UN Chary Of Invoking J&K Resolutions
18 October 2004
The Daily Excelsior
B L Kak
Jammu: At last, after 55 years, the United Nations (UN) has clearly indicated that it is neither anxious nor eager for invoking the 1949 resolutions on Kashmir. Obviously, having taken due cognizance of the totally changed circumstances in Jammu and Kashmir after the resolutions on the restive north Indian State were adopted, the UN secretariat has demonstrated its unwillingness to take up a cause, which has no relevance, no basis. In other words, the issue of the UN resolutions on Kashmir cannot be revived without the consent of the two major contestants, India and Pakistan. That today's Islamabad under the rule of Gen. Parvez Musharraf does not find the UN resolutions carrying much weight and substance is borne out by the Pakistan President's lack of interest in making an issue out of them. If there was any doubt about it, it was set at rest by Gen Musharraf himself during and after his one-to-one meeting with the Indian Premier, Manmohan Singh, in New York in September this year. Changed attitude of the present ruling dispensation in Islamabad towards the UN resolutions is also attributed to Washington's indifferent attitude towards the supporters of the world body's resolutions on Kashmir. Important for Gen. Musharraf is continuance of the US support to Pakistan. Thus, those in Kashmir, particularly the hard- line secessionist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, and his bangwagon, who insist on the implementation of the UN resolutions, are quite unlikely to befriend Gen Musharraf on this issue. Secondly, in view of New Delhi's vehement opposition to the idea for implementing the UN resolutions, the task of the resolutions' votaries in the Muslim- majority Kashmir has already become difficult. Again, in view of India's clear signals of its intention to stay put in Kashmir, some external forces will find it quite difficult to make Kashmir an independent territory. Not long ago, America was charged with nursing the ambition to secure a toehold in the region, and spy on Russia and China, and even India and Pakistan. But this kind of allegation is not levelled, as the sweeping geo-political changes of the past more than 15 years have effectively killed such cockamamie theories. At the same time, it can be said without any fear of contradiction that American interest in Kashmir is not non-existent. A gradual US shift on the issue became evident in 1990s, despite the controversy that arose from the statement by former Assistant Secretary of State, Robin Raphel, that the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India was not final. In fact, Raphel herself began saying towards the end of her terms that Pakistan needed to look forward instead of looking back into history for the final resolution of the dispute. The clear implication was that Pakistan should give up its claim to the State of J&K on the basis of history, including the UN resolutions that the UN itself is now chary of invoking. The change in Washington's view arose from the recognition of the fundamental soundness, fairness, and longevity of the Indian nation-state, and its demonstrably secular, plural and democratic nature despite the aberrations forced by fissiparious movements. Present US President, George W Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, laid down the line that the boundaries between the two countries would not be altered by bloodshed. The self- evident success of the Indian idea of nationhood and the visibly comparable failure of the Pakistan state was instrumental in bringing this about. The shift was also accompanied by a subtle change in semantics. The Clinton administration began saying in the late 1990s that the issue should be resolved taking into account the wishes of the people of J&K, instead of earlier in accordance with the wishes formulation. Implicit in this change was the recognition that the accordance had been subverted by sustained terror. Washington's view that Pakistan had distorted the whole issue and embarked on a dangerous course of bringing about a solution by force was further confirmed by the 1999 Kargil instusions. US today appears more inclined to settle the issue on the Line of Control (LoC) as border lines, if New Delhi can deal with the secessionists. Not long ago, Gen Musharraf had a lengthy meeting in Islamabad with a group of 'Kashmiri leaders'. After the meeting, people were informed that as many as 12 option were reportedly being disussed in India and Pakistan as well as in the international community to resolve the Kashmir issue. These options also include converting the Line of Control (LoC) into the international border and Chenab formula. Is Washington considering the idea, which has been named as Chenab formula? Ad did this idea come up for discussion between India's back- channel negotiator, R K Mishra and his Pakistani counterpart, Niaz Naik? In August 2003, Naik, in a media interview, claimed that the Chenab formula was being 'considered seriously by White House'. Doda sits on the faultline that partition-enthusiasts seek to convert into a border, the Chenab river. The areas to the north of the Chenab in Doda tehsil (Jammu region) have a Muslim majority. And those to its south are mainly Hindus. Kishtwar tehsil (Jammu province) is again dissected by the Chenab, with the northern valley systems of Marwah and Wadwan populated by Muslim majorities. To the south, the Macchel valley systems, and the tehsil of Bhaderwah, are Hind-dominated. Now a new Kashmir expert has appeared on the seen with his Kashmir formula. He is none other than senior Congress leader, Salman Khurshid. His proposal; It would be rewarding to examine the Ireland. His proposal: It would be rewarding to examine the Ireland peace agreement in efforts to find a solution to the Kashmir issue. Khurshid went about as Minister of State for External Affairs during the PV Narasimha Rao regime. He requires to be told that Ireland peace agreement only suited that particular region, which, to all intents and purposes, has nothing common with the Kashmir situation. The Line of Conrol between India and Pakistan was negotiated by India after its victory in the Bangladesh liberation war. It forms the core of the Simla Agreement signed between India and Pakistan on July 2, 1972. Broadly, the agreement enjoins on both sides to respect the LoC without prejudice to their respective positions on the status of Jammu and Kashmir. There is reason to believe that at Shimla, Indira Gandhi and Bhutto informally agreed to convert the LoC into an international border. According to some members of the Indian delegation, among them Principal Secretary of Indira Gandhi, P N Dhar, Bhutto wanted the understanding kept out of the formal agreement because he feared it would meet with opposition back home in Pakistan. The proposal was never formalised and instead both sides hardened their positions, with the Indian Parliament passing a resolution, during the Narasimha Rao regime, that laid claim to the entire territory of J&K, including PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). The idea has found renewed support lately. Pakistani journalists, during their visit, recently, to Jammu an Kashmir, sought to gather reactions from different sections of the local populace in Jammu and Srinagar cities to the idea favouring conversion of the LoC into international border. Of all the Kashmiri leaders and politicians, Omar Abdullah, president of the National Conference, did quite well as, during his talks with the journalists, he did not beat about the Bush. He successfully built the case in support of soft broder- in other words, an agreement between India and Pakistan on making the LoC as an international border. A better approach might be to consider this as a package that includes making the border porous, allowing free trade between the two Kashmiris as well as free passage of people on either side.