Kash­mir and nor­mal­i­sa­tion process

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - — The writer is In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions an­a­lyst based in Is­lam­abad. Dr Muham­mad Khan Email: drmk_edu@ya­hoo.com

AUS scholar, Stephen P. Co­hen con­sid­ers Indo-Pak dis­trust as the main cause of Kash­mir dis­pute, re­main­ing un­re­solved af­ter even seven decades. Ac­cord­ing to him, “Ex­tremely per­sis­tent con­flicts seem to draw their en­ergy from an in­ex­haustible sup­ply of dis­trust.” In their bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, the el­e­ment of trust deficit has caused de­te­ri­o­ra­tion to an ex­tent where they take on­estep for­ward and two steps back­ward. Since Kash­mir dis­pute re­mained un­re­solved for decades now, it has added many more is­sues in the list of bi­lat­eral prob­lems. The wa­ter prob­lems and Si­achen Glacier are the di­rect out­comes of Kash­mir dis­pute. Be­sides, heavy and un­remit­ting de­fence ex­pen­di­tures ham­per­ing so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

It is al­ways the Kash­mir dis­pute, which blocked the nor­mal­iza­tion process be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia. In­deed, Kash­mir holds the key of peace be­tween Pak­istan and In­dia and peace be­tween these two neigh­bors would guar­an­tee peace and sta­bil­ity of South Asia. It is worth men­tion­ing that, ex­cept 1971, all wars and con­flicts be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan were over Kash­mir. De­spite in­volve­ment of ma­jor pow­ers in the re­gional pol­i­tics of South Asia both dur­ing and af­ter the cold war, they have been ‘in­ef­fec­tive in try­ing to help ad­dress the Kash­mir prob­lem.’ Keep­ing the re­gion hostage of Kash­mir prob­lem, is in­deed a col­lec­tive fail­ure of ma­jor pow­ers, UN and in fact, “big­gest fail­ure of in­ter­na­tional diplo­macy.” The dis­pute though has be­come com­pli­cated over years, yet can be re­solved. There is a re­quire­ment of far­sight­ed­ness and states­man­ship for res­o­lu­tion of this dis­pute.

Leav­ing aside the UN res­o­lu­tions and as­pects of in­ter­na­tional law, In­dia started call­ing Kash­mir as its ‘in­te­gral part’. Pak­istan how­ever main­tained its stance that, Kash­mir is a dis­puted ter­ri­tory and it has to be re­solved as per UN res­o­lu­tion through a plebiscite. In a re­cent ar­ti­cle, In­dian scholar and for­mer law­maker, Mr Kuldir Na­yar has re­jected the In­dian as­cer­tain that, “Kash­mir is an in­te­gral part of In­dia”. He re­ferred to Ar­ti­cle 370 of In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion, which is only ap­pli­ca­ble to IHK and not to any in­te­gral In­dian state(S). In­dia can­not make laws for the Kash­mir, un­less Jammu and Kash­mir Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly ask for. How­ever, this all is on pa­per, prac­ti­cally, IHK is un­der the In­dian rule ever since Au­gust 1953 and un­der In­dian Army, ever since 1990. There is no say of Kash­miri lead­er­ship in IHK and Kash­mir peo­ple there are in state of re­pres­sion and op­pres­sion with mas­sive hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions un­der dis­crim­i­na­tory laws like Jammu & Kash­mir Pub­lic Safety Act & Armed Forces Spe­cial Power Act.

Very re­cently, In­dian Home Af­fair Min­istry has in­tro­duced a draft bill called, Geospa­tial In­for­ma­tion Reg­u­la­tion Bill -2016. The bill is still un­der de­bate. The bill aims at, uni­lat­er­ally depict­ing Jammu and Kash­mir as In­dian Ter­ri­tory and any­one depict­ing Kash­mir as dis­puted re­gion, shall be pun­ished. Pak­istani rep­re­sen­ta­tive in UN, Dr Mal­iha Lodhi has strongly protested with UN over this draft In­dian bill. Whereas, the UN res­o­lu­tions have de­clared the Kash­mir as dis­puted, pend­ing fi­nal de­ci­sion, how can In­dia uni­lat­er­ally take such a de­ci­sion? In fact, this is con­tin­u­a­tion of 1953 In­dian agenda, be­ing im­ple­mented by Modi Govt.

Among many elec­tion prom­ises of the BJP Govern­ment, do­ing away with the Ar­ti­cle 370 of In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion (only link­age be­tween In­dia and IOK) and in­te­gra­tion of Kash­mir with In­dian Union was the most sig­nif­i­cant prom­ise. Fail­ure to get ma­jor­ity seats in In­dian Oc­cu­pied Kash­mir Leg­isla­tive As­sem­bly, Modi Govern­ment has taken three steps.

First, im­ple­mented mas­sive de­mo­graphic changes in Jammu prov­ince through RSS, the mil­i­tant wing of BJP. Two, plans for re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing the Pan­dits and other Hin­dus, through for­ti­fied colonies on strate­gic lo­ca­tions for caus­ing ultimate de­mo­graphic changes in Mus­lim ma­jor­ity Val­ley. Then, there is an al­lo­ca­tion of huge land for Hindu Shrine at Amar­nath. Be­sides, there are plans for the es­tab­lish­ment of Sanik (sol­diers) colonies for the re­tired Army and BSF of­fi­cers and men. Three, the in­tro­duc­tion of the Geospa­tial bill, the con­sol­i­da­tion phase through a broad cover­age.

These mea­sures would en­able In­dia to com­pletely change the de­mog­ra­phy of the Jammu and Kash­mir state, fur­ther do away with Ar­ti­cle 370 of In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion and fi­nally in­te­gra­tion of the dis­puted state into In­dian Union. There has been hardly any protest against these In­dian de­vel­op­ments in IOK from Govern­ment of Pak­istan or diplo­matic cir­cle. Sur­pris­ingly, the Kash­miri lead­er­ship has not been very forth­com­ing on these de­vel­op­ments. This in­sen­si­tiv­ity on the part of Kash­miris and Pak­istan has fur­ther en­cour­aged the In­dia to im­ple­ment its long-stand­ing agenda of ab­sorb­ing the Kash­mir into In­dia. The ques­tion arises, what would be Pak­istani re­sponse, once In­dia de­mands AJK and GB af­ter in­cor­po­ra­tion of In­dian oc­cu­pied Kash­mir into In­dian Union. Af­ter all, Kash­mir was an en­tity and In­dian claims have been over en­tire Jammu and Kash­mir.

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