Published On: Mon, Aug 26th, 2013

Mandate for peace with India

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Communities and nations graduate in their manner of living within and without. The people of Pakistan, India and Kashmir could not be an exception to this rule. It is nothing new but a reiteration of what the UN Charter obliges a member nation and what Government of Pakistan has agreed in Shimla Agreement – that the Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif said in his first interview with Daily Telegraph that “If Pakistan is to prosper, we must stop bashing India.”

Talking to David Blair and David Munk in Islamabad Nawaz Sharif said “We don’t believe in such slogans. There have been such slogans in the past 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago but not now. In fact, I very clearly spoke about good relations with India even before the elections were happening. I made my position very clear: if we get a mandate, we will make sure we pick up the threads from where we left off in 1999 and then reach out to India, sit with them, resolve all our outstanding issues, including the issue of Kashmir, through peaceful means.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has made it clear that he saw his election victory in the May 11 elections as a “mandate for peace with India.” At this point the other party which has to benefit from peace between India and Pakistan are the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, it depends whether Kashmiris would offer themselves to the same experience of last 10, 20 and 30 years, to which Pakistan Prime Minister has referred and concluded that it was not the slogan of “India bashing” but “peace with India”, to which the people of Pakistan have responded in the May 11 elections

Responsibility as Prime Minister

In his first televised address to the nation on 19 August 2013 Nawaz Sharif described Kashmir a “national issue and the jugular vein of Pakistan” and that its resolution is as dear to him as other Pakistanis. But this statement does not make any sense in isolation and has to be read with his interview with the Telegraph in which he has described that he was “aware of the burden of responsibility”. He has made it clear that “I have to make sure we do the right things. We have to make sure we tread the right path, pursue the right policies and not make any mistakes.” The Telegraph detailed interview should explain that Kashmir is not the only issue but as a leader he owes a responsibility to the people of Pakistan, people of India and the world at large.

Wisdom of Hizb Claim on LOC Killing

Prime Minister of Pakistan during his joint press conference with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that he would play his role as a peacemaker by observing “restraint and responsibility”, saying that he expected the Indian side would reciprocate his efforts and take measures to reduce tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed Kashmir. He said “we have to defuse tension and deescalate the situation. What we need is more diplomacy.”

During these crucial times when India and Pakistan are making efforts to seek peaceful means to resolve all disputes every discipline of Kashmiri opinion, has to weigh hard before committing itself to any wisdom or folly. Hurriyat has been asking India and Pakistan to begin a dialogue on all issues including the question of the people of Kashmir. It has struck everyone with surprise that the leadership of militant component of Kashmir resistance movement has owned that Hizbul Mujahedeen militants were involved in the killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control in Poonch sector.

The statement by the United Jihad Council chairman and Hizbul Mujahedeen chief that “If India blames Pakistan Army for the killing of five soldiers in Poonch sector, let me clear them that Hizbul Mujahedeen’s Sarhadi (border) squad killed them under a specific strategy.”

The statement adds that from Keran to Karnah and till Ramban sector our mujahidin are busy in fighting with Indian troops. Sometimes our mujahidin achieve martyrdom, sometimes Indian troopers are killed.”

On an ordinary level, one would have expected that Kashmiris remain clear of these ownerships of unfortunate killings on either side of LoC. After the arrest of Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai many others operating in Brussels and London, had to tuck their tails between their legs and roll back. It is not that they needed to but simply because they failed to conduct themselves in accordance with the jurisprudence of UN mechanism on Kashmir. The risks and dangers were there and very serious.

The various constituents of United Jihad Council are domiciled in Islamabad or in Muzaffarabad. Pakistan stands to accrue on their behalf liability of all kind caused by these groups at either place. Pervez Musharraf has owned to the existence and support of these groups in his book and has also pointed to “curb all militant aspects of the struggle for freedom.” Killings along the cease fire line or line of control fall under the UNCIP Resolution ordering cease fire of 01 January 1949 and India-Pakistan cease-fire Agreement of December 17 December 1971 (Shimla Agreement of 1972). The militant leadership has exposed itself to a serious situation and seems to have incriminated itself.

This is second major error of judgment by Hizb leadership after it failed to exploit the offer of the first cease fire and cause for itself a “recognition” as a legitimate military component by a sovereign state by conducting a few rounds of dialogue. The days ahead may unfold many difficulties in this regard. It is likely that United Nations and some other capitals of the world would be updated by India on this claim. India may also consider to seek a clarification from Pakistan on this claim and it would not be to any one’s interests to see the curse of Albatross around our necks.

International Criminal Court

We live in a changed world. Armies around the world have started dropping their killing instinct and others still engaged in any killing stand accountable. In the same manner militant groups also attract the principles of international order accepted in any conflict.

International Criminal Court (ICC) decision on 14 March 2012 in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for War Crimes of enlisting child soldiers in Lturi has a direct relevance to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The authors of militancy appear to have attracted charges of war crimes for the enlistment and conscription of children under the age of 15 years and using children to participate actively in hostilities.

There could be two different arguments on the justness of the militant struggle but there would be only one argument if we have used children under the age of 15 years of age. Jammu and Kashmir is subject of a UN mechanism and the two countries have agreed to a ‘Pacific Settlement’. Therefore, the induction of a militant struggle in the Valley in 1989 remains at variance with the UN mechanism. The authors of militancy may further be blamed for having caused a situation which has killed a generation in Kashmir and with it has killed the right of self-determination.

Limitations of the State

It is a settled argument that no State can treat its people as it pleases. The people of Jammu and Kashmir are subject of an international consideration. They don’t attract the control of a merged State. However, even for ordinary circumstances, it is agreed that all States should have substantial and important powers within the scope of their right to political self-determination. The State itself has to be a legitimate State, that is, it must be a democracy, because only a democratic government is consistent with a state’s right to govern its territory, and impose duties of compliance on insiders and of non-interference on outsiders. Again the right to political self-determination is an irreducibly collective moral right held by legitimate states and groups that are willing and able to become legitimate states. Jill’s coup against Jack’s democracy can’t work. No matter how enlightened and effective a monarch Jill is, her political rule violates Jack’s autonomy.

One would have hoped

One would have hoped that the political and militant leadership that surfaced in 1990 accepts that we are living in 2013 and the last 23 years should have made us wiser than we started in 1990. Owning to the killing of five Indian soldiers or an involvement in the killing of any manner along the cease fire line attracts the mandate of the UNMOGIP and the terms of the Shimla Agreement of 1972.

Hizb leadership should engage a juridical input before committing itself to any such matters relating to cease fire line or line of control. It should not concern itself in making any reference to the various violations of the cease fire agreement of 2003, to justify its wisdom of any killing. If trust and friendship return in the relations of the two countries, people of Kashmir shall have a larger constituency to take their grievance.

Author is London based Secretary General of JKCHR – NGO in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. He is on UN register as an expert in Peace Keeping, Humanitarian Operations and Election Monitoring Missions. He could be reached on email

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