A Different View on Resolution
of the Long Standing Dispute
Would it be a good idea to resolve
media, particularly the Urdu print media, is obsessed with India.
It gives enormous coverage to every paltry affair taking place
in India and analyzes it in the context of Kashmir, two-nation
theory or Islam with an ill intention of further aggravating the
tension between the two countries rather than looking at things
objectively--at least such affairs that could have positive aspects.
present days are very important for both the countries. Election
is a common activity between them. Elections in Kashmir have been
completed and in Pakistan will be held on October 10.
have been through an outrageous referendum on April 30 in which
General Musharraf imposed himself on the nation for another five
years with the mandate of the "long-knives". A mock-election
exercise could have been more credible than the referendum. Musharraf
had to admit in public that it was rigged. But his sycophants
e.g. the Information Minister Nisar Memon does not believe him
and is hell-bend on making the October 10 elections transparent
and fair like April 30 referendum!
Simultaneously, he would condemn the elections in Jammu and Kashmir
by using phrases such as "so-called", "eyewash"
or "farcical". And the same phrases would be afterwards
repeated by the Foreign Office spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan in his
weekly briefing. The universal saying: "There are a few people
who can see a straw in others' eyes but not a beam in their own"
perfectly applies to the Pakistani establishment.
"gurus" and "pundits" while comparing the
Pakistani and Indian media would say, the Indian media on foreign
policy issues follows the line of its foreign ministry. In fact
they, who are not professional journalists but just the owners
of a handful of tabloids because of their heavy pockets, follow
this practice. Don't they condemn elections in Kashmir repeating
the Pakistani foreign office's line?
there are a few moderate voices in Pakistan. Daily Jasarat, a
publication of the orthodox Islamic party Jamat-i-Islami to everyone's
utter surprise supported the Kashmir elections indirectly. "Musharraf's
elections are a farce. They have already been immensely rigged.
The October 12 Elections have caused a serious blow to the Kashmir
cause. How could Musharraf now accuse India of holding a farcical
election in the valley in the aftermath of a sham referendum in
April and bogus elections in October," wrote the newspaper
in its editorial of Sep 15.
Amir, Daily Dawn's columnist while speaking recently at a public
seminar said that India had lost a wonderful opportunity of settling
the Kashmir dispute forever in its favor. Pakistan had literally
erased Kashmir from its memory from 1971 to 1989. It was licking
its wounds of 1971 defeat. Then it engaged itself in the Afghan
war. During this period, India could have transferred maximum
autonomy to the people of Kashmir and won their sympathies but
it did not.
Amir's point of view, in a way was supported by N Ram, Frontline's
editor. In an interview with this scribe he said: "People
like myself would say, give the people of J&K maximum autonomy
as guaranteed by our constitution on paper. But in practice, that
has been taken away. In the second half of 90's, many promises
were made to restore the autonomy which were never kept. There
was a pact between the Indian State and the people of J&K
at the time of accession. So you have to deliver on this promise.
They don't take it seriously, particularly the present government-the
BJP-which officially wants to do away with this particular status
i.e. Article 370 of the Constitution which provides special status
Nawai Waqt is the biggest proponent of Pakistan's ideology. Mirza
Liaquat Baig in the issue of Sept 16 writes: "From 1951-1996,
India has been holding rigged and bogus elections in Kashmir.
This could not be called a democratic process. Elections should
be held under the supervision of the UN for the self-determination-right
of the Kashmiris."
Baig, on the one hand declares Ramjeth Millani's Kashmir Committee
as "ludicrous" but quite interestingly appreciates his
words too i.e. Kashmir is a controversial territory and those
who refuse to admit it live in the paradise of fools.
Waqt (Sep 16) while reporting on elections says that Indian forces
have threatened to torch the houses of the Kashmiris if they did
not cast their votes. Kashmir has literally become Indian army's
camp. The army has snatched vehicles from local people. It will
use them to transport people to polling stations.
Drama to start today in the Occupied Kashmir," was the front-page
heading of Daily Pakistan on Sep 16. "BSF is fully prepared
to make people participate in the elections on the gun point."
is the sub-headline. Writing an opinion piece in it (Sep 16) Mohammad
Farooq Rehmani said that Election was not the issue in "Occupied"
Kashmir. The Kashmiris were not against the elections. They should
first be given the right to self-determination. The US support
to India was obvious: use her as a proxy against China just like
it used Pakistan against the former USSR.
of Policy Studies is a Pakistani think-tank. It recently released
a special report on the Kashmir's election history. Th report
said that nine elections have been held in the "Occupied"
Kashmir during the last 50 years. All of them were immensely rigged
and boycotted by the Kashmiris. In 1951, all the members of National
Conference were elected unopposed. In 1956, 40 and in 1962, 33
members were elected unopposed. This seriously questions the credibility
of successive elections. In the light of the UN resolutions, these
elections do not give true representation to Kashmiris, which
is extremely important for Kashmir's future. India is holding
these elections to rebuff the world's pressure.
to Daily Dawn (Sep 16) Kashmir Committee's Chairman, Sardar Abdul
Qayyum said: "The Indian bogey of cross-border infiltration
and terrorism was aimed at legitimizing its entitlement to occupied
territory. Holding of elections in phases is aimed at ensuring
rigging and manipulation in results."
press was publishing on elections in Kashmir a few weeks ago?
Ali Javed Naqvi wrote an article, "Intikhab Naheen Istaswab"
(Right to self-determination, not Elections) on Sep 1 in the Sunday
Magazine of Nawai Waqt. He said, people of "Occupied Kashmir"
Hurriyat leaders and mujahideen want nothing but Kashmir's accession
to Pakistan. This scribe is sure that this has never been Hurriyat's
standpoint. Abdul Ghani Lone and some other Hurriat's leader were
sick and tired of jihadis. Lone publicly asked the jihadis to
stop their jihad in Kashmir because it was maligning their true
Jang in its Sep 1 editorial wrote: India has failed to ensure
Kashmiris' participation in the upcoming elections. The Kashmiris
know it well that they could not be pleased with the "toy"
a nutshell, Pakistani media is extremely dull in excoriating elections
in Kashmir. The cliché is, "UN resolutions",
a solution that is never possible in the eyes of those who believe
in realities and don't indulge in daydreaming. But what is the
harm in harping on the "self-determination"? It is a
license to your "patriotism"!
in Kashmir should not be a matter of concern of a nation whose
40 percent people live below poverty line in abject circumstances.
Kashmir has become an outstanding excuse in the hands of the selfish
army, bureaucracy and politicians of Pakistan. They could plunder
the resources of Pakistan to increase their bank-balance and justify
their wrongdoings in the name of Kashmir. The same situation exists
in India. The belief of Pakistani civil society is, Kashmir is
not amenable to any solution because it is not in the interest
of both India and Pakistan to solve it. The survival of their
vested interests is in the continuous tension between the two
countries and Kashmir is a good reason to intensify it. The Kashmir
dispute has provided excellent employment opportunity and perks
to the Indian and Pakistani establishment. Why would they think
of resolving it and alleviate poverty? Are they a bunch of fools?
writer is a freelance journalist based in Islamabad. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org