Political Harvesting at UNGA

The closing week of September 2015 has been a week of varied narratives.
Political Harvesting at UNGA
File Photo

The closing week of September 2015 has been a week of varied narratives. 'K' re-appeared in United Nations General Assembly [UNGA] as Pakistan premier Nawaz Sharief proposed formalization of 2003 LoC ceasefire and expansion of military observers group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to monitor the observance, reaffirmation by India and Pakistan not to resort to use of force or threat of force under any circumstances, steps to be taken to demilitarise Kashmir and mutual withdrawal from Siachen Glacier. India responded with proposal of de-terrorizing, holding Pakistan responsible for sponsoring terror. India and Pakistan continue to talk at each other rather than talk to each other. Deafness is feigned to what the adversary says and dumbness to discuss it. 'K' issue remains largely un-addressed and unresolved. There is however an effort to reap the harvest of unresolved yet appealing issue, 70th UNGA meet provided yet another occasion. 

Pakistan of late has shown a greater willingness to take Kashmir to international forums like UN. Some observers take this over-drive an effort to offset what is taken to be faux pa in Ufa, where India, as per her own narrative pinned Pakistan down to discussing terrorism. Pakistan official circles though claim that discussing terrorism was in no way meant to rule Kashmir out of discussion. An impartial analysis would find it difficult to believe that Pakistan could by any stretch of imagination wash its hands off Kashmir, though it might have expressed her willingness to discuss terrorism. India's terrorism over-drive might find a sympathetic audience, USA mainly, particularly post 9/11. However USA has compelling interests to stay engaged with Pakistan, the country being a key player in Afghan imbroglio. India does have a constituency of sorts within Afghan ruling circles meant to take India as one of the players of Afghan scene. This constituency however can neither overlook Pakistan stake in Afghan situation, nor wish away Pakistan's geo-strategic location, being the neighbour next door. Even India's massive investment in infrastructural development of Afghanistan cannot off-set  Pakistan's geo-strategic equation.     

There were a few parallel narratives paraded at the UNGA meet. Organization of Islamic countries [OIC] argued for re-defining terrorism, with a plea to take freedom fighters out of purview. In many Muslim regions, where a struggle is being waged against the prevalent political dispensing, the struggle cannot be branded as terrorism, remained the plea. Nawaz Sharief in propounding his narrative in UNGA complained of leaving issues related to Muslim world un-addressed. Muslim world however continues to remain divided. Section of Pakistan media took note of Palestinian President–Mahmood Abbas neglecting to mention Kashmir, while pleading at UNGA to seriously address Palestinian problem by holding on to Oslo narrative, where two nations–Israel and Palestine co-existing was proposed–a proposal largely on paper without seeing the light of day. The concern of Pakistan media finds echo in civil society debates in Kashmir, while Kashmiri hearts bleed for whatever concerns Muslims worldwide, Muslim world apart from passing references in OIC remains oblivious of fate of Kashmiris. This one-sided love affair remains a matter of concern, as business ties and state to state relation remain the prime concern.

Abdullah Abdullah–CEO of Afghan regime, often called co-pilot of President Ashraf Ghani continues to stick to his chosen line of attacking Pakistan. In his UNGA presentation, it was no different.  While Ashraf Ghani continues to work for re-rapprochement with Af-Taliban, northern Tajik alliance led by warlord–Rashid Dustum is widening the conflict, dragging Ashraf Ghani  and Afghan national army with it. Kunduz is the latest battle-ground. USA cannot but support the official Afghan effort. However, getting out of Afghan quagmire necessarily involves rapprochement with Af-Taliban, hence USA wants the stalled dialogue to resume. While Pakistan in UNGA  meet pledged to lend a helping hand, China is putting its global standing, political and economic weight behind it. With the likes of Abdullah Abdullah and Rashid Dustum stealing Ashraf Ghani's preference for diplomatic engagement within the Afghan ruling elite, Pakistan cannot but guard her western border with Afghanistan, as hard as the eastern border with India. And Pakistan Army's Zarb-e-Azab against internal insurgency if far from over, as the attack on residential quarters of air force personnel in Peshawar testifies. However impartial sources give credit to army for largely controlling the insurgency in south Wazirstan and FATA. And to paramilitary rangers as well for checking urban militancy in the commercial capital, Karachi. Militancy is however difficult to check without regional cooperation, and regional cooperation without conflict resolution could be but a dream, difficult to realize.

In 'K' narrative post-Shimla bi-lateralism as seen in the Indian prism rules out UN multi-lateralism. Pakistan stand continues to be that Shimla implied abiding by UN Charter. Pakistan per se does  not seem to be against bi-lateral engagement. However, should such an engagement not produce results, Pakistan stand continues to be to invoke multi-lateralism. Translated, it involves UN, which has in multiple resolutions set-out a mechanism for resolving 'K' issue. Put simply, it means self-determination, with plebiscite being the vehicle of implementing it. The respective Indian and Pakistani stand finds resonance in 'K' resistance narrative. The stand of resistance formations continues to prioritise UN mechanism for resolution. However Indo-Pak engagement with tri-lateralisation involving the prime party–Kashmir is included in  Hurriyat manifesto.  India rules out any role for party with prime stake, much wider than other stake holders. Far from accepting a trilogue with three parties at the table, India rules tri-lateralism in any form. With stake holders pulling apart with varied narratives, global powers need to take the call and provide the way out.  

Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]

Greater Kashmir