If there is one issue that has put a huge question mark on the credibility of the United Nations as a governing body capable enough to run the rule of law in a firm fashion it is the Kashmir dispute, a unique issue, much like that of the Palestine issue, unresolved for almost six decades.
For years, the global community has made numerous efforts to help Pakistan and India to settle this issue once and for all but it appears that the two nations are not particularly keen on showing any sort of flexibility in their respective stances on the issue.
Since 1948, the case has been discussed in the United Nations but sadly, no progress has ever been achieved for more than one reason.
However, one should dare to hope that a resolution could be in the offing after the recent summit of the UN General Assembly where Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif again raised the issue and stressed upon the importance of resolving it in an amicable manner, on the table and not on the battlefield.
For quite some time now, the Pakistani premier has received a lot of criticism from his own people for being unable to properly further Pakistan’s interests and its issues with Kashmir. However, this time around, one has to say that Nawaz Sharif, who is in his third term as the PM of the first Muslim nuclear power, has proved himself to be a great representative of the country’s interests on such an important platform.
Currently, cross border firing has become a routine task, due to which civilian population on both sides of the Line of Control (an internationally established border that separates the two states),especially innocent children and women have lost their lives. Such irresponsible state behavior has no place in the international system and it was high time for someone from either sides to show a will for dialogue.
Kashmir Issue: Four-point agenda
To avoid further escalation of tensions between Islamabad and Delhi, Nawaz Sharif took the initiative and proposed a precise 4-point agenda:
- We propose Pakistan and India formalize and respect 2003 understanding of a complete ceasefire in Kashmir and LoC
- We propose Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the threat of force under any circumstances
- Steps must be taken to demilitarize Kashmir
- Agree to mutually withdraw troops from Siachin
However, it was clear to see that the Pakistani premier was not happy with United Nation’s well-documented history of being nothing than a mere spectator during hours of need especially when it comes to countries that don’t fall under the category of developed ones.
Furthermore, he added in his remarks that “Pakistan supports a comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including that of Security Council, said Nawaz. “We need a Security Council that is more democratic, accountable, and transparent. A council that reflects the interests of all member states, in accordance with the principle of sovereign equality. Not a council that is an expanded club of the powerful and privileged.”
And Kashmir is the reason behind unrest in South Asia as both major powers of the region are always on the opposite end when it comes to the controversial region. That has triggered an arms race in the region and the ever-evolving nuclear programs of both countries are the biggest proof of the fact that no love has been lost.
Indeed, consistent use of coercive measures to counter one and other need to be stopped. A more logical way would be for both parties to have an arms control agreement which is not just a document of terms suiting only one party.
It should also be noted that the Prime minister of Pakistan has expressed in his speech at the UN general assembly that Pakistan neither wants to, nor is it engaged in, an arms race in South Asia which could be considered as plausible deniability considering the fact that in recent memory, Islamabad has signed major military deals with both China and Russia. However, one cannot blame Pakistan for doing that since India is getting the same deal from its allies.
Moreover, Pakistani should also be given the benefit of the doubt just like India that it cannot remain oblivious to the constantly evolving dynamics of security and weapon acquisition in the region which forces and obliges the country’s military to take essential steps in order to maintain its security.
War is never supposed to be a solution for any problem. If it were so then both India and Pakistan would have sorted their differences eons ago rather than dragging things for decades. Three bloody wars and one skirmish that resulted in heavy casualties for both sides have proven that if these two South Asian states really want to do something about their insecurities over one another, it would be a better option to shun coercive measures and sit down on the table and talk things through.
Moreover, the issue of Kashmir is an issue that should not be in discussion without the input of the Kashmiri people who for long, have been ignored whenever rumors of talks between the two nations have started floating in media outlets.
The fact that 12 million inhabitants of Kashmiris have a right to self-determination (as decided by a UN resolution some five decades ago) is more than enough to justify that they cannot be excluded from any dialogue.
“Three generations of Kashmiris have only seen broken promises and brutal oppression,” says PM Nawaz. “Over 100,000 have died in their struggle for self-determination. This is the most persistent failure of the United Nations.”
Kashmir issue has laid a question mark on UN mission to resolve world issues and maintain peace and order in face of human rights violations carried out by Indian forces on a regular basis and despite several petitions Kashmir is still at unrest and the region is in a state of flux.
Islamabad, courtesy the country’s PM, has offered a peace proposal to Delhi. The ball is in India’s court and now it’s up to them how they want to pursue it because the longer this bickering alongside both sides of the border continues, it will eventually give way to a conflict between the two nations, a conflict that may not be confined to these two but a conflict that will shape into a global one.
Moreover, it is perhaps the biggest obligation of the United Nations to extend its complete focus towards Kashmir. With its credibility put into question, UN has to do its bit to resolve this much-dragged issue.
The Kashmir issue is not expected to be resolved in a fortnight and if events in history are anything to go by with, it is clear that both India and Pakistan cannot be left to their own devices since only a sincere global effort will force these two states to discuss things in an amicable manner.
For now, Pakistan has offered India a chance to resolve issues. What would India’s response be like? Will Delhi stick with the traditional rhetoric of Pakistan being a belligerent or would it opt for a pragmatic response? Coming days will tell!