What should be done to Settle Kashmir Dispute

By Shabir Choudhry
11th June 1998

What should Pakistan do?

  1. Pakistan should agree to negotiate the future status of Kashmir, but must not agree to bilateral talks with India.
  2. Pakistan must insist that the international community should play its due role in resolving this long - standing dispute to avoid nuclear confrontation in the region
  3. The UN Security Council should, once again, appoint its representative, who should visit the region and present proposals to resolve the dispute after analysing the ground realities.
  4. Failing this, Pakistan should insist on the mediation of a third party, which has had hitherto a neutral stance on Kashmir.
  5. Pakistan should also insist on inclusion of the Kashmiri representatives in the talks because they are the major party to the dispute.
  6. Pakistan should show flexibility on its stand on Kashmir, as its current stand has failed to provide a solution. The people of Kashmir must decide the future of whole of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and there should be no restrictions imposed on their choice.

What should APHC do?

  1. Puts its own house in order (see below)
  2. Insist that the APHC should be part of the future negotiations on Kashmir.
  3. Failing this they should insist that the Kashmiri representatives should be part of the negotiations.
  4. Be firm but polite with Pakistan, and insist that Pakistan must show flexibility in its approach to solving the Kashmir dispute; and that Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan should also be part of future negotiations.
  5. The choice of the people should not be restricted to two options only as this would jeopardies the progress of negotiations.
  6. If appropriate strategy is not formulated then it is possible that the international support may decline because of other world events, or unnecessary prolonged time. This would be tantamount to help India to, once again, to escape the net.
  7. Declare in unequivocal terms that the people irrespective of colour or creed must decide the future of the State; and that all the Kashmiris have the same right to reside in Kashmir.
  8. Start inter region dialogue with different ethnic and regional groups, and persuade them to perform their national duty in the freedom struggle and request them to join the APHC.
  9. For this purpose the APHC leadership have to show vision and leadership quality, and visit different regions and districts and; where, necessary, make appropriate changes to accommodate other people.
  10. The APHC Azad Kashmir should also pursue the same strategy. They should persuade the Azad Kashmiri leaders to join APHC; and then they should visit Gilgit and Baltistan to win their confidence.
  11. Pakistan should learn to trust the people of Kashmir as they are not enemies of Pakistan; and should take bold diplomatic initiative and recognize the Azad Kashmir Government.

Shabir Choudhry
Director, Institute of Kashmir Affairs

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