DEAFENING SILENCE! PAKISTAN BETRAYS KASHMIRIS ONCE AGAIN
“A fraudulent intent, however carefully concealed at the outset, will generally, in the end, betray itself”.
-Titus Livius (59 BC – AD 17)
The place was ideal- UN headquarters at Geneva. The audience was all inclusive– representatives of civilized nations. The occasion was solemn- the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human right records of countries. The timing was perfect- close on the heels of the official statement of the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns that, “AFSPA allows the state to override rights. Such a law has no role in a democracy and should be scrapped.” The expectations were great- that Pakistan would stand up for our cause and speak out against human right violations in Indian administered Kashmir. But alas, this was not to be!
Prior to the UPR, Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, in an article titled, ‘Once in Four Years, India has to Reply’ had aptly summed up India’s precarious predicament in the following words- “Previous examination was done in May 2008. As India was one of the first countries to have been examined and the procedures were not clear, there were only very few questions on its human rights record and only 18 recommendations were made. However, on 24 May, India’s delegation led by Attorney General GE Vahanvati will face question from 87 governments who have signed up to speak during India’s examination. India’s 22-page National Report sadly reflects India’s anachronistic positions on human rights. It has failed to report on implementation of the pledges made for being elected to the Human Rights Council while it has nothing to report about the implementation of the recommendations made in May 2008 except inviting the UN’s special rapporteurs”.
All nation members had the right to speak and as many as 87 signed up to do so on the Indian review. Unfortunately, Pakistan was not one amongst them. And by maintaining its inexplicable silence, Pakistan has once again put the seal of confirmation on its dubious Kashmir policy, demonstrating that it’s professed support for the ‘K’ cause is nothing more than mere rhetoric and a tool of ‘convenience’. It is here that our leaders stand guilty of turning a ‘Nelson’s eye’ towards repeated betrayals and consistently approaching Pakistan with a begging bowl for support. I do not possess the expertise to comment on foreign policies. However, my common sense tells me that one of the main reasons for Pakistan exhibiting such arrogance towards us is because we speak to Pakistan, not as an equal but as a subservient identity, whose present and future existence is solely dependent on its master!
Pakistan claims to have vociferously espoused the Kashmir cause. However, a review of its efforts reveals a repeated pattern of actions which at best provide transitory results and are guided by its domestic compulsions or diplomatic duel with India. The Pakistan army knew very well that what it could not achieve by force was obviously beyond the capability of rag-tag irregular forces. Yet, it trained, armed and misguided our youth to become ‘freedom fighters’. From authoritative material now available, it emerges that the aim of this suicidal mission was not to drive out the Indian army from Kashmir, but merely to keep it heavily occupied, thereby reducing its numerical superiority over the Pakistan army. And the Attorney General of India, made good use of this in his speech at the UPR to justify imposition of AFSPA by saying that terrorism and insurgency posed ‘existential threats’ to the country. Whereas, the insurgency in the Northeast has been simmering since independence, he cleverly without identifying this threat clearly implied that he was referring to Kashmir, when stated that “There are threats to the fabric of our country. Our country has been the target of terrorist activities over the last three decades.” And this appears to have convinced the audience, as no one objected!
Yet another example of how Pakistan, just for its own petty diplomatic gains has not even spared those honestly championing the ‘Kashmir cause’ can be found in the case involving Dr Fai. ‘Befriended’ by the ISI, he was used as an anti India ‘pawn’ by subverting his loyalty and destroying his credibility through clandestine financing. When Pakistan is fully convinced that the struggle for ‘self determination’ in Kashmir is justified, why is it using dubious methods to further a cause ratified even by the UN? And it is here where our leaders become culpable of abetment as regards Pakistan’s anti Kashmir activities, since they have consistently maintained a stoic silence on the same! Or is it that, like Omar Abdullah who was oblivious of the GB Pant hospital crisis till it reached gargantuan proportions; our leaders too are unaware of what Pakistan has been doing all along and the fact that during the UPR, it had failed to speak up against human right violations in Kashmir?
Dr Syed Nazir Gilani, the Secretary General of JKHR, a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the UN who was present during the UPR, has in his article “The New India” (Rising Kashmir, May 28) made two important observations. The first, that unlike the early 1990’s when India displayed lack of confidence in general and while defending Resolutions L40 and L21, the Attorney General of India “mesermised the assembly of delegates and the Human Rights Council …” and secondly, that Pakistan failed to contest or even as much as object to the Indian Attorney General’s statement that “The Supreme Court and National Human rights Commission promptly look into allegations of enforced disappearances.” Pakistan has once again lost yet another opportunity to help further the ‘Kashmir cause’ and its silence is deafening because it has only accentuated the shrieks of the oppressed.
There is a need for our leaders to introspect and prepare a practical road map for Kashmir since its present strategy is lacking direction. In the nineteenth century an English Statesman Lord Palmerston had said “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” This statement holds good even today and the Hurriyat should realise the immense import of this saying- just like both India and Pakistan appear to have recently realised. Kashmir today does not require leaders; we already have a surfeit of them. What Kashmir today requires urgently are statesmen, those who are not fixated with the past, neither obsessed with the present, nor confused about the future. We require men and women with vision and foresight who can lead us out of the existing quagmire of competing ideologies and clashing egos. Are there any takers?
Tags: Kashmir , UNHRC , UN Rapporteur , Human Rights , Universal Periodic Reveiw , AFSPA , Dr Fai
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