Mr. Nawaz Sharif, PM of Pakistan, on his way to USA has given a statement in London about USA intervening to resolve Kashmir dispute. It was not known whether he pressed this issue when he met USA officials. But Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. Salman Khurshid outright rejected this proposal of USA playing “judge”.
- Kashmir dispute is a bilateral matter and should only be resolved by the two countries. (However Pakistani PM didn’t discuss this topic when he met Indian PM).
- Violence from across the border should be totally stopped before India & Pakistan sit down to talk effectively on Kashmir issue.
Khurshid also said that any US economic aid to Pakistan must not be used in a manner that is detrimental to India’s security and strategic interests and hoped that Washington will keep that in mind as a “good strategic partner”.third party intervention on kashmir Issue There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. He said Kashmir is an integral part of India and no one should raise a question on that.
Pakistan has acute domestic problem within their country over this issue. But intervention of a third party in Kashmir Dispute is a “time tested” tool for Pakistan which reduces domestic pressure & “unites” Pakistan on this. They view that Pakistan would try to resolve the Kashmir issue with India peacefully, but if bilateral negotiations failed there was no harm in seeking third party intervention.
Position of Indian Diplomats
Mr. Sharif’s credibility is in question. His own brother who also runs Punjab government in Pakistan Punjab is reported to have been funding Lashkar-E-Taiyeba (LET) & its outfits.
Mr. Sharif has always spoken in two voices:
1. He talks vigorously that he wants to solve Kashmir issue.
2. On the other hand he given a very blur, unclear & non-transparent picture for the solution over the dispute. With violence continuing on LOC it is very difficult to go for bilateral talks as it is preoccupied with LOC violations. There is clear marking of demarcation between military & civilian government in Pakistan. Even if any civilian government will try to solve any issue with India it will be rejected & squashed by their military & ISI. Moreover, Pakistan PM doesn’t enjoy clear cut authority in exercising authority. India should give the message as “Business is not going to be as usual anymore”. We are going to “test Pakistan by its deeds and not by its words.”
REAL SITUATION OF PAKISTAN PM
1. After coming to power Pakistan PM is finding it very difficult to meet the domestic pressures.
2. He knows it very well that new government is going to come in India in a time frame of next 6 to 8 months.
3. America has been really “helpful” on various subjects of Pakistan. It even announced a big aid package recently.
4. Violence, bomb blast, political killings, etc. are still continuing & increased in some parts in Pakistan despite coming of new PM.
5. It is not just about the increase of economic & strategic importance of India which is worrying Pakistan PM but what worries him is the fact that very less genuine friends are left with Pakistan & India has a lot of such friends.
6. He has come to power after a long time & even if he decides to settle score with India he is going to need to bring together all the available options which for now are not with him.
MOST FAVOURED NATION (MFN) STATUS – AGE OLD QUESTION
Pakistan from time to time has declared to give MFN status to India. But according to our diplomats MFN status is a “myth” in Indian scenario. Pakistan is importing more from India than exporting to India. So even in absence of MFN informal route to carry out business is going on. MFN in economic terms is not an issue. But the politics behind it is a issue. Pakistan is going to give MFN status to India if India completes a list of their demands which also includes Kashmir issue.
ISSUE OF COURT PROCEDDINGS ABOUT MUMBAI ATTACKS & SIMILAR SITUATION : India wants Pakistan to show some positive signs about the proofs presented & punishment for the accused persons. But on ground reality Pakistan is never going to address this problem as it has constantly used terrorism as a weapon against India.
A NEW ISSUE : Pakistan is dragging India in the issue of Baluchistan saying that India is interfering in their internal affairs. But Baluchistan Chief Minister has himself admitted that India & Baluchistan have no connection at all. This is a game played by a “genius” Pakistan on diverting attention to unnecessary things. But Indian diplomacy knows the implications of it if India engages in such acquisitions. So, we are for now dealing with it softly. Pakistan is finding it very difficult to keep Baluchistan a part of it. A rebellion is taking place.
IMPORTANCE OF ARTICLE 370 : There is a huge demand growing of scrapping article 370 among many political parties of India in the wake of this statement of Pakistan PM. Article 370 accorded the erstwhile “princely state” of Kashmir a special status within the Indian Union. This article was based on the faulty premise of retaining for the state its territorial and demographic exclusivity, contravening all principles of federalism. It has kept the militancy oxygenated.
