Chapter VI of the UN Charter deals with the specific resolution of international dispute. It provides certain methods to settle international disputes peacefully like judicial settlement, arbitration, mediation, conciliation, enquiry, negotiation, regional arrangement for the same, and finally through the UN Security Council. However, among all these methods provided for conflict resolution, the negotiation as the modus operandi to settle international dispute is considered to be the weakest and least effective method for the same. It has failed in the Middle East, and in Kashmir.

When two parties fail to resolve a dispute, then, there must also be a third party helping in solving the dispute. This third party involvement or intervention may be in the form of a judge, arbitrator, mediator, conciliator or just a facilitator. Unfortunately, we have been relying on the dialogues and negotiations with India over the Kashmir issue since we inked Tashkent Agreement with India in 1966. By doing so, we have badly damaged the international character of the issue by ignoring the UN Security Council’s resolution on the issue calling for the plebiscite in Kashmir jeopardizing the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

We have observed in the Middle East that all the milestones on the way to the peace process there like Camp David Accord, Madrid Conference, Oslo I, Oslo II, Sharm-el-Sheikh memorandum and others could have only been made possible by the active and extensive support and participation of USA. However, the bilateral dialogue process between India and Pakistan has been going on without the involvement of any such third party or external agency. This has become a wild goose change in the name of negotiations and dialogue; we have not only wasted a lot of time but have also confused and rather weakened our position on Kashmir issue.

Surely, there comes a time when international community has to acknowledge its position and accept its stance. So, we have seen the people of East Timor being given their right of self-determination in 2002 by the UN. Recently, the Palestine has secured a non-member state status at the UN, by the support of international community.

India has used the negotiation process with Pakistan, only, as an instrument to accomplish its national agenda on Kashmir. In this regard, it has been following the policy of ‘prolonging’ and ‘diluting’ of the issue. It used the 26/11 incident in India to put Pakistan on the defensive, and thereby skipping the Kashmir issue from the dialogue agenda. After that, came the other issues like Siachen and Sir Creeks etc. Now the dialogue covers only petty matters such as bilateral trade, visa regulation, cultural exchange, cricket and anti-terrorism measures etc. Having sidelined the core issue of Kashmir by India altogether, the normalization of the bilateral relations goes absolutely in favour of India. Perhaps, it is the best option for India to deal with post-nuclear Pakistan.

We should have a reappraisal of the fruitless, directionless and endless dialogue process with India. It’s time to revive the multilateral and international character of the Kashmir issue by resorting to the international community for moral support and taking the Kashmiri leaderships on board.

MOHSIN RAZA MALIK,

Lahore, December 18.