons of mass destruction, or Al Qaida, or Taliban; Proxy wars between Russia and the US; Saudi Arabia and Iran in Syria, Yemen, Gulf; military control by IS in Iraq, Syria and Taliban in Afghanistan, have overshadowed Kashmir. But, it does not mean peace in Kashmir. India can’t claim a political or moral authority in Kashmir, although the world pretends to be deaf and dumb. Our region can’t translate the dream of peace into a reality without granting the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir. Pakistan as a member State has access with the world community, therefore, it must impress on her friends like Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia, even Iran, to help resolving the dispute by demilitarization of the State of J&K. The situation in Kashmir is ripe for it. Pakistan, with its friends, and the Kashmiris should put their heads together to break India’s pigheadedness, or else, a sea of humanity is unsafe and insecure.

Any mishap in this region can flare into open war in the South Asia. There are reminiscences of the 20th century scourges of war, and today the monster of death and destruction has opened its mouth to devour humanity. Poor humanity in every state is thirsty for peace. The only question is to show Courage, wisdom and magnanimity, for grabbing the opportunity. The right of self-determination and peace must be the bench mark for resolving world conflicts to create an environment of peace and peaceful co-existence between the warring states, and oppressed nations including India and Pakistan. Imperialism and expansionism offers breeding ground for all proxy wars and terrorism of the time that have plunged the innocent humanity and God’s graphic, multi-stylish and unparalleled beautiful universe into sheer hell.
Note: The author is the Chairman Jammu and Kashmir People’s Freedom League, and former convener All Parties Hurriyet Conference AJK.
Published in “Pakistan Observer” 26, January 2016 Print edition