Article 370 was only a transient political contrivance; an expedient device conjured up by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during the Constituent Assembly debates to bring the potentially dissonant politics of Sheikh Abdullah’s National Conference within the nation’s fold. There’s never going to be a plebiscite, so why persist with Article 370, which basically amounts to a standstill policy that only India hews to pending a UN-adjudicated process of self-determination. Many think that article 370 is counter-productive. It is preventing social and economic integration of J&K & giving wrong message to world, Pakistan and separatist force that J&K is not a state in India & after 60 years of independence has still remained to be an integral part of India. India is itself not ready to accept J&K as its part.
USA POSITION: USA is never going to intervene in this matter. If it at all intervenes & put pressure on India it will directly cast a shadow on strategic relationship between India & USA which USA for the moment doesn’t want. It is going to deal with Pakistan bilaterally on this without making India come into the picture. Once there was a time in cold war period when USA was willing to put pressure on India to give away Kashmir to Pakistan. The reason behind it was to align Pakistan towards USA and make it act as a buffer zone in South Asia & act as leverage against Russia & Indian relationship. But such need is no longer alive. So USA is not going to be on the side of Pakistan.
IMPORTANCE OF SHIMLA AGREEMENT IN THIS CASE :The Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan on July 2, 1972 in Simla, the capital city of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It followed from the war between the two nations in 1971 that also led to the independence of Bangladesh, which was earlier known as East Pakistan and was part of the territory of Pakistan. The agreement was ratified by the Parliaments of both the nations in same year. Fresh from a victory in the 1971 war, Indira Gandhi signed the Simla Agreement with Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, aiming to “put an end to the conflict and confrontation” and maintain the line of control that resulted from the ceasefire of 1971. Bhutto promised he would persuade his people to accept its conversion into the international border. India insisted the two nations would settle their differences “by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations”. There was no explicit mention of the Kashmir issue. But there was a tacit understanding that the Line of Control (LoC) resulting from the 1971 truce should be converted into the international border, marking the final settlement of the Kashmir dispute.
Bhutto’s demand of that time:
1. secure the withdrawal of Indian forces from the 5,600 square miles of territory they had occupied in the Punjab and Sind.
2. 3,000 Pakistani prisoners of war released and
3. any final solution of the Kashmir dispute postponed given New Delhi’s post-war strategic advantages. Indira Gandhi wanted the LoC to be converted into international border. If that was done in writing, Gandhi pledged to meet Bhutto’s demands. But he didn’t keep his words & did everything by talks & nothing in writing.
AGRA SOLUTION : In 2003, General Parvez Musharraf proposed a four point plan for Kashmir. It includes following points: Step one: start talking to one another. We are not talking. We need to talk. Two: accept Kashmir as the issue which needs to be resolved for peace and harmony between India and Pakistan. Third step “is the process of elimination – eliminate whatever is unacceptable to India, whatever is unacceptable to Pakistan and whatever is unacceptable to the people of Kashmir. The fourth step, which he described as the most difficult step, is ‘of the 10-12 solutions proposed by people around the world, take one which is a win-win situation for India, and for the people of Kashmir’.
United Nation’s Plebiscite
The U.N. passed resolutions asking for the withdrawal of Pakistani troops from the occupied territory in Kashmir, for the reduction in the number of Indian troops in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and finally for a plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of the people of Kashmir with regard to their political affiliations. In this regard UN established UNCIP and UNMGOIP.
But since then no plebiscite could be held because of the lack of cooperation by both sides. India says that Pakistan should first withdraw its forces from Azad Kashmir and Pakistan holds India responsible for not allowing Kashmiris to ascertain their will. After so many years UN resolution is still seeking its implementation, which has very less prospects in near future to be implemented in its lateral spirit.
One another drawback of this resolution is that it doesn’t give Kashmiris an option to decide for their independent state and for this reason it is not wrong to claim that under current circumstances the solution of UN Plebiscite has lost its importance and can no more be considered as a viable solution to the problem.
United Nation’s Trusteeship Option
There is a proposal that to resolve the issue of Kashmir for some time the territory may be placed under control of trusteeship of United Nations and after a period of ten to fifteen years the matter may be referred to the people for the final verdict with regard to future status of the State. This arrangement will provide a face-saving arrangement for India, and will also give Kashmiris, on both sides of Line of Control, enough time to decide their future without any pressure or compulsion from any country or group”.
