Between OIC and UN
How will the thinking emerge need be seen
Situation on the home turf during 2013 is difficult to predict- if it would be unruffled as all through 2012 or shaking as during 2010. However, there are indications that during the next ten months fulcrum to India and Pakistan diplomacy will be Kashmir. In all likelihood, the clichés like CBMs, Cross LoC trade and MNF status will take a back seat and the diplomatic circles in India and Pakistan will once again be abuzz with phrases like Kashmir ‘nuclear flash point’, ‘peace to Afghanistan passes through gates of Kashmir’ and ‘South-Asian security hinges on Kashmir. There debate over ‘Kashmir being a bilateral issue’ between the two countries or an ‘international disputes’ will become louder. Moreover, as the date for draw down of US troops from Afghanistan draws nearer Pakistan will make all out efforts to remind the international community that Kashmir is an international issue and its resolution is all-important for peace and stability of volatile South Asia.
There are many pointers suggesting Pakistan endeavoring to wriggle out of the policy it pursued towards Kashmir during past four years of the PPP led government and during last days of Musharraf’s rule. On Thursday, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at its Cairo Summit asked India to allow an OIC fact-finding mission, international human rights groups and humanitarian organization to visit Jammu and Kashmir to assess the rights situation in the state. It also called upon India to undertake independent ‘investigation into the discovery of mass graves and ensure free and fair trial of those responsible of the “heinous crimes”. Expressing it concern at ceasefire violations across the Line dividing two parts of Jammu and Kashmir, the organization in its communiqué issued at the end of the two days summit welcomed Pakistan’s proposal of an investigation by UN Military Observers Groups for India and Pakistan in recent ceasefire violations. India sharply reacted to the statement made by a representative body of 57 Muslim Countries representing one third of world’s population and denouncing that it had no ‘locus standi’in the matter.
On January 21, 2013, the India and Pakistan clashed on role of United Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UMMOGIP) in the United Nations. India wanted withdrawal of the group, as it believed that its role was taken over by a bilateral agreement signed by India and Pakistan after the 1971 war, in which Pakistan had suffered a crushing defeat. The group stationed in the state since 1949 to ensure ceasefire across the Ceasefire Line/LOC draws its sanction to a resolution passed by the United National Security. ‘The United Nations ‘setting aside Indian demand’ stated that ‘its observers were fully active in Kashmir and the mandate of its UN Military Observer group would continue to exist as only Security Council could decide to end it.” The fundamental principle behind United Nations turning down India’s pleas has been that no bilateral agreement can replace or alter an international agreement.
ON September 26, 2012 after a gap of many years Pakistan President Asif Zardari raised the Kashmir issue at the United Nations. In his address to the UN General Assembly he said ‘Kashmir issue’ was symbol of the failure rather than of strengths of the UN system.’ Affirming support of his country to the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide their destiny in accordance with the UN Security Council’s long standing resolutions on the matter he very subtly suggested that it was not an a bilateral issue but an international issue and the United Nations had failed to resolve it. A week later Indian Foreign Minister, S.M. Krishnan took an ‘umbrage’ at Pakistan raising Kashmir issue at the United Nations and asserted Kashmir was an ‘integral’ part of the India.
Much before analyzing these developments in the context of the ongoing peace process and people-to-people contact between the two countries there is need to understand the fundamental difference between the UN Security Council resolutions and the Shimla Agreement. The resolutions passed by the UNSC are just concerned about the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, allowing people to exercise the right to decide about their destiny and delineate modus operandi for ascertaining people’s choice. The Shimla Agreement had directly nothing to do with Kashmir. It was primarily meant to sort out the post 1971 war issues between the two countries. More particularly that of POWs- 40000 army personnel and fifty thousand civil employees and some territory occupied by the two countries during war. Kashmir was not part of agenda at Shimla Conference; Ramachandra Guha says it was D.P. Dhar ‘one of key advisers of Mrs. Gandhi that wanted her to insist on the settlement of Kashmir as an integral and irreducible content of settlement with Pakistan. Clubbing Kashmir dispute to Shimla Agreement to use phrase used by M.Y. Buch, ‘is meant to cultivate a diplomatic culture of evasion- with an aim to draw a curtain over present day reality.’
These development such as Pakistan Foreign Minister, Rabbani seeking OIC intervention or President Zardari raising the issue in UN General Assembly seen in right perspective are a manifestation of ‘some kind of frustration’ within Pakistan about the ten years peace process failing to grow beyond rhetoric. Progress on Kashmir would have been a big thing. There has been no progress on Sir Creak or Siachin. In fact, there has been zero progress even on issue what Hina Rabbani had once called as “less controversial”. The only progress that can be attributed to the process is some Pakistan top journalists and activists visiting New Delhi and enjoying the best “hospitality.”
On February 5, 2013, Kashmir day was observed across the Pakistan and unlike other days marred with killings and bombing the day passed off peacefully. Some of the debates on official television channels and some satellite channels on the day suggested that a section of intelligentsia looks at ongoing peace process as nothing but as procrastination.
The question is if this thinking persists after the general elections in the country.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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