Kashmir’s UN Linkages and the Indian Roadmap
Two thrusts of arguments by the Indian Foreign Minister S M Krishna , made from podium of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) leaves barely a doubt as to where the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP), which commenced in Jan 2004, following the rolling back of India’s Operation Parakram (Dec 2001-Oct 2002), is headed. The angry outpourings poignantly make manifest the Indian design of relegating the core issue of Kashmir in the CDP and replacing it with the contrived up subject of terrorism, as the leading issue. Responding to President Zardari’s speech a few days earlier in which he had said that that “Kashmir remains a symbol of failures, rather than strengths of the UN System” and invoked the presence of the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir guaranteeing right of self determination of the Kashmiris, Krishna said that “an unwarranted” reference to Kashmir [by the President of Pakistan] was made from the forum of the UNGA. “We wish to make it abundantly clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India”.
When asked if the verbal sparring over Kashmir at the UN could prove an irritant in the efforts being made to normalize the Indo-Pak ties, he responded, “We will continue our dialogue with Pakistan and the road map has been drawn. We will try to stick to the road map and let us see how it goes.” The question goes a-begging; if the Indian road map to dialogue with Pakistan is sans Kashmir then where is this effort leading us to?
President Zardari’s mentioning of Kashmir at the UNGA deliberations was relevant, essential and to the point; after all, the theme designated by President of the General Assembly for the debate during the 67th session (25Sep – 1 October 2012) was “Adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means”. Kashmir has inalienable linkages to the UN and if Krishna was attempting a blackout on the subject then he was indulging in the worst form of skullduggery which, over the years, has come to acquire the status of the official lie that Indian diplomats are well trained to spew out with a straight face. The riddle of the Indian “roadmap” becomes easier to untangle if one factors in the Krishna’s parallel diatribe, blaming Pakistan for the slow development in bringing to justice the alleged culprits of the Mumbai terror strike in Nov 2009; cryptically called 26/11 by the Indian spin-doctors. In addition to taking a dig at Kashmir, Krishna was obviously making the best of his UNGA speech time to wrongly harangue Pakistan over alleged lack of earnest to respond to questionable evidence provided by India to Pakistan through a slew of error filled and casually prepared dossiers claiming to prove Pakistan’s involvement in 26/11. Before taking on the infamous Indian dossiers it is in the fitness of things to first clean up the cobwebs of Indian propaganda related to the UN linkages to Kashmir.
The UN linkages to Kashmir and India’s studied chicanery to sidestep these are a subject in itself but certain facts need to be reiterated to define the context of Kashmir’s case. A much ignored fact remains that it was India which took the case of Kashmir to the UN on 31st December 1947, making an appeal to the UNSC, alleging Pakistan’s support to the Kashmiri rebels, mostly from Poonch and some tribal lashkars ; defying the Indian design of occupying Kashmir by force. Pakistan made its own submission two weeks later; taking a stance that India had acquired accession of Kashmir by fraud and violence and that the Kashmiris had an inalienable right to exercise their option of self determination. UNSC Resolutions of 17th and 20th January 1948 and 21st April 1948 endorsed the concept of a fair and free plebiscite in determining the wishes of the Kashmiris to join India or Pakistan. The Resolutions also provided the constitution of a five member United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), drawing its members from United States, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Colombia and Germany to facilitate the execution of the UN mandate. Theoretically the UN resolutions’ implementation on ground wouldn’t have posed major problem. Nehru, the then Indian Prime Minister had on number of occasions placed himself on record supporting the Kashmiris right of self determination. But Krishna’s declaration from the forum of UNGA calling Kashmir an “attot ang” is a manifestation of India’s contemptible deceit in brazenly attempting to take the issue in a blind alley despite presence of valid UN resolutions made 65 years ago.
A few words about Krishna’s allegations that Pakistan is not proceeding post haste in bringing the culprits of 26/11 to book despite ample evidence in the Dossiers provided by the Government of India. Pakistan has made it amply clear, and on different occasions through various forums that the evidence received from India is so tepid that it can not stand to the scrutiny of the courts to establish the guilt of those accused by India of participating in 26/11, including Hafiz Saeed. It stands out as a measure of the casual attitude by Indian authorities that in the list of DNA reports of ten alleged terrorists given to Pakistan on March 13, 2009 in Dossier-2, two different DNA reports were attributed to the same person. Another dossier mentioned statement by Ajmal Kasab as an enclosure but none was to be found due to what was later claimed to be a clerical error; only after Pakistan indicated to the glaring omissions. Such casual and non-professional attitude demonstrated by the Indian Government exposes the concocted propaganda that Pakistan is not interested in taking to law the perpetrators of 26/11 despite incriminating evidence made available. This well deliberated Indian design seeks to have terrorism as the most urgent and vital issue to be resolved between the two countries through dialogue; acquiring an overriding priority that should even push Kashmir to a relegated position during the course of the CDP.
US presence in our neighborhood following 9/11 has created a backlash of terrorism in Pakistan. At a time when the country is reeling under the impact of terrorist incidents it is amazing that India finds it convenient to hold Pakistan responsible for creating mayhem in India. Such tactics which are manifestly contrived to push Kashmir to oblivion in the conduct of the CDP can only be called expedient and wishful. The South Asian Region will know no peace unless the issue of Kashmir is taken to a logical conclusion in deference to the wishes of the Kashmiris. This is so because rather than being territorial, Kashmir embodies the principled aspirations of a vibrant people. Much blood has been spilled and sacrifices offered. Kashmiri people are the true custodians of the movement to acquire for themselves the universally recognized right of self determination and Pakistan has all the right to provide full moral and diplomatic support to such endeavors.