Kash­mir and new Pak-US strat­egy

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Dr Syed Nazir Gi­lani

EF­FORTS by New Delhi to buy out a non-ter­ri­to­rial set­tle­ment on Kash­mir have no merit and no fu­ture ei­ther. It is true that de­lay in the res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir dis­pute does as­sist In­dia to anaes­thetise the peo­ple and helps it to keep the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity on its side by main­tain­ing a false sem­blance of a di­a­logue with Pak­istan. In­dia con­tin­ues it's plan­ning to hum­ble the Kash­miri peo­ple and ex­ploits the habi­tat. In par­tic­u­lar In­dia has erred in the un­law­ful ex­ploit of wa­ter re­sources em­bed­ded as a trust prop­erty in the dis­puted habi­tat. Like peo­ple of the State, nat­u­ral re­sources in­clud­ing wa­ter too have a right to self­de­ter­mi­na­tion and New Delhi could not use them with no holds barred.

So far In­dian gov­ern­ments have failed to find an exit ramp to climb out of UN mech­a­nism evolved for the set­tle­ment of the ques­tion of 'equal­ity and self­de­ter­mi­na­tion' and have failed to di­lute the ju­rispru­dence of Kash­mir case. It is re­as­sur­ing news for the peo­ple of Kash­mir that for the first time Kash­mir has been in­tro­duced in the in­sti­tu­tion­alised an­nual Strate­gic Di­a­logue be­tween the United States and Pak­istan. Pak­istan has se­cured a diplo­matic tri­umph at the start of the year.

The sixth min­is­te­rial-level Pak­istanU.S. Strate­gic Di­a­logue be­tween Pak­istan's Ad­vi­sor to the Prime Min­is­ter on For­eign Affairs Sar­taj Aziz and United States Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry on Fe­bru­ary 29 in Wash­ing­ton goes to show that nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity of Pak­istan, its role in the re­gion and its place in the Mus­lim world has can­celled out any over­rid­ing in­flu­ence of In­dian size.

The US-Pak­istan joint state­ment is­sued in Wash­ing­ton on 01 March 2016 clearly states, "The United States and Pak­istan em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of mean­ing­ful di­a­logue in sup­port of peace­ful res­o­lu­tion of out­stand­ing is­sues, in­clud­ing Kash­mir. The del­e­ga­tions un­der­scored that all par­ties in the re­gion should con­tin­u­ously act with max­i­mum re­straint and work col­lab­o­ra­tively to­ward re­duc­ing ten­sions."

A shift in US pol­icy to­wards Pak­istan on Kash­mir is not new. It dates back to UN de­bates on Kash­mir. Af­ter sev­eral years Pak­istan has suc­ceeded in con­vinc­ing the US that it is se­ri­ous about the war on ter­ror­ism, with clearly the Army Chief there, Gen­eral Ra­heel Sharif play­ing a ma­jor role in this. The mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions against ex­trem­ist groups in the north­ern ar­eas have had an im­pact on this per­cep- tion. De­spite the pe­ri­odic flir­ta­tion with In­dia, suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments in the US have al­ways moved back to the sta­bil­ity of the old re­la­tion­ship with Pak­istan. This time, how­ever, Is­lam­abad has ex­tracted strate­gic praise and co­op­er­a­tion, le­git­imis­ing the new re­la­tion­ship in the two day strate­gic di­a­logue be­tween Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and Pak­istan Ad­vi­sor Sar­taj Aziz.

US has played a lead role and has shown a keen in­ter­est in the Kash­mir case. Some­how, lead­er­ship in Kash­mir and Pak­istan could not keep the thread of this in­ter­est. US has made it­self clear at the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil de­bates on Kash­mir, that it ap­pre­ci­ates and en­cour­ages a bi­lat­eral di­a­logue be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan on the ques­tion of Kash­mir, pro­vided that it is con­sis­tent with the prin­ci­ples of UN Char­ter and is just.

There is very lit­tle re­search and track of US in­ter­est in Jammu and Kash­mir. Kash­miri and Pak­istani lead­er­ships could not have had a bet­ter wis­dom to fol­low than the one con­tained in the US New Delhi Em­bassy tele­gram 3137 to the State Depart­ment sent on 8 June 1958 (FRUS 1958 - 1960 XV, p.119). Am­bas­sador Ellsworth Bunker writes, "We should keep plug­ging away and not lose heart…It may take a year or two years or even more to reach a de­sired so­lu­tion, but pa­tience, per­se­ver­ance and the logic of events will ul­ti­mately bring us to suc­cess".

United States has never al­lowed In­dia to en­joy a stronger, sta­tus quo power in the mat­ter of Kash­mir. Loy Hen­der­son be­came the first Amer­i­can am­bas­sador to visit Kash­mir in Septem­ber 1949. He found the mil­i­tary of­fi­cers of the UN mon­i­tor­ing group and other for­eign­ers in Kash­mir al­most unan­i­mous in hold­ing that the peo­ple of the Val­ley would pre­fer Pak­istan to In­dia if they had the op­por­tu­nity to vote freely. In Au­gust 1951 US State Depart­ment pre­pared a Mem­o­ran­dum ti­tled "Kash­mir Dis­pute: Fu­ture Ac­tion". The aim was to take the mat­ter to In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice (ICJ) and have the In­dia's prin­ci­pal ar­gu­ments sur­round­ing its oc­cu­pa­tion of Kash­mir, knocked out. US Em­bassy in New Delhi con­tin­ued to make use­ful in­puts on the In­dian mind set. In Au­gust 1956 the Em­bassy tele­gram 271 to the State Depart­ment (FRUS 1955-1957) high­lights that, "No pres­sure short of war would force In­dia to re­lin­quish the Val­ley".

US State Depart­ment has con­tin­ued to re­main on the side of the peo­ple of Kash­mir and in sup­port of Pak­istan's views on Kash­mir. It has re­jected the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of ac­ces­sion by Kash­mir Con­stituent As­sem­bly in 1954 as a vi­o­la­tion of UN Res­o­lu­tion on Kash­mir.

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