Published On: Mon, Aug 24th, 2015

Merits of Indian interpretation?

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Dialogue is the age old civilised instrument used by people to settle their feuds and used by nations to end their disputes. India and Pakistan are no exception to this rule. It is unfortunate and disappointing that NSA talks between Ajit Doval and Sartaj Aziz failed to begin. It does not mean that the world of diplomacy and the interests of the two neighbours end here. There is a tomorrow and of course there are many tomorrows.

We need to assist the two countries as much as we can. Additionally it is our duty to use our right of interference as the citizens of a disputed, distributed and divided State, and see how the UN mechanism on Kashmir is part implemented, part impeded, part understood and part misunderstood and to educate the two parties that any final (if at all) bilateral arrangement on Jammu and Kashmir has to be submitted to the United Nations. The world forum continues to act on behalf of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

People of Jammu and Kashmir need not fear or take Sushma Swaraj Minister of External Affairs of India seriously on her new narrative that Kashmiris are non-suited as a party in Kashmir. Indian Minister attempted to cover her unreliable understanding and bad faith in the talks by interpreting Composite Dialogue, Resumed Dialogue, Shimla Spirit, UFA Spirit etc. She could not end her narrative in any success.

I have also disagreed with the Composite Dialogue on 8 issues (June 19-23, 1997), in particular in using the phrase ‘including Kashmir’ in my written paper submitted to the Government of Pakistan on 30 June 1997. An include does not live up to the dignity of the Kashmir issue, as an issue of equality and self-determination of the people, as envisaged in the UN Charter or UN Resolutions on Kashmir. The word ‘include’ points to a rushed interest or to a certain degree of less pressing engagement.

It is good and encouraging to notice that Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has rid itself of a mighty hangover of bad manners in handling Kashmir, in particular their ‘quick fixes’ and ‘hold on’ kind of practice. Today the Civil and Military leadership in Pakistan seems unambiguous about the jurisprudence of UN Resolutions and UN mechanism on Kashmir. It has turned more humane and sensitive to the fact that the people of the State are currently distributed under three administrations and a fourth Kashmiri Diaspora. They are controlled by five governments (Delhi, Islamabad, Srinagar, Muzaffarabad, and Gilgit) and five constitutions. Indian Government under its controlled part of Kashmir has engaged itself into a war with the people there. It’s army remains responsible for the death of a generation and for turning the life into a misery and habitat into a prison.

Mme Sushma Swaraj is a seasoned politician. Unfortunately whenever it came to Kashmir, Indian leadership (with one or two exceptions) wears a make up to act different to their normal claims of democracy and secularism. The minister has opened a new Pandora Box on Kashmir, by calling Kashmiris as no party or a third party. The minister should have known that her soldier (now in swollen numbers) is in Jammu and Kashmir on a provisional admission, to defend the territory, protect life, property and honour of the people. It is there as a supplement to the State forces and has to remain sub-ordinate to the Government at Srinagar.

Kashmir is not as simple as understood by Mme Swaraj or as detailed by the Indian establishment in their A4 size files. There are four Kashmiris, namely, one living at Srinagar, Muzaffarabad, Gilgit and the fourth living as the Diaspora. Over 1.5 million Kashmiris live and are settled in the four provinces of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. They are represented in the AJK assembly through twelve seats (refugee seats) and Kashmiris living in Pakistan have a dual privilege to vote in the National and Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan as well.

It is in the same manner as a Commonwealth (non-British) citizen has the right to vote in British elections during his or her residence in Britain. Prime Minister of Pakistan, Speaker of National Assembly, Defence Minister, Finance Minister, Railway Minister, Information Minister, Trade Minister in the cabinet and many others in the National Assembly, Senate and Provincial Assemblies are of Kashmiri origin.

Any attempt to non-suit the people of Kashmir (Hurriyat in particular) for any meeting with a Pakistani Minister or signatory, by the Indian establishment is not only myopic but a foolish approach. India is not in its part of Jammu and Kashmir as a “colonial power” but one that has submitted itself to the free and fair verification and reference of the people of Kashmir. Therefore, all people of Jammu and Kashmir have a right to vote under a UN mechanism whether they want “India out of Kashmir, accede to Pakistan or establish themselves as an independent State with a membership of the United Nations”.

India has a constituency in its part of Kashmir. However, this constituency is not absolute and it has also questioned Indian presence in Kashmir. The representatives elected under the J & K Constitution of November 1956 in the Jammu and Kashmir have maintained that there is no “merger” with Indian union and the matter has not been resolved so far.

It is important to point out that the J & K assembly or the Government functioning at Srinagar/Jammu is elected from only a part of the State. Its mandate is imperfect and incomplete. In addition to this J & K Assembly and Government remain at the notice and under the caution of United Nation since March 1951 in regard to its limitations and in regard to UN mechanism on Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore, Sushma Swaraj has caused a serious offence to its ‘limping constituency’ in Srinagar.

Indian politicians are not well versed in Greek Mythology and may need to study God Janus. A common sense approach reveals that when Prime Minister of India Narendra Damodardas Modi meets Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, he meets a Kashmiri-Pakistani. Prime Minister of Pakistan carries with him Kashmiri heritage, the wisdom of article 257 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, his Constitutional Trust as Chairman AJ & K Council and his subscription to UN mechanism on Jammu and Kashmir, in particular UN caution to National Conference and J & K Government under UN Resolution 91 (1951) of 30 March 1951.

Interpretation put on Shimla Agreement and UFA Agreement by Sushma Swaraj to non-suit Kashmiris has no merit. On the contrary it could lead to dangerous and unmanageable consequences for the Government of India in all the three parts of Kashmir, in Diaspora, in Pakistan and at the international level. If India had a strong constituency and moral mooring in its administered part of Kashmir, it would not have needed massive deployment of army in a small place and a broad spread of secret agencies there. It has not only armed them to the teeth but has resourced them with no holds barred indulgence under AFSPA.

As a start there could be a demand to rehabilitate ‘permit system’ on the entry of Indian citizens into Kashmir as it was until April 1959. J & K Assembly is under oath and has to protect the State Subjects from any incursion of non-Kashmiris. The steps taken by the Government of India post UN warning of 30 March 1951 (through its proxy of J & K Assembly) and the non-compliance of Indian security forces of UN stipulations on their number, behaviour and location could be revisited at the United Nations.

The matters could begin with a call by the Hurriyat (Kashmiri leadership) or civil society, with a debate in the Muzaffarabad and Gilgit Assemblies and the National Assembly of Pakistan. Kashmiri Diaspora and the NGOs accredited and respected for the merit of their work on Kashmir could take the lead to answer Sushma Swaraj and the Indian establishment that bad manners on Kashmir are going to work no more.

It is high time that Indian constituency in Kashmir and others who have voted in the local election to empower themselves in regard to internal self-determination, take a forward step from voting citizens to vigilant citizens, and ask the J & K Government to revisit October 1947 provisional Agreement with the Government of India post haste. Indian Government has failed to honour the four duties temporarily entrusted to it at that point.

Kashmir has moved in time and we may not require the Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir anymore., If Indian constituency and the elected Government does not take any steps in regard to temporary admission of Indian  security forces in Kashmir, let the Assemblies at Muzaffarabad, Gilgit, Islamabad, the Diaspora and NGOs step in to answer the challenge. Indian Government is utterly off track to defend Shimla and Ufa spirit to non-suit the people of Jammu and Kashmir.  These two spirits do not encourage the putting of any conditions on the visit of NSA of Pakistan Sartaj Aziz.

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