T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Second Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

June 2002

I N S I D E



In The Groove    B Raman

Editorial

Straight Face Romeet Watt

To The Point Bashir Manzar

And Them           S N Gilani

Fundamentals    Praveen Swami

InsideTrack       Romeet Watt

Firing Line          B Raman

PersonalJournal G N Fai

Special Report   

May Edition



A b o u t  U s

F e e d b a c k

D i s c l a i m er

C o p y r i g h t s

 

 A N D  T H E M

 

Kashmir - War Mongers & Apostles of Peace

Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani

 


Sovereign states India and Pakistan have charter obligations to peace and security. Peace is a prelude to any script of progress and development in these two countries. India and Pakistan have subscribed ‘to maintain international peace and security and to that end, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace and to bring about by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace’. In addition to this principal obligation in regards to peace India and Pakistan, have taken upon awkward positions vis a vis the two governments of Jammu and Kashmir at Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. 

The non-government actors, in the form of two oppositions in Srinagar and Muzaffarabad too have a role in the dispensation of a political and social justice to the people of Kashmir. There are myriad more components working to promote the general welfare in the civil society. Unfortunately the government in Srinagar has insulated itself against its duty to the people across the line of control. The government in Muzaffarabad too forgets its duty to people on the other side of the line of control. Both Srinagar and Muzaffarabad perpetuate their respective interests by crying wolf and sit idle to watch the daily death and destruction caused by the exchange of firepower between India and Pakistan. 

There are warmongers out to see the two countries edge forward to a massive destruction. The apostles of peace have a higher burden of responsibility to steel their resolve and bring the two neighbours back from the brink of war. 

It would be a tragedy if the people of Kashmir, held in respective pockets of control by India and Pakistan, while executing their desire to self determination, trigger a war, that piles death upon destruction. The debris of war destruction would bury the Kashmir cause for many generations to come. It is only peace in India and Pakistan that would act as a catalyst, in turning the sympathy of the decent Indian and decent Pakistani, in favour of the genuine grievance of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Valley based Kashmiri politics and the Islamabad based militant leadership has a higher burden of responsibility to secure peace – a habitat essential to execute the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. It is important that we understand the existing jurisprudence of the Kashmiri governments at Srinagar and Muzaffarabad. This understanding would be incomplete if it fails to stretch out to the people of Northern Areas suffering under April 1949 agreement. 

For any genuine and serious movement on the dispute of Kashmir, it is principally essential that the leadership of Kashmir is ‘mature in judgement’ and ‘enlightened in conscience’. As a pre-requisite it has to understand the jurisprudence of the case in entirety. The first step in this process is to position itself vis a vis India and Pakistan in ‘equity and good faith’. 

Kashmiri leaders on the list of APHC in particular and others outside this fold in general have failed to make a case in favour of their basic right of self determination. Majority in APHC has volunteered to substitute the ‘basic right’ for a ‘dispute’ between India and Pakistan. On the question of a basic right one has no problem to poise in accordance with the jurisprudence of the case. While as in the event of a dispute, the affinity and positioning is always suspect and biased? 

India and Pakistan, in their bilateral agreements in particular Tashkent and Shimla have subscribed to the insurance of no ‘prejudice clause’ in regards to their claimed positions. Any future dispensation of Kashmir question would at core be in settlement of the basic grievance of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The UN resolutions, Tashkent, Shimla and Lahore agreements and declarations are the essential jurisprudence on the subject. 

The respective controls of India and Pakistan, judgements of various courts, the legislative assemblies at Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and day to day conduct of public affairs in various parts of Jammu and Kashmir, have also created a direct and relevant jurisprudence around the case.  The constitutions of India and Pakistan too reserve an interest in this jurisprudence. 

It is disheartening to note that the understanding of the Kashmiri leadership of this vast flux of jurisprudence is sufficiently unreliable. Their political vocabulary and diplomatic phrase has failed to move with the times and as such has become obsolete. Kashmiri politics has an overbearing punitive component and is not prepared to model itself on tolerance and a popular mandate. 

The other important hue missing from the fabric of Kashmiri politics is the non-existence of a sense of accountability, responsibility and culpability. There is no regular mechanism, which a common citizen can invoke or resort to for pressing a grievance against the failings of a leader. A leader is a leader – ‘lock, stock and barrel’. 

Kashmiris equally suffer a continued disadvantage because they do not have an ‘informed choice’ to make. They are lead or coerced across a dark alley by the use of violence by the state and non-state parties. Our leaders and their support structures tend to confuse the people of Kashmir on the question of elections and the use of violence. Elections are far distinct a right from the right of self-determination. 

Coercing the people of Kashmir into non-participation in elections on the one hand raises the prospect of a counter coercion by the state machinery and security forces seeking participation. It exposes men and women and the civil society to a vicious circle of coercion aimed to seek respective compliance. On the other hand it deprives the people to maintain at least a very minimum control over their representatives. At the same time the forces that ought to be impeded and restrained – sleep walk into power for a full power tenure.

Participation in genuine, free and fair elections, is a basic human right. UN General Assembly has held that participation in genuine elections is necessary to secure and enjoy a vast regime of other human rights. 

Kashmiri leadership is either ignorant at core on the question of elections and self determination or remains guilty of wilfully pedalling a mala fide on the subject. United Nations has settled the jurisprudence of elections and self-determination in Kashmir. Elections in Kashmir have been categorically rejected as a substitute for the dispensation of a free and fair plebiscite to decide the question of self-determination.  

The people of Jammu and Kashmir have only two occasions when they could exercise  their authority and instruct the behaviour to carry out their mandates. The first and immediate is the participation in elections and affirm an agenda of social justice. It will help them to remain effective and visible in the running of day to day affairs of life, involving insurance of a vast regime of human rights. The second occasion is their participation in a free and fair plebiscite, to determine their title to self-determination. Those who oppose elections, in effect, make the voice of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, feeble and weaker, to be heard for any dispensation of self-determination.  

Violence and war are a distraction from the two basic rights of participation in elections and a gradual build up for a participation in self-determination. Unless the leadership of Kashmir is knowledgeable on the jurisprudence of the Kashmir case and the people have an informed choice – they shall continue to wander in a ‘political wilderness’. 

The author is the Secretary General of London based NGO Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights.   

Kashmir Bachao Andolan as an organization does not subscribe to the views and opinions expressed in the article.

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