The two Kashmirs

2016-08-22T01:03:06+05:00 Agha Baqir

Kashmir seems to be requiring a more legal, rather than a political or diplomatic fight. United Nations surprisingly is very open and frank towards Pakistan, so much so that it has desired the Foreign Office of Pakistan to allow it to visit Azad Jammu and Kashmir to gauge the situation of human rights violations in India-Occupied Kashmir, as complaints have been received from the concerned parties. The Foreign Office of Pakistan has welcomed the visit of any such commission designated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights but has strongly reacted to UN’s presumption to equate the grim human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir with that of the peaceful situation in AJK which is not tenable in the eye of diplomatic, political, moral and above all legal norms of any subject. It sounds rather discriminatory, not only in the eye of international law but also in the laws of the land of the contesting parties, India and Pakistan. The issue may easily be framed as to whether the UN Human Rights Commissioner has been provided any evidence by India corroborating any incidences of human rights in AJK for counter blasting the evidence of the human rights situation in Indian-Held Valley as provided by Pakistan to the UN.

It has been seen that Pakistan often loses on the table what it has won on the field. The question remains unanswerable for lack of knowledge or, perhaps, for diplomatic and political expediency, that who are the knights who endeavour to bring the arena around harbingers of victory but all of a sudden the gloomy bugles of retreat are voiced after the table talks are done on any issue won so far. Though debatable, Pakistan in its 1965 war with India was estimated to be so close to victory to get the remaining part of Kashmir through Chumb Sector when enterprising Gen. Akhtar was suddenly withdrawn by the then military leadership. Not to the utter surprise of the people but also to themselves that on the way back from Tashkent, President Ayub preferred to withdraw himself to isolation while not addressing the people for a couple of days. It tacitly answered the public queries that maybe a political war had been lost on the tables of Tashkent with the then Indian Premier Shastri what we had won or at least defended on the ground.

Similarly, we might have been able to drag India diplomatically on the table at Simla, by any favourable or unfavourable situation of war in 1971, but did we really win something on the table as claimed proudly? Perhaps, what we won on the table was so ‘professionally’ reduced to the agreement by our diplomatic and legal professionals that India was subsequently comfortable to misinterpret “the bilateral talks clause” to its rendering the entire issue of Kashmir to a bilateral issue solely between India and Pakistan rather than an international issue which is actually decreed to be resolved under the UN Security Council Resolutions through plebiscite in the Valley. Keeping aside Kargil, unfortunately, the situation in Pakistan’s other important agreements reached with India involving issues of water and trade has not been much different in favour of Pakistan as compared to the past. As to the issue regarding any evidence to the incidences of rights violation in AJK, it can easily be ruled and as also defended by Foreign Office that AJK is enjoying absolute peace and tranquility in contrast to IOK. However, as to the issue of infiltration, Pakistan has to contest her case to the effect that no such evidence is allowed to be maneuvered as to the state sponsored cross-border terrorism or any infiltration. Moreover, no country can fairly defend any non-state elements, especially where in the countries like Pakistan, it is being strangulated itself by such elements except putting across incriminating evidence as came up on the surface in case of arrest of Kulbushan, the naval officer, caught perpetrating spy work in Baluchistan against Pakistan. It can also be substantiated by the argument that getting panicked by the current rights situation in IOK, which may be best exploited by Pakistan and the Kashmiris at UN body, Modi has gone far to exploit the Baluchistan situation and entrapping even Gilgit- Baltistan to India’s favour as counter blast to the situation at IOK.

The question arises as to where Pakistan can contest its case and on what strategy duly redefined in accordance with the emerging realities. UN seems to be the best place where the case of Kashmir may be fully highlighted as India’s stance is to go for talks with Islamabad only on the condition that cross-border terrorism and infiltration would be the sole item on the agenda and that Kashmir being an internal issue will have nothing to do with the talks. The present turmoil in IOK creats such circumstances and justification for Pakistan to invoke the jurisdiction of the UN body with full preparation and force once it is left with no other option. Here, Pakistan may best exploit the situation to the fortune of her cause in the presence of Masood Ahmed Khan, the former ambassador and permanent delegate to the UN, equipped with well diplomatic and articulate skills, as the President of AJK who can best put across the terms having equation and comfort zone with the key members of UN bodies.

During my visit to India, although primarily related to trade, I minutely observed the spirit and approach of the Indian politicians, ministers, diplomats, trade officers, academicians and the journalists that they have fairly attained a lobbying-oriented approach by virtue of their professionalism even over nationalism in comparison with that of Pakistan. And that is, perhaps, one reason that they are at ease to win the argument at every second international forum, may it be UN, WTO, IMF, World Bank or even the US congress. To sum it up, it seems that the Indians win on the table by their professionalism what they lose on the field and Pakistan loses on the table due to its lack of professionalism what it wins on the ground by virtue of its patriotism or by emotionalism. Pakistan, for instance, is awfully lacking in genuine legal back up to the seasoned politicians, technocrats and the diplomats to vet the international agreements, especially with India. Having a team of legal experts truly selected on merit may cure it and the same may be practiced in the instant spell of Kashmir. Need of the hour calls for this sort of spirit and approach to help UN distinguish between the circumstances found in the two Kashmirs and remould the opinion of the bodies like United Nations to our favour.

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