Between Indo-Pak where does Kashmir stand!

While Indian and Pakistan do politics, political leadership in Kashmir carrying the disputed legacy express their displeasure as is their wont. Resorting to emotion and parroting out the already worn out lines is where it all begins and ends. There is no harm in dismissing the Pakistan’s policy of easing the ties with India, considering India’s attitude towards Kashmir, but if Pakistan continues with its current scheme of things what could be the long term responses from the Resistance leadership, is the question we must be asking ourselves. Is there anything on the table apart from emotional discomfort and ‘principled stand’ to raise the appetite for a policy-oriented thinking. Who doesn’t know what India is, or has been doing in Kashmir. Who denies the fact that Kashmir is a case of stolen freedom. But does it mean reveling in a sullen aloofness!

Principles and emotions are not altogether absent when states, as sovereign and rational units, engage with each other.  Pakistan, like any other country having a historical claim over a territory, cannot be brazenly dismissive of principles or entirely shorn of emotions on Kashmir. But state cannot allow principles and emotions come awkwardly in the path of policy making. It doesn’t mean states always think and do right. They can go awfully wrong and rue it later. All it means is that the apparatus of a state have a habit of resorting to a dispassionate thinking. That thinking helps in identifying the interests and those interests become a dominant guiding force for drawing any policies. States have their own parameters and preferences to do or not to do certain things. And this keeps on changing. If India and Pakistan liberalize visa regime today, it can reverse tomorrow, or may be it is just the beginning and the two neighbors find a permanent interest in getting closer on trade and other contacts. Whatever happens, it will be supported by a thinking and confluence of interests. We cannot stop a state from pursuing a particular policy just because we presume that principles and emotions must have made them think like us. That is not how it works.

Take the case of Communist China in the start of 1970s. It gravitated towards capitalist US, drifting away from its comrade country USSR. How do we account for the Iranian support for Christian Armenia against Azerbaijan, a fellow Shia country. There are thousands and thousands of such examples demonstrating the complexity of international politics. It has never been a simple choice between right and wrong. Things are intertwined, layered and in a permanent flux. In this baffling flux of things identifying the correct choices is the job of a state – at the level of institutions and leadership. That is what Pakistan is doing today. But here, instead of getting to thinking, as is the job of a leadership, we prefer grumbling. That is not politics. Pakistan driven by its own interests and compulsions can choose any direction. We cannot stop them. All we can do is to identify our own interests and compulsions and prepare for a long term political struggle.

On certain occasions even the friendly states can go in opposite directions. It is not unusual in international politics. May be Pakistan and the Kashmir’s Resistance leadership apparently follow contradictory paths on Kashmir, that is not a reason to believe that the two have fallen apart. As long as both safeguard their respective interests, it’s no surprise.

States are states, even ideological parties follow different lines with respective territories. Here is an example that might help. When US and its allies finally decide to militarily dislodge Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, each branch of Muslim Brotherhood took a stand congruent to its territorial imperatives. Kuwaiti chapter of MB endorsed and supported the US military intervention and Jordanian branch vehemently opposed it. Could then it be concluded that the two fell apart or anyone did a compromise on principles. Just stop; Palestine and Kashmir are known contested land in the Muslim world. There is a significant overlap, in terms of emotions and principles, between the two conflicts. How do we explain to ourselves that while India is the culprit in Kashmir, Manmohan Singh government just a day or two back gives 10 million USD to Palestine. Should we protest on this!

The point is that while we have every right to express our displeasure on anything Pakistan does in its relations with India because we believe it affects Kashmir conflict, we cannot resort to simple lines of protest every time. There is no substitute to thinking. We cannot stop the world from doing what it chooses to do, all we can do is to unfetter our own minds and discover the possibilities of politics.