Pakistan, India and Kashmir

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An out of the box solution is needed

The beauty of the truth is that it cannot be suppressed for ever and it ultimately emerges triumphant. The revelation by the Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde that SSS and BJP were running ‘terror training camps’ and spreading Saffron terrorism and that they were involved in the bombing of Samjhota Express, Mecca Masjid and Malegaon, is a confirmation of that universal truth. Both these organisations are avowed enemies of Pakistan and it is no wonder that they have been carrying out these acts of terrorism with the purpose of scuttling any initiative taken for normalisation of relations between Pakistan and India.

Mere acknowledging these realities is not enough. It is now incumbent upon the government of India to ensure the closure of these training facilities for the terrorists and also put in place legal and administrative measures to prevent such happenings in the future. It is also a moral obligation of the international community, especially the world body and the US to condemn terrorism by these entities and employ their influence and pressure on the Indian government to take decisive action against these outfits and also declare them as terrorist organisations, like it has been done in the case of similar outfits in Pakistan.

It is also an undeniable reality that the non state actors in Pakistan have also worked on the similar lines and jeopardised the chances of improvement of relations between the two countries and the achievement of durable peace in the region. Both countries are presently engaged in a dialogue to resolve the disputes between them, thanks to a thoughtful initiative by the present government and the strenuous efforts made by it to revive the suspended dialogue in the wake of the attack on Taj Mahal hotel in Bombay.

The success of parleys depends on sincerity of purpose and the ability of the two countries to neutralise the non state actors as well as initiating concrete measures that verifiably indicate a marked departure from the traditional posture of hostility and the recognition of the new regional and global realities. Both sides will have to suspend their support and patronisation of covert operations within the territories of each other. They must prevent incidents of firing across the Line of Control in Kashmir and prevent them from derailing the process of the revived dialogue. The government of Pakistan has done well by not heeding to the advice of the hawks to take the incident of firing across the LoC to the UN Security Council as it would have taken us back to square one in regards to the bilateral dialogue. The bilateral arrangement must be given the chance to succeed. There is no doubt that the people on both sides want this process of rapprochement to proceed unhindered as is evident by the ‘Aman Ki Asha’ initiative unfurled by the media and intellectuals in Pakistan and India.

The governments and politicians of the two countries must realise that for the peace in the region and a change in the economic situations of the teeming millions in both the countries, the resolution of disputes between them through peaceful means is an indispensable imperative. The recent developments like easing visa regimes and granting of most favoured nation status to India and efforts to revive and expand trade and commerce between the two countries are welcome moves. Similarly, the revival of sports ties is another encouraging event. India and Pakistan, with nuclear capability, cannot afford any kind of military confrontation which can have disastrous consequences not only for the region but also for the world peace. So the military solution is out as an option. Both countries have to show commitment to peace to be able to achieve the desired goals.

It is pertinent to note that the Simla Agreement underlining the desirability of resolution of disputes between the two countries through bilateral dialogue does not change the status of the Kashmir dispute. It also does not preclude the possibility of raising it again at the UN in case the bilateral agreement fails to deliver. Article 103 of UN Charter says: “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN under the present charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present charter will prevail.” What it means is that the UN resolutions on Kashmir will take precedence over all other international agreements on the same issue.

Pakistan is very much within its right to invoke UN resolutions, after having been frustrated to find solution through the bilateral arrangement. The UN resolutions on Kashmir adopted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter remain legally binding on the parties. Article 25 also reiterates their obligatory nature. The Security Council under the UN Charter has the power to enforce its decisions and resolutions militarily or by any other means necessary; the powers that it has used during the Korean War in 1950 and in Iraq and Kuwait in 1991. It is abundantly clear from the foregoing that the legal status and obligations of the parties to the dispute under UN resolutions and that of the Security Council to have its resolutions implemented, remains unaffected.

However, looking at the international environment and the changed realities Pakistan will find it very difficult to enlist the support of the international community and the powers like US, UK and their western allies for any move to re-raise the issue at the UN forum. Even the UN has not been enthusiastic about the implementation of its resolutions. The US has a declared policy of wanting both India and Pakistan to resolve their difference and the Kashmir dispute through bilateral dialogue. It is even averse to the idea of playing a mediating role. The resolution of the Kashmir conundrum, therefore, requires an out of the box solution with the involvement of the two governments and the leaders of Kashmir to settle this issue in conformity with the new ground realities and keeping in view the long term interests of the people of India, Pakistan and Kashmir. All stakeholders need to adopt a futuristic approach that ultimately brings peace in the region and the resolution of the disputes amicably.

The writer is an academic.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Perfectly explained by Mr Malik. Perhaps we are in the worst part of the world. Misery has been the fate of South Asia.

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