INDO-PAK DIALOGUE-REASONS FOR FAILURE

By Abdul Majid Zargar

On the 22nd death anniversary of “Shaheed-I-Danish” Prof. Abdul Ahad Wani, Jammu & Kashmir Liberation front held a seminar in a local Hotel. The topic of the seminar was “Indo-Pak Dialogue & Kashmir”.

Few words first about the great martyred professor about whom, Gary Kaulfman, once Britain’s shadow Foreign Minister on a visit to Srinagar said that he feels himself inferior before the knowledge & Intellect of Wani. Who Killed him? Some speakers were of the opinion that he fell victim to an Ideological war referring to then on-going tussle between two schools of thought-one Pro-Pakistan & the other pro-Independence. This may not be necessarily true. We might know the hand but we do not know the brain behind the killing of Professor wani. Dr. Abdul Ahad Guroo’s Killing is a classic instance in this regard. His murder took place in a similar set of circumstances but the State covert operation behind his killing was revealed much later by a top functionary of the Indian Govt., Mr. Wajahat Habibullah in his book “My Kashmir Conflict and the Prospects of Enduring Peace”page 81-82. 

Let me now come to main topic of the Seminar i.e Indo-Pak Dialogue & Kashmir.

Indo-Pak History is littered with the debris of dialogues ,unimplemented joint statements, joint commissions, working groups, no-war pacts, agreements etc. In fact the talks started immediately after landing of Indian forces in Kashmir when Mountbatten, the Governor General of India Travelled to Lahore for a dialogue with his Counter Part, Quia-Azam Ali Mohammad Jinnah. Since then countless rounds of dialogues have taken place between the two Countries. Dialogues were also held when one of the two Countries was in a weak bargaining position following military defeats-like Bhutoo-Swaran Singh Talks after India’s defeat in 1962 Indo-China war & Indira-Bhutoo Shimla talks after Pakistan’s defeat in 1971 Indo-Pak war. Though on a number of occasions , the Indo-Pak diplomatic weather did improve, but the climate never really changed and the settlement eludes the two parties as ever.

But let us go to basics first. Why & what should India & Pakistan talk about. The answer for “Why” is that they are supposed to do so following UN resolutions & their own bilateral Shimla accord. The answer for “what to talk” is simply “Only Kashmir”. Any talk outside this agenda like trade & water, Siachen or Sir-creek is bound to fail and that is what is precisely happening. Those who think that UN resolutions have lost their relevance or have become obsolete and can jump them to arrive at some Out –of- Box solution are living in a fool’s paradise, least knowing that international agreements, as UN resolutions are, do not have expiry dates. In our case the passage of decades cannot diminish the critical value of the these resolutions. 

Similarly those who think that Shimla Agreement has Overridden UN resolutions betray their ignorance of international law. They should read Article 103 of UN Charter which says “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the UN under the present charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present charter will prevail”. What it means is that the UN resolutions on Kashmir will take precedence over all other international agreements, like Shimla Agreement, on the same issue. My advice to such people, who want to work outside the UN settled frame-work, is to take a complete rest, as they are trying to make my world worse.

In the above context of Indo-Pak dialogue, there are three parties to the dispute-India, Pakistan & People of Jammu and Kashmir and the international community represented by UN is the Umpire . The role of two countries, India & Pakistan is limited to talking & making atmosphere conducive to determining the wish of the people of J&K. Even If any of the two parties out of these three like India & Pakistan decide to put the dispute beneath the carpet or work out some other formula, it will not have any enduring effect over the main issue. The past has been a testimony to this phenomenon. We had Shimla agreement, Delhi agreement, 1975 accord etc. etc but the issue has not vanished. And the Umpire’s role has to be impartial and meaningful particularly because the two Countries are nuclear armed and pose a direct threat to a quarter of the world population.

Author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Email abdulmajidzargar@gmail.com

 

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