Implications of Different New Options Floated from Time to Time on the Kashmir Issue

Former Secretary. for Foreign Affairs, Pakistan –
May 11,2014
Indeed nothing has changed about Kashmir issue. Hindus and Muslims lived together for centuries but could not develop common attitude of socio political life and even today both communities have different world view altogether. This reality cannot be denied otherwise there would have not been creation of two separate states in the subcontinent. Kashmir, as unresolved issue, represents unfinished agenda of June 03 1947 partition plan according to which Muslim majority parts were to become part of Pakistan. India staged the accession fraud in collusion with the Hindu ruler of the state to militarily occupy the state of Kashmir.
The issue was taken to UN in January 1948 by India and it remained active in UNSC till late 1950s. UNSC adopted several resolutions calling for the accession of state of Jammu & Kashmir to be decided by free and impartial plebiscite to be conducted under UN. In the 1950s as a follow up to the UNSC resolutions, UN special representative Sir Oven Dixon tried to negotiate a settlement. Afterwards this dispute and UN involvement in its solution got embroiled in the cold war politics and the Russian vetoes killed any further prospects of useful consideration by UNSC. 

Kashmir issue is not basically territorial dispute but a question of fundamental right of self-determination of Kashmiris pledged by International community unanimously. India-Pakistan wars, Siachen issue, Kargil crisis, water issue and frequent tensions across LOC are all directly related to Kashmir issue.

Our Kashmir policy, since the beginning of dispute, has gone through different phases. However our total commitment to the cardinal principle of self-determination has not changed. In fact there is no change in Pakistan’s policy but change in attitude of our wavering rulers. Unfortunately our rulers for self-serving reasons have been making policies which were not consistent with our national interest but in line with their personal interests. No government has deviated from the principal stand on the right of self-determination.
First time in the history, General Pervez Musharraf unilaterally offered India a four point out of the box settlement beyond UN resolutions. It was deceitful legitimization of the status quo in clear departure from Pakistan’s principal position on Kashmir. India now regrets not accepting it and wants to pick up the thread from where Musharraf left it. After 9/11 India took advantage of Pakistani rulers’ weaknesses to redefine the Pakistan India issues by obfuscating them into the issue of terrorism. It is pressurizing Pakistan to surrender on Kashmir issue. Surrender comes when one side accepts military or political defeat and gives up willfully or under pressure, and surely this is not the case with us. There may be small lobby in Pakistan sponsored and encouraged from outside asking for compromise but people of Pakistan will never accept any kind of defeatism. We should not give up on our principled position on Kashmir and surrender is no option for us. 

We find our rulers desperate for dialogue with India but India has shown no readiness and instead it continuously tries to isolate us. It is time for strategic pause and we should take a break by keeping doors open for dialogue but not begging for it. We should ensure that our legal position on Kashmir does not lapse or weaken with passage of time. There are no quick fixes and time is no consideration in people’s freedom struggles. We struggled almost for a century for freedom of Pakistan. We must continue to extend our moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiris. When Kashmiris continue freedom struggle, it is moral and national duty not to let them down. Publically upholding our legitimate position on Kashmir is not a declaration of war against India as portrayed by some people. Our upholding to the principle stand is a reminder to the world that durable peace in South Asia will not come without addressing the Kashmir issue. World should know there is just one legal and moral solution to Kashmir which was promised to them by UNSC in several resolutions. War is a no option in a nuclear region but Kashmir is nuclear flashpoint. Kashmiris are voice of oppressed people challenging India and world’s conscience. Domestic consolidation, security and self-reliance should be our most immediate priority.

Options should not be confused with various spoken academic models. Kashmir issue is sometimes referred to other models like Andorra, Trieste and Irish model but Kashmir is a unique situation and no model is applicable here. Basically there are four options available now. Status quo, which in any form is no solution. Secondly plebiscite which is only viable approach to which both India and Pakistan have committed themselves in terms of UNSC resolutions. Third is independence of Kashmir, both Pakistan and India are averse to this option and therefore not working. Fourth option is partial partition and plebiscite and this was tried by Sir Oven Dixon in the 50s. Possibility with some adjustments across LOC has been discussed at many occasions in past. 

Solution for the Kashmir dispute has to be pursued in a manner that is acceptable to both India and Pakistan and at the same time to the people of Kashmir also. I will quote Kashmiri intellectual Muhammad Yusuf Buch who said that any roadmap that deviates from the principle laid down in the primary agreement concerning Kashmir is bound to be arbitrary in conception and a failure in effect. Any prospect of dialogue with India on Kashmir will depend on how steadfast we remain in our principle commitment to the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people. The moment we waver, our rulers try to compromise in their personal private negotiations or conversations with Indian leaders, we would be weakening our position. –