Tuesday, 25 February 2014

No Third Option, Dr Syed Nazir Gilani

No Third Option, Dr Syed Nazir Gilani 
Foreign Office of Pakistan may not have to its credit many success stories in diplomacy at home or abroad but it has gone to dazzling limits to maintain its hold on Kashmir narrative in fooling the people at home and in Kashmir. There are no two opinions that civilians in foreign office have a subordinate role and it is the military and spy-science that has the final say on Kashmir subject. Unfortunately the military approach on Kashmir continues to be colonial and far remote from a reliable understanding of the jurisprudence of Kashmir case.
The foreign office briefing given to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan on Thursday, February 20, at Parliament House, Islamabad merits a serious examination and response from the people in general and the leaders of Kashmir in particular. Those who remain in close proximity with the ‘political, moral and diplomatic’ support of the Government of Pakistan have a higher burden of responsibility.
Third Option
National Assembly Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan headed by Chairman Malik Abrar (PML-N MNA) was briefed by the Additional Secretary Foreign Affairs that UN Resolutions did not leave any scope for a Third Option on Kashmir. It was stated that if there is an “Independent Kashmir” it would suffer the fate like Afghanistan and Nepal.
These columns are not sufficient to query the vires of this statement in its entirety except that the statement has caused a serious offence to article 2 (i) (Chapter II) of Hurriyat Constitution adopted on 31 July, 1993. It exposes the merits of the relationship between the authors of militancy and their proxies on the issue in the Valley. It is a question that needs to be addressed by all the parties signatory to the Hurriyat Constitution and all others who subscribe to the creation of an Independent State of Jammu and Kashmir.
On the basis of this briefing, it may be argued that Pakistan has used the ‘independence’ sentiment on an ad hoc basis, in the manner in which the full regime of proxies had been put into action until 1996. The lack of sincerity in the merits of inclusive jurisprudence and using the independence sentiment for a secondary purpose to bleed India could be regarded as a betrayal and an unfortunate step to fool the people, in particular the youth of Kashmir at home and abroad.

In fact Foreign Office embedded with military wisdom failed to prosecute its narrative of a political, moral and diplomatic support. It has failed in the Valley, in PaK and in Gilgit and Baltistan. The broad spread of its self-serving international diplomacy conducted through two and a half people (2 ½) Kashmiri males and one and a half (1 ½) female could not stand up to one Affidavit filed by the US FBI. All ambassadors drafted into service evaporated in thin air. All that remains are the smouldering’s of a monthly stipend.
Pakistan Foreign Office shall have to overcome the jurisprudence of Indian application made to the UN on the question of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian ultimate interest in her application is crucial. In addition to this Pakistan Foreign Office shall have to overcome the UN Charter Principle of “Self-Determination” on the basis of “Equality of People”. Indian application and the principle of the equality of people make a strong case for an “Independent Kashmir”. Pakistan would land itself in a serious situation, if the people of Jammu and Kashmir decide to join in and support the Indian application of 01 January 1948 made to the UN Security Council. In theory Government of India and the People of Kashmir could take a joint position against the Government of Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir. In that case Pakistan would have no locus standi in the matter.
Afzal Guru’s Case at ICJ
Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir enquired from the foreign office official if Afzal Guru’s case could be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He was told that foreign office shall have to look at the ICJ mandate, whether an individual case could be taken to ICJ or not.

One needs to appreciate the belated (after death) interest of the minister in Guru’s case. However, one needs to query the substantive merits of this interest. Government of PaK, ministry of Kashmir Affairs and for that matter none of their associates in the Valley or High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi ever made any genuine or a half-hearted effort to ensure that Guru gets a reliable legal defence and that all issues related to his case could be monitored on merit in the interests of the ‘administration of justice’.
Guru’s death is unfortunate and is being debated by saner elements in the Indian civil society much more than it has occupied any interest in PaK or in Pakistan. Interest in Guru’s death has no merit if one can spot a lack of understanding and interest of ministry of Kashmir affairs in the death of a generation and the death of self-determination in Kashmir. Foreign Office of Pakistan has yet to graduate in its interest on Kashmir and has yet to know of a day when it would not have to read from military wisdom on the subject.
Government of Pakistan has never shown maturity and honesty on the merits of the Kashmir case. It has continued to show its limp in this regard. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in his telegram dated 22 November, 1947, had proposed to Prime Minister of Pakistan the intervention of ICJ on Kashmir in the following manner:

“Would you like me to take private soundings from the President of the International Court of Justice to find out whether he is of the opinion that it would be practicable and he would be willing to try to get together a small team of international experts, not connected with India, Pakistan or the United Kingdom, in the event of a joint request being preferred by the Government of India and Pakistan for this to be done”. [Para 4 of the telegram dated 22 November 1947].
Pakistan in its reply of 24 November carved a weak and implausible excuse and discouraged the British Prime Minister on the idea of using the offices of ICJ on the issue of Kashmir. The reply in para 1, “Many thanks for your telegram of November 22nd regarding Kashmir. Your suggestion of having recourse to International Court of Justice appears to be based on an inadequate appreciation of realities of situation in Kashmir…” does not sit well with the cause of the people of Kashmir. Foreign office of Pakistan has never spearheaded the interest and benefit of the people of Kashmir. Therefore, the desire of the minister to take Guru’s case to ICJ is asking Gulliver to change position with a Lilliputian. Our heart goes out to the bereaved family of Afzal Guru. It does not mean that we have to expose ourselves as heartless people on the jurisprudence of the death of a generation in Kashmir. If there is a case for ICJ, it has to be failure of the five governments to protect and respect the right to life in Kashmir.
Kashmiri Properties in Pakistan
There has been a criminal silence and criminal negligence on the part of the people, their leadership, the three governments of Jammu and Kashmir and ministry of Kashmir Affairs in not taking a pro-active interest in the broad spread of properties and other Kashmiri assets situated in various parts of Pakistan. These properties are situated in the four provinces of Pakistan and have a ‘sovereign status’. The Standing Committee received a report on these properties but there was no outside and independent input to verify the contents of the report and schedule of the properties.

It is disappointing to mention that Kashmiri leadership, in particular the one that claims to represent the ‘sentiment’ since 1990 have never asked the Government of Pakistan to produce a schedule of these properties and assets and to account for their incomes since August 1947. It is however, encouraging that the Standing Committee has asked the ministry of Kashmir affairs to produce a full report on any sale of these properties and the incomes received prior to 1986 in seven days.

It should have been the urgent concern of Hurriyat, others, J and K and PaK Governments and a common citizen to ensure that Kashmiri properties and assets in Pakistan are preserved and used for the benefit of the people. A State subject interest should have been looked after by the people of the State. These incomes could have been used to support our unemployed youth, women and young girls hit by poverty. The post 1990 conflict situation makes a strong case for our leaders in Srinagar to negotiate with the Government of Pakistan the payment of these incomes and future status of the properties. There is a ray of hope that a report on Kashmir properties and their abuse would be presented to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Solidarity Day

National Assembly Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan admitted that expression of solidarity with the people of Kashmir on 5th February every year is no more than a ritual, when people all over Pakistan sit at home to enjoy a holiday and some are hired to be on the streets. It does not impact the benefit of the people and does not have any significance in incrementing the interest of the people of Kashmir.

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