February 2004 News

Indo-Pak Amity And Kashmir

11 February 2004
The News International
Amanullah Khan

Islamabad: No serious, intelligent, farsighted and patriotic Indian, Pakistani or Kashmiri wants the long and continuous tension between India and Pakistan to continue as it has badly damaged the overall national interests of all the three. Nevertheless, it will not only be unjust but very dangerous too if the tension is done away with at the cost of the national interests of any one of the three. It can therefore be said that Musharraf-Vajpayee Joint Statement of January 6, 2004 was, to start with, a pleasant surprise but coupled with an alarm of serious dangers ahead. It was a pleasant surprise because the heads of the state and governments of arch rivals had undertaken to bury their hatchets but the following facts prove that the proposed Indo- Pak amity would be brought about totally at the cost of Kashmiris' interests and even of their national pride and self respect: * There is no mention, whatsoever, in the Joint Statement, of the inherent, internationally recognised and pledged right of self-determination of Kashmiris, let alone any pledge to concede their most deserved right to Kashmiris. * Kashmiris have not been accepted even as a party to Kashmir issue whereas they are the most important and the principal party to it. * The Joint Statement says that steps would be taken to serve the interests of India and Pakistan. There is no mention of the interests of Kashmiris. * The Kashmir issue has been termed as a bilateral matter whereas it is an international, at least a trilateral one. * It is clear from these facts that completely ignoring their wishes and aspirations and refusing to accept them even as a party to Kashmir issue, Kashmiris have been treated as dumb driven cattle. There could not be a worse insult to 15 million Kashmiris and to their national pride and self-respect. To add insult to our injuries, steps are being taken to change the LoC into permanent India-Pakistan border. The proposals of Srinagar- Muzaffarabad Bus Service and a permanent ceasefire on LoC are just initial steps to that evil end. Some henchmen of India and Pakistan in Kashmir may accept and support the contents of Joint Statement just to please and appease their masters in New Delhi and Islamabad but no patriotic or self respectful Kashmiris will accept this most unjust and humiliating sale deed. It is hoped that judicious and conscientious people in India and Pakistan also would raise proper voice against injustice being done to Kashmiris. Only unduly intransigent people will differ with the fact that no durable peace can be established in South Asia unless Kashmir issue is solved to reasonable satisfaction of all the three parties to the issue and without making any one of them a scapegoat. But under Musharraf- Vajpayee Joint Statement, Kashmiris are going to be made the main victims and the sole scapegoat. Anyhow let me make it clear, and history is on my side in this aspect, that this ill-conceived plan to create amity between India and Pakistan at the cost of 15 million Kashmiris' birth right, their national aspirations, and above all at the expense of their national pride and self respect is definitely going to cost both (India and Pakistan) a lot and it will not be long before the Joint Statement joins its predecessors, the Tashkent, Simla and Lahore Agreements, in the dustbin of history. If real and durable peace with justice is to be brought to the region, Kashmir issue has got to be solved to reasonable satisfaction of all the three parties instead of victimising only one and the weakest of them. That goal can be reached by evolving a roadmap that could lead to that destination without hurting the national ego of India or Pakistan, without harming their legitimate national interests like national security, national ideology and economy, without causing further bloodshed, mass migrations or communal-ethnic disturbances and above all, on the basis of the national aspirations and freely expressed and unfettered will of the people of the entire Jammu Kashmir State (both Indian and Pakistani controlled parts). The only way this all-important objective can be achieved, if to re-unite the divided Jammu Kashmir State with the consent and cooperation of the governments of India and Pakistan, and of the political leadership on both sides of the divide in Kashmir, under the auspices of an international Kashmir Committee, in several peaceful phases and make it a fully independent State with a democratic, federal and secular system of government and having compulsory friendly relations with both India and Pakistan and with other neighbours. Fifteen years after independence, let there be a UN supervised referendum in which Kashmiris would determine whether Kashmir should perpetuate its independence, become part of India or Pakistan or adopt any other course and that popular verdict be accepted by all concerned ie India, Pakistan and Kashmiris as final settlement of the issue and implemented. This roadmap solves Kashmir issue without hurting the national ego of India or Pakistan as it does not ask either country to handover the part of Kashmir under its control to the other. It does not harm their legitimate national interests as Kashmir will have mandatory friendship with both. Since the issue will be solved peacefully, there will be no further bloodshed, no mass migrations and no communal or ethnic disturbances and, above all, its final settlement will be based on the national aspirations and freely expressed and unfettered will of the people of the entire State. As such and seen from any angle, this roadmap presents the only peaceful, practicable, equitable, democratic and honourable hence durable solution of Kashmir issue and ensures a peaceful and prosperous future for the entire world in general and for South Asia in particular. I humbly solicit support to this solution of Kashmir issue from peace-loving and conscientious Kashmiris, Pakistanis and Indians and from lovers of peace and justice the world over. The writer is Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)


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