Published On: Mon, Jun 2nd, 2014

Self-sufficient in defence

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

It was for the first time and there is always a first time that Prime Minister of India invited his counterpart the Prime Minister of Pakistan to be at his oath taking ceremony in Delhi. One may dictate the course of events but history has many surprises under its carpet. One such sweet surprise was the regard and due mention of two mothers of the two Prime Ministers. It could be regarded as a sweetener in otherwise unduly perpetuated sense of unconcern and mistrust between the two leaderships.
Kashmir issue

There is a debate in Pakistan and in Kashmiri circles that Kashmir issue was not raised in the meeting or referred in the press statement of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. At an ordinary and routine level one likes to be misled by this argument that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should have raised the Kashmir issue. But at a much more serious level one has to admit that the visit was purpose specific and introducing any other issue would not have been regarded as a mature judgement and it would not have served any interest of the people of India, Pakistan and Kashmir.

In terms of the jurisprudence of Kashmir case it is not in the interests of the people of Kashmir that Kashmir should continue to be restrained as a bilateral issue. The people of Kashmir need to make use of these bilateral opportunities keeping in focus the universal character of their right to self-determination. It is very likely that a point will come in the bilateral relations of India and Pakistan when India would need to relax her over-exaggerated concerns on terrorism and as a quid pro quo Pakistan has no choice but to slow down on Kashmir. India and Pakistan can’t continue to invoke the enemy images of each other for long. A break has to be made with the past and a beginning has to be made, as has been done at the oath taking ceremony.

Self-sufficient in defence

India and Pakistan have definitely moved into self-realisation of their strengths and weaknesses. It is true that Pakistan has yet to rival India in the character and manner of parliamentary democracy. India stands out as a world leader as world’s largest democracy and has a vibrant civil society. Pakistan seems to have taken a turn in this regard and there is a serious effort to strengthen the institutions, parliament and judiciary in particular. The civil society too has emerged from its hibernation and has started making a useful input.

One most important factor about Pakistan is that it has overcome its defence needs and has full opportunity to address the issues of economic development and work in areas that would bring peace and prosperity to its people. Peace and prosperity has a spill over impact and is shared in the neighbourhood as well. A Pakistan at peace with itself is in the interests of its neighbours, in particular India would be the main beneficiary.

It has to be settled once for all that India and Pakistan would never go to war. And if they decide to use the option of war, the results would be catastrophic and there may not be left any human beings in the two countries. Therefore, an uneasy India or a jittery Pakistan are not in the interests of people and the region. Pakistan does not need any help in its defence but all that India could do is to help her to achieve economic prosperity and institutional stability.

The address of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the 16th Yaum-e-Takbeer, jointly organised by Nazaria-e-Pakistan Trust (NPT) and Tehrkeek-e-Pakistan Workers Trust at Aiwan-e-Karkunan-e-Tehreek-e-Pakistan on 28 May 2014, tells it all. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that since Pakistan has become self-sufficient in defence, the focus of the government is on economic autarky for which untiring efforts are being made. Pakistan thinks and rightly so, that its defence has been made impregnable with the atom bomb in her possession.

Good relations with its neighbouring countries

The PM of Pakistan said at the Yaum-e-Takbeer function that Pakistan wants good relations with its neighbouring countries for peace and development in the region. He said no one should do politics on the government’s endeavours for ending poverty, terrorism and revamping economy; those doing politics on these issues are in fact pursuing the agenda to deprive the people of fruits of better policies and development projects. On his return from India he said his India visit was fairly good and the affairs were going on in the right direction. Pakistan would be a centre of peace very soon.
There is a realisation in Pakistan that atom bomb is an insurance against any danger of attack but a further realisation that peace is the strength of Pakistan. Therefore Pakistan would have no choice but to work in the areas of peace making and good relations with its neighbouring countries. India of course would be its first priority.

India has to examine the deep desire of the Prime Minister of Pakistan where he wants to end terrorism and maintain peace in the region. He is desirous of having good ties with the neighbours. Peace is common to all individuals and countries. Therefore, it should be promoted at all levels. It is time that India and Pakistan are able to convert the first meeting of two Prime Ministers into a reliable and trusting future relationship in the best interests of their people. The two armies have to look beyond their border and over their shoulders. Armies around the world do not carry the killing instinct any more. They are engaged in peace keeping, peace building and rehabilitating the communities. India and Pakistan could not be an exception to this changing character of armies.

Distribution of Kashmiri People

There could not be any dispute with the fact that relaxing on concerns of terrorism by India and going slow on Kashmir by Pakistan does not embed any merit. People of the State are currently distributed under three administrations and as a strong Diaspora. They are subjected to a control of five governments and five constitutions. It does not make an easy life for the people of Kashmir.
It needs to be differentiated that if there is a dispute it is between India and Pakistan on the question of their sovereign interests in Kashmir. The people of Kashmir do not have a dispute but they have a title to the right of self-determination. This title is a subject of international adjudication. Therefore it is unwise for the people of Kashmir to continue without an end on the hope whether Pakistan has raised it with India or not. Reducing the title to self-determination to a bilateral item between India and Pakistan has its serious consequences. The best approach would be to make use of bilateral opportunities without giving up focus on the universal character of the case.

J & K & PaK

Government of India has to allow and support the Government of J & K to function in accordance with UN Resolutions. The current J & K assembly is elected from only a part of the State and continues to be incomplete under the Constitution and under the UN Resolutions. Therefore, it does not have the representative character to take any decisions which are at variance with the UN mechanism on Kashmir.

Government of Pakistan on its part has to revisit its assumed role in PaK under UNCIP Resolutions. The government set up in PaK is provisional and interim, to provide a better government and a better administration until such time that the future of the State is determined in accordance with UN Resolutions on Kashmir.

It is time that every State Subject in any administration of Kashmir and as Diaspora start taking the ownership of their narrative. It does not mean that they run into a mad conflict with India, Pakistan and China but they need to reconcile their Kashmir narrative of self-determination with the two respective narratives of India and Pakistan. Kashmiris have to learn to begin an engagement with India, Pakistan and the United Nations. So far the people of Kashmir seem to have outsourced their interests to India and Pakistan. They are helping turn their case into a bilateral issue.

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