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Kashmir Dispute And The Way Forward

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The stakeholders need to work out a mutually agreed upon solution to the Kashmir issue instead of issuing mere lip service, writes Usama Mumtaz.

We have been hearing a lot about the Kashmir issue internationally as US President Donald Trump, in a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, expressed his readiness to become a mediator between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Trump further told that Indian PM Narendra Modi also requested him to act as mediator so a solution can be forged.

Although Indian Foreign Office disowned the claim within a few hours, some still think India is engaged in backdoor diplomacy over the matter which it doesn’t want to publicize just yet.

Imran Khan has also been consistent in expressing his desire to resolve the dispute amicably. These recent developments have raised hope among the people of Kashmir that the two parties might come close to a peaceful solution to the long-held issue.

The peaceful resolution of the issue will certainly end the miseries of people living in the conflict zone who have to deal with violence on a daily basis. But looking at the history of Jammu Kashmir and the role of Nation States, the issue is not as simple as some might consider it to be.

Kashmir is exploited for national resources and to further the dirty weapons business of nation states. If we see the recent track record of Imran Khan’s government, we won’t be in a position to predict as to what all it can do it actually ensure resolution of the issue instead of mere lip service.

The government’s policies have been contrary to Imran Khan’s statements prior to his election as the PM. Many claims that were made later did not translate into action either.

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Some even say that the Imran Khan government follows the management leadership principles of Niccolo Machiavelli, the Italian philosopher of 15th century, famously known for his book ‘The prince’. It explains how to prolong and defend your regime by making a fake soft image in front of the people.

His government is also criticized internationally for suppressing freedom of expression and trying to manipulate the media houses. On the other hand, India claims Kashmir to be their integral part and the ruling party has a history of communal violence and a tough stance on the Kashmir issue. So one shouldn’t expect the BJP to show restraint.

And when it comes to the US, we all know it will defend its own interests in the Afghan peace process.

Pakistani citizens don’t have much regard for the United States, and at the end of the day, there is not much difference between a Pakistani citizen, an Indian citizen and a US citizen. But there certainly are differences among their governments.

They are close to each other and mutually work for their own interests. Jammu Kashmir issue is much more complex than it seems. According to Samuel P Huntington, there is a clash of civilizations in Kashmir. Any solution to the Kashmir issue, therefore, will have to include all voices and movements.

 

