Kashmir: Indo-Pak walkabout at United Nations
In his address to the UN General Assembly [26 September 2012] Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari stressed the point that "Kashmir remains a symbol of failures, rather than strengths of the UN system" and resolution of such issues can only be achieved in an environment of cooperation. The question asked is if environment of cooperation is the only way out, then why raise an issue at UN and count its failures?
A position held by Pakistan for the last 65 years and fighting three major wars two on Kashmir have not yielded any tangible results except enhancement of number of deaths, destruction and economic misery for the common man. President Zardari failed to tell the audience the measures Pakistan and India propose to take to solve a human problem that has cost innumerable Kashmiri lives and an unprecedented punishment accorded to people of Kashmir for a crime to demand freedom. Pakistan’s problems within, as a matter of convenience at times, "external agenda and interference" are put to blame and to divert the attention from self created infirmities Kashmir is brought into focus.
A futile exercise of long speeches about the respective positions held by India and Pakistan culminates into a yawning and tiring atmosphere for the members at UN as the world community understands that occupiers are comfortable at maintaining a status quo and mere rhetoric helps to keep the politico-religious business houses in respective countries in good stead. A seriousness to find a solution is doubted that brings frustration and allows emotionally charged up sentimentally controlled "electorate" to deliver favourably at the hustings. Fourteen million Kashmiris held as political hostage are used to benefit locally and on international level without remorse or compunction.
In retrospect, Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai parroting Kashmir "as an integral part of India" iterated his country’s position on Kashmir issue as well known and Mathai further said:
"The people of Kashmir have peacefully chosen their destiny in accordance with democratic practices and they (Kashmiris) continue to do so."
In a brazen-faced denial of basic facts and ground reality, Ranjan Mathai replying a question in a gleefully contrarian spirit said that US President Barack Obama has also ruled out any "outside" solution to the Kashmir issue, saying in an interview in July 2012 that disputes between India and Pakistan can only be resolved among themselves. Mathai perhaps in excitement does not realise that according to him "Kashmir has chosen its destiny" then what "mutual internal" solution Barack Obama is referring to?
"The longstanding US position on Kashmir is that the whole of the former princely state is disputed territory. The whole issue must be resolved through negotiations between India and Pakistan, taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people."
[US Congressional Research Service (CRS)]
President Richard M Nixon (1969 - 74) stated the US official position on Kashmir in the following manner:
"In order to avoid a potential nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India over Kashmir, we should urge New Delhi to end the massive violations of human rights by its security forces in the province and to negotiate an autonomy agreement with the Kashmiri leaders".
THE GROUND REALITY:
- ibnlive.in.com, Aug 13, 2012 reported that security measures have been intensified across Kashmir ahead of India’s Independence Day celebrations and "security forces" resumed random frisking of pedestrians and searches of cars and motorcycles. This comes in the wake; increase in militant activity during which ultras shot dead a retired police officer in the city and hurled several grenades at police installations in Sopore and Kupwara areas of North Kashmir. Barricades have been set up at sensitive intersections, particularly those leading to cordoned off Bakshi stadium, the venue for the main “Indian Independence Day” function in Kashmir.
- The Indian Express; Aug 28, 2012 reports that senior IPS (Indian Police Service) officer N C Asthana, at present posted as Inspector General of CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), was today at the centre of a controversy over his remarks that there was a ´strong under-current against India´ in Kashmir, prompting the Home Ministry to take action. Asthana was shunted out from Kashmir after CRPF had fired indiscriminately on protestors in Bomai area of Sopore in North Kashmir. Asthana’s remarks have been hailed by hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. "It vindicates our stand and it's a good development that it comes from an officer who was in charge of “security” at ground zero. This should serve as a valuable input for all those who frame policies on Kashmir."
- The influential US senator John McCain said in Washington (April 19, 2012); "Kashmir a long standing problem has a significant effect in a lot of ways including the stationing of troops in very significant numbers on Kashmir border rather than on the Afghan border (which) in our view could be much more usefully employed". McCain, who had visited Kashmir last year, said, "I think Kashmir is a long standing problem and I understand there have been discussions about that and Indians are at least in a mood to have conversations on Kashmir. Lot of people die, it’s a sad situation".
The News International reports from Washington, September 28, 2012, quoting Robert Blake, Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia; "Our position is that it is really up to India and Pakistan to determine the pace, the scope, and the character of their dialogue. And obviously Kashmir is one of the most sensitive issues on that agenda, so that’s probably not going to be the first thing that they talk about. But I think there is good progress in the bilateral dialogue, and we welcome that progress."
All good Samaritans of India endorse that Kashmir has never been an integral part of India and believe Kashmir to be a live volcano which India and Pakistan can ignore only at their own peril.