Agra summit and after

Today General Pervez Musharraf has said that on Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s forthcoming visit to Pakistan he is going to provide him an opportunity before print and electronic media to speak out boldly whatever is in his mind. Boldness and truthfulness irrespective of and expediency is the hallmark of a statesman’s character. General Musharraf has proved his mettle and now it would be the turn of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee to do so. It’s a pity that he has failed to grab the opportunity which providence had provided to him to make history and go down in letters of gold in spite of the International power brokers.

However be as it may, the unfinished agenda, not only of partition but also of Agra summit has to be completed which could not be completed in Agra because of the petty intrigues and expediency in the government with a weak supporting parliament. To say the least this is the curse of democracy, had there been a strong man at the helm of affairs not bothering about for norms and forms and care for whatever is administered best, is best, the summit would not have ended in a stalemate on account of which the joint communiqué could not be issued.

Late Major General Akbar Khan of Pindi conspiracy case has recorded in his book “Raiders in Kashmir.” That had the cease fire orders communicated to him by post and not telegraphically the position in Kashmir would have been entirely different and Pakistan would not be moving about with beggar’s bowl. As a matter of fact no government after Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan’s murder ever tried to tackle Kashmir problem seriously and sincerely. Kashmir has been treated only as a political slogan to keep the government in power as is being done by India as well and not complying with the United Nations Resolutions, although the India’s founding father Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru had pledged before the world body to give the right of self determination to the people in Kashmir.

President Ayub Khan played with this issue for ten years very nonchalantly and non-seriously; this problem should not have been tackled like this by a Field Marshal President, who had all the powers, which the nation and the hand picked legislature, could give him. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who had declared to fight a thousand-year war with India for Kashmir did not include Kashmir in Simla agreement and Kashmir was made a bilateral issue instead of an international issue. General Ziaul Haq was busy keeping his power intact under the guise of Islam and when he declared that he had enough of ammunition to wage a war for liberation of Kashmir, was killed mysteriously in an air crash. He was followed by two democratic governments, one of Benazir Bhutto and the other of Nawaz Sharif. Benazir Bhutto harped mainly on the tune of confederation between India and Pakistan and the holder of the largest mandate Mian Nawaz Sharif was only dabbling for a greater Punjab, which ended with Lahore declaration, Kashmir was no where in the picture.

This goes to the credit of General Pervez Musharraf only; who has caught the bull by the horn and now the nation waits with bated breadth to see what happens at the Islamabad summit, if at all it takes place.

After all what is the remedy, when the summits fail? The matter can be taken to the International Court of Justice at The Hague. There can not be any solution of Kashmir without the participation of Kashmiris, which may even result in the partition of Jammu and Kashmir. We have also suggested earlier in these columns that The Third Option could be the only option for the Kashmiris. If East Timor can be made independent through International intervention in a few months time, so could Kashmir also.

The curse of humanity is the power broker sitting far away from the scene. The world community has to get rid of this scourge if peace, progress and prosperity coupled with respect for sovereignty are a matter of concern for the civilized world and nations.

Mr. Ali Ashraf Khan is a Pakistani Businessman and Ex-Politician who bid good bye to politics in order to concentrate on more useful service benefit of the political intrigues prevalent in the National Political life of Pakistan. He frequently writes for English and Urdu newspapers in Pakistan.