1 Comment

  1. Syed Fai July 28, 2019

    President Trump Deserves Our Gratitude
    Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai
    July 28, 2019
    The Kashmiri American community has been informed of the deep gratitude felt by the people of Kashmir at the forthright and principle stand taken by President Donald J. Trump for offering his office of mediation to settle the 71-years old dispute between India and Pakistan. President Trump was quoted to have said at the White House on July 22, 2019, during his meeting with Mr. Imran Khan, the Prime Minster of Pakistan, “ If I can help, I would love to be a mediator. If I can do anything to help, let me know.” President Trump added, “ I heard so much about Kashmir. Such a beautiful name. Such a beautiful part of the world.” The sentiments expressed by President Trump were both humane and pragmatic and should gather full support within the United States and beyond.
    It’s very clear that Kashmir needs a strong and determined will and the genius of an imagination that has the negotiating skills and knows how to bring people together. We believe that there cannot be a better person than President Trump himself to mediate between the parties concerned. Mediation by the President would be free from the jealousies and the ambitions that characterize individual initiative. President Trump will have to remain under no obligation to please any particular power or particular set of powers or groups.
    Without reservation, it can be said that the person who becomes instrumental in resolving the Kashmir dispute – the bone of contention between the two very potentially dangerous countries – deserves not only the Nobel Peace Prize but also a special place in history. The resolution of the dispute will bring unparalleled honor to the one who help to achieve it. That honor could be yours, Mr. President. Your leadership in helping to settle the Kashmir dispute should not be seen to favor India or Pakistan but to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in the region of South Asia.
    We do not wish the future dialogue on Kashmir between India and Pakistan to stagnate or be broken off. Nor do we want it to be just make-believe. We remind all concerned that there are equal dangers for peace in the two possibilities. Each of them can be averted only by the mediation of President Trump.
    India and Pakistan have had more than 150 official rounds of talks in the last seven decades to discuss conflicts and differences between them. The by-product of every round of talk was an agreement to meet again to talk. In consequence, the peace process between India and Pakistan has always remained an illusion. Talks have always proved barren because both India and Pakistan have never defined the parameters of talks. The talks were never meant to be time bound with specific benchmarks that would define and characterize progress.
    We are fully aware that the settlement of the Kashmir dispute cannot be achieved in one move. Like all qualified observers, we visualize successive steps or intermediate solutions in the process. It is one thing, however, to think of a settlement over a relatively extended period of time. It is atrociously different to postpone the beginning of the process on that account.
    What is desperately needed is an affirmation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan of the necessity of taking new measures to effect the settlement of the dispute within a reasonable time frame. To that end, India and Pakistan must together prepare a plan for the demilitarization of the State with safeguards for security worked out together.
    All parties need to understand that ultimately the Kashmir issue will only be resolved across the table through tripartite negotiations between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership. And if that is true, then why wait? Any delay will cause more death and destruction in the region.
    The demand of the people of Kashmir that the Kashmiri leadership should be included in the talks is not based on passion alone but on important principles long acknowledged by the international community. Yet they have been contaminated with this long history of failed talks and agreements that have not resolved the issue and that do not even meet the very minimum requirement of those principles. So much political posturing; so absent of real intent.
    The refusal by India to sit down to the table with Pakistan or those who represent the Kashmiris indicate that India is not even close to addressing the realities of Kashmir and the will of the people. This must change. Peace in the region would benefit not only those who are directly impacted by this conflict but India as well, whose economy is seriously drained by the maintenance of such a massive amount of troops in Kashmir, and the diversion it creates from other challenges it faces in raising the living standards of its population. Sounder minds must prevail. More rational methods of dealing with differences must be sought. Repeating the same mistakes while expecting different results has long ago been found to be the path of failure. Seventy one years should demonstrate a need for a change in policy, a policy that accepts the need for coming together in a process that accepts the right of all people to determine their own destiny.
    The uncertainty over Kashmir will lead not only India and Pakistan to disaster but it will also destroy any possibility of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. Fortunately, any resolution of the Kashmir conflict will directly impact the stability of Afghanistan as many experts have started realizing that the key to peace in Afghanistan lies in Kashmir.—that the U.S. will never stabilize the former without peace in the latter. Suddenly, bringing India and Pakistan together seems to be very much in America’s interest.
    Dr. Fai is the Secretary General, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum. He can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435 or [email protected]
    ***********************************
    Kashmiri leader welcomes Trump’s offer to mediate Kashmir dispute
    WASHINGTON, (APP): A prominent Kashmiri leader has welcomed US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate the 71-year-old Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, saying such a move would bring peace and stability in South Asia.
    “The key to peace in Afghanistan lies in Kashmir — the U.S. will never stabilize the former without peace in the latter,” Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary-General of the Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, said in a statement following Trump’s offer to play a role in resolving the dispute over Kashmir where the people have been struggling to rid themselves of the India’s iron-fisted rule.
    The president made that statement at the White House where he welcomed the visiting Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, who encouraged the US leader to undertake the peace mission.
    “We believe that there cannot be a better person than President Trump himself to mediate between the parties concerned,” Dr. Fai said.
    “Without reservation, it can be said that the person who becomes instrumental in resolving the Kashmir dispute – the bone of contention between the two very potentially dangerous countries — deserves not only the Nobel Peace Prize, but also a special place in history” he said.
    “The resolution of the dispute will bring unparalleled honour to the one who help to achieve it. That honour could be yours, Mr. President. Your leadership in helping to settle the Kashmir dispute should not be seen to favor India or Pakistan but to advance the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights in the region of South Asia.”
    Fai added, “What is desperately needed is an affirmation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Imran Khan of the necessity of taking new measures to effect the settlement of the dispute within a reasonable time frame. To that end, India and Pakistan must together prepare a plan for the demilitarization of the State with safeguards for security worked out together.
    “All parties need to understand that ultimately the Kashmir issue will only be resolved across the table through tripartite negotiations between India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri leadership. And if that is true, then why wait? Any delay will cause more death and destruction in the region.”

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