Op­tions & so­lu­tion for Kash­mir

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Reema Shaukat Email: reema.asim81@gmail.com — The writer works for Pak­istan In­sti­tute for Con­flict and Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, a think tank based in Is­lam­abad.

KASH­MIR dis­pute can be termed as the un­fin­ished agenda of Par­ti­tion in 1947. In one sense, Kash­mir prob­lem is the re­sult of Bri­tish fail­ure to find sat­is­fac­tory method for in­te­gra­tion of princely states in Pak­istan and In­dia. De­spite sev­eral at­tempts to re­solve the is­sue mil­i­tar­ily or po­lit­i­cally, nei­ther side has been suc­cess­ful in their pur­suits. Pak­istan al­ways pre­ferred the op­tion of di­a­logue but, due to In­dian in­tran­si­gence, no head­way was made.

Pak­istan on dis­pute with In­dia and claim­ing its right on Kash­mir, took the mat­ter to United Na­tions. The right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion of peo­ple is a ba­sic prin­ci­ple of the United Na­tion Char­ter which has been reaf­firmed in the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights and ap­plied count­less times to the set­tle­ment of many in­ter­na­tional dis­putes. The ap­pli­ca­bil­ity of the prin­ci­ple to the spe­cific case of Jammu and Kash­mir has been ex­plic­itly rec­og­nized by the United Na­tions. Six­tyeight years have passed since the res­o­lu­tions were ap­proved, but as many years have gone since the Char­ter of the United Na­tions was adopted, Kash­mir con­tin­ues to bleed.

Look­ing way for­ward to Kash­mir dis­pute there can be many op­tions for re­solv­ing the mat­ter. The most de­sired op­tion from the Pak­istan stance has al­ways been, as en­shrined in the UN Res­o­lu­tions of 1948 and 1949. In­dia would never agree to this so­lu­tion, as its im­ple­men­ta­tion will give In­dia noth­ing ex­cept sheer em­bar­rass­ment. The sec­ond op­tion of par­ti­tion­ing of Jammu and Kash­mir on the ba­sis of re­li­gious affini­ties along River Chenab, in fact, is the car­ry­ing for­ward of the un­fin­ished agenda of par­ti­tion. It im­plies that, In­dia re­tains Hindu and Bud­dhist ma­jor­ity ar­eas of Jammu and Lad­dakh, while the North­ern Ar­eas, the Val­ley and districts of Mus­lim ma­jor­ity in Jammu and Kargil re­gion join Pak­istan. River Chenab is an ap­pro­pri­ate bound­ary as it di­vides Mus­lims ma­jor­ity districts of Doda and Hindu ma­jor­ity dis­trict of Jammu.

Third op­tion is declar­ing Kash­mir an in­de­pen­dent state. This op­tion en­vis­ages the in­de­pen­dence of the whole state of Jammu and Kash­mir in­clud­ing In­dian Held Kash­mir, ar­eas un­der Pak­istan’s con­trol ie Azad Kash­mir and North­ern Ar­eas and Ak­sai Chin plateau presently un­der Chi­nese con­trol. Fourth op­tion or the idea of hand­ing over Kash­mir in UN Trus­tee­ship for a cer­tain pe­riod and on the ba­sis of the con­sen­sus ar­rived at by the Kash­miris through plebiscite. Fifth op­tion is con­do­minium wherein Joint Con­trol of Kash­miris is ex­er­cised by In­dia and Pak­istan. The Lo can be turned into a soft-line with free move­ment of Kash­miris for trade. Keep­ing in view the past track record of In­dian in­ter­ven­tions in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal, this op­tion again has lit­tle chance of suc­cess. Sixth op­tion of Re­gional Plebiscite in­volves hold­ing of plebiscite on re­gional ba­sis by di­vid­ing State into four zones keep­ing in view de­mog­ra­phy of var­i­ous ar­eas and the likely pat­tern of vot­ing. Seventh op­tion is of sta­tus quo and im­ply­ing divi­sion along LoC which is In­dian’s most pre­ferred op­tion.

It may cause min­i­mum desta­bi­liza­tion by way of mi­gra­tion of peo­ple and change in bound­aries but adop­tion of this op­tion will be a ma­jor de­vi­a­tion from the ba­sic stand. Eight op­tion is com­bi­na­tion of sta­tus quo and se­lec­tive plebiscite un­der UN. The Hindu/Bud­dhist ma­jor­ity ar­eas in Jammu and Lad­dakh to join In­dia, while Azad Kash­mir and North­ern Ar­eas join Pak­istan. Mil­i­tary op­tion is not a wise so­lu­tion for Kash­mir as both In­dia and Pak­istan are nu­clear pow­ers.

The United Na­tions has two choices be­fore it. One is to con­tinue con­fin­ing it­self to warn­ing both Pak­istan and In­dia against go­ing to war with each other. The prospect of a nu­clear ex­change in that vast sub­con­ti­nent can­not be dis­missed in the event of hos­til­i­ties break­ing out be­tween the two coun­tries. The sec­ond op­tion is to play a more ac­tivist, me­di­a­tory role with re­gard to Kash­mir by ini­ti­at­ing a peace process. This can take the shape of a polyg­o­nal di­a­logue —US, China, In­dia, Pak­istan and Kash­mir – or an ap­pro­pri­ate use of the newly de­vel­oped pro­ce­dures and mech­a­nisms at the United Na­tions. Con­sid­er­ing the above op­tions vi­able so­lu­tion for Kash­mir is plebiscite. UN su­per­vised plebiscite in the state to de­ter­mine the will of Kash­miri peo­ple is the only way to de­cide the ques­tion of state’s fi­nal ac­ces­sion. South Asia to­day stands on the precipice of a nu­clear catas­tro­phe. Let the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as­sert its will through the UN to find a last­ing so­lu­tion to the dis­pute.

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