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Dilemma with Kashmir dispute

KASHMIR has been the sole cause of all Indo-Pak conflicts and uneven relationship ever since 1947. However, the dilemma with Kashmir dispute is that each time it gets relegated and loses sight of in the process of evading a conflict and lowering the tension between India and Pakistan. The outcome of first Kashmir war (1947-1948) was a ceasefire enforced by the United Nations through its Resolution No 47. Though in subsequent UN resolutions, solution of Kashmir dispute was sought, however the immediate objective attained was, a ceasefire between India and Pakistan. The UNCIP resolutions: August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949 called for people’s will through a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir State, which India delayed as a reluctant partner through a premeditated strategy. The effective Indian delaying tactics worked well, prolonging the resolution of Kashmir dispute for 71 years now. The 1965 Indo-Pak war started over Kashmir, but ended without any resolution of the dispute. United Nations and super powers of the Cold War through a fire fighting ensured a ceasefire through UN Resolution No 211 of September 20, 1965. During and after the war, all efforts were concentrated to bring an end to escalation and spread of war between India and Pakistan. Even the post war, ‘Tashkent Declaration of January 1966, brokered by (former) Soviet Union did not pay much attention towards resolution of the real cause of war, the Kashmir dispute. The declaration was nothing else except bringing an end to the hostilitieAs between India and Pakistan while restoring a pre-war status along the ceasefire line. In a way, 1965 Indo-Pak war and subsequent 1966, Tashkent Declaration once again poured cold water on the Kashmir dispute.
It is said that during 1962-China-India war, Pakistan lost an ideal opportunity for the resolution of Kashmir dispute, since it was communicated by Washington and London to stay neutral. Pakistan could have availed the opportunity being the affected party and also as a close friend of People’s Republic of China. Then, there is no morality in war. At that time, Indian Army and political leadership were highly demoralized after losing the war against China. India was under lot of pressure, thus could have accepted a UN-sponsored Plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir. The Anglo-American promises with Pakistan that, they would take personal interest for the resolution of Kashmir, after the end of Sino-Indian war was not fulfilled. Indeed, despite India being the partner of the Soviet Union, US and West fully supported it in 1962 war against Communist China, whereas Pakistan (a US ally) was strictly told to remain quiet on Kashmir dispute. The under pressure Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who prior to and during China-India war consented to give some parts of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan, later refused and also closed the chapter of plebiscite. In the post war scenario, the maximum Nehru could agree was maintaining the status quo along the ceasefire line on Kashmir dispute. Though East Pakistan was the major zone of 1971 war, nevertheless, Kashmir was the real cause of rivalry between India and Pakistan. Indian leadership firmly believed that a weaker Pakistan will cease to resist for the resolution of Kashmir dispute. With this ideology, India initially provoked the people of East Pakistan against the state of Pakistan and later helped their mobilization and fought a full-fledged illegal war which resulted into disintegration of Pakistan.
In Simla Agreement-1972, the Kashmir dispute was further relegated and priority was given to peripheral issues, which could have been tackled otherwise. Contrary to Tashkent Declaration, Pre-war status of the ceasefire line was not restored; rather this temporary line was renamed as Line of Control (LoC) in violation of UN resolutions on Kashmir. Indeed, Simla Agreement was not mandated to bring any change in the nomenclature of what it was mentioned in the UN resolutions, nor it could change the status. The 1971 war and the post war efforts were only meant to reduce further escalation in the Subcontinent, putting the Kashmir dispute into a cold storage. In a way, the cause for the disintegration of Pakistan and Indo-Pak rivalry though relegated but kept alive for future conflict(s). Seeing a stand-still on Kashmir, the people of Indian occupied Kashmir initiated a movement for their right of self-determination against Indian occupation in 1990. The unending Kashmiri struggle is still continuing with a new vigour after each passing day. In the process, over 100,000 Kashmiris lost their lives, thousands injured, paralysed, blinded, tortured and more than 11000 Kashmiri women were raped by Indian security forces. This ceaseless Kashmiri movement further infuriated India which has now initiated the genocide campaign against Kashmiri youth with total impunity under discriminatory laws.
Unfortunately, neither the nuclearisation of India and Pakistan in 1998 nor the Kargil Conflict-1999 could resolve the Kashmir dispute. Rather, India doubled its brutalities against the armless Kashmiri youth, who are unwilling to surrender from their basic right; the UN mandated right of self-determination. Apart from this, India is all set to dilute Article 35-A of Indian Constitution, providing safeguard for the state subjects. With Presidential Rule in IoK, India has delayed elections of Legislative Assembly, until a new Government is formed at New Delhi in April-May 2019. This will oblige Indian Government to manipulate IOK Legislative Assembly elections, paving the way to undo the special status of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of Indian Constitution. After the Pulwama attack, February 14, 2019, all regional and global efforts were made to normalize the escalating situation between India and Pakistan, relegating the Kashmir dispute once again. Indeed, this is the dilemma with Kashmir dispute, persisting ever since!
— The writer is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.