Indians are in the habit of sidetracking the real issues by indulging in blame game. For instance, Indian forces occupied Siachin Glacier unilaterally, which has resulted in frequent skirmishes, but more casualties were caused due to harsh weather. Negotiations to demilitarize the region have not been successful so far. When, in retaliation, Pakistan tried to cut their route to Siachin by occupying Kargil heights, Indians reacted disproportionately and a lot of hype was created internationally but there was no action to demilitarize the Siachin Glacier.
Recently, on January 6, 2013, the Indian forces killed one Pakistani soldier and wounded another near Haji Pir along Line of Control in Kashmir. Pakistan lodged a protest. Two days later, perhaps to divert world attention from the initial Indian offensive action, the Indians created a hype that two of their soldiers were killed and beheaded, a crime which is unpardonable but was never reported in the past to have been committed by Pakistan. In fact, the training of disciplined armed forces including Pakistani forces is that bodies of enemy soldiers are given due respect and returned to their home country. But, according to evidence, an Indian soldier of 18 Garhwal slit the head of a Pakistani soldier with his knife, which was pinned onto a tree at Drass near Kargil as an “exhibition piece” (for details see Hindustan Times of January 19, 2013.
It is in the interest of both Pakistan and India that they should desist from provoking each other and resolve their disputes peacefully and amicably.
They have inherited several problems requiring solution, which have strained their relations. They have fought three wars and India has been deploying its forces on the Pakistani border in a threatening posture since 1950. The last one was in 2002, about which Ari Fleischer, a US White House spokesman, on December 20, 2002, had stated: “the tension reached alarming level…As a result of the intervention of the President, the Secretary of State, and numerous leaders around the world including [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and [British] Prime Minister [Tony] Blair, there is now a markedly diminished point of tension.”
It may be recalled what the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, while speaking in Parliament on “No War Declaration” had said that he had suggested to Indian Prime Minister on December 3, 1949 “to lay down a precise procedure with a time-table so that everyone in India and Pakistan should feel that at least now, for better or for worse, all the principal disputes between the two countries would be settled once and for all. My efforts have failed.” Again, Liaquat stated at a press conference on July 15, 1951 that “I tried my best to persuade the Prime Minister of India to agree to an effective no-war declaration under which all disputes between India and Pakistan would be settled by the recognized peaceful methods of negotiation, mediation and arbitration. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister of India did not accept the formula proposed by me which would have established effective procedures for settling every dispute between the two countries.”
Liaquat was right as a couple of serious disputes between the two countries were solved through arbitration. For instance, the dispute over division of rivers was resolved under the Indus Water Treaty of September 19, 1960 brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and the dispute over Rann of Kutch was resolved through International Arbitration under the Award of February 19, 1968. But India is not prepared to solve other problems through arbitration.
However, in January 2004, the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan initiated a composite dialogue process and identified eight issues, i.e. Peace and Security including CBMs, Jammu and Kashmir, Siachin, Sir Creek, Wullar Barrage, Terrorism and Drug Trafficking. Of these the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is the core issue.
It is not primarily a territorial problem as often represented. It is a humanitarian issue. It relates to the fundamental right of the people of Kashmir to self- determination in accordance with the 1948 United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
So far the composite dialogue process has failed to solve any problem. It was suspended in November 2008 on grounds of the terror attack in Bombay. In July 2009, the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, in a joint statement at Sharm-el-Sheikh agreed to de-link peace talks from acts of terror. Yet the process could only be resumed two years later in March 2011 at the Secretary’s level only. It is obvious that unless there is a change in the mindset of the political leadership and media, there is little hope for a resolution of disputes which the poor people in both countries desperately desire.
If there is a will on the part of leaders to live in peace and flourish in trade and commerce, all disputes could be and should be resolved side by side through peaceful methods of negotiation, mediation and arbitration.(Dr Noor ul Haq)