The Black Day

Courtesy:-  Malik Muhammad Ashraf

Reigniting the exchange of fire along the LOC and the working boundary by India and the consequent bellicose blustering by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is a sad response to the peace overtures made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his envisioned approach to build bonhomie with India and carrying forward the suspended dialogue between the two countries to resolve mutual disputes, including the core issue of Kashmir. Equally worrying is the fact that the Modi government is trying to repeal article 370 of the Indian constitution which gave special status to Kashmir; an endorsement of its disputed antecedents.
The conduct of the Indian government in regards to the Kashmir dispute and relations with Pakistan is terribly out of synch with the emerging geo-politcal, strategic and economic realities. For ensuring lasting peace in the region and harnessing the economic potential for shared economic prosperity, normalization of relations between Pakistan and India is of pivotal importance. There is no escape from this inevitable reality and sooner the Indian leadership realized this better.
The resolution of the Kashmir issue in line with the spirit of the UN resolutions is obligatory on both India and Pakistan. It is not a dispute about territory. It pertains to inalienable right of the people of Kashmir to self-determination. Use of force or trying to deny the existence of the problem cannot dissuade the people of Kashmir and Pakistan from agitating the issue on all available forums including the UN. Pakistan particularly cannot be brow-beaten by a coercive diplomacy.
The million march held at London on 27th October (Black Day) and protest rallies by Kashmiris all over the world, besides reminding the world community and UN of its obligation to the People of Kashmir also convey a strong message to India that despite the presence of 80,000 Indian troops in the valley and the brutalities perpetrated on the people of the state they would not rest until they were granted the right of self-determination as enunciated in the UN resolutions.
India simply cannot change the ground realities and the legal status of Kashmir by sticking to the denial mode and flaunting its military prowess. Under the UN resolutions and Simla Agreement it has accepted the disputed status of Kashmir and ultimately it would have to change its stance in its own best interest. By remaining adamant on its illegal and unreasonable posture on the issue it was trying to scuttle prospects of peace and progress in the region and consigning its teeming millions to a perennial fate of deprivation and abject poverty. Pakistan has made persistent efforts to resolve this issue through dialogue on the bilateral level as envisaged in the Simla Agreement and having been frustrated by the non-cooperative attitude of India has rightly decided to re-raise the issue at the international level and in the UN.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his address to the UN general assembly forcefully advocated the cause of Kashmiris and urged the UN to play a role in the resolution of the dispute through the implementation of its own resolutions.
The advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz has also written to the Secretary General UN to play a role in ending firing by Indian troops along the LOC and the working boundary. At the same a clear message also has been conveyed to India by the Prime Minister and the military leadership that notwithstanding Pakistan’s genuine and sincere desire to normalize its relations with India and resolving the Kashmir dispute through dialogue it was not prepared to accept Indian hegemony and India would be given a befitting reply for its adventures along the LOC or any other kind of aggression. That is how a sovereign nuclear state must conduct itself.
Indian stance that after signing Simla Agreement, Pakistan could not internationalize the Kashmir issue is absolutely wrong. Article 103 of the UN charter says” In the event of a conflict between the obligations the members of the UN Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present charter will prevail” What it means is that the UN resolution on Kashmir will take precedence over all other international agreement on the same issue. So Pakistan is very much within its rights to invoke UN resolutions, after having failed to find a solution through bilateral arrangement due to Indian intransigence.
Therefore, India needs accept the realities and firm up its response accordingly. Peace overtures by Pakistan should not be misconstrued as a weakness. Avoiding armed conflict and burying the hatchet are the only available options for the nuclear neighbours to bring peace in the region and changing the fate of millions of people living below the poverty line on both sides of the border.

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