Two arguments made by the Indian Foreign Minister, S.M. Krishna, from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), leaves in doubt as to where the composite dialogue process (CDP) that commenced in January 2004, following the rolling back of India’s Operation Parakram (December 2001 to October 2002), is headed. The angry outpourings poignantly make manifest the Indian design of relegating the core issue of Kashmir in the CDP and replacing it with the contrived up subject of terrorism, as the leading issue.

Indeed, this came as a response to President Asif Zardari’s speech made a few days earlier in which he had said  that “Kashmir remains a symbol of failures, rather than strengths of the UN system” and invoked the presence of the UNSC resolutions guaranteeing the right of self-determination to the Kashmiris,

Krishna said that “an unwarranted” reference to Kashmir [by the President of Pakistan] was made from the UNGA’s forum and “we wish to make it abundantly clear that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.” When asked if the verbal sparring over Kashmir at the UN could prove an irritant in the efforts being made to normalise the Indo-Pak ties, he responded: “We will continue our dialogue with Pakistan and the roadmap has been drawn. We will try to stick to the roadmap and let us see how it goes.” The question goes a-begging: if the Indian roadmap to dialogue with Pakistan is sans Kashmir, then where is this effort leading us to?

President Zardari’s mentioning of Kashmir at the UNGA deliberations was relevant, essential and to the point; after all, the theme designated by the Secretary General for the debate during the 67th session (September 25 to October 1, 2012) was ‘adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations by peaceful means’.

Kashmir has inalienable linkages to the UN and if Krishna was attempting a blackout on the subject, then he was indulging in the worst form of skulduggery that, over the years, has come to acquire the status of the official lie that Indian diplomats are well trained to spew out with a straight face. The riddle of the Indian “roadmap” becomes easier to untangle, if one closely analyses Krishna’s parallel diatribe, blaming Pakistan for the slow development in bringing to justice the alleged culprits of the Mumbai terror strike in November 2009; cryptically called 26/11 by Indian spin doctors.

In addition to taking a dig at Kashmir, Krishna was obviously making the best of his UNGA speech time to wrongly harangue Pakistan over alleged lack of earnestness to respond to questionable evidence provided by India to Pakistan through a slew of error filled and casually prepared dossiers claiming to prove its involvement in 26/11. Before taking on the infamous Indian dossiers, it is in the fitness of things to first clean up the cobwebs of Indian propaganda related to Kashmir’s UN linkages.

The linkages and India’s studied chicanery to sidestep them are a subject in itself. But certain facts need to be reiterated to define the context of Kashmir’s case. A much ignored fact remains that it was India that took the case of Kashmir to the UN on December 31, 1947, making an appeal to the UNSC, alleging Pakistan’s support to the Kashmiri rebels, mostly from Poonch and some tribal lashkars; defying the Indian design of occupying Kashmir by force.

Pakistan made its own submission two weeks later; taking a stance that India had acquired accession of Kashmir by fraud and violence and that the Kashmiris had an inalienable right to exercise their option of self-determination.

The UNSC resolutions of January 17 and 20, 1948, and April 21, 1948, endorsed the concept of a fair and free plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people whether to join India or Pakistan. They also granted the establishment of a five-member United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP), drawing its members from the US, Czechoslovakia, Argentina, Colombia and Germany to facilitate the execution of the UN mandate.

Theoretically, the UN resolutions’ implementation on ground would not have posed a major problem. Nehru, the then Indian Prime Minister, had on a number of occasions placed himself on record, supporting the Kashmiris right of self-determination. But Krishna’s declaration from the UNGA forum calling Kashmir an “attoot ang” is a manifestation of India’s contemptible deceit in brazenly attempting to take the issue in a blind alley, despite the presence of valid UN resolutions made 65 years ago.

A few words about Krishna’s allegations that Pakistan is not proceeding post-haste in bringing the culprits of 26/11 to book, despite ample evidence in the dossiers provided by the Government of India. Pakistan has made it amply clear, and on different occasions through various forums, that the evidence received from India is so tepid that it cannot withstand scrutiny by the courts to establish the guilt of those accused by New Delhi of participating in 26/11, including Hafiz Saeed. It stands out as a measure of the casual attitude by Indian authorities that in the list of DNA reports of 10 alleged terrorists given to Pakistan on March 13, 2009, in Dossier-2, two different DNA reports were attributed to the same person.

Another dossier mentioned the statement by Ajmal Kasab as an enclosure, but none was to be found due to what was later claimed to be a clerical error; only after Pakistan indicated to the glaring omissions. Such casual and non-professional attitude demonstrated by the Indian government exposes the concocted propaganda that Pakistan is not interested in taking to law the perpetrators of 26/11, despite incriminating evidence made available. This well deliberated Indian design seeks to have terrorism as the most urgent and vital issue to be resolved between the two countries through dialogue; acquiring an overriding priority that should even push Kashmir to a relegated position during the course of the CDP.

The USA’s presence in our neighbourhood, following the 9/11 tragic incident, has created a backlash of terrorism in Pakistan. At a time when the country is reeling under the impact of terrorist incidents, it is amazing that India finds it convenient to hold Pakistan responsible for creating mayhem in India. Such tactics, which are manifestly contrived to push Kashmir to oblivion in the conduct of the CDP, can only be called expedient and wishful.

The South Asian region will know no peace, unless the issue of Kashmir is taken to a logical conclusion in deference to the wishes of the Kashmiris. This is so because rather than being territorial, Kashmir embodies the principled aspirations of a vibrant people. Much blood has been spilled and sacrifices offered. Kashmiri people are the true custodians of the movement to acquire for themselves the universally recognised right of self-determination and Pakistan has all the right to provide full moral and diplomatic support to such endeavours.

The writer is a freelance columnist.