06 February 2012

No Practical Initiative on Kashmir

Today Kashmir solidarity day is being observed in lengths and breadths of Pakistan. This is done to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir who are under occupation and suppression of Indian Army. There is much outcry about this problem in media and by politicians. Everyone seems to not miss the opportunity to give a statement in favor of Kashmir. This is the trend from last 64 years. Apart from a few misadventures nothing practical has been done by Pakistani governments to solve the Kashmir issue. No one has taken any practical initiative on Kashmir.

After the announcement of 3rd June plan about partition of India, British government wanted Federal court of India to demarcate borders between India and Pakistan. Muslim league opposed this move and on their demand Radcliff boundary commission was formed which was headed by Sir Cyril Radcliff. British government wanted referendums in states to determine the wishes of the people to accede to either India or Pakistan. Again Muslim league opposed this and demanded that ruler of princely states should determine with which country they want to accede. Based on this formula states of Junagarh and Manadhvar acceded to Pakistan but Dogra ruler of Kashmir Acceded to India despite Muslim majority in area. This started the Kashmir problem which would remain unsolved for 64 years and result in four wars between India and Pakistan.

 Kashmir was declared Indian Territory by British and this was rejected by Pakistan. Indian army showed its intentions to enter Kashmir. Having come to know this Pakistan Army along with civilian guerillas was sent to conquer Kashmir. These forces captured some part of Kashmir but made a strategic mistake. They did not rushed to Srinagar and thus allowing Indian army some time to bring its forces through Srinagar airport. This resulted in first ever armed conflict between India and Pakistan. Later a cease fire was broke out after intervention of United Nations. Later United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution that problem of accession of Kashmir will be decide through a plebiscite. Then India Prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared in his visit of Kashmir, that People of Kashmir will be given the right of self determination through referendum. This promise was never made good. Today the area captured by Pakistani forces in first ever war is Pakistani held Kashmir and area Captured by India is Indian held Kashmir.

In 1965, Pakistan army covertly carried out Operation Gibraltar and Operation Grand slam to liberate the Indian held Kashmir from Indian forces. Both of the operations failed and this resulted in September 6 War between India and Pakistan. In Simla agreement between India and Pakistan in 1973 not only 90,000 Pakistani prisoners of war were released but the border between Indian and Pakistani held Kashmir was declared Line of Control, a temporary border. In February 1999 Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Pakistan and accepted the existence of Pakistan from the core of his heart. Then very meaningful negotiations were started on Kashmir between both countries. There was a hope that finally Kashmir issue will be solved. General Musharraf then army chief and future dictator of Pakistan covertly carried out Kargil operation. This led to fourth Indo Pak war but was restricted to Kashmir. Later in 2006, Musharraf as the chief of his dictatorial regime started back channel diplomacy on Kashmir with India. There were proposals of demilitarization in Kashmir. In 2007 Judiciary crisis started in Pakistan and Musharraf began to lost support. This also ended all negotiations on Kashmir.

In 2008 President Asif Ali Zardari’s government also wanted to start negotiations on solving Kashmir issue. Their efforts ended automatically when Pakistani origin terrorists attacked Mumbai on 26th November 2008. This resulted in deaths of more than 200 Indian citizens. This damaged the Indo-Pak relations severely. Last year Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar went to India and Negotiations once gain started between both neighboring countries. So far the negotiations are far from productive on Kashmir issue. However these have led to Pakistan granting India most favored nation status for trade purposes. That’s good but a lot has to be done on many problems surfacing between both Countries. Indian government stresses on composite dialogue which means that all problems should be discussed. Pakistan has a Kashmir first policy which means that first Kashmir issue has to be solved then any other problem can be discussed.

The Kashmir problem has badly affected more than 1.25 Billion people on Indo-Pak sub continent. Both countries are wasting huge amount of resources on their militaries in Kashmir. India has always had democratic governments since partition. That’s why they have developed into an emerging economy today. Military mission in Kashmir has comparatively less affect on Indian economy as compared to Pakistani economy. Pakistan spends 40% of its total resources on its army, mainly due to Kashmir problem. If Kashmir problem is solved Pakistan will not remain a security state anymore. She will be able to spend more resources on health and education of her 180 million people. England and France can fight for centuries and are good neighbors today then why can’t be India and Pakistan. The Kashmir problem has to be solved if both the countries want to progress. India can still develop with the resources drain in Kashmir but Pakistan can’t. If Pakistan wants to be a developed country in the 21st century then this problem has to be solved keeping aside the pressure from Army.

In Pakistan there has never been any serious and conclusive effort to solve the issue. Many leaders have raised slogans such as Fighting for India for 1000 years or Kashmir will be made a part of Pakistan. These slogans have merely proven to be political point scoring and nothing more. Pakistani civilian government needs make a commitment to solve the issue forever. This issue can’t be solved by fighting with India or sending guerillas to conquer Kashmir. It can be solved by negotiating with India and agreeing on a solution which is acceptable to Pakistan, India and Kashmiri people. Kashmir issue will take sometime to solve. Meanwhile other issues such as Sir Creek, Siachen, cross border infiltration and River water disputes should be solved. These issues are much simple and easy to solve as compare to Kashmir issue. So, Pakistani government and politicians have to show resolve and intentions, to solve this grave problem. That requires practical initiatives from those who are in corridors of powers. If there continues to be mere play of words and celebrating Solidarity day as a custom then this problem will remain unsolved, for decades to come, God Forbids

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