But this option is not workable until both India and Pakistan agree to withdraw their forces from the occupied areas. Secondly India has outrageously and repeatedly refused the involvement of any third party and always argues that this is a bilateral issue and only India and Pakistan should solve it. On the other hand it would be difficult for Pakistan to dismantle all the military establishments and especially the militant groups would not agree to the presence of any International forces because then they have to disarm and stop militancy. So this option doesn’t look practical under current situation.
WHAT ABOUT KASHMIRI PEOPLE : Following things should be done by India to protect the rights of Kashmiri people:
1. Allow separatism: Separate rules, separate official language, etc. of J&K should be respected and allowed. It doesn’t need to be treated as Bangladesh as East Pakistan.
2. Increase connectivity: Recent train network development in this area is a good start. Such projects which increase the connectivity of this region with rest of India should be allowed & be given encouragement.
3. Make amnesty meaningful: The militants who surrender should be well protected & be given sympathy.
4. Punish crimes, not people: Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) makes soldiers immune from prosecution even for murder, torture or rape. But same doesn’t go for Kashmiri people. Though the intention behind protecting soldiers is good it is interpreted in a wrong way by the local people which demands for certain change in the law. As “nothing is above law”.
5. Let Kashmir control its water resources : The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) controls the water and sells it back to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). The J&K government wants several power projects returned to it, and accuses NHPC of retaining these projects illegally. In these joint ventures, the NHPC gets the power, which it then distributes according to its own logic, which includes selling some of the power back to the state. From the NHPC perspective, this is efficient allocation of resources. From Kashmir’s perspective, it is internal colonialism, and given the physical geography of the state, leaves people freezing in the dark when they have ample hydroelectric capacity. Let Kashmir control its own water resources and sell to the centre, as other states have negotiated.
6. Stop using soldiers as police: Troops are for borders. If the army deployment is because Kashmir is the border with Pakistan and China, then army troops shouldn’t be seen in Srinagar or other valley towns. They should be at their border posts. Let the state police do the policing, and leave the troops at the border.
NEW PROPOSED SOLUTIONS FOR KASHMIR ISSUE
While many observers agree that the need of the hour is cessation of hostilities from militants and Indian forces, accompanied by withdrawal of bulk of the half a million Indian soldiers from the Valley( which is seen as oppressive by the locals) and unconditional dialogues between all parties involved – India, Pakistan, Kashmiris- Muslims, Pandits and other minorities, it is not clear what could be a solution acceptable to all parties. In any realistic resolution of the Kashmir conflict, the larger interest of the Kashmiris must receive priority.
Andorran Solution: This was proposed by Alastair Lamb in 1998- considered as the most eminent historian on Kashmir.
- well established precedent of Andorra : on the border between France and Spain; Internally autonomous; externally under a measure of French and Spanish influence and protection.
- Both Azad Kashmir and the Kashmir Valley could be declared as autonmous regions with its internal self-government but with its external defence and foreign affairs controlled jointly by India and Pakistan – India in the case of Valley and Pak in the case of Azad Kashmir.
- Major advantage of this Andorran solution: No territory under Indian control would be transferred to Pakistan and no territory under Pakistani control would be transferred to India. Existing LoC will become the border. India retains Jammu and Ladakh, Pakistan retains Northern Territories.
Solution by Kashmir Study Group (KSG) :
- A portion of former Princely State of J&K (mainly Valley and Azad Kashmir) be reconstituted as a sovereign entity (but one without an international personality) enjoying free access to and from both India and Pakistan
- The new entity would have its own secular, democratic constitution, as well as its own citizenship, flag, and a legislature, which would legislate on all matters other than defense and foreign affairs.
- All displaced persons, including Kashmiri Pandits, who left any portion of the Kashmir entity, shall have the right to return to their homesteads.
- The borders of Kashmir with India and Pakistan would remain open for the free transit of people, goods, and services in accordance with arrangements to be worked out between India, Pakistan, and the Kashmiri entity.
Other solutions :
Various alternative scenarios for the future of Kashmir have been envisaged by other observers. There is also a growing body of opinion from expert analysts like Professor and Peace Activist Pervez Hoodbhoy from Pakistan, which argues along the following lines:
“While independence for Kashmir Valley is not a practical solution, even internal autonomy along the lines of Andorran solution may not be forthcoming. That Kashmiris may have to reconcile to the prospect of living under Indian rule, with a negotiated solution of cessation of hostilities accompanied by withdrawal of Indian troops from the Valley and with free movement of Kashmiris across the border with Azad Kashmir”.