To state that Kashmir is a regional South Asian conflict would be an understatement, the fact that this dispute entails two nuclear powers makes it a dispute of international proportions and so it should be treated like one. Pakistan has repeatedly approached the Indian government for a dialogue to resolve the issue peacefully, but Indian government’s response has remained childishly stubborn and intransigent. Refusing to come to a dialogue and making statements like “Kashmir is an integral part of India” that ignores and belies the aspirations and the right of Self-determination of the people of Kashmir.
Since Pakistan and India’s independence from their British colonizers, Kashmir has remained an apple of discord between the two countries both making claims to the land which has been aptly described as “Heaven on Earth”. U.N Resolutions on Kashmir acknowledging Kashmir as a disputed territory and giving the Kashmiris right of Self-Determination to accede to any of the countries or become an indepedent state is a public knowledge now.
Kashmiri freedom movement:
Kashmir’s Freedom Movement dates back to the era of origin of conflict in 1947. The movement is currently led by Mir Waiz Umer Farooq and Kashmiris are fighting the Indian occupation both politically and militarily which has resulted in India’s forceful suppression of the movement. Many Kashmiris have laid down their lives for their motherland’s independece from Indian occupation and for their rights the most recent one of them is “Burhan Wani”, who was killed by Indian Occupation forces. The death of Burhan Wani resulted in mass protests across the valley which too was expected to be quelled with the use of force. In recent article on Kashmir in “The Diplomat” an Indian analyst sums up Indian government’s response and Kashmir’s peoples support for the freedom movement in these words;
Burhan Wani’s Death touched off protests acroos the valley and drew a heavy handed response by the Indian Government……the Indian State’s legitimacy has worsened since last summer, with increasing instances of non-violent and quasi-violent acts of resistance and lower voter turn out as clear indicators of public sentiment.
The Nature and History of the Dispute:
On Indepedence in 1947 there was the question of 650 Princely states acceding to the country of their choice but it was never clear who had the right to make this decision, the rulers of those states or the people of the states. Rulers making that choice would have undermined the democratic and just principles the partition was to be based on.
At the time of Partition, Kashmir was being ruled by a Sikh “Hari Singh” who against the wishes of his people signed an Instrument of Accession to India. People rose against him and that led to first war between India and Pakistan in 1948. Since then the issue has become a cauldron of instability in the region and world.
Pakistan has always supported Kashmiri freedom fighters and considers Kashmir as its core political dispute with India. India, on the other hand, considers Kashmir as its integral part.
U.N’s 1947 & 1948 Resolutions On Kashmir:
The basic points about the UN resolution are that:
• The complaint relating to Kashmir was initiated by India in the Security Council;
• The Council explicitly and by implications, rejected India’s claim that Kashmir is legally Indian territory;
• The resolutions established self-determination as the governing principal for the settlement of the Kashmir dispute. This is the world body’s commitment to the people of Kashmir;
• The resolutions endorsed a binding agreement between India and Pakistan reached through the mediation of UNCIP, that a plebiscite would be held, under agreed and specified conditions.
- The Security Council has rejected the Indian contention that the people of Kashmir have exercised their right of self-determination by participating in the “election” which India has from time to time organized in the Held Kashmir. The 0.2% turn out during the 1989 “elections” was the most recent clear repudiation of the Indian claim.
Pakistan continues to adhere to the UN resolutions. These are binding also on India.
The Simla Agreement of 2 July 1972, to which Pakistan also continues to adhere, did not alter the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory:
· Para 6 of the Agreement lists “a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir” as one of the outstanding questions awaiting a settlement.
· Para 4 (ii) talks of a “Line of Control” as distinguished from an international border. Furthermore, it explicitly protects “the recognized position of either side.” The recognized position of Pakistan is the one, which is recognized by the United Nations and the World Community in general.
· Article 1(iv) obviously refers to the Kashmir issue when it talks of “the basic issues and causes of conflict which have bedeviled the relations between the two countries for the last 25 years”