Call for India-Pakistan dialogue on Kashmir

Posted By Zaheerul Hassan

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum has expressed gratitude to Mr. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General for encouraging both India and Pakistan to address the issue of Kashmir through dialogue. The spokesperson of the Secretary General said on January 22, 2018, “We’re obviously aware.  We’re following this… what’s been going on, really for the last 10 days, and I think our… again, the Secretary‑General would encourage both sides (India & Pakistan) to address any outstanding issues through dialogue.” However, it was disappointing when the office of the Secretary General kept repeating the mantra that he will mediate in the dispute only if both India and Pakistan agree. Predictably, the Indian government in so many words has conveyed to the Secretary General, mind his own business and not to intervene in the dispute. We are amazed that the Secretary General took the ‘no’ of India as an answer.

It’s very clear that Kashmir needs a strong and determined will and the genius of an imagination that has the negotiating skills and knows how to bring people together.  The people of Kashmir still believe that there cannot be a better agency than the Secretary General of the United Nations himself to mediate or facilitate between the parties concerned. Secretary General has no ambition to assert dominance while as great powers do. Mediation by the Secretary General would be free from the jealousies and the ambitions that characterize individual initiative. The Secretary General will have to remain under no obligation to please any particular power or particular set of powers or groups. Yes, there will be resistance from India but if India is impressed with what she would gain by a just settlement of the Kashmir dispute, her negativity may not be insurmountable.

We, therefore, urge the Secretary General to maintain, indeed to intensify, its watch over the situation in Kashmir and not to be lulled into the belief that the dialogue between India and Pakistan, in the form and at the level it appears to be contemplated at present, and without the participation of the leadership of the political resistance of the people of Kashmir, will soften the conflict or lessen the urgent need for mediatory initiatives. The policy that aims at merely defusing the situation, whatever that may mean, and not encouraging a credible settlement have not paid in the past. It is likely to do even less now.

Kashmir is a dispute recognized by the United Nations. It holds the infamy as the most dangerous place on the planet. The 70-year-old conflict in that disputed, divided, devastated, and illegally occupied territory is the bone of contention of the nuclear confrontation in the region of South Asia. Without a just and lasting peace in Kashmir that vindicates self‑determination, trying to reduce missile and nuclear arsenals in South Asia will be an exercise in futility.

The potential elements of a peaceful solution have been in place for nearly 70 years. The key principle that the people of Kashmir have the right, and should be provided the opportunity to decide the status of their land is laid out in the international agreements embodied in the United Nations Security Council resolutions and not only the governments of India and Pakistan, but the United Nations itself is committed to it. While alternative modalities can be subject of negotiations, the principle has no substitute as the basis for an enduring settlement – the principle that the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir must be ascertained in seeking any final settlement.

The global involvement in Kashmir will not only end the bloodshed and suffering in Kashmir, but also will have a direct positive effect on international security by eliminating regional fighting, national tensions, and the risk of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.  It is in everyone’s interest to settle the Kashmir conflict peacefully without further delay.  We don’t want to see the horrific nightly scenes from Syria and Myanmar replaced by an even greater catastrophe in Kashmir.

The people of Kashmir hope that the United Nations will not continuance any attempt to ignore the wishes of the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and by pass the expression of those wishes.

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