Kashmir: Evidence of Political Betrayals and Unfulfilled Promises

Author Name: Amna Tauhidi      19 Sep 2019     Kashmir

The blind eye policy towards Kashmir and other humanitarian crisis across the globe, reflects on the inability of the world institutions to cope with conflicts around the world. In an address in 1982, the US president Ronald Reagan defined peace as, “[it] is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means”. One such example of world’s inability to end a conflict is Kashmir issue. The inability to frame and implement a peaceful resolution for Kashmir issue has resulted in the escalation of military crisis in the past at the cost of the regional peace and stability. This inability has also raised questions on the credibility of global institutions assigned with the responsibility to ensure peace and save humans from genocide. Shadowed by the quiescent resolution framework, Kashmir has an unfortunate history of political betrayals and unfulfilled promises.

Currently, the cordon in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK) by India in the form of brutal curfew and communication blockage for more than a month, implemented through its unilateral move of abrogating article 370 and 35A is self-explanatory depiction of BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party) electoral and power mandate. Scrapping the special status of Kashmir is not only a violation of its recognized international disputed territory status but also an eye opener for the so-called proponents of international peace and human rights. The illegal use of power by India challenges the conduct of peace regulators and mediators followed by the death of their conscience in holding the de-facto power abusers accountable. International institutions and authorities must remain cognizant of the fact that when there is no justice, there is street justice. Therefore, denying Kashmiris the right of a fair and transparent plebiscite, as promised in the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 47, will prove detrimental not only for its institutional supremacy but also for global peace in the long run.

The 5th of August announcement by New Delhi, to unilaterally decide the territorial fate of Kashmir has awakened the world from hibernation on the call of mediation, this time from Pakistan. Though the United Nations Security Council Meeting (UNSC) is considered as a successful breakthrough by many, but the reality is diametrically opposite. The 90-minute closed door meeting is evidence of double game and signaling of false diplomacy to the world. According to an eye witness – Pakistan’s own diplomat – the meeting even failed to come up with a statement to the press, the lowest of Council’s actions. The attitude of participating countries was neither welcoming nor it generated a word on public criticism of Modi’s high-handed behavior. India continues to enjoy the preferential treatment by international community. Despite Modi’s involvement in money laundering and terror financing through his support of the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), he enjoys a waiver at the cost of seventy-year Kashmiri struggle for freedom .

The question that needs to be addressed in the context of the aggravating political, social and human rights situation in Kashmir is: what are the factors at play that are impeding a fair and an equitable resolution framework for Kashmir? This inability to resolve the conflicts can mainly be attributed to power politics and the strings of interests. These are mainly of geo-political, geo-strategic and geo-economic nature, traded among the global and regional powers. The above-mentioned factors have given an edge to the perpetrators to manipulate conflicts as a rolling stone, while at the same time keeping pace with their heinous political agendas and bypass accountability. The nature of Kashmir dispute as a rolling stone, existence of power disparity among the contesting stakeholders and their geo-political alignments are some of the major impediments in developing a conciliatory framework for Kashmir.

The grave human rights violations in IoK are entrenched to such an extent that the immediate call is to prevent genocide. The unveiling of false rhetoric by India during the Pulwama crisis has shown its real image to the world. Therefore, the best possible way forward is to play wisely on the ground of international legal norms. In the very first instance, UN has declared that any unilateral declaration by India or Pakistan on the permanent status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir cannot nullify the position of the United Nations; therefore, the relevance of UN resolutions will continue to exist until the two parties mutually decide any other solution. UN resolution 122, 123 and 126 reverse India’s 5th August move as null and void. Despite the fact that the United Nations (UN) passed 23 resolutions on the conflict of Kashmir from 1948 to 1971, the implementation of these resolutions remained a distant dream.

India’s failure to resolve the Kashmir conflict in a bilateral framework with Pakistan contradicts its democratic image and values. As for PM Modi, the political charlatan is playing mischief by merging democracy with motives of promoting ultra-nationalism to complement the agenda of BJP. It is ironic how the claimants of democracy are backing from the promises of their forefathers. In a broadcast to the Indian nation on November 2, 1947, independent India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, said, “Let me make it clear that it has been our policy all along that where there is a dispute about the accession of a State to either Dominion, the decision must be made by the people of the State. It was in accordance with this policy that we added a proviso to the Instrument of Accession of Kashmir.” In his broadcast on All India Radio, the Indian Prime Minister also said, “We have declared that the fate of Kashmir ultimately has to be decided by the people. That pledge we have given, and the Maharaja (Maharaja Hari Singh) has supported it, not only to the people of Kashmir but to the world. We will not, and cannot, back out of it.” In short, the Indian democracy has failed to deliver on the principles of democracy self-assigned to itself.

The reason behind the 70-year unresolved conflict can be attributed to five gaps: knowledge, norms, policy, institutions and compliance. Except for knowledge and norms, the UN has been ineffective in upholding all the three norms. The ‘compliance gap’ has been the most destructive since it is related with implementation, monitoring and enforcement. To bridge the gap, it must be kept in mind that neither war nor genocide is in the best interest of both global and regional order. Therefore, to avert war and prevent genocide, the proactive role of the international institutions is imperative to assert themselves on India for the resolution of the Kashmir issue and check its perpetual violation of the resolutions. These steps are necessary to maintain the legitimacy of international institutions as a tool of conflict resolution instead of being tempted by power politics.

The writer is a Researcher at Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS). She can be reached at cass.thinkers@gmail.com