From the day one of the Kashmir conflict more than half a century ago, Delhi’s stand not to entertain third -party involvement in settling the conflict is as illogical as it is unmistakable. The absurdity of Delhi’s view in not wanting third party participation has been the principle cause of the trauma of the Kashmiri people.
India took the Kashmir conflict to the United Nations Security Council with a complaint against Pakistan of intrusion into Kashmir. Indian expectations were dashed when the Security Council questioned India’s legitimacy over Kashmir and turned down its manipulated accession. And the Security Council directed that the will of the Kashmiri people is paramount and must be determined in a free and fair plebiscite under UN auspices.
Since the resolutions of the Security Council of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949, Indian leaders have stuck to their illogical stand and have not allowed Kashmir decide their political future, though they did not make their views public till 1954 when Pakistan became a member of western alliance.
Soon after 1954, Delhi started harping loudly about its unwillingness to allow any third-party involvement in settling the Kashmir conflict. The reason was obvious. Allowing such a participation – which would be none other than an outside government fully conversant with the causes of the conflict and UN’s involvement with it and its resolutions, would reiterate the universal principle of letting the Kashmiris decide their political future.
To let Kashmiris freely decide their political future has been an abomination with Delhi hence its unwillingness about the idea of third-party involvement. Delhi also fears that in the presence of a third party, it would be confronted with its very weak case on Kashmir, and that it would be required to accord serious consideration to the settlement of the conflict without wasting time on subjects having little or no bearing on the crux of the problem.
To counter the argument why Delhi is against allowing Kashmiris freely decide their future, a lame excuse has often been put up by Delhi that Kashmiris have already decided to be part of India.
That decision was taken by a tame assembly. In fact all elections in Indian occupied Kashmir since Delhi’s take-over of Kashmir has been rigged at Delhi’s behest. And soon after the that decision, the UN Security Council warned India it would not recognise the faked decision of the Kashmir state assembly and that only a free and fair process of self-determination of the Kashmiri people under independent auspices would be acceptable as envisaged in Security Council resolutions.
Now in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington and the US- led coalition war on Afghanistan, Delhi has been shouting about its own fight against so-called terrorism in occupied Kashmir and has been desperate in bringing US and UK attention to it.
However, its assumed fears are getting cold response from world’s major capitals. Delhi has now resorted to military attacks on positions across the cease-fire line in Kashmir, hoping its action would be duly noted as Delhi’s concern over the Kashmir situation. But again Delhi failed to provoke the coalition partners raising noises in favour of India.
One hopes that Delhi realises that in wanting the world to respond appropriately against what it terms ‘Pakistan sponsored terrorism’ in occupied Kashmir, it is, indeed, inviting a third-party involvement in occupied Kashmir. Under the circumstances, Delhi should also understand that it cannot impede real progress towards the settlement of the conflict, and would bury half a century of its illogic associated with third-party involvement in Kashmir.
Mr. Ali S. Khan is Executive Director, Kashmiri Scandinavian Council (KSC) in Oslo, Norway.