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Solution is possible

[Also Published on Oped, Greater Kashmir, 3rd July, 2010]

The fatalities in Kashmir are fast reaching a six digit figure. Yet the levels of fatalities do not seem to stimulate a genuine peace process for both hostile neighbors. The history of Kashmir has not facilitated a resolution in the past and given the situation, is unlikely going to do so in future as well.

Without signing the ‘written affidavit’ of allegiance to both countries, no political institution is allowed to represent the aspirations of the people, which has been already eroded time and time again, due to lack of genuine representation. The present spatial attributes of resolution are clear- a relationship should continue to be based on centralized power structures from New Delhi and Islamabad. The current arrangement directly or indirectly predetermines the accession to Pakistan and India respectively. Several international independent analysts and agencies have stated that elections have never been held freely. 

At the same time, there have been no international amendments in practicality to bar these ‘ rig vote’ practices. Unlawful arrests, draconian laws, life-threatening emergency powers of Disturbed Area Act (DAA), Special Armed Forces Protection Act (AFSPA) in Kashmir and all versions of torture continue as natural laws. How do we expect a resolution possible or Kashmir to develop, when the conditions created are hostile for safety by both India and Pakistan? Humanitarian bodies like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International are already concerned about these levels of vehement violence and unethical draconian laws that have effected thousands of Kashmiri lives.

Endorsement of legal powers in accord with international conventions which safeguard rights-liberties and redistribute attributes of sovereignty is needed through genuine evolution from political actors of both countries. Post 1996, the ‘Azaadi sentiment’ has acquired a major role in ensconcing the dispute for the process of accommodation. But the biggest hindrance faced by the people is that the leaders have succeeded in evolving a ‘trait of flexibility’ for the fear of getting irrelevant. This has unfortunately created an environment of mistrust and social fragmentation.

The concept of ‘Azaadi’ should address Indian stands, Pakistani stands as well as Kashmiri stands through a tri-partisan solution by balancing the political, legal and social persuasions of the people. ‘Internal sovereignty’ is more important than concepts of autonomy and self rule. This is the main reason why many attempts regarding implementation of prevailing ideas have failed. An accomplishable resolution can be implemented through enabling an environment of phased demilitarization, revocation of all draconian laws, developing new prototype political structures, ceasefire between armed groups and Indian armed forces within the region, engagement of domestic armed groups in dialogue process and shared economic integration. Sadly, the State of India and Pakistan, both, have failed to genuinely address the issue so far because they have been provided a ‘liberty of multiple interpretations’.

The only substitute for dialogue is violence. Every day when these leaders delay talks, violence continues. The best method in decreasing level of violence is through peaceful negotiations. It is a long term concept for establishing peace. However, there have been no hints of an international intervention-their role has been resisted to mere spectators. Violence has badly dented the very essence of ‘Azaadi’ by hijacking our social domain. Leaders are slaves to the prevailing sentiment and have crossed all ideological extremes to facilitate an invalid democratic establishment. This is a harsh reality. Massive human rights violations have worsened the situation – even further.

There are lessons to learn for India and Pakistan. World has seen civilized means of resolution. Very recent of which has been ‘ The Good Friday Agreement’ which was designed in sound British political machinery where genuine negotiations replaced guns to resolve a political conflict over self determination. This arrangement ended a violent war between the British and the Irish and a resolution model like this could result as a success for Kashmir’s resolution.There have been various attempts by both countries to isolate Kashmiris in pursuit of a resolution which is unlikely going to succeed. There should be a joint solution which needs to be institutionalized.

Developed leaders from both sides unfortunately have been prisoners of their own rhetoric. There has been no genuine civilized interaction between the two countries. Wars have been fought, negotiations have been carried out, pacts have been signed, an armed movement is still on and yet a decisive outcome is still elusive.

In Kashmir, there is only one concept of genuine leadership. The concept which relies heavily on the right of self determination. It should be implemented according to the Articles drafted in [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights [ICESCR]

India & Pakistan could try to resist practices which suit their interests, design a valid democratic process rather than installing leaders directly. The most unfortunate part is that there is no evidence that India and Pakistan have followed any pattern or implementing stage worth emulating in resolving the dispute. because starting a resolution and then ending up with a blame game, signing irrelevant pacts and empty talks cannot ultimately yield anything.

© Naveed Qazi, Insights: Kashmir

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