By Nasir Qadri
With the partition of British India, two independent states came into being by a result of the messy transfer of power from British colonial rule to two newly independent states of India and Pakistan. Both have celebrated over sixty anniversaries. The partition pact allowed the people to decide their future on the basis of Two-Nation theory, i.e. Hindu majority areas were to be a part of India, whereas Muslim majority areas were to be assimilated to newly-born Pakistan. The place of Kashmir, as being a Muslim-majority area, among these new nations, was hotly debated. However, an adequate solution was prevented when India sent her troops to occupy J&K forcibly under the garb of self-concocted temporary instrument of accession.
The international community’s endeavors to help resolve the Kashmir issue began only weeks after the dispute erupted in 1947. All have recognized that India, after increasing international pressure, plainly consented to the U.N mandated plebiscite, leaving the people of the state to decide their future political destiny. The United Nations passed a multitude of resolutions pressing upon Indian authority to desist from its adamant stance in order to have the conflict resolved. All have recognized that the continuing refusal of the Indian government to countenance a resolution to the Kashmir issue led to the outbreak of an insurrection against Indian rule in the Kashmir at the end of 1989. Before the eruption of insurgency in the early nineties, India and Pakistan fought several wars but unfortunately with no significant outcome. Indian authority has gone to every possible extent in order to suppress the voice of peoples. It is by the coercive and suppressive policies of India that Jammu and Kashmir and the life of its people have been reduced to that of two legged helpless creatures put under the ferocious clutches of barbaric army rule.
One questions the significance and essence of the UN charter which envisages that every single human being and every community has a birth right to be free, prosperous and peaceful of their own choice. It absolves of all colonial dictates and drifts to put any community under the shackles of slavery. History bears witness that Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, who was initially resistant to any international intervention, finally consented to the advice of Lord Mountbatten. It was on 1st January 1948 that India formally referred the fighting in J&K to the Security Council under Article 35 of UN charter, which permits any member of state to bring a situation to its notice whose continuance is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
America, Britain, and Soviet Russia have made a number of efforts outside the United Nations to resolve the Kashmir dispute. A number of US presidents engaged the Kashmir question in the 1950s and 1960s. Dwight D. Eisenhower, for example, weighed in to promote US supervised India–Pakistan negotiations on a basket of crucial issues including Kashmir. The Indian authorities rejected the intervention of John F. Kennedy, Eisenhower’s successor, who sought a settlement after India’s defeat by China in the 1962 border. However, the harsh stance of the Indian authority proved to be detrimental and despite the United States and Britain’s increasing involvement, stalled Kennedy’s efforts. Moscow’s turn came in 1966, when Alexei Kosygin, the Soviet premier, engineered an agreement at Tashkent which concluded at the Second Indo-Pak war. It did not come to grips with the underlying issue of Kashmir’s political future that had triggered the war.
As a matter of fact, New Delhi continued to resist the internationalization of the issue and rejected all offers for dispute resolution altogether. India had long since recognized that its bringing Kashmir before the United Nations in 1948 was a blunder and concluded that as the militarily stronger country it was in its interest to deal with the dispute bilaterally if at all. However, Pakistan has always maintained that the Kashmir issue must be resolved by involving the international community in letter and spirit.
Present possibilities for an international intervention:
It is quite obvious that several developments have taken place in recent years that seem to call for a more active international approach. The United States should take a lead in any such initiative, given its political clout and diplomatic and economic resources to undertake the heavy lifting needed to persuade India to finally reach a settlement. Moscow could use its influence in New Delhi to persuade the Indians to be more pragmatic and sincere. Beijing could play a vital role as it has occupied a significant place in world politics, and there must be sustained diplomacy on behalf of Pakistan to get them on board regarding the final settlement of the Kashmir issue.
Moreover, the European Union has to be motivated through a well-knit diplomatic way to mount pressure upon Indian authorities to shun its arrogant and haughty behavior in order to make headway in this long-vexed dispute. Besides the above-mentioned international possibilities, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), especially the Saudi Arabia led coalition, requires to be convinced diplomatically and ethically because if the issue will have to reach to its logical end, they will have to play a pivotal role in convincing Indian authorities to come forward with efforts to address the genuine aspiration of the people of Kashmir.
However all the possibilities can successfully be achieved when Pakistan, an indispensable party to the issue, resumes its moral, political, and diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the suffering of the Kashmiri people.
—Nasir Qadri is a practicing lawyer at the High Court. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org