India’s shrill assertiveness
It is true that that war between the two nuclear states is not an option; however for durable peace, Kashmir dispute has to be resolved in accordance with United Nations Security Council’s resolutions. India and Pakistan had many rounds of dialogue to resolve the disputes including the core issue of Kashmir, but no progress could be made due to shrill assertiveness of India.
It is a matter of record that first prime minister of India Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru had declared on the floor of Lok Sabha that UN resolutions bestowing on the people of Kashmir to decide about their destiny will be implemented. But later, all Indian governments took the position that Kashmir was integral part of India. President Asif Ali Zardari in his address at the United Nations General Assembly said that “Kashmir remained a symbol of the failures of the United Nations rather than its strengths”. India’s external affairs minister criticized Pakistan at the United Nations for raising the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.
S.M. Krishna told the General Assembly that India had resumed dialogue with Pakistan and wanted to normalize relations. He severely criticized a speech made by President Asif Ali Zardari last week, saying Pakistan had no business meddling in India’s predominantly Muslim state of Jammu and Kashmir. “An unwarranted reference has been made to Jammu and Kashmir from this podium,” he said, adding, “We wish to make it abundantly clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.”
One could ask the question that if it was integral part of India, then why it has been holding negotiations with Pakistan? Earlier, India always took the position that according to Tashkent Declaration after 1965 War and Simla Agreement after 1971 War, all disputes will be resolved through bilateral dialogue. But that did not mean that UNSC resolutions had become redundant. Former President Musharraf had more than once expressed Pakistan’s willingness to go beyond its stated position provided India reciprocated, but India did not respond to the gesture.
In case, India continues to balk at resolving the Kashmir dispute either on the basis of the UNSC resolutions or any arrangement acceptable to India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir, there can never be a durable peace in the region. The international community has to understand that Tashkent and Simla agreements were signed by Pakistan under duress. However, 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”. Anyhow, India is focusing on confidence building measures to enhance people to people contact, cultural exchanges and economic cooperation, but these are not alternatives to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute over which both countries had three wars. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s intellectuals, journalists, analysts and members of so-called civil society overwhelmed by the slogans of peace downplay the Indian atrocities on Kashmiris.
Of course people of Pakistan and India want to live in peace, as the war brings death and destruction. Apart from cultural exchanges there have been exchanges of lawyers and jurists, but all strata of society in India support Indian government’s stance; whereas in Pakistan most analysts, intellectuals and journalists are critical of Pakistan government, its military and agencies as if they are creating roadblocks in the way of peace. During an interaction with a visiting delegation of over a hundred Indian lawyers, Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in good faith said: “Unfortunately, both India and Pakistan have not been able to maintain normal neighborly relations since their inception. Jurists, being the most law-knowing and mature people, can play their role in not only creating the environment for peaceful interaction between the two neighbours but also ensuring that such interaction is translated into real time trust and harmony.” The chief justice had expected of the jurists of India that they will help create harmony.
But Dr. Adish Aggarwala, President International Jurists Council who spearheaded the Indian delegation, said: “The delegation had discussed several proposals with Pakistani lawyers, including a proposal to declare the Line of Control a permanent international border”. In fact, this is the stance of India backed by the US as well as European countries. In fact, one would not find a single Indian politician, analysts or journalist except Arundhati Roy, who would raise his voice over India’s atrocities on the people of Indian Held Kashmir. It has to be mentioned that for over six decades, Kashmiris have been denied their right to self-determination bestowed by the United Nations Security Council resolutions due to the apathy shown by the international community. No other nation perhaps has gone through such a long ordeal and suffering in the history and their unending nightmare continues. International community should understand the gravity of the situation and help resolve the Kashmir issue.
However, it does not look like they will do it because only when public protest fits into the geopolitical designs of the US and the West that they declare it a popular movement and honour it with the award of a colour label. The orange revolution of Ukraine, the rose revolution of Georgia, the cidar revolution of Lebanon and much earlier velvet revolution of Czechoslovakia would pale before the Kashmiris’ movement for their freedom, yet no colour label has been given by the West. It has to be mentioned that in none of the above cases there was a UN mandate, whereas Kashmiris have been given the right to self-determination by the UNSC in 1948 and 5th January 1949. In fact, the United Nations was created after the end of the World War II on the ruins of the League of Nations, which had failed to give justice to the weaker nations. If the UN also fails to provide justice to the smaller countries, it may meet the fate of the League of Nations, and a new forum may by created but after ‘World War III.