Pakistan’s Letter Diplomacy

The ongoing bloodbath in Jammu and Kashmir calls for the United Nations Human Rights Commission holding a session for ending the killing and blinding civilians.
Pakistan’s Letter Diplomacy
Representational Pic

Kashmir has been converted into blood tarn. In the recent history, the past forty-three days have been the goriest and barbaric. More than 1.3 billion pellets, thousands of bullets, teargas shells and pepper gas cartridges have been fired killing sixty-eight and wounding over ten thousand civilians- scores disabled for life. More than two hundred and fifty people at an average are wounded. In the seventy years, history of the struggle for the right to self-determination for the first time more than five hundred children, teenagers and youth were fired with pellets in eyes and pushed into darkness for rest of their life. In the twentieth century, largely seen century of decolonization, freedom struggles and people's struggles for rights across the globe here is no instance of the barbaric practice of gouging the eyes of the children and blinding them- it was not done in Algeria or Vietnam. 

The ongoing bloodbath in Jammu and Kashmir calls for the United Nations Human Rights Commission holding a session for ending the killing and blinding civilians. It also calls for the United Nation Security Council to take out the Kashmir Dispute from its cupboards and place it on the table in a special session or the coming September 2016 session for asking India and Pakistan to abide by 1948, 1949 and other resolution for ensuring the peaceful and democratic resolution of the Dispute. 

These resolutions beyond the shade of doubt recognize the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir as it stood on August 14, 1947, that includes all the five regions as a disputed territory. India and Pakistan, for having agreed to this resolution are bound to implement them in letter and spirit. The two countries have a right to call upon the UN Security Council or any of its affiliated organizations including the UN Human Rights Commission to hold a debate and discuss Kashmir human rights violations and resolution of the Dispute. On India's Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi for needling Pakistan mentioned Baluchistan- as good a state of Pakistan a state as Maharashtra – where hate is growing against non-Maharashtrians that could any time grow into a separate nationalism. 'In mentioning Baluchistan in the Independence speech' as rightly pointed by a New Delhi commentator, 'not much an application of mind had gone.' The subject of this column is not Narendra Modi's statement on Baluchistan and its dynamics but Kashmir.  In his speech he also talked about the Pakistan Administrated Kashmir and the human rights violations across the Ceasefire Line (LOC). If Modi genuinely feels that there is unrest on the other side of Kashmir, he should immediately call for the implementation of the UN resolutions for holding a plebiscite in the entire State of Jammu. Or if he believes there are grave human rights violation in the other half of Kashmir, it should call for holistic appraisal of the human rights situation on both the sides of the LOC by the UNHRC. 

 In fact, it has been India that called for holding of a plebiscite in the state immediately after the landing of troops.  Five days after the landing of Indian troops, first Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten reached Lahore with a proposal for the Governor-General 'promising giving an undertaking for the withdrawal of troops from the state and suggested holding of a plebiscite in the state under the supervision of the United Nations. Two months later, New Delhi took Kashmir Dispute to the United Nations, causing thereof the resolutions giving the right to decide their future to the people of the State and recognizing India and Pakistan as parties to the Dispute.

Pakistan like India as a party to the Kashmir Dispute has an equal right to invoke the relevant UN resolution for asking the Security Council to ensure ending of human rights in Kashmir and take steps for seeing its resolutions executed by the two countries. Given to human rights situation on our side of the LOC,   there was every strong belief amongst people in Islamabad that its robust diplomacy will work towards making United Nations agree to hold a special session on Kashmir. In 2015, when India-Pakistan exchanged heavy fire, the New York Times in its editorial 19 August 2015 had rightly observed, "the disputed region of Kashmir remains a dangerous flashpoint. That could spiral out of control and set off another war between the two nuclear-armed adversaries.' Instead of working towards bringing Kashmir to the UN table, the political leadership in Pakistan decided against the majority view in its foreign office by taking to letter diplomacy. The letter diplomacy that started with Pakistan Foreign Secretary inviting his counterpart for talks on Kashmir immediately after the Quetta attack in which seventy people were killed. Interestingly enough, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while extending an olive branch to India also blamed India and Afghanistan intelligence agencies for the attack on the Quetta hospital. This sent a message that letter diplomacy was started not from a point of strength but weakness. New Delhi in its hard-hitting reply out rightly rejected proposed talks on Kashmir.  "Pakistan was conveyed that Government of India rejects in their entirety the self-serving allegations regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral part of India where Pakistan has no locus standi." 

Notwithstanding, New Delhi turning down any talks on Kashmir on Saturday 20 August 2016, replied the hard-hitting letter inviting Indian Foreign Secretary by end of August  to discuss the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, with a view to finding a fair and just solution, as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions and aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir."  There are indications that to get focus off from the situation in Kashmir and to offset the nudging from the United Nations, and Washington-New Delhi may agree to send its Foreign Secretary to Islamabad at the end of the August. These talks may be seen as a thaw in India-Pakistan relations, nevertheless, they are bound to fail and procrastinate Kashmir Dispute. 

The only way out for resolving the Kashmir Dispute is through a referendum whether you adopt Jinnah's November 1, 1947, three point formula or the UN resolutions.  

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