Of Dialogue and Denial

Of Dialogue and Denial

The position of New Delhi and Islamabad on the dispute over Kashmir is very well known. So are the legality and the history of the dispute. However, whenever Pakistan raises the issue at whatever level, domestically or internationally, India feels riled up repeating its post-1994 (parliament resolution) position that the only issue for it was ‘how to take’ that portion of the territory which Pakistan controls. This is precisely what happened for the nth time on Thursday when Pakistan’s High Commissioner to New Delhi said what Islamabad has always maintained, and New Delhi responded the way it always has after the 1994 resolution.
Even if we see only the part of the New Delhi’s oft repeated statement that ‘PoK’ needs to be ‘liberated’ from Pakistani control, then why is it that New Delhi never asks Pakistan for a dialogue for that purpose? Why is it always that only Islamabad and the people of Kashmir demand a dialogue for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute?

The answer may lie in a simple fact, that a position or a claim by either about a territorial dispute involving more than one country does not always meet the demands of legality and the right of the people to determine their own political future. A resolution of either country’s parliament cannot substitute for the requirements of international law. This applies to both the contesting countries in case of Kashmir.
And if New Delhi ever demanded a dialogue for resolving its own claim over the part of Kashmir Pakistan controls, would Islamabad then raise the question of India’s internal problems before accepting a dialogue process begins, just like New Delhi responds to Islamabad’s demands for a dialogue over Kashmir by always saying that Pakistan should first deal with the issue of ‘terrorism’?
A simple examination of this question easily reveals that New Delhi is not interested in a dialogue over Kashmir, which actually also goes against its own claim over PoK, even though a plethora of political forces have been spawned, justified and cultivated inside Kashmir precisely over the ‘need’ to resolve the dispute. So, not accepting an offer or demand for dialogue over Kashmir actually amounts to denial of history which is marked by more three Indo-Pak wars, not to speak of a seven-decade-long history of death, destruction and stymied potential for peace and progress in the region. It is this denial that sustains the prevailing unacceptable conditions of uncertainty for the people of Kashmir on both sides of the divide. New Delhi shares the primary responsibility for not letting it change.

One Response to "Of Dialogue and Denial"

  1. G. Din   March 29, 2017 at 1:00 am

    “…why is it that New Delhi never asks Pakistan for a dialogue for that purpose (surrendering PoK)?”
    You can’t have dialog with a country which attacked you to take away territory from you four times – and was routed each time- because it will never countenance parting with the territory it already occupies by having a dialog. So, it is no use even making an attempt which is futile. Pakistan understands force and it is only force that will make it part with PoK as happened with Bangladesh.

    “Why is it always that only Islamabad and the people of Kashmir demand a dialogue for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute?”
    Those people of Kashmir who want to join Pakistan certainly would like the dialog. People of Jammu or Ladakh or Kashmiri Pandits don’t ask for a dialog with Pakistan or with anybody. They are happy being Indians. As far as Pakistan goes, what alternative is left to it when all its attempts, both covert and overt, have been frustrated. They would like to get by dialog what they couldn’t get on the battlefield. Sweet dreams!

    “… a position or a claim by either about a territorial dispute involving more than one country does not always meet the demands of legality and the right of the people to determine their own political future.”
    India insisted on legality when Maharaja of Kashmir begged for military help against the goons and the regulars sent by Pakistan to annex his state after breaching the “Stand-Still Agreement” that he had entered into with Pakistan by insisting that he accede to India first. So India’s position is legally tight, in fact so tight that Pakistan has not dared challenge it in any international forum. There is no such right given to the inhabitants of any territory to determine “their political future”. I challenge you to name one territory that was given that right in the whole history of mankind. Territories are handled by sovereigns between themselves. Only when people have snatched that sovereignty – and therefore become sovereigns – can they exercise that right as happened after the Bolshevik Revolution and the French Revolution. NATO exercised that option by snatching the sovereignty first in case of Bosnia and then presented that country to its people.
    “A resolution of either country’s parliament cannot substitute for the requirements of international law. ”
    Very true! Resolution is only an expression of intent of that body. It is for Pakistanis or the Srinagar Sunnis to go challenge the legality of Kashmir Accession in a proper legal forum such as the International Court. From all indication so far both are loathe to do the legal thing